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.

ONE MAJOR BUG MAY BE TRIGGERED IN THIS LEVEL. To avoid it, see the bug note in the walkthrough below.


Stella's Tomb Raider Underworld Walkthrough - For Windows PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
(PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii and DS - click here)

LEVEL 5: JAN MAYEN ISLAND - PART 1: GATE OF THE DEAD

Updated: 5/1/09()

Health Items:Treasures:Relics:Keys/Puzzle Items: 0

Before the level begins choose Lara's outfit—snow heavy or snow light—and initial secondary weapon.

Cinematic: Lara arrives by motorcycle near her destination on the snow-swept crags of Jan Mayen Island. She pauses to have a long-distance conversation with Zip, who informs her that Amanda has another ship, the Tisiphone, anchored off the coast of Thailand.* Apparently Amanda and her crew are still one step behind Lara. She thanks him for the update and tells him to take a well-deserved rest. He signs off with the sarcastic comment, "When you see Amanda, give her my regards."

Lara then spots an opening in the mountainside ahead and makes a death-defying leap across a wide chasm to reach it. Once inside the cavern, she stops the bike to have a look around.

LONG, DARK TUNNEL: From the starting position, turn around to find a health potion on the ground near a few empty jars. Get back on the bike and drive down the serpentine tunnel to a set of big, carved doors at the bottom. Dismount, grab the door and use Lara's super strength to slide it open.

Walk or drive through to trigger a cut scene showing a bird's-eye view of the long, corkscrew path leading to the ground far below.

IMPORTANT: I highly recommend that you save the game here and not overwrite that save until you enter the ruins. There is a serious potential bug here. If Lara dies after driving to the bottom of the ramp but before entering the ruins, the game may reload with Lara at the top of the ramp and the motorcycle at the bottom, making it impossible to go on. If you've saved at the top of the ramp, you can reload that save. The bike will be there and you can continue. I have PC and NTSC format PS3 save files for the start of this level on my Underworld Save Files page. I'm missing the PAL format PS3 save though. If you have one you can share, I would be grateful.

XBOX 360 ACHIEVEMENT/PLAYSTATION 3 TROPHY: To unlock the Speed Demon II achievement/trophy, you must drive from the top of the ramp to the bottom (from cut scene to cut scene) in under 50 seconds. You probably won't be able to do this and get the health and treasure at the top of the ramp. So you may want to try going for the achievement first, then reloading the level-start autosave in order to get the goodies. Note that to unlock all four Speed Demon achievements, you must complete each of the speed runs in order during the same play-through. Follow these links ofr more info on Xbox 360 Achievements and PS3 Trophies.

You may be able to use a shortcut to shave several seconds off your speed run time. Race down the ramp as usual. Then when you reach the third large hole, drive off the edge and let Lara fall. Just be sure to take your finger off the accelerator so Lara lands flat and stopped instead of crashing. If the bike is moving at all when she lands it usually doesn't work. But when it does work it puts you right at the end of the circular ramp. Note that Lara will lose quite a bit of health in the landing, but you can always reload your save from the start of the level once you get the achievement. (Thanks to Cassie for sharing this strategy.)

OPEN AREA WITH TOWER AND SPIRAL RAMP: After this, look to the right near the top of the path to find a health potion and a treasure (1/30), which you'll find in a shiny, breakable jar next to two dull brown empties.

You don't have to fight the Viking thrall crouching on the block a short way down the path. If you like, you can just get on the bike and drive past it. But from this distance, it's easy enough to step forward, get a target lock (with the targeting reticle still gray) and do quite a bit of damage with the pistols before the thrall can even reach Lara. Back up while shooting if necessary. Then, when it falls, run in and stomp on it by pressing Interact. As with the other thralls you've encountered, undead Vikings will get up again if you don't smash their corpses.

Get back on the bike and head down the ramp. Watch out for holes and gaps as you go. These tend to be on the right side, near the edge, if they don't span the entire path. So keep to the left side, for the most part, except where you have to steer around the various blocks and support pillars. The gaps that span the entire path are too wide to jump. So speed up and drive along the sloping left wall to get past them.

