Ah, Lara Croft. One of the most awesome female video game protagonists of all time. Actually, scratch that. There is no need for that gendered modifier. She is one of the best video game protagonists of all time, regardless of gender. She is this tough force to be reckoned with that also manages to be compassionate and tender with those that she cares for. She has escaped countless villains, foiled dozens of dastardly plans, and saved millions of civilians from Trinity and other ruthless organizations. Her games and films involve diverse and well-rounded characters as well as intense plots and breathtaking climaxes.
And yet, the world continues to write her off due to her most... uh… well known or pronounced assets. And it’s honestly unfair. She is this strong, brave, powerhouse of a woman and having her continually written off based solely on her dimensions is kind of infuriating. One’s physical appearance does not override any skills or talents they might have and assuming that attractive people have nothing else to offer is closed minded and short-sighted.
People, virtual or not, are so much more than their appearances and thinking otherwise is just kind of sad. People are so much more complex than we give them credit for and no one is just one thing. Shockingly enough, life is not as simple as the teen-centered coming of age films make it seem. So, without further ado, join me as I correct 25 of the most common misconceptions that critics and gamers alike have about the one and only Lara Croft.
25 Virtual Eye Candy
Okay, it’s possible that Lara was designed to be the star of every teenage boy's deepest fantasies, but that doesn’t mean that we should write her off entirely. I mean, being attractive or well endowed isn’t the only trait she has. She is strong, smart, accomplished, compassionate, and determined. She can be dropped into almost any environment and figure out a way to not only survive but to also escape. Lara is amazing and I will fight anyone who disagrees or tries to write her off based on her dimensions.
24 Emotionless Hunter
Emotionless, Lara is not. Okay, 1996 Lara might be a bit of a robot, but after everything she has been through, can you really blame her? But 2013 Lara is brimming with every single emotion. She feels remorse and guilt for every body she leaves behind. Even the ones that would have slain her no mercy-style. Her heart aches for every acquaintance left behind and she seems to hunt to ensure her survival and safety while attempting to accomplish her goals rather than for sport or pleasure.
23 Always Lands On Her Feet
I mean, Lara Croft goes through a lot during the origin series. She falls through the windshield of a suspended aircraft, takes a trip down a rockslide, barely escapes a collapsing cave, evades a deranged cult, and manages to stop a deranged leader from taking her friend all in one game. But she does not always land on her feet, as some critics say. She gets beaten up pretty badly on her adventures and leaves that island with both physical and psychological scars. That girl lands on her behind more often than not.
22 Deus Ex Machina
Like “Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” Deus Ex Machina is one of those terms used in film critiques that are overused and often used wrong. To quote Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” The definition of Deus Ex Machina is a contrived plot device that saves the day when everything is seemingly hopeless. I mean, Lara does save them all in the end but it was her mission to do so all along. She literally spends the entire game trying to save everyone. She isn’t some contrived plot device, she is just a person doing her best.
21 Lara Of All Trades
Just because someone has a university degree or is an expert in one field does not mean that they know everything about every different area of study that there is. Yes, Lara seems to know everything that there is to know about ancient cultures and archeology because that is her chosen field. When playing a game that is solely focused on this one area of study, one could get the wrong impression that Lara is being portrayed as a relative jack of all trades. However, I’m sure she would be in over her head if she was thrown into a game revolving around nuclear physics.
20 Just Another Nathan Drake
Whenever a game, film, or book features a female protagonist, she will undoubtedly find herself being compared to any and every male character within the same genre. The 2013 Lara Croft has found herself being compared to Nathan Drake by every single armchair critic on the entire internet. I mean, I guess they are both explorers? But Nathan is a ruthless, sarcastic guy akin to Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy and Lara is a compassionate survivalist with a passion for discovering the secrets of the world's tombs.
19 Instant Expert
When we originally met Lara in 1996, she was a professional tomb raider. She knew exactly what she was doing and there was no room for learning for anyone but the player. But when we met a much younger and inexperienced Lara in the 2013 origin series, both protagonist and player were in the same boat. Yes, Lara was a middle-grade explorer with some background knowledge thanks to her education and upbringing. But the first game was mostly based on instinctual survival rather than expertise.
