LEVEL 28: UNDERNEATH THE SPHINX
HALL WITH BULL GUARDIANS AND HIEROGLYPH BUTTONS: Enter the hall.
Cut scene: A panoramic view of the area, including the two dozing bull guardians, the cages to the left and right, and the gate closing ominously behind Lara.
[BUG NOTE: It is possible to avoid waking the bulls by following the perimeter of the room and going around them to the left or right to reach the puzzle. They only awaken when you walk in front of or between them. HOWEVER, some players have reported bugs later on in this level (specifically in the water maze section) which may be linked to not dealing with the bulls. I'll post more info as I get it, but for now, it's probably best to complete this section.]
First get the lay of the land: two bulls, two cages. There's a certain symmetry there. Each cage has a switch outside which lowers and raises the bars. Approach one of the bulls at a time to awaken it. Run back to one of the cages with the bull hot on Lara's tail. Run inside the cage and stand just inside the doorway, facing the wall with the door in it, and standing on the opposite side of the door from the switch. (As in this screenshot.) The bull will paw the ground outside then charge in. Then you can run out to the switch and quickly use it to trap him. Repeat the process for bull number two.
Return to the area where the bulls had been sleeping, near the hieroglyph buttons. Off to the left are the remains of another explorer (perhaps someone who didn't have this walkthrough). Pick up the flares and SCRAP OF PAPER he or she dropped. The paper is apparently supposed to be a clue to the hieroglyph button puzzle, but it's a bit obscure—at least to me. The three buttons, from left to right, show: two reeds (equivalent to the letter I, according to the clue); a shape that looks like a right triangle with the top point lopped off, which represents a sandy slope in hieroglyphs (perhaps the letter Q, according to the clue); and a bird (perhaps the letter A in the clue).** So we have I, Q and A. What to make of this? If we arrange them in alphabetical order by the Western alphabet (which the ancient Egyptians of course couldn't know), we have A, I, Q—bird, reeds, sandy slope. And, in fact, this combination opens the gate you want.
You must first press the buttons in the correct sequence (bird, reeds, sandy slope) in order to open the west gate and gain access to the clues to the puzzle. If you press any other combination before doing this, you will only open the northeast gate. You'll then have to go through the TRAPPED HALLWAY to use the switch that resets the puzzle. (See that section of the walkthrough below, which includes a bug note.) After opening the west gate to access the clues, certain other combinations will work to open gates besides the northeast one.
WEST GATE/ROOM WITH METAL STATUES AND CHUTES WITH COLORED LIGHTS: Press the hieroglyph buttons in the order bird, reeds, sandy slope (right, left, middle). The gate at the west end of the hall opens. Follow the tunnel taking a running jump across the deep pit. Kill a couple of bats. Then continue around the corner to a second deep pit. Jump across and enter a small room with two metal statues, where you'll need to kill a few more bats.
The statues don't move. The gate doesn't open yet. The clues you want are inside the chutes high on the side walls. Each chute is lit with a different color (red, green, blue and purple). Use your BINOCULARS to look up each chute, pressing Action to turn on the flashlight. Inside each chute you'll see an inscription showing a different combination of hieroglyphs, corresponding to the puzzle buttons back in the other room. The table below shows each possible combination of buttons along with what it does.
After noting the clues, return through the cave, jumping over the two deep pits, to the HIEROGLYPH PUZZLE. You can then explore the other areas in any order you like.
|Hieroglyph Combination||Gate Opened||Color Light and Stone||Stone Found in Area|
|bird, reeds, sandy slope||west||must use this combination first to access the clues|
|bird, sandy slope, reeds||northwest||red||Stone of Maat|
|sandy slope, reeds, bird||southwest||green||Stone of Khepri|
|reeds, sandy slope, bird||east||blue||Stone of Re|
|sandy slope, bird, reeds||southeast||purple||Stone of Atum
POSSIBLE BUG (see below)
|reeds, bird, sandy slope||northeast||traps only, no stone
POSSIBLE BUG (see below)
|bird, reeds, sandy slope||no action, puzzle resets automatically|
NORTHEAST GATE/TRAPPED HALLS: There is no artifact to be found in this area, so you can avoid it completely if you find and follow the button-combination clues in the west room. If you press any other combination before discovering these clues—or if, after opening the west gate and getting the clues, you press the combination reeds, bird, sandy slope—you will need to go through this area to use the switch that resets the puzzle.
