Tomb Raider

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TombRaider title.png
Tomb Raider
System(s): Sega Saturn
Sega (EU), Eidos (US), Victor Soft (JP)
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
¥2,800 T-9113G
Sega Saturn
$? T-7910H
Sega Saturn
£44.99More...[1] MK81086-50
Sega Saturn
?F MK81086-50
Sega Saturn
DM ? MK81086-50
Sega Saturn
?Ptas MK81086-50
Sega Saturn
Sega Saturn
$? ?
Sega Saturn
R$? 193516

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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 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 in Europe six weeks earlier than the PlayStation and PC releases 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.


City of Vilcabamba
Lost Valley
Tomb of Qualopec
St. Francis' Folly
Palace Midas
The Cistern
Tomb of Tihocan
City of Khamoon
Obelisk of Khamoon
Sanctuary of the Scion
Natla's Mines
The Great Pyramid



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 in Europe as an exclusive title on the Sega Saturn


While Tomb Raider became one of the best selling Saturn games on the market, US Saturn sales were less than a quarter of the PlayStation totalMore...[3].


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.


Despite being the target platform for the game, the Sega 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. The European Saturn version also have minor differences to level layouts (specifically some secret areas) because it was rushed to launch three months before the PlayStation version. This was fixed in the North American and Japanese versions.

The Saturn Tomb Raider runs faster than its PlayStation counterpart in some situations, but while the PlayStation targets and largely maintains a 30 FPS refresh rate, the Saturn struggles to maintain 20 FPS. The Saturn version also lacks reflections on the save crystals as well as alpha transparency.

On the other hand, the PlayStation version lacks perspective correction and has issues with texture warping and polygon seams, whereas 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. The Saturn version also has refractive water surfaces, which both the PlayStation and PC versions lack.

The Saturn version had smoother Gouraud shading, whereas the PlayStation version had color banding, when running on the original PlayStation hardware released from 1994 to 1995. The color banding was eventually eliminated on the new PlayStation hardware, which improved the system's transparency and shading capabilities. The PlayStation version is thus able to have smooth shading when running on newer PlayStation models, despite the PlayStation version originally not having smooth shading upon the game's release in 1996. (See Sega Saturn: Hardware comparison for more technical details).

The Saturn version is also darker in comparison, due to the way Gouraud shading works on the Saturn hardware. The Saturn's VDP1 uses additive shading, which often results in darker shadows but more shades, whereas the PlayStation's GPU uses multiplicative shading, which often results in brighter lights but less shades.

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 restrictions) and higher colour depth (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.

Localised names

Also known as
Language Localised Name English Translation
English Tomb Raider Tomb Raider
English (US) Tomb Raider Tomb Raider
Japanese トゥームレイダース Tomb Raiders

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
Source: In-game credits (JP)

Magazine articles

Main article: Tomb Raider/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Main article: Tomb Raider/Promotional material.

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
100 More...[1]
78 №424, p31
95 №49, p34-37
94 More...[4]
94 More...[5]
90 №69, p85-87
93 №86, p40-43
92 More...[6]
67 More...[7]
90 More...Media:SnGwSISDRZK Book JP.pdf[8]
Sega Saturn
Based on
11 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, PT
Tomb Raider Saturn PT Box.jpg
TombRaider saturn eu cd.jpg
Saturn, JP
TombRaiders Saturn JP Box Back.jpgTombRaiders Saturn JP Box Front.jpg
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

Technical information

ROM dump status

System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
Sega Saturn
494,705,568 CD-ROM (EU) MK81086-50 V1.000
Sega Saturn
512,192,688 1996-12-04 CD-ROM (JP) T-6010G, T-9113G V1.000
Sega Saturn
494,162,256 CD-ROM (US) T-7910H V1.000

Extra content

This game has an extra content which can be viewed when accessing the disc on a PC.

Folder / File Type Size description
\DATA\SAVE\DOCUMENT.TXT TXT 4,595 Messages from the developers.
SMP_ABS.TXT TXT (Abstract) 42 About this game.
SMP_BIB.TXT TXT (Bibliographiced) 64 About this game
SMP_CPY.TXT TXT (Copyright) 88 Copyright


Tomb Raider
TombRaider title.png

Main page | Comparisons | Hidden content | Development | Magazine articles | Promotional material

Prereleases: Tomb Raiders Taikenban Hibaihin (1997)

Tomb Raider games for Sega systems
Sega Saturn
Tomb Raider (1996) | Tomb Raider II (unreleased)
Sega Dreamcast
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (2000) | Tomb Raider: Chronicles (2000)