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. I am working on PC save files for download. Feel free to contact me with special requests.
AREA 15: CITY OF THE SERPENT
Camps: 1 (City of the Serpent*)
*This camp is a pit stop before the final boss. Fast travel is disabled, and you can't return here after beating the game.
Major Collectibles: none (2 artifacts are added automatically during story progression)
Annotated Level Map: N/A
After speaking with Etzli in Skull Cave, a series of cutscenes carries the plot forward. Etzli and Uchu formulate a plan of attack, with help from Lara and Jonah. The main rebel force will approach the pyramid, where the ritual is to take place, via a bridge, while Lara sneaks in through a side entrance to act as a sniper. A bit later, when the group arrives at the place where Lara must leave the others, Etzli gives her part of the leader's amulet for luck. After today, he says, the eclipse will no longer represent his people; they'll keep the sun, but she'll remove the shadow. Lara accepts the gift, says a brief farewell to Jonah, then sets off on her own, diving into some sort of aqueduct.
OBJECTIVE: Swim through the Irrigation System
SWIMMING THROUGH THE AQUEDUCT: After the cutscene Unuratu's Amulet is added to the Artifacts section of your inventory, under The Resistance Story. Swim down and follow the flooded passageway to the northeast. The route is fairly straightforward, so I haven't included screenshots for most of it. There's one spot where you need to squeeze through some stone bars, and just beyond that is a pocket of trapped air. After this, things start to shake and boil. To quote a certain optimistic fish, just keep swimming. Continue through for the doorway at the bottom of the carved facade. (screenshot) Just beyond it there's another air pocket. Take a breath and continue through the collapsing passageway until you see light ahead. Follow the tunnel to the end and surface in a Yaaxil warren.
When you move out onto the ledge, you get a wide-angle view of the huge cavern below the pyramid. As Lara watches, a Trinity helicopter destroys the bridge that the rebels plan to use. Jonah says they'll find another way around. Lara spots red smoke rising from one of the buildings ahead and tells Jonah she's going to investigate.
OBJECTIVE: Go to the Crimson Fire
CAVERN BELOW THE PYRAMID: Follow the path down to the east. Jump across the gap and continue to the end. Jump off the wooden platform and grapple-swing over to the climbing wall. Follow the path down to the east. Jump across the gap and continue to the end. Jump off the wooden platform and grapple-swing over to the climbing wall. Axe-climb up and around to the right to reach the ledge above. Cross over to the other side and jump to grab the horizontal bar. Lara swings out onto a wooden beam, which collapses beneath her. She manages to grab the ledge below. Pull up, jump across the next gap, and climb the steps. Continue through the angled opening ahead on the right. (screenshots)
A Trinity helicopter makes a close pass, firing at the Yaaxil on the bridge below. As the helicopter passes, follow the ledge down to the right and walk out onto the jutting branch. Jump out and grapple the left end of the craggy wall on the T-shaped stone structure ahead. Climb the cable, latch onto the climbable wall, and axe-climb to the right. Jump past the gap in the climbable surface and continue climbing all the way to the right. Rappel down as far as you can. Swing back and forth to gather momentum then jump to grab the ledge at the base of the structure ahead. Pull up and move through the building to the other side. Use a rope arrow to run a zip line to the next building and slide down. (screenshots)
Lara meets the Yaaxil leader, who she now understands is the Crimson Fire—Unuratu's counterpart, the Chak Chel to her Ix Chel. Lara manages to convince the other woman that she is capable of taking Unuratu's part in the ritual. The Crimson Fire gives Lara a mask symbolizing Ix Chel, and together they approach the temple.
OBJECTIVE: Follow the Yaaxil to the Pyramid
Follow the Crimson Fire down the steps and through the crowd of assembled Yaaxil.
As you approach the circular door, a brief cutscene shows the Yaaxil leader ordering her people to open the door. When it's open, Lara and the Crimson Fire step through together.
