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Old 08-11-19, 19:29   #1
Baslakor's Avatar
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Default What really happened to Atlantis!

I love the original story of Tomb Raider 1 and always thought it was a shame they never continued with it in the sequels (until Legends of course).
However, the more you think about it, the bigger the gaps in the story become. A lot of it just doesn't make sense. I'd like to share my ideas about it and am curious what you think. For this argument I will only focus on the first Tomb Raider and not the LAU trilogy.

I have to warn that this is also a shameless self-promotion for my CAC custom level, so if you don't want spoilers, go play that level first! (and the other levels in that competition as well! People have built some amazing stuff!!)

What we know:

Jacqueline Natla, one of the three rulers of ancient Atlantis, hires Lara to retrieve an artifact called the Scion from Qualopec's tomb. As the story progresses we learn there were three Scions, one for each of the rulers of Atlantis: Qualopec, Tihocan and Natla. While the exact purpose and power of the Scion is not explained, we can assume it's some kind of harddrive/powerbank containing all the knowledge of Atlantis (a useful tool for Atlantean rulers).

We see in a vision that Natla is being condemned for 'misuse of powers and invading Tihocan and Qualopec with their own armies.' She is locked into a stasis-vault which is the reason why she survived for so many millennia.

The reason for this (while only briefly explained) is that Natla believed the Atlantean empire became decadent and weak. By using the Scion and unleashing hardship upon Atlantis, she believed it would strengthen the empire in the long run, even create new breeds. 'Evolution on steroids'. This reminded me of the meme:

In the end Lara managed to (assumable) kill Natla, destroy the Scion and blow up the Great Pyramid.

What we don't know:

Somewhere in this story Atlantis got destroyed. But it's never really explained how and why?

The thing that really stuck out, if Natla really betrayed Tihocan and Qualopec and even stole their armies to use against them. how could she have ever lost the battle? Also, while I understand that causing hard times creates stronger men, the complete destruction of Atlantis doesn't really fit here. You can make things stronger by weakening them first, but not by completely destroying them. Also, why did Qualopec and Tihocan split after the fall of Atlantis? Why not trying to rebuild their former empire? There is an essential part missing here...

My theory:

If Natla would've really caught Tihocan and Qualopec by surprise, she wouldn't have lost the war. Tihocan and Qualopec both seem capable leaders, so I assume they were to a certain degree aware of what was going on.

I think they suspected what was going to happen, but not wanting to be the aggressor they did not initiate the first strike. Instead they would build an alliance. Allies like important families, generals, important individuals and armies and supplies from the oversea colonies. Of course this alliance must've been kept secret. If Natla would find out this could spur her into action and building a secret alliance takes time.

The destruction of Atlantis

Since no party benefits from the complete destruction of Atlantis we can assume something, somewhere along the lines went terribly wrong. Maybe Natla found out about the alliance working against her, maybe the alliance underestimated Natla, maybe there was betrayal. Whatever happened, things got really messy.

From here there are three options:

1 - Natla, unable to conquer Atlantis destroys it instead.
2 - Somebody else destroyed Atlantis (looking at you Tihocan and/or Qualopec).
3 - Destruction of Atlantis was unrelated to the war.

The first option seems the most logical one. Natla, being a greedy usurper can't get what she wants so she destroys it instead. At first sight it makes more sense than Qualopec or Tihocan destroying the empire (or does it??). The third option seems too far fetched though. If a natural disaster would struck Atlantis (which I'm sure they would be aware of) there is no need for Natla's 'survival of the fittest' philosophy.

I would like to make the case that not Natla, but Qualopec or (more likely) Tihocan is responsible for Atlantis' downfall.

First the most obvious. Natla had control of the armies of Atlantis. If the resistance only had a ragtag militia, her defeat seems extremely unlikely. From this point a 'if-I-can't-have-it-nobody-can' self-destruct seems unlikely for her.

Second argument Qualopec and Tihocan never found a new third ruler to rebuild Atlantis, though this would seem the most logical thing to do. Instead they split up. One went to South America, one Europe. The thirdpiece went to Egypt and was placed in a sanctuary (probably under the protection of Khamoon). All three places eventually blossomed into their own empires. To me it seems there was some animosity between the two...

A third argument is in the details. All early civilizations had some form of mummification, thus it makes sense if this was tradition in Atlantis as well. The idea of mummification was to preserve the body and guide the spirit to the afterlife. However, if we look at Qualopec, he is NOT mummified (in contrast with his two guards). His white bones are sitting on a throne, always watching the Scion in front of him. It seems he refused to rest and to move on to the afterlife. He would guard the Scion even after dead.

