Throughout this walkthrough I use abbreviations for north (N), northeast (NE), southwest (SW), etc., to give directions. There is no compass in this game, but just to make it easier to navigate on screen, we'll assume north is up, west is left, east is right and south is down. Outdoor levels include a map screen in the Inventory in case you get lost. Also, I played using the medium combat difficulty setting so your experiences may differ slightly on a different setting.
*Although the PC, console and iOS versions are similar, there are significant differences in a few areas. This walkthrough covers the original version but may also be helpful to iOS users.
Level 14: Xolotl's Stronghold (Single Player)
For the 2-player co-op walkthrough, please see here.
Score Challenges: 80K, 120K, 140K (Bonus: Spear of Light)
Reward Challenge: Defeat Xolotl in 10:00 or less (Spear of Darkness)
A complete list of artifacts, relics and weapons can be found here.
This level is basically one long boss fight over several areas. To get started, jump down onto the spike field to the NW.
BUG NOTE: PC players may encounter a glitch in this first section, in which dying on the spikes causes an infinite death loop. Fortunately there are a couple of solutions: (1) Press Alt + Tab (or the Windows key) to minimize the game while it's reloading, then maximize it again. You may need to try this more than once, but it usually kills the bug so the game reloads with Lara alive. (2) Run Fraps and press the hotkey to record video while the game is reloading. (These aren't my discoveries, but both worked for me. Thanks to Catherine B. for suggesting them.)
SPIKE FIELD AND GIANT ROLLER - PHASE ONE: The spikes are retracted at first, but after a brief cut scene, in which Xolotl taunts Lara further and hurls some magic lightning at the floor, it starts to light up disco style. Wherever the flashing circles appear, spikes will soon pop up. So quickly move out of the way. (screenshots)
When you see his health bar at the bottom of the screen, Xolotl soon appears on the circular platform on the NE side of the spike field. Shoot him with a powerful, easy-to-aim weapon like the golden shotgun if you've unlocked it. Meanwhile, try to avoid the spikes and Xolotl's energy bolts.
If you can manage to deplete his health bar quickly, he'll return to his perch above the spiked roller and the next phase of the fight will start. Otherwise, once he's taken a few hits, Xolotl will leap from the first platform to the one on opposite side of the room. Follow him as he moves back and forth between platforms and continue firing. Avoid the spikes and pick up the health and ammo scattered around the floor as needed.
PHASE TWO - SPIKES AND SPIDERS: Eventually Xolotl will run out of health and jump back to the high ledge where he started. When he yells, "Face your end!" get ready for an onslaught of spiders. The first swarm emerges from beneath the giant spiked roller. The high powered flamethrower—or even the regular flamethrower—works well here. Continue avoiding the pop-up spikes as you toast several waves of large and giant spiders. (This page of screenshots includes details.)
PHASE TWO - FAST AND RANDOM SPIKES: When Xolotl taunts Lara again, the spikes begin to extend and retract more quickly. Do your best to run/roll away from the squares that light up so Lara doesn't get skewered. There's no need to run around frantically, though. In fact, it's better if you don't. Just stay on a safe square until it lights up. Then quickly move onto an adjacent square that isn't lit up. You only have to keep this up for about 30 seconds. So keep your head and you'll manage. (screenshots)
PHASE FOUR - FINAL SPIKE SEQUENCE: Xolotl then returns with full health to the round platform to the NE. You'll have a little advance warning since his health bar appears on the screen before he does. Try to meet him as he lands and blast him with your most powerful weapon. If you can deplete his health bar quickly, he won't even have a chance to attack.
If you don't manage to defeat Xolotl right away, he'll start shooting magical energy and summoning more spiders. The spiders are annoying but they do drop plenty of ammo. So deal with them as they appear. Then turn your attention back to the boss. During this sequence, the spikes rise in large sections with plenty of warning ahead of time. So when you see the lights on the floor, just move into a clear area and carry on. Follow Xolotl from one platform to the other, shooting until you're able to reduce his health bar to zero once more. (screenshots)
PHASE FIVE - SPIKED ROLLER: This time, he leaps onto the high platform and blasts the huge spiked roller off its axle. Run to the middle of the room, drop a bomb and move back so the bomb is between Lara and the roller. Wait for the roller to move over the bomb. Then detonate it to blast the roller up into the air. Then quickly run/roll under the roller to the NE. (screenshots)
Afterward the spiked floor is safe. So you can pick up any gems, health or ammo you may have missed before. Use the HEALTH SHRINE and AMMO CACHE on the landing if necessary and then head down the broken staircase to the NW. Continue NE across the crumbling floor to the next area.
