Lara Croft is depicted as an athletic and fast woman with brown eyes and reddish-brown hair, frequently kept in a plait or ponytail. The character’s classic costume is a turquoise tank top, light brown shorts, calf-high boots, and tall white socks. Accessories include fingerless gloves, a backpack, a utility belt with holsters on either side, and two pistols. The video game sequels introduced new outfits designed for different environments, such as underwater and cold weather. In the later games, Croft wears a crop top, camouflage pants and black or light brown shirts. When exploring, she often carries two pistols, but has used other weaponry throughout the series. She is fluent in several languages.
Lara’s backstory has changed dramatically over the course of the series. During the first era, game manuals describe the character as the Wimbledon, London-born daughter of Lord Henshingly Croft (Lord Richard Croft in Legend and its sequels). She was raised as an aristocrat and betrothed to the fictitious Earl of Farringdon. Lara attended the Scottish boarding school Gordonstoun and a Swiss finishing school. At the age of twenty-one, she survived a plane crash, which left her stranded in the Himalayas for two weeks; the experience spurred her to shun her former life and seek other adventures around the world. Croft published books and other written works based on her exploits as a mercenary, big-game hunter, and master thief.
During the second era, Lara’s story was changed to be the daughter of archaeologist Lord Richard Croft, the Earl of Abbingdon, and someone who was quickly identified as a highly talented individual while attending the Abbingdon Girls School. The plane crash was changed to when Lara was nine years old, and with her mother, Amelia Croft. While searching for shelter, Lara and her mother took refuge in an ancient Nepalese temple, where Lara witnesses her mother vanish after tampering with an ancient sword. Her father later disappears in search of his wife. This spurs Lara on to seek the reason for her mother’s disappearance.
The third era deviates from the original plot considerably. When Lara was young she travelled with her parents on many of their archaeological expeditions which helped to shape the woman she was becoming. It was on one of these expeditions that her mother vanished and was presumed dead and when her father presumably took his own life a few years later, she was then left in the care of Conrad Roth. Even though she inherited a vast fortune, giving her the means to attend Cambridge with ease, Lara chose to study at University College London. This decision required her to pay her tuition and rent by working many jobs. Though this was a much tougher choice, it helped her become more grounded and level-headed than she might otherwise have been. She also ended up meeting her best friend, Samantha Nishimura, during her time at UCL. It was because of Sam’s free spirit and wild streak that Lara was able to experience much more of London than just the universities and museums that she loved so much. After travelling the world, both Lara and Sam end up on an expedition to the Dragon’s Triangle off the Japanese coast in search of the lost civilisation of Yamatai. It is on this expedition that Lara is stranded on a remote island full of natural, human and supernatural dangers, which enables her to develop from a vulnerable girl to a survivor. And after experiencing the supernatural powers of the ancient world, she comes to realise her father was right about his theories and her hunger for adventure awakens.