(BUG NOTE: Some PlayStation players have reported a bug here, in which the hieroglyph puzzle will not reset even after pulling the switch in the trapped halls area. PSX players should especially consider avoiding this area entirely. If you encounter this bug, you will have to revert to an earlier saved game or use the cheat to skip the level. And if you skip the level, you won't have the 4 HOLY SCRIPTURES, which you need to finish the game.)
When you enter the cave beyond the northeast gate, the gate closes behind. You'll need to kill a couple of bats before continuing through the cave. Jump across the deep pit at the left side. Go through the doorway surrounded by carved skulls and down the ramp. (The diagram at right shows the next area.)
It doesn't matter whether you go left or right at the first intersection. In either case, when you round the next corner, you'll come to a trapped hallway. You'll be safe if you crawl slowly along the hall close to either wall. First comes a spiked ball, which drops down from a trapdoor in the ceiling. The next square of floor contains concealed blades. If you crawl slowly forward, the blades will pop up but won't cause Lara any damage. Stop and wait until they recede before crawling on. The square beyond that has another spiked ball dropping from above. After this, you can stand up.
Continue forward to a T intersection. Which path to take now depends on whether you prefer the concealed blades in the floor or the circular blade traps (like the ones you encountered in previous levels). If you take either of the outside hallways, you'll need to go through two of the circular blade traps. If you go through the center hallway, you'll need to go past two sets of concealed blades in the floor and one circular blade trap. All three of these north-south hallways also have converging horizontal blades, which are triggered when Lara reaches the middle of the each hall. These will cut her down at the waist if she walks through them, but she's perfectly safe crawling. To get past the concealed blades in the floor, follow the tips in the previous paragraph. To get through the circular blade traps, stand Lara as close as possible without injury, position her at the center of the blades facing into them, then roll as they begin to open.
When you reach the four-way intersection with circular blades on three sides, you want to head north. Go through the circular blade and pull the switch to open the gate back up in the cave and reset the HIEROGLYPH PUZZLE—and the traps. Return back through the trapped hallways (follow the map if necessary) to the ramp at the south end. Go back up the ramp to the cave. At the deep pit, carefully line up a running jump close to the right wall to grab the block ahead. Pull up and return to the main hall and the HIEROGLYPH PUZZLE. All that effort for nothing...sigh!
NORTHWEST GATE/CAVE WITH MAZE OF CRAWLSPACES: After getting the clues in the west room (see above), press the hieroglyph buttons in the order bird, sandy slope, reeds. The gate at the northwest end of the hall opens. When you enter the gate closes behind you. Kill a few bats and follow the tunnel to a deep pit. Proceed on the right side of the pit. Take a standing jump up the slope, but be sure to stop short at the top or Lara will go over the edge. Jump to the flat ledge on the opposite side of the pit, turn around and jump back across the pit to the flat ledge a bit farther on. Jump up the slope into the cave. Kill another bat or two.
This cave and network of tunnels is illustrated in the diagram below. There are three low tunnels leading out from the left (north), right (south) and straight ahead (east). It doesn't matter which you explore first. You'll probably need to use flares here (or turn up your monitor all the way). As you go through the tunnels, avoid the boarded-up sections of floor, most of which conceal deadly spikes. There is one section that hides a secret. This is noted below.
(NOTE: When you need to light another flare while crawling, first press the draw-weapon key so Lara comes up on one knee. Then press the flare key twice, once to throw the spent flare then again to light a new one.)
