NOTE: Combat strategy is based on the Medium difficulty setting, so your experience may vary slightly. In addition to the walkthroughs for each level, there are separate pages for Controls & Gameplay Tips, Skill & Weapon Upgrades, and Collectible Items.
SAVING AND CHECKPOINTS: Like the last several games, TOMB RAIDER uses autosave checkpoints. Whenever you pass a checkpoint, the game is saved automatically. Then, if Lara dies or you quit the game and restart, the game reloads at the last checkpoint. If you only rely on one autosave, you may run into trouble if you get stuck in the game, encounter a bug, or if your autosave file becomes corrupted. To avoid problems, I highly recommend changing your save slot at least once each level. You may also want to periodically back up your autosaves on a memory card (consoles) or into a separate folder (PC). See the controls page for details.
AREA 17: GEOTHERMAL CAVERNS
Camps: The Pit (Day Camp), Catacombs (Fast Travel Camp)*
Gear: none Weapons/Weapon Parts: none
Documents: 3 Relics: 3 GPS caches: 5 Treasure Maps: 1
Challenge Tombs: none Challenges: 1 (6 items)
Area Map: Geothermal Caverns**
*When you first visit this area, the Catacombs camp does not allow for fast travel; however, you can return here via other fast travel camps later in the game. For more info on the different types of base camps, see the Controls page.
**Map includes all major collectibles and challenge items. Refer to the in-game map by pressing Tab/Back if you'd prefer no spoilers. The in-game map does not include a compass rose showing which way is north. So when I refer to map directions in my walkthrough, assume North is up, east right, south down, and west left.
OBJECTIVE: Rescue the Captured Endurance Crew (continued)
After wading out of the pool blood, continue up the gore-strewn path until you come to a relatively fresh corpse clutching a quiver of arrows. Lara managed to grab her bow before she escaped but no other weapons or ammunition. So pick up these few precious arrows and try not to waste them. Stand well back from the natural gas vent in the opening ahead and shoot a fire arrow into it. (screenshot) The explosion clears out the debris so you can pass. Move quickly through the tunnel. The toxic green gas will kill Lara if she breathes it for too long. Also, for obvious reasons, do not light your torch while exploring near one of these gas vents.
You emerge near a new Day Camp called, aptly enough, The Pit. There's a salvage net hanging near the campfire, as well as a document (1/3), "In Her Honor," from the Confessions of a Solarii set, and another small bunch of arrows. (screenshot) When you rest here, you'll also unlock another entry in Lara's Journal (6/10).
NOTE: You may be able take advantage of a useful glitch here to get extra arrows. Pick up the bunch near the campfire. Use the campsite to trigger an autosave. (Do not save manually or it won't work.) Then reload the current checkpoint, and the arrows should have respawned, allowing you to pick them up again. If it works, you should be able to repeat it until you have all the arrows you can carry. This has been tested in the PS3 and PC games, and should work in other versions as well.
There are more rats in this area which you could kill and loot for XP, but I recommend saving your arrows, at least until you build up a full supply. If you want to shoot them, use rope arrows which don't actually use up any ammo.
THE PIT: Follow the tunnel to the south. Squeeze through the gap into a wider passage with cages built into the stone walls. When you move toward the end of the passage, a brief cut scene shows a pair of Solarii guards tossing a prisoner into the room below. When you regain control, peer through the broken bars to see a pack of pale, humanoid creatures attack the man. (screenshot) You can try shooting at them, or sneak down the path on the right and ignite the natural gas vent with a fire arrow while the creatures are feeding, but I don't think it's possible to save the man. Either tactic will cause the creepy creatures to scatter, though.
Head to the right and down into the open area where the dead man is lying. Go around to the other side of the rock formation on the left to find a salvage crate. (screenshot) Pick up more arrows leaning to the left of the stone staircase with the door and gas valve.
NOTE: If you kill the pale creatures, their bodies glow in Survival Instinct view, as though they can be looted, but you can't seem to actually get anything from them, even the arrows you shoot at them.
