There is no longtime gamer who has never heard about Tomb Raider, one of the most famous action-adventure video games in history. Indeed, it is fairly impossible to find someone who doesn’t know about the adventures of the smart and athletic archaeologist, Lara Croft, who has been portrayed by multiple models and has been the protagonist not only of all Tomb Raider’s chapters so far, but also of some Hollywood movies and commercials. Tomb Raider was first developed by Eidos Interactive and originally released in 1996 for MS-DOS, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn. Now, it is developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix, which proposed a prequel of the series featuring a young Lara Croft on her first adventure.
Tomb Raider has been reinvented many times, both in style and story. Surely, it was an astonishing and innovative game when it first came out due to the possibility it granted to explore a wholly open space in absolute freedom, but the graphics have always been strongly criticized for not being particularly defined if compared to other titles published in the same period. However, it isn’t the graphics what made Tomb Raider a great game to the public; what was appreciated more than anything else was the huge playability, with all the puzzle solving and the gun play which could keep you busy for hours.
Tomb Raider is a smart and enjoyable game which has been emulated by many other game-making companies. A bestseller, masterpiece, award-winning, Lara Croft’s world inspired many other games and was inspired by titles that were able to achieve the same success. If you are curious to know what games are we talking about, then here’s a list of most similar games to Tomb Raider.
Similar Games to Tomb Raider
- System/Platform: PS3, PS4
- Publisher: SCE Australia, SCEA, SCEE, Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Developer: Naughty Dog
- Release Date: Nov. 16, 2007
The first game that comes to mind when we talk about Tomb Raider is certainly Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, and all the other titles which belong to the same series. Developed by Naughty Dog and published for the first time in 2007 by Sony Computer Entertainment, Uncharted follows the adventures of Nathan “Nate” Drake, a treasure hunter seeking the legendary El Dorado and is supposedly the descendant of the explorer Sir Francis Drake, whose coffin was buried in Panama’s sea years before. With the help of the journalist Elena Fisher – there to record the events for a documentary – and a ring apparently belonging to Sir Drake on which his coffin’s coordinates were carved in, Nate is able to rescue the explorer’s tomb, but there will be a bitter surprise waiting for him. Will Nate be able to find a lead to the lost treasure?
The first thing that you will notice by playing Uncharted is the striking resemblance with Tomb Raider’s gameplay. What was considered great about Tomb Raider when it first came out was its revolutionary action-adventure framework, with Lara exploring environments, solving mechanical puzzles for advancing the game, avoiding traps, shoot enemies, and even swim, which was a particular characteristic never seen before in other games. A worthy descendant of Tomb Raider, Uncharted features all its predecessor’s peculiarities. To open the path for new rooms you will need to analyze a 360-degrees open space in which intricated mechanism hide and have to be decrypted in a certain way or in a fixed period of time. Furthermore, the environments in which Nate moves are very similar to Tomb Raider’s ones, with jungles, forests, ancient ruins, and deserts. After all, as Lara before him, Nate is a wannabe Indiana Jones which devoted his life to adventure and treasure hunting, too. We could say that Uncharted is a new generation’s Tomb Raider for those nostalgic for old-style Lara Croft’s adventures who were disappointed when Square Enix decided to turn it into a survival horror-like game.
Uncharted E3 2007 Trailer
2. Prince of Persia
- System/Platform: GB, PC, TCD, GBC, GEN, GG, NES, SMS, SNES, SCD, AMI, MAC, X68, ST, APL2, MOBI, CPC, FMT
- Publisher: Broderbund, Microids, Hit Squad, Riverhillsoft, Virgin Interactive, Mindscape Inc., NCS, Red Orb Entertainment, Ubisoft, Domark, Tengen, Gameloft, Sega, Tec Toy, Victor Interactive Software, Konami, Turbo Technologies, Inc.
- Developer: Broderbund, Ed Magnin and Associates, MotiveTime, Ltd., Bits Laboratory, Domark, Arsys Software Inc., Argent
- Release Date: Oct. 3, 1989
Since we mentioned Uncharted as the worthy descendant of Tomb Raider, we couldn’t miss mentioning the game which inspired Lara Croft’s adventures, namely Prince of Persia. Published in 1989, Prince of Persia is a fantasy cinematic game in which an unnamed character simply known as “The Prince” needs to clear various dungeons in order to find the evil Grand Vizier Jaffar, defeat him, and save the imprisoned Princess. The Prince is an orphan and comes from a poor district, but dared to climb the walls of the Royal Palace to take a glance to the Princess who was said to be incredibly beautiful. They fall in love at first sight, but are discovered by Jaffar who imprisons them both. Jaffar aspires to take the throne and the Princess has just one hour to decide to marry him or die. Rescue the Princess will be a race against the clock.
