Thursday, March 18, 1999 Published at 18:08 GMT
'Nude Raiders' face legal action
Nude Raider: Lara Croft's popular alter ego
She's scantily clad at the best of times, but when Lara Croft started appearing on the Internet without even the trademark hotpants and rubber vest, her creators stepped in with the threat of legal action.
Arguably single-handedly responsible for the term "cyberbabe", Lara became an overnight, worldwide icon as the star of the Indiana Jones-style Tomb Raider computer game.
Core Design - developers of all three Tomb Raider adventures - have decided enough is enough and are considering legal action in a bid to clean up Lara's presence on the Web.
The company is concerned that Tomb Raider fans searching the Internet for legitimate Lara Croft information could accidentally access "pornographic material" - an association Core says it is keen to avoid.
"We are looking in to taking legal action. There are a number of Websites featuring the character, but there is one particular site which is causing most of the concern.
"We have a large number of young fans and we don't want them stumbling across the pictures when they do a general search for Tomb Raider."
The unofficial nudes will be particularly embarrassing in light of Lara Croft's recently elevated status to "ambassador for British scientific excellence" - according to Science Minister Lord Sainsbury.
Speaking last December, he said: "I use her as an example of one of the great success stories in this country."
There have also been reports of a Tomb Raider "patch" - slang for computer code which changes a game's properties - which is capable of rendering Lara completely nude during gameplay.