IMPORTANT: If you haven't already done so, you may want to review the INTRODUCTORY NOTES on the storyline, controls, treasures/relics and saving/checkpoints. These appear at the start of the PROLOGUE walkthrough.
As always, I highly recommend that you do not rely exclusively on the autosave. Instead be sure to save manually at least once or twice each level. Then, if you miss something or run into a bug, you can reload rather than having to replay the entire level. Many common bugs are documented in this walkthrough. They are in hot pink text, like this, so they're easy to spot. I have also included an overview of major bugs without game spoilers. However, not every potential problem is covered here. So be safe; save often in new slots. In case you need them, Underworld Save Files for PC, PS3 and Wii are available.
SEVERAL MAJOR BUGS MAY OCCUR IN THIS LEVEL. These are noted in the walkthrough below, as well as on the Spoiler-Free Bug Notes page.
LEVEL 4: SOUTHERN MEXICO - PART 3: THE MIDGARD SERPENT
Health Items: 14 Treasures: 20 Relics: 0 Keys/Puzzle Items: 5
ENTRANCE ROOM WITH SPIKE PIT: Along with this room's main feature, the large pit lined with spikes that almost killed Lara in the cut scene, there's a switch near one wall. This is missing a part, though, and doesn't work yet.
LONG HALLWAY WITH THREE PITS: Get back on the motorcycle and follow the skull-decorated hallway. At the bottom of the first flight of stairs, continue along the hallway as it turns left, right, right again and then left. At this fourth turning there's a clay jar containing a treasure (29/50). Take it and continue down the next flight of stairs.
The passage now continues straight ahead for quite a distance, but there are several spike pits you have to jump using the motorcycle. (There are some poles sticking out of the wall between the first and second pits, but you can ignore these for now.)
BUG NOTE: If you come to the first pit only to find the ramps collapsed, preventing you from jumping across, you've encountered the infamous Midgard Serpent bug. For details and possible solutions, see the footnote at the end of the walkthrough.
After jumping the first two pits, slam on the brakes to stop short of the third pit, where the ramps are collapsed. Hop off the bike and pick up the health potion.
Then, to raise the ramps on the third pit, first grab the lower of the two horizontal poles. Climb in toward the wall and turn to face the left side of the alcove. Jump straight up to stand on top of the pole. Then jump toward the left side support column and quickly jump again to leap off the column and grab the pole above. Use the upper pole to swing, jump and grab the handhold on the right side support column. Lara's weight pulls part of the column down, raising the ramps above the pit. (These screenshots show the whole sequence.)
Three enormous spiders crawl up out of the pits. You can probably shoot them one-handed while hanging from the column, though you may need to climb around to the front of the column, depending on where the spiders are. They will try and climb the wall to reach Lara, though. Shoot to knock them off the wall and then riddle each one with bullets as quickly as you can. If you do fight them on the floor, stay away from the edges.
When the coast is clear, position the motorcycle facing the ramp as far back as you can get without backing into the other pit. Again, use the speed burst—hold the brake, rev the engine and then release the brake—to race up the ramp and clear the third pit.
Continue along the passage as it turns to the right. At the next left turn pick up another health potion from the floor on the left, then a third health potion on the right at the bottom of the next flight of stairs. Drive down the stairs to the large room below.
Cut Scene: Lara walks to the center of the room and checks out the seated statues. She speaks into her camera's audio recorder: "The lords of Xibalba were said to kill visitors for sport by sending them into devious trap rooms." Hmm. . . sounds right up her alley.
BUG NOTE: There is another potential bug in this room involving the wooden clubs mentioned below in the section on OPENING THE FOUR CORNER ROOMS. A few players have found that after picking up one of these clubs and then dropping it in another location, the club then becomes stuck in the floor or otherwise unusable. After reloading the game, the club is missing entirely, so the level cannot be completed. I highly recommend not picking up either club until you are ready to use it and then doing so immediately. If you've already encountered this bug, the solutions are the same as the ones for the bug at the start of the level. They are detailed in the footnote below.
LORDS OF XIBALBA STATUE ROOM: After the cut scene the door where you entered closes, trapping Lara in this room with 2 giant spiders, as well as several small ones. When fighting giant spiders in a safe, open area, try and keep your distance while firing constantly. This is also a good spot to use the enemy vault or adrenaline headshot maneuvers (covered on the Underworld Controls page). The shotgun works well, but also consider using the spear gun here. It's surprisingly effective at penetrating tough chitin. When dealing with the small spiders, switch back to pistols to conserve ammo.
Before going on, make a few pick-ups around the room: There's a health potion and a breakable jar with a treasure (30/50) just to the left of the entrance (i.e., left when Lara's back is to the door).