Prince of Persia is clearly inspired by the classic Arabian Nights and its plot has nothing to do with Tomb Raider’s. Instead, the gameplay is what the two works have in common. Despite being a 2D platform game, Prince of Persia’s gameplay was quite revolutionary and absolutely impressive for an action-adventure title from the ‘80s. The Prince’s rescuing of the Princess was littered with obstacles the character had to overcome by jumping or climbing tall walls, and he had often to engage in aggressive fighting with enemies along the road. Also, to open the path, you must solve intriguing puzzles in order to activate the mechanisms. Prince of Persia’s later games were all made based on the same concept, that was also the one which inspired the original software engineer and, later, studio manager Gavin Rummery for Tomb Raider. Lara’s adventures were conceived to evoke Prince of Persia’s atmosphere and paying homage. So, if you are a Tomb Raider lover, you can’t miss the chance to play the game which inspired Tomb Raider, the great game it is.
3. Assassin’s Creed
- System/Platform: PC, PS3, X360, WINM
- Publisher: Ubisoft, E-Frontier
- Developer: Ubisoft Montreal, Gameloft
- Release Date: Nov. 13, 2007
While Lara Croft was busy with rock climbing and diving from high waterfalls in Peru, the bartender Desmond Miles was being kidnapped by Abstergo Industries for use as a test subject in the “Animus”, namely a project involving a special machine able to trigger genetic memory. Desmond is particularly interesting to the company for the characteristic he shares with his ancestors; in fact, they were members of the ancient sect of the Assassin Order and Desmond has been trained to be an Assassin as well and carry on the tradition. Desmond has never shown interest for his family’s “activity” and would like to lead a normal life. However, he will be forced to retrace the life of mainly three Assassins that are the disgraced Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad lived during the Third Crusade, the Italian Ezio Auditore lived during the Renaissance period, and the British-Mohawk Ratohnhaké:ton lived during the American Revolution. Their objective was just one: recover an Artifact called “Piece of Heaven” before the opposing sect of Knight Templars.
There are basically two things that Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed have in common: the main characters’ “love” for adventure and parkour, and their progenitor Prince of Persia. Indeed, as for Tomb Raider, also the concept Assassin’s Creed was based upon was built on Prince of Persia’s idea which had reinvented the action-adventure videogame’s history. Indeed, as Tomb Raider and later versions of Prince of Persia, also Assassin’s Creed is mainly presented as a third-person game in an open world which focuses on running and mechanical enigmas. The gameplays are undoubtly very similar, but Tomb Raider’s lovers could find interesting the point of innovation Assassin’s Creed features. Its peculiarity lays in exclusive actions the maneuverable characters can perform, such as stealing, and on the fact the world can be only explored within the range of memories of the Assassins whose life Desmond is experiencing. More plot-based than Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed could be a viable alternative for those ones who thought Lara Croft’s adventure was missing something.
Assassin's Creed Cello Trailer
Any Games Like Tomb Raider ?
4. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell
- System/Platform: XBOX, PC, PS2, GC, GBA, NGE, MOBI, MAC, PS3
- Publisher: Ubisoft, Aspyr, Gameloft, ak tronic, Capcom
- Developer: Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Shanghai, Gameloft, Ubisoft
- Release Date: Nov. 17, 2002
When we talk about award-winning videogames like Tomb Raider, we also need to mention Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell series. First released in 2002 on the heels of the enormous success earned by action-adventure games, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell managed to gain a great credibility with the public and, together with Assassin’s Creed and its predecessor Tomb Raider, has become model of the genre. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell is about a covert ops veteran, Sam Fisher, who is a Splinter Cell that works for a secret division of the National Security Agency (NSA) called Third Echelon. This division uses agents to infiltrate in hostile territory and investigate in the field. All Splinters work alone and equipped with high-tech support so that they can be hardly detected and can gather intelligence information without leaving any trace.
