Lara Croft returns minus the tacky image

Whatever happened to Lara Croft? Cynics might suggest that the video games adventuress simply got too top-heavy to go on any more Tomb Raider expeditions, as legions of nerdish programmers and animators concentrated on the Croft cleavage rather than the gameplay.

Four years after the last Tomb Raider game, Lara is back in what Hollywood types like to call a "reboot of the franchise", with a more manageable cup size and a less exploitative look.

It’s a prequel of sorts, featuring a less sassy and more vulnerable Lara shipwrecked on an island and struggling for survival. Players must explore, amass weapons and rescue Lara’s crew. The game, rated 18 because of its realistic depiction of combat, features rather a lot of archery and platform-game exploration, but also plenty of humour and very stylish visuals

The new Lara’s personality is mostly down to the game’s scriptwriter Rhianna Pratchett, daughter of the Discworld author Terry. "I’ve had an up-and-down relationship with Lara over the years," she told Metro. "I played the first game, in fact Dad did and spoilt the bit with the T-Rex, but it was still awesome. Then I felt she’d become reduced to a pair of boobs, a pair of pistols and a hair plait. She became bigger than the games and was over-sexualised. It gave the impression that 'ladies, this isn’t for you' and yet she was very popular with female gamers."

Pratchett was keen to get back to the exciting adventuress idea. "The chance to get my hands on her, so to speak, gave me the chance to make a difference. I spent ages working on her back story, relationships with other characters, how she evolves. She’s a Lara that doesn’t have all the guns and the gadgets or the confidence to get herself out of any situation."

Played by Camilla Luddington, this is a younger, more engaging, less caricatured Lara, that might get a whole new generation of gamers hooked on the character.

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