The complete timeline of Lara Croft

To celebrate the Tomb Raider’s 25th Anniversary, we chart the character’s complete history, through games, comics, and more!
By Duncan Heaney

It’s Tomb Raider’s 25th Anniversary!

For a quarter century, Lara Croft has been exploring tombs, uncovering ancient artifacts and saving the world!

There’s never been a better time to get into the series, but with so many adventures to explore it can be difficult for new players to know where to start. To help you out, we’ve put together this history of Lara Croft so you can follow in her footsteps from the beginning.

This timeline isn’t an official play order - if you want to jump into one Lara’s later adventures first, every game is designed to welcome new players. And if you want to dig into the comics, you’ll discover lots of details that enhance the stories of the games.

In short, this is intended as a guide to the existing material, nothing more .

Survivor Era

We start with the Survivor Era, which charts Lara Croft’s path from inexperienced archaeologist fresh out of University to capable adventurer.

Read: Dark Horse Comics - Tomb Raider: The Beginning

Lara Croft stands on the bow of a ship on the cover of Tomb Raider: The Beginning

Set just before Lara’s ill-fated expedition to lost island of Yamatai, this volume reveals how a young Lara and the crew of the Endurance come together. Written by Rhianna Pratchett, who was also lead writer for Tomb Raider (2013), it sets up many of the characters and relationships that are further explored in the game.

Play: Tomb Raider - Definitive Edition

Lara Croft firing a flaming arrow from a bow

Lara and the crew of the Endurance set off to search for Yamatai and the legendary tomb of Queen Himiko. Unfortunately, they find it.

A violent storm strands the group on an island full of feral beasts, crazed cultists and dangerous secrets. Alone, scared and under constant threat, Lara is forced to transform from an inexperienced young woman into a hardened survivor.

You can play Tomb Raider - Definitive Edition on:

Read: DK Books: Tomb Raider: The Ten Thousand Immortals

Cover of Tomb Raider: The Ten Thousand Immortals

Written by Dan Abnett and Nik Vincent, this novel is set in the aftermath of Lara’s previous adventure.

Haunted by what she endured Yamatai, Lara wants nothing more than to move on and put the adventure behind her. But when her best friend Sam suffers a toxic overdose, Lara sets off on a globe-trotting adventure to find an ancient relic she thinks could heal her dying friend: the legendary Golden Fleece.

Read: Dark Horse Comics - Tomb Raider Volume 1: Season of the Witch (Collects issues 1-6)

The Dark Horse Comic series continues Lara’s progression into a seasoned adventurer. This volume, written by acclaimed writer Gail Simone, continues to examine the scars left by Lara’s formative adventure.

The survivors of the expedition to Yamatai start to experience horrific visions, and even Lara begins to question her grip on reality. It’s up to Lara to try to piece together this new mystery and save her friends once again.

Read: Dark Horse Comics - Tomb Raider Volume 2: Secrets & Lies (Collects issues 7-12)

Tomb Raider Secrets and Lies

Despite Lara’s attempts to return to a normal life, fate has other plans. When a deceased friend makes a plea for Lara to save his sister, the intrepid explorer sets off on another adventure around the world - one that puts her in direct conflict with the mysterious organization, Trinity.

Read: Dark Horse Comics - Tomb Raider Volume 3: Queen of Serpents (Collects issues 13-18)

Tomb Raider Queen of Serpents

Rhianna Pratchett continues the story in this third arc from the comics. Lara receives evidence that someone she thought was lost on Yamatai is actually still alive. Worse, he’s being held captive by a mysterious group.

Lara sets off to rescue him, joined on her mission by her allies Jonah, Kaz and Sam. However, Sam’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, which leads Lara to suspect that not all is right with her friend.

Play: Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration

Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Year Anniversary

Lara’s investigation into her late father’s work puts her on the trail of one of the world’s greatest mysteries - and straight into the crosshairs of the sinister organization Trinity.

In this expansive, action-packed adventure that hits very close to home, Lara finds herself in a race against Trinity to uncover the Lost City of Kitezh.

The 20 Year Celebration edition also includes the Blood Ties story, in which Lara discovers some shocking family secrets hidden within Croft Manor.

You can play Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration on:

Read: Dark Horse Comics - Tomb Raider Volume 1: Spore (Collects issues 1-6)

Cover of Tomb Raider Spore

Lara’s post-Rise of the Tomb Raider adventures are documented in a second series of Tomb Raider comics books, written by Eisner Award-winning writer Mariko Tamaki.