You can also obtain another treasure (31/50) by climbing to the alcove directly above the entrance. (These screenshots show the sequence.) Grab the small stone handhold to the left of the door. Jump straight up twice to grab the long, narrow ledge that runs along above the door. Climb to the right, jumping past the broken part of the ledge just above the door. Continue climbing to the right and then jump up to grab another small handhold above. Climb to the left and jump to grab the edge of the alcove. Pull up and take the treasure. Then hang from the edge of the opening, but don't drop down directly. It's too far. Either climb back down the way you came or, if you don't mind taking a little damage, drop from the lower handhold on the right side of the door.
To the right of the staircase on the opposite side of the room, there's a health potion on the floor and 2 more health potions on the low ledge just to the right of the previous potion.
OPENING THE FOUR CORNER ROOMS: Notice the 4 colored niches on the floor at the center of the room and the 2 square pressure pads near the exit. These are all part of the mechanism that opens the exit. You'll need a key for each of the niches, and in order to get those keys, you'll need to open the 4 doors at the corners of this room.
Pick up the gold-tipped club lying at the feet of one of the seated statues. Stand in front of the statue and press Interact to place the club in its hand. Then go to the top of the long staircase that leads up to the door in the far right corner. (It's the only staircase that's completely intact.) Here you'll find a second club. Return downstairs and place the club in the hand of the other statue that's missing one. When you do this, an octagonal, stone table rises up in the center of the room; the 4 statues seated with their backs to the corners lay their clubs across their laps; and the bands securing these statues to their bases retract, enabling them to rotate.
Go to each of the 4 movable statues in turn, stand in front of it, grab its club and rotate the statue to face away from the stone table and toward one of the corner doors. Each time you do this, a door opens. Open all four doors now to save backtracking later.
It doesn't matter which door you enter first. You'll need to go through all four eventually. Here is one possible sequence:
RATTLING HOUSE KEY: Climb the intact stone staircase (i.e., the one in the far right corner where you found the club earlier) and enter the room at the top. Six sets of enormous pounding blocks stand between you and the artifact on the pedestal ahead. Getting through them from this side is not too hard. Just stand at the center of the aisle, where the two sets of blocks meet, as close to the first set of blocks as possible. When they begin to open, sprint forward and you should make it through before they start to close again.
Take the RATTLING HOUSE KEY from the pedestal and turn around to face the blocks. Several giant spiders enter after you take the key, but they are quickly squashed by the pounding blocks.
To get out of the rattling house, stand close to where the first set of blocks meet, facing straight down the aisle between them. When they open, grapple the shiny metal ring on the stone block above the doorway. Pull it down and drag it along the aisle between the pounding blocks. If the cable comes loose, just wait for the pounding blocks to open and grapple the ring once more. Keep tugging the block toward Lara until it stops in the groove between the nearest set of pounding blocks. (These screenshots show the sequence.)
Now climb on top of the block with the ring. As long as you don't step off the edge, it's safe. Stand at the right side of the block facing left. Just as the pounding blocks are about to come together, chimney jump between the blocks, so Lara grabs the top of the block on the right. Pull up to stand on top of the moving block and make your way toward the right wall. Then cross over the tops of the blocks.
When you reach the farthest block, walk to the end of it but don't drop down. Wait for it to move toward the center of the room and then jump into the alcove with the treasure (32/50). Pick it up. Then step to the edge of the alcove. As soon as the blocks start to separate, drop down and run out of the way. Follow the short, dark passageway to the exit.
When you emerge in the LORDS OF XIBALBA STATUE ROOM, another giant spider and several small spiders are waiting. You can probably kill most of them from the stairs. If not, go down to the floor to take care of them, or they may bother you during the next climb.
CLIMBING TO THE FLAME HOUSE: From the top of the long staircase outside the RATTLING HOUSE, facing downstairs, turn left and step out onto the small ledge with the carved animal head. Jump from there to grab the yellowish metal beam ahead. (These screenshots show where to go.) Pull up, walk to the end of the beam and jump to grab the narrow ledge on the square pillar ahead. Climb around to the left side and pull up. Jump to grab the narrow column ahead. Then point the camera toward the rough stone handholds on the nearby wall and jump to grab them.
Climb these handholds around the corner and down to the right. Jump back to grab the nearer of the two horizontal poles. Swing and jump to the second pole. Climb in toward the wall if necessary and then jump up to squat on top of the pole. Jump forward to grab the narrow corner ledge ahead. Climb around to the right and jump to grab the next skinny column. Point the camera toward the narrow ledge on the square pillar ahead and jump to grab it. Traverse around to the opposite side of the pillar and then pull up.
