Lara Croft

Lara Croft is a fictional character and the protagonist of Square Enix's (previously Eidos Interactive) Tomb Raider video game series. She is presented as a beautiful, intelligent, and athletic archaeologist-adventurer who ventures into ancient, hazardous tombs and ruins around the world. Created by Toby Gard during his employment at British developer Core Design, the character first appeared in the 1996 video game Tomb Raider. Other appearances include video game sequels, printed adaptations, a series of animated short films, feature films (portrayed by Angelina Jolie), and various merchandise related to the series. Lara Croft has also been licensed for third-party promotion, including television and print advertisements, music-related appearances, and as a spokesmodel. Promotion of the character includes a brand of apparel and accessories, action figures, and model portrayals.

Core Design first handled development of the character and the series. Inspired by pop artist Neneh Cherry and comic book character Tank Girl, Gard designed Lara Croft to counter stereotypical female characters. The company modified the character for subsequent titles; modifications included graphical improvements and gameplay additions such as new manoeuvres and in-game items. Poor reception for the 2003 sequel Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness resulted in a switch to American developer Crystal Dynamics. The new developer rebooted the character along with the video game series. Crystal Dynamics focused on making the character more believable, and altered her capabilities to interact with game environments as well as her proportions. Lara Croft has been voiced by four actresses throughout the video game series: Shelley Blond, Judith Gibbins, Jonell Elliott, and Keeley Hawes.

Critics consider Lara Croft a significant game character in popular culture. She holds two Guinness World Records and has a strong fan following. The character's debut was well-received by the video game industry, but her popularity slowly declined until the series' reboot in 2006. While the rebooted games were generally well-received, Lara Croft's redesign was met with mixed responses. Lara Croft is also considered a sex symbol, one of the earliest in the industry to achieve widespread attention. The character's influence in the industry has been a point of contention among critics.

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