BEYOND THE FIRST CIRCULAR DOOR: At this point a new Artifact, a photo of The Crimson Fire, appears in your collection under Lara's Notebook. If you like, you can review it now for more information about the upcoming ritual. Lara then radios Jonah to say she's bringing reinforcements. She then overhears Rourke's men telling him they've spotted her with the Yaaxil.
Follow the Crimson Fire as she heads off to the right. Lara doesn't have the Yaaxil's preternatural agility, but you can almost keep up if you jump off the ledge, swing on the horizontal bar, and latch onto the climbing wall beyond. Axe-climb to the right as far as you can, leap across the gap and latch onto the next climbable area. Continue climbing upward and to the right. When you run out of climbing wall, jump out to the right, grapple the beam above, and swing over to the wooden walkway. Run forward along the walkway, jump across the gap, and continue to the end. Scramble up the wooden wall to grab the beam at the top. Climb around the corner to the left. Then jump to another rough climbing surface. Climb up and around to the left until you can pull up onto the ledge above. (screenshots)
As you move forward, another helicopter flies in and deposits an armored personnel carrier on the bridge below. Rourke's voice on the radio informs his men that the entire Trinity High Council has arrived and they need to get the situation under control. (Now, I'm not the boss of a shadowy organization bent on world domination, but doesn't it seem like putting all your eggs in one big, volcanic basket is a bad idea?)
Move out to the end of the broken wooden bridge and jump across the wide gap to the other side. Continue down to the next jutting wooden ledge. Jump off the edge, grapple the beam above, and swing around to the climbing wall ahead on the left. As you move up and around to the right, a helicopter starts firing at Lara, causing the climbing wall to crumble away behind her. There's no need to panic, though. As long as you keep moving, you should be fine. Continue climbing onto the wooden ladder at the top of the wall then up the ladder to the ledge above. As you go, a group of Yaaxil jump onto the helicopter sending it spinning into the lake of fire below. (screenshots)
OBJECTIVE: Confront Dominguez
As you follow the Crimson Fire along the bridge to the next circular door, Lara tells Jonah they've cleared a path to the temple and Dominguez is inside. Approach the door to trigger the next cutscene.
Inside the temple, Lara, the Crimson Fire, and a band of Yaaxil approach Dominguez, interrupting his entreaties to Kukulkan. Dominguez seems surprised to see them together. He insists that the ritual is his to complete and the Yaaxil have chosen the wrong side. Lara tells him he's the one who's mistaken; the ritual always belonged to the Yaaxil. All should have an equal part in remaking the world. But Dominguez is having none of this. As they all look up to see that totality is drawing near, he orders his men to attack as he escapes farther into the temple.
OBJECTIVE: Defeat Trinity
COMBAT INSIDE THE TEMPLE: You begin the fight crouched behind a low wooden barrier. A pair of Trinity soldiers appears just ahead. Try to take them out quickly. If they destroy your cover or start throwing grenades before you can kill them, move up to the solid stone barrier on the left. A third man, comes through the doorway at the top of the slope and moves behind cover. To save ammo, shoot the red jar to the left of the barrier. One well-placed bullet or arrow should set it off, killing the soldier. Search the bodies and loot the supply container in the far right corner before entering the next area. (screenshots)
NOTE: Even though many of the bodies glow in survival instinct, you can only actually search the 3 soldiers you just killed. They carry ammo, health, gold, and other minor resources.
