INTRODUCTION: Legend has it that if you drive the Dagger of Xian into your heart, you acquire the power of the dragon. Quite literally.
In ancient China, the Dragon Emperor was the holder of this power and with his army along side him, he was a force to be reckoned with. Thus empowered, he staked claim to the vast lands that are China.
However, his final battle ended in defeat. While people fell into submission all around him, the warrior monks of Tibet would not relent and courageously fought against him. Knowing the power of the dagger, they succeeded in removing it from the Dragon Emperor's heart, reducing him and his army to carnage. The dagger was returned to its resting place within the Great Wall and safely locked up for all time....
Now three parties hold the dagger close to their heart. And all for entirely different reasons.
Lara Croft, forever the adventurer, is the third party. On her travels, she will encounter the other two.... [Text from the TR2 game manual.]
Introductory Cinematic: This video shows the Dragon Emperor's defeat and the monks returning the dagger to its hiding place. (This cinematic, titled "Ancient," is also available on my YouTube channel.)
LEVEL 1: GREAT WALL
Starting Inventory: small medi pack, large medi pack, 2 flares, pistols (unlimited ammo), shotgun with 2 shells.
Kills: 23 Items: 4 (8 and grenade launcher)* plus 2 keys and 3 secrets
Cinematic: Lara jumps out of a helicopter and descends a rope, dropping the last few meters to land on the ground near the Great Wall of China. We see a pile of rocks, presumably a cave entrance, nearby. (This FMV sequence, titled "Modern," is also available here.)
OBJECTIVES: Climb onto the wall and find a way into the guardhouse. Survive a gauntlet of traps in order to reach the cavern beneath the wall. Then make your way across this cavern to the exit. Note that there are a few secrets here that lie off the main path.
CAVE WITH POOL: The level begins in a cave at the base of the wall. As you cross the cavern floor, the camera shifts to show the helicopter moving away. The building above is where you're headed next. If you're new to Tomb Raider and are having trouble negotiating this climb, this series of screenshots may help. You might also want to review the TR2 Controls page and practice a bit in the safety of the Croft Manor training level.
Begin by wading into the shallow pool. Climb out of the water on the rocks at the far left. (You can either pull up directly onto the ledge or go around behind the rock formation and climb up.) If you like you can turn and shoot at the tiger that emerges below. You don't have to kill it, though, since you're going up, not down. And tigers are endangered, you know. ;-)
Walk to the end of this ledge and then take a standing jump to the freestanding block ahead. Turn right and jump to the long, L-shaped ledge. Follow this ledge all the way to the other end and climb onto the raised block. Turn around and take a running jump to land on the thin ledge above the ledge on which Lara was just standing.
NOTE: If you aren't already familiar with the technique for setting up jumps, I highly recommend you try this now. Walk to the edge and angle Lara so she's facing where you want her to land. Then take a single hop back from the edge (Back + Jump). Press and hold Forward, then quickly press Jump, and Lara will run two steps and jump on the third, taking off right at the edge and landing on the other side of the gap.
This ledge is short. To the right, across a small gap, is a longer ledge that spans the wall you were facing when you first entered the cave. Jump across to this ledge and follow it to the end, where you'll find SECRET #1, the Silver Dragon. From up here you can kill a second tiger on the cave floor if you like.
Turn around, return to the other end of this ledge and jump back across the small gap. Then climb the blocks ahead until you can touch the side of the Great Wall. Look to the left to spot an opening leading inside the wall. Stand on the slightly sloped surface with the wall on Lara's right. Then take a running jump to land on the flat area just below the opening. (Again, use the setup technique described in the note above to make sure Lara doesn't fall and check the screenshots if necessary.) Climb up into the building.
FIRST GUARDHOUSE: Stand on the trapdoor in the corner to fall safely into the flooded room below. Swim/wade out of the pool and go to the top of the stairs. Take a running jump to grab the ledge near the switch. (This screenshot shows the spot. Again, use the setup-and-jump technique described above. Then press and hold Action while Lara is in the air to grab.) Pull up. Pull the switch to open the door.
POOL BELOW THE WALL: Go out onto the wall and kill 3 ravens that approach from the other building. If you draw your pistols and run forward, Lara will automatically lock onto the first target she sees. Fire until the raven drops out of the sky, hopping back if necessary to avoid it. Run forward and repeat the process with the other two birds.
Continue toward the second building. When you come to the crumbling area in the middle of the wall, slide down into the pool below. You'll find the GUARDHOUSE KEY in a small underwater cave. It's on the right if you're facing away from the wall. (screenshot) Swim into the tunnel, position Lara above the key and press Action to pick it up.
When you take the key, a tiger appears at the edge of the pool. If you like, you can tread water until the tiger runs off. Then climb out of the water and hit him with two shotgun blasts as he charges. Or, wait until he moves away, climb out of the water and jump onto the mossy blocks near the wall (i.e., on the right side of the pool when facing the wall, as shown in this screenshot). Then either shoot the tiger with pistols from the safety of the blocks or just ignore him and go on. Climb those mossy blocks and pull up onto the wall.