18 Magnet Hands Lara
This is the only time in this article that I will use suspension of disbelief as a way of dismissing a critique of the Tomb Raider series. I usually prefer to use evidence within the series to debunk critiques but this time, I will ask my readers to simply forgive the game for this as it is merely a function of smooth gameplay. You see, Lara has this uncanny ability to make incredibly impossible jumps and cling to the other side of the cavern as if she has magnets for hands.
17 A Danger To Us All
Does a “danger magnet” (more on that later) like Lara present a danger to those around her? I don’t think so. Each and every member of the crew from the 2013 game went on that expedition willingly and not a single one of them knew what was waiting for them. Yes, not everyone made it off of that island. But that was not Lara’s doing. In fact, Lara saved several of her crew members from a fate worse than demise and she is the one who got them off the island in the end. If it wasn’t for her, they would have rotted there.
16 Compassionate To Ruthless
While it is true that Lara was relatively ruthless in the original games which were released in the late 20th century and extended into the early 2000s, the rebooted version of Lara is almost an entirely different person. Yes, as the origin series has progressed, Lara has gotten over her moral distress over vanquishing her enemies. But, in those situations, it is her or them and there is no room for hesitation. But that survival instinct does not equate to ruthlessness. She retains her compassion towards her friends and the innocent civilians of the world. Therefore, ruthless she is not.
15 A Shadow Of Her Father
While it is true that Lara is following in her father's footsteps by keeping his career and life’s mission alive post-mortem, it is important to note that there is a difference between that and being cast in someone’s shadow. Lara is not doomed to be the inferior version of her father due to the fact that her morality and compassion keeps her on the right path and prevents her from being entirely consumed by the mission like her father was. In a way, he might be the inferior version of his daughter.
14 Lara Croft Never Fails
I mean, I guess. Lara does always accomplish her goal by the end of the game because that is how games/stories work. Imagine paying eighty dollars for a game and then having it end halfway through the arc because your character fell off a bridge or was eaten by an errant wolf. Protagonists succeed because that is simply what makes an engaging plot and a good story. And it is also important to note that Lara does fail several times throughout her mission before the climax of the game.
13 Forgotten Accomplices
This is one piece of criticism I just don’t understand. Some have accused the 2013 game of abandoning all of Lara’s diverse accomplices as soon as the actual gameplay begins in order to focus on the action of the game. But if you pay attention to the actual plot of the game, the crash causes the entire crew to be scattered throughout the island the land on. And one by one, they are picked off throughout the game. The sole purpose of the first half of the game is for us to reunite with your crew. Pay attention to the material before you try to criticize it.
12 Driven By Men
Another lazy point of criticism from prejudiced critics who turn up their nose at female protagonists without even looking into a single aspect of their game or story. The critique states that Lara is simply driven and motivated by the men in her life. To be fair, she does follow in her father's footprints and all of her mentors who accompany her along her origin story seem to be men. But that is just a product of the field rather than anything nefarious or “anti-woman.”
11 Infallible Artifacts
Anyone with any archeological know-how will tell you that most of the objects that they discover are found in a severe state of disrepair due. However, that is often not the case for the objects which Lara discovers and there is a reason for that. First off, many of the areas that Lara raids are incredibly remote.
Artifacts found in icy tundras and remote jungles aren’t going to fall victim to the wear and tear that those which are exposed to the elements will. Secondly, she is exploring tombs which have remained untouched for thousands of years. Untouched relics usually remain in pristine condition for all of eternity.
10 Blurred Morality
The same critics who have accused Lara of being blinded by her mission to finish her father's life journey are also accusing her of bending her own idea and definition of right and wrong in order to convince herself that her actions are obeying her own moral code.
But Lara (origins) has always been starkly aware of the consequences of her actions. Including those actions she performed out of necessity during her struggle for survival. If someone is being bogged down by their conscious then they clearly aren’t warping their own moral code to suit their needs.
