LEVEL 29: ECKHARDT'S LAB
Items: 2 health items, 3 Alchemic Phials, Periapt Shard, Eckhardt's Glove
Weapons & Ammo: none
Enemies: undead knights, Eckhardt, Karel
TRAP-LINED TUNNEL: Walk forward to the slope. If Lara slides down the center, the retracting spikes pop out and skewer her. Instead, slide down on the left and jump to land on the stone ledge jutting out from the wall. Walk to the far edge and take a standing jump to clear the lava pit and second set of horizontal spikes and land in the tunnel below with no health loss.
THE ALCHEMIST'S LAB (lower level): Enter the laboratory and go up the steps on the left. At the back of this raised area is a wooden platform. Go around to the left side of it and crawl underneath to get a small medipack. Crawl through to the other side and take the Alchemic Phial #1 (purified oxygen) from the worktable in the corner.
Return down the steps and pull the lever near the dangling cage. This opens the grating below the cage, as well as the trapdoor at the top of the ladder against the wall. The pit below the cage contains boiling water. So take care not to fall in or Lara will be killed instantly.
Pulling the lever also causes 2 undead knights to appear on the raised area behind Lara. Don't be afraid to expend ammo here. These are the last enemies you can fight with guns. They don't disappear even after you've knocked them down a few times, but you can destroy them by blasting or pushing them into the pit. Or, if you prefer, you can just avoid them as you complete your business here.
IMPORTANT: Do not attempt to climb down into the pit below the cage. It is possible to hang from the edge, drop to grab the rough wall below and then backflip to grab the edge of the small opening. But if you do this, Lara will be stuck there. You cannot get out of that small opening without falling into the boiling water. You'll be able to reach that opening later in a different way.
THE ALCHEMIST'S LAB (upper level): Climb the ladder to the walkway at the top of the room. Dismount, turn right and head toward the end of the room. There's a large health pack on the horizontal beam against the wall. Stand facing it, take a few steps back from the railing and then jump forward to grab the beam. Pull up, take the health pack and then turn around. Turn about 45 degrees left or right before taking a short hop down to the walkway. If you jump straight forward from where you got the health pack, Lara will overshoot the walkway and fall to the floor below.
Continue along the walkway to the curved, wooden structure. Place Alchemic Phial #1 in the receptacle there. Then follow the walkway back to the ladder.
Take a few steps back from the railing and jump onto the top of the cage. Step on the trapdoor to the right of the rope and fall through into the cage. Before picking up Alchemic Phial #2 (purified hydrogen), position Lara so she's facing the wall of the cage below the trapdoor. Save your game and then pick up the phial. When you do, the cage begins to sink into the pool. Quickly climb the cage wall. When Lara reaches the opening, climb to the left so her feet are on the dangling trapdoor. Then climb onto the top of the cage before it submerges in the boiling water. If you're too slow, Lara will die.
When the cage sinks to its lowest position, climb into the small niche on the wall of the pit to get Alchemic Phial #3 (purified salt). Turn around, crawl to the opening and tap Forward to somersault out onto the top of the cage. Then climb the rough wall of the pit. Lara won't climb past the rim, so press Jump to backflip out of the hole.
THE ALCHEMIST'S LAB (lower level): Place Alchemic Phial #2 in the receptacle at the top of the low steps on the wooden platform. Then follow the short hallway on the other side of the lab to a small room with a circular pit of boiling water. (Take care not to fall in.) Place Phial #3 in the third receptacle.
Cut scene: When all three phials have been used, a glowing substance flows into the pool, magically cooling it.
Now Lara can jump into the circular pool. Swim down and take Eckhardt's Periapt Shard from the underwater pedestal. Doing this opens a gate back in the lab. Climb out of the pool, return to the lab, go through the gate and slide down the long sloping tunnel. At the bottom, open the doors to enter Eckhardt's inner sanctum.
FINAL BATTLE ARENA: Approach the center of the room.
Cut scene: Lara spots Eckhardt on a high ledge, doing his best Dr. Frankenstein imitation as he starts the process of reviving the Sleeper. First he combines the five metal pieces from the Obscura Paintings to form the Sanglyph, a golden disk inlaid with cryptic symbols. As he does this, electricity courses through his body and the mechanism at the center of the room is activated, lowering the Sleeper. As Eckhardt goes on about his own greatness and his plans to create "Hell on earth", Lara fires off a few shots. He deflects one bullet with the Sanglyph and then dodges behind a pillar. Then, to prove she doesn't take his boasts about being immortal too seriously, Lara shows him one of the Periapt Shards. He leaps down next to her and the battle begins.
FIGHTING ECKHARDT: This battle is ever so much easier than the one with Boaz. You can do it without using any ammo and very likely without any health loss. As soon as you have control of Lara, go into the commando crawl position (Duck then Stealth). Eckhardt stays in the outer ring, beyond the energy field, which Lara cannot penetrate. He begins by using the Sanglyph to shoot a series of blue energy bolts. As long as you use the stealth crawl, Lara will take no damage. You can't use the Look button now, but you should be able to keep Eckhardt in sight by crawling around to face him.
After several of these attacks, Eckhardt will begin to create magical copies of himself. At this point you can stand up. Approach the small circle at the center of the arena, but don't stand inside. Instead, position Lara just outside the small circle so she's not in the path of any of the 3 doppelgangers. (If they touch her, she'll take damage.) Once Eckhardt has created the third copy, the three will run to the center of the circle and fuse together. Wait a couple of seconds for the Eckhardt in the circle to discharge a blue energy burst. Then kick him. (Get close and press Action firmly.)