There are several tunnels radiating out from this room. Follow the one that leads off to the south. As you move through, a creepy voice prattles on. The tunnel dead-ends in a small cave containing 2 salvage crates. Open them. Then head back the way you came but stay alert. Gollum drops down from the ceiling and runs toward you. Shoot him or hit him with your climbing axe to conserve ammo. He won't put up much of a fight. Then continue back to the main cave. (screenshots)
When you emerge from this tunnel, go straight across the cave to the stone ledge with the skulls and candles. Climb up to find a relic (1/3), a Funeral Fan, part of the Ceremonial Fans collection. While still standing on this ledge, turn around to face out over the cavern and look up to find a tattered cloth sack (1/6) hanging from the ceiling. Use Survival Instinct if you can't spot it in the dark. Shoot it with a fire arrow to unlock the Firestarter Challenge: find and burn 6 of these sacks for bonus XP. (screenshots)
There are two tunnel openings on the west side of the cave. Enter the one on the left with the green gas filling the entrance. Move quickly past the gas into the tunnel beyond. Another pale creature is waiting there. Put him out of his misery. Then climb onto the ledge to find another salvage crate and a GPS cache (1/5). Before dropping down from this ledge, turn and look out over the edge. Use survival instinct to see another sack (2/6) suspended from the ceiling. Shoot it with a fire arrow for the challenge. Then hop down and return to the main cave. (screenshots)
Turn left and go into the other northwest tunnel opening, the more brightly lit one with the broken bars. There are men—or what used to be men—in the cages here. Killing them nets a small amount of XP. If you want to do it, use use rope arrows to conserve precious ammo. A little way in there's a GPS cache (2/5) lying on the ground on the left. Just beyond this cache is a wooden ledge. Climb up to find a small cave with a salvage trunk. Pry it open, drop back down into the passage and turn left. Shoot a fire arrow at the sack (3/6) hanging from the ceiling—one more for the Firestarter Challenge. (screenshots)
Continue to the end of this tunnel to emerge back in the main cave. Climb the stone steps on the northeast side and use your axe to crank open the gas valve. Quickly move out of the way to avoid breathing the noxious cloud. Stand at a safe distance and shoot a fire arrow into the gas billowing out of the pipe. The resulting blast destroys the door so you can leave this area. (screenshots)
GUARDED TUNNEL WITH BASE CAMP: Follow the tunnel up two sets of stone steps. Just ahead, where the tunnel widens, 3 of Mathias's men approach from the opposite direction. If you engage them in combat, they will call in reinforcements, including a demolitions guy and several men with guns, making things much more difficult than they need to be. I prefer this stealthy approach (illustrated in this series of screenshots):
As soon as Lara hears the oncoming enemies, she'll go into a defensive crouch. Grab the 3 bundles of arrows leaning against the wooden fence in the middle of the tunnel. Then hurry around to the right to hide from the men. They'll have a little conversation. Then one will return to the area farther up the tunnel, and one will head down to the pit to check on the valve you just destroyed. The third will stand on the other side of the rock formation for a nice, relaxing pee. While he's relieving himself, you can kill him with a silent headshot or sneak around behind him and use a melee attack. He makes quite a bit of noise if you hit him with the axe, but the other men don't seem to notice. Sometimes you've just gotta go that badly.
If you skip looting the body and quickly follow the guy who went into the cave, you can kill him. Otherwise, he'll eventually call out, "Hey! We got a problem. Get down here!" But he doesn't seem to notice that the man you just killed doesn't respond. If you then return to the pit to look for him, he will have vanished. Maybe the prisoners got him.