While attending an archaeology conference, Lara is drawn into the search for a rare mushroom that’s said to grant immortality. As if pursuing one of the world’s lost truths isn’t challenging enough, she also has to deal with a lethal new foe who just won’t die.

Read: Dark Horse Comics - Tomb Raider Volume 2 : Choice and Sacrifice (Collects issues 7-12)

Lara gets word that her friend Sam has escaped from a mental hospital, so she races off to try to help her. An encounter with the Order of Trinity makes her realize that things are more complicated than they seem - and worse, the events on Yamatai continue to haunt Sam, threatening to consume her completely. Lara determines to save her friend and put the ghost of Yamatai to rest once and for all.

Dark Horse Comics - Tomb Raider Volume 3: Survivor’s Crusade (Collects issues 1-4)

This volume collects the Dark Horse Comics series, Tomb Raider: Crusade.

After the revelations about her father’s death in Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara starts doing everything she can to figure out the full truth of what happened to Richard Croft.

Her ongoing battle with Trinity takes her all over the world, from Thailand to the Mountains of the Moon, but as her obsession grows, so to do the dangers - to both her and her friends. Lara’s increasingly fanatical obsession with Trinity and her father risks isolating her from those who could help her most.

Dark Horse Comics - Tomb Raider Volume 4: Inferno (Issues 1-4)

Tomb Raider Inferno cover

This volume collects the Dark Horse Comics series, Tomb Raider, Inferno.

Writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly (Joyride, Hacktivist) pick up where the previous story left off, as Lara continues to take the fight to Trinity.

She finally succeeds in hunting the group down to a remote Antarctic outpost built around an ancient icy tomb. As she starts to uncover its mysteries, and prevent Trinity from unleashing what lies within, Lara encounters an enemy more cunning and prepared than any before.

Lara must finally choose how far she’s willing to go and what she’s willing to lose in the process.

Read: Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Path of the Apocalypse

TR Path of the Apocalypse

This novel by S.D. Perry is directly tied to Shadow of the Tomb Raider, set after the game’s prologue, but before the bulk of the adventure.

A mysterious stranger offers to help Lara uncover a clue that will give her the upper hand in her ongoing battle with Trinity, and she sets off on an expedition into a system of caves in Columbia. However, when Trinty finds out Lara’s plan, they attempt to get there first and turn the tables.

But there are terrors in the darkness of the caves that neither Lara nor her enemies could begin to anticipate.

Play: Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

Lara’s obsession with Trinity causes her to make a mistake that has dire consequences

In order to prevent a Maya apocalypse, Lara must use all her skill and experience to survive a dangerous jungle, overcome expansive, trap-laden tombs, and put an end to Trinity once and for all.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is available on:

Classic Era

By this time in Lara’s life, she has become a seasoned adventurer, who confidently throws herself into danger with swagger and a smile.

Play: Tomb Raider (1996)

Lara is hired to recover the pieces of an ancient artifact known as the Scion. Her search takes her from hidden prehistoric valleys in Peru and grand temples in Greece, to the long lost city of Atlantis.

Although not the first adventure in Lara’s timeline, it was the first game ever released! It’s still playable today on Steam:

Tomb Raider: Unfinished Business

Tomb Raider Gold cover art

This expanded version of Tomb Raider included two new chapters set after the events of the original game.

One of these chapters is set immediately following the end of the original game and follows Lara as she escapes the lost city and ends its threats once and for all. The other new chapter is set in Egypt, a few months after the game, and sees Lara uncover a new temple dedicated to a cat deity.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to play these chapters on modern platforms, but you can watch them here:

Play: Tomb Raider: Anniversary

Lara Croft taking on a T-Rex in Tomb Raider Anniversary

Tomb Raider: Anniversary is a remake of the original game, built with the technology of Tomb Raider Legend.

Despite reimagined levels and puzzles, the story broadly follows the same beats as the original Tomb Raider, with Lara hunting down the pieces of the Scion across the globe, encountering rival treasure hunters and facing an ancient evil in Atlantis.

You can play it on:

Play: Tomb Raider II

Tomb Raider II render showing Lara scaling a pyramid

Lara is on the trail of the Dagger of Xian, said to grant whoever possesses it the power of a fire-breathing dragon. Unfortunately, a cult led by the dangerous Marco Bartoli wants it too, and Lara must do everything she can to find it before it falls into the wrong hands.

Tomb Raider II is available on Steam:

Tomb Raider II: The Golden Mask

Cover of Tomb Raider II Gold

The release of this expanded version of Tomb Raider II added a new story that sent Lara into the dangerous wilds of Alaska to find the Golden Mask of Tornarsuk.