What characterizes Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell is the fact it was able to mix elements taken by Tomb Raider and third-person shooting games so that it can be enjoyed by Lara Croft’s fans as well as by games like Resident Evil or Metal Gear Solid’s ones. Sam Fisher can, in fact, smash objects, knock out enemies and hide them, or vault himself over a fence, but can also climb rocks, jump, and hold onto a platform’s edges as is classical Tomb Raider’s style. Basically, not only can Sam move in all directions without any limitation, he can also interact with everything and everyone inside his field of action. The newer online Tomb Raider and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell games, on the contrary, are more similar than the older ones which still featured their own peculiarities. Tomb Raider is hugely changed over the years, becoming darker, more detailed in graphics, and more survival-like. On the same wave, also the latest Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell games have aligned to newer gaming innovations. In particular if you liked Rise of Tomb Raider you should give Tom Clancy’s a try.
5. Just Cause
- System/Platform: PC, XBOX, PS2, X360
- Publisher: Eidos Interactive, Mastertronic, Sold Out Software, Square Enix, Electronic Arts
- Developer: Avalanche Studios
- Release Date: Sep. 27, 2006
Did you miss the tropical environment you have been accustomed due to playing Tomb Raider too much? Well, don’t worry, because this list couldn’t leave out Just Cause series with features exactly that exotic setting that is the hallmark of Tomb Raider. For who has never heard about it, let’s briefly say that Just Cause follows the adventures of the ops agent Rico Rodriguez which is sent to the fictional South African tropical country of San Esperito. Rico’s mission is hard, but pretty simple: supporting a guerrilla war to overthrow the country’s dictator who is suspected of being in possession of weapons capable of mass destruction.
There is no treasure to search for in Just Cause and its plot has nothing to do with our British archeologist’s hunting activities, but there are a variety of elements which could be enjoyed by all those people who still can’t forget about Tomb Raider: Legend or The Angel of Darkness’ gameplay; as for Lara, Rico Rodriguez has a large inventory at his disposal which includes a vast range of guns and ammo to take out enemies in a great number of spectacular ways, considering also the fact that Tomb Raider has started featuring hand-to-hand moves mixed with the shots from the above mentioned titles on. Furthermore, another common element the two series share is the possibility to drive a great variety of vehicles. Do you remember when Lara crazily jumped on her motorcycle or drove a freight elevator to move some huge boxes? Well, you will be happy to know that Rico is a specialist in doing acrobatic stunts by boats, cars, motorcycles, and even airplanes and helicopters. So, complete playing freedom is what you will find about Tomb Raider in Just Cause.
6. Indiana Jones: Rainders of the Lost Ark
- System/Platform: Atari2600
- Publisher: Atari, Inc.
- Developer: Atari, Inc.
- Release Date: Nov. 1982
Last but not least is the Indiana Jones series which also belongs to the open world and action-adventure genre, and resembles of Tomb Raider for more than a couple of reasons. Let’s start from the plot, that is common knowledge; in the first released chapter, Raiders of the Lost Ark released in 1982, Jones is in the city of Cairo and has to explore the Temple of the Ancients in search for the legendary artifact. All other Indiana Jones games are also based on the same concept of Jones recovering relics associated to ancient myths and legends, and the plot has got a little more complicated every time that more sophisticated gaming technology come out.
Now, if we have to make a list of similarities between Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones it would take us forever. After all, Indiana Jones is the archeologist and relic hunter who inspired the character of Lara Croft and on whom her abilities, knowledge, interests, and adventures are based, so we could also say that playing Indiana Jones series is a like playing the oldest Tomb Raiders through and through. Environments Jones moves into are most of all ancient Maya, Inca, Egyptian tombs. Jones’s mission is basically to decrypt enigmas and unlock mechanisms in order to open a path toward treasures he is hunting, trying to survive traps and natural/legendary enemies which want him dead. Tracks, items, and weapons are very similar in both games and the moves Jones can perform are free and acrobatic as much as Lara Croft’s are. It is no exaggeration to state that playing Indiana Jones means playing Tomb Raider, but in a man’s shoes.
Here we are at the end of our list which retraced Tomb Raider’s history and all those action-adventure games which were inspired by Lara Croft’s adventures and from which it got inspired from.
Is there some other work we forgot about? Do you have a better suggestion? Don’t be shy and let us know with a comment!