It’s hard to believe that Lara Croft’s been cavorting around stealing priceless artefacts and killing endangered animals for nearly 20 years. But rather more amazing is that she’s been doing it in fan-made levels since November 2000’s Tomb Raider Chronicles PC release, which gave anyone with the inclination the tools – in the form of an official level editor – required to send her on new adventures.
The dedicated ladies and gents of the Tomb Raider fan community have been squeezing life out of that decrepit old blocky Tomb Raider engine for 14 years, and while they’ve slowed down a bit in recent times, they’re showing no signs of stopping.
Dutch schoolteacher Titia “Titak” Drenth has been there from the beginning. “I thought it would be fabulous to be able to make my own worlds for Lara to run around in,” she says of her initial motivations. Fabulous indeed. Titak’s levels take Lara to the Himalayas, American Wild West, the world of Stargate, and the jungles of Cambodia, among other places, with rave reception from the community at the Tomb Raider Forums and trle.net on nearly all of them.