The rich history of Tomb Raider co-op

The friends that raid tombs together, stay together
By Duncan Heaney

Lara Croft spends a lot of time alone. You’ll typically find her trekking through inhospitable places like jungles, caves and mausoleums, and those she meets tend to have shuffled off their mortal coils long ago. Or worse - be very eager to help her do the same.

Considering that, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the Lady Croft isn’t much of a people person, but that’s not actually the case. Lara has a long history of jolly cooperation, teaming up with others in many of her games - and letting you do the same.

Let’s take a look at some of our favourites:

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Let’s start with the most recent. The Forge and The Nightmare DLC packs for Shadow of the Tomb Raider let you and a friend team up to tackle brand new stories and challenge tombs.

If you’ve played Shadow, you’ll no doubt remember Abigaile Ortiz - the Kuwaq Yaku mechanic who becomes a firm ally of Lara and (especially) Jonah. In the first DLC pack, The Forge, Abby finds out about an ancient map left to her by her grandmother. When it comes to deciphering ancient secrets, it helps to have a friend like Lara Croft around, and before long the two have set off a co-op adventure.

In terms of gameplay, you and another player can work together to avoid the obstacles and solve the clever puzzles packed into the DLC. It’s a new way to play Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and a whole lot of fun.

There’s more teamwork to be had with The Nightmare, in which you and an ally attempt to fix an ancient musical instrument. You’ll need to be in tune with each other if you want to succeed.

The Forge and The Nightmare are out now - you can pick them up standalone or as part of the Season Pass.

Buy Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

This was the first Lara Croft game based entirely around co-operation, and it’s something of a classic.

The trouble starts when a band of mercenaries accidentally release an ancient Mayan god, and set up a potential apocalypse. For most of us, this would be the cue to lie on floor and gibber in panic, but stuff like this tends to happen to Lara Croft. It’s up to her and the newly revived warrior Totec to brave dangerous temples and tombs, solve complex puzzles, and prevent the end of the world. Typical Lara Tuesday really.

While fully playable solo, the true genius of Guardian of Light is the multiplayer. Lara and Totec are completely dependent on each other’s skillset to navigate the various trials ahead of them.

For example, Totec can throw spears in the wall to create footholds to new areas, but Lara’s the only one light enough to use them. In turn, Lara can use her grappling hook to create tightropes to help Totec cross large gaps or pull him up ledges.

Or, if one of your friends is an unrepentant troll, Lara can release her rope at the last second, causing Totec to plummet into a fatal pit. Over and over again. I’m looking at you Ryan!

Ahem - anyway, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is playable on Steam, Xbox One (backwards compatible Xbox 360 title) and PS3.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris takes everything good about Guardian of Light and ups the ante. Now four players can team up, this time to prevent the return of the evil Egyptian deity Set.

…Lara doesn’t have a lot of luck with ancient gods, does she?

This time you can choose between Lara, rival adventurer Carter Bell, and the recently revived gods Isis and Horus. As before everyone will need to combine their unique skills and weapons to solve puzzles, navigate treacherous tombs and put down any giant crocodiles, hungry scarabs or skeletal minions that try to stop them.

If you want a multiplayer game that really makes you work co-operatively, as opposed to merely exist within the same space, Temple of Osiris is as good as it gets.

…unless you’re playing with my friend Ryan obviously.

It’s available now on PS4, Xbox One and Steam.

Rise of the Tomb Raider - 20 Year Celebration

Lara’s search for the Divine Source puts her through some pretty harrowing times, but they ain’t got nothing on Endurance mode.

This mode offers a whole new way to experience Tomb Raider, leaving you barely armed and vulnerable in a procedurally-generated forest that changes every time you play. It’s tense, thrilling and - best of all - entirely playable with another person.

It’s included in the 20 Year Celebration edition of Rise of the Tomb Raider, and available for the standard edition as DLC.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is available on PS4, Xbox One and Steam.

Those are just some of the ways you can enjoy Tomb Raiding with a group. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg - there’s also the board game coming soon for example.

But what’s your favourite Tomb Raider memory? Share them with others in the comments or with Tomb Raider on Twitter.