Search the guy you killed. Then collect a GPS cache (3/5), food cache and edible plant against the right tunnel wall, near where you just hid. (screenshot)
Sneak up the steps where the third man went. He's sitting in the well-lit area ahead playing checkers with another soldier. Grab the arrows leaning against the wooden wall and watch the men. After a moment, without your doing anything, the spotlight burns out. The man on the right goes to investigate, while the demo man remains seated. Take him out with a silent headshot. Then do the same to the other man while he hunches over the spotlight. If you don't kill him quickly, you may still be able to hit him before he starts yelling, but if either of them notices Lara, he'll call out for help. Then you'll need to fight a bunch of men at once. Likewise, do not ignite the gas near the guys playing checkers. This will also bring in more enemies. (screenshots)
NOTE: If you like a tough fight—and the XP and salvage that comes with it—by all means go ahead and trigger the harder battles. I try to tailor my walkthroughs to players looking for easier ways.
Afterward, loot the bodies and pick up a document (2/3) sitting on the floor near the checkerboard. This one is a letter from Reyes to her daughter, titled "Reyes: Dear Alisha," from the Endurance Officers series. (screenshots)
Approach the gate near the broken spotlight. Then turn around to look back down the tunnel the way you came. Crack open the food cache on the left. Then head up the stone steps in the middle of the tunnel. At the top you'll find the Catacombs Base Camp, but before going all the way up, climb the wooden structure with the metal cages beside the stairs to find the Treasure Map for this level. While you're up on this ledge, it's easy to spot the salvage net hanging on the other side of the cave. Shoot it with a fire arrow and then drop down for the salvage. Then climb the stairs to the campsite. (screenshots)
Crack open another salvage crate near the campfire and pick up another relic (2/3), a Wedding Fan from the Ceremonial Fans set, plus 2 bundles of arrows. (screenshots)
NOTE: I suppose for story-related reasons, Fast Travel is not available at this time, but later you can use any other Fast Travel camp to return here. This will be handy if you miss any of the collectibles in the Geothermal Caverns.
When you're ready to continue, come halfway down the steps and crank open the gas valve. Move back up to the camp and then shoot the escaping gas with a fire arrow. This splinters the wooden scaffolding, allowing one of the metal cages to slide down to the floor. Climb on top of the cage, scramble up the painted wall, traverse to the left and pull up onto the ledge above the gate. (screenshots)
Move quietly along the dark ledge into the next room. There are 3 more enemies below. As they talk, they move toward the gate beneath the ledge where you're crouching. Go forward along the ledge on the right, staying hidden behind the crates. When you reach the last crate peer around it into the area below. If you wait until all 3 men are clustered together near the gas vent below, you can shoot a fire arrow at the gas and kill all of them at once. You may also kill a rat or two for a small XP/salvage bonus. If you don't succeed in killing all three, any survivors will call for reinforcements: 2 tough guys with gas masks and rifles. (screenshots)
Alternatively, if you just wait up on the dark ledge, the 3 men will eventually open the gate below and wander down to the pit. Like the peeing guy's friend, once they reach the pit, they vanish, although they sometimes leave their flashlights behind. Once they're gone, you can continue your explorations, but you won't get the XP and salvage from killing them. (screenshots)
NOTE: I'm not sure if this last strategy works in all versions of the game, but I tried it several times in the PC game with good results.
