So, Lara’s found the titular mask, some stuff has happened and now she’s gone and fallen into a cage, where our adventure continues…
The level starts with Lara still pacing about the afore-mentioned cage.
Escaping the cage is simple enough thanks to a conveniently-placed lever and pressure pad, but I’m sure Lara is soon wishing she had stayed put when she discovers that the natural fauna of Kingdom includes
If that wasn’t bad enough (and believe me, it is), the snow leopard has also decided to make a comeback. Bored of killing them, Lara decides to try and ride one instead.
On a side note, you do not want to see the screenshot that preceded this one by a few frames. Suffice to say that I’m glad I don’t have the nude patch installed on this game. I mean, I’m always glad I don’t have the nude patch installed, but this time I’m doubly-glad.
The snow leopard doesn’t take too kindly to being used as some kind of primitive snow-mobile, and instead chooses to prance around in a fabulous fashion while Lara watches on*.
*And by “watches on”, I of course mean “shoots the hell out of it”, AKA her default reaction to seeing something animate. You gotta feel sorry for Winston.
Lara shows her soft side and takes a few moments to stroke the feline after she’s sufficiently sedated it.
Ah, oversized footprints, the skeleton of doom’s subtler cousin.
Just another awesome picture of Lara killing a bigfoot. Of course, the adjective “awesome” can be used to describe any picture of Lara killing a bigfoot, because, you know, bigfoots are getting hurt.
It’s not all murderous mayhem, though. That dancing polar bear from the last level has got everybody in the mood for a boogie.
Dancing Bigfoot gets a little aggressive when Lara dares to critique his moves.
They manage to put their differences aside, however, and join together to execute a grand finale for their routine.
Such elegance! Such grace! The crowd goes wild.
Dancing Bigfoot takes a bow to his audience of cheering sasquatches and indifferent skeletons.
Meanwhile, Lara manages to extract herself from the disco and head into the forest. I loved this area; it looks good and it’s a bit different from the locations we’ve seen so far. Plus, it reminded me of Tomb Raider III, the glittering prize at the end of this expansion pack.
In the midst of the forest stood a building which contained this poor-man’s colosseum. Pulling a lever sent some random mercenary tumbling into the room.
Another lever released a duo of eskimo whalers into the room, and a mildly entertaining showdown ensued.
The whalers won, at which point a third joined them, presumably with a weak apology and an unconvincing excuse as to why he was late for the goon-killing. I left before things got too ugly.
The cave paintings have certainly got a lot darker in tone since we last looked at them. I don’t even want to know what this is meant to be. Thankfully, it didn’t manifest.
It took a hell of a lot of pointless exploration for some kind of diamond before I realised that you’re supposed to put the mask in this receptacle. In what world is that hole mask-shaped?!
Inserting the mask into its new home released this gloriously golden variant of one of those things from Ice Palace. Yay.
Getting near the beast is pretty deadly, although sometimes it will take a break from trying to punch Lara so it can attempt to scratch some hard-to-reach place on its back.
Mostly, though, it just chases her around while Lara tries to stay as far away as possible.
We eventually managed to trap it on the other side of this room, making killing the thing only marginally harder than killing its silver sibling.
Finally, it dies in the hammiest fashion imaginable, including a bit where it reaches to the sky as though it’s asking God (or whatever twisted deity created this abomination) why He has forsaken it. It makes the Tomb Raider 1 crocodiles look blasé about death.
The beast finally dies, triggering the official end of the Golden Mask. Six out of twelve secrets? Well, I tried.