Level by René Brooymans (Piega)

Authorized walkthrough written by Phil Lambeth


Lara begins by sliding down three long ramps, each one connected at a right angle to the next, and finally coming to rest at the top of a flight of stairs. Turn right and run down the stairs into a large room with a pool and a spouting fountain on each side. Dead ahead, to the north, is another room up some stairs that are cut in a half circle, with a closed door at the end. Beside the torch pots on either side of the door are four wooden boxes; shoot the upper one on your left for some shotgun ammo, and the lower one on your right for a small medi-pack.

Return to the lower room with the pools. Dive into the west pool and locate the underwater opening in the east wall. Swim in and down, following the tunnel until you reach a water-filled room with a central supporting column. Turn right and open the door. Swim inside and follow the tunnel until you reach the crossbow resting on a pedestal. Flip turn and swim back into the previous room. The face-panel door directly ahead is now open, so swim across the room and navigate the tunnel until you reach an air hole where you can pull up into a small room. Shoot the box with the ornate cover and pick up some crossbow arrows. Then jump back into the water and resume your swim along the tunnel to the west. Turn left and emerge in another submerged room.

Open the south door and make your way through the tunnel until you reach an underwater cavern. There's a large irregular block against the south wall (straight ahead as you enter). On the sandy floor in front of this block is a shotgun that you can pick up for SECRET #1. Exit through the opening in the SW wall and return to the previous underwater room. Swim straight through (stopping for air along the way) until you reach the first underwater room. Turn right and swim through the west opening and up, until you return to your starting point in the west pool.

Climb out and go to the walkway separating the two pools. You'll find two more wooden boxes between the columns on either side of the walkway. The one to the west is empty, but the one to the east contains some more shotgun ammo. Now look across the pool to the east and you'll see a ladder on the column to your left. Jump into the water and swim to the other side. Pull up on the north side near the ladder column and turn to face it from the edge. Take an angled standing jump and grab the ladder, then climb up through the hole at the top and pull up into the upper story.

Turn around and run across the second story floor until you reach the image of the scarab on the floor, in front of those tell-tale black holes that you've seen before if you've played many of these levels. Use the Mechanical Scarab With Key that you picked up near the end of Catacomb Towers (or, if you've thus far denied yourself the pleasure of playing that level, be sure to use the savegame provided with the Black Palace download) to trigger the spikes along the pathway connecting the east and west wings. Now that you can cross safely, run to the other side after picking up your device (you'll need it again shortly). You'll lose camera control, but it's a fairly easy matter to negotiate your way to the far west side and locate the jump switch in the central column.

As you activate the jump switch and drop down into the pool below, you'll see a cut scene of the door in the north room opening and releasing a harpy. Climb quickly out of the water and deal with the harpy, then go up the stairs into the north room and through the open door. You'll soon come to another scarab image on the floor, a signal for you to get out your wind-up toy to trigger some more spikes. After doing its job, the doggone thing scurries and comes to rest under an opening ahead that's too low for you to crawl through. Not to worry; just to the left of the opening is an upper crawl space that's wide enough to accommodate you. Jump up, grab and pull up into the opening, then lower Lara down into the opening to the right so she can retrieve her device. Jump back up and pull into the crawl space, then crawl straight ahead and lower Lara down the other side. Reverse roll, step out into the corridor and turn left.

Locate the jump switch in the dimly-lit wall to your right and activate it. You'll see a door opening beyond a small slit in front of you, but it's likewise too narrow for Lara to squeeze through. So backtrack until you're in the corridor near the end of the spike trap. Around the bend you'll find that a back door to the next area has been opened. Go on through the opening; but be careful, as you'll lose camera control again and it's a long way down to the hard pavement below.

You'll find yourself on a crooked and narrow walkway spanning the room below. Carefully walk across to the other side. Ahead you'll note a see-through grate that allows a glimpse at another room with a pool down below. On either side, near the NE and NW corners, are columns with a climbing surface on the far side. Climb up the NE column. Pull up and activate the reach-in switch in the corner ahead to lower a block and open a hatchway below, near the base of the NW column, allowing access to a lower room. (There's a similar reach-in switch at the upper NW corner that opens the companion hatchway near the base of the opposite NE column, leading to the same lower room.  You'll need to activate that switch now or later to gain access to Secret #4 described below.)

Climb back down the column and hop down into the nearby open hole. You'll find yourself in a room that you'd be well advised to scout out first, as you'll need to make some decisions about the order in which best to proceed. The first thing you notice is a central structure with receptacles for four beetles you don't yet have. On the east wall is a receptacle for a Pharos device to the right of an open doorway. Near the NE corner is a coffin. When you step up to it the camera angle shifts to show an awakened skeleton trying to sneak up behind you. Deal with it, then open the coffin and take some flares from within. As you continue your exploration of this room, you'll see face-panels in the north and west walls that you can open with your crowbar. But hold off on doing that for the time being.  Go to the SW stairway and retrieve the crossbow arrows if you didn't see them on the way down.