While standing on the narrow ledge, jump straight up to grab the horizontal pole with the hooked end. Climb hand over hand to the end of the pole. On the PS3 or Xbox, continue pressing the left stick in the same direction to climb across the gap onto the next pole. On the PC you must climb to the end of the first pole and then keep pressing the same direction key until Lara's legs swing out into the gap. Then jump to grab the next pole, although sometimes positioning the camera directly behind her will make her climb smoothly between poles. Climb in toward the column and drop to grab the narrow ledge below. Climb around to the left and pull up onto the narrow ledge. Jump from there to the yellowish metal beam jutting out of the wall, then from the beam to the doorway.
Break the clay jars on the threshold and get 2 treasures (33 and 34/50). Just inside the room, before the traps, there's another breakable jar, which also holds a treasure (35/50).
FLAME HOUSE KEY: Observe the various flame jets in order to suss out the safe path to the key. (Refer to these screenshots if necessary.) Stand to the right of center facing the traps. When the first two flames emanating from the gargoyle heads on the side walls go out, run forward to the safe spot between the gargoyle on the floor and the right wall. Jump straight up to grab the pole above.
If you are collecting treasures, then turn around so Lara is hanging facing the entrance. (Otherwise, continue facing the key and skip the rest of this paragraph.) Jump up to stand on the pole and then jump forward to grab the next pole. Climb hand over hand to the right end of the second pole and then pull up to stand on it. Jump forward to grab the edge of the alcove with the treasure (36/50). When you have it, hang from the edge and drop to the floor.
Return past the first flame jet on the right to the first horizontal pole. Jump up to crouch on top of the pole. When the flame jet from the gargoyle on the floor goes out, quickly walk to the left end of the pole. Lara will be safe from the flame here.
Now watch the flame on the floor beneath the next pole. When it begins to subside, jump to grab the pole, climb to the right (i.e., away from the wall and the flame jet) and pull up onto the pole. Turn toward the wall. (Lara should stand up on the pole when you tap the direction key or press on the stick.) Wait for the flame below to go out. Then quickly walk along the pole until Lara is standing beneath the shorter pole above. Jump up to grab it.
Turn toward the key, swing and jump to the next pole and then to the platform ahead. Take the FLAME HOUSE KEY.
To get back to the entrance, begin by grabbing the first pole on the left (i.e., left when Lara is facing the entrance), pull up onto it and jump up to grab the longer pole directly above. (These screenshots show where to go.) Climb hand over hand to the right, onto the next pole and on toward the wall. Turn so Lara is hanging facing the entrance. Wait for the upper flame jet on the right wall to go out, then swing, jump and grab the short pole beyond it. Lara can hang from the short pole safely even when the flame jet below is on. Begin swinging around the short pole and watch the second flame just above floor level on the right wall. As it begins to go out, jump to land just in front of it. If it's still off, run past it to safety. If the flame comes back on, just stand still where Lara landed and she should be safe. Then, when the flame goes out, run past the gargoyle to the entrance.
Follow the short hallway back to the STATUE ROOM and drop down to the floor. You may encounter a few small spiders here, though they may be stragglers from past encounters.
CLIMBING TO THE JAGUAR HOUSE: Cross the room to the wall opposite the entrance. Grapple the metal ring on the ledge above and climb up. Grab the health potion at the right end of the ledge. Then go to the left end and turn to face out toward the open room. Jump to grab the flat top of the fallen column ahead. Pull up and turn right.
Slide down the fallen column and jump just before the end to grab the edge of the doorsill ahead. Pull up and smash one of the clay jars on the left to obtain a treasure (37/50).
JAGUAR HOUSE KEY: Follow the dark passageway to a jumble of fallen rocks. Roll through the low opening. There's a treasure (38/50) on the floor just to the right. Along with the JAGUAR HOUSE KEY on the pedestal, you'll find a health potion and another treasure (39/50) in a jar on the platform.
If you're not treasure hunting, simply go out the way you came. But if you want the next treasure, climb the rocks to the right of the low opening. Position Lara at the middle of the ledge, near the back edge, so she'll have the longest possible run-up to the edge (as shown in this screenshot). The name of the house should give you a clue as to what's required here. Sprint, like a jaguar, and jump to grab the edge of the alcove containing the treasure (40/50). Note that a normal running jump won't work here; you must sprint (Forward + Shift on the PC, L1 on the PS3, LB on the Xbox 360). Once you have the treasure, drop down to the floor and exit the way you came.
A giant spider meets you on the way out, and there are 2 more giant spiders and a number of small spiders out in the STATUE ROOM. Deal with them as you have the others and then head for the final challenge.
CLIMBING TO THE RAZOR HOUSE: After exiting the JAGUAR HOUSE, go to the right and step up onto the low platform with four tall columns adorned with skeletons. (This ledge is on the left side of the LORDS OF XIBALBA STATUE ROOM if Lara's back is toward the entrance.) At the back of this low platform is a tall, narrow alcove. Chimney jump up the sides of the alcove to grab the stone ledge about halfway up on the right. (The first of these screenshots shows the spot.)
