The original Tomb Raider has not aged gracefully. The game’s once revolutionary take on graphics and 3D exploration now feel horribly dated especially when you compare the title to the modern franchise installments. However, Tomb Raider is still a very important part of video game history and deserves to be experienced because of that.
That being the case, the best way to play Tomb Raider has to be for free through the comfort of your own browser.
The OpenTomb project is a fan developed take on Tomb Raider that can be played without the assistance of an outside program. It comes to us from a group of developers who tried to acquire the official source code for Tomb Raider in order to develop a remake but were constantly denied the rights to access that information.
Undeterred, they decided to simply remake the original Tomb Raider using their own code. Progress on the game has been slow thus far – the developers have only completed the game’s second level, City of Vilcabamba – but you are able to play through the progress they have achieved thus far via the OpenTomb website.
This project is interesting for a few reasons. From a legal perspective, not relying on the game’s original source code means that the project occupies a slightly more gray area than the traditional fanmade project. Additionally, the developer’s reliance on their own code affords them greater flexibility in terms of bug fixes and other alterations. They’ve already implemented a new first-person mode that appears to work quite well.
Unfortunately, this method of development means that OpenTomb has a much longer road ahead of it in terms of actually being completed. To that end, the team behind this project is currently seeking volunteers and donations to help them complete additional levels.
All in all, though, this really is another in a fascinating line of fan projects designed to preserve pieces of gaming history without locking them behind a paywall or attaching them to hardware that will soon become outdated.