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How to Play the Tomb Raider Games in Chronological Order

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Tomb Raider has a chartered history, with Lara Croft delving into ruins and tombs all over the world. Overcoming any and all obstacles set in her path, Lara has elevated herself into an exclusive and lauded pantheon of iconic video game protagonists.

With a new Tomb Raider currently in development at Crystal Dynamics and therefore a new Lara adventure on the horizon, we’ve created a chronological list of every Tomb Raider game so those interested can start (or restart) their spelunking adventures from the very beginning.

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How Many Tomb Raider Games Are There?

There are a total of 19 Tomb Raider games that have been released as of 2023. These games are split over 3 different timelines, each distinct from one another, offering different plotlines and a slightly different spin on Lara and her supporting cast.

14 of these games have been released for home consoles, 6 also supported handheld portable consoles, and 6 were supported on mobile devices. Tomb Raider: The Prophecy, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, Lara Croft Go, and Lara Croft: Relic Run are all stand-alone titles, and therefore will not be included on these lists.

Tomb Raider Games in Chronological Order

If you're hoping to take a chronological journey through all of the Tomb Raider games, it's important to note that there are actually 3 different timelines you can play through.

First Timeline – Original Saga

1. Tomb Raider (1996)

The first ever Tomb Raider title centred around Lara being hired by businesswoman Jacquelin Natla to find a mysterious artefact called the Scion of Atlantis. After finding all three fragments of the Scion scattered around the globe, Lara is betrayed by Natla and must face off against her on a volcanic island filled with monsters.

2. Tomb Raider: The Curse of the Sword (2001)

A Game Boy Color exclusive sequel to the Game Boy Color version of the original Tomb Raider, this adventure sees Lara tracking down a mystical sword and attempting to destroy it before the long-dead Madame Paveau can resurrect from the underworld and use her dark magic to subjugate the world.

3. Tomb Raider II (1997)

This time Lara is on the hunt for the Dagger of Xian, a magical weapon once used by the Emperors of China. A cult leader by the name of Marco Bartoli who is also seeking the dagger for it’s magical ability to turn the owner into a dragon.

4. Tomb Raider III (1998)

In the third mainline installment of the original saga, Lara sets out to find the Infada Stone, one of four crystalline artefacts crafted thousands of years ago from the remnants of a meteorite. Realising the nefarious Dr. Willard is aiming to use the statues to speed up the evolutionary process; she sets out to find the remaining three artefacts before the entire planet is mutated.

5. Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (1999)

In The Last Revelation, the Egyptian god of chaos Set is unknowingly released by Lara as she explores a tomb in Egypt. With Set and his forces wreaking havoc on Cairo, Lara is assisted by Semerkhet and strives to summon the god Horus who is the last hope of quelling this world-ending threat.

6. Tomb Raider: Chronicles (2000)

After the ambiguous ending of The Last Revelation, Winston the butler and other friends of Lara recount tales of her historic adventures to commemorate her. Delving through the catacombs of Rome, fighting through a Russian naval submarine, and exploring an island haunted by demonic forces, the titular Chronicles set in stone how well travelled and skilled Lara is, but is she really gone?

7. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (2003)

Framed for the murder of her former mentor, Werner Von Croy, Lara explores Paris and Prague in an attempt to clear her name and solve the murder. The last survivor of the Lux Veritatis Society, Kurtis Trent, is stalking Lara and is hiding a deep dark secret about his true nature.

Second Timeline – Legend of Tomb Raider

1. Tomb Raider Anniversary (2007)

A remake of the original Tomb Raider title from 1996, this game again sees Lara questing to find the Scion of Atlantis. With redesigned puzzles and physics, there was a shift from item collection and pulling switches (both prevalent in the original title), to physics-based puzzles and environmental set pieces.

2. Tomb Raider: Legend (2006)

This title acts as a reboot and reimagining of the origins of Lara, as she races across the world in search of the mythical sword Excalibur, desperate to find it before her former friend Amanda Evert can beat her to the punch.

3. Tomb Raider: Underworld (2008)

The third installment in the Legend trilogy, Underworld sees Lara searching for Mjolnir, which acts as an ancient key to Helheim, the realm of the dead. Exploring the ruins of various cultures and mythological underworlds, Lara once again confronts the villainous Natla who is searching for Mjolnir herself.

Third Timeline – Survivor Trilogy

1. Tomb Raider (2013)

In a new, grittier take on Lara Croft, her first expedition to find the lost kingdom of Yamatai goes awry and she becomes stranded on an isolated and hostile island. Facing off against the Solarii Brotherhood cult, Lara must stop the Ascension ritual from proceeding and also prevent a successor from being chosen for the bloodthirsty Sun Queen of legend.

2. Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015)

Rise of the Tomb Raider has Lara exploring Siberia for the legendary city of Kitezh whilst battling Trinity, the paramilitary organization that continually crosses paths and butts heads with Lara. As they both sprint to rediscover Kitezh, will the legendary immortal guardians of the kingdom, the Deathless Ones, reveal themselves to be much more than just a myth?

3. Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)

The third and final installment in the Survivor Trilogy, Shadow of the Tomb Raider has Lara trekking through the Americas to find the city of Paititi before a Mayan apocalypse consumes the entire planet. With the monstrous Yaaxii and the ever present Trinity on her back, will she succeed before it’s too late?

How to Play ALL the Tomb Raider Games By Release Date

  • Tomb Raider (1996)
  • Tomb Raider II (1997)
  • Tomb Raider III (1998)
  • Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (1999)
  • Tomb Raider (Game Boy Color, 2000)
  • Tomb Raider Chronicles (2000)
  • Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword (Game Boy Color, 2001)
  • Tomb Raider: The Prophecy (GBA, 2002)
  • Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (2003)
  • Tomb Raider: Legend (2006)
  • Tomb Raider: Anniversary (2007)
  • Tomb Raider: Underworld (2008)
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (2010)
  • Tomb Raider (2013)
  • Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (2014)
  • Lara Croft: Relic Run (2015)
  • Lara Croft Go (2015)
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)

What’s Next for Tomb Raider?

During the State of Unreal event in April 2022, Crystal Dynamics formally revealed that development on a brand new Tomb Raider game had begun. Whilst details are slim, it is confirmed to be using Unreal Engine 5, and it is set to be published by Amazon Games. Crystal Dynamics have also expressed on Twitter that this new adventure “will continue Lara Croft’s saga”, which may insinuate that rather than a reboot this new title could be a continuation of the Survivor trilogy that concluded with Shadow of the Tomb Raider in 2018.

Samuel (Sam) Heaney is a freelance guides writer at IGN and Minecraft expert. He's a typical Brit who loves cups of tea and gin and tonics. Oh, and he's also a huge Marvel nerd. You can find him on Twitter @SamHeaney.

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