Pull up to stand on this ledge and then jump across the alcove to grab the nubby stone handholds on the other side. Climb upward until Lara is hanging from the narrow, corner handhold. Climb around the corner, but don't go all the way to the left. Instead, jump to the right across the alcove to grab the rough handholds on the wall beyond. Climb down and to the right as far as you can and then jump past the area with no handholds to grab the perpendicular wall to the right. Climb diagonally upward and to the right as far as possible. Then jump to the right to grab the skinny column and climb to the top.
To reach the treasure (41/50) on the nearby ledge either cling to the top of the column, jump to grab the edge of the ledge and pull up, or perch on top of the column, turn toward the wall to the left of the treasure and then jump (as shown in this screenshot). Lara will hit the wall and drop safely onto the ledge. If you perch on the column and jump straight toward the treasure, Lara will overshoot the ledge and fall.
Once you have the treasure, jump back to the skinny column and perch on top of it. Point the camera toward the next narrow, skeleton-adorned column and jump to grab it. Climb up a little if necessary and then jump to grab the third column. Climb down toward the spikes a bit and then jump from this column to perch on top of the fourth one. Finally jump to grab the narrow ledge running around the square pillar ahead.
NOTE: If you're having trouble jumping from column to column, understand that it doesn't matter how Lara is positioned on the column where you start. The important thing is to point the camera toward the column you want her to grab. Then just press Forward + Jump and she'll do it correctly.
Once Lara is hanging from the narrow ledge on the square pillar, traverse around to the other side and pull up. Jump straight up to grab the horizontal pole above. Climb hand over hand toward the hooked end of the pole. Continue climbing across onto the next pole (Xbox or PS3) or swing and jump to grab the next pole (PC). Then climb in toward the next column and drop to grab the narrow ledge below.
Traverse around the corner to the right and pull up. Jump to the yellowish metal beam jutting out of the wall. Then jump from the beam to the doorway. Go inside and follow the dark corridor to the trap room.
RAZOR HOUSE KEY: This next bit looks much more difficult than it is. (These screenshots show the sequence.) To get past the series of spear and blade traps, start near the middle of the room a few steps back from the first set of spears. When they retract, run forward past the groove where they emerge from the floor. Once you've cleared the groove, stop moving forward and crouch. At this point, a situational adrenaline sequence begins and a set of slicing blades whips back and forth above Lara's head. The camera shifts to one side, making it difficult to maneuver, but it's OK. As long as you stay low, there's no need to move at all. The blades won't touch Lara.
When the blades stop moving, you'll have control of the camera again, and you can stand up and walk forward toward the second set of spears. When they go up, run under them, stop and crouch again. As time slows and a second set of blades does the slice-and-dice thing above Lara's head, just stay still and low. When the blades stop moving, stand up, walk around them and approach the third set of spears. Wait for them to retract and run through.
BUG NOTE: It's possible to get past the first set of spears and then accidentally jump back toward the entrance (e.g., when the camera goes wiggy due to the adrenaline sequence). Since the spears remain extended once you pass them, you're then stuck outside, unable to get the key. If this happens, do not go back outside, since this can trigger another checkpoint. Just save the game manually and reload. This will place Lara at the entrance with the traps reset and ready to go.
Once you make it past the traps, take the health potion in the right corner and the RAZOR HOUSE KEY from the pedestal.
To get out, and get a treasure in the process, turn around to face the entrance and go to the right wall. Climb the rocks from bottom right to top left. Then jump over the spears to land on top of the nearest inverted blade. If you don't want the next treasure, just drop to the floor and head for the exit. Otherwise, walk to the end of the first blade and jump to the second. Jump from this blade to grab the third. Pull up and then jump to the fourth blade. From there, you can jump to grab the alcove above the entrance, where you'll find a treasure (42/50). When you have it, hang from the edge and drop to the floor. (If you don't want the treasure, just drop down from the fourth blade.)
Return through the dark hallway to the LORDS OF XIBALBA STATUE ROOM. Here you'll meet one or two giant spiders and a large number of small spiders come out of the stonework to bug Lara. You can shoot the big one and most of the others from the ledge, but keep an eye out for stragglers after you drop to the floor.
OPENING THE EXIT: At this point, you should have all four keys. If you're missing any of them, check the walkthrough above for details. Go to the octagonal table at the center of the room and place each key in its proper niche. Each time you insert a key, one of the 4 corner thrones is unlocked. Stay alert as you do this. When you insert the RATTLING HOUSE KEY (the white one), a giant spider appears behind Lara. You may want to jump up onto the table as soon as you place the key. The spider can climb up, but this will buy you a little time to do some damage before it closes in.