If you kick too soon (before the energy burst) or too late, Eckhardt creates a shockwave that knocks Lara off her feet. Then he flies back to the edge of the arena and you'll have to try again. But, once you land that kick....
Cut scene: Eckhardt keels over and Lara stabs him with one of the Periapt Shards.
The injured Eckhardt flies up out of the arena, and the process begins again, this time with the alchemist hurling waves of fire across the arena. Go into the commando crawl position, wait for the fire attacks to subside and then get into position as Eckhardt creates the 3 doppelgangers. When they run to the center and fuse together, wait a few seconds for a burst of fire. Then move in, kick Eckhardt again and you'll trigger another cut scene of Lara stabbing him with one of the shards. Repeat the same process a third time and you've beaten Eckhardt.
NOTE: If you save the game before any of the cut scenes in which Eckhardt is stabbed with a shard and then reload, the game will place you back at the start of that particular sequence. You'll then need to wait for him to create the three copies and then kick him again. So you may want to save at the start and then complete the whole sequence before saving again.
Cut scene: After Lara beats the third version of Eckhardt, he sinks to the ground, all but defeated. Lara closes in, final shard at the ready, only to be ambushed by Karel. He grabs the shard. Eckhardt orders Karel to kill Lara, but Karel has other plans. He stabs Eckhardt in the head with the shard.
Apparently Eckhardt wasn't really the evil mastermind he imagined himself to be. Karel tells Lara that he, himself, was really the one pulling the strings. He then reveals himself to be a Nephilim. As he tries to convince Lara that he's been helping her all along, he undergoes a series of transformations—Bouchard, Luddick, even Kurtis Trent—before returning to his Nephilim form. Even the unflappable Lara Croft is a bit unsettled by all of this.
Karel explains that the Nephilim have only ever been trying to survive and asks her to join him in building a benign new order. But the symbol on his palm reminds Lara of her mentor's murder.
FMV: Lara flashes back once more on Von Croy's killing. This time, she recalls everything. When Eckhardt demands to know why Von Croy hasn't brought him the Obscura Painting, Von Croy answers that going after it would be too dangerous...but Lara could do it. As in the previous visions, Eckhardt kills Von Croy, but this time Lara remembers more. Eckhardt transforms into Karel as he crushes Werner's glasses. "You humans break so easily," he mutters. The last thing Lara sees is the symbol on his palm. (See the note below if this movie doesn't appear in your game.)
Second cut scene: Back to the present. Once more the camera focuses on the symbol on Karel's hand. "You killed Von Croy," Lara accuses. Karel replies, "Stupid mortal! So be it!" Then he begins to glow and takes off into the air.
DESTROYING THE SLEEPER: Now you must beat Karel, but he cannot be killed directly. You'll have to make your way up to the dangling Sleeper to set things in motion. First run or commando crawl to Eckhardt's body. (As with Eckhardt's electrical and fire attacks, Karel's energy bolts will almost never hit Lara if she's in the ground-hugging stealth crawl.) Pick up Eckhardt's Glove. When you do, your notebook is updated: "Use the Glove to destroy the Sleeper."
Now head for the pillar to the left of the one supporting Eckhardt's body. On the back of the pillar you'll find a small compartment. Press Action to place Eckhardt's glove there. This lowers a pair of ladders. Pick one and climb up to the first-level walkway surrounding the arena.
Follow the walkway around to another ladder leading up to the next level. Again, you can run or sprint to avoid Karel's blasts. Or, if you're very low on health, commando crawl to avoid taking damage. The second-level walkway has a wide gap to the right. You can make it across using a sprinting jump and grab, but Karel will probably zap Lara causing her to fall before she can pull up. So you're probably better off running (or crawling) around the long way to the opposite end. The ladder from the second to the third level is on the back of the support column just beyond Eckhardt's control panel. Climb up and then, follow the third-level walkway around to where it juts out toward the Sleeper. Take a running jump toward it.
NOTE: In the PC version of the game, do not press any keys after making that final jump, otherwise you will interrupt the video sequence that follows.
Final FMV: Lara clings to the legs of the hibernating Nephilim. She takes the Sanglyph (which she somehow still has even after placing it in the compartment below) and places it against the Sleeper's leg. Then she swings down to the ground and runs to safety as the Sleeper begins to glow with a blinding light. A beam of light explodes outward, impaling Karel and then engulfing everything in the room.
After a few moments, Lara, looking a little worse for wear, emerges into the arena where Kurtis fought Boaz. She moves toward the pool of blood in the middle of the floor and retrieves Kurtis's shuriken. The weapon vibrates and the blades along its edge extend. Lara has to struggle a bit to hold onto it as it spins her around, pointing the way into a shadowy tunnel. Her lips curve up in a subtle smile. Then she walks off into the darkness.
If you enjoyed the story and want to revisit it in greater depth, I highly recommend this novelization, written and narrated by J.R. Milward. Listen on YouTube, iTunes, JRMilward.com, or via your favorite podcast software.
†UPDATE HISTORY: 1/16/07 - Rephrased a few sections for clarity and amended the description of the final movie sequence, in which Lara destroys the Sleeper, thanks to corrections from many different players.
TROUBLE PLAYING FMV MOVIES: There are two types of cinematics in this game, cut scenes rendered by the game engine and full-motion video sequences. If your computer won't show the FMV movies during the game, you can watch them using Windows Media Player or another similar program. Look for the movies in the folder C:\Program Files\Eidos Interactive\TRAOD\Data\FMV, where C: is your hard drive. (Or, they can be found on the second game CD in various folders. Just search for *.mpg.) The movie in the middle of this level is EN_REVEL.mpg and the final one is END.mpg, though the file name may differ for non-English versions of the game.
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