Nightmare In Vegas is the true last level in The Golden Mask, accessible only through collecting all the secrets in the previous four levels (or, you know, downloading a saved game, which still takes some effort…). Whether the level title is metaphorical or this actually is a nightmare Lara is having, I’m not entirely sure. The presence of mythical beasts, oversized furniture and bizarre solutions to straight-forward problems would usually suggest the latter, but hey, this is a Tomb Raider game we’re talking about.
We join Lara as she hangs about in her ginormous hotel bathroom.
The bathtub/hole in the ground filled with water, while smaller than the one at home, is apparently still large enough for Lara almost drown herself in.
Escaping the perilous bathroom, we find ourselves in a spacious living area, complete with this delightful carpet patterned with oversized, brightly-coloured ova.
There are two televisions to choose from; this one, which is stuck on a never-ending loop of Elvis wiggling his pelvis…
…or this one, showing that cinematic classic, When King Kong Boxed a T-Rex.
Evidently Lara’s aunt had some kind of career in commercial interior design before she died, judging by the size of the furniture and the abundance of jungle prints.
Lara’s room also has a large balcony, offering her stunning views of the Vegas skyline. Seriously, I love background images like this, I suppose for the same reason I love fake doors and washing lines and urban settings. I just like the idea of there being people out there, going about their business while Lara runs around a skyscraper and disposes of goons. Which I suppose is kind of the point.
Anyway, after we’ve spent several minutes standing on the balcony and gazing into the distance (possibly with tears in our eyes), Lara and I return to the room so she can press the magical vision-inducing button situated below the flat-screen TV.
The button delivers unto us the rather disappointing image of Winston, Lara’s butler, apparently about to take a bath. Fully clothed. With a tea-tray.
Willing to do anything to clear that last image out of her head, Lara decides to break into the next room, where it just so happens that two members of Marco Bartoli’s old Fiamma Nera cult are staying. It’s a small world.
They don’t take too kindly to Lara bursting in on their romantic getaway and things get rather ugly.
Not as ugly as these bed covers, though. Oh, snap!
Lara ducks into their bathroom (because that woman apparently loves hanging out in bathrooms) and finds the real Winston doddering around inside. Let’s not dwell on the question of why two masked men have imprisoned an OAP in their hotel lavatory, and instead celebrate his discovery with a head spin, as Lara appears to be doing*.
* Don’t actually do this.
A cursory search of the room reveals a key lying on the floor of the shower. Yes, I often leave valuable items next to drainage devices as well.
The key grants Lara access to the rest of the hotel, which is home to some rather bizarre attractions. To start with, we have another one of those Guardian things (yay)…
…my personal favourite, some frozen snow leopards (the best kind of snow leopard)…
…and these sinister and nightmarish images of disfigured faces, set into a barren, mountainous landscape.
Seriously, what the hell?
Lets cheer ourselves up with a picture of Vegas Guardian’s brief flash of euphoria, an emotion that is rarely experienced in what must be a mostly angry existence.
The hotel is also home to this…thing.
Oh, it’s a sculpture. A gigantic, golden, multi-storey, scalable sculpture. Too little, too late, sign.
We also have the opportunity to take in the show Cell Block Rock, an opportunity that few of Lara’s fellow guests have seized upon. I blame the carpet. Seriously, texture artists, I know you’re extremely proud of the fact that you’ve mastered inadequately-tiling zebra print, but a little would go a long way.
Another exhibit in the hotel is a T-Rex enclosure. I’m sure the enclosure is built to the highest standards of security, but it sure is nice of them to scatter boxes of shotgun shells around the viewing area. You know, just in case.
Yeah, it’s probably not the best idea to have your dinosaur cage backing onto a busy city street. Another bad idea: leaving the exit of the cage wide open and simply trusting the dinosaurs not to go on a murderous rampage.
After dispensing with two cheeky T-Rex, Lara spends a while wandering round the shops, and comes across a television store baring the name and visage of Bartoli Sr. Evidently the family’s fall-back position in case that whole world domination thing failed to take off.
Back in the hotel, Lara manages to unleash the Guardian while riding in the lift.
Okay, this Guardian is my favourite. He always looks so happy! Although I’m not sure Lara appreciates being shaken around like a rag doll. She looks faintly annoyed.
For the second time in as many levels, Lara has to end the life of an extremely rare beast before she can move on. Let’s hope that’s the last of them, and that the Guardian of Light game isn’t some kind of horrific re-imagining.
And that’s The Golden Mask completed! Now it’s time for our third adventure…