Searching for Element 115, an artefact crafted from an ancient meteorite, Lara has infiltrated a US military base in the middle of the Nevada desert and, after a spot of bother with the police, manages to sneak onto a lorry heading out to the elusive Area 51.
So I discovered while playing this level that Element 115 is actually a real thing and is also known as Ununpentium. I figured it was just a code name the US Army gave some blue rock they found in a spaceship, but no, it turns out Tomb Raider III is actually trying to stealthily teach me about Chemistry, which is a bit of a cheek seeing as I’ve already learned my mandatory fact for this game.
Area 51 was a lot more fun than the previous level, mainly because it was brighter, Lara was armed and at one point she got to run away from an explosion.
A hungover Lara starts out at the back of the lorry we snuck on to at the end of the last level, having now been transported to Area 51. I don’t know if Lara actually meant to come here or just got lucky.
She comes across another convict and sets him free, because I’m sure that a man who appears to have been placed in a padded cell is completely harmless and is just the type of person you want running unsupervised around a military base.
Lara goes to the rather extreme length of cutting off her own nose to assure she’ll have the best Lord Voldemort costume this Hallowe’en. Obviously she’s not as sober as we thought she was.
Yep, Lara’s definitely still drunk, and starts trying to defeat enemies by stomping on them. Hey, if it works for Mario, right?
I include this image because when I saw it, I considered it to be the best Twisted Lara pose I’d seen so far.
Two seconds later, I came across this one – where, in case you can’t make it out, Lara has somehow managed to insert her entire arm through her head – and decided we had a new champion.
Then I saw this one and concluded that I should just stop taking pictures mid-combat.
George appears, a new boyfriend in tow, and Lara opens fire on them, although I’m not quite sure whether this is because she’s become friendly with George’s previous boyfriend and is heartbroken on his behalf (or is at least a die-hard fangirl of the George/Other George ship) or because she becomes extremely homophobic when drunk. Either way, Lara, not cool.
George’s new boyfriend and his brethren having guns with lasers on them, which would be pretty cool / deadly if they actually did anything.
Also, Lara’s ponytail has gained sentience and departed from her head, possibly thanks to the effects of Element 115. As a power, that’s kind of niche.
Lara came across this dead guard who I have absolutely no recollection of killing. I guess out of all the enemies Lara encounters over the series, odds are that one of them is going to die of natural causes, right? Saved Lara a bullet, anyway.
Lara faces off against a hopelessly under-armed guard.
Seeming to realise his chances aren’t good, the guard runs away, which is refreshingly realistic but also surprising considering the fairly basic AI these guards have displayed up until now (which seems to consist of HIT WITH STICK, REPEAT).
Oh, well, that short burst of common sense couldn’t last forever, and before long the poor guard succumbs to his programming.
Inevitably (considering the location), Lara comes across a UFO.
Beyond the UFO is a dark and inaccessible room, where Lara can just see the feet of an unknown figure laying on an examination table. She needs to light a flare just to be able to see into the room, which I thought was a pretty cool (and creepy) effect.
Quickly growing bored of all the extra-terrestrial paraphernalia on display, Lara wanders off and decides to launch a missile.
She gets to outrun a fireball, which I’m sure makes bombing some random country totally worthwhile.
“Hey, our lives our ruined, but at least Lara got a cool profile picture out of it, right guys?”
I know this is Lara Croft we’re talking about, but punching a guard straight through the stomach seems excessively violent.
Lara gains access to that darkened room and discovers the mystery figure to be an alien (surprising no-one).
Another alien is on display in a nearby room. Really, who can blame aliens for wanting to blow up our planet if we insist on killing the ones that land here and turning them into some kind of bizarre art installation?
Opposite the alien display is, for no discernable reason, a tank containing a pair of Orcas. I’m not a fan of Orcas in real life, mainly because I think they’re some kind of dolphin (and we all know what I think about dolphins), but these ones are super cute.
After spending a relaxing time at the world’s smallest aquarium, Lara finds her way into the UFO.
I know it doesn’t look that disgusting, but the floor of the UFO made a horrible squidgy sound when being stepped on. The whole place gave me Atlantis flashbacks.
I was convinced that there was going to be some kind of showdown with a big creepy alien in the centre of the UFO, so I was a bit disappointed when, in the end, the only enemies to turn up were a couple more of George’s boyfriends (at least, I was disappointed until I remembered that I’m ultimately lazy and don’t like boss fights).
Finally, Lara gets what she came for, Element 115. I just hope it was worth getting a criminal conviction and becoming an international terrorist to acquire it.
Uh, no, level, we’re not done.
Can you believe that swimming with the Orcas is a secret, rather than a necessary part of the level?!
Okay, now we’re done. And we’re done in Nevada, too! Next up, London…or, will it be the South Pacific? Head along to my Facebook page and have your say!