Perusing Pixels is a photo diary of my expedition through the Tomb Raider series. Use the links to the right to find a particular game or level, or see below for the latest post.

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Thursday, 9 July 2009


Being the first level of the first Tomb Raider game, Caves is, unsurprisingly, the first 'real' level I ever played. Actually, for a while, it was the only level I ever played; unable to cope with the idea of the four wolves waiting for me at the start of level 2 (not to mention the dinosaurs in level 3), I felt safer staying within the familiar territory of the caves.

On to the game. We're in Peru, and after a thrilling FMV wherein Peter Andre is mauled by to death and Lara puts down a pack of wolves in the most kick-arse way possible, the level begins with Lara (and the player) on the wrong side of a pair of ancient automatic doors.

Ooh, the wolftracks. Not so much foreshadowing as...aftershadowing? Either way, this is the starting location of the Caves, and not much to look at unless you're really into rocks and snow. Pressing on, and we come to the first possible way to die; the shooting arrow trap, a staple in Incan burglary alarms. Get on the wrong side of these bad boys and you'll be dead in twenty minutes.


Difficult though they are to make out in this picture, Lara has come face-to-face with her first enemy, the humble bat. These animals are easily to take out and their basic attack (which appears to be sitting on Lara's head and spinning around) does little damage. However, they do like to put in an appearance when we're up on ledges teetering over a 100ft drop.

I include this hole in the ceiling for nostalgia. As a ten-year-old child, I did not quite understand the digital limitations of video games and assumed that everywhere you could see, you could go. I spent a few weeks trying to work out how the hell I would be able to get up there.


This is the Bridges room. Toby Gard (who Eidos always trot out appease like he's the god of Tomb Raider, completing ignoring the fact that there were five other people involved in it's development) said - and I quote the Anniversary commentary - " I was kind of pushing for us to simply just skip this room on the remake because it wasn't particularly significant", which just goes to show how much he knows. Particularly significant? This is the first room the player is introduced the enemy that is actually frightening to encounter (bats aren't frightening, they're irritating). And although you can snipe them off from the bridges, you get the distinct impression you won't always be afforded that luxury.


The bridges room is also home to this guy, a pained-looking skeleton wrapped in gold string. He looks out-of-place next to the snow-streaked stone, but I don't recall him popping in the Egyptian levels later on. I'm going to keep an eye out, though.

The bear is the scariest enemies in the Caves, but thankfully he can't jump that high. Instead, he prowls around below, running for cover every time you take a pop at him. I always found it quite creepy when the bear rears up onto his back legs, it reminds me of the one in Back To The Future III.

This rather intricate texture awaits those who find the level's third and final secret. Back in the day when I was such a bad gamer I couldn't even get myself through the Caves, I used to spend ages in this room trying to work out how it could be opened. Ha.

Here is the lever switch that I finally stumbled upon after months in first-level limbo (when I was ten, not in this play-through). I don't think I even saw it, I was just running along the wall pressing "action" until Lara finally latched on to something. Maybe I couldn't see it through all the greenery(!).

Ah, collapsible floors. Why did the ancient Peruvians always build poor flooring above spike-pits? Thankfully, there are no spike pits in this level, just a quick drop down to the next room.

Finished! Yes, I appreciate how rubbish my time is, but I just about managed to get all three secrets.


  1. Dude I'm amazed that you spent months trying to beat one level (at ten of course) that is tenacity. At that age I would have used cheats or moved on to a new game in less than a week probably far less. I did however spend an ungodly time in Candlekeep and can therefore max xp treasure and gold in speed run times, that being my claim to fame.

    1. I had the same issue, too. When I was ten or less, I used to played tomb raider 1 only to wandering around and because I didn't understand how the game works, I stuck for years in The Lost Valley (I didn't get an opportunity to play the game anymore on PS1 until I installed emulator and finally I passed the levels and now I'm playing in Colosseum level.) This game seriously haunts me for a long time and not to mention, too scary in the past that gave me a lot of nightmare and confusion.

  2. Same, this game haunts me for years and I wasn't able to past these levels, and finally I got an opportunity to play the game in emulator, and just in two days I reached Colosseum level. (Finally)