NORTH TUNNEL: Crawl in and take the first left (west). (If you continue on ahead, you'll come to a spike pit.) Continue straight (west) past a short passage to the right (north), which only leads to another spike pit. Turn left (south) a little farther on and you'll find the STONE OF MAAT.*** Crawl back out the way you came.
EAST TUNNEL: Crawl forward a short distance to where the passage forms a T. Avoid the left (north) branch, which leads to a spike pit. Instead, turn right (south). Crawl onto the boards and fall through to find secret #1 (64/70), the GRENADE LAUNCHER (or normal grenades if you already have the weapon). Crawl back to the cave the way you came.
SOUTH TUNNEL: Crawl into the tunnel and immediately turn left (east) to avoid a spike pit ahead. Make the next right (south). (If you continue on ahead, you'll come to another spike pit.) Continue south, following the passage past an opening on the right with another spike pit. At the end of the tunnel stand and pull the switch, which opens the gate at the other end of the cave. Crawl back out of the tunnel.
Return across the deep pit: First slide down to the flat ledge on the right side. Then turn left (to face the torch-lit area near the gate) and take a running jump to the ledge near the left wall, aiming for the left side. (The right side is slippery and if Lara lands there, she'll slide into the pit.) Continue through the gate back to the HIEROGLYPH PUZZLE.
SOUTHWEST GATE/SQUARE POOL WITH ISLAND: After getting the clues in the west room (see above), press the hieroglyph buttons in the order sandy slope, reeds, bird. The gate at the southwest end of the hall opens. When you enter, the gate closes behind you. Kill a few bats and follow the tunnel, jumping across the deep pit on the left side. Draw that shotgun in a hurry because 4 crocodiles rush toward Lara from the pool at the base of the hill.
(NOTE: You can jump back across the pit to safety if necessary, but you need to take a carefully lined up running jump from the triangular ledge at the right side of the pit to grab the ledge on the other side. If you take the time to line it up correctly, Lara could lose a few toes.)
After dispatching the crocs, go around the edge of the pool, activating the mechanisms inside each of the 4 niches and pulling the switch on the wall opposite the cave entrance. The switch opens the exit gate. The niche mechanisms open the trapdoor in the middle of the square island. Drop through that opening and take the STONE OF KHEPRI.***
Watch out for 2 more bats in the tunnel on the way back to the pit and gate. Jump the pit on the right side (see the note above) and return through the gate to the HIEROGLYPH PUZZLE.
EAST GATE/SECOND HIEROGLYPH PUZZLE: After getting the clues in the west room (see above), press the hieroglyph buttons in the order reeds, sandy slope, bird. The gate at the east end of the hall opens. When you enter, the gate closes behind you. You'll need to kill several more bats between the gate and the deep pit. Jump across the pit and continue to a small room with another hieroglyph puzzle.
Again, I'm not sure about the logic of this one. The only thing that made sense to me—as a complete Egyptology novice—was to reach into the two niches labeled with the mirror-image snake symbols (rightmost niche on north side and rightmost niche on east side). Inside one of these niches is the STONE OF RE***. Inside the other is the mechanism that opens the gate so you can exit. Every other niche contains a swarm of beetles. If you're reading this, then you can avoid reaching into the beetle niches altogether.
Return across the pit and through the gate to the first HIEROGLYPH PUZZLE.
SOUTHEAST GATE/WATER MAZE: After getting the clues in the west room (see above), press the hieroglyph buttons in the order sandy slope, bird, reeds. The gate at the southeast end of the hall opens. When you enter the gate closes behind you. Continue to the deep pit. (No bats this time.) Take a standing jump down to the ledge inside the pit on the right. Take a running jump to the ledge ahead (south), then a standing jump out of the pit.
