In Bartoli’s Hideout, we must bid a tearful farewell to both our trusty speedboat and any nostalgic anecdotes I might have about that time when I was ten. My earliest recollection of playing this level was as a savvy fifteen-year-old, who could easily tell the difference between “textures” and “doors” and whose idea of a good Saturday night was playing Tomb Raider II avec flight patch and harpooning confused-looking enemies while Lara hovered over the rooftops.
The fifteen-year-old me also possessed the ability to complete a level in under seven months (although she probably resorted to a walkthrough at one point), and so, playing this time around, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I don’t have every single enemy, corridor and graphical irregularity committed to memory.
So, having sped through the canals of Venice (and leaving a trail of dead henchmen in her wake), Lara manages to stumble upon Bartoli’s hideout and sets about looking for the man himself.
The beginning of the level, and that old Tomb Raider staple of “starting in a corridor” is back in full swing. This is also the end of the line for the speedboat.
The grand entrance to Bartoli’s little getaway, last seen on that goon’s laptop back in China.
Included inside Bartoli’s hideout is the gauntlet of knights with really big swords. I don’t know whether to make a Freudian analysis or a dick joke, so I’ll do neither.
Looks like there was a sale on at Ugly Velvet Leopard-Print Wallpapers ‘R’ Us. What a shame Lara didn’t bring her hideous old carpet with her; together, she and Bartoli' could have decorated a room fit for the ninth layer of hell.
Synchronised death isn’t limited to rats and velociraptors. These guys look like they’re in some kind of Nazi-themed acrobatic dance troupe. Which, who knows, maybe they are? It’s not like Lara attempts to interview them before gunning them down.
The moveable blocks in Tomb Raider II are a lot less horrifying that those in the first game, but what they lack in presence, they make up for in subtlety. It’s a good job I remembered this part of the level, else I probably would still be stuck in this room now. Well, no, I would have looked at a walkthrough long before that, but you know what I mean.
I knew it could only be a matter of time before the fire trap reared its ugly head. This time, edging past while consuming medipacks does absolutely no good; Lara catches on fire if she gets within several feet of the flames and doesn’t stop losing health until you throw her into some water. I actually had to use logic and timing on this puzzle. I know. I was sickened too.
This is the chandelier room, which is the latest victim in Marco Bartoli’s obsessive love of hideous wall coverings. That cheerful yellow print doesn’t stand a chance against the onslaught of fuzz.
Hidden in the depths of Bartoli’s mansion is the world’s most inconveniently-located library. Now, I don’t know any library that would tolerate open books and dead bodies littering the floor. I was given a dirty look today just for dropping a book onto the returns counter from a slightly higher position that was necessary.
It’s pretty 3D model time! I don’t know what this is, exactly, but I plan for my future garden to hold a replica one.
Bizarrely, Bartoli’s Hideout gives Lara the opportunity to demolish a house. Destroying the house isn’t actually required to complete the level, but it’s a fair bet that if Lara likes shooting things, she’ll like blowing up things even more. I’m surprised you don’t get a health boost for doing this.
Why must everywhere Lara travels to include so many dark, foreboding tunnels?
And that’s the end of the level. Yes, I know I only got two secrets; by the time I
looked up remembered how to get to the silver dragon, I was already too far into the level to go back to it. Still, the prize is only shotgun shells, and I only resort to using the shotgun in the unlikely event that the pistols run out of ammo.