A similar thing we see with Tihocan who, 'died without child and his knowledge has no heritage'. This is a big no-go for royalty. Tihocan could've easily father a child, adopt someone or take a prodigy to continue his heritage. Yet he didn't.

For both of them this seems the result of an extreme feeling of responsibility and guilt. They didn't rebuild the empire, split up, never spoke to each-other, lived a life full of regrets and died a miserable death.

Which would all make sense if one of them was responsible for the destruction of Atlantis! So this is my theory:

Natla, seeing how weak Atlantis has become, seized power. Tihocan and Qualopec tried to stop her with their own alliances, but without their armies they had no chance. One of them, in a last effort to change the tides, destroyed Atlantis. Natla was stopped and later imprisoned, but at a great cost.

The other ruler was furious with this betrayal and refused to help rebuild Atlantis. All trust was gone. They split up and never spoke again. Qualopec, distrusting Tihocan refused to rest and eventually died. He had no burial or mummification, instead he always kept guarding the Scion from Tihocan.

Tihocan (most likely the one who destroyed Atlantis) felt shame and regret, thus deciding not to continue his legacy.

In the end he different colonies grew into empires that eventually lead into our modern day countries. The stagnation was broken.

So what do you think?

I also believe Lara to be of Atlantean (royal) descend, though that's a theory for another time.

Last edited by Baslakor; 08-11-19 at 19:37.
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Old 08-11-19, 22:36   #2
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The Vision cutscene shows Atlantis get hit by a meteor, then covered by a tsunami after Natla's imprisonment.

Then nothing happens to it until the 20th century when Natla starts digging around what's left of the island, and finds the pyramid intact.

Qualopec and Tihocan survived the disaster, and founded new empires in the mediterranean and south america.

The game isn't really subtle about any of that. Have you read the backplot from '95 for TR1? It goes into more of how Atlan society worked.

Also I believe the fact that a piece was hidden in Egypt to be a reference to how Plato's decription of Atlantis (the earliest one we have because he made it up to demonstrate a point and give a contrast to his perfect Athenian society), purports to not actually his work but the writing of another philosopher who found ancient scrolls in Egypt describing a war between golden age Athens and a sea-faring nation from the Atlantic.

Last edited by Boobandie; 08-11-19 at 22:46.
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Old 09-11-19, 06:54   #3
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Just my two cents:
Atlanteans were our ancestors in this game.
Which means we all are descendants of them.

Tihocan and Qualopec created societies in Greece and Peru.
I have the theory that they are responsible for our whole history (indirectly), similar to how there are many interpretations of Jesus christ or mohammed.

In the Scion Vision FMV, you can actually see lots of symbols and even an embryo of a Dinosaur, which leads me to believe that Qualopec itself experimented with genes/evolution or atlanteans are responsible for all the life on earth.
"Your perception of good timing is...bad!"

Last edited by TR-Freak; 09-11-19 at 06:56.
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Old 09-11-19, 16:43   #4
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Can anyone share the backplot for TR!?
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Old 09-11-19, 17:10   #5
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Atlantis was destroyed by a meteor and then sunk beneath an ocean - judging by the order of the events depicted in Lara's vision at the end of Tomb of Tihocan, it happened after Natla's imprisonment and therefore wasn't related to anything she did. I expect it was supposed to be a similar natural catastrophe to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs.

I think the likely reason Qualopec and Tihocan went their separate ways was to increase the chances of survival of their remaining people after Atlantis was lost. If they all went in the same direction and then didn't find anywhere suitable to settle, it was game over for the lot of them. Splitting up meant increasing the chances of at least some of them finding somewhere to set up again and repopulate. As luck would have it, they both found somewhere, and their respective followers became the ancestors of later civilisations in the area, like the Incas and Ancient Greece.

My theory about a piece of the Scion being hidden in Egypt is that Tihocan hid it there after Natla's betrayal (I doubt the vision of him throwing it across a desert is meant to be literal, just showing that he was the one who hid it) and stationed Atlantean soldiers there to guard it, hence their presence in the Egypt levels. After having seen the devastating effects of the combined Scion in the wrong hands, he and Qualopec probably agreed it had to be kept separated forevermore, and so Natla's piece was hidden away and they took their own respective pieces with them when they left the ruins of Atlantis.
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