On the way down you'll encounter 3 more Viking thralls. You can run them over if they happen to be in the way, but don't steer out of your way to do it. Just concentrate on avoiding the obstacles in your path. You won't return this way, so it doesn't matter if you kill all of them. All of the breakable jars on the spiral path are empty, so there's no reason to stop unless you just want the satisfaction of getting all the kills.

When you reach the bottom, approach the elaborate gate.

Cinematic: Lara takes out her camera and examines the ornate carvings. "Hall of the Slain. . . Valhalla. . . Odin's hall, where the warriors who died in battle came to feast and prepare to fight in the final battle of Ragnarök. That makes this Valgrind, the Gate of the Dead."

"'Old is that gate, and how to unbolt it, few now know,'" she quotes the Eddas and then muses, "Where are the Valkyries when you need them?"

No such luck today. Instead of beautiful handmaidens of Odin, 4 more Viking thralls approach, ready to usher Lara to Valhalla. Now would be a great time to plant a couple of grenades in the group and sprint away. If you prefer, get back on the motorcycle and race around the base of the tower mowing down undead. Or, just stay in one place and start doing donuts on the bike. The thralls will move in and quickly be crushed.

Another alternative is to sprint back up the spiral ramp a little ways and hop up onto the stone block on the right. The thralls can't reach Lara here, though they'll still try and spit vile goo at her. Shoot them until they fall. Then hop down and stomp on their corpses to prevent them from reanimating.

When you've destroyed all of the thralls, make a few pickups before moving on. There's a health potion near the low wall at the base of the spiral ramp. Also, a treasure (2/30) in a breakable jar tucked in the alcove beneath the ramp and another treasure (3/30) in a jar to the left of the gate, when facing it.

MECHANICAL TOWER: The huge, cylindrical tower in the center of this area has many interesting poles and niches, but before you can climb very far, you'll need to turn it on. There are 3 small, carved stone blocks on the ground near the tower. Pick up each one and place it in one of the niches on the side of the tower. When you do, the various rings that make up the structure begin to rotate.

Run around the base of the tower until you find the carved panel that lights up when Lara touches it. (It's shown in the first of these screenshots.) Grab onto it and walk to the right (you could go left, but this way is shorter), rotating the entire base of the tower, until a brief cut scene shows a beam of light shining down from above and striking the pattern on the ground in front of the gate. This indicates that the first part of the 4-part mechanism has been unlocked.

NOTE: You don't have to activate the four parts of the mechanism in any particular order. I have suggested this sequence because it seemed easiest. If you miss one part of the mechanism, you can always climb up or down the tower to activate it.

CLIMBING THE TOWER - GROUND TO FIRST TIER: Now start climbing. (These screenshots show this first sequence.) Grab one of the lowest handholds on the side of the tower. Wait for the ring above to rotate so there's another small handhold directly above and then jump up to grab it. Again, wait for the rings to rotate until one of the horizontal poles comes around and then jump up to grab it. Jump up to stand on the pole and walk inward along the pole so Lara is facing the tower. Wait for a handhold to pass overhead and jump up to grab it. Jump straight up to stand on top of the handhold and wait for another pole to swing by overhead. Jump up to grab it and climb hand over hand out to the middle of the pole. Pull up to stand on top of it and then walk in toward the tower. Jump up to grab the edge of the circular ledge and pull up.

Once Lara is standing on the first level of the tower, go carefully around the walkway and pick up a health potion. Then find the panel with glyphs that glow when Lara touches them. Grab onto it and walk to the left, rotating this entire section of the tower, until a second beam of light strikes the ground, indicating that the second part of the gate lock has been opened.

FIRST TO SECOND TIER: Resume your upward climb. (This phase is illustrated in another series of screenshots) First, grab one of the small handholds and jump up three times to climb the stacked handholds (here the rings on the tower aren't moving) and reach the group of three small handholds above. Climb to either side as far as Lara will go and then jump to grab the nearest horizontal pole. Jump up to stand on the pole. Then, when another horizontal pole passes above, jump straight up to grab it. Pull up onto this pole and turn to face the tower. Walk inward along the pole and when a small handhold goes past, jump up to grab it. On the next ring, there are more widely spaced small handholds. Wait for one to approach and jump up to grab it. Next, wait for a horizontal pole to pass overhead and jump up to grab it. Climb hand over hand toward the end of the pole. Then pull up and walk inward along the pole toward the tower. Jump up to grab the circular ledge and pull up.