COMBAT PHASE TWO: As you move through the passageway into the next area, a short cutscene plays. Lara and several Yaaxil rush in. Most of them are mowed down by the hovering helicopter, but Lara manages to take cover behind a broken stone wall. There are 2 enemies ahead. Shoot the explosive barrel on the ledge to take out the sniper next to it. Then deal with the other man, who may take a position out in the open on the right or move behind the wooden barrier on the left. (screenshots)
COMBAT PHASE THREE – ROURKE'S TANK: If you have stockpiled a lot of Focus and Endurance herbs, you may want to use some of each before moving forward into the next area, where you'll come up against 5 more soldiers and Commander Rourke, shooting from inside a tank wedged in the doorway at the top of the slope. (If you have limited resources, save them for the upcoming boss fight.) Move out past the corner and take cover behind the nearest of several low stone wall. If any of the men ahead starts throwing grenades, you'll need to move back out of the way, but if you're quick, they won't have time to do this. The first 2 enemies advance down the slope toward you. If Focus is active, you can probably take them both out with headshots before they do too much damage. Your Yaaxil allies surge forward into the fray. They don't stand a chance against Rourke's tank, but they'll buy you a few moments to heal and reload. Remember to release Aim to duck down behind the wall so you don't take fire. (screenshots)
As the next 3 enemies appear at the top of the slope, try to shoot the explosive jar on the left. This should take out 2 of them. Then shoot the urn on the jar on the far right to kill the last man. Or, to conserve ammo, instead run forward as the Yaaxil do. Take cover behind the next low wall on the left. Pick up the red gas can and hold Alternate Fire (Middle Mouse/R1/RB) to combine it with cloth from your inventory to make a petrol bomb and toss it over the wall at the second group of enemies. Once you've killed them all, a cutscene plays. (screenshots)
Rourke loses his cool and begins shooting frantically at the approaching Yaaxil. The Crimson Fire is not put off by a little machine gun fire. She leaps up onto the tank and shows him how her people deal with evil interlopers.
Search the bodies for supplies. Then climb the ledges to the right of the tank to reach the City of the Serpent Base Camp. Fast Travel is disabled, but you can spend any unused Skill Points, craft weapon upgrades, and change outfits if you like. At this point, every outfit you've unlocked should be available. There's also a resource container and some wood for arrows off to the left. (screenshots)
OBJECTIVE: Climb the Pyramid
PYRAMID EXTERIOR: When you're ready to go, follow the broken wooden walkway beyond the campfire. Jump over to the climbable wall on the side of the pyramid. Climb up as far as possible then jump to grab the wooden bars above. Climb the wooden wall upward and around to the right until you can scramble up onto the wooden walkway. Cross to the other side and move out onto the jutting branch. As you do, a chunk of stonework plummets past in front of you, revealing a series of stone blocks you can grapple. Jump out and grapple the lowest of these blocks. Climb the cable until you can grab onto the protruding stones and pull yourself up onto the ledge. (screenshots)
Jump across the gap onto the walkway with the gilded columns. When you land, the ledge collapses and Lara begins to slide. Just before the bottom of the slope, jump forward, grapple the beam above, and swing around to the climbing wall ahead on the left. Climb onto the ledge above. Grab some more resources from the jar sitting here. Then jump off the far side of the ledge and grapple the rough rock above the wall-running area ahead. (screenshots)
This next wall run can be tricky. I found it helped to position Lara on or just above the horizontal seam between the stone blocks near the bottom of the painted wall-run area. (If you're playing with white paint disabled, you can still eyeball it based on the seam between stone blocks.) Run all the way to the left once. Then, run back to the right, jump out and grapple the quipu ring above. (screenshots)
NOTE: In my experience, if you take the time to run back and forth a few times, the right end of the wall starts to crumble, and Lara is more likely to miss the grapple point and fall. If you find a consistent tactic for this, I'd love to hear it.
Once you grapple the quipu, swing forward, jump and grab the wooden bar ahead. Lara's weight causes it to swing around toward the wall. Climb up the stone wall until you can scramble upward and latch onto a small area of craggy climbing wall. As quickly as you can, jump over to the next climbable area on the right to avoid being hit by falling rubble. Continue upward. (screenshots)
When you reach the top of the craggy wall, scramble up to grab a wooden ladder rung above and keep climbing. Near the top of the stone wall, one of the handholds collapses, and Lara drops and grabs on below. Take a breath and keep going. The large, rectangular block above is solid. Climb along to the left then jump and grab the wooden ladder. It looks rickety, but it will hold. Climb up a little more then scramble up to another cracked climbing wall. It starts to crumble as you go, so keep moving up and around to the right. When you reach the upper right, jump out and grapple the overhang. Climb the cable, latch onto the overhang, and continue climbing to the right until you can pull up onto the ledge above. (screenshots)
Lara arrives at the top of the pyramid in the middle of the ritual. She watches as Dominguez joins the Key and Silver Box, causing an incandescent energy to creep up his hand and arm, gradually taking over his entire body. Swirling energy then shoots from the dagger, energizing three stone statues positioned around the platform, and finally surrounding Dominguez in a glowing orb. Lara moves forward and takes cover in some bushes near one of the statues.
