Tomb Raider. Core Design (1996) PlayStation

I need to be honest with you, I didn’t complete Tomb Raider. I just can’t. I know it gets a little tricky later in the game from when I played it in my yoof, but now, as an adult, I can’t beat the first level.

Awwww gawd damn my eyes burn!

You see, Tomb Raider falls into the category of “DEAR FUCKING LORD MY EYES HURT TURN IT OFF TURN IT OFF”. You know, the type of game that gives you a 16 pint hangover headache after playing for more then 10 minutes. Seriously I’m not joking . I only get this style headache when playing early 3d games on the PlayStation, so I feel comfortable in blaming the game and not my old man eyes.

The graphics themselves are pretty ugly and they are a very good example that those first tentative steps into 3D were not the big, bold, brash ones our nostalgia goggles have us believe as almost everything on screen is an atrocity on the eyes. Honestly, I would rather play Bubsy 3D as that is actually less stilted than Tomb Raider.

On top of the game looking like donkey dick, the camera likes to fuck you without lube. Move any direction, or make a sudden movement and the camera will freak out. This is caused by the camera not knowing what to do when it comes close to a wall or enemy. So you’re either fighting against uncontrollable camera clipping, or a complete inability to see as it refuses to adjust for the small enemy blocking the entire screen. The worst thing is that this is a game designed around tight corridors and quick movement, which results in the camera ALWAYS freaking out. This combined with the hideous graphics legitimately lead me to having to turn off before I finish the first level or taking frequent breaks. Games like Ocarina of Time or Mario 64 don’t hold up as well as they did because of camera flaws and graphical flaws, but those games are still enjoyable despite those issues. Tomb Raider is rendered almost unplayable by these 2 serious issues.

I love that this screenshot perfectly captured your view for 65% of the game, fyi that is a bear.


90s Tank controls. Nuff said.

Not really, because in the right situation I love some clunky ass tank controls. Early Resident Evil games are made a better game by them as they add to the oppressive/claustrophobic environment. But Tomb Raider is supposed to be fast paced, with Lara Croft being a lithe acrobatic action heroine. Tank controls are the opposite. It therefore doesn’t work. It feels like you are controlling a 3 wheeled shopping trolly being pushed through a vat of hummus, and not good smooth hummus, that chunky cheap shit you get from Tesco for 99p that lacks good ‘ol virgin olive oil. (Can you tell I am middle class?).

*vomits at the thought of Tesco’s shitty hummus*.

This roughly account for 8.7% of the game.


As I said, didn’t beat it so I refer you to wikipedia.


I honestly think Tomb Raider is completely unplayable. Yes it is important, yes Lara Croft was one of the first kick ass female protagonists, and yes in 1996 this was impressive. But no, Tomb Raider does not play well, look good, or be remotely enjoyable it simply does not hold up.

I feel as though this score is over generous but I can’t bring myself to give it a lower score.

Pros: It was important

Cons: looks like ass, plays like ass, is pretty much add.


Back in the Day:

Tomb Raider was drowned in praise, it scored perfect scores and well into the 90s. It also swept the game sof the year awards.

Also Available on: Sega Saturn

I'm awesome. I write about videogames occasionally but spend most time painting and playing Warhammer in varying formats.

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Posted in Playstation
9 comments on “Tomb Raider. Core Design (1996) PlayStation
  1. Ah yes, the era in which characters were made up of approximately 3 polygons. Very impressive for the time but it has NOT aged well.


  2. benez256 says:

    This is one of those “OMG this is a great game!” I don’t really care about. I almost hate it. Unfortunately the early 3D games have aged very bad on every platform and that’s the reason why I still prefer, even today, the good ‘ol 2D…

    Liked by 1 person

    • 2d games that looked good at released still look good and play as well as they did.

      So much of Ps1/N64 era is almost unplayable now due to janky controls and terrible graphics.


      • benez256 says:

        Exactly. For me even a milestone like Mario 64 is almost unplayable even though has aged way better than other 3D games…

        Liked by 1 person

      • I never played Mario 64 first time around so have no nostalgia attached to it. Tried playing it a few times and can’t get off first Bowser castle as the camera switches around so much it changes “forward” so I fall off the ramps all the time


  3. I never really liked this game much either…. the controls were what pissed me off more than anything!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My computer owning friend (hey, I grew up poor) spent all night illegally downloading this game over a 36.6k modem. It was with great excitement we fired it up. Despite an 11 download time, we got frustrated and bored after about 15 minutes. What a turd of a game this was!

    Liked by 1 person

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