Stella's Tomb Raider 3 Walkthrough - Windows, Macintosh, PlayStation, PSP & Vita

ANTARCTICA LEVEL 4:  METEORITE CAVERN

Updated: 12/1/14()

Kills:Items: 3, plus the 4 METEORITE ARTIFACTS  Save/power-up crystals: none  Secrets: none

*Each time you stun Willard the game counts it as a kill, so the end-of-level stats screen will show 11 or more kills, even though there are only 7 enemies.

Objectives: Reclaim the four artifacts, defeat Willard, climb out of the cavern, and hijack a helicopter to get off this giant iceberg.

FINAL BOSS - MUTANT WILLARD: So you're trapped in a huge, round room with narrow, sloped walkways above searing lava. Your former employer has turned into a huge insectoid mutant that shoots deadly energy bolts, and no matter how hard you hit him he just won't die. What's a girl to do?!

First, it's important to understand the layout of the room and how Willard's different attacks work. One blast of blue energy is all it takes to kill Lara, and he NEVER misses. So, above all, don't let him get off that one shot. He won't fire as long as Lara stays within the ring around the central crater. That is, if she steps across the white markings on the floor at the entrance to each "spoke," he will move in closer and then zap her. However, when she stays inside the center ring, he will pursue her, and if he catches her he'll kill her by throwing her down and stabbing her with his sharp front feet. He cannot be destroyed until you have retrieved all four artifacts from the ends of each spoke, but he can be stunned temporarily, giving you a brief opportunity to move along the spokes without getting blasted.

One strategy that works fairly quickly and consistently requires 50 Desert Eagle rounds—perhaps a few more if any of your shots miss. These screenshots and this short video walkthrough show what to do.

As soon as the level starts, draw the Desert Eagle, step forward across the white line on the floor, and start firing as Willard approaches. (Remember, he only hurls blue energy when Lara is standing beyond the white line in one of the spokes not in the ring around the central crater.) If you don't hesitate, you should be able to get off 10 shots before Willard reaches Lara. This is enough to stun him temporarily. Don't wait for him to collapse, just trust that the 10 shots will do it. Holster your gun and sprint around the circle away from him and outward along the next spoke. You'll hear a "thump" and see the screen shudder slightly as he falls down behind you.

NOTE: Do not sprint down the nearest spoke. Go for the next one in the circle; otherwise when Willard gets up again, he'll be too close to Lara, making it harder to get away.

Your stamina bar should just run out as you near the ARTIFACT. If not, release sprint as you approach so you don't overshoot the artifact. Stop and press Action to pick it up. Then immediately roll, draw your gun, and sprint back along the spoke and across the white line. Again, be sure to ease off the sprint button as you reach the center ring so Lara doesn't slide into the crater full of blue liquid.

NOTE: If you like, you can save in the middle of the fight, but I recommend doing so only after you've retrieved each of the artifacts. If Willard is just getting up as you're approaching the center, then save. Be sure to use a new slot in case you've misjudged. If he's powering up to fire, then it's already too late. Reload and try again.

As you near the white line, Lara should target Willard again. Fire 10 more rounds into him as he moves toward you. This will stun him once more. Now turn and sprint to the next spoke and retrieve the artifact there the same way. Repeat this twice more to get the remaining artifacts.

Once you have all FOUR ARTIFACTS, the huge meteor sinks back into the crater and Willard is now vulnerable. Sprint back to the center ring and fire 10 more Desert Eagle rounds into him to finish him off. (Again, check the screenshots and video for visuals.)

If you don't have enough Desert Eagle ammo to use the first strategy, you can still defeat Willard, but you'll need to keep him moving a bit longer in order to stun him. When the level starts, step across the white line and fire a few shots. Then run around the circle away from Willard. He will pursue but he won't blast Lara as long as she stays inside the white lines.

Run or take running jumps—don't sprint since it's too hard to steer—around the inner circle until you've gotten two or three spokes ahead of him. Stop near one of the spokes, making sure to stay inside the white line. Roll and shoot at Willard some more as he approaches. When he gets about a quarter of the circle away from Lara, start running again. Keep repeating this—run to the second or third spoke ahead, roll, then fire—until you stun him. Then roll and sprint down the nearest spoke to get the ARTIFACT there. Roll, sprint back along the spoke and across the white line, and repeat.

It takes about 4 rockets, 5 grenades, around 50 MP5 rounds, etc., to stun him. So just keep plugging away as long as it takes. When you have all four artifacts, sprint back to the center and finish him off. This strategy is also shown in the video walkthrough.

POTENTIAL USEFUL BUGS: Apparently in some cases it's possible to destroy Willard before getting the artifacts. To do this stun him once, as described above, position Lara on the opposite side of the inner ring from him, and then continue shooting him while he's down and as he begins to wake up. This causes him to explode prematurely. I have not been able to reproduce this in the PC game. In fact, Lara will not even target him while he's stunned, but several players suggested this, so I'm including it here in case it may be helpful to some of you.