OBJECTIVE: Stop Dominguez
DEFEATING DOMINGUEZ: First, here's an overview and some recommended tactics. We'll break it down further below. As the fight progresses, Eagle Archers and Serpent Guards will continue to spawn, but the main objective is Dominguez. He is invulnerable until you remove the protective orb. In order to do that, you must interrupt the energy flow by attacking the 3 statues. The first is just ahead on the left after the cutscene. The others are near the northeast and northwest corners of the platform. Once the orb is gone, Dominguez will be vulnerable. You'll need to shoot him until a smaller protective bubble appears around him, then run in close and melee attack him. Each time you do this, he grows more aggressive, but the fifth time he raises the bubble and you stab him, it's over.
If you have unlocked the Heart of the Jaguar and Scales of the Serpent skills, and have enough herbs stockpiled, use Endurance and Focus mixtures right away and replenish them as soon as they start to run out.
There's a mud puddle near the southwest corner. Even if you don't plan on using much stealth here, it's a good idea to apply camouflage. Then if things get rough, you can run away from enemies and hide near one of the many vine-covered walls. Dominguez will not be fooled, but this could buy a few moments to heal and/or take another dose of Endurance and Focus herbs.
I'm sure you can find your own rhythm, but if you're consistently running out of ammo before the fight is over, try using the bow or pistol for archers, the shotgun and/or Puma's Feint/Dodge Counter against the Serpent Guards, and save most of your rifle ammo for Dominguez. There is more ammunition for all weapons lying around but not a lot, especially on the harder difficulty settings, so it's important not to waste it. You'll also find a few herbs, and you can loot dead enemies for supplies; however, the fight will go more quickly if you ignore most of the minor enemies, unless they are aggressively attacking you, and concentrate on Dominguez. If you can defeat him, the others don't matter. Here's one possible sequence.
BOSS FIGHT PHASE ONE – DESTROYING THE STATUES: As soon as the cutscene finishes, several Eagle Archers begin roaming the area looking for Lara. You can try to kill a couple of them from the starting position if you like. Or just use Endurance and Focus herbs then run up behind the first statue and press Interact several times to hack at the panel on the back. Disabling the statue frees the Serpent Guard who was entangled in its energy beam. You can fight them all or just take out a few. Then turn around and run away from the statue, down toward the right (southwest) corner of the platform. (screenshots)
Near the outer edge, just before the corner, is the mud patch mentioned above. Smear on some camouflage and keep moving around the corner. If there are enemies close on your heels, turn around and fight. Otherwise, just keep moving along the west side of the platform, shooting any archers who get in your way. If you like, you can pause and take cover among the vines to heal and top up your Focus, and Endurance mixtures. Then continue toward the northwest. Kill a few more archers blocking the way and approach the second statue in the northwest corner. (screenshots)
Use your climbing axe to attack the back of the statue, severing another of the energy tendrils and freeing another Serpent Guard, who then comes after you. It's your choice, but if he's not right on top of you, you can probably ignore him and head for the third statue, in the northeast corner of the platform. If you turn around and run away from the second statue toward the edge of the platform, then turn right, you'll encounter a few more archers on the way. With Focus and Endurance active, you should have time to shoot both before they do too much damage. Continue along the north side of the platform and approach the third statue from behind. Hack it with your axe to sever the final energy tendril. This frees another Serpent Guard, but more importantly, it removes the protective orb around Dominguez so you can fight him. (screenshots)
In a brief cutscene, he powers up and teleports across the platform, appearing directly in front of Lara. He swings his obsidian-edged blade and Lara dodges. Here we go!