SMALL ROOM WITH TWO METAL STATUES:What follows is a complicated sequence involving swimming through an underwater maze. You must swim to each of five openings and pull a switch at each one to open the door to the next one. The diagram below provides a visual to go with the text. It's easy to get disoriented and drown poor Lara, so you probably want to save your game after each successful swim.
(NOTE: You may notice that the hieroglyph tiles near each opening come in alphabetical order based on your SCRAP OF PAPER clue. However, since there are a few different paths to some of the doors, you may not even pass one of these "clues" on your way.)
[BUG NOTE: You may want to be careful about just when you save your game in this area. A few people have reported a bug whereby they completed the entire maze then returned to the hieroglyph puzzle and the buttons weren't reset. One player on the tombraiders.com forums suggested saving before pulling each of the switches in the maze. This may work. If not, you can use the level-skip cheat to continue or download this savegame for the PC version. (If you installed the TRLR patch, you can use this patched save from the end of the level.) For help with savegames and .zip files, see here.]
START TO ROOM #1 (blue path in diagram): Stand Lara at the opening above the first water-filled tunnel facing east (toward the two statues). Jump in and swim down to a three-way intersection. Here you have a choice to go forward (east), left (north) or right (south). Turn right (south) and follow the tunnel forward and down (there are a few turns but no splits in the passage). At the bottom, you can turn left (east) or right (west); turn left. At the next intersection you have a choice of right (west) or forward (south). Continue forward. The tunnel slopes downward then descends sharply. At the bottom you must turn right (west). Continue straight on to a tile with a bird symbol on it. Then follow the tunnel upward (the only choice) to ROOM #1, where you can get some air. Pull the switch between the two statues to open the trapdoor to the next switch room (#2 in the diagram).
ROOM #1 TO ROOM #2 (light green path): Now, on to the next room. Stand Lara at the tunnel opening facing east (switch behind her). Jump into the water and swim down then forward (east), up then left (north). Up to this point there are no choices; you're just following the tunnel. At the first intersection you can go left (west) or straight (north). Go left. The tunnel slopes up and you'll pass a tile with a snake on it and a passage leading straight up. Don't go up; instead continue on straight (west). Follow the tunnel as it slopes down then turns right (north). At the next turn the tunnel goes up and you'll pass a tile with a hand symbol on it. Continue upward, passing a tunnel leading off to the right (east), to surface in ROOM #2. Pull the switch to open the trapdoor to the next room (#3 in the diagram).
ROOM #2 TO ROOM #3 (dark pink path): This time, stand Lara at the tunnel opening facing south (switch behind her). Jump into the water and swim down. Halfway down the shaft you'll pass an opening on the left (east). Skip this an continue to the bottom. Pass the hand symbol at the bend and continue forward (south). A little farther along you must turn left (east) as you follow the tunnel. You'll come to a tile with a snake symbol on the left. Here you can either continue forward (east) or up. Swim up to surface in ROOM #3. Pull the switch to open the trapdoor to the next room (#4 in the diagram).
ROOM #3 TO ROOM #4 - VIA START (magenta path): The swim to the next room is a long one, so you'll probably want to stop off for air at the room where you started (in the cave). Position Lara facing south at the opening (the switch is behind her). Jump in and swim down to the snake tile. Here you'll have a choice to go left (east) or right (west). Either one is okay, but I'll only describe one route. Turn left and swim down a short slope to a T-intersection. Here you can go left (north) up a slope or right (south) down a slope. Turn left. At the next intersection you can go left (west) or up. Go left. At the next intersection you can go up or forward (west). Go up. Continue to follow the tunnel as it turns north. At the next intersection you can continue forward (north), turn right (east) or go up. Swim up to emerge in the SMALL ROOM WITH TWO METAL STATUES where you started.
Take some deep breaths and dive back down (you're still facing north at this point). At the three-way intersection at the bottom you have a choice to go forward (north), right (east) or turn around and head south. Go forward. The tunnel slopes up then goes straight up in a vertical tunnel. At the top there's a dead-end alcove on the left (west) containing a small medipak. (Grab it now or continue upward for air first.) Continue east toward a tile with reed symbols on it. Then head upward to surface in ROOM #4. Pull the switch to open the trapdoor to the last room (#5 in the diagram).