When you've unlocked all four thrones, go to the front of each throne in turn and push it toward the center of the room. When you've moved all four, the door where you entered this room opens. But that's not where you need to go.
To open the way to the lower areas of the ruins, get back on the motorcycle and drive it onto one of the 2 pressure pads near the entrance. Hop off the bike and stand on the other pad. This raises the octagonal table, revealing a passageway below.
BUG NOTE: Several potential bugs may occur between this point and the end of the next level. I highly recommend that you save the game here and not overwrite that save until you've completed the rest of Southern Mexico. Do not rely solely on the autosave or you may be unable to complete the game. If you do experience one of these bugs, you can reload the save you make here and try playing through this section again. Details and other solutions appear in a footnote below and at the beginning of the next level, Land of the Dead.
Do not save again until you reach the MIDGARD SERPENT POOL (below). At least one of the checkpoints in this tunnel is buggy. So if you quit or die and reload, you may find Lara on one side of the stone ramp and the motorcycle on the other. If you've already done this and are now stuck, reload your earlier save or, if you don't have one, try the other solutions in the footnote. Once you reach the pool you can save again in a new slot, but keep at least one save from the LORDS OF XIBALBA STATUE ROOM just in case.
LONG, DARK TUNNEL: Get back on the bike and drive down the ramp into the hallway below. Continue down several flights of stairs. When you come to the bottom and are about to go up stairs for the first time, stop the bike and get off. In a clay jar near the right wall you'll find a treasure (43/50).
At the top of the stairs is what looks like an impassable pile of rocks, but if you start at the bottom of the stairs and rev the engine before taking off, you can use the stone ramp on the left to jump the motorcycle over the rocks. Stop the bike on the other side and get off. Turn around to find another treasure (44/50) in a jar to the right of the rock pile.
Get back on the bike and continue to the next cave in, a short distance ahead. As you approach, you'll see a close-up of a carved animal skull lying next to a human skeleton. The animal skull is actually the XIBALBA KEY. You'll need it later to leave the ruins.
IMPORTANT: You may want to leave the XIBALBA KEY on the floor here for now. Then if you experience the bug in the next level in which inventory items go missing, the key should still be here when you return this way later. If you take the key and it disappears from your inventory, you will be unable to finish the level.
Climb up the rocks, duck through the low opening and drop down on the other side. Again, look back toward the rocks through which you just came. There's another treasure (45/50) on the right. Get it and continue along the hallway toward the light ahead.
Cinematic: As Lara passes through a section of the hallway lined with carvings, she interprets the pictures. "The Midgard Serpent, Jörmungandr, that lies on the bottom of the ocean, encircling all the world," she speaks into the recorder. "The coming of Ragnarök. . . . Jörmungandr thrashes beneath the sea, flooding the land and vomiting its deadly poison into the air."
She moves along the wall to a carving of a figure with a huge war hammer battling the serpent. "The final battle of the gods. Thor kills Jörmungandr with his hammer, Mjolnir, but then he retreats only nine steps before he succumbs to the serpent's venom."
After the cut scene finishes, turn around to find another treasure (46/50) in a jar on the right at the bottom of the stairs. Get it and continue down to the room with the blue water.
Cinematic: Lara examines the area, noting that ancient sites such as this must have been the inspiration for various underworld myths, perhaps because they were protected by the walking dead.
MIDGARD SERPENT POOL – UPPER LEVEL: Lara's observations turn out to be quite accurate. The first undead creature, a jaguar thrall, rises from the pool on the far side of the room and races around the perimeter toward Lara. If you shoot at it as it approaches, backing up the stairs when it gets closer, you should be able to kill it with pistols. Just be sure to stomp on its bones (stand close and press Interact) so it doesn't reanimate.
From this point onward, you'll need to take care not to fall into the pool. The toxic vomit produced by the serpent statues will kill Lara on contact. So stay out of the water.
NOTE: When this walkthrough was first posted, several players wrote to inform me that the blue liquid is eitr, a mythical substance in Norse mythology, paradoxically the origin of all life as well as a deadly poison.
BUG NOTE: In the near right corner of this area (left when facing the staircase) there's a carved stone block. (screenshot) Leave the block alone for now. It's possible to jump over the block and squeeze in between it and the wall to obtain one of the treasures hidden benath it. However, doing so may trigger a glitch that prevents you from using the FIRST SERPENT'S HEAD as described below. Instead pick up the treasures on the way out, as described in the next level.
Pick up the health potion beside the pool near the entrance and head to the right. On the right side of the pool there's a crack in the floor where a small stream of eitr crosses the walkway. As you approach, a human thrall rises up from the stream and attacks.
