Tomb Raider 1-3 Remasters

Wait, what, they actually DID IT?

Tomb Raider 1-3 Remasters
Oh Hai!

It's spring of 1997, I'm bored and looking for a game for my PlayStation. I go into Toys R Us, find some game I can't even remember the title of now, and decide to grab another game so I would have two new ones to play. I stumble across this game that shows flying mutants, the Egyptian Sphinx, and various other locations, and it's pretty cheap so I grab it.

Almost 30 years later I'm still playing Tomb Raider 1.

Just months later, Tomb Raider 2 came out and I waited in Toys R Us for hours for them to put it on the shelf. Same for 3, 4, 5, etc. I've played them all many times, done them all without using a medpack, pistols only, all secrets, and even did some rudimentary speed runs in the late 90s compared to other people on the Usenet newsgroup.

Amazingly news hit in mid-2023 that they were remastering Tomb Raider 1-3 and it would be out on Lara's birthday, February 14, 2024. I had my doubts they would make the date, had my doubts that the updates would be worthwhile, had my doubts that they wouldn't change the engine, controls, etc. They surpassed all my expectations and gave us a game that is near "bug for bug", "glitch for glitch", and almost identical to the originals with greatly improved graphics. I've never been so happy to be so wrong.

What's Great

If you are a veteran Tomb Raider player, ie: games 1-5, know that everything you love about Tomb Raider is faithfully reproduced with improved graphics and models and that all of the "bugs" and "glitches" you may know and love and exploit are still there. Fence gaps? Yep. Corner bug? Yep. Bump jumps? Yep. I'm not a speed runner so I am not sure how precise the game is, but for the casual player you would likely never notice a difference in playability.

What's also great is that they not only included Tomb Raider 1-3, but they also included the expansion levels that were available at the time: TR1 Unfinished Business, TR2 Golden Mask, and TR3 The Lost Artifact. On top of that, they even made New Game Plus quite different (for good or bad; hint: it's terribly difficult now.)

No more third-party software to run Tomb Raider on modern PCs, no patches, no praying, no "oops can't use the widescreen patch on this level", it just works.

Don't like the traditional controls, called "Tank Controls"? Maybe you're a more modern game type of gamer, try "Modern Controls", perhaps they suit you better.

There's a camera mode! Not only can you play stupid tricks by posing Lara with enemies and other silly things, you can also explore around the level and perhaps look in places you've never seen before or even cheat a little and look ahead and see what's around the next bend. If you're using a controller, try holding L2 or R2 and moving the joysticks around; you can move Lara around in 3D space and position her exactly where you want her within a certain distance of where you started camera mode.

Consistent 60fps! The old games ran mostly at 30fps and in some places would judder and vary, no more, 60fps all the time.

Achievements! If you're an achievement hunter, there are 269 across all six games. Some of them even pay homage to the more serious players, such as a run without using a medpack, pistols only, etc.

With Modern Controls I have a feeling a whole new era of speed-running Tomb Raider will emerge, with new strats, new times, and new ways to beat the game with astounding speed.

Possibility of updates! The classic games there was no reasonable way they'd ever be updated again, but now they could push out updates and fix (unintended!) bugs, texture weirdness, etc.

What's not so Great

It seems like Tomb Raider 3 and Tomb Raider 1, in that order, got the most attention. For the most part, both are beautifully done and well thought out, with some exceptions noted later. Tomb Raider 2 looks nicer than the original release and certainly is graphically improved, however, it doesn't seem to have gotten the polish that 3 and 1 did. A casual player may not notice it, but some people who traditionally prefer Tomb Raider 2 have noted multiple levels just don't look quite as nice, sometimes even preferring the original graphics. I don't think it's quite that drastic, however, it does feel like 2 did not get the attention the others did.

Some textures are not as nicely updated as others. Tomb Raider 1 lava looks pretty bland until you get far away from it and then it looks really nice. Tomb Raider 3 water, particularly in Madubu Gorge, has areas where the water does not look like it's deadly and even some textures appear to "float" above the rest of the water, and in some cases even almost appear to be going the wrong direction. In Tomb Raider 2 a lot of the items like keyholes, ladders, etc, are not connected to the wall and just appear to be floating. I've also seen places where things like Piranna are not visible even though they are there in the game and visible in the classic graphics. Same with fire; in the classic graphics in some places the fire is easily visible but is easy to miss (and die!) in the remastered graphics.

A few common bypasses or tricks seem to be slightly more difficult to pull off, although I suspect over time folks will come up with new setups that work for the Remasters.

The Remasters added an echo effect which sounds nice in some areas, but very strange and jarring in others.

Wait, don't you use Linux?

Yes, and it runs perfectly in Steam using Proton. I was hesitant as I've never tried this before, but I've had absolutely zero issues. My understanding is that the resource requirements of the game are very low, quite a low-end computer without a lot of GPU power will work perfectly fine.


I don't know whose idea it was. I don't know who was in the meeting, who decided they could make money from almost 30-year-old games by remastering them, but THANK YOU. I hope you do make money, I hope it was worth your time, and I hope sales are great. I hope this brings some newer players back to trying out the legacy Tomb Raider games. Heck, some "2013" players may even play Tomb Raider now.

I hope that sales are good enough that they also remaster 4, maybe even 5. Heck, let's go crazy, remaster Angel of Darkness, and make it the game it was supposed to be instead of the game it became. But do 4 and 5 first.


Tomb Raider games have had various mods over the years (no, we're not going to talk about that mod) to change various aspects of the game, improve graphics, etc. There are already various mods being done for the Remasters as well; however, there is at least one built-in.

If you hold L1+R1 while loading a game (or starting a new game) Lara will have her iconic sunglasses on while playing the game. However, this doesn't show them during cutscenes by default. If you hold the same keys (L1+R1) when a cutscene is about to play, she'll also wear them during the cutscene. It'd be nice if it automatically enabled the sunglasses during cut scenes if enabled for normal play. You can even play the level normally (no sunglasses) but hold the keys before a cut scene and get her glasses, so appears these function independently of each other. For reference, L1 and R1 here are the buttons for Look and Walk respectively, so on PC or remapped controls, you'll need to use whatever buttons/keys are mapped to those functions.

Nexus Mods seems to be the primary place where mods for games are contained. Be sure to back up your files and follow instructions closely for any mods you install. They do replace game files and could potentially even corrupt the game, game saves, etc.

Screenshots or it didn't happen

Lara and Joanna posing. Yes, her name is Joanna. Do you not know Joanna?
Lava makes Lara pretty hot