BOSS FIGHT PHASE TWO – DEFEATING DOMINGUEZ: Once you've taken down his protective shield, Dominguez attacks, but you can also fight back. Switch to the rifle and immediately start firing as you back away. His obsidian blade weapon not only does physical damage, it also emits a gout of fire. So when he swings, press C/Circle/B to dodge out of the way and avoid most of the fire damage. (Endurance herbs will also reduce damage from fire, assuming you've unlocked the skill Heart of the Jaguar II.) Then either continue shooting or turn and run. Heal and use more Focus/Endurance herbs as you go. (screenshots)
When you're ready, turn and confront him. With Focus active, holding Aim shifts the action into slow motion. You can then pepper Dominguez with rifle shots as you advance toward him. Once he's taken enough damage, he'll emit an energy burst and a golden bubble will appear around him. Rather than protecting him, this indicates he's vulnerable. You have just a few seconds to run toward him and press Melee to attack. (If you don't reach him in time, he regenerates a bit, lowers the bubble, the first phase of the fight repeats until you get it right.) (screenshots)
When you land the melee attack, another short cutscene plays: Lara and Dominguez struggle. She stabs him with her knife, and he shoves her away, but not before she grabs the dagger.
As soon as Lara gets to her feet and you're back in control, if you still have ammunition, and Focus/Endurance are still active, continue firing at Dominguez, backing away as he approaches. Again, try to dodge when he swings at you or run away to put some distance between you, then turn and continue firing. When he's taken a bit more damage, the golden bubble again surrounds him. Sprint forward for a second melee attack. (screenshots)
This time Lara stabs Dominguez with the Key of Chak Chel, but one hit is not enough to finish him.
He shoves Lara back and resumes his rant about saving Paititi. If you haven't already taken care of the Serpent Guards who were originally trapped in the energy matrix, they'll appear now to assist him. At this point, you're probably running low on rifle ammo. So turn and run. Head for the outside of the platform but don't get too close to the edge or the enemies may knock Lara off into the abyss. Then you'll have to continue from the last checkpoint. Heal and use other herbs as you run around the outside of the platform. Collect ammo and search bodies as you go. There's no need to seek out the remaining enemies, but when they happen to cross your path, go ahead and shoot them. (screenshots)
When you've replenished your rifle ammo, either go looking for Dominguez or wait for him to come to you. Use the same basic tactics as before. Shoot him as you move in closer and dodge his attacks as well as you can. Or, if you're able to maneuver him near one of the red explosive jars, shoot the jar to cause an explosion. Then keep shooting until the energy bubble surrounds him. This is your signal to run in close for a third melee attack. (screenshots)
This time when Lara stabs him with the dagger, Dominguez loses his majestic helmet, making him more vulnerable to headshots but much crankier too. You'll also notice the dagger transferring more energy from Dominguez into Lara, even as he boasts about becoming more powerful.
Use the same basic tactics for the next round. Back away shooting, dodge if necessary, and ignore the minor enemies unless they get in your way. Continue to heal and use Focus/Endurance herbs as needed. Activating Focus (by using the herbs and holding Aim to slow time) should also allow you to land more headshots even as you're backing away from Dominguez. If you run out of rifle ammo, you can switch weapons, but hopefully it won't come to that. After a bit more of this, the golden energy sphere surrounds him again. Rush in and press the button indicated for a fourth melee attack. (screenshots)
Lara knifes Dominguez in the back. He elbows her in the face, throwing her off balance and stunning her momentarily.
