LEVEL 2: RACE FOR THE IRIS
Kills: 0 Items: 0 Secrets: 0*
The length and difficulty of the racecourse in this level depends on the number of golden skulls you found in the previous level. Finding all eight skulls opens up the longer, more difficult course. For details see the last section of the ANGKOR WAT walkthrough.
In either case, you'll probably want to take the course slowly, following Von Croy's lead, the first time or two. When you learn the twists and turns, you'll be able to go faster. Check out YouTube for various videos showing the easy and difficult races.
Cutscene: Lara slides down a chute and meets Werner below. Dialogue is included in the Cinematics section.
EASY COURSE: Start by following Von Croy forward through the doorway. If you've unlocked the easier course, the doorway is directly opposite the starting point. (screenshots) Run through the twisting passageway. If you like, you can sprint on the straightaways. Just be sure to release Sprint when rounding corners. Then, in the open area beyond, jump across the first gap, hop onto the wall ahead (screenshot), and then take a running jump across the next, wider gap. (screenshot)
If you want to take a little shortcut here, aim for the right side of this gap and either grab the edge and let go or just let Lara fall into the pit. (screenshot) Run through the vine-covered opening directly ahead and turn right. Then continue forward through the open gate. (screenshots) Skip the next paragraph.
If you've taken the higher route across the first two pits, as Werner does, beyond the pits, run forward off the edge, turn right, and run off the next edge to fall into the small room below. (screenshot) Run on through the open gate. (screenshot) If Von Croy gets too much of a head start, he'll use a switch to close the gate behind him. In that case, just climb into the opening above and to the left of the gate and drop down on the other side. (screenshot)
Beyond the gate, turn right and take a standing jump up into the doorway. (screenshot) Follow another twisting passageway to the next open area, where you'll need to take a running jump across a wide pit and grab the opposite edge. Pull up, enter the passageway ahead, and run to the right. (screenshot) (If you fall into this pit while navigating the easier course, there's a block in the far right corner where you can climb out. You'll lose quite a bit of time, though.)
Continue to the next room, where you'll need to jump forward, grab the bars on the ceiling, monkey swing across the pit, and drop onto the ledge on the far side. (screenshot) If you fall down, run forward and climb the far wall to get out of the pit, again losing precious seconds.
Continue along the passageway to a room with uneven, gray rocks. To quickly reach the ledges above, run forward and position Lara at the left edge of the base of the first slope. Take a standing jump to the top of the slope, another standing jump onto the block ahead, then side flip to the right to land on the ledge above. (screenshot) Run around to the right and jump across the gap into the doorway. (screenshot) Run/sprint across the wooden bridge and through the wide doorway on the other side. (screenshot)
If Von Croy reaches this door before you, he'll pass through and it will begin to close behind him. (screenshot) Either dive through before it closes all the way, or to re-open it, step up to the small, rectangular niche on the wall to the right of the door and press Action. Lara will reach in and operate a mechanism to open the door. (screenshot) This is new to TR4, and you'll be doing it frequently in later levels.
Beyond this door, follow the passageway to the IRIS CHAMBER. (Pick up the walkthrough below.)
DIFFICULT COURSE: Start by following Von Croy through the doorway. In the more challenging version of this level, it's in the far left corner. (screenshot) Follow the passageway to an open area with 2 pits lined with deadly spikes. If you keep running and jump at the edge of the last gray stone tile in the corridor, Lara should clear the first pit and land near the edge of the second, wider pit. You can then hop back and take a running jump to clear the second pit. (screenshot)
Run through the doorway and straight on to another wide pit. This one has no spikes, but you'll still want to cross quickly. Take a running jump from the doorway to grab the opposite edge of the pit to the right of center. (screenshot) Pull up, turn right (screenshot), then sprint through the wide doorway and around to the right. (screenshot) At this point you'll want to make sure you overtake Von Croy before he closes the gate in front of you. (screenshot)
NOTE: If he closes the gate, you'll need to restart the race or take the longer, more dangerous route through the gate on the opposite (south) side of the room. (screenshot) This is not covered here, though I may add it eventually.
