Tomb Raider

From Sega Retro


TombRaider title.png
Tomb Raider
Publisher: Eidos (US/EU), Victor Soft (JP)
System(s): Sega Saturn
Sound driver: SCSP/CD-DA (56 tracks)
Genre: Action

Number of players: 1
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Saturn
¥5,800 T-6010G
Sega Saturn
JP (Satakore)
¥2,800 T-9113G
Sega Saturn
$? T-7910H
Sega Saturn
£44.99[1] MK81086-50
Sega Saturn
?F MK81086-50
Sega Saturn
DM ? MK81086-50
Sega Saturn
?Ptas MK81086-50
Sega Saturn
R$? 193516

Tomb Raider is a highly successful video game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos in 1996. It was the first in a long line of Tomb Raider games.

Victor Soft developed an enhanced Japanese version of the game. They published the game in Japan, pluralizing the title to Tomb Raiders (トゥームレイダース).

Initially developed with the PlayStation in mind, the game was ported to the Sega Saturn (whose version shipped six weeks earlier than the PlayStation due to a licensing deal with Sega) and PCs, becoming Core's most successful video game project to date and a video game icon.


At the time of release Tomb Raider was considered a revolutionary title, combining platforming, puzzle solving and action sequences together in a 3D environment, something that, until this point, had not been done before. It was often said to be a 3D alternative to Prince of Persia (until, of course, 3D Prince of Persia games were released). Tomb Raider was also notable for starring a female protagonist, Lara Croft.



Tomb Raider was one of the first true 3D titles to be undertaken by Core Design, following a trip to the States in which producer Jeremy Heath-Smith caught wind of Sony's PlayStation console and asked the company to come up with ideas for 3D games. Tomb Raider was put forward by BC Racers animator Toby Gard, who did the bulk of the design work surrounding Lara Croft and her in-game animations.

Eidos and Core signed a deal with Sega to ship the game six weeks early as an exclusive title on the Sega Saturn


Tomb Raider II was planned for release on the Saturn, but was eventually cancelled for the platform.

With the Saturn's failure to attract the greater market share, development for the sequels were focused on Sony's console, and Lara Croft became an unofficial mascot for the system. The Tomb Raider series would not see a return to Sega platforms until Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation on the Sega Dreamcast.

The original Tomb Raider was re-made in the 2007 release of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary.


Western version

Despite being the target platform for the game, the Western Saturn version of Tomb Raider is considered to be the weakest version, primarily due to not being optimized for the way the Saturn hardware handles 3D graphics. On a technical level, the VDP2 is rarely used in the game, with the vast majority of work being handled by the VDP1, thereby using only a fraction of the Saturn's power. There are also minor differences to level layouts (specifically some secret areas) because the Saturn version was rushed to launch three months before the PlayStation version.

The Saturn Tomb Raider runs faster than its PlayStation counterpart in some situations, but while the PlayStation targets and largely maintains a 30FPS refresh rate, the Saturn struggles to maintain 20FPS. However, the Saturn version's graphics are simpler (particularly when it comes to lighting - it lacks reflections on the save crystals as well as alpha transparency), and the game is unusually dark in comparison.

The Saturn version has some graphical advantages, however. While the PlayStation version lacks perspective correction and has issues with texture warping and polygon seams, the Saturn's forward texture mapping provides some perspective correction, its bilinear approximation reduces texture warping, and higher polygon accuracy results in almost seamless polygons (see Sega Saturn: Hardware comparison for more details). The Saturn version also has refractive water surfaces, which both the PlayStation and PC versions lack.

Pre-rendered videos are slightly smaller in terms of resolution, although the Saturn's D-Pad is regarded as being more suitable to this game than the PlayStation's. Sound effects are sampled at a lower bit-rate than on the PlayStation too.

Against the PC DOS version, the Saturn (and PlayStation) versions of the game offer more varied music (the PC opting merely for ambiance due to disc space restructions) and higher colour colour depths (the PC restricted to 8-bit colour (i.e. a palette of 256 colours) due to the use of a software renderer). The PC version does, however, have the option to run in a 640x480 mode (and a lower 320x200 mode), though in 1996 this was only achievable with high-end hardware. By 1998, PC versions of Tomb Raider had been adapted to multiple 3D graphics cards to address some of these graphical concerns, and fan-made mods allow the game to benefit from modern systems.

Japanese version

The Japanese Saturn version, released in 1997, was enhanced by Victor Soft, with more detailed environments, higher texture quality, longer draw distance, improved water effects, higher resolution, and higher frame rate.

