Please note: The above screen shots are relevent to this article.

The new Tomb Raider, currently in development at Crystal Dynamics and due for release in March next year through Square-Enix, controversially includes a twenty-second attempted rape scene. If closed-minded, this would give to me the impression that all men are little more than feral beasts, sex continues to sell (despite the industry’s best attempts to move on from such a shallow mindset), while being the victim of violent sexual assault enpowers women.

Of course, this isn’t always the case. Actually, it is very rarely the case, and I personally believe the aforementioned scene should be removed completely. Regardless, women who have been victims of this horrific crime especially will not be pleased with this glorified treatment of what is, in reality, a poor excuse at background setting in the absence of less vulgar material.

Additionally, even the most typical of alpha males would find Crystal Dynamics’ generalised representation of their species insulted due to its continued implication of the special as one dimensional sex hungry animals. This new, vulnerable Lara Croft sure follows the pattern of being an inflated characterisation, only nobody could ever morally feel comfortable in sypathising with a figure created purely to advertise empowerment through suffering.

On the subject of the various trials Lara must endure during what sees to be her first adventure, haven’t we spent the last fifteen years or so since her PlayStation and Sega Saturn debut watching a quantum revolution occur in the field of videogame graphics? Clearly not, as the programmers behind this latest – and second – reboot continue to make such basic mistakes as not showing any permanent damage following the various injuries she experiences over the duration of a mere teaser video…

Impalement? Burning? Heck, even after being ravaged by a dog, Lara shakes all of this off in the blink of a viewer’s eye. Miraculously, she even manages to defy worldly physics with her rigid hair, apparently waterproof clothing and superhuman ability to survive being struck by the fuselage of a plane. For someone pushed through the wringer (or should that be a never-ending assault course of tribulations?), she really does give the impression of being sculpted from Teflon. Then again, she has been accused of bearing certain Silicone-enhanced assets in the past!

Yes, this back-to-square-one approach depicts a younger Ms. Croft learning to follow in the footsteps of her ancestors by learning to hunt (for which she initially shows remorse, though again this is spelled out with all the subtlety of a whisper projected through a loudspeaker), but just as soon as this almost sensible progression of Tomb Raider’s absurd plot is covered, she is then seen leaping around like a seasoned pro.

So, not content with upsetting her prospective male audience, females everywhere and even the vegetarian fraternity who will naturally object to her thoughtless slaughtering of virtually an entire zoo over the course of a three minute trailer, Lara is then restricted by the BBFC to a mature audience. Earlier titles may have been rated anything from the 12 and up, and few fresh-faced players will even be aware to experience the world of Tomb Raider, but now they don’t even have the opportunity – legally, at least.

Then again, when did 18 certificates prevent minors from enjoying the latest Grand Theft Auto – a series that has already tacked (quite literally) male full-frontal nudity and more violence that your typical grindhouse cinema was capable of churning out over its projector in a lifetime? Although it’s likely to make such an impact over a more lengthy period of time, the fact remains that Tomb Raider will now be crystalised in the memories of a new generation for THAT scene.

Still, it’s probably better than riding on the back of a train labelled “girl power” in the mid-to-late 1990s, the positively pneumatic all-style-and-no-substance live action films or the shame at being reduced to appearing in Lucozade commercials once the original series ran out of steam. Sex sells, but is there really a market for games where you are expected to believe the hardening of someone based on a few scrapes quickly brushed off and becoming the prey of lecherous men?

Naturally, consumers will prove the ultimate judge when the end result of all this heated discussion reaches shelves in 2013… assuming the world hasn’t already ended by then as a result of meltdown generated by a piece of computer entertainment fluff. Because, at the end of the day, that’s all Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider franchise she fronts really is – a front for a committee of mid-40s has-been designers who now resort to shock tactics because their once fertile creativity has dried like a reservoir prior to a hosepipe ban.