If you’re new to the series and want to know what all the fuss is about, you will want to know how to play the Tomb Raider games in order — and whether you even need to or not.


With 12 mainline entries as well as numerous spin-offs, there are a lot of Lara Croft games and knowing where to start is essential information.

Following its sale by Square Enix, Tomb Raider is set to make a comeback (again) with Amazon Games handling publishing rights to the Eidos and Crystal Dynamics-developed game that could unify the timelines of the series.

The games are split in continuity across three timelines, and the whole thing is a little confusing for new players. We’re here to make things easier for you.

Read on below to discover how to play the Tomb Raider games in release date order and in story order.

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How to play the Tomb Raider games in release date order

The Tomb Raider franchise began back in 1996 with the original game, with the latest release in 2018 being Shadow of the Tomb Raider. There are plenty of spin-offs, too, with every title released in the series noted below along with original release years and platforms in brackets.

Here is the complete list of Tomb Raider games in release date order:

  • Tomb Raider (1996 | PS1, PC, Sega Saturn)
  • Tomb Raider II (1997 | PS1, PC)
  • Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft (1998 | PS1, PC)
  • Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (1999 | PS1, PC, Dreamcast)
  • Tomb Raider (2000 | Game Boy Color)
  • Tomb Raider Chronicles (2000 | PS1, PC, Dreamcast)
  • Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword (2001 | Game Boy Color)
  • Tomb Raider: The Prophecy (2002 | Game Boy Advance)
  • Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (2003 | PS2, PC)
  • Tomb Raider: Legend (2006 | PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PSP, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PC)
  • Tomb Raider: Anniversary (2007 | PS2, PSP, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PC)
  • Tomb Raider: Underworld (2008 | PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, PC)
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (2010 | PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Android, iOS)
  • Tomb Raider (2013 | PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
  • Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (2014 | PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch)
  • Lara Croft: Relic Run (2015 | Android, iOS, Windows Phone)
  • Lara Croft GO (2015 | Android, iOS, Windows Phone, PS4, PC)
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015 | Xbox One, Xbox 360 (2016 on PC and PS4))
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018 | PS4, Xbox One, PC)
  • Tomb Raider Reloaded (2023 | Android, iOS)

Many of the games above are also playable on modern consoles via their digital stores. We’ve bolded the games considered mainline entries. The others are all worth playing if you can find copies of them but they can be skipped if you’re looking for a streamlined playthrough of the series proper.

How to play the Tomb Raider games in story order

Playing the Tomb Raider games in story order will prove to be a tricky task as there are three timelines in the Lara Croft franchise. There’s the original timeline which began with the OG Tomb Raider in 1996 and came to an end with 2003’s Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness. Then there's the legend timeline, which began with Tomb Raider: Legend in 2006 and finished in 2008 with Tomb Raider: Underworld. Finally, there's the survivor timeline which started with the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot and ended as a trilogy with 2018’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

The survivor timeline is probably the best place to start thanks to it being easily accessible on current-gen consoles.

Tomb Raider (2013)

Tomb Raider games in order 2013

Although it’s actually the 10th mainline game in the series, the 2013 reboot is the perfect place to start for new players. The game follows Lara Croft on her first expedition to find the lost kingdom of Yamatai.

It’s a dark game, filled with grisly deaths and shocking moments, so it’s not exactly like the original games, but it is the easiest way to get acquainted with Lara Croft and what the games are about for new players.

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015)

Tomb Raider games in order Rise

A direct sequel to the 2013 reboot, Rise of the Tomb Raider ups the stakes and is arguably the best game in the series to date.

It’s set one year after the events of Tomb Raider (2013) and Lara is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (poor thing). She looks for answers into the supernatural events at Yamatai and looks for the lost city of Kitezh to help.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)

Tomb Raider games in order shadow

The third and final survivor timeline entry is set a year after Rise of the Tomb Raider. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara accidentally unleashes a Mayan apocalypse and sets out to stop it across Mexico and Peru.

Once you’ve played through the modern survivor trilogy timeline, you may wish to head back to where it all began. It’s time for the original timeline.

Tomb Raider (1996)

Tomb Raider games in order 1996

The 1996 original Core Design classic might be a little challenging thanks to its controls these days, but it’s well worth a go and you’ll want to play it to get to them all in order.

In the OG Tomb Raider, Lara Croft sets off on a globe-trotting adventure to find the mysterious Scion artefact.

Tomb Raider II (1997)

Tomb Raider games in order II

Following the events of the first game, Lara sets out on another daring adventure to locate the magical Dagger of Xian. You’ll set off underneath the Great Wall of China, head into Venice, and then into Tibet. Expect this one to be more action-oriented than the original.

Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft (1998)

Tomb Raider games in order III

Tomb Raider III takes us back to the more puzzling adventures of the original game, where Lara is on a quest to find four artefacts that are scattered across the globe. This time around you’ll head to India, an island in the South Pacific, London, Area 51, and Antarctica.

Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (1999)

Tomb Raider games in order last revelation

In The Last Revelation, Lara Croft is out to imprison Egyptian god Set after discovering that she set him free. Oh Lara, what is it with you and accidentally triggering dramatic and potentially world-ending events?

Tomb Raider Chronicles (2000)

Tomb Raider games in order chronicles

Lara is thought to be dead following the events of The Last Revelation. In this game, you play through stories of Lara’s earlier adventures, retold by her close friends.

You’ll go on quests as a younger Lara Croft in search of the Philosopher’s Stone and the Spear of Destiny, among other things.

Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (2003)

Tomb Raider games in order angel of darkness

The final piece in the original timeline jigsaw, The Angel of Darkness follows on directly from the events of The Last Revelation and Chronicles. Spoiler alert: Lara isn’t dead, but alive after all.

It’s up to Lara Croft to clear her name over the murder of her former mentor Werner Von Croy. This is one of the more different games in the series and is the first to incorporate RPG mechanics. Not the most loved but still worth a go if you can grab a copy to finish her original story.

Now it’s time for the legend timeline.

Tomb Raider: Anniversary (2007)

Tomb Raider games in order anniversary

While it is the second game released in the legend trilogy, this remake of the original is set before both Legend and Underworld.

The remake does change some story elements to make sure it falls in line with the Legend continuity.

Tomb Raider: Legend (2006)

Tomb Raider games in order legend

The first in the Legend trilogy sees Lara Croft set out on an adventure to find Excalibur. She’s in a race against time as her former friend Amanda Evert is also on this treasure hunt.

Legend is the first of two soft reboots for the series and as such, it should feel smoother and more modern than the original timeline games, but not as brutal as the survivor timeline games. This trilogy is something of a middle ground in many ways.

Tomb Raider: Underworld (2008)

Tomb Raider games in order underworld

The final part of the legend timeline is Tomb Raider: Underworld. This game is set following the events of Legend and sees Lara Croft on a quest to locate Mjolnir.

Lara Croft and Norse mythology is a match made in heaven and one that ties the series to the recent God of War games (they are in no way related, don’t worry).

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