Production credits

Western version

  • Created By: Neal Boyd, Paul Douglas, Toby Gard, Heather Gibson, Jason Gosling, Gavin Rummery

Japanese version

  • Programming: Paul Douglas, Gavin Rummery, Jason Gosling
  • Graphics: Toby Gard, Heather Gibson, Neal Boyd
  • Sound Effects: Martin Iveson
  • Music: Nathan McCree
  • Software Evaluation: Ryo Misawa
  • Directer: Gaku Sato
  • Assistant: Inazou Urano, Hiroki Takasu PTW
  • Lara: Megumi Ogata
  • Natla: Michie Tomizawa
  • Larsen: Wataru Takagi
  • Pierre: Yasuhiro Ishii
  • Baldy: Masaru Sasahara
  • Cowboy: Yuzi Ueda
  • SkateKid: Kousuke Okano

Magazine articles

Main article: Tomb Raider/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

EGM US 087.pdfEGM US 087.pdf

Print advert in

Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #87: "October 1996" (1996-xx-xx)

EGM2 US 29.pdfEGM2 US 29.pdf

Print advert in

EGM² (US) #29: "November 1996" (1996-xx-xx)

EGM US 089.pdfEGM US 089.pdf

Print advert in

Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #89: "December 1996" (1996-xx-xx)
also published in:

  • Ultra Game Players (US) #93: "January 1997" (199x-xx-xx)[3]

EGM US 091.pdfEGM US 091.pdf

Print advert in

Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #91: "February 1997" (199x-xx-xx)
also published in:

  • Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #92: "March 1997" (1997-xx-xx)[4]

EGM US 095.pdf

Print advert in

Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #95: "June 1997" (1997-xx-xx)
also published in:

  • Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #96: "July 1997" (1997-xx-xx)[5]

SSM JP 19970214 1997-03.pdf

Print advert in

Sega Saturn Magazine (JP) #39: "1997-03 (1997-02-14)" (1997-01-31)

SaturnPower UK 01.pdf

Print advert in

Saturn Power (UK) #1: "June 1997" (1997-xx-xx)

UltraPlayer FR 39.pdf

Print advert in

Ultra Player (FR) #39: "Janvier/Février 1997" (199x-xx-xx)

SegaMagazin DE 40.pdfSegaMagazin DE 40.pdf

Print advert in

Sega Magazin (DE) #40: "März 1997" (1997-02-12)

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
100 №181, p74-76[1]Media:CVG UK 181.pdf
78 №424, p31
95 №49, p34/35/36/37
94 №50, p28-33[6]Media:MeanMachinesSega50UK.pdf
90 №69, p85/86/87
93 №86, p40/41/42/43
92 №13, p70/71[7]Media:SSM_UK_13.pdf
67 №1997-02, p222[8]Media:SSM_JP_19970131_1997-02.pdf
90 №, p9Media:SnGwSISDRZK Book JP.pdf[9]Media:SnGwSISDRZK Book JP.pdf
Sega Saturn
Based on
10 reviews

Saturn, US
TombRaider Sat US backcover.jpgTombRaider Sat US cover.jpg
TombRaider Sat US disc.jpg
Tombraider sat us manual.pdf
Saturn, EU
Tomb Raider Saturn EU Box.jpg
TombRaider saturn eu cd.jpg
Saturn, JP
TombRaiders Saturn JP Box Back.jpgTombRaiders Saturn JP Box Front.jpg
TombRaider Saturn JP Spinecard.jpg
TombRaider Saturn JP Disc.jpg
Tomb Raider Sega Saturn Japan Manual.pdf
Saturn, JP (Satakore)
TombRaiders Saturn JP Box Back Satakore.jpgTombRaider Sat JP Satakore cover.jpg
TombRaider Saturn JP Spinecard Satakore.jpg
TombRaider Saturn JP Disc Satakore.jpg
TombRaider SS jp manual Satakore.pdf
Saturn, BR
TombRaider Sat BR cover.jpg


  1. 1.0 1.1 File:CVG UK 181.pdf, page 74
  2. File:CVG UK 180.pdf, page 49
  3. File:UltraGamePlayers US 093.pdf, page 54
  4. File:EGM US 092.pdf, page 78
  5. File:EGM US 096.pdf, page 89
  6. File:MeanMachinesSega50UK.pdf, page 28
  7. File:SSM_UK_13.pdf, page 70
  8. File:SSM_JP_19970131_1997-02.pdf, page 224
  9. File:SnGwSISDRZK Book JP.pdf, page 11