One of the breakable jars on this level contains a treasure (4/30). Get it and then find the panel with the glowing runes. Grab it and rotate this section of the tower to the right until another cut scene shows a third beam of light reflected down toward the gate, showing that the third part of the locking mechanism has been opened.

SECOND TO THIRD TIER: Now comes the most challenging part of the climb. (Check these screenshots if necessary.) First, grab one of the handholds just above the circular platform. Wait for one of the handholds on the next higher ring to approach and jump up to grab it. The next ring has many closely spaced handholds, so you should be able to jump up right away to grab one of them. Jump up to stand on top of this handhold. Wait for it to move beneath one of the horizontal poles and jump up to grab it.

Here's where things start to get tricky. Along with the moving handholds and poles, you'll have to contend with steam vents that emit puffs of hot air that can scald Lara and knock her off balance. If this happens, quickly press Interact to do a saving grab and prevent Lara from falling.

The first set of steam vents is on the rotating ring just above the first set of horizontal poles. While hanging from this pole, wait until one of the steam vents passes overhead and then jump up to stand on the pole. Turn to face the tower and quickly jump to grab one of the many small, light-colored handholds on the ring above. (If you've taken a little too long and you see another steam vent coming, drop down to hang from the pole and wait for it to pass. Then climb back on top of the pole and grab the next handhold.)

Then, while hanging from one of the light-colored handholds, wait just long enough for one of the steam vents on the next higher ring to pass. Then jump up again to stand on top of the handhold. The poles above and below move in sync with the ledge on which Lara is now standing. So just jump straight up once more to grab the pole above before the next waist-level steam vent reaches Lara. (If the vent does blast Lara off the ledge, she'll drop down to the pole below. You may need to do a saving grab to keep her from losing her grip. Then climb back up to stand on the small handhold and once again grab the pole above.)

Once Lara is hanging from the higher pole, wait for the next steam vent on the ring above to pass, and then pull up before the vent below reaches her. Turn to face the tower and jump up to grab one of the small handholds on the next moving ring. Watch the steam vents above and below and jump up to stand on the handhold as soon as the next vent on the ring above moves past. This should happen before the next vent below reaches Lara. As soon as Lara is standing on this handhold, jump up to grab the pole above and climb hand over hand away from the tower. The vents at this level can still hurt her, so pull up to stand on the pole as soon as you can. Once Lara is standing on the top pole, she's safe. Walk along the pole toward the tower, jump up to grab the edge and pull up onto the upper level.

NOTE: If you need more than screenshots for this section, there are several YouTube videos that show the sequence.

Go around the circular walkway and pick up a health potion and 2 treasures (5 and 6/30), one inside a breakable jar, one just lying on the ledge. Then grab the panel with the glowing carvings and rotate this segment of the tower to the left. When the fourth beam of light strikes the ground, the locks on the Valgrind gate open and the next level begins.

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[Main Underworld Page]

[Next Level]



UPDATE HISTORY: 12/15/08 - First draft posted online.
12/20/08 - Fixed left/right typo in the description of treasure #3, thanks again to Greg H.
2/13/09 - Added Xbox 360 Speed Demon achievement.
5/1/09 - Made numerous small changes for accuracy and clarity. Added bug note at the start of the level, thanks to alerts from Aleks and Bert. Also added Speed Demon shortcut, thanks to Cassie.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thanks to Aleks, Arthur G., Bert, Caroline, Cassie, Greg H., Sanford and Tara for their useful additions to this level.

*FYI: Along with her sisters Alecto and Megaera, Tisiphone is one of the three Furies (or Erinyes) in Greek mythology. Tisiphone was the fury responsible for punishing the crime of murder. She was the guardian of Tartarus, an underworld even deeper than Hades, and was also known for having fallen in love with a mortal, Cithaeron. When he spurned her, she used a lock of her hair, which took the form of a snake, to kill him.


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