9 Made Of Rubber
Many video games (as well as films and television shows) suffer from the “made of rubber” phenomenon. Their characters can fall thousands of feet, get tossed around in a physical altercation, and then keep going without a single mark or scratch. But not Lara, regardless of what the critics may say. Keeping Lara alive for an entire game is actually an incredibly difficult duty. That girl gets eliminated every three minutes of game-play and each demise is as brutal and intense as the last.
8 Plot-Relevant Helplessness
Many critics have questioned the 2001 film version of Lara for her seemingly plot-convenient moments of helplessness. Some moments she is mowing down bad guys like nobody’s business. And other times, she needs someone else to help her get the job done. But those moments of “helplessness” are actually moments of much-needed vulnerability. She has closed herself off to the world in order to continue her father's work and, sometimes, you need to admit that you’ve gotten yourself in over your head and that you need someone else to shoulder the burden for a while.
7 Expertise Has Its Limits
Unlike some critics claim, Lara is not an unparalleled genius in all areas of academia and the like. She has specified knowledge in the topics that she studied in school as well as the field in which she has dedicated her life to. I’m sure there are plenty of things that Lara just can’t do, but we don’t see that. We only see the things that Lara is good at because those are the things that she has decided to make the focus of her life and adventures.
6 Danger Magnet Lara
There is some credence to this misconception, I will admit. While it is true that Lara seems to have some bulls-eye on her back which draws the biggest and most powerful dangerous beings in the area to her, it is important to note that it’s not like she is just sitting on her couch in London. She is exploring caves, traversing icy tundras, and climbing unstable mountains in the middle of avalanches. She is taking ancient relics, disturbing tombs, and pretty much forcing herself knee deep in trouble. Of course the danger is going to find her.
5 Mary Sue Central
Okay, I have to make one thing clear. I despise the term “Mary Sue.” While it is true that some characters do seem to pick up some skills supernaturally quick, most of the time it is due to plot convenience or a “chosen one” storyline. The term “Mary Sue” is usually used by lazy critics who want some reason to write off any and every female character that they come across. At the start, she is neither a noob nor a pro. When we meet Lara in the prequels, she is inexperienced, struggling to survive, and is still able to hold her own thanks to her training and education.
4 The Ends Justify The Means
Look, we need to say this once and for all. Lara is not the kind of girl who believes that civilian casualties are just a part of the hero's journey. Some people have criticized the fact that Lara is portrayed as a moral protagonist while the path she takes is literally littered with fallen enemies. And, though a life is a life, it is important to note that in those situations it was either her or them. There was no room for reasoning with them or making nice. Lara did what she had to do to survive and it still weighs on her in the end.
3 The End Of Feminism
Ah, yes. It’s the old Barbie debate all over again. I get it. Lara’s dimensions are a bit… um…. unrealistic. But, in all honesty, there is just so much to her than just how she looks and reducing her to her looks is, frankly, a bit prejudiced in and of itself. I mean, she is a brilliant archeologist, amazing fighter, and survivalist, can hold her own and thrive in any situation she is thrust into, and, on top of that, she is also a kind and compassionate human being. But sure, let’s just write her off entirely because some developer went a little overboard with the sizing sliders.
2 Walking Encyclopedia
Even I will admit that I can be critical at times of Lara’s unfailing- near encyclopedic- knowledge. After a moment's interaction with an ancient relic, she seems to be able to identify the exact period from which it originated and its importance to both the cultural history of its native land. And though I will admit that this ability is slightly exaggerated in order to create a smoother experience for the player, her relic specific knowledge is not that far off base considering her extensive education in that field as well as growing up in a home where that sort of information was abundant.
1 Blinded By Her Father's Legacy
The origin series of the game has revealed the true impact of Lara’s father's mission on her life’s journey. Though his story was tragically cut short, Lara has seen to it that his life’s work will not go unfinished and has picked up where he left off. But some critics have accused Lara of leaning into her self-appointed duties with a bit too much vigor. Frankly, there is no need to worry. Lara’s unfailing compassion and her need to save everyone around her should keep her on the straight and narrow for now.