Level by Nicolas Lepy
Maiden walkthrough by Mulf
This walkthrough describes the shortest possible route through the level. There is no real alternative: any deviation will only result in even more backtracking than is already built into the gameplay.
Also, there is no stealth. At one specific point the guards will inevitably start attacking you, regardless of whether you’re armed or not, and regardless of whether you’ve previously killed any one of them or not.
According to the statistics screen,
there are ten secrets in this level. I highly doubt the existence of even a
The drawers (in the SARCOPHAGUS slot) are glitchy. Most of the time, pickups just lie in front of them, but some contain additional pickups. To get these, take a step back from the dresser before pressing action. In order to make the shelves searchable, the builder has placed drawers in them as well. Spot the drawer hovering at the back of a shelf to find out whether it contains a pickup or not. Sometimes you can see the pickup lying on the floor in these cases as well.
Incipit: Inanis et vacua
The title flyby gives you a reasonably accurate impression of what to expect from this level in the visual department, but the dramatic score doesn’t do it justice.
The on-screen legend tells you that the year is 2012, and you’re looking for The Artefact. Your start-up inventory comprises the binoculars, five chocolate bars (presumably meant to be AOD-style power-ups—you won’t see any of these in the level, since they are invisible as well as non-functional), no pistols, and no flares. Which latter is a pity, because the room you find yourself in at the start is very dark; don’t dawdle though, there’s nothing in here at all but the broken bit of wall on the W side. Kick it in and follow the very dark crawlspace to another very dark room.
Two dressers stand out (because they don’t respond to lighting, as no static in this level does). Get the small medipack and the shotgun ammo lying in front of them (you may be able to get another shotgun ammo item from one of the drawers), then walk up to the hole in the middle of the ceiling and grab the ledge. Admire the custom bar showing Lara’s “énergie vitale” (‘life force’) slowly depleting—it’s likely the last time you’ll see it in this level. Pull up and follow another very dark crawlspace until you come to a hole in the floor, and drop down.
Fiat lux: Lara Get Your Gun
Now that you can actually see something, you find yourself in a hallway to which you’re going to return several times. Get rid of the obnoxiously persistent camera-target view to watch a passer-by stroll casually past you and right through a wall. Mind the 2-click grate on the E wall—it’s shatterable, and you’re going to acquire your pistols shortly. Do not mind the levitating vending machine. Go on past two keylocks on your left and right. The gun-toting guard at the end of the hallway will ignore you for the time being. Walk past him through the door on your right, into a bland corridor and through another door. The emporium you emerge in holds nothing of interest, but there is another disinterested guard behind the wafer-thin wall. You’re going to kill him shortly for the key he carries.
You now have the choice between three doors: a glass pushpull door immediately on your right (W), a glass sliding door further on, leading to a parking lot (S), and a VCI office-style double door behind a corner at the other end of the area (E). In your own best interest, go through this last door first to pick up your pistols (lying in front of a dresser). If you want Uzi ammo, position yourself a step away from the drawer and press action; the shelves hold Uzi ammo too, and there is also a small medipack lying on the floor in the pitch-black passage along the E wall.
Ornamental Key and Keycard
Now retrace your steps (ignore the other two doors) and kill the two guards who haven’t menaced you so far. One leaves an Ornamental Key, the other one, flares. Try to avoid the door that leads to the parking lot, or else the guy carrying the key may be caught in the collision sphere of the door, and you may not be able to pick up the key. (Now equipped with flares, you may consider going back up to the initial area to check whether something was hiding in the darkness. Don’t. Nothing was.) Shoot the 2-click grate back at the end of the first hallway and kill the baton-wielding guard that attacks you when you emerge from the crawlspace. Take his keycard when he’s dead. The keycard may be visible only as an indistinct flickering on the floor near the felled foe; lighting a flare helps you spot it. Take note of the door and the machine next to it: this is where you return for the final section of the level.
Half a Disc, One Euro, Other Half of Disc
Go back out into the hallway and use the Ornamental Key on the non-ornamental red-striped keylock on the W wall. Enter a bland corridor and kill the guard (baton) in the room at the end. Take one piece of a disc from the only shelf in this room that is interactive. Return to the hallway and go back to area with the three doors. This time, take the glass pushpull door, and run through another bland corridor. A guard (gun) will be waiting for you in another hallway behind the next glass door.
Get a one-Euro piece from behind one of the counters in the restaurant, and kill another guard (baton) that materializes when you pick it up. The next room (I’m guessing magazine vendor’s shop) holds nothing of interest, except a TR3-style savegame crystal (has the effect of a small medipack). Use a flare or your binoculars to spot it.
Continuing further down the hallway, you’ll soon cross a line where two more guards (baton, gun) will attack you. The guy with a gun drops a shotgun. Go through the door at the end of the hallway, kill yet another guard (baton), then use your Euro on the erratically placed Aldwych turnstyle. This triggers the second half-disc to appear behind you.
Now go all the way back to to the three-doors area and enter the parking lot. There is another savegame crystal hovering about here. Combine the two half-discs and use the item on the computery thingy next to the door. After entering the next room, turn right first to kill the dog that comes charging at you. Shatter the two crates if you must (they’re empty). Use your keycard on the card-swipe lock near the door in the SW corner. The next room is full of shelves, but, again, only one of them is interactive. It yields a Blue Disc, which you now have to insert, guess where, in that machine at the other end of the map. Two guards (batons) will be waiting for you in the parking lot, but other than that your backtracking will be uneventful. Admire the scenery, or count the floating vending machines.
Key to the Artefact Room
Once back in the room where you previously got the keycard, insert the Blue Disc, go through the door that opens, take a short dive (pick up the Uzi in a recess on the right-hand wall to make the dive more exciting), and climb up into an empty room. Follow the empty corridors (there is a climbable-looking texture in a dark corner, but it’s just a misplaced floor texture of the kind you may have spotted before). When you reach a dead end, there are flares on your left, and on your right, another (inactive) dresser with the Key to the Artefact Room lying in front of it. Return the way you came, all the way back, through the corridors, the water and the crawlspace, and back in the hallway where you dropped down from the ceiling, use the key on the keylock opposite the red-striped one.
Coda: The Artefact
There now follows another suite of bland corridors, this time enlivened by a dog that jumps at you from around a corner. Another one will charge at you when you enter the Artefact Room. Pick up The Artefact from the hole in the middle of a square of raised blocks. Don’t panic because of the dramatic music that swells up: it’s just one more guard (baton) that is going to go after you. Press the button at the back of those raised blocks and go through the door NE. With the music continuously thundering away, go through the last bland corridor and enter an outside area, where two more guards (baton, gun) will attack you. Kill them, or simply run past them, and jog along until you hit the finish trigger.