Tomb Raider – Lara Croft vs. Shark

June 28, 2009 | By More

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, Eidos, Shark, Tomb Raider 2, Playmates

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, Eidos, Shark, Tomb Raider 2, PlaymatesI’m a fan of the Tomb Raider series of video games. I haven’t played the most recent one, but just about the rest of them. The first installment was one of my favorite Playstation games. After number two, I started playing them on PC.

We were watching something recently on TV, and they used the “secret” sound. Even Mrs. Nerd picked up on it. She likes to look over my shoulder and be a backseat Lara. Frequently, she points out the key to a puzzle I’ve struggled with for a while.

Playmates produced a series of Lara Croft figures themed around the games. They came with environments where she was typically paired with an adversarial critter. Well in the case of the Yeti, there was a third of a critter.

This particular instance has Lara faced off against a shark. While it looks like a great white, it’s slightly smaller and sleeker. A young one perhaps. I believe the look of this particular set is taken from Tomb Raider 2.

To be honest, I tend to try and hurry through most of the underwater levels. Not because I don’t like them. Mainly because they are some of the toughest levels between finding air and swimming. They almost always require help from Stella’s Tomb Raider Page.

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, Eidos, Shark, Tomb Raider 2, PlaymatesAppearance:

The thing that attracted me to this series from Playmates was they looked like the Lara from the game. The previous Toy Biz attempt was dreadful. But this series really seemed to capture the spirit of the games.

When I say that, you have to take into account most of the games they are based on are almost a decade old or more. The graphics in the early part of the series, while good for their time, don’t come close to today’s console games.

The simpler graphics lend themselves to a style between realistic and cartoony. And this Lara fits that bill perfectly. The sculpting is simple, yet the details are there.

The wetsuit colors match the game perfectly. More impressively, the Sola name on her chest is printed nicely on the suit. A cheap way would have been to leave it off, but they didn’t take that route.

Lets be honest, Lara is known not only for her adventures, but also for being sexy. This Lara has all the curves you’d expect, but in a kid friendly way. Her, uh, hmm, bust line isn’t way over exaggerated like you sometimes see her. Playmates did a great job of creating a sexy collectible that could be a real action figure.

The backpack and hair braid are present, as well. As a couple of Lara’s trademarks, they are instantly recognizable from the games. As are the couple of strands of hair falling on her face.

The only gripe I really have is that her holsters are made more for functionality than looks. They aren’t strapped to her legs to allow you to pose her. Because of this, they they tend to flare out and flop around a little. Nothing major, but the only downside I could find on this version of Ms. Croft.


While not being the most articulated figure, Lara holds her own for posability. Hips, waist, shoulders, head and biceps. The bicep joints are what really adds to this figure. They give her the ability to pose with her automatic pistols or the underwater level weapon of choice harpoon gun.

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, Eidos, Shark, Tomb Raider 2, Playmates

The guns all have painted detail that really
sets them apart from their Playmates Star Trek contemporaries. The sculpting on the automatics is a little soft, but so is the detail in the game.

The adversary in this set is the aforementioned shark. He’s a well enough done piece. The body is painted with a a gradient from grey to nearly white. The red in the mouth area is okay. It seems a little bright and slightly sloppy. Course, I’ve never seen (nor want to) a shark at that close of range. He is sculpted in a dynamic curved pose allowing him to arc around the base. The curve also prevents the shark from looking like a piece of tourist junk from a beachside shop.

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, Eidos, Shark, Tomb Raider 2, PlaymatesSpeaking of the base, it’s really well done. There are a number of ways this could have been done, but this one is a pretty good compromise. Yeah, we all know Lara wouldn’t be standing with a shark swimming in the air near her head. But this way we don’t have permanently mid-swim Lara either. While not the most accurate scene, the spirit of the tableau is what counts.

The shark attaches to a small stem that plugs in the back of the base. I wasn’t sure how well the pictures of the back were going to turn out at first. I’m definitely pleased. The “water” wall really adds to the beneath the sea look. There’s some small bubbles in it to help sell the effect.

The thing that is most impressive is the detail and amount of color on the base. The colors on the wreck are layered, not just as molded. Same with the rocks and plants on the base. The execution of the base is pretty darn good. Way better than the majority of mass market playsets that came before or after.

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, Eidos, Shark, Tomb Raider 2, PlaymatesOverall:

I remember I was only going to get one of these sets to have on my desk. Turns out I was so impressed I got three more. Ironically, I don’t have the basic teal shirt Lara.

You can really tell that a lot of love was poured into this line. I’m guessing the artists involved were big fans of the game. That love really shows in a final product that still exceeds expectations.

There have been a number of Lara Croft products since this figure came out. Some good and some bad. (I’m waiting to see how the Tonner Classic Lara Croft turns out.)

While she isn’t the latest version of the buxom pixilated adventuress, this version of Ms. Croft certainly embodies the spirit of the games. Except for articulation, this Lara would be perfectly in place on the pegs today. The game accurate sculpting, the layers of color, and overall set design make this figure really stand out.

Engineernerd Score: 97/100

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Category: Other Games, Toy Reviews, Video Games

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