The room beyond the gate contains a shallow pool, which you'll want to avoid to save time. Run around the left edge of the pool, taking running jumps across the corners of the pool if you feel comfortable doing so. (screenshot) Jump up onto the right side of the block at the end of the walkway. (screenshot) Then side flip to the left into the passageway above. (screenshot) Of course you can also just climb up into the passageway, but this takes a little longer.
Follow the short passageway, roll and grab the edge, then drop into the room below, which also contains a pool. (screenshot) As soon as Lara hits the ground, turn right (screenshot) and run/sprint around the edge of the pool to the far corner. (screenshot) There's a pile of rocks blocking the path ahead. Don't try and jump over it. Instead make a sharp left turn into the doorway before the rock pile. (screenshot)
Continue to a wooden bridge spanning another pit. Sprint across the bridge (screenshot) and follow the next twisting passageway to another room with a pool of water. Stick to the walkway so you don't lose precious seconds, but if you like, you can use running jumps to cut corners and get across more quickly. Run through the gate on the other side of the room. (screenshot)
NOTE: If Von Croy reaches the wooden bridge before Lara, he'll collapse it. (screenshot) So you'll have to dive into the pool below and swim through the flooded passageway into the next room. (screenshot) When you reach that room, climb out on the walkway and run through the gate as described above. (There's a lever on the underside of the walkway that controls the gate, but as far as I can tell, Von Croy does not close the gate behind him as he passes.)
Continue to the next open area, where there are 2 wide spike pits. Use your running-jump-and-grab maneuver to clear each of them. (screenshot) As you enter the small, dark room ahead, veer left and take a running jump into the raised doorway. (screenshot)
Run across the next wooden bridge. Ignore the dangling vine and jump up into the doorway on the left. (screenshot) Turn left, then immediately turn right into the passageway just before the wide opening overlooking the giant statue head. (screenshot) Continue to a ledge behind the big head. (screenshot) As you run along beside the head, the camera shifts to a wide-angle view. Ignore it and run through the giant statue's open mouth to drop into the room below. (screenshot)
NOTE: If Von Croy beats you to the wooden bridge below the dangling vine, he'll collapse the bridge, and you'll need to use the vine to swing across the gap. (screenshot) Then jump up into the doorway and continue to the left. (screenshot) If Von Croy is still ahead of you when you reach the ledge overlooking the giant head, the gate on the right will close behind him, preventing Lara from following. (screenshot) You'll then need to drop down into the area below the head, where there are 3 boars. Try to avoid them as you move around the corner to the left and climb the vine-covered wall to reach the statue head. (screenshot) Then drop down into the giant statue's mouth. (screenshot)
After dropping into the giant statue's mouth, turn right and follow the dark passageway to the the IRIS CHAMBER at the end of the racecourse. (screenshot)
Cutscene: The dialogue here differs slightly depending on who reaches the chamber first. Again, see the Cinematics page for details. Regardless of the outcome of the race, Lara and Von Croy use a pair of levers to open the large sphere in the center of the room, revealing the IRIS artifact on a pedestal at the center. A bridge then unfurls toward the platform in the middle of the room, and Von Croy makes his way across. As he reaches for the Iris, in classic Indiana Jones style, the temple begins to crumble. Von Croy loses his footing and slips off the edge, his foot wedged in a crack in the platform. Lara attempts a rescue, but the sphere closes around Von Croy. At the last minute, she flees, barely escaping with her life.
The moral of the story: Greed and arrogance don't pay. The other moral: Never abandon a cranky old man in a desolate ruin, or you'll probably regret it.
*NOTE ON SECRETS: There are 70 secrets in the entire game. These are marked "(x/70)" in this walkthrough. To check your progress in-game, press Pause (P/Start) then choose Statistics. There are no secrets in Race for the Iris, but if you found all secrets in the previous level, you should now have 8.
†UPDATE HISTORY: 5/5/19 - First major update since this walkthrough was created in 1999. This revision includes many new screenshots as well as various other corrections and clarifications.
10/10/20 - Added the shortcut in the easy course, thanks to a tip from rarakroftu on Twitter.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Special thanks to the participants in the alt.games.tombraider newsgroup and the old tombraiders.com forum, without whom parts of this walkthrough could not have been written. Thanks also to Brian C. from Tomb Raiders Traveler's Guide, for the transcript of the Race for the Iris cutscene.
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