Subtitled "Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider Phenomenon" and containing countless pictures of Lara among its 188 pages, it would have been nice to think that the book was published with a strong sense of irony that was somehow missed by the however-many adolescent boys that paid the £15.99 asking price to own it.
But it's not the pictures, the impossibly hard-to-follow guides to the first two games (written by Kip Ward and designed by some unfortunate acid casualty) or the useless fictional trivia about Lara's life* that prompts the most tooth-damaging cringing known to humankind. It's the thoughts and story by Douglas Coupland that makes anyone who's read and enjoyed his other books wonder just what the hell he was thinking at the time.
"Lara has left her mark on so many people. It is as soft as laughter. As insistent as a bullet. As recognisable as her perfect smile."
The story, called 'Air Tibet', sees Lara on the trail of an amulet called the Lai-Chi Solar Shame Spiral, trying to prevent the usual almighty battle between the forces of good and evil along the way.
"Lara shoots the window and struggles to climb in through the jagged aperture. Napkins and papers throughout the cabin rattle forward in one great sucking motion. But Lara can't fit through, and she curses her ample bosom."
Genuinely funny highlights include a page of letters sent to Eidos with some fan-art, one of which being Lara dressed in bondage gear with handcuffs and a whip. She's saying: "Hi boys".
* Her measurements are 34D/24/35 and her blood group is AB neg. She loves U2, Nine Inch Nails and baked beans on toast. Just by the way.
it was a gift, a freebie given to an employee of electronics boutique and passed on to me. i swear. i could think of a billion better things to do with sixteen quid.