When the coast is clear, burn the sack (4/6) hanging near the gate for the Firestarter Challenge. (Even if you explode the gas vent, this cocoon miraculously survives the blast.) Open the food cache on the wooden ledge near where you climbed up from the other room. Then drop down and loot the bodies. At the north end of this cave is another food cache and, lying next to it, a GPS cache (4/5). Hanging above is another sack (5/6) that you can destroy with a fire arrow for the Firestarter Challenge. The nearby doorway leads nowhere. So climb the ledges on the left side of the room to reach a rough climbing wall. At the base of this wall is one of those succulent persimmon plants, or whatever they are. Chow down and then head for the top. (screenshots)
RITUAL CHAMBER: Move forward cautiously to eavesdrop on the prayer meeting taking place in the next cave. The sentry ahead is watching the ceremony so his back is toward you. If you sneak up on him quietly, you can take him out with a Melee attack. He must be a habitual whiner since the other men take no notice of his moaning when Lara gives him the axe. You can then loot his body and shoot the final sack (6/6) for the Firestarter challenge, which is hanging from the ceiling here. This doesn't seem to attract the any unwanted attention. If you've found and burned all the other sacks, you'll receive a 150 XP bonus. (screenshots)
Needless to say, if you flub the stealth attack, the 8 enemies below will be alerted to your presence. You'll have to fight them or reload the last checkpoint and try again. If you succeed in taking down the sentry quietly, continue sneaking around to the right until you can see the man leading the prayer. Shoot a fire arrow into the billowing gas behind him to set off an explosion killing everyone in the circle, including the demolitions man on the stairs on the far side of the room. Now that wasn't so bad, was it? (screenshots)
Drop down and pick the 2 edible plants growing at the base of the ledge where you were just standing. Loot the bodies and go after the last few collectibles in this area. (screenshots)
There's a bunch of arrows leaning against the small wooden wall here. Lying on the ground near the altar is the last document (3/3), "Lost," the final installment in the Diaries of a Madman. Wade through the partly flooded tunnel just to the left of the altar. At the end is a rock ledge with a salvage crate and a relic (3/3), an Inscribed Silk Fan from the Ceremonial Fans set.
NOTE: If you didn't explode the gas vent earlier to kill the Solarii, the tunnel near the altar will be blocked by rubble. Stand at a safe distance and shoot the gas with a fire arrow to blow open the passageway.
When you have the salvage and relic, return to the main cave and go up the steps on the right (southwest). Grab more arrows if you have room for them. Then go around the gas valve into the little alcove on the left, where you'll find a food cache and the last GPS cache (5/5) for this area. (screenshots)
NOTE: If you earn a Skill Point and want to spend it before finishing this level, you must do so before opening the exit from this cave. Opening the gate sets off a series of natural gas explosions that prevents you from backtracking through the tunnels to the Catacombs Base Camp. So go there first, make your upgrades, return here, and then open the gate. You will still be able to return to the Geothermal Caverns via Fast Travel later on. By then the explosions will have subsided.
When you're ready to go, you'll have to blast open the exit. Start by cranking the red valve to pop off the cap and release the natural gas. Quickly move out of the way to a position near the low wooden barrier on the landing. Shoot a rope arrow at the rope-wrapped bar to the left of the gate. This causes the hanging cage to swing around toward the gate. Shoot a fire arrow into the billowing gas to set off an explosion, which smashes the cage into the gate, destroying it so you can leave. (screenshots)
CRUMBLING TUNNEL: Follow the tunnel, which curves around to the right (north). If you just keep running, the explosions should not injure Lara. They're timed more for effect than damage. When you see a fireball coming toward you, don't panic. Just keep running forward. As you move toward the light, the floor collapses, and Lara slides down into another passageway. This one is filled with toxic gas. Keep moving or Lara will suffocate. Run up the slope and scramble up the painted wall into a large cave with breathable air.
RESCUING THE CAPTIVES: Stay quiet and hidden behind the low wooden wall as you survey the situation. Lara's friends, Alex, Jonah and Reyes, are caged inside a junked helicopter suspended from the ceiling. Three Solarii stand guard below. Reyes is taking none of their shit, and Lara isn't about to either. (screenshots)
Stealth isn't quite as important here as before. If you alert any of the men, only one extra enemy will appear. But if you want to take them out on the quiet, start with the guy on the far right. When he moves off, you can kill him with a silent headshot. Then take care of the demo man, and finally the third man on the steps. If a fourth enemy appears, he'll be off to the right. You can use the wooden wall for cover as you finish him off. It's actually a little more fun if you do this combat with some flair. Then when Lara's friends start cheering about how awesome she is, it'll be more satisfying. (screenshots)
Afterward, loot the bodies and pick up as many arrows as you can carry. There are 3 bundles of arrows in all: one near the wall where you hid, another leaning against the rocks to the right of where the men were standing, and another off to the far right.
