The Tomb Raider franchise was given a whole new look, origin story and sound when Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix created a reboot with “Tomb Raider” in 2013.
It has been six years since, and the new Lara Croft has made her mark with two new games: “Rise of the Tomb Raider” and “Shadow of the Tomb Raider”.
It’s almost like the classic blue-tank-toppped, braided-haired, dual-pistol admirer we have known since 1996 has been completely erased.
And yet, she hasn’t, thanks to Nathan McCree, the composer of the music from the first three original Tomb Raider games, and of course, the iconic Tomb Raider theme.
In October 2018, McCree released The Tomb Raider Suite, an album of music from Tomb Raider 1, 2 and 3, ranging from classic sounds from the games to new composed pieces.
As a fan of Tomb Raider and a fan of instrumental music as a creative writer, I was thrilled to see an album like this be created. I just had to write a review about it.
I immediately noticed the first track is “The Temple of Xian” and not the theme of Tomb Raider which I expected. However, when I first shut my eyes and heard the soft crescendo of the dark melody, I instantly felt the cool air of an ancient tomb. It was like I was in the boots of Lady Croft herself.
It is then followed by the theme. That first note instantly brought me back to when I played Tomb Raider for the first time. The nostalgia was so heartwarming, I felt myself get a bit teary-eyed.
Going through the album is like going through the adventures of Lara Croft for the first time, but with more elegance and less clanky video game controls and blocky graphics.
At times I felt my heart racing, like with “The T-Rex” track. My fingers were itching for a controller to defeat the enemy with this music, all while the music was squeezing my heart with nostalgia once again.
The track “Venice” quickly became one of my favorites of the Tomb Raider Suite. I can picture so clearly the scenes and gameplay of Venice in Tomb Raider 2.
There are some tracks that are quite fun. They have a different sound to most of the other tracks, but they still have that adventurous feel to them.
“Something Spooky in that Jungle”, for example, has a beat to it unlike any other on the album. It’s so fun to listen to but in no way does it take away from the overall tone of the album. If anything, I think it reminds me of those unexpected and fun moments in the games.
My favorite track of the whole Tomb Raider Suite, however, has to be “In The Blood” which I later learned was a new composition for McCree’s massive project for the suite.
I love it for its soft elegance that later blooms into a dramatic and bold melody. For lack of a better description, I just find it so epic.
For me, I think it reminds me of Lara herself and her character. She is a lady of high class society from England, which is represented with the high tones and long notes that starts the track off.
Halfway through, though, the track changes to a melody that encompasses confidence and ambition. I imagine this as the moment Lara becomes the bold tomb raider we know and love.
One who stands up to any challenge, who enjoys getting her palms dirty and who has that same confidence and ambition. I think it was a smart choice to have this piece finish off the suite, right before the game medleys.
I find the Tomb Raider Suite to have excellent music that really captures Lara’s personality both in her courage and her wit.
With that said, I believe the heart of the suite lies in its nostalgia. Each piece of music is just that much better because of the wonderful memories they bring to each fan.
When the new Tomb Raider game came out in 2013, I knew this was a completely different Lara from the one I grew up with.
Not because of her new look or her new weapons of choice, but because her theme, which can be heard in every game in some form or fashion from the first Tomb Raider game to “Tomb Raider: Underworld”, was now completely different. I truly believed I’d never see the Lara I knew ever again.
However, I was proven wrong when the fans and the Tomb Raider community joined together to help McCree create The Tomb Raider Suite.
So, yes, Lara Croft’s journey has shifted thanks to the new origin story brought by the new games, but the Lara Croft with the blue tank top and the braid and the dual pistols has gone no where.
In fact, she is still kicking ass after all these years. It’s just, this time, it’s through music.