It’s not available to play on modern platforms, but you can watch it here:

Play: Tomb Raider III

Tomb Raider III render

This adventure sends Lara after a prize that’s out of this world… literally. The experienced archaeology expert agrees to help a scientist to locate four artifacts, crafted from a meteorite that crashed into Antarctica thousands of years ago.

You can play Tomb Raider III on Steam:

Tomb Raider III: The Lost Artifact

Tomb Raider: The Lost Artifact

In this mini-sequel to Tomb Raider III, Lara learns about a fifth meteorite artifact - the Hand of Rathmore. Her search takes her from the scenic highlands of Scotland, through the Channel Tunnel, to the catacombs of Paris.

It’s not available on Steam unfortunately, but you can watch it in action here:


Play: Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation

Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation screenshot

Lara uncovers a secret tomb in Egypt and unwittingly releases the evil God Set back into the world. With the fate of the world now in her hands, Lara must find a way to reimprison the angry god - all while being pursued by her unscrupulous arch-rival, Werner Von Croy.

It’s available to play on Steam:

Play: Tomb Raider: Chronicles

Following the events of Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, Lara is missing and presumed dead. Her friends gather in Croft Manor to pay tribute to the fallen adventurer - and reveal some of Lara’s past exploits that had previously been a secret.

Tomb Raider: Chronicles is available on Steam:

Play: Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness

Spoilers - Lara’s not dead after all. But someone else is - her mentor Werner Von Croy. Accused of the crime, Lara goes on the run, while also contending with a sinister alchemist and a secret alliance of powerful individuals.

Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness is available on Steam

Play: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Tomb Raider and the Guardian of Light screenshot

Lara’s search for an ancient mirror ends in disaster, as a violent warlord accidentally releases Xolotl, the Keeper of Darkness back into the world. Lara must team up with Totec, a newly revived Mayan warrior, to restore order and save humanity.

This co-op focused adventure is available to buy on Steam, and play on Xbox One / Series X / Series S via backwards compatibility.

Play: Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris screenshot

A race between Lara and rival treasure hunter Carter Bell results in the Egyptian God Set being released once more. Lara and Carter team up with the gods Isis and Horus to retrieve fragments of Osiris from various tombs so they can re-imprison Set once more.

This game was built on the mechanics of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, with 4-player co-op, and even more devious puzzles. It’s available on multiple platforms:

Read: Dark Horse Comics: Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen

Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen cover

Once again, Lara joins forces with her rival-turned-friend Carter Bell to save the world from destruction. This time the duo must recover ivory artifacts before a cult uses them to cause cataclysmic destruction.

Read: DK Books: Lara Croft and the Blade of Gwynnever

Lara Croft and the Blade of Gwynnever cover

Something extraordinary has been discovered in an excavation below the City of London, and an old friend calls in Lara to investigate. Faced with ancient mysteries, shocking revelations and threats from all sides, Lara is drawn into one of her most dangerous adventures yet in this standalone novel by Dan Abnett and Nik Vincent.

Play: Tomb Raider: Legend

Tomb Raider Legend

The search for one of history’s most famous artifacts sends Lara on a journey of discovery around the world. Supported by her tech expert Zip and research assistant Alister, Lara confronts old friends, new enemies and her own past - often at the same time.

Tomb Raider Legend is available to buy on Steam and Xbox One / Series X / S via backwards compatibility.

Play: Tomb Raider: Underworld

Tomb Raider Underworld screenshot

Lara’s search for answers about her past comes to its explosive climax. As Lara hunts for artifacts from Norse mythology, she must contend with the vengeance of a former friend, a sinister doppelganger, and the dramatic destruction of Croft Manor.

Tomb Raider: Underworld is available to buy on Steam and Xbox One / Series X / S via backwards compatibility.

Tomb Raider: Underworld - Beneath the Ashes & Lara’s Shadow

These two DLC packs for Tomb Raider: Underworld expand the game’s story further.

In Beneath the Ashes, Lara explores her father’s secret study beneath the ruined Croft Manor, in search of an artifact she can use against her enemies’ greatest weapon.

Lara’s Shadow follows the journey of Lara’s doppelganger, as its mission to kill the Tomb Raider leads to unexpected consequences.

You can watch the extra chapters in action here:

We hope this guide was useful, whether you’re just now starting out with the series, or returning after a hiatus.

We’ve limited this timeline to the Survivor and Classic eras, but there’s a lot more Tomb Raider out there too - feature films, the Top Cow comics, board games, and more.

For now, you can stay up to date with news and information about the Tomb Raider series by following the team on social media: