LEVEL 8: BOLIVIA REDUX - 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 henchmen 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. When you kill the soldiers, some of them drop health packs, which can come in handy when you're fighting the boss. However, there's a second checkpoint at the beginning of the fight with the creature. So if Lara dies during the final battle, the game reloads from the second checkpoint, and any health packs still on the ground disappear. As long as you've saved at checkpoint 1, you can reload that save and fight the mercenaries again. Then the dropped health packs will again be available during the more difficult fight.
BUG WARNING: I recently learned of a potential glitch in which can make beating this level quite difficult. As far as I know, it only occurs in the PC game, but I'd recommend following this warning regardless of which system you're using. Once you've started Bolivia Redux, do not quit and go to the Croft Manor level. Doing so can cause a glitch in which any health packs in your inventory disappear and Lara is stuck in whatever alternate outfit you've dressed her in. If you do want to play around in Croft Manor again before beating the game, just be sure you have save at the first checkpoint in Bolivia Redux, before fighting the mercenaries, so you can reload there and continue normally.
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 machine guns 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 any grenades that come Lara's way, and just continue firing energy beams with Excalibur. (Aim with Target Lock and slash with the Fire button, as for normal combat.) If possible, keep moving around the perimeter of the arena and firing toward the center so that when the soldiers die, their bodies—and any health packs they may drop—will not fall over the edge. Don't stay in one place for too long, otherwise the soldiers will gang up on Lara with grenades. Also, watch out for the men using machine guns. Try and take them out as soon as you come close enough, and use the stone columns, pedestals and Natla Industries crates for cover. (A little Easter egg referencing TR1, for those who remember it.) When the last mercenary falls, another cut scene kicks in.
James and Amanda stagger to their feet, but Rutland quickly succumbs to his injuries. As Lara turns toward the dais, Amanda orders her to stop. Amanda grips the amulet she found in Paraíso, ready to summon the creature if necessary. Lara tells her it needn't come to this; they can open the portal together. But Amanda says the device will only work once, and she wants to be the one. She uses the amulet to transform into a hideous monster. (This cinematic is titled "Amanda Rises".)
CHECKPOINT 2 registers after the cut scene. Now you must defeat the Amanda-Creature hybrid. As soon as you get control of Lara, locate the creature and lock onto it, either by holding the Target Lock button or selecting Advanced Toggle combat mode and then pressing Target Lock once to lock on. Begin firing beams with Excalibur whenever you have a clear shot.
Try to keep moving, both to keep the creature in sight and to avoid its energy blasts. Get as close as you can while still maintaining enough distance to dodge the creature's attacks. The closer Lara is to the creature, the more damage each of her own blasts will do.
You can usually tell when the creature is about to attack, since it draws back its arms and then physically hurls a ball of energy at Lara. When you see it draw back, jump out of the way. Also note that the monster's blasts can penetrate most of the stone pillars and slabs. Even when you can't see the creature, there will be a telltale red shimmer on the ground where each blast will hit. When you see the shimmer, quickly jump or roll away from that spot to avoid taking the full blast.
Pick up health packs when you need them (see the note marked "IMPORTANT" above) and avoid the edges of the platform as much as possible. The monster can easily shove Lara off the edge.
When it has lost about half of its health, the creature will let out a roar and fall down on the ground. When this happens, you'll see Amanda inside the creature doing a little dance of agony. The Interact icon floating near her shows what you need to do: As quickly as possible, move in close. If you need to cover a lot of ground fast, try forward rolls (Forward + Duck). Then stab Amanda with Excalibur by pressing Interact.
Whether or not you succeed in stabbing Amanda, the creature will rise up 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: Attack it until it lies down. Then, when the Interact icon appears, stab at close range with Excalibur. After three successful strikes, the monster will finally be weak enough to finish off. Blast it until its health is almost gone. When it falls down, quickly move in close and deliver the killing blow by pressing Interact one last time. This triggers the final cut scene.
Those are the basics. Here are a few additional tips that may help:
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, warning her not to touch the sword, but Amelia 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 Amelia hears Amanda's 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 at last realizes that she wasn't responsible for what happened to her mother—at least not directly. She 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 is furious at Lara for preventing her from using the portal to reach Avalon, but her anger is nothing compared to Lara's wrath 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 for home. She tells Zip and Alister to make plans; they've still got work to do.
To be continued....
NOTE: If, after finishing the game and finding all rewards, your save still only displays 98% or 99% completion, try re-playing Bolivia Redux. Apparently that fixes this bug. As far as I know, you can replay the level in regular or time trial mode and use any cheats you wish. Or, if you're playing the PC game, download my save files. This file includes two saves: 100% complete but no time trials, and 100% complete with every extra unlocked. Instructions for downloading and installing Legend saves are here.
†UPDATE HISTORY: 5/22/06 - Time Trial info added. 6/8/06 - Cosmetic changes including links to Controls page.
10/16/06 - Made a few minor additions to the boss battle sequence, added final bug note and link to new time trials page.
9/8/09 - At last wrapping up the most recent revision of this entire walkthrough. Added screenshots and video, and made a few minor changes both strategic and esthetic.
4/21/11 - Added bug warning at the start of the level.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thanks to Anarchist Tomato (one of my oldest Tomb Raider buddies) for help refining the mercenary strategy; to Liz O., Nightmist, Richard Croft, Sarah and other players on the Eidos forums for their creature-fighting tips; and to Alex for the Croft Manor bug warning.
*NOTE ON REWARDS: There are no rewards in this level, but completing the game unlocks a few bonuses. For a complete list, see the Legends Rewards page.
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