These skeletal remains of ancient Mayans are not too powerful, but they do spit poison from a distance. If you run forward and blast a thrall with the shotgun as it materializes out of the eitr, it will fall back into the pool and dissolve. (Thanks to harel for that tip.) Otherwise, either stay back out of range while shooting or rush in, plant a flying kick to knock it down (run toward the enemy and press Interact), and then blast it with the shotgun a few times before it can get up.
As with the cat thralls, unless you knock the Mayan thralls into the pool, or destroy them with explosives or an adrenaline headshot, you'll need to smash their bones to prevent them from rising up again.
After you've dealt with the first one, jump across the gap in the walkway and head to the left. Four more Mayan thralls rise from the pool. Again, if you run right up to the pool, you can use the shotgun to destroy the thralls before they get a foothold. If you don't get there in time and end up fighting the whole group, try tossing a grenade or two into the crowd and then run like hell. They don't move fast, so you may be able to kill several of them at once this way. If any of them survive, finish them off with pistols, SMGs or the assault rifle from a distance. Just be sure to stomp the bones of any thralls that weren't destroyed by grenades or headshots.
NOTE: If you're playing the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 game and haven't already unlocked the Master Grenadier achievement/trophy, this is a great place to get it. For more info, follow these links to the Xbox 360 Achievements and PS3 Trophies pages.
When the first group has been destroyed, another 3 human thralls emerge from the pool. Deal with them as you did the others.
FIRST SERPENT'S HEAD: When the coast is clear, go all the way around the edge of the room to the back of the shorter serpent statue. Climb up on its right side and jump to grab the horizontal pole sticking out of its nostril. Lara's weight pulls the head down, closing the serpent's mouth and causing the water level in the pool to recede.
Do not grapple the ring under the serpent's chin. Doing this re-opens the mouth, refilling the pool. Instead turn around on the pole, swing and jump back to the ledge beside the head. Hop down on the other side and turn right. Climb the rocks and grab the narrow horizontal ledge ahead. Climb around to the left as far as you can go and then jump back to land near the entrance.
BUG NOTE: If pulling down the pole doesn't cause the eitr to drain from the pool, this could be the result of the bug mentioned above. Try reloading an earlier save and playing through without messing with the carved block near where you encounter the first few thralls.
CLIMBING DOWN TO THE MIDDLE LEVEL: At the edge of the ledge overlooking the pool, opposite the stairs and near where you found the health potion earlier, there's a flat section of the ledge on which Lara can hang. (The first of the screenshots shows the spot.)
While hanging here you can see several flat handholds on the side of the column below. Drop down three times to grab the lowest of the handholds. The third drop is a long one, so you'll need to press Interact to do a saving grab. This brittle handhold immediately starts to crack under Lara's weight, so quickly traverse around the corner of the column to the right before the handhold crumbles, dumping Lara in the eitr. Continue to move quickly, as the handhold breaks off behind Lara. Remember you can tap Interact to move faster. Traverse all the way around to the opposite side of the column from where you started. Climb all the way to the right and jump to grab the next column. Here it may help to center the camera behind Lara first to make sure she jumps in the right direction. As soon as you reach the next handhold it begins to crack. So quickly climb to the right and jump to the flat ledge. (Again, check the screenshots if necessary.)
NOTE: If you climb down the handholds on the first column, jump to the column on the left and then climb back up to the entrance, you may create a situation in which it is not possible to continue. Once the break-away handholds have disappeared, if you cross another checkpoint and then reload the game, those handholds will be gone forever, preventing you from climbing down to the middle level this way. If that happens, you can either reload a save from before you broke the handholds or try the alternate path described on this page with screenshots and in this video walkthrough. This is also a handy shortcut to reach the middle level more quickly. Thanks to Jeff Reid for this shortcut.
MIDGARD SERPENT POOL – MIDDLE LEVEL: Climb the rough stone ledges on the right. At the top turn right and jump straight up to grab the metal beam; pull up. Walk to the right along the first beam. Turn and walk across the longer beam that runs parallel to the wall. About halfway along, the beam starts to crack. Don't hesitate here or Lara will fall into the pool. Either cross the weak section quickly—either by pressing Forward + Sprint, by jumping forward, or by using the walkover (Forward + Crouch)—or step back onto the safe part of the beam and then, after the middle section crumbles, walk to the broken end and jump across the gap. Continue along the tops of the beams toward the corner of the room and then drop down to the floor.
Turn right (so the pool is on Lara's right) and go forward cautiously. A pair of Mayan thralls emerges from the pool ahead. When you've destroyed them 2 more thralls rise up to take their place. Deal with them. Then advance to the gap in the walkway and jump to grab the handhold on the square pillar above the eitr stream. (The first of these screenshots shows the spot.) Climb around the corner to the left and pull up to stand on the narrow ledge. Chimney jump between the two columns to grab the handhold higher up on the second column. Climb around the corner and on to the left as far as you can go. Now lean away from the column and jump back to land on the metal beam jutting out from the wall. Walk along the beams until Lara is above solid ground. Then drop to the floor.
Head toward the next corner and turn right to spot a health potion on top of a large stone block. Climb up and take it. Then walk to the end of the block and you'll see a metal ring on the ceiling ahead. Grapple the ring and then jump forward off the ledge. (Be sure to jump instead of just stepping off, or Lara will end up in the pool.) Adjust Lara's angle on the cable so she's squarely facing the stone block on the opposite side of the pool. Swing back and forth to build up momentum and then jump to grab the edge of the block. Pull up.
The gap in the walkway ahead is too wide to jump. So, while standing on the same block that you grabbed after swinging across the pool, turn to face the big statue of Thor. Grapple the metal ring on the side of his shield and pull to move the shield toward you. Keep tugging until the shield is parallel to the walkway on the left (as shown in these screenshots). You may have to adjust Lara's position on the stone block to get the leverage you need to pull the shield into place.
Now jump to grab the horizontal crevice on the front of the shield. Climb to the left along the shield. Then jump back to grab the column behind. Climb to the left all the way around the column. Position Lara at the corner of the column so the ledge is behind her and jump back to land there. Once Lara reaches the corner of the column, you want to move quickly, because 2 Mayan thralls emerge from the pool at the far end of the ledge. If you jump back right away, you'll have time to fire a few shots before they're upon Lara. Just take care not to accidentally back up into the crack in the floor. When they fall, 2 more thralls emerge.
Alternatively, after climbing across Thor's shield and jumping back to grab the square column, climb around to the left until the first 2 thralls emerge from the pool. Then climb back to the right a bit so Lara is hanging above the eitr. Now you can shoot the thralls with one pistol, and they can't reach Lara. They also won't spit at her. If you allow them to approach and shoot when they're standing at the edge of the ledge, most of the time they'll fall into the eitr and be destroyed. If a thrall falls on the ledge instead, climb to the corner above the walkway, jump back to land there and then stomp on the thrall as usual. Or, wait for the thrall to reanimate and approach, then shoot it again. After the first two are finished, climb to the left again to trigger the other two thralls. Climb back to the right and shoot them from safety. (These screenshots show what to do. Thanks to Cas for this excellent strategy. )
After you've destroyed all four walking dead, pick up the health potion near the spot where Lara first landed on this ledge. Then smash the clay jar next to it to find a treasure (47/50).
SECOND SERPENT'S HEAD: You can't reach the horizontal pole on the second serpent's head from the ledge between the columns. So instead, climb the handholds on the column directly behind the serpent's head (as shown in this screenshot). Climb around the corner to the right end of the upper handhold and jump from there to grab the pole. Again, Lara's weight closes the serpent's mouth, lowering the water level further, revealing a platform in the middle of the pool that had been submerged before.
While still hanging from the pole, turn around, swing and jump back to the ledge. Hang from the edge of the stone block between the two columns and climb to the right, onto the handhold beneath the serpent's neck. Then drop down onto a small, square ledge at water level.
MIDGARD SERPENT POOL – LOWER LEVEL: Hop over to the central platform and fight 2 Mayan thralls that rise out of the pool. When you've destroyed them both, move to the far right corner of the platform (i.e., far right if Lara's back is toward the little ledge where you first touched down on the lower level). Jump from the outer corner of the platform to the small stone ledge just above water level and climb onto the block to retrieve another treasure (48/50). (This screenshot shows the spot.) Jump back to the big platform.
Stand near the massive carved screw at the center of the platform and grapple either of metal rings on top of it. Pull on the cable to turn the screw. If it doesn't move, adjust Lara's position so she's pulling from the other direction. As you pull, the screw turns, going deeper into the floor. When you can't turn it any farther, leave the grapple attached, walk to the other side of the screw and pull some more. Repeat this until you've turned the screw all the way down to the floor.
At this point a cut scene shows the Thor statue raise its head and open its arm, revealing a small hollow inside its chest. If you look closely, you can see THOR'S BELT within.
To get there, climb the short column next to the screw, which has handholds on one side. (It's shown in the first of these screenshots.) Grab the health potion on top and then turn around jump to grab the foot of the steps leading up to the hidden compartment. Pull up and approach THOR'S BELT, MEGINGJORD.
Another cinematic shows Lara reaching for the belt, only to have it disintegrate in her hand, leaving a similar device to the ones that powered the gauntlets. As she examines the belt device she notices a blue glow emanating from the gauntlets in her pack. So she tries on all three artifacts together and, voilà, nearly a complete set. All she needs now is the hammer.