SECOND GUARDHOUSE: Open the door by approaching the lock and pressing Action to select the GUARDHOUSE KEY from inventory and Action again to use it. Enter and shoot 3 spiders. To grab onto the ladder and climb, approach it, press and hold Action to hang on and then press Forward to climb up. At the top, kill another spider and take the RUSTY KEY, which unlocks the exit door below. Go through this door into the next room. Three more spiders drop down from the ceiling and another spider comes in behind you. Shoot them all and take the shotgun shells and large medi pack from the skeleton. There's a big stone block in front of the exit. Move it out of the way (stand close, press and hold Action to grab the block, and then press Forward/Back to Push/Pull) and slide down the ramp to the next room.
FLOODED ROOM WITH FLYING BLADES: Don't try to swim across this shallow pool or Lara will be sliced to bits by razor-sharp flying disks. To avoid them, wade over to the left wall, position Lara facing and touching it. Then jump straight up to grab the horizontal crevice. Hold Action to hang and press Right to traverse all the way across the room, as the blades pass harmlessly below. When you reach the far corner of the room, release Action to drop into the water, roll underwater and swim beneath the surface to the opposite side of the room. Surface near the door and carefully pull up next to the nearest blade trap. (These screenshots show the sequence.)
GAUNTLET OF TRAPS: Ahead is a fiendish series of hazards. It's possible to navigate the entire sequence non-stop, but you don't have to do it that way to survive. This walkthrough describes both the fast and step-by-step methods. In either case, be sure to save your game before starting out, just in case. There's also a series of screenshots and a video walkthrough showing how it's done.
First comes a series of broken floor tiles with deadly spikes below. Run over these without pausing. Then keep running forward and to the right as you enter the wide tunnel ahead. The door to the hallway closes behind you, and a pair of rolling boulders rumbles down from behind you. If the cut scene showing the rolling boulders is disorienting, tap the Look button to get Lara's perspective back. Continue running, staying fairly close to the left wall as you go. Leap over the spikes to land on a slide, which will deposit you in a room with spiked walls encroaching.
Or, instead of trying to outrun the boulders, run into the tunnel and position Lara between them as they roll past. I've seen this done several ways but, for me, the easiest is to run down the tunnel and position Lara at the outer corner of the block where the right boulder stops. If she's standing exactly on the seam between the textures, Lara should be safe. You can pivot her 90 degrees in either direction, so both feet are on the seam, if you want to be extra careful. (Again, check the screenshots for the exact spot.) Once the boulders roll to a stop, save the game. Then take a running jump over the left boulder and spikes to land on the slope and slide into the room with the spiked walls.
There's a set of automatic pistol clips on the floor near the skeleton in the middle of the room. To get them without dying, make sure that when you jump over the spikes in the area above, Lara lands on the slope and doesn't overshoot it and just fall through the hole. Then, as she slides, don't press Action. She'll bang her face on the wall, but this will cause her to land in exactly the right spot in the room below. As soon as she touches the floor, side flip (press Jump + Left) to land directly on the clips. If you press and hold Action as you flip, Lara will pick up the clips as soon as she lands. While she's crouching to grab them, press and hold Forward + Action + Jump. Then, as soon as she's made the pick-up, she'll jump forward to grab the edge of the doorway. Keep holding Forward + Action, and she'll immediately pull up and step forward. The spikes should then close harmlessly behind her. If you're not fast enough or just don't care about getting all pick-ups, skip the clips and just fall into the room, flip to the left, run forward and climb into the doorway. Save the game again here.
Now, run down the next hallway, over the collapsing floor with spikes below, leaping over the 3 slicing blades as you run. Try to time the first jump so Lara takes off at the seam between the third and fourth collapsing tiles. Then you can just hold Forward and Jump as you run to clear the remaining blades in a smooth series of running jumps.
At the end of the hall, veer to the left. You can even angle Lara slightly to the left while she's in the air after jumping over the last blade. SECRET#2, the Jade Dragon is sitting on the floor in plain sight. Try to grab it before the spiked walls close in. Then quickly run across the next concealed spike pit into a long hallway with spikes all along one side.
As long as you stay close to the right wall, the spikes moving in from the left won't touch Lara. If you managed to get the jade dragon, go ahead and save again if you like. Then take your time getting to the end of the hall. Just watch out for another concealed spike pit about halfway along.
DO NOT SAVE if you missed the secret and want to try again. After the spiked walls have converged, you can no longer reach the treasure. You'll have to reload your save from before the slicing blades in order to try again.
At the end of this hallway, slide down into the next room. Depending on how Lara lands, either roll to face away from the encroaching spiked wall and run onto the collapsing floor tile, or side flip directly onto the collapsing tile. Fall through to land safely below. Whew!