Now that you have the lay of the land down here in the room with the beetle-receptor structure, climb back up to the upper level and get back onto that crooked and narrow walkway. On the largest part of the walkway, facing north, walk over to the right side where you will find several flat edges. Locate the one that's relatively free of moss (the ones on either side will be decidedly greener) and turn with your back to it so you're facing generally to the NW. You should also be directly facing the large palm frond on the other side of the walkway. Now hop back and attempt to grab the edge, and keep the action key depressed so that you land safely in a little alcove below. Take a standing jump forward and turn right to enter a cleverly-hidden passageway inside the walkway structure. Turn left and pick up the LASER SIGHT for SECRET #2.

Exit the passageway, turn left and return to the spot where you dropped down from above. Turn around, hop back and grab the edge, and safety drop to the floor, losing a little health in the process.

You find yourself in a torch-lit room where you could engage in some productive activity at this point if you insisted, but that would require a major rewrite of this walkthrough. Since this level is very nonlinear, and since it doesn't really matter in what order you do things, and since you won't lose any time following the path laid out in this walkthrough, let's get back to the room with the beetle-receptor structure and begin from there.

Locate the doorway up the stairs in the north wall and head that way. Light a flare if it gets too dark to see. At the end of the hallway you'll note a wooden chest in the left corner, and a doorway to the right that's marked on the floor with the tell-tale holes of a spike trap. Shoot the chest to trigger and disarm the spikes so you can go through safely. Walk gingerly between the two columns ahead and be wary of the next opening, as it has the same tell-tale holes in the doorway ceiling. Crawl through the opening so Lara won't be skewered by the long spikes.

There are no more spike traps ahead, so run down the corridor and make a horseshoe turn to the left and up the stairs, then turn left and run down the upper corridor until you return to the room with the beetle-receptor structure. Now that you're suitably oriented, turn right around and go back through the open door in the east wall. Turn left, then right and go back down the stairs. Use your crowbar to open the face-panel door ahead. Enter, turn right and draw weapons to eliminate the skeleton ahead. Continue down the corridor and turn left into the alcove. Vault up and lower Lara through the crawl space to the room on the other side.

When you turn around and look about this new room, your first reaction will be akin to that of the proverbial kid in the candy store. You'll see those three beetles displayed prominently on the north, east and south walls, and you'll say to yourself: Aha! three-fourths of my quest is over in one fell swoop. No such luck. As you step forward with crowbar in hand, intending to pry loose the beetles and add them to your inventory, you find to your dismay that a block will rise up as you step onto any of the platforms surrounding the beetles, denying access to your quarry. How frustrating!

However, all is not lost. Go over to the raised central platform, step out to its westerly edge, jump up and grab the ledge above and pull up into the crawl space. Make a horseshoe turn around to the right until you reach the opening at the other end. Turn around, lower Lara down the other side and safety drop to the floor. Hop back once, turn left and locate another crawl space above you. Crawl through and lower Lara down the other side, and voila! You're facing BLACK BEETLE #1 in the north wall. Pry it loose with your crowbar, reverse roll and step back into the lower room with the two remaining beetles. The block behind you will rise again as you vacate the area. (Forget about the other two beetles you're leaving behind, as they're just decoys.)

Back in the room with the beetle-receptor structure, go to the west wall and use the crowbar to open the face-panel door. Go inside. At the end of the short tunnel is a barred opening overlooking a deep room. Use the west ladder face in the middle of the tunnel to climb up into a higher tunnel. Decisions, decisions. What to do next? If you turn around, jump over the hole and look across the room to the east, you'll see an illuminated beetle on the far wall, with no apparent way to get there. Step out onto the balcony and turn to the right. Locate the wooden box with the ornate cover in the wall alcove and shoot it. Then take a running jump over to the alcove and pick up the ORNATE HANDLE. Return to the balcony and run to the other side. From either side of the column, at the balcony's edge, you can reach the balcony in the north wall with a running jump.

Go into the opening between the two columns and shoot the coffin to your left for some shotgun ammo. Hop down into the lower tunnel and take a standing jump up the slope. Run down the stairs to the west and turn left at the bend. Turn left again at the opening, and you'll find yourself high above a very deep room with nowhere to go (because the door in the structure ahead is presently closed). Make a mental note of your position for later and retrace your steps back to the balcony. You look wistfully at the beetle in the wall above the balcony in the east wall; but it's still too far away to reach, so take a running jump back to the balcony against the west wall. (You'll also note another wooden box with an ornate cover in an alcove near the SE corner; but it's even further away, so forget it for now.)

Go inside the opening and jump over the ladder hole. Then jump straight up and grab the monkey bars in the ceiling. As you monkey swing forward, you can see an illuminated beetle through the narrow slit in the structure ahead, and you can even go all the way to the wall, release and grab the opening if you like. However, it's too narrow to be used as a crawl space, so all you could do at that point would be to let go, die and reload. Instead, monkey swing west into the open area and follow the tracks to your right (and not to your left). When you reach the corner, turn left and drop down to a ledge when you can go no further. Jump up from there and activate the overhead jump switch, opening a face-panel door at the end of the left leg of the monkey bars.

Turn around and walk carefully (it's a long way down) to the east end of the ledge you're standing on. Jump up and grab the monkey bars. Go back the way you came, taking a quick right and returning to your starting point. Take a little dogleg to the left and keep on following the tracks clockwise around the central structure. You'll lose camera control briefly as you near your goal. When you run out of tracks, release and drop to the ledge in front of the now-open face-panel door. You'll find that your reward for all that hard labor is access to another set of monkey bars. Take a running (not a standing) jump and grab to the bars overhead, then swing around until you run out of tracks again.

Release and drop to the ledge below. Repeat this procedure twice more, and you'll finally turn right and swing into an alcove that's presently blocked. Carefully face the closed door squarely and release. Immediately grab the edge of the alcove and use the ladder to climb down to a block that affords protection from the skeleton that's prowling about below. Make short work of it from your vantage point, then take a running jump and grab to the higher block to the north. Pull up and pick up some shotgun ammo. Hop down to the floor and explore a bit, but be careful not to fall into the trenches at the NW and SE corners, as there are nasty spike traps down below.

Locate the tall block against the south wall and use the ladder on the west face to climb up to the top. Activate the reach-in switch in the wall, and you'll hear the rustle of harpy wings as a cut scene shows the door opening in the alcove above the tall ladder. Kill the harpy, climb back down to the floor and run around to the other side of the central structure (again avoiding the spike-trap trench in your path). Climb up onto the block and scale the ladder until you reach the alcove. Step forward and a cut scene will show you the top of Lara's head from high above.

Climb up the steep shaft, using the ladder in the east wall. (Bypass for now the obvious back flip to the alcove in the west wall.) Pull up at the top and you'll see a slit of an opening ahead of you that should look familiar. Can it be. . .you think to yourself as you slowly turn around. Yes! There's the BLACK BEETLE #2, yours for the taking. On your way back down the ladder, take that back flip into the alcove near the bottom, and you'll find that when you pried loose the beetle you opened the exit door in this alcove. Climb up onto the block and take a running jump and grab to the opening across the way.

Pull up, run forward and into the tunnel you explored earlier from the other side, and run through the corridor and up the stairs. Slide down the slope and return to the balcony in the north wall of the next room. Standing to the left of the pillar to your right, take an angled running jump to the balcony in the west wall. Go into the opening, jump over the ladder shaft, then hop back to grab the edge and climb down the ladder to the lower level. Reverse roll and return to the room with the beetle-receptor structure. You have two in your inventory and can place them now if you like, but it's more satisfying to wait until you have all four.

Now go over to the face-panel door in the north wall and open it with your crowbar. Go inside, zigzag to the right and locate the water hole. Dive into the underwater cavern and find the opening down near the NE corner. Swim through a short wood-lined tunnel and emerge in the bowels of what appears to be a sunken vessel. You'll see two openings, one directly opposite the one you just emerged from, and the other below you in the center of the flooring. Take the north opening opposite you first. Follow the tunnel and emerge in a small pool in the center of a subterranean room. You'll see a closed door in an alcove up on the north bank; and since there's nothing else to do in here right now, return to the sunken vessel and swim through the hole in the bottom.

Continue through the tunnel and swim up the shaft until you emerge in a torch-lit room. Run to the other side and open the coffin for some flares and uzi ammo, then vault up onto the central platform and pull the chain once. A cut scene shows that closed door you saw in the alcove. Jump back into the water and return to the sunken vessel. You'll find a new opening in the east wall. Enter it and swim along the fairly long tunnel until you reach an air hole through which you pull up into another room directly above the one you visited just now. Although the chain looks like a mere extension of the one you pulled earlier, go ahead and vault up onto the central platform and give it one yank. Eureka! A cut scene shows the door opening in the underground chamber you visited a short while ago.

Jump back into the water, follow the tunnel until you reach the sunken vessel, and turn right to swim through the north opening. When you reach the pool, pull up and hop to the now-open doorway near the NE corner. Go inside and activate the reach-in switch. A flyby takes you back to the opening in the south end of the sunken vessel, followed by a mild earthquake.

Jump into the pool and return to the sunken vessel. This time swim up, and you'll find that a grate previously blocking your way has been removed. Pull up into the dark tunnel and run forward to the end. Turn right and pull up into the higher tunnel. Ahead is a closed door, so just make a mental note of your location for later. Retrace your steps and jump back into the water. You'll find that the opening at the bottom of the sunken vessel is now blocked by a grate. However, the grate formerly blocking the opening in the west wall has been removed, so swim inside and look immediately to the right for a slightly higher tunnel. Follow it until you reach the air hole. Pull up into the small room and vault up into the west opening. A flyby takes you through the next large area that's distinguished by a central structure topped with a futuristic purple coil.

Dive into the water and swim to the other end. You can pull up onto the west ledge and take a running jump over to the central structure, but you can't now access the higher level where the purple coil spins endlessly. Instead, locate the underwater door on the west face of the central structure. Open it and swim inside and up until you reach a long tunnel that seems to wind around forever. You lose camera control briefly as you swim down a particularly long segment, but that's a signal that you're more than halfway home. Swim up the shaft at the end and replenish Lara's air-starved lungs.

Vault up onto the central structure and pull the chain once. A cut scene shows a door opening down below. Use the hole in the floor at the north end of the room for a short cut back down to the water, and pull up onto the ledge at the east end. Vault up into the doorway and jump into the water hole on the other side. Swim back to the sunken vessel and surface at the open hatchway in the ceiling. Pull up and run down the familiar tunnel. Turn right at the end and pull up into the higher tunnel. The door ahead is now open, so go through the opening and turn left to face the purple coil. Step out onto the balcony, turn left and draw weapons to eliminate the harpy.

The next logical order of business at this point is to jump across to the suspended structure to the west. However, before doing so take a little detour for another secret. Turn left toward the SE corner of the pool room, from whence came the harpy, and take a running jump and grab to a pillar you can scarcely see in the dark. Pull up and turn left to enter the opening in the corner. When you reach the far edge, turn around and hop back to grab the top of the ladder; as you do so you'll see the spike trap directly below, so you know not to go down that way. Pull back up and turn around. Notice the jump switch high up on the east wall. Take a running jump and grab to it. (If you miss and land in the lower alcove, just pick up the large medi-pack, turn around and take a running jump back to the first alcove, and try again.)

When you activate the jump switch you'll fall down to the slope and slide to the floor (don't try to back flip off the slope). The instant you stop, take a side flip to the left to avoid the spikes. Then turn back toward the spikes and time a standing jump over them into the corner. Turn left carefully and time another standing jump over a second spike trap. Then pull up north and pick up the large medi-pack (if you didn't do so earlier) and take a running jump west to the opening above the ladder. Step back out onto the pillar in the corner of the pool room, turn to the right and take a running jump and grab back to the balcony. Walk forward to the north edge and take a running jump to the other pillar in the NE corner. Pull up and turn to the right, where you'll see the doorway you opened just now with the jump switch. Turn around and safety drop into the room below and run up the stairs to the north. Zigzag around to the left and continue until you reach a partially submerged room with a flowing fountain in its center.

There's a coffin in an underwater alcove to the south. Standing thigh-deep in the water on the submerged stairs, combine the crossbow and the laser sight and shoot the coffin. Then look up and you'll see a similar coffin perched on the ledge near the right corner. Shoot it as well, then swim over and pull up onto the landing to your left. Take an angled running jump SW to the ledge and pick up the grenade gun ammo for SECRET #3 (even though the secret did not register for the author of this walkthrough). Jump back into the water, pick up the GRENADE GUN in the south alcove and open the underwater door in the west wall. Swim through the tunnel beyond that brings you back to the pool room. Surface for air, then return to the tunnel and locate the door just inside and up to the right that you can open for some crossbow arrows at the end of a short tunnel.

Now you need to get back to where you were when you were distracted by the harpy. Swim to the east end of the pool room and pull up. Repeat the steps you took not long ago by vaulting up into the doorway ahead, jumping into the water hole on the other side, and swimming back to the sunken vessel to surface at the open hatchway in the ceiling. Pull up and run down the two levels of tunnels until you return to the upper balcony.

Take a running jump and grab to the suspended structure to the west. Walk to the far end, turn around, hop back and grab the edge. Release and immediately grab the jump switch directly below to raise a block on the east side of the central structure.

Swim to the west side of the pool, pull up onto the ledge, turn around and take a running jump to the central structure. Run to the other side, climb up onto the raised block and keep on climbing until you reach the platform with the purple coil (which won't harm Lara, by the way). Pick up the PHAROS KNOT and jump back into the water. Swim over to the east ledge, pull up and exit this area.

Jump into the small water hole and swim back to the sunken vessel. Turn right and swim through the opening in the south wall. Cross the underwater cavern, locate the air hole in the ceiling on the other side and pull up into the zigzag corridor. Return to the room with the beetle-receptor structure and place the Pharos Knot in its receptacle to the right of the open door in the east wall. This causes a block to rise to your right, allowing access to a beetle embedded in the wall above you, but we'll save that one for last.

