Happily, I could only recall about 0.17% of this level, and therefore nearly everything was a delightful surprise. Well, everything besides the flamethrowers, that is. My overall memory of the sea-based levels in Tomb Raider II was seventeen punishing hours of…wait, hold on, wasn’t that my memory of The Cistern? Did I just have an aversion to water-based levels when I was fourteen that reaching adulthood has allowed me to overcome? I think there’s a scientific experiment here, somewhere.
While I’m here, I’ll mention that this level (and the last) have a particularly disconcerting ambience soundtrack that includes a noise which sounds like Lara breaking her neck. Every time I heard it, I had to check Lara was still alive (and that her neck was intact).
Reunited with her pistols, Lara continues to explore the offshore rig.
The start of the level. This is the afore-mentioned 0.17% that I could recall. Beyond these steps could have been a carnival of rainbow-coloured unicorns singing their way through The Cure’s greatest hits for all I knew.
No unicorns, but ample opportunity for Lara to unleash her special brand of deadly yoga.
Even the best raiders can slip and fall sometimes, right? Also, what on earth is all that green stuff and why does Lara die the minute she touches it? A warning sign would have been nice.
A vast majority of this level involves climbing this ladder.
Fifteen days later…
Finally. That guy doesn’t look too pleased to see us, but, to be fair, he’s probably a little bitter that’s he’s had to spend most of his adult life in this room waiting for Lara to show up.
Well, really, what a stupid place to put a key-card.
For your enjoyment, here’s a really creepy picture of a dog that I managed to take. You’re welcome.
Diving Area heralds the reign of the series’ latest “most irritating enemy” award-winner, flamethrower man. He often shows up in places where there’s no water, and watches with a sociopathic passiveness as Lara burns to death. Also, you can’t steal his weapon after you kill him. What’s the deal with that?
Thankfully, not all enemies in this level are as dangerous. Marco’s tendency to hire the dumbest guys that manage to turn up for the interview means that these two men are rendered powerless by a few sheets of glass and a closed door, and can only watch in enraged impotence as Lara rushes around, killing divers and moving blocks.
No! Get out the way! I want to get on that anthropomorphic helicopter!
I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be the only one tonight who has nightmares about red-eyed dogs and helicopters that seem to be staring directly into the darkest corners of your soul.
It’s too late, Lara, the helicopter’s gone. This is one problem that can’t be solved with yoga.
One of the best moments in the level is when this thing appears, Das Boot-like, while Lara is descending into a deep pool of water. It turns out to be a tiny submarine thing, but at this point you could be forgiven for thinking it was an atomic bomb poorly disguised as a shark.
“What a stupid place to put a key-card”: Redux.
Lara’s on fire, and she’s not too happy about it.
At first glance, this looks like another yoga pose, but actually, I suspect Lara may have just fallen down that ladder in an attempt to sneak up on that guy. But hey, she can’t be graceful all of the time, can she?
Prepare to fall off your seat in shock as you witness Lara showing compassion towards another human being. Lara comes across Brother Chen Barkhang, who was being tortured by Marco’s cultists, and takes a moment to check over his wounds. Although maybe she’s just thinking about lining up a replacement for her butler, Winston, for when he finally shuffles (‘shuffles’ being the operative word) off of this mortal coil.
“Hmm, strong hands, but are they up to holding a tea tray for eighteen hours a day?”
I’m going to give Core Design the benefit of the doubt and assume this was just an unfortunate camera positioning.
Yes, Lara have definitely gotten over that little “caring about other people” wobble; she’s now back to not giving a damn and throwing shoes at seriously injured monks.
While Brother Barkhang is telling Lara about how he and some other monks are trying to stop Marco’s pursuit of the Dagger of Xian, the devil himself turns up and kills the poor old man.
Lara (who changed into a wetsuit while we weren’t looking) makes a run for it, taking pot-shots at Marco before diving for cover. “That was my replacement butler, you bastard!” Now it’s personal.
Okay, Lara, that’s the third time in one level you’ve fallen over. Maybe ditching your shoes in a place with lots of water and non-grip flooring was a bad idea.
And we’re done. I’ve decided that getting all the secrets is uncool. I mean, I do have a life, you know.