EXPERT CHALLENGE: It's possible to escape from the cavern without killing Willard. See the footnote below for details.

CLIMBING OUT OF THE CAVERN: When Willard finally explodes, save the game. Then approach the walkway flanked by 2 ladders. Take a running jump from the angled edge of the walkway to grab either of the ladders. Climb up until Lara's hands are level with the ledge. Climb sideways toward the ledge as far as you can and pull up. (Or, climb past the top of the ladder onto the block with the carved face and backflip onto the arm of the statue behind. Then take a running jump to land on the ledge just beside the carved block.) The steep slope ahead is where Lara entered during the last cut scene. Go through the snowy passageway on the left to emerge on a ledge above the crater. (screenshots)

Turn left and jump straight up to grab the handholds on the ceiling. Monkey swing across to the stone ledge ahead. Move to the end of this ledge, turn right, and take a running jump across the gap to the stone ledge above the crater. Walk to the right edge, jump straight up to grab the ledge above, and pull up. Turn around and look up to the rim of the cavern to spot a metal block with a red light on its side. Angle Lara toward this block. Hop back. Then take a running jump to land on the stone ledge ahead. Climb up out of the cavern onto the snow. Turn left and head past the metal block into the snowy tunnel. Slide down the slope and continue through the passageway into the compound. (screenshots)

GUARDED COMPOUND AND HELIPAD: When you emerge into the open, quickly take out 2 armed men in snowsuits, one on the left and one straight ahead. The one on the left drops a large medi pack, the one ahead Desert Eagle clips. Be careful when you approach the body with the clips; there's a guy with a flamethrower lurking between the first two buildings. When you see the glow on the wall, backflip away. Then quickly shoot the man before he can set Lara on fire. He also drops some Desert Eagle clips. (screenshots)

Two more enemies—one with a gun, another with a flamethrower—approach from the third building. The little gate made of chain link fencing does not slow them down; they just pass right through it. Take them out quickly. When you move past the open gate and approach the door near the button, the final enemy in the level emerges. If you don't care about getting all the kills, you can just avoid this area. The button doesn't do anything since the door is already open, and there's nothing inside. (screenshots)

Go through the alley near the open gate and around the corner to a fenced-in helipad. The gate opens once the helicopter lands. Approach the helicopter to finish the level. (screenshots)

After a brief but action-packed FMV sequence, in which Lara steals the helicopter and makes a harrowing escape, the credits roll, followed by the final statistics screen. There is no dialogue in this movie, but there's a more detailed account of the action on the cinematics page, and you can re-watch the movie on my YouTube channel.

BONUS LEVEL: If you've found at least 59 secrets, when you dismiss the final stats, the bonus level, All Hallows, will load automatically. If you missed a few secrets but want to play this level anyway, download a PC/Mac save file or use the PlayStation all items/secrets cheat.

BUG WARNING: If you haven't unlocked the bonus level, you will instead return to the main menu. If start a new game now, you'll have all weapons and unlimited ammo, but you might first want to review the bug warning about "Location Looping Second Time Through."

[Previous Level]

[TR3 Level Menu]

[Main TR3 Page]

[Bonus Level: All Hallows]

GOG.com - Classic Tomb Raider

EXPERT CHALLENGE - METEORITE CAVERN WITH NO KILLS: It's possible to escape from the cavern without killing Willard; however, if you don't pick up the 4 artifacts and drop the meteor into the crater, the gate between the green buildings at the end of the level will not open. So you can't finish the level. Check out xRikux89's YouTube video to see it done. To complete the level with no kills, you can stun Willard and collect the 4 artifacts causing the meteor to drop into the crater. This also opens the gate that would normally remain closed. If you then escape from Willard as Riku demonstrates, when you reach the compound the gate will be open so you can finish. The stats screen will count one "kill" for each time you stunned Willard, but you will not have made any actual kills. Thanks to Patrick Shannon for sharing this discovery on tombraiderforums.com. In that same forum thread veratinum shows how to use an interesting glitch in the PC game to escape without stunning Willard at all. Although I don't know all of their identities, I applaud the speedrunners and bug detectives who contributed to this discovery.

UPDATE HISTORY: 12/1/14 - First major update since this walkthrough was created in 1998. This revision includes many new screenshots as well as various other corrections and clarifications.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Special thanks to participants in the alt.games.tombraider newsgroup, without whom some parts of this walkthrough could not have been written. Thanks also to Arvo 29, Chris B., GreenApple968, Kuerass, Oliver, Sajid, and Vesa for their help on this level.

WAS THIS WALKTHROUGH HELPFUL? If not, I apologize and invite you to contact me with any questions. If you need help right away, I recommend the Square Enix Tomb Raider Forum or any of the other message boards listed at tombraiders.net/stella/community.html. If this site was useful, please consider supporting it financially or in other ways. For details, visit tombraiders.net/stella/support.html. As always, I welcome your corrections/suggestions. Thank you!

Stella's Tomb Raider Site: tombraiders.net.