Run through the doorway in the east wall (to the left of the Pharos Knot receptacle), go down the stairs and make a hairpin turn to the right past the open face-panel door you opened earlier, and past the grated window to your left overlooking the secret area. Go through the opening into a reddish area you encountered earlier, but coming from the other direction (after you obtained the second secret and the laser sight).

Remember the spike trap ahead. Light a flare after you pass between the two columns and stop just before you reach the next opening. Crouch down and crawl under the spikes you triggered earlier. You've already neutralized the spike trap in the next doorway ahead, so run through the opening without fear, turn left and emerge in the torch-lit underground area you dropped down to earlier from the crooked, narrow bridge structure.

Now let's do some exploring. At the top of the half-circle steps in the east wall is a device which serves as the receptacle for an artifact that requires two pieces, and you only have one piece right now. Head over to the west side of this room. Climb up onto the reddish block. Take a standing jump ahead to the sloped green block, then turn right and take another standing jump to the threshold of an opening. Turn left and run into the cave-like area. Jump up onto the block ahead. Turn left and take a running jump and grab to the crevice in the south wall. Shimmy left and around the corner, and pull up onto the block in the SE corner. Turn to the left and take a running jump and grab north across the room. Shimmy to the left as necessary to reach the flat surface where Lara can pull up. Run forward and climb up to the next higher level. You can see a beetle perched atop a pillar that's too high to climb. However, there's a ladder in the east wall. Jump up and grab the right-hand segment, and then (without climbing up any higher) shift to the left and back flip onto the column. Turn left and use your crowbar to pry loose the BLACK BEETLE #3.

Jump back to the ladder, shift right and climb all the way to the top. Pull up, run down the short tunnel and turn around when you reach the edge of the hole in the NE corner. Hop back, grab the edge, climb down the ladder until Lara is dangling, then release to the landing below. Activate the nearby reach-in switch (if you have been following this walkthrough precisely, then this is the companion switch that you didn't use when you were in this area earlier), then use the ladder at the end of the west ledge to climb down to the area with the irregular bridge that you navigated earlier. Run over toward the east end, climb down the hole next to the column, and head north down the stairs.

Before entering the room with the beetle-receptor structure, turn left on the middle step and hug the west wall. Jump up to activate the ingeniously hidden jump switch, allowing access to a new area down below. Turn to the left, hop back and grab the edge of the opening and use the ladder to climb down to the basement level. Turn left and run down the corridor until you reach a crawl space. Crawl inside for SECRET #4 and some goodies: a small medi-pack and some uzi ammo. There's also a box to shoot for the UZIS. Crawl back through the opening and climb up to the former room.

Go the block you raised earlier in the SE corner. Climb up onto it and turn to the alcove slightly above you. Take an angled standing jump and grab to it, pull up and draw light weapons. Crouch down and shoot the box with ornate cover for a large medi-pack. Then take a running jump slightly NE to the ledge ahead. Walk forward to claim the BLACK BEETLE #4.

Hop back three times, grab the edge of the ledge and safety drop to the room below. Reverse roll and run forward to the central structure. Place each of your four Black Beetles in the proper receptacles and watch the device open up. After placing the last one, step forward and pick up the HATHOR EFFIGY from the pedestal.

Now go through the doorway in the east wall and run along the corridor, down the stairs, around to the right and under the spike trap, and finally emerge in the torch-lit room. Run down the stairs and head left over to the east wall. Combine the Ornate Handle with the Hathor Effigy to form the PORTAL GUARDIAN. Use it in the pole-shaped device at the top of the half-circle steps, and a brief flyby shows doors opening in the structure behind you.

Reverse roll and stop long enough to shoot the nearby coffin for some uzi ammo. Then vault up into the structure and pick up the small medi-pack. Immediately a yellow coil shoots out to encircle Lara, and you hear the flapping of a harpy's wings. Step outside and kill the harpy, but be careful not to let your weapons lock on the two simulacra stationed inside similar yellow coils on either side of the south stairway leading to a new opening, as shooting them will cause you to lose health.

Go up the south stairs and into the opening. At the end of the arched hallway, turn right and drop down into the hole. Run forward, and when you come to the wide red stairs the camera angle will shift and show a horde of real beetles spewing out of wall holes on either side. While avoiding the beetles as best you can, light a flare and welcome yourself to a delightful little maze.

