SAVING, CHECKPOINTS & TECH SUPPORT: This game incorporates autosave checkpoints. If you only rely on one save slot, you may run into trouble if you get stuck, encounter a bug, or if your autosave becomes corrupted. To avoid problems, I highly recommend changing your save slot in the pause menu at least once per level. If you encounter a serious bug, I encourage you to visit the Official Shadow of the Tomb Raider Support Forum and or put in a support request with Square Enix. PC save files are available for download here.
AREAS 7 & 8: BELLY OF THE SERPENT & HEAD OF THE SERPENT
Camp: 1 (Head of the Serpent*) Murals: 1
Annotated Level Map: included in Hidden City West and Hidden City Complete
*This camp appears later, after you finish the level, in case you miss the mural and need to go back for it. The Belly and Head of the Serpent maps are included at the bottom of the main Hidden City map.
OBJECTIVE: Climb the Belly of the Serpent
BELLY OF THE SERPENT: As you receive this new goal, Lara looks up, indicating the way ahead. Start by walking out onto the narrow beam above the chasm. As you do, the far end of the beam detaches from the wall. When it settles, continue to the end, jump toward the wall ahead and scramble up to grab a handhold. Climb up a bit, then jump up to grab the jutting ledge above; pull up. Creep around to the left, through the dead bodies and body parts, then move out onto the jutting wooden beam. Jump to the horizontal bar, swing forward, and latch onto the rough climbing wall ahead. Climb down as far as you can, then rappel down to the smooth wall-running area below. Run back and forth while hanging from the grapple cable. Then jump to the left and grab the dangling cage. Climb on top of it. When you jump and grab the second wooden cage, Lara's handhold snaps, and she drops to the bar below. Press Interact to hang on. Climb to the top of this cage. Jump toward the cavern wall ahead and scramble up to grab a wooden handhold. Climb onto the ledge above. Inch forward along this narrow ledge until you can go no farther. Then jump out into space and grapple the small ledge on the far side of the chasm. Climb the cable until you reach a solid handhold. Climb up a little farther, jump to grab the jutting ledge above, and pull up. (screenshots)
Duck as you make your way to the left beneath a low ledge. As you go, Lara spots a cultist dumping a body off the edge into the pit. Continue to the end of the low tunnel. Then scramble up the wall, climb a couple of wooden handholds, jump up and latch onto the climbing wall above. Axe-climb to the top, then climb along the narrow ledge to the left. At the end of this ledge, jump to the left to grab the carved moulding above the door where the cultist emerged. It crumbles under Lara's weight, so you may need to press Interact to hang on. Climb, then jump to the left. Axe-climb down the wall then rappel down to the bloodstained wooden platform. (screenshots)
Go through the doorway and crawl into the low opening ahead on the right. Continue through a long, narrow crawlspace filled with discarded body parts. Ugh! Soon you'll emerge in a small room where a cultist is standing at a table with his back to you. Sneak up behind him and kill him with a melee attack. There's a painting of a serpent with a silver eye in the eastern corner of the room. Use your climbing axe to break down the crumbling wall next to it. (screenshots)
OBJECTIVE: Find the Silver Box of Ix Chel
HEAD OF THE SERPENT: As you enter the hidden passageway, you receive another XP award, your goal is updated, and Jonah contacts Lara by radio.
Jonah says that he and Uchu have been talking about tattoos. He thinks Unuratu's tattoo of the heron and eclipse may be connected to the Silver Box. Lara doesn't think so, but then Lara isn't always right, is she? ;)
Another photo, Queen Unuratu, is added to the Artifacts menu, in the Lara's Notebook Story. Examine it to learn more about the Heron and Eclipse family crest and the crisis that led to Unuratu's ouster and the rise of the Cult of Kukulkan.
Follow the passage forward to the edge of another chasm. Jump out and grapple the climbing wall. Then rappel down as far as you can, swing forward, and jump onto the ledge in front of the well-lit room. (screenshots)
OBJECTIVE: Complete the Trial of the Serpent
Before tackling the trial, examine the mural (1/1) Awaits (Mam/Homecoming) on the right (south) side of the room. (screenshot) and gather some salvage and other supplies.
CLEARING AWAY THE BARRIER: This room introduces a new puzzle element: using flammable oil to clear a wooden barrier. Start by using a rope arrow to pull the lever in the far left corner of the room, causing oil to run down a narrow trough into a shallow pool in front of the wooden barrier. Now use the jaguar-head handle in the middle of the room to ignite the oil. The flame spreads along the channel in the floor to the pool, burning the barrier away so you can proceed. (screenshots)
Follow the tunnel to a steep drop-off. Jump forward and latch onto the climbable wall. Climb down as far as you can. Then rappel the rest of the way down to the cavern below. Here you'll find a more elaborate version of the flammable barrier puzzle. Before starting on it, head down the stairs, but before you reach the two columns, drop down on the left ad jump across the gap into a small room with some cloth and jade ore. Return to the edge, jump back across the gap, scramble up the wall to grab the edge, and pull up. (screenshots)
SECOND FLAMING OIL PUZZLE: At the top of the steps, near where you entered this area is a rope-wrapped lever, a shallow pool, and a handle. On the level below are 2 columns with grooves around their bases. Both have rope coils, and one has handle that allows you to rotate it. The idea is to line up the grooves so the oil can flow down from the pool at the top of the stairs, all the way to the wooden barrier beyond the columns. Then you can ignite the oil to destroy the barrier. (screenshots)
To do this, start by standing near the shorter column and shooting a rope arrow into the taller one to tether the two together. Grab the handle sticking out of the taller column and rotate the column 180 degrees. Thanks to the rope tether, the smaller column also rotates. Cut the rope. Grab the handle again and turn the taller column 90 degrees counterclockwise. This should create an unbroken channel from the pool at the top of the stairs all the way to the wooden barrier. (screenshots)
Return to the upper level and use a rope arrow to pull the lever that opens the vat of oil. If you've lined everything up correctly, the oil should flow into the pool and down the stairs, all the way to the wooden barrier. (If not, you can manipulate the columns further or reload the checkpoint and try again.) Now pull the jaguar-head handle to ignite the oil and destroy the barrier it so you can continue. (screenshots)
As Lara steps through the door into a MAP ROOM, the burning oil trickles along the channel, revealing a key in the shape of a silver serpent. Lara takes it and dives into an irrigation channel that whisks her back to the city. She emerges in one of the little pools on the northwest side of the city. Etzli is waiting there, but so are a group of cultist soldiers. They grab the prince and begin hurling spears at Lara.
REVISITING THIS AREA LATER IN THE GAME: The mural is the only major collectible, but if you missed it during 'The Hidden City' story chapter, fast travel to the Head of the Serpent Base Camp, which appears on your in-game map once you've cleared this area. The mural is located on the south wall of the room with the campfire. (screenshot) With the flaming oil now depleted, it's not possible to redo the puzzles and exit to the east, so use the base camp to fast travel out to wherever you left off. The Quick Collectibles Guide for this level has details.
†UPDATE HISTORY: 10/14/18 - First draft of walkthrough posted online.
9/1/21 - Added note about revisiting the level after completing it.
9/27/21 - Added link to Quick Collectibles Guide.
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