Taking a look back at the Tomb Raider series with the help of GameStash!

Lara Croft returns to theaters this week with the relaunch of the Tomb Raider film franchise based on the recent rebooting of the iconic video game series.

With the help of GameStash, we wanted to celebrate the film's premiere by taking a look back at all the Tomb Raider/Lara Croft games that helped build up the legendary character. All of these games are available to play for free as part of a subscription to GameStash, where you can access a growing library of mobile games without mucking around with in-app purchases or ads for just $4.99 a month.

This ought to be a nice stroll down memory lane if you've been playing Tomb Raider games since the very beginning, and if you're a younger gamer, consider this a crash-course on one of the most iconic video game franchises of all time.

Tomb Raider

The game that started it all! Tomb Raider was a groundbreaking third-person action-adventure game that introduced the world to Lara Croft, a bad ass archeologist who seemed to trade in her shovels and spades for a pair of pistols. Released in 1996, the game was ported over to Android in all its original glory in 2015.

Now porting a 20-year-old game directly to mobile is sort of a catch 22 scenario — make too many improvements or changes and you'll piss off the hardcore fans, but don't do enough to improve the controls and graphics and it'll be hard to attract younger gamers who never experienced classic games like this.

While the passage of time might have left this game a little rough around the edges — especially if you're stuck using touchscreen controls — it's still an iconic game and worth checking out with your GameStash subscription.

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Tomb Raider 2

The Tomb Raider sequel continued to flesh out the Lara Croft character and introduced new locales for the globe-trotting archeologist to explore. This game also introduced new weapons beyond Lara's iconic dual pistols and added vehicles to the mix.

The plot here surrounds the mythical 'Dagger of Xian', an ancient Chinese artifact hidden that has attracted the attention of some thugs. It's up to Lara to track down the crooks and retrieve the dagger in an adventure that will take her around the world.

This game was released arguably at the height of the Tomb Raider franchise's popularity and is remembered fondly by fans.

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Lara Croft Go

After successfully translating the Hitman series into an addictive action-puzzle game in 2014, Square Enix took aim at the Tomb Raider franchise the following year. The result was the outstanding puzzle game Lara Croft Go, a game that I consider to be the best in the Tomb Raider series.

Unlike the ported console games, Lara Croft Go was one of the first Tomb Raider games specifically designed for mobile devices and it holds up. The puzzles offer a true challenge for gamers of all ages, and the graphical style is really sharp, too.

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Lara Croft Relic Run

It's fair to say that a game like Temple Run was inspired by the imagery and themes found in early Tomb Raider games, so it's only fair for the Tomb Raider franchise to dip into the endless runner genre.

This game takes the mobile-friendly gameplay from Temple Run and throws Lara Croft into the mix. But instead of resting on its laurels and just being another endless runner with a fresh coat of Tomb Raider paint, Relic Run features 120 levels and adds more gameplay elements like wall running, vehicles, and boss battles.

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Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

This is the latest Tomb Raider game added to the GameStash library and it's a welcome addition. Channeling the action of the original games, this is a top-down third-person action-adventure game that offers a great mix of challenging puzzles and tough-as-nails enemies.

Don't let the name fool you. While Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light might sound like a Tomb Raider/Harry Potter crossover, this is a serious title that does not pull punches. Originally released for consoles, this game arrived on mobile with decent touch controls and is definitely worth checking out on GameStash.

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Marc Lagace

Marc Lagace was an Apps and Games Editor at Android Central between 2016 and 2020. You can reach out to him on Twitter [@spacelagace.