Your long-range goal is to locate and pull two chains in separate areas of the maze, but the first order of business is to locate a water hole so you can get rid of those pesky beetles. Plan to use up plenty of flares along the way, because it's mighty dark inside that maze. This walkthrough would be much too detailed and tedious if every twist and turn were spelled out here. Maybe some enterprising gamer will lay out a serviceable map and post it here as an appendix. However, here are the essential highlights to get you through the maze: The water hole is located near the NW corner, beyond a slit you can see through from the other side (you'll have to jump over a flaming pot and endure being aflame for about a second in order to reach the water hole), and the small rooms with the chains are found near the NE and SW corners. (The first one, in fact, is very near the entrance to the maze, off to the right as you enter facing west.) Along the way you'll need to jump over some smoldering pots that are sitting in alcoves. Some of these will burst into flames as you jump over them, which of course prevents you from backtracking in that direction should you get lost.

When you get to the water hole and drown the beetles, a swim down the long and winding tunnel brings you to a small room where you'll find a structure with a closed door and no goodies anywhere in sight. But wait! Don't those designs on the end blocks of the ledge against the east wall look familiar? Dust off that winding toy you've been carrying and use it in one of those scarab designs. Sure enough, you'll see the thing scamper under the small opening to the similar design on the other side. See bug alert below. At the same time, the door to the structure will open. Go inside and jump into the water hole. Swim through the tunnel until you reach a room with a central fountain. Continue west around the fountain and pull up to your left on the other side. Pick up the large medi-pack near your feet, then turn around and shoot the coffin on the block on the far side of the room. Pull up onto the block and pick up the revolver for SECRET #5.

[NOTE: rjb has graciously provided the following alert as to a possible bug in the game: It seemed at first that if you collected all the secrets, you couldn’t finish the game properly because most ladders suddenly became unclimbable, the "picture" became entirely unstable in places (not the "earthquake" kind of unstable), monkey swings were "unclingable", spikes were automatically raised, and the "guardian" enemies at the end all appeared at once, but then would be activated one at a time. At first I came to the same conclusion, because if you miss out the last secret, all is well.

I then investigated a bit more and found that the actual problem appears to be caused by the mechanical scarab, not the 5th and final secret itself. As you approach the 5th secret area, you use the scarab for the 3rd and last time, so you might be tempted not to pick it up again. If you don’t--if you leave it "running"--then all the problems detailed above occur. If you don’t pick it up and you then collect the 5th secret nearby, then when you reach the "lava pool" room where you need to jump about and climb a bit, you’ll find you can’t do the climbing, nor cling to the monkey swing that follows, etc.]

Jump back into the water and swim to the room where you left the mechanical scarab. If you're tired of carrying it around you can just leave it where it is; but just for fun, you can send it back to the other side and watch it blow up. In view of the bug alert noted above, it may be best just to pick it up. Jump into the water hole in the SW corner and return to the maze area. You'll find that the pot that was flaming earlier is now just smoking, so you can jump over it safely. Now go locate and pull the two chains. The exit door, that's opened when the second chain is pulled, is located near the SW corner. Aren't you glad that's over?

From the exit, run forward along the shallow trench and open the coffin at the other end for some crossbow arrows and revolver ammo. Then enter the next room to the north through either door. Walk up to the edge of the flaming oil and take a running jump to the sloped embankment to your right. Keep the jump key depressed as Lara bounces first to the central slope and off that to the ornate block ahead. Grab the edge, pull up facing north and get your bearings.

The next move looks like it could be complicated, but it isn't. Simply take a running jump and grab to the ladder column ahead and shimmy around two corners to the other side. Without climbing up or down, back flip into the opening. Turn around and jump straight up to grab the monkey bars. Swing out and follow the tracks as they wind to the left twice until you reach the wall. Release and immediately grab the ladder. Shift to the right and, with Lara's hands on the third rung down, back flip to the column. Turn to the right and you'll see an obvious spike trap on the top of the next column. Take a standing (not a running) jump and grab to the column, then shimmy around two corners and drop down on the other side.

Turn around and face the scene of your next conflict. Run straight ahead and step onto the central platform where the green coil is spiraling and pick up the MUSIC SCROLL. Then draw weapons and hop back to deal with the Demigod who's raining fire down on you from atop the platform hovering over the green coil. Then locate the block near the south wall and climb up onto it facing south. Take a running jump and grab to the ladder and climb up to the second-story balcony level. Vault up into the west window sill and jump straight up to grab the monkey bars. Follow the tracks around to the right and drop down into a similar balcony in the west wall. Hop down, turn right to face the green coil and take a running jump and grab to the platform where the Demigod was stationed. Pull up, and you'll alert a second Demigod in the balcony in the north wall. Draw weapons and dispose of him, then take a running jump and grab to the edge of the balcony where he was.

