Saturday, June 25, 2022

Here is Tomb Raider on a GBA

gif: Timur Gagiev / Kotaku

Here’s a port I never expected but is real now and available for download today: Tomb Raider for the Game Boy Advance handheld console. It’s true. And this wild porting is only possible thanks to the flexible open source project “OpenLara”.

Tomb Raider Running on a Game Boy Advance comes courtesy of modders XProger. They uploaded a clip to Twitter of the classic action game running in real time on a GBA and The video quickly went viral. I suppose because a lot of people like me were shocked to see such a technically advanced 3D game run on hardware like the GBA, a console that was never very good at high quality 3D graphics.

And yet, despite the weaker hardware and other technical limitations, such as Tomb Raider looks shockingly playable on GBA, even if the framerate isn’t rock solid.

According to XProgerwho have been working on this port for over a year weren’t even sure at first if Tomb Raider could run on a GBA. But after optimizing it enough, it worked well enough for this first build, which XProger calls the “alpha version”.

“There are many other improvements [I have planned]’ Xproger explained on the other side GBATemp forums. “As well as optimizing content and videos to fit the whole Grave Rader Game in a 32MB cartridge. But so far only 3 levels are available.”

This is called “OpenLara‘, an open-source port of the original Tomb Raider engine also created by the talented modder Xproger. Thanks to “OpenLara” you can run the classic game on a number of platforms including the original Xbox, 3DO, iPhone and 3DS. And now you can also add GBA to this list

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C Clarke

“Holy shit, that is Tomb Raider running on a GBA!?! ” – Zack Zwiezen

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