†UPDATE HISTORY: 12/8/08 - First draft posted online.
12/10/08 - Amended bug fix section to include details that were accidentally omitted when the first draft was posted.
12/16/08 - Added tip about killing the Mayan thralls as they materialize.
12/25/08 - Fixed inaccurate listing for the PC sprint control, thanks to trjunepearl.
1/1/09 - Added PlayStation 3 savegame files as part of the bug solution presented below. Also added notes about mid- and late-level bugs.
3/1/09 - Updated PS3 save file links.
4/25/09 - Made numerous small changes for accuracy and clarity and incorporated suggestions submitted by the other players credited below. Replaced a few screenshots with clearer ones. Added additional bug notes and advice based on player feedback.
7/19/09 - Added additional bug note for Midgard Serpent Pool room entrance.
8/25/09 - Added alternate strategy for thrall combat following the jump from Thor's shield, thanks to Cas.
3/31/12 - Added bug note regarding the first serpent head and the carved block, thanks to a tip from Matt B.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thanks to harel for the thrall-killing tip and to Chris B. and Dustin for the first warnings regarding the first nasty bug in this level. Thanks also to Greg H. and Gerry N. for ferreting out various typos; to Andy M., Isaac and Nightrider for various tips; and to the many other players who shared their Mexican bug experiences and solutions, including Aaron F., Cas, Daniel P., Laura K., Jonathan R., Richard F., two different Ryans and Trevor L. Thanks to Kyle W. for pointing out the glitch near the entrance to the Midgard Serpent Pool and to Jeff Reid for suggesting the shortcut to get around it.
BUG NOTE - UNABLE TO JUMP FIRST PIT: There is a potential glitch at the beginning of this section, the LONG HALLWAY WITH THREE PITS, in which the player comes to the first pit only to find the ramps down instead of up. Since the switch to raise the ramps is on the other side of the pit, this prevents further progress.
CAUSES: According to Eidos Interactive support, the bug is actually triggered near the end of the Unnamed Days chapter. In that level, after leaving the ruins where you obtain the JAGUAR HEAD and driving through the long tunnel, you come to a fork in the road. If, instead of going to the right toward the visible ruins where the FIRST CALENDAR PUZZLE is located, you go to the left, you may accidentally trigger the bug. Apparently, taking the left path, crossing the checkpoint before the first spike pit and subsequently dying before triggering another checkpoint (i.e., by falling into the pit) leads to the bug in the Midgard Serpent level. (The Unnamed Days walkthrough includes more details.)
Also, in the Xibalba chapter, climbing out of the LARGE TEMPLE where you obtain the STONE HEADDRESS using the grapple ring instead of climbing through the hole above the doors may also contribute to this bug. (See the bug note in the Xibalba walkthrough.) This has not been officially confirmed, but several players have implicated it.
PREVENTION: This is covered in the Unnamed Days walkthrough. Basically you just need to take the right path at the fork, go to the ruins with the FIRST CALENDAR PUZZLE and start the next chapter, Xibalba, before heading for the CROSSROADS, SECOND CALENDAR PUZZLE, etc.
It may also help to exit the LARGE TEMPLE with the STONE HEADDRESS in the recommended way, as described in the Xibalba walkthrough.
Windows PC: Load save from the start of The Unnamed Days level, or any other save prior to that point. Then replay the section leading up to the first calendar puzzle without taking the path to the left at the fork. Or download one of my PC save files, which cover various checkpoints in all levels. Instructions for using them are here.
Xbox 360: Load the Autosave for the beginning of Southern Mexico - The Unnamed Days and replay the section leading up to the first calendar puzzle without taking the path to the left at the fork.
PlayStation 3: Load a manual save at the start of Southern Mexico - The Unnamed Days or any other manual save prior to the point where the bug is triggered (as described above). Then replay the section leading up to the first calendar puzzle without taking the path to the left at the fork.
Download a PS3 save file for the start of the Midgard Serpent chapter without the bug. Special thanks to Rey, Rachel and Treeble for these files!
ADDENDUM: Although the causes and preventive measures are different, the above solutions also apply to the bugs involving the WOODEN CLUBS in the middle of the level and the MISSING INVENTORY ITEMS in the next level, Land of the Dead.
MISSING MOTORCYCLE BUG: For the bug where Lara becomes separated from the motorcycle in the LONG, DARK TUNNEL, the above solutions should work. Just be sure not to save or die and reload at any of the checkpoints in the tunnel. If you don't have a convenient save and can't download one, you might want to try the tricks for climbing over the stone ramp shown in Riku's amazing Midgard Serpent shortcut video on YouTube. Read the comments below the video if it's not clear how he's doing it.
For additional details, please visit the Eidos Interactive support site. They may have more up-to-date info, patches, etc., as the situation develops.
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