Pull up and use the ladder to climb up to the third story or roof level. Go through the left opening ahead (as the right opening leads to a closed door) and wind your way through the corridor until you emerge on the roof of the west balcony. Take a hairpin turn to the right and pick up the large medi-pack in the alcove. Then vault up onto the roof and walk out as far as you can go toward the right or SE corner. You'll alert a third Demigod who starts taking potshots at you from the second-story balcony level to your right. Unfortunately, he's out of the effective range of your weapons. Note that up on the wall, just above the roof of the same (south) balcony, is a blue-tinged receptacle for an artifact you don't yet have.

Turn around and go back into the tunnel, and return to the roof of the north balcony. Climb down the ladder, reverse roll and take a running jump and grab to the central platform above the green coil. Pull up, draw weapons and shoot the Demigod in the south balcony. You now need to get to that balcony, but it's too far away to reach with a running jump and grab. So safety drop to the floor and use the block and ladder near the south wall to get back to the second-story balcony level. Locate and pick up the HORSEMAN'S GEM dropped by the third Demigod when you killed him. Use the monkey bars to reach the west balcony, but before you get very far you'll find that a fourth Demigod is already there and taking advantage of your helpless condition. The safest thing to do is turn around and drop back down into the south balcony and deal with him from there. When the coast is again clear, monkey swing over to the west balcony. From there, take a running jump and grab to the central platform. Pull up and turn left. Take a running jump and grab to the north balcony. Pull up, run forward and use the ladder to climb back up to the third-story roof level.

Go through the left opening ahead and return to the roof of the west balcony. Hop off the south edge to the walkway below, and follow it to the roof of the south balcony. Take a standing jump up to a flat portion of the roof and turn to the right. Take a standing jump over the slope that's too steep to walk on, and make your way to the wall. Insert the Horseman's Gem in the receptacle, and you'll see a cut scene of a door opening. Very carefully, turn around and walk back toward the lower walkway. Slide down to the flat surface (being careful not to slide the wrong way, toward the front of the balcony, where Lara will fall to her death) and hop down to the walkway.

A fifth Demigod is now prowling about on the roof of the west balcony, so eliminate him from where you are. Then run along the walkway and pull up onto the roof of the west balcony. Go through the corridor and return to the roof of the north balcony. Make a hairpin turn to the left, being mindful of the ladder shaft, go through the opening to the right and run along the corridor. Turn left at the stairs and run up through the opening as Lara's ending theme music starts playing. Continue up the stairs, winding around to the right, until you reach a well-lit landing. Step forward toward what looks like a ladder in the distance, and you'll hit the exit trigger that brings this delightful adventure to an abrupt end.

* * * * * * * *

NOTE: The following helpful footnotes have been provided by rjb.

1. The name "Black Palace" doesn’t appear in the title, nor on the statistics screen, if you carry on from "C.T."; it only appears if you use René’s savegame - but then you don’t have the items you picked up in "C.T." to take forward.

2. It might be good to mention the crowbar that has been passed across between the 2 levels as well as the mechanical scarab. You don’t usually start a game with the crowbar; it's normally an essential item to find.

3. The Shotgun in secret area #1 sometimes disappears into the sandy floor because of the water’s undulating and the uneven floor, so it can be easily missed.

4. In the large room just past the 2nd (mechanical beetle) spike trap, where you find secret #2 hidden below, (a) you can go back up to the "upper grassy walkway" again (no need to go to the ground): J&C up from the extreme LH side of very close to the square that you landed on, when you first jumped down to find secret area #2; and (b) you can reach the floor from the high walkway w/o any energy loss by a R&J (with cling) to the slope in the far RH corner near the entrance (facing the entrance to this room & looking to the right), then once you're clinging to the edge of the slope, by shimmying to the right, not quite around the corner, you can drop to the top of a slope and slide down.

5. In the area around the "sunken wooden ship" section, if you pull the 2 rope-pulls in the wrong order (?) (not certain of this, but did encounter the next bit and had to reload), or if you visit the door that they open first, while it is still closed, then the door may not open.

6. I think I'm correct in saying: it isn't the prying of beetle #2 loose that opens the door below; you need to step onto the sloping pressure pad by the hole that's "smaller than a CSP" - if some don't do that, the door may not open and they won't know why.

7. In the place with the jumpswitch (J&C lever) that opens up secret area #3, if you drop to the slope where there are some spikes below, you can (instead of jumping left), immediately (!) backflip-somersault to land at or near the top of the ladder, when you can quickly hoist up out of danger--this gives a quicker exit from this room also. (You can time a run directly across the spikes also, rather than doing a SJ.) [Secret #3 did register for me, although it was my secret #4 as I went a different way first.]

8. Re the intensely irritating "beetle maze": [Editorial aside: In one fell swoop, I felt René spoiled his excellent game at this point, unfortunately. A maze, darkness, beetles you can only escape with difficulty & after much experimentation, plus a quite unclear objective: what do the rope-pulls do? How do we find out in this darkness, with these constantly harrowing beetles, with little indication of anything changing? Should we be aiming for that water we can glimpse across a lighted pedestal or for somewhere else?

