Impressed by her competent retrieval of the Infada stone from deep within the Indian jungle, Dr Willard hires Lara to retrieve three other artefacts made from the same meteorite. The first, known as ‘Element 115’, is currently in the hands of the US military, and being held at a base somewhere in the Nevadan desert.
There are three places Lara can visit after the first four levels – London, Nevada and the South Pacific – and instead of making my own decision, I decided to leave her next destination up to the members of my Facebook page. Thanks to those of you that voted, especially those that voted for the right one: Nevada. :D
Nevada Desert is all kinds of awesome, from the cacti and tumbleweed littering the desert floor to the plane-encircled military outpost that Lara eventually stumbles across. Between the many thrilling activities on offer - including climbing, quad-biking and blowing stuff up – there’s barely any time to dwell on the fact that the whole place kind of looks like the setting of 127 Hours, so put all thoughts of amateur amputation out of your mind and let us begin:
Lara uses her preferred method of transportation – i.e. sliding – to propel herself into her new environment.
She immediately disturbs some nearby vultures, who come flying towards her, squawking angrily and generally making a scene. So much for sneaking in, eh, Lara?
It’s all too easy to tread on a snake out here in the desert, although at least they’re smaller than the ones in India (though they still die dramatically).
Also, look at this cactus. It’s fantastic.
Pushing onwards and upwards, Lara’s minding her own business at the top of a ledge when swoosh; a jet flies out from round the corner, passes overhead and disappears behind a mountain. It fails to acknowledge Lara, despite her terrible attempt at camouflage.
Still, she’s not going to take any chances, and before the pilot of the plane realises that that blue, gun-wielding cactus he just passed probably isn’t what he thinks it is and decides to circle back, Lara has thrown herself down the nearest hole.
After some swimming, Lara emerges in a canyon, complete with waterfall.
Exploring this new area, Lara is treated to an overhead display by some more passing jets, no doubt on “blue cactus” alert.
Lara ducks into a cave and finds some TNT, all rigged up and ready to be detonated. Triggering random explosions with unknown consequences being one of Lara’s favourite pastimes, she immediately sets off in search of the detonator key.
She comes across another human, and they celebrate their mutual happiness by dancing.
Lara soon grows weary of this outward display of emotion. She kills the man and continues on her search, although not before pausing to admire his spectacular denim waistcoat, emblazoned with what appears to be a Lost Soul from Doom.
Lara finds the detonator key. Her ponytail leaps for joy (literally).
Back at the TNT, Lara triggers the explosion and narrowly avoids being squashed by a boulder. But hey, it’s a small price to pay for getting to destroy some rocks!
Okay, back to the mission. By lucky chance, the TNT cleared a path towards a small military outpost.
Unfortunately, the outpost is protected by a high electrical fence, which sizzles Lara if she ventures too close. She’ll have to find another way in (preferably one involving sliding).
They may not want her in their base, but at least the staff are nice enough to provide food for their unwanted guest. Sushi, anyone?
And perhaps some after-dinner entertainment? Watch, as this jet flies upside-down for no apparent reason!
Lara finds another way into the outpost (alas, not by sliding) and is met by more Doom fanboys, who are angry that’s she’s infiltrated their base and disrupted their LAN party.
Making her way into the staffroom, Lara “murder is fun” Croft momentarily forgets who she is and reacts with shock and horror over a nearby dead body, before remembering that a) she shot the guy and b) she doesn’t care.
Moral crisis averted, Lara turns her attention to a pool table with pockets the size of her head.
Out of the staffroom and into the warehouse, Lara kills another hairy gamer and takes his quad bike.
She drives on top of one of the buildings to retrieve a keycard so big, she needs to use both hands.
Alternate caption: What a stupid place to put a keycard, Part III.
Lara opens the gates of the outpost and quad-bikes the hell outta there.
She uses the bike to launch herself over a barbed wire-topped fence and into the unknown.
Lara doesn’t quite make the jump, and with a scream, is thrown from her bike as it clips the fence.
As she falls to what could possibly be her death, Lara’s face is contorted into an expression of mild interest.
Lara is knocked out upon landing and is quickly found by two Military Police officers. One wonders aloud if she’s an eco-terrorist; his companion sneers at the idea. “And they wear hot pants, huh?”
Those are not, in any way, shape or form, hot pants.
The guards hoist the unconscious Lara up between their shoulders and carry her off down the river.
The level ends as Lara is borne away to an unknown location (spoiler: prison).