Unearthing Rise of the Tomb Raider Easter Eggs

The Tomb Raider series has always had its fair share of “Easter eggs”, hidden secrets, and amusing references to pop culture icons. Lara’s latest adventure, Rise of the Tomb Raider, is no exception. From references to Lara’s earlier adventures to touching tributes to one of the world’s most-loved fantasy authors, there’s plenty to keep the eagle-eyed fan busy.

Here’s my attempt to catalogue some of Rise of the Tomb Raider’s most memorable “Easter eggs”. This list is a “work in progress” so expect new “eggs” to be added to this list as and when they’re found.

Update – 11th October 2016 – This list is no longer being updated but you’re welcome to continue sharing your discoveries in the comments section below! Easter eggs from the Croft Manor DLC will be listed in a separate article.

The Swan Dive

OK, this technically isn’t an “egg” but I think the return of one of Lara’s signature moves warrants a mention, especially since you can unlock an achievement for performing a lengthy swan dive.


“I’m Not Strong Enough”

At several points in the game, Lara tells herself “I’m not strong enough”. Many fans regard this as a nod to Angel of Darkness, where Lara would utter the phrase whenever she was unable to perform certain tasks.

One of the times it can be heard is when she fails to remove the barricade on a trebuchet in the lost city.


A huge thanks to Treeble, Lodair, and Jason Croft for their assistance in tracking down this exact scene!


Squidipus Rex

If you have a look under the bed in one of the bungalows near the Copper Mill base camp, you’ll spot a familiar  purple plushie.


Yes, it’s Underpus! Long-time fans will recognise this tentacular beast from Tomb Raider: Underworld. Not content with his cameo appearance in the 2013 game, he’s travelled all the way from Yamatai to Siberia for the sequel. Major thanks to Stella Lune for spotting this one!

And that’s not the only place you’ll find this beloved kraken. Twitter user @Alchama sent me a link to a video that reveals the location of a hidden Underpus cavern in the Abandoned Mines.


The Orrery

Lara must activate and climb an ancient mechanical orrery in order to enter the lost city of Kitezh. She might not have to worry about being knocked from a platform by a spinning orb or risk being crushed in the mechanism but it did call to mind a certain scene from the first Tomb Raider film.

Two orreries, one from Rise of the Tomb Raider, the other from the first Tomb Raider film
A tale of two orreries. Image credit: Kelly M.


Familiar Game Pieces

Perhaps my personal favourite of Rise of the Tomb Raider easter eggs. A well-known Russian game involving shaped blocks? It could be none other than the sensational (and super addictive) Tetris, surely?

Lara finds these familiar game pieces in a former gulag
Lara finds these familiar game pieces in a former gulag. Image credit: Kelly M.


Water Buffalo Paperweight

In Rise’s final major cut scene, you get a brief glimpse of a water buffalo paperweight, which looks remarkably similar to one of the collectible relics seen in Tomb Raider 2013.

Did Lara take this Yamatai relic home with her..?
Did Lara take this Yamatai relic home with her? Image credit: Kelly M.


Various References to Events of ‘Tomb Raider 2013’

These don’t really qualify as actual “Easter eggs” but you’ve got to appreciate the development and writing teams’ commitment to continuity. Numerous references to the events of Tomb Raider 2013 can be found throughout the game, which include but aren’t limited to:

  • An image of Himiko on Lara’s desk;
  • Trinity soldiers discussing the clean-up work done on Yamatai;
  • A newspaper clipping referring to “wrecks found off the coast of Yamatai”;
  • A newspaper cover featuring the four survivors of the Yamatai expedition;
  • A photo of the former Endurance crew… with Dr Whitman’s head chopped off .
An image of Himiko on Lara Croft's desk in Rise of the Tomb Raider
An image of Himiko can be seen on Lara Croft’s desk.


Lara’s Pinboard & Desk

Following on from the previous entry, I’d like to point out that there are a lot of references to historical figures, locations, and events strewn across Lara’s desk and displayed on her pinboard. Among them are Rasputin, Joan of Arc, and the Holy Grail.

