Tomb Raider Legend Level 8 - BOLIVIA REDUX: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

In the initial cinematic ("Bolivia Redux") Lara returns to the stone dais where she first met James Rutland.  When Amanda, Rutland and their mercenaries try and stop Lara, she whisks them aside with a single swipe of Excalibur.

This level is fairly short.  After CHECKPOINT 1 you need to fight off the squad of mercenaries guarding the dais.  Then, when they are defeated, you'll fight the final boss.

IMPORTANT: It's a good idea to save manually at the beginning of the level.  The soldiers drop numerous health packs.  Then when you fight the final boss for the first time, those health packs are still lying around.  However, if Lara dies fighting the creature, the game reloads from the second checkpoint, and the health packs are no longer available.  If you reload the save you made and fight the mercenaries again, you'll have all that extra health for the more difficult fight.

During the battle against the mercenaries, reinforcements arrive via the zip lines leading down to the platform.  When everyone's in place, there are 5 regular soldiers with rifles, 4 men in riot gear, a man on each of the 2 machineguns and another 4 men carrying grenade launchers (they're the ones in green and white).  But even 15 armed men are no match for Lara wielding Excalibur.

Keep moving, jump and dodge the grenades and slash out with Excalibur.  Use the pedestals and Natla Industries crates for cover.  (A little Easter egg referencing TR1, for those who remember it.) Try and take out the men on the big guns first.  Then move around the area dealing with anyone else you encounter.  For the guys in riot gear, it helps to use the aerial attack, where you run toward the enemy, start firing, press Jump twice, then as the action shifts to slow motion, plant a few shots right into your opponent.  The soldiers drop only health packs, but that's all you need.  You could use the machineguns, but Excalibur is more powerful and it's portable.  When the last mercenary falls, another cut scene kicks in.

James and Amanda stagger to their feet, but Rutland quickly succumbs to his injuries.  Lara tells Amanda it needn't come to this; they can replace the sword together, but Amanda wants Excalibur for her own reasons.  She uses the amulet she found in the ruins to transform into an even more hideous monster.  (This cinematic is titled "Amanda Rises".)

CHECKPOINT 2 registers after the cut scene.  Now you must defeat the Amanda-Creature hybrid.  Blast the monster with Excalibur while jumping or rolling to dodge its energy blasts, picking up health packs when you need them (see the note marked "IMPORTANT" above) and staying away from the edges of the platform as much as possible.  The monster can easily shove Lara off the edge.

In order to kill it, you must first injure it so that it falls down for a few moments.  At that point, you'll see the Interact icon appear above Amanda, who is inside the creature.  Run in close and quickly stab her with Excalibur by pressing E/Triangle/Y.  You need to move fast, or the monster will get up before you can reach it.  Running somersaults (Forward + Duck) can help Lara get there faster.

Whether or not you succeed in stabbing Amanda, the creature will rise up again and regenerate some of its health.  But each time you're able to hit Amanda, the monster is weakened and regenerates less.  So repeat the process several times: Injure it until it lies down.  Then, when the Interact icon appears, slash at close range with Excalibur.  After three successful repetitions, the monster will finally be weak enough to finish off.  Blast it until the Interact icon appears again and then deliver the killing blow by pressing E/Triangle/Y.

Those are the basics.  Here are a few additional tips that may help.  (Thanks to Richard Croft, Nightmist and other players on the Eidos forums for these tips.  If you have others, please let me know.)

When the monster has been defeated, the final cut scene ("Answers Breed Questions") begins.  Lara takes Amanda's amulet.  Then, following the diagrams in her pink Yeti journal, she places the sword in the stone and activates the portal.  Lara tries to communicate with her mother through the portal, but Lady Croft doesn't recognize her grown-up daughter or understand what's going on.  Amanda wakes up and shouts at Lara to remove the sword to prevent the portal from self-destructing.  Apparently Lady Croft hears Amanda's shouted warning and removes the sword on her side (remember, we saw her do this in the earlier cinematic, "Nepal - Part 2") and the portal explodes.

Lara demands answers from Amanda, who explains that the mythical realm of Avalon is in fact a real place and Lara's mother has gone there.  Amanda berates Lara for preventing her from using the portal, but her anger is nothing compared to Lara's fury over the loss of her mother.  When she has gotten all the information she can from Amanda, Lara leaves her at the dais and heads home.  She tells Zip and Alister to make plans; they've still got work to do.

To be continued...?

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