Croft Manor - or Lara's Home in Core games - is the residence of Lara Croft, located in Surrey, England. The manor shown in the Core games is distinctly different from the one in the new Crystal Dynamics games, which resembles the manor seen in the films. According to Lara's new biography, she owns three different manors, so presumably the old and new games feature two of these. In all the games that feature it, the Manor is used as an optional training level, with the exception of Tomb Raider II, in which the manor also featured in the last level of the game proper.
The First Incarnation of the Croft Manor
The level features Lara by herself, talking the players through her moves. The manor itself is comparatively limited, with no outdoor areas and a small number of rooms. Crates in the main hall partially block the entrance to the gym. The level ends when Lara climbs out of the swimming pool. In the Sega Saturn version it is called "Gym".
Tomb Raider II
Lara has company in her home this time: her butler Winston, who follows her around with a tea tray (the butler is not actually named in this game, and many fans called him "Jeeves" at this time). This game also introduces a large outdoors section, including a garden with gates, a maze, an obstacle course and secret passageways. The gym section of the first game has been converted into the outdoor obstacle course, so the room occupied by it inside the house has been converted into a ballroom, where Lara can play music by pressing a button on the wall. The house also acquires a secret basement, which is apparently where Lara stores the treasures she finds in in the tombs she raids. This level is significantly different from its counterpart in the first game, in that it introduces several goal-oriented challenges instead of a simple tutorial.
This manor is also the location of the last level, Home Sweet Home. Unlike the tutorial level, this one takes place at night, and includes cutscenes both at the beginning and the end. It features an invasion from the remaining members of the Fiama Nera cult, whom Lara has to repel using a shotgun stored in her bedroom closet.
Tomb Raider III
The manor is expanded even further in this game. The obstacle course is lengthened to include a shooting gallery with targets (even Winston becomes a target, though he cannot be killed). Instead of Tomb Raider II's basement treasury, this game features a basement reading room and aquarium, which can be accessed via a timed run from the attic (also a new addition). Lara's trophies can be seen in the new trophy room, which can also be opened by another timed run. The first game's gym makes a comeback. The hedge maze is converted into a quadbike racetrack, so for the first time, Lara can drive a vehicle in her own grounds.
Tomb Raider The Last Revelation
This is the first Tomb Raider game that doesn't include a manor. Instead, the training level is a part of the game proper, as a memory of Lara's own training during her teen years, in Cambodia.
Tomb Raider Chronicles
A brief view of the manor can be seen in the title menu. The manor is also the setting for the beginning of most of the FMVs, because this is where the three characters sit reminiscing about Lara's past adventures. However, the manor is inaccessible in the actual game. Instead, the training area includes an optional area of the first level, The Streets of Rome.
Tomb Raider: The Angel Of Darkness
Though this game was originally supposed to include the manor, the final version had none. Like the two previous games, the tutorial is incorporated in the first level of the game proper.
The Second Incarnation of the Croft Manor
When Crystal Dynamics took over the franchise, beginning with Tomb Raider: Legend, they reintroduced the manor as a separate level. However, this manor is greatly changed from the one in the Core Design games. The Legend manor resembles the one seen in the films. The level is also no longer a training area – it cannot even be accessed fully until the end of the first level. Also, instead of the vast indoor and outdoor spaces featured in Tomb Raider II and Tomb Raider III, the Legend manor is much smaller. It has only 5 main rooms: the main hall (with one end partitioned off as Zip’s office), a gym, a pool room, Lara’s bedroom suite and the library (with a mezzanine level with Lara’s office), all of which are connected by long corridors. There are apparently many other rooms in the manor, as indicated by the large number of locked doors, but none of these are accessible. There is almost no outdoors to speak of: the only outdoor spot is a tiny enclosed courtyard en route to the gym. Zip, Alister and Winston are all present in the manor too, but none of them move from their places, though Zip and Alister do speak to Lara as she enters their respective rooms.
Apart from collecting all the rewards in the level, the manor has no specific goal, and is mostly non-linear. The hunt for the gold reward is quite an elaborate puzzle, involving opening up of secret passages and alcoves all over the house. The players can also hunt for Lara’s equipment, which is scattered throughout the house, or practise Lara’s moves in the gym (unlike the Core games, Lara no longer talks the players through her moves). Lara’s bedroom suite includes a walk-in closet, where all the outfits unlocked so far in the game can be accessed. Two outfits – the two swimsuits – can be worn only in the manor.
The manor also featured in two cutscenes within the game – after the first level and after the sixth level. Both these cutscenes involve Lara meeting up with her team in order to discuss her next step.
Tomb Raider Anniversary
The manor in Tomb Raider: Anniversary is basically the same one as in Legend, but with numerous changes. It is very likely that this manor is in the process of renovation that results in the one seen in Legend, since Anniversary is set before Legend. The major changes are the addition of an outdoor garden with a maze, as well as two new rooms. Also, unlike the Legend manor, this one has a night setting. The Anniversary manor also has a goal: opening up the music room. Since this game is set some years before Legend, the décor of this manor is slightly different: the stained glass window in main hall is different, the furnishings are of a different colour, several different pictures adorn the wall, the pool room is under construction, the equipment in the gym is different, and Zip and Alister are absent, with Zip’s office space being occupied by a stack of crates (possibly as a reference to the crates occupying the main hall in the original Tomb Raider mansion).
The level can be accessed at any time from the main menu, as well as the level select menu. It begins with a cutscene: Lara enters the manor to find a note from Winston telling her about some things that have gone wrong around the house. It is part of Lara’s mission to fix these while (for example, turning on the water) while looking for puzzle items that enable her to progress through the level. As in Legend, she also discovers her equipment along the way. Her bedroom closet also serves the same function: as a place to try out all the unlocked outfits. Winston is present in the level: his position changes randomly from the main hall to Lara’s bedroom, but he is not actually seen moving, nor does he speak.
Tomb Raider Underworld
In the first teaser trailer of the game, a woman is seen destroying the manor using explosives.
It was later revealed that the person who destroyed Croft Manor was Lara Croft's doppelganger in the third level in Tomb Raider Underworld, where Lara searches for a missing Thor gauntlet beneath her manor that her father found in Thailand. Shortly after she finds the gauntlet, Natla's Lara doppelganger enters the mansion and attacks Zip, and steals Amanda's Wraith Stone. She kills Alister shortly after Lara sees her, and attacks Lara before leaving.
The Films' version of the Croft Manor
Lara Croft Tomb Raider
Croft Manor was represented by Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, England. Croft Manor is equipped with a large observatory-style telescope which Lara uses to observe the planetary alignment crucial to the film's plot. Lara relaxes before bed by doing bungee-cord assisted acrobatics in the Manor's main hall. The Manor is infiltrated by Manfred Powell's mercenaries. Also showcased is a training room dressed to look like an Egyptian temple, in which Lara battles training robot SIMON in the film's opening sequence, and Croft Manor's garage. The interior layout of Croft Manor's main hall was adapted for the Croft Manor in Legend.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Hatfield House is once again used as the Manor, although the interior layout is different. Croft Manor is introduced using a dramatic camera zoom-in which flies into the house. The Manor plays a less important role compared to its predecessor.