ROOM WITH POISON PODS: This large room is full of exploding pods like the ones in the Toxic Swamp level. There are health and ammo pickups scattered about in case you need them, and more supplies drop as you destroy enemies. The exit to the NE is blocked by flames for now.
Soon after you enter, Xolotl reappears. He hits the ground with a powerful pounding attack, but if you keep moving and watch for the telltale black smoke on the floor, you can quickly roll out of the way before he lands. Then get off as many shots as possible before he jumps up again. Repeat this process until you've depleted his health bar once more. He'll then disappear for a while as various other enemies spawn, including lizards, skeletons and a giant swamp ogre. Try to avoid the pods or, better yet, use them against the enemies as you fight. (screenshots)
NOTE: If you're going for the score challenge, avoid killing the ogre or damaging Xolotl during the second and third phases of the fight. Then the lizards and skeletons will continue to spawn. Try to rack up as many points as you can before moving on.
Shortly after you destroy the ogre, Xolotl returns with more ground pounding and energy bolts. Again, as soon as you see the black smoke, roll away and start shooting.
If you run out of ammo, or just want to try something different, you can position Lara near a cluster of pods. Wait for the black smoke that indicates Xolotl is about to drop down and then quickly roll out of the way. When he lands, he'll trigger the pods, damaging himself without your having to fire a shot. (The previous screenshot sequence also shows this tactic. Thanks to Vasu for suggesting it.)
The next time you take away Xolotl's health, the fire blocking the exit goes out and he flees to the next area. Follow him into an anteroom with another HEALTH SHRINE and AMMO CACHE. Then proceed down the broken staircase to the final combat arena.
SQUARE PLATFORM IN LAVA POOL: When you land on this platform, a short cut scene shows Xolotl taunting Lara and then leaping away. Keep moving around the platform to avoid the falling lava boulders. Soon Xolotl drops back onto the small ledge to the NW. Move to the top of the steps just across from him and start firing. If you use a powerful weapon like the golden shotgun, you may be able to take his health down to zero before he can retaliate. Otherwise, he'll begin firing blue energy blasts. Try to avoid them and the lava boulders falling from above and shooting out of the lava pool. The steps on the SE side of the platform seem to be safe from most of the major lava boulder barrages. Then, when things settle down, look for the boss on his ledge once more and continue shooting. (screenshots)
After you've taken his health down once more, he'll retreat to the high ledge on the right for a while and summon several fire golems to fight for him. Shoot the golems as they emerge from the lava pool to the NE and NW. There are only a few health packs and boxes of ammo in the corners, so try to conserve them. Fortunately the golems also drop health and/or ammo when they're destroyed.
When you've killed all the golems, more lava boulders fall from above. Keep moving to stay ahead of them.
After a bit of this, Xolotl's health bar reappears on screen. Then he drops down onto the square platform with Lara. As soon as he lands try to do as much damage as you can. Using a more powerful weapon like the golden shotgun will put an end to him fairly quickly. Otherwise, when he's near death, he'll kneel in the middle of the arena and begin to emit fast energy blasts in all directions. Continue firing until he falls and the final cut scene kicks in.
When you beat the game, you'll receive 2 in-game outfits: Legend and Heavy Jungle. Xbox 360 players will also get a pair of avatar outfits—Heavy Jungle for female avatars and mercenary for male avatars. You'll also unlock the Vanquish Xolotl achievement/trophy. Way to go!
Now don't forget to watch the credits. These guys and gals worked hard to give us a good time. :D
†UPDATE HISTORY: 9/14/10 - First draft walkthrough posted.
10/10/10 - Added note about infinite death loop in the spiked floor section, along with possible fixes. Thanks to Chris B. and Eldin for bringing the glitch to my attention, and to Catherine B. for solving it.
11/14/10 - Added screenshots and refined the strategy for each section. Thanks to Vasu for the idea of using the poison pods to damage Xolotl.
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