LEVEL 25: AQUATIC RESEARCH AREA
Items: 1 health item, 2 Security Passes
Weapons & Ammo: 2 ammo items
Enemies: aquatic mutant, soldier
Upgrades: upper body
ROOM WITH MACHINE GUNS: Now Lara is back in action. Press the button to open the airlock doors. The next area has sensor-triggered machine guns, which will kill Lara if she comes within range. So, don't climb down the ladder. Instead safety drop off the walkway to the left of the airlock. Commando crawl (Duck + Stealth) along the floor to the left and through the small, rectangular opening near the wall. Beyond that you can stand. Turn the valve to release clouds of steam into the room. As long as Lara doesn't stand right in front of one of the guns, the electric eyes won't spot her and she can move freely.
NOTE: If you save (or die) and reload here, you'll need to wait several moments for the steam to reappear before moving around again.
Climb over the stacked crates near the valve and cross the room to the wall behind the second gun. Climb the pipes on the far wall, following the path shown in this screenshot: Climb up, right, then up again. When you reach the narrow ledge, traverse along it to the right and around the corner. Then drop onto the jutting ledge in front of the open doorway. (If you run out of strength, you can pull up onto the ledge as soon as Lara rounds the corner and then drop down near the doorway.)
SMALL STORAGE ROOM WITH GUN: Follow the hallway around the corner and down the steps. There's a security camera you can use to scope out the next room, but this isn't necessary. (If you try the camera, press Duck to disengage from it.) Continue to that room, but don't go too far in. There are 2 more machine guns at the far end. To destroy the guns, advance to just a little beyond the stacked boxes near the left wall, as shown in this screenshot. Draw a weapon and Lara will automatically aim at the panel with the blinking light and "Flammable" sign. Shoot this panel several times to set off an explosion that destroys the machine guns.
Now you can go past the dead gun. Just watch out for the gas or steam billowing from the pipe. This will kill Lara if she walks under it. Instead, stay to the left and climb over the boxes, then approach the blue door from the side. Press the button and go through.
Alternatively, commando crawl across the room. The guns will start firing but won't be able to hit Lara if she's hugging the floor. Crawl all the way to the far corner to the left of the door before standing up. The guns can't "see" Lara in this corner. Carefully sidestep toward the button but don't step out too far. Press it and run through the door. (Thanks to Ingrid and others for this strategy.)
Enter the circular shaft beyond the machine gun room, climb the ladder and follow the hall to the right then around the corner and up the steps. The next door opens automatically and leads into the Aquatic Research area proper.
BIG ROOM WITH POOLS: The place appears deserted but there are "Danger" signs everywhere. The hazard is in the pool. It's another huge, aquatic mutant. A display panel ahead shows that the power is still down.
NOTE: The idea here is to distract the big fish so Lara can reach the underwater exit without being devoured. However, you may not need to follow the strategy here if you're playing the PC version of the game. I was able to complete all the underwater business (starting with the section below titled "OPENING THE EXIT") by simply outswimming the mutant. The mutant seems to be much more aggressive in the PlayStation 2 game, though, So PS2 players will probably need to do everything described here.
There is also a potential bug that allows you to skip directly to the next level by going through a wall. This is covered on a separate page.
RESTORING THE POWER (FIRST LEVER): From the entrance, go down the steps on the right and follow the walkways around to the far right. Notice that this section of pool has a sturdy fence separating it from the main tank. Jump into the water and swim down through the broken observation window. Swim to the left side of the flooded room and pull the lever. This restores partial power to the area and opens a door above.
Swim back to the surface for air if you need it. Then swim back down through the broken observation window and this time go to the right. In the flooded room beyond, swim upward then straight forward through a doorway with gray and yellow stripes around the opening. Swim through the square hole in the ceiling and straight up the vertical shaft to the surface. Climb out of the pool. Get the small medipack on the walkway to the left. Press the yellow button to open the door. Follow the hall back to the main room. You emerge through a yellow-striped doorway with a high-voltage sign above it. The fenced-off section of the pool is just ahead.
RESTORING THE POWER (SECOND LEVER): Follow the walkways all the way around to the far side of the room, to the door you just opened using the lever. (It also has yellow stripes and a high-voltage sign, but the pool below is not fenced off and the underwater viewing port is intact.) Follow the hallway to the end. Press the button to open the door and enter the steamy room beyond. On the far left, there's another security camera. On the right is a switch. Use this to open the lift doors. Enter the lift and press the button to ride down.
In the room below, hop down off the ledge and go through the door straight ahead into the underwater observation room. This one is not flooded. Use the lever at the far end to restore the power levels to 100%. Return to the elevator. Use the switch to call the lift, get in, press the button and ride up. Exit the lift and follow the hallway back to the main room.
Cut scene: A lever, a switch and a ladder. So much for the challenge of puzzle-solving. ;)
THE CHUM BUCKET: Go up the stairs on the right. At the top, turn right and approach the blue metal bucket. Pull this bucket onto the square, gray pad on the floor. Press the button to move the bucket along a conveyor belt to the other side of the platform. Go over to the bucket, position Lara on its left side and push it into the small room so it is underneath the trapdoor in the ceiling. Pull the lever on the other side of the room to dump some nice, juicy chum into the bucket. Now pull the full bucket back onto the gray pad. Lara gets an upper-body strength upgrade when you do this. Press the button near the pad to move the bucket along the conveyor to where it was before. Push the bucket off the pad and back onto the crane platform where it started.