Ahead you'll see two huge rolling blades. . . a good sign it's time to save the game once more. In front of them is a skeleton with a small medi pack. To grab it without getting hurt, walk toward it, taking care not to get too close. When Lara is about a half-step from the health pack, press Action to pick it up. Then wait for the blades to roll away and run carefully past them.
HUGE, DARK CAVERN: You emerge on a wide, mossy ledge overlooking a huge cavern. Explore this area to draw out a few small enemies. Two spiders appear near the doorway on the right (i.e., right when facing out toward the edge) and 3 more spiders will descend when you approach the zip line. They're hard to see against the mottled background, but if you keep Lara's pistols drawn, she'll spot them before you do.
CLIMBING DOWN INTO THE CAVERN: Don't ride the zip line yet, or you'll miss quite a bit of action. Instead, stand at the edge of the huge cavern, to the right of the zip line, and look down. You'll see a small, square ledge in the corner below. That's where you're headed. (The first of these screenshots shows the spot.) Turn around so Lara's back is toward the cavern, step back while holding Action to grab the edge. Then release Action to drop onto the ledge. This is called a safety drop. It allows you to descend carefully and can reduce the amount of damage Lara takes when falling.
Grab the crevice in front of you and traverse to the right until you can pull up into a small cave. Follow the tunnel to the left, picking up a box of flares on the way. At the end of the tunnel is a shaft with a ladder. Approach the ladder and hold Action to grab on. Climb to the right then down the long, dark shaft to the cavern floor below. To descend faster, release Action to let go and then quickly press it again to re-grab. When the ladder ends, drop to the floor.
NOTE: Since flares are limited at this early stage, you can try to conserve them by saving your game before entering dark areas. Then you can use as many flares as you like during your initial exploration. Once you know where you need to go, reload your save and proceed, using only as many flares you need. If you run out of flares, try turning up the brightness on your TV or monitor, or fire your regular pistols, which have unlimited ammo, to light the way.
Enter the cavern and advance to the right, just as far as the two skeletons. You'll start to hear a rumbling in the distance. If you played the original Tomb Raider, you can probably guess what's coming. So either prepare to fight the Tyrannosaurus rex, or run back to the tunnel opening for some cover and plug away at him from there. If you hold down the Action button, Lara will remain locked on to her target even if he moves out of sight. Then she can run forward to get his attention and hop back into the safety of the tunnel whenever he approaches. (screenshot)
When Mr. Rex is dead, go back into the cavern and run past the skeletons all the way to the far end. Enter the dark passageway and retrieve SECRET #3, the Gold Dragon. (screenshot) If you've gotten all three secrets, you'll also receive a bonus of a small medi pack, 2 pairs of grenades and the GRENADE LAUNCHER loaded with another 2 grenades. (You'll have other chances to acquire this weapon if you miss it here.)
A WORD OF CAUTION: I HIGHLY recommend saving most of your grenades for the last two levels of the game. There are a few enemies there that are quite easily dispatched using grenades and very hard to kill otherwise. Now, don't say I didn't warn you. ;)
By now you'll be hearing more stomping and roaring. That's Mrs. Rex come to mourn her poor departed husband. Put her out of her misery. Again, you can shoot from the safety of the tunnel or run out and confront her. If you still hear roaring after she's dead, don't panic. This is just some tigers up above, which you'll encounter soon. They can't harm you now, though.
Return to the other end of the cavern where you came in. Follow the tunnel to the low step. Climb up onto it, turn around, walk to the edge and then jump straight up to grab the ladder. Climb all the way to the top of the ladder (don't get off on the left where you climbed on) and you'll emerge near the zip line. Watch out for spiders here if you didn't shoot them all earlier.
ZIP LINE TO THE EXIT: Grab the zip line and hold on as you slide down to the opposite side of the cavern. Try to let go before the end of the ride to drop onto the green slope. Two tigers charge from the doorway ahead. If you want a safe spot from which to shoot them, turn around and run toward the right side of the drop-off. There's a small, square ledge protruding from the right wall, just beyond the edge. Jump onto it. The sloping block next to it will prevent the tigers from reaching Lara there. (These screenshots show the spot.)
Kill both big cats, then head through the doorway. You'll emerge near a big wooden door, which should look familiar if you watched the opening movie. There's nothing much you can do here, though the campfire will kill Lara if she gets too close. Approach the wooden door to finish the level.
Next, a cut scene, in which Lara has words with a member of the Fiamma Nera cult. Then it's off to scenic Venice. . . .
†UPDATE HISTORY: 8/1/10 - First major update since this walkthrough was created in 1998. Previous minor changes were not tracked.
5/5/12 - Added links to cinematics on YouTube.
12/1/13 - Added "objectives" section for each level.
*Under found items, the number in parentheses shows total including extra items granted for finding all three secrets.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: I am eternally grateful to the participants in the alt.games.tombraider newsgroup. Without their help and encouragement, this walkthrough would not exist. Thanks also to Cath, Jeff, Geoff and Ted, who contributed tips for this level.
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