ROOM #4 TO ROOM #5 (orange path): Face west (with the switch behind Lara). Swim down and forward (past the reed symbols). At the dead end, swim down then left (south), following the passage. At the next intersection you can go up (to the room where you began the maze), forward (south) or left (east). Unless you're really low on air, go left. The tunnel slopes upward. At the next intersection you can go up or right (south). Go up. Follow the tunnel upward through a few turns and past a snake symbol. Climb out of the water in ROOM #5. Use the switch to open the exit gate back in the cave, and pick up the STONE OF ATUM on the opposite ledge.***
ROOM #5 BACK TO START (dark green path): Returning to the first room is fairly easy. Position Lara facing west at the opening (the switch is behind her). Jump in and swim down past the snake tile. Keep going forward (west) through all turns. When you reach the last intersection (where you can go left, right or up), swim up to surface in the SMALL ROOM WITH TWO METAL STATUES where you started.
Slide down to the ledge on the left side of the deep pit. Take a running jump to the ledge ahead on the left, or jump to the slope, slide back and grab the edge, then traverse to the right and pull up. Be extra careful when jumping out of the pit; it's very easy to slide in. You need to line up a running jump along the long (outside) edge of the triangular ledge to get up the slope. Go through the gate (which should be open if you used the switch in ROOM #5, where you got the STONE OF ATUM). Return through the hall to the HIEROGLYPH PUZZLE.
When you have all four stones—Maat, Re, Khepri and Atum— return through the west gate to the ROOM WITH METAL STATUES AND CHUTES WITH COLORED LIGHTS. Place each of the stones in the niche below the chute with its corresponding color and hieroglyph clue. When you place all four, the gate opens.
TRAPPED ROOMS LEADING TO THE EXIT: Follow the short hallway to a deep pit. Use the bars on the ceiling to traverse across the pit. Drop to the ledge on the other side and kill a couple of bats.
When you enter the next room, the gate closes and drill-like blades begin to descend from the ceiling. You'll need to run around to the four alcoves on the side walls to collect each of the 4 HOLY SCRIPTURES before the door will open. I recommend making your last pick-up one of the figures nearer to the exit door. Then you can get out more quickly.
Continue up the short ramp to the next room. Here you'll find concealed blades in the floor. There are only four sets of blades—none in the corners or the center of the room. So you can either jump to the center then from there to the exit, or crawl slowly forward, triggering the blades, waiting for them to recede, then crawling on.
Ahead is another deep pit with monkey bars overhead. Traverse across the pit, drop down and kill 2 more bats. Continue through the cave to the next level.
*NOTE: There are 70 secrets in the entire game. These are marked "(x/70)" in this walkthrough. To check your progress in-game, press Pause and choose Statistics.
**FYI: According to my informants, the symbol of two reeds really represents the phonetic equivalent of E or Y, but let's go with the clues on the SCRAP OF PAPER and assume it's an I. The sandy slope hieroglyph is actually K, though this can sound like Q in some pronunciations. There are several different real hieroglyphs that represent birds. A is a vulture, M is an owl, W is a quail chick, and there are other bird symbols as well. But in the clue, the closest match seems to be A. (See About.com's hieroglyph links for several different sites about English-hieroglyph correspondences.) If anyone has a tighter explanation for the logic involved in this particular puzzle, please enlighten me.
***Maat is the Egyptian goddess of law, order, and truth. Re (a.k.a. Ra) is the sun god and patriarch of the Egyptian pantheon. Khepri is identified with the scarab beetle; he is said to push the sun across the sky as the dung beetle rolls its ball of dung along the ground. Atum is another god associated with the sun and was later identified with Re. A shortlist of Egyptian deities appears on the Minnesota State E-Museum site.
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