The original Tomb Raider was the first true 3D game I ever played (on the Sega Saturn, of all consoles). Much of the gushing commentary that accompanies any retrospective of Super Mario 64 also applies here. The first time you make Lara Croft move, in a fully realized 3D environment that was dripping with atmosphere, was one of the very few actual jaw-dropping moments one gets to experience in gaming. Looking back, it’s amazing that Core Design didn’t just rely on the gimmick factor of the 3D gameplay, but actually built a series of entirely believable locations and then filled it with mind-bending puzzles and let loose a heroine whose animation was a generation ahead of everything else.
The most eye-opening fact in the Eurogamer article is that Core Design cranked out five Tomb Raider games in five years. An amazing – and unsustainable – production rate that resulted in the meltdown known as Angel of Darkness. Crystal Dynamics has done a decent job of rehabilitating the franchise, and the two reboots since 2013 are true AAA games worthy of the original. But the days when Lara Croft was front page material are long gone, and the gameplay that so pioneered the genre has had its mantle passed onto Uncharted.