Crank open the valve at the top of the short flight of stone steps. Stand back and use a fire arrow to ignite the gas. This frees the first counterweight securing the cage but also sets off several other small explosions, weakening the floor below the cage. Move up the stairs and around to the platform on the left. Grab more arrows if you need them. Then jump onto the dangling counterweight platform. From there, jump to grab the top of the cage and pull up.(screenshots)
Reyes says something about the second counterweight being locked down over there. "Over there," being straight ahead after you've just climbed up. In order to free it, you need to shoot fire arrows into the 2 gas vents ahead on the left. Aim for the left one first. When it explodes, it moves the dangling cage closer to the other gas vent. Quickly target the second vent and shoot. If your timing is good, the second explosion will fling the cage into the counterweight. If you miss, just wait a moment for the gas to start flowing and then try again. (screenshots)
When you succeed in freeing the second counterweight, the whole cage pitches downward on one end. Lara loses her footing, but Jonah grabs her hand, keeping her from falling into the fiery pit below. She's then able to grab onto a metal bar running along the bottom on the cage. Climb to the right, upward, then right again. At this point, the bar from which Lara is hanging breaks, and she slips. Press Interact to grab a lower handhold and keep from falling. Then traverse to the right, around the corner, and then upward, onto the roof of the cage once more. (screenshots)
As Lara climbs back on top of the cage, another explosion rocks the cavern. When it subsides, jump over to the ledge with the 2 valves, directly ahead. Crank open both valves. Then take cover behind the low wooden wall, where you'll find 2 more bundles of arrows in case you need them. The goal now is to ignite the cloud of gas in order to blast the cage over to the landing on the opposite side of the cavern. If you want to take the time to set it up carefully, so the two gas vents are lined up in Lara's line of sight, you can hit them both with one flaming arrow, but that's not strictly necessary. It works just fine if you shoot one vent, wait to regain control of Lara, and then shoot the other. When you succeed, and Lara's friends are able to escape, you receive 100 XP. (screenshots)
OBJECTIVE: Escape the Cavern
Unfortunately Lara is trapped on this side of the fiery pit and now has to find another way to reach Sam and Whitman. Head for the north end of this wooden ledge. As you approach the edge, a cage descends from the ceiling. Jump into the gap and grab onto it. Climb on top. Then jump to grab a second suspended cage just ahead. As it settles, Lara loses her grip and you must pres Interact to recover. Then climb on top of the cage and jump to grab the doorsill ahead. Pull up into the passageway as the cages fall into the lava pool behind you. You receive 400 XP for escaping, as well as a new goal. (screenshots)
OBJECTIVE: Find a Way Into the Palace
Follow the burning passageway up several flights of stairs. As you enter the palace proper, you get another 100 XP and your goal is updated again.
OBJECTIVE: Find Sam
Continue along the hallway, avoiding the burning areas. There are no side passages so you can't get lost. At the end, pry open the wooden doors and enter the next level.
†UPDATE HISTORY: 5/5/13 - First draft of walkthrough posted online.
5/12/13 - Added note about blocked tunnel in prayer meeting cavern. Thanks to Janet and Sraar for pointing this out. I'd always taken the easy way in this fight and didn't notice. ;)
6/6/13 - Added tip about using rope arrows to shoot rats and creepy man-creatures to conserve ammo. Thanks to Sahara for this great suggestion.
7/10/13 - Made a few minor tweaks for clarity. Also added note about shooting the two natural gas vents at once in order to move the helicopter, thanks to a tip from Erich.
8/11/13 - Fixed a minor error on the level map, in which the first and second Firestarter Challenge items were transposed.
4/18/14 - Added the useful arrow multiplier glitch near the first camp, thanks to tips from Jeff Reid and another an anonymous raider.
10/4/15 - Added the note about killing the peeing guy's companion, thanks to a tip from Jeff Reid, and the rat bonus in the area with the 4th and 5th firestarter challenge sacks, thanks Mike the Aardvark.
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