As you regain control following the cutscene, Dominguez slashes out with his blade. You can try to dodge but the blast of fire will probably still knock Lara down. Now that he's near death, Dominguez begins to aggressively teleport. The snake of glowing energy shows where he'll turn up next usually right next to Lara. (screenshots)
If things get rough, run away again. Dominguez will run or teleport after you, but this should give you a few moments to heal and use other herbs. Turn and hit Dominguez with whatever you have left. Rifle ammo is great, but if all you have is shotgun or pistol rounds, grenades, or even arrows, just go for it. After a few more hits the golden bubble surrounds Dominguez once more. Run toward him and press Melee to stab him one last time. And it's done. (screenshots)
NOTE: If you're struggling with the boss fight, you're welcome to download my PC save file with Dominguez defeated.
The ending then unfolds in a series of cutscenes. Lara gently, almost reverently, eases the dying Dominguez to the ground. She apologizes for having to take his life. He takes her hand and presses the dagger into it, entreating her to protect Paititi. Lara promises she will. The power of Kukulkan then consumes her and her vision fills with a blinding white light.
Lara then experiences a vision of what life would have been like had both her parents survived. She looks at the dagger and imagines what Dominguez suggested, a world without weakness or cruelty. She remembers asking Jonah what he'd do with that kind of power. She lingers for just a few more moments in the idyllic vision, then wishes her parents goodbye and turns away.
Back in Paititi once more, the Crimson Fire appears and guides Lara to the altar and helps her complete the ritual. As she plunges the dagger toward Lara's heart, instead of stabbing her, it surrounds Lara with swirling energy, then a brilliant golden glow. The eclipse passes totality and the edge of the sun reappears.
Two days later.... Lara is back in Paititi with Jonah, Etzli, and Uchu at the conclusion of Unuratu's funeral. Lara whispers a final thank you to the queen, leaving behind her charm bracelet, with the eclipse medallion attached. As they leave, Jonah says he and Abby are planning a trip together. Lara wishes him well but says she wants to stay in Paititi a bit longer to help with the rebuilding and spend some time among the living. Etzli and Uchu join Lara and Jonah as they make their way down into the city, and all is well with the world.
After the credits, there's a short epilogue. Lara is writing a letter to Jonah from her study back in Croft Manor. The house is restored, Lara has some artifacts from her recent adventures on display, and sunshine streams in through the open windows. Lara is in a much more lighthearted place now. She says she's not sure what the future has in store, but whatever adventure may come her way, she's ready to meet it. As she concludes her writing, Winston arrives with a tea tray.
NOTE ON ALTERNATE ENDING: If you're interested in seeing an early, alternate post-credits scene referencing the original 1996 Tomb Raider antagonist, Jacqueline Natla, I've posted it here on YouTube. This article from Kotaku includes more information.
POST-GAME EXPLORATION & NEW GAME PLUS: After the credits and epilogue, you are brought back to the Main Menu. If you select Continue, you'll return to Skull Cave in Paititi so you can continue to explore the world and go after any major collectibles you may have missed. Or, select New Game+ from the Main Menu. When you do this, you'll be prompted to import a save slot. You can then choose any save slot in which the story has been completed, including the Autosave. The next screen asks you to choose one of three 'Paths': Eagle (Seeker), Jaguar (Warrior), or Serpent (Scavenger). Each comes with 3 new skills, an outfit top and bottom, and a weapon. As you progress through NG+, you'll be able to unlock other advanced skills and gear, so don't worry about choosing "wrong," just pick whichever appeals to you. Then choose a save slot for your NG+ save and proceed.
If you finished the game when it first came out and need a save file from which to launch NG+ or play downloadable content (DLC) packs, you can download my 100% PC save file, which has everything done on the Medium ("Rite of Passage") difficulty setting. Various other saves are available here.
REVISITING THIS LEVEL LATER IN THE GAME: It is not possible to revisit the City of the Serpent once you've completed the game. There are no major collectibles here, other than the two artifacts you receive automatically as you progress, so it's not necessary.
†UPDATE HISTORY: 1/20/19 - First draft of walkthrough posted online.
1/21/19 - Added notes on 100% and New Game+.
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