All in all I feel, as a somewhat seasoned adventurer, it is a far too irritating situation to be at all pleasurable. Just my opinion, of course! Now I’ll get off my high horse!]

Regarding it, anyway: If you run & jump down the stairs, over where the beetles first appear, and lighting the first of several flares as you do that, then turn right, around the corner at the bottom of the stairs, towards the first & nearer rope-pull (it takes some time to realise that there are 2 of them, of course), pull it quickly, then roll & run off down the fairly short passage opposite, then take a running leap over the smoking pedestal you come to & turn left into the new passage, then the beetles very usefully seem to become blocked, held up in some way, provided you don't go back to that first rope-pull at any time during your exploration (and it probably helps if you run everywhere in this maze rather than walk around nonchalently [what, with those beetles around somewhere??!].

9. A (partial) route through the maze. (Unfortunately, this may not work completely, as it was done after the door that is opened by the 2 rope-pulls was, well, opened, and some of the pots/pedestals that are initially aflame are extinguished during the course of the maze, and some that are smoking are lit up as you travel around. But hopefully it will be of some help.)

A. Escaping the beetles. Save at the top of the stairs, just after the door has closed behind you from the passage from the large room where you placed the portal guardian. (Call this SAVE 1, as you may need to return to this, when you become hopelessly lost or nibbled to death by the beetles, or both!) Run down the stairs, jumping over the beetles as they start to emerge from the side walls, lighting your flare as you do so. You’re going to quickly(!) turn round the RH corner at the bottom of the stairs, until you reach the first of two rope-pulls you need to use, to open a door elsewhere in the maze. Pull the chain as quickly as you can, then roll and run forward down the (new) passage that is then in front of you. You soon come to a smoking pedestal/pot in a gap in the wall, slightly to your left ahead of you. Take a running jump over this and immediately go to your left along the passage at the other side of the pedestal. If you can succeed in doing all this "at the run", without stopping, then when you’ve gone around the next 2 (RH) corners, you should be free of the beetles, as they seem to become "stuck", somehow. (Well, here’s hoping, anyway!) [Don't go back to that first rope-pull, nor to the stairs, or your good work will be undone!]

B. Finding the 2nd rope-pull. Past the smoking pot/pedestal, the next 2 corners are a hairpin turn back to the right, when you come immediately to a junction. (SAVE 2 at this point.) Turn left here and head towards the reddish "pharaoh’s head" on the end wall. (The way to the 5th secret of the game is just by that pharaoh's head, so is worth noting.) Don't go anything like as far as that for now, though. In fact, take the first turn you come to on your left. Going forward, you come immediately to some steps on your right that seem to lead up to a pair of doors, but these doors are one of the many decoys that the author has put into the game - they aren't doors at all, but instead are just wall panels. (There were several others in the very first pool room in this game that we came to at the bottom of the first slides. Many designers use them for doors; this author is trying to fool you!) [Detour: at the end of this passage, past the lighted pedestal/pot at the left, you can just see the 2nd rope-pull. (Don't catch on fire!) Now, how to reach it?] Opposite the start of the steps to the pretend-doors that are on your right, turn left and go a short distance to what is hopefully a smoking pot at the right. Jump over this, turn left along another short passage, then turn right round the next corner, by another (burning?) pot on your left, to reach the 2nd rope-pull.

C. You now have the choice of finding the water--near that "pharaoh’s head"--(jumping over the lighted pot you find there as quickly as possible into the water, to quench poor Lara) to go to the 5th secret area, and then when you return, of going to the room whose door the rope-pulls have opened, up those shallow steps; or of going directly to the room. (Unfortunately, because this partial "maze-through" has been done after the rope-pulls have been used, I can no longer be certain which routes continue to be viable at this point. Perhaps someone else can come along and finish this off?)

10. In the water tunnel on the way back from the 5th secret area, there is a narrow section of wall very close to the air hole where you surface again where you can swim through the wall section and you find yourself several sections further back in the tunnel. (Unfortunate if you’re running out of air at that point!)

11. The guardians at the end are not "out of range of all weapons when far away", as we can use the EX XB bolts with the crossbow’s laser sight & zoom - but you must make sure that nothing ‘nearer’ (eg., central platforms between Lara and your target) take the brunt of the EX XB bolts.

12. You can directly reach the balcony that the 3rd guardian, who drops the horseman’s gem, occupied, either by running on top of the L-shaped monkey-swing "bridge" and doing a slightly diagonal J&C down to the right, down to the ledge of the balcony itself by the start of the monkey-swing; or you can use the monkey-swing in reverse when you reach it, by going back the opposite way from that which you used to reach the "roof" in the first place; at no stage do you have to return to the floor.