Angelina Jolie isn’t the only woman to portray the Tomb Raider game heroine.
Star of the multi-million-selling Tomb Raider game series and successful movie franchise, Lara Croft is by far gaming’s most recognizable heroine. The acrobatic aristocrat’s adventures traveling the globe, exterminating wildlife, fighting villains, and swiping ancient artifacts are well documented, but there’s more to the character than feats of derring-do. Read on for a few lesser-known Croft tidbits.
She’s been played by more people than just Angelina.
Without question, Angelina Jolie is the most famous person to ever step into Croft’s crop-top and shorts. Indeed, Lara would earn Jolie a nomination for the coveted Worst Actress gong at the Golden Raspberry anti-Oscar ceremony. (She would lose to Mariah Carey’s woeful showing in Glitter.) But Lara’s also been portrayed by a string of other women over her 15-year history, including one, model Nell McAndrew, who was fired after leveraging her Lara cred into a Playboy appearance. She wasn’t clad in the costume, though. Or much else. Most recently, Lara’s shoes have been filled by a genuine gymnast, Alison Carroll.
She’s a real world record holder.
In her universe, we don’t doubt globe-trotting Lara has plenty of world records. Coolest mansion (containing her own obstacle course and indoor pool), perhaps. Most endangered species slaughtered in one expedition, maybe.
But she holds a real-life record, too: she’s officially recognized by Guinness as (deep breath) the world’s most successful human video game heroine. Sorry, Samus.
She has her own tribute album.
Released on CD and vinyl in Germany, A Tribute to Lara Croft contains cuts from artists as eminent as Underworld and Yello, some of which feature audio samples from the games. Lara didn’t stop there — she’s also graced the covers of countless magazines, and even has a street named after her: Lara Croft Way, in Derby, England, the city where her original creators, Core Design, were based.
She doesn’t do anything immodest.
If you were playing video games during the mid-90s, you were sure to know about an infamous Tomb Raider cheat code that, when entered, would supposedly cause Ms. Croft to tackle the game’s levels in the buff. Legendary among teenage boys, the code was a myth…although it was nearly a reality. According to Paul Douglas, one of the original game’s creators, higher-ups once asked the team to add it to the game, but they refused, crushing the dreams of thousands of adolescents in the process.
She used to be a man.
Yes, really. Lara Croft’s designer Toby Gard first envisioned the Tomb Raider star as a hat-sporting, whip-toting male archaeologist. Astonishingly, his design was rejected as too derivative. Can’t imagine why.
After opting to create a strong female character instead, Gard found inspiration from pop culture figures including singer Neneh Cherry and 80s comic book star Tank Girl. But Lara’s most recognizable feature, her impressive bust, was inadvertently created when Gard scaled up her cleavage by accident. The team liked the new Lara so much that he kept the “enhanced” version.