Since the majority of these are not explicitly referenced in either the 2013 game or Rise, they will not be treated as “eggs” for the purposes of this list and will be dealt with in a separate article in the not-too-distant future. 😉


Various References to the Events of the Comics & Ten Thousand Immortals

References to the events of the Dark Horse comic series and the novel Tomb Raider: The Ten Thousand Immortals can be found pinned on Lara’s pinboard and in the closing scenes of the game. These include:

  • A newspaper clipping referring to a university shooting which left 8 people dead, a reference to the shoot-out at Merton College, Oxford University, in Ten Thousand Immortals;
  • A newspaper clipping referring to a mysterious suicide – that of Trinity agent Cruz – in the London Tube, which occurs in Tomb Raider #12;
  • A photo ID of Kennard Montez, the Trinity agent sent to dispose of Lara in Ten Thousand Immortals.
References to the Tomb Raider comics and spin-off novel can be seen on Lara's pinboard
References to the Tomb Raider comics and spin-off novel can be seen on Lara’s pinboard. Image credit: Kelly M.

This pretty much confirms that the spin-off media set between the two games *is* considered canon, if occasionally contradictory.


A Syrian ‘Soul Reaver’

I originally left this one out as I’m not overly familiar with the Legacy of Kain series, but readers Lodair Junior and Nick Leblond convinced me to add it to the list.

If you return to the Prophet’s Tomb after acquiring the grapple hook, climb up to the chamber directly above the Syrian Tomb base camp and you’ll see the Soul Reaver sword hanging on the wall.

A nod to one of Crystal Dynamics' other leading series, Legacy of Kain
A nod to one of Crystal Dynamics’ other keystone series, Legacy of Kain. Image credit: Kelly M.

Apologies for the poor quality screenshot. I’ll replace this with a higher def version once the game is out on the PlayStation 4 next year.


A Touching Tribute

Fans of the late and great fantasy author Terry Pratchett should know that his daughter, Rise’s lead writer Rhianna Pratchett, embedded his most treasured memory in one of Lord Croft’s audio journals.

A touching tribute from daughter to father
A touching tribute from daughter to father. Image credit: Kelly M.

“Before I even held you, I almost lost you, Lara. Yet you fought back, determined to live, breathe, ball your tiny fists and scream the hospital down. It was the best noise I ever heard. When I went home that snowy night I cooked myself a steak. Then I drunk half a bottle of whiskey, tried to make snow-shoes out of tennis rackets and fell asleep with the cat. I was so damn happy.”


Last updated on 20th July 2016.

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About Kelly M

Kelly McGuire is a writer, part-time translator, and gamer who is passionate about archaeology, language learning, travel, and wildlife conservation. She tweets under the username @TRHorizons and is the admin and chief content creator for Tomb Raider Horizons.

View all posts by Kelly M →

13 Comments on “Unearthing Rise of the Tomb Raider Easter Eggs”

  1. There is also an easter egg located in the Syria area when you return later with the grapple, you can then manage to reach the platform right below where the Prophet’s coffin was located and on one of the walls is located a replica of the Soul Reaver sword… I never played that game I just recognized it as the alternate sword you could get with a cheat in Legend…

    1. Thanks. I’ve been told about that one but since I don’t really know the game, I left it off the list. I don’t really consider it a “favourite Easter egg”.:-/

      But thanks anyway. 🙂

  2. I know another instance where Lara says “I’m not strong enough.” In the Abandoned Mines, when you’re trying to rip the barricade off the door, if you try to pull the water bucket yourself under the waterfall without attaching it to the minecart, Lara says the phrase. The puzzle I’m talking about is in this video, but she doesn’t say it: https://youtu.be/3sCJHdkmhJ0?t=2m16s I know there was a video where she did say it. I’ll link it here if I can find it.

  3. Don’t know if it counts as one.. In the beginning scene in Syria, when the helicopter comes in front of their vehicle shooting at them.. The scene looks very similar to Dark Knight Rises, where Bruce Wayne fires at them, the driver dies and Miranda Tate tries to take control of the steering..

    1. Oh wow! I’ve never seen this area! Is this available on all versions of the game? I’ll have to check if it’s there on the 360 version. 🙂

      I’ll add this to the list. 😉

      1. I’m pleasantly surprised to see your response and your list updated so quickly ! 🙂
        I don’t know if this area is available on 360, the only possible way I know to reach this room is to used the super jump cheat via a trainer on PC. I’m almost certain this area exists on One and the future PS4 version though.
        (By the way, I’m cheating only to discover Tomb Raider secrets, of course not to finish the game that way. 😉 )