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Tomb Raider I-III Remastered: Real Life Tomb Raider Travel Destinations

Apr 9, 2024

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Imagine stepping into the adventurous world of Lara Croft, exploring stunning landscapes and ancient ruins just like the ones depicted in Tomb Raider I-III Remastered. These virtual landscapes aren't confined to the screen—fans can embark on real-life journeys to discover these iconic settings firsthand. Join us today as we unveil one captivating location from each game in the Remastered series, offering fans a chance to follow in Lara's footsteps. 

Tomb Raider (1996) – Vilcabamba, Peru 

The Lost City of the Incas holds a significant place in the Tomb Raider franchise as the first destination explored by players in 1996. Lara Croft journeys to Peru to uncover the lost city of Vilcabamba in search of a piece of the Scion lost to time. She discovers the remnants of the habitat, which still contains objects that once belonged to a thriving civilization. As she explores the beautiful yet dangerous landscape, she eventually encounters a T-Rex before finding the tomb of Qualopec hidden behind a waterfall. 

In 1539, the remaining Inca Empire sought refuge in the remote jungles of Vilcabamba, establishing a new capital. They lived peacefully for forty years until their stronghold fell. Lost to time, Vilcabamba was rediscovered in the 1890s as Espiritu Pampa (Plain of the Spirits). Explorer Hiram Bingham, in the early 20th century, mistakenly identified Machu Picchu as the Incan stronghold, overlooking Vilcabamba. It wasn't until the 1960s that Vilcabamba was recognized as the true capital. 

Location Vilcabamba, Peru. Lara exploring the lost ruins of the Lost Incan City of Vilcabamba.

Tomb Raider II – The Great Wall, China 

Tomb Raider II (1997) opens with Lara exploring the Great Wall of China in search of the mystical artifact, the Dagger of Xian. The Tomb Raider II version of the Great wall is filled with deadly traps, persisting spiders and even a couple of T-Rexes. 

The Great Wall of China, spanning over thirteen thousand miles, was initially built during the Qin Dynasty to fend off nomadic invasions. Subsequent dynasties, notably the Ming, expanded and rebuilt it. The modern remnants of this architectural marvel primarily owe their existence to the Ming Dynasty's ambitious undertakings. However, despite their efforts, the Great Wall eventually succumbed to the onslaught of invading forces, marking the end of Ming rule. 

Lara Croft swandiving from the top of a Great Wall guardhouse into a lake.

Tomb Raider III – London, UK 

During her quest for the meteorite artifact, Eye of Isis, Lara visits a couple of real-life locations in London, including the rooftops of St. Paul's Cathedral, the closed tube station Aldwych, and the Natural History Museum. 

Lara’s first objective in London is to find a way to reach the rooftops of St. Paul's Cathedral.  

As stated on the official website, 'St. Paul's, with its world-famous dome, is an iconic feature of the London skyline. The Cathedral has survived fires, wars, and struggles for power since its establishment in 604.' To learn more about the Cathedral’s history, you can visit the historic timeline. 

If fans were confused by the level layout where Lara falls through St. Paul's Cathedral and lands into Aldwych, it’s because originally, there was supposed to be an additional level between ‘Thames Wharf’ and ‘Aldwych’, where you explore the interior of St. Paul's Cathedral and get to the city sewage system. However, due to the difficult nature of the level, it was cut out of the main level order and placed as a bonus level called ‘All Hallows’ based on a real-life location known as All Hallows-by-the-Tower. You can read more about this in our recent feature, 'Tomb Raider I-III Remastered: Bonus Levels.' Another clue pointing to the original order is a key item placed in the level ‘Thames Wharf’ called ‘The Cathedral Key’ that can’t be used anywhere within the level. 

Location: Aldwych, London, UK. Lara sitting on a platform.

Aldwych, previously known as Strand Station, is a closed station on the London Underground that opened its doors to the public in 1907. However, it never attained the anticipated level of usage and was closed almost a century later in 1994. Lara explores it and reaches the main base of a group called the Damned, led by Geordie Bob. Lara sets off to the Natural History Museum to find embalming fluid, necessary for the Damned to preserve their rotting skin after undergoing failed experimentations conducted by a cosmetic company called SLinc. In Tomb of Ash’s interview with the London section level designer Andy Sandham, it was revealed that the museum in question should have been the British Museum, as it's in close vicinity to Aldwych and makes more sense geographically, since the Natural History Museum is much further away. An interesting tidbit is that the original Tomb Raider III launch party was held in the Natural History Museum. 

Both the British Museum and the Natural History Museum house remarkable artifacts that captivate visitors. The British Museum's collection includes over fifty thousand Egyptian objects, offering a glimpse into ancient history and civilization. Meanwhile, the Natural History Museum features the renowned Dinosaur Gallery. Notably, this gallery is home to the skeleton of the first T-rex ever discovered, providing an exciting opportunity for visitors to witness a significant piece of paleontological history. 

If you want to follow in Lara’s footsteps or learn more information about incredible locations Lara explored, we recommend the Tomb Raider: The Official Cookbook and Travel Guide.  

Video Games
Tomb Raider I-III Remastered
Tomb Raider II
Tomb Raider III

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