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Tomb Raider I-III Remastered
Tomb Raider (1996)
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Wisdom Wednesday – Croft Manor Training Course

Jul 3, 2024

Nestled in Surrey in the southeast of England, Croft Manor is as much a part of the Tomb Raider legacy as Lara Croft’s dual pistols. Providing a practical training ground for first-time players, Croft Manor has evolved alongside Lara.  

Today, we’ll explore the evolution of the Croft Manor gym and the assault course in Tomb Raider I-III Remastered: Starring Lara Croft. 

Tomb Raider (1996)

In the original Tomb Raider games, Lara’s movement system was dictated by grid-based level design. Thanks to that design, Lara's jumps could be precisely calculated using the originally developed tank controls. The entire system was based around blocks. Lara was three-quarters of a block high and could directly jump up and grab hold of a block and a half. She could perform a run-and-grab jump over a distance of four blocks, and she could also do this at an angle if the block she was jumping to was a quarter of a block lower. This might sound complicated in theory, but that’s where Croft Manor came into play. 

TR1 Gym

Croft Manor served as the grounds where players had the opportunity to learn how to control Lara before jumping into the main game, which was essential for such a novel control system. Lara couldn’t explore outside in the original Croft Manor, and as such the tutorial began in her sizable library. Barefoot and in casual gym garb, Lara broke the fourth wall by instructing players on how to control her, teaching tumbling basics in the music room. Further into the Manor, Lara explained how she converted the ballroom into her personal gym. This was where Lara instructed players on the basic jump controls. 

Tomb Raider II Starring Lara Croft

In Tomb Raider II, Croft Manor's ballroom was emptied out. However, the outdoor area became playable and included an assault course where players could test their skills and time their runs. The starting position of the new Croft Manor was at the beginning of the assault course, ensuring that players didn't miss it. Lara explained that after 'the gruelling business last year,' she decided to build an assault course to further hone her skills. The assault course was more elaborate than the original gym course and included different kinds of platforming obstacles, finishing with a zipline ride. Here, however, Lara only broke the fourth wall when players missed a jump, instructing them on how to perform it correctly. 

TR2 Assault Course Zipline

The addition of a hedge maze was also noteworthy. The maze housed a timed switch, which, if the player were fleet-footed enough, allowed access to a cellar just off the foyer. Inside were treasures from Lara’s last adventure. 

Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft 

Tomb Raider III's Croft Manor combined elements from the previous two games, as Lara now had access to both her indoor gym and the exterior assault course. The indoor gym received a notable upgrade to accommodate Lara's new move set, such as sprinting and monkey barring. Lara giving instructions was also reintroduced. 

TR3 Gym

The new assault course allowed Lara to use her trusty dual pistols for the first time within the Croft Manor premises, giving Winston an opportunity to test his bullet-deflecting tray skills. Hopefully, he’s being compensated properly. 

TR3 Shooting Range

But the upgrades didn't stop there. After a bit of Manor puzzle solving, Lara could hop on a quad bike and drive through the racetrack, giving players a sense of the vehicle controls as well as insight into what awaited them in Lara’s third adventure. 

Although it began as a primarily utilitarian feature, Croft Manor became an enduring and endearing part of the Tomb Raider legacy. 

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Starring Lara Croft is out now!   

Video Games
Tomb Raider I-III Remastered
Tomb Raider (1996)
Tomb Raider II
Tomb Raider III

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