Return downstairs and follow the walkways back to the other side of the room near the fenced-off section of pool. Climb the stairs to the landing with the small boxes. Climb the ladder to the room above. The 2 security cameras here allow you to see a pair of levers labeled #1 and #2. (Press Duck to disengage from the cameras.) Exit the room through the door opposite the camera stations and follow the walkway around to the right to a broken section.
Once Lara has gotten the strength upgrade (above), she can climb the pipes. Climb up, then right, then up some more. Grab the narrow ledge and traverse to the left as far as you can go. Drop onto the ledge below. After the upgrade, Lara should have just enough strength to make it.
NOTE: If you're having trouble with the climb even after getting the upgrade, try climbing as far as the ledge. Then let go and immediately press Action again to grab the horizontal pipe below. Lara's grab meter will be reset. Continue with rest of the climb and you should have enough power to make it all the way. You can actually make the climb without the upgrade if you do it this way. (Thanks to D.S. for this tip.)
Press the button to move the small platform to this side of the gap. Get on and ride across to the other side. The big doors ahead open automatically. Press the button on the wall ahead to open the airlock door. Go into the airlock and press another button to open the inner door. Take out the soldier in the next room using hand-to-hand attacks or your gun of choice. Enter and then turn around to face the door where you came in. There are cabinets on each side of the door containing Viper and Mag clips. Exit the way you came.
Before returning to the big room with the pool, go right into a small room and use the switch there to lower the chum bucket into the water. This distracts the fish-mutant, so you can finish your business here. Return to the room with the pool and drop into the water. Now that the mutant is no longer starving, Lara can swim about safely.
NOTE: The PlayStation version of the game has a bug in which the mutant is not distracted by the chum and will still attack Lara. I know of no way to fix this, but I have listed several possible ways to get around it in a note at the end of the walkthrough.
OPENING THE EXIT: Swim across the pool and pull lever #1, which is just below the entrance and power-monitoring panel. This opens the first of two trapdoors on the floor of the pool, as well as another underwater door on the opposite wall. Swim across the pool, getting air on the way if you need it, and go through that underwater door. Swim up the shaft. When Lara reaches the top, don't press any buttons or you'll skip the short cut scene.
Cut scene: Lara climbs out of the water, changes into a wetsuit and presses a button to raise the water level in the room.
Pull lever #2, which is just below the waterline in this room. This opens the second trapdoor at the bottom of the main pool. You can get air at the top of this room if you need it. Then swim down the shaft and back to the main pool. Get air again if necessary and then swim down through the two open trapdoors to the next level.
†UPDATE HISTORY: 1/16/07 - Added the alternate strategy for the second machine gun room, thanks to Ingrid; the roll-through-the-wall level-skip bug (thanks to Juan and others); and the PlayStation mutant bug and solutions below, thanks to Dave C., Infiniti, Jeff C., Loren and Ted for their suggestions. Also cleaned up a few sections and added some screenshots.
4/14/07 - Added a little more info on the aquatic mutant and the level-skip bug in that same area.
NOTE ON KILLING OR AVOIDING THE AQUATIC MUTANT: If you run into the bug described above, in which the mutant is not distracted by the chum and continues to attack Lara, try one or more of these strategies:
Try swimming along the surface of the water except for the parts where you have to submerge to pull the lever or swim through a tunnel. Several players have reported that the mutant doesn't hurt Lara when she's swimming on the surface.
Try luring the mutant to the surface and shooting it. The best spot for this is probably one of the small square platforms at water level. If you jump into the pool there, wait for the mutant to approach, and then climb out of the water, you may be able to lure it to the surface—or even out of the water—so you can shoot it more easily. The mutant is tough, so you may need to do this several times before it will die, but it can be killed.
If you don't have ammo to spare, or if the mutant won't die, stay out of the water as much as possible. Follow the walkway to a spot near the first lever, which is just below the entrance. Jump in, pull the lever, roll, and quickly swim forward and up to the ladder where you can climb out. Then follow the walkways around to the opposite side of the room. Jump into the water and swim up the shaft to the second lever. After pulling it, swim down to the main room, forward and up to the ladder and climb out. Follow the walkways to one of the small platforms right at water level and, when the mutant swims off to one side, jump in and swim down through the open trapdoor as fast as you can.
WAS THIS WALKTHROUGH HELPFUL? If not, I apologize and invite you to contact me with any questions. If you need help right away, I recommend the Square Enix Tomb Raider Forum or any of the other message boards listed at tombraiders.net/stella/community.html. If this site was useful, please consider supporting it financially or in other ways. For details, visit tombraiders.net/stella/support.html. As always, I welcome your corrections/suggestions. Thank you!
Copyright © 2003- - Stellalune (). I am eternally grateful to the members of the alt.games.tombraider newsgroup, whose contributions to this walkthrough are numerous. Thanks also to the developers of Fraps, the program used for all AOD screenshots. Thanks also to Dave C., D.S., Infiniti, Ingrid, Jeff C., Jemma, Loren, Ted, Tom K., Bob C., Miya and Grant W. for their help with this level. Feel free to copy or print this walkthrough for personal use. By all means, share it with friends, but please include this credit line so people can send me their feedback. No part of this walkthrough may be reproduced on another site without permission.
Stella's Tomb Raider Site: tombraiders.net.