10 things you never knew about Lara Croft

You've shot bears with her, swung from the columns of a ruined temple and even got slippery when wet in sub-aqua gear, but how much do you really know about the first lady of video games? With the launch of the 2010 Guinness World Records Gamers' Edition, we spent a little time investigating the legend that is Lara Croft.

1) Lara Who?

When Lara was first dreamed up by Tony Gard in 1996, she was supposed to be based on Indiana Jones and female icons like Tank Girl. She was originally a South American explorer called Lara Cruz, which was eventually changed to the English gal we know and love. The new, more UK-friendly, last name was chosen from a phone directory to sound as similar as possible to what had already been planned.

2) Multiple personality disorder

Lara's personality and style wasn't originally what we see today either. One of the mooted suggestions was to have her as a muscular sociopath and another to have her wearing Neneh Cherry style outfits of baggy combats with crop tops. Somehow we doubt it would have had quite the same appeal as boots and shorts when it comes to the rock climbing and gymnastics.

3) Boob Job

Lara has undergone cosmetic surgery. In 2006, she was given a breast reduction in order to make her more in proportion, however, it does seem to have slipped back a little since. Apparently, her initial attributes were the result of a slip of the mouse whereby she was given a 250% increase on the norm rather than just the 150%. What an unfortunate mistake.

4) Background Interference

Lara's background is somewhat at odds with itself. On the one hand she was originally the disinherited daughter of Lord Hernshingly Croft who survived a plane crash in the Himalayas. Since, that incident has been changed to one which takes place with her mother, Amelia, and father, who is now called Richard and with whom she lived until she was 18.

5) Old School

Lara was schooled privately by a tutor between the ages of 3 and 11. She was then educated at Wimbledon High School for Girls until 16, moved to Gordonstoun until 18 and attended Swiss finishing school until 21 where, presumably, she learned how to finish off any Swiss people she might encounter on her adventures. Specific, yes, but we supposed you can never have too much training in the world of action adventure.

6) Leading Lady

Lara is the most successful video game heroine in history and, according to MSN, is the third most iconic video games character of all time after Mario and Sonic.

7) Details, details

For Tomb Raider: Underworld developers used a character model consisting of 32,816 rendered polygons during gameplay, making our lady's movements as smooth as possible while also setting a Guinness World Record for the most detailed video-game character ever.

8) The Rough Guide

To fund her radical lifestyle, Lara writes travel books. Titles so far have included "A Tyrannosaurus is jawing at my head" and "Slaying Bigfoot". We await "There's a nerd making me do handstands" with bated breath.

9) Role Model

Lara has been played by more real life stand-ins than any other video-game character. This list runs - Rhona Mitra, Nell McAndrew, Alison Carroll, Katie Price, Karima Adebibe, Lucy Clarkson, Jill de Jong, Lara Weller, Nathalie Cooke, Vanessa Demouy, Sofia Vegara, Ellen Roche and, of course, Angelina Jolie. Her moves have been modelled on Heidi Moneymaker and she's been voiced by Shelly Blond, Judith Gibbens, Jonell Elliott, Keely Hawes and Minnie Driver too.

10) Ring Road

Derby Council has allowed residents to vote on the name of the city's inner ring road due for completion this year. As of 3 December, Lara Croft Way is in the lead with 97% of the vote.

 



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