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Lara Croft, star of Tomb Raider series, beats Mario and Sonic to be named most iconic video games character

Lara Croft has beaten the likes of Mario and Sonic to be named the most iconic video games character ever.

The star of the Tomb Raider series came out on top in a Bafta poll of more than 4,000 gamers from around the world.

Croft beat Nintendo's legendary Mario into second, with Agent 47 from the Hitman series third.

Others making the top 10 included Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog, Link from the Zelda games, Master Chief from Xbox's Halo series, and classic dot-chomping character Pac-Man.

Croft first appeared in Tomb Raider in 1996 on the original PlayStation, PC and the Sega Saturn console.

The archaeologist-adventurer was the creation of the now-defunct UK games developer Core Design.

There have been several dozen games and expansion packs featuring Croft across various platforms, with a remastered compilation of the original three games released in February 2024.

The iconic character also spawned a 2001 film starring Angelina Jolie and another in 2018 featuring Swedish actress Alicia Vikander.

Shelley Blond, the woman who first voiced Croft in the games, said the way the character took off was a big surprise at the time.

"They had only ever done children's games before and of course they hoped it would be a success, but I think it went above and beyond any and all expectations," said Ms Blond.

"When creating the voice for Lara Croft, it came just by looking at the rough sketches I had in front of me and I took note of the fact that she was a female Indiana Jones type of character, ballsy and well-spoken."

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"Lara is very special to me purely because she means so much to the gamers," added Ms Blond.

"I love hearing stories from people around the world who played the game and channelled Lara to escape their bullies or to help them feel stronger when they wanted to come out to their loved ones."

Bafta carried out the poll of iconic characters to mark its 20th game awards, which take place later this month.