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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Sunday, 12 February 2012

Barkhang Monastery

Ah, the enigma that is the Barkhang Monastery; so beautiful, and yet so bloody long.  I apologise for my month-long absence but can assure you that I’ve spent most of it (give or take twenty-eight days) trying to find the exit to this level.  Finally, I’ve escaped the monk-infested, trap-laden glorious nightmare to bring you a series of screenshots accompanied by vaguely insulting comments. Which is no less than this level deserves.

After making her way over the Tibetan foothills, Lara finds what she was looking for; the secluded monastery as described to her by the late Brother Barkhang.

That joyous corridor that ended the last level has been plunged into darkness, which certainly killed my mood.



Throughout the level, Lara is obliged to assist the friendly monks in defending the monastery against Bartoli’s men; the slight snag being that the monks themselves are still viable targets for the auto-aim and tend to get pretty pissed off if Lara accidently murders a few of them.


Oh, come on Lara, that’s not even a door.  It’s a few planks of chipboard held together with staples and Pritt Stick.  That gap at the top is big enough for even your whale-sized aunt to squeeze through.  A gentle breeze would be enough to open that thing, so why on earth do you need a key?


Speaking of keyholes, this one was fairly creepy.


Hey, so here are the prayer wheels that Alex West stole from fake-movie-Lara.  Considering how many there are of the damn things, I’m surprised she got so bent out of shape.


Another fine example of the atmospheric draw distance limit:

Pfft, who needs good graphics and high-end capabilities?


A strange angle shot of Lara flipping in mid-air.  This reminds me too much of the-thing-that-must-not-be-named, that I’m not naming here because I don’t want to be responsible for ruining people’s lives by notifying them of its existence.  So it was probably a waste of time me mentioning it.  Disregard those last two sentences and just enjoy the strange picture, if you can.

I can’t.  I never will.


I guess this is one step up from that walking-across-hot-coals thing people can do when they’ve meditated hard enough.  ‘Not being horribly maimed while walking through slicing blades’ is apparently a simple case of mind over matter.


Behold, the reason I put off playing this level for about three weeks.  As far as I remember, Temple of Xian is filled pretty much wall-to-spike-wall with traps like this, so I really wouldn’t get your hopes up for me getting to Tomb Raider III.


I think this was the only time the cultists showed up without several monks biting at their heels, but any convenience that lent the situation was immediately quashed by the sheer number of them.  Well, there were four, but in a tiny corridor with only a few Uzi clips and the M16 (if that counts) for protection, it was four too many.


Another Seraph-induced psychedelic graphic trip.  I’ll be glad when I’m rid of the bloody thing.


Up on the rooftops of the monastery, it started to get pretty again.  Look at these lovely gold statues of…goats?  Llamas?  Alpacas? (Stella plays it safe and goes for “animals”).


Whatever-this-is is also nice to look at.


Oh, look, the save-game diamond from console-Tomb Raider I is back for a cameo as “gemstone”.  This was before he reinvented himself (i.e. became green) and burst back onto the scene as the health crystal in Tomb Raider III.  Then of course, he was picked up by Maxis to be the PlumbBob and, well, you know the rest…


Are we supposed to believe this is the same gemstone as the one in the last picture?!


No-one, absolutely no-one spends ten minutes pushing blocks around just to get their hands on a few harpoons.  This type of thing should be illegal.


Finally, we can say goodbye to that cursed Seraph and continue along our journey with the textures the way Core Design intended.


We end as we began, staring at pure, undiluted terror (expressed through the medium of corridors).


See, I told you that took me a long time.  The first digit is “days”, by the way.


  1. lmao I freaking love you

  2. My favorite level from TR2, hands down!

  3. Another great TR2 level!
    I can't wait for the next one.
    Almost 16 years after the first game it still feels so epic when you play it, just classic.
    Love your blog, very funny, keep it up!
    Oh and I see you enjoy a good whisky, try get your hands on an 18yo Bunnahabhain, very nice ;)
    Greets, Martin from Holland

  4. Yay! Can't wait for tr3 if you ever get to it. Its my fav game.