The Tomb Raider series has captured the hearts of gamers worldwide for decades. Known for its thrilling adventures, intricate puzzles, and breathtaking action, Tomb Raider has become a staple in the gaming industry. However, not all Tomb Raider games are created equal when it comes to difficulty. In this article, we will rank the seven hardest Tomb Raider games, taking into account factors such as challenging enemies, complex puzzles, and unforgiving level design. So, grab your trusty climbing axe and let’s dive into the toughest challenges Lara Croft has faced throughout her iconic career.
7. Tomb Raider (1996)
The game that started it all, the original Tomb Raider released in 1996, set the foundation for the series. While it may feel dated compared to modern titles, it still poses a significant challenge to players. The clunky controls and lack of navigational assistance make maneuvering Lara a test of patience. Additionally, the absence of a minimap or objective marker can leave players feeling lost in the vast tombs and ruins. However, with practice and perseverance, mastering the controls and navigating the treacherous environments becomes more manageable.
6. Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the final installment in the reboot trilogy, offers players a challenging experience if they overlook the tools and resources available to them. Hunting becomes a crucial aspect of the game, providing valuable experience points and essential resources for survival. Missing out on these opportunities can make encounters with enemies much more difficult. Furthermore, the game features a variety of outfits, each providing unique bonuses that can significantly aid Lara on her journey. However, obtaining these outfits requires completing specific challenges and side missions, making a rushed playthrough more challenging.
5. Tomb Raider (2013)
Crystal Dynamics’ reboot of the series in 2013 introduced players to a younger and more vulnerable Lara Croft. As Lara embarks on her journey to become a survivor, players face intense and dangerous encounters. The limited skill tree and combat options make every confrontation feel intense and require careful planning. Ammunition is scarce, forcing players to rely on stealth and the trusty bow to silently take down enemies. Tomb Raider (2013) tests players’ survival instincts and punishes them for mistakes, making it a challenging experience from start to finish.
4. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (2003)
Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, while not a fan-favorite, still offers a challenging gameplay experience. Despite the clunky controls and unresponsiveness, the game presents unique areas where it shines, such as the music and story. However, combat encounters can quickly become frustrating, with multiple fast and agile enemies overwhelming Lara. These combat arenas often mix with light puzzles, creating a challenging combination. The lack of explanation for certain puzzles and the unpredictable controls and camera further increase the difficulty level. Despite its divisive nature, Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness remains a challenging entry in the series.
3. Tomb Raider II (1997)
Tomb Raider II shifted the series’ focus from exploration to combat, introducing a variety of enemies armed with shotguns, rifles, and even flamethrowers. Navigating these combat encounters becomes a daunting task, requiring players to make effective use of cover and conserve ammunition. While this emphasis on combat detracts from the exploration aspect, Tomb Raider II still offers engaging puzzles, memorable locations, and an incredible atmosphere. Constant saving and scavenging for ammunition are essential for surviving the relentless onslaught of enemies in this challenging installment.
2. Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (1999)
Considered one of the most challenging games in the series, Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation ramps up the difficulty in various aspects. The controls and movement feel improved compared to its predecessors, but the game compensates with tough combat encounters and intricate level design. Enemies are more resilient, requiring a significant amount of firepower to defeat. Additionally, specific key items are necessary for progress, leading to extensive backtracking if players miss crucial items. Puzzles range from moderate to extremely difficult, often leaving players searching for solutions without proper guidance. Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation’s difficulty level is not for the faint of heart.
1. Tomb Raider III (1998)
Tomb Raider III takes the crown as the hardest game in the Tomb Raider series and one of the most challenging games of all time. The level design in this installment feels like it’s intentionally working against the player. From the very first jungle level, players must navigate treacherous slopes, dodge death spike traps, and outrun boulders. Save Crystals are deviously hidden and spaced out, elevating the stakes of every death. Many areas resemble giant mazes, causing players to get lost easily. Aldwych and Madubu Gorge are notorious for their confusing layouts, frustrating even the most seasoned players. However, overcoming these immense challenges provides a unique and satisfying experience for those seeking the ultimate test of skill.
The Tomb Raider series has always been known for its difficult gameplay, and these seven games stand out as the hardest of the bunch. From the clunky controls of the original to the unforgiving level design and challenging puzzles of the later entries, each game presents its own set of obstacles for players to overcome. If you’re up for a true test of skill and determination, these Tomb Raider games will push you to your limits. So, grab your dual pistols and embark on a thrilling adventure with Lara Croft, the ultimate gaming heroine.