Tomb Raider II (1997)

by Christopher
6 minutes read


Tomb Raider II elevated the action-adventure genre with its rich narrative, improved gameplay mechanics, and stunning visuals. It successfully built on the foundation laid by its predecessor, offering a more complex and rewarding experience for gamers.


Tomb Raider II, released in 1997, continues the saga of the fearless archaeologist Lara Croft, offering players a blend of action, adventure, and puzzle-solving. This sequel not only retains the core elements that made the original game a success but also introduces new features and challenges, making it a staple in the evolution of video gaming.


“Tomb Raider II”, also known as “Tomb Raider II Starring Lara Croft”, is a 1997 action-adventure video game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. It is the second entry in the Tomb Raider series, following the archaeologist-adventurer Lara Croft on her quest to retrieve the magical Dagger of Xian.

The game begins with Lara Croft setting out on a quest for the Dagger of Xian, a legendary artifact reputed to possess the power of the dragon. This mystical dagger is desired by two parties: Lara Croft, who seeks to add it to her collection, and the mob boss Marco Bartoli, who craves its power.

The journey takes Lara around the globe, through a series of diverse locations. The game is split into levels, including the Great Wall of China, Venice, an oil rig and shipwreck in an unspecified ocean area, and the foothills of Tibet. Lara’s home, Croft Manor, serves as a training area accessible from the start menu and is also used in the final level.

The gameplay of Tomb Raider II is an evolution of that from the original Tomb Raider. The game is presented in a third-person perspective focused on Lara, with levels and movement built around a grid-based system. Lara’s movement is built around tank controls, and progress is based on puzzles revolving around finding keys and completing platforming sections, avoiding traps and environmental hazards in the process.

In her quest, Lara must race through Tibet, Venice, and even a sunken ship to get to the Dagger of Xian before Bartoli does. Along the way, she encounters warrior monks, Yetis, jaguars, great white sharks, killer eels, rabid Dobermans, and more. She must navigate these challenges using a variety of weapons, including automatic pistols, a harpoon gun, a rocket launcher, an M16 rifle, Uzis, shotguns, flares, and more.

The game was a critical and commercial success, praised for its expanded gameplay and smoother graphics. It sold nearly seven million copies worldwide. A sequel, Tomb Raider III, was released in 1998. An expansion pack subtitled The Golden Mask was released the following year, containing new levels focused on Lara’s quest to find a golden mask in Alaska.

“Tomb Raider II” is a thrilling action-adventure game that takes players on a global quest for a legendary artifact. With its engaging gameplay, diverse locations, and challenging puzzles, it remains a classic in the Tomb Raider series.


Lara Croft returns as the protagonist, embarking on a quest to retrieve the Dagger of Xian. Throughout her journey, she encounters a variety of characters, including Bartoli, the game’s main antagonist who is also after the dagger for its supernatural powers.


The gameplay in Tomb Raider II builds upon its predecessor, with improved 3D graphics, new acrobatic moves, and an expanded arsenal for Lara. Players must skillfully navigate through levels, solve puzzles, and defeat enemies. The addition of vehicles, like a speedboat in Venice, adds new dimensions to exploration and combat.


Tomb Raider II stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of the Tomb Raider series. With its compelling blend of action, adventure, and puzzle-solving, it remains a beloved classic that continues to influence the genre. Despite its minor flaws, the game’s legacy as a pivotal moment in video gaming is unquestionable.

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