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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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Lud’s Gate

I don’t know who Lud is, exactly, but let’s all assume that they’re responsible for the unique hell that is the nightmarish underwater labyrinth that features in this level, and heap scorn and loathing on them as applicable. There’ll be more on the subject later, of course, but suffice say if you loved the random symbol maze of the last level then Lud’s Gate will be like Christmas for you.

Having found her way into the the secret headquarters of the Damned, victims of Sophia Leigh’s failed cosmetic experiments, Lara agrees to retrieve a bottle of embalming fluid from The Natural History Museum in exchange for their help in finding Ms Leigh.

We begin where the cut-scene left off, in front of No Face Guy’s makeshift throne.

Lara examines the receptacle that she’ll need to deliver the embalming fluid to, which has been helpfully decorated with an Egyptian motif. I suppose when you’re immortal you have a lot of spare time to experiment with interior decorating.

The Damned are no longer antagonistic towards Lara, and largely leave her alone. In fact, in this level they’re so disinterested in her that they run off when she approaches. Poor Lara. Even Tomb Raiders need a hug now and again.

At least this spiked ceiling will touch you, Lara!…oh, wait, that’s not a good thing.

Escaping the overly-affectionate spiked ceiling, Lara climbs a ridiculously long ladder and eventually finds herself at the start of a crawlspace.

It’s like The Ring, but less scary because it’s our sweet, cuddly Lara. Using her plait to cosplay as this guy from Game of Thrones:

(image source: please note I don’t know if that link contains spoilers as I haven’t read it because I don’t want spoilers)

At the end of the crawlspace, Lara peeks out to see an armed guard running repeatedly into a wall, because apparently the Natural History Museum have no qualms with hiring people that can’t tell the difference between an empty space and a solid object and  then equipping those employees with a lethal weapons.

Lara quickly disposes of the underqualified guard and sneaks up on another one that is conveniently mesmerised by a spinny thing.

To be fair, it is pretty mesmerising. No idea what it is, though.

The next section involves climbing around a large, Egyptian-themed room and is largely boring to document. There was a cool switch that looked like a cross Pharaoh going “ooo”, but that was probably the only thing worth mentioning.

Lara finally finds the embalming fluid, along with a couple of decomposing mummies. Too bad, history, the No Face guys need is greater! Look, it’s in a pretty little Egyptian-themed vial and everything.

Trying to find her way back to the Damned lair, Lara finds herself atop a Sphinx. Now, I have visited the Natural History Museum several times, both before and after 1998, and I never saw a sphinx there. An awesome life-size model of a blue whale, absolutely, but never a sphinx.

A view of the Sphinx from the ground floor.

More armed guards impede Lara’s progress. At least this one is competent enough to be facing in the right direction, even if he is just rather nonchalantly contemplating Lara as she fires a couple of rounds into him.

Lara brings the vial to the Damned and is greatly rewarded…

…by essentially getting thrown down a tunnel. I’d say dick move, but we all know how much Lara loves falling to her probable death, so, actually, it was rather touching of the No Face guys to set this up.Too bad what could have been a budding romance had to be cut short, but onwards and upward (in a metaphorical sense as we’re obviously only going down now).

Lara’s fall is broken by a pool, wherein dwells some kind of underwater mechanical bee (It’s actually an Underwater Propulsion Vehicle, which I’m sure are a lot more fun to use in real life than they are in this game).

Back on dry land, and it seems the laws of physics have been abandoned during Lara’s short absence.


Lara returns to the water and almost immediately regrets it when she stumbles upon an underwater maze complete with drowned diver. Even worse, there’s another UPV, which, as a vehicle, ranks a little below a narcoleptic snail in terms of speed and agility.

There’s also a crocodile in the underwater maze. Lara is not impressed…

…until she realises that a blood-thirsty crocodile is a marginally better vehicle option that the UPV and decides to hitch a ride.

After several thousand hours of hellish maze-based torture, Lara finds a way out of the labyrinth and returns to land.

This level’s offering for ‘random unidentifiable object that wants to kill you’: the swinging metal things.

Still incandescent with rage over the whole underwater maze debacle, Lara channels the ire we’re all feeling into physical violence and straight-up punches her pistol through a guard’s chest. His stoic lack of reaction suggests that he understands.

Finally Lara manages to crawl away from this cursed place and into a cut-scene.


Every cut-scene should start with fish.

Lara emerges from the tunnel into a lavishly-decorated office, complete with tanks of flickering fish.

She is greeted by Ms Sophia Leigh, who does not seem overly surprised by Lara’s unconventional entrance. “Ah, Ms Croft. I take it you’re ready to sign up?”


Lara is confused. “To what?”

“Well,” says Sophia, “To my books. You see, with your lifestyle you’d be the perfect campaign for my products. And just think; you wouldn’t be needing those unsightly weapons any more…”


“WHAT DID YOU SAY ABOUT SHOOTY AND BANGY YOU PLASTIC-FACED COW?” Lara replied. In her head. Her upper-class upbringing wouldn’t allow her to say it out loud, of course, so her actual response is slightly less confrontational:

“No, but I’d probably have an unsightly face judging by your last experiments.”


Sophia does her best Frasier Crane I AM WOUNDED expression.

“My what?!”

“Oh, yes,” Lara tells her. “They’re all still alive. Very much so, in fact.” She reaches for Sophia’s staff, that lays on the desk. “But all I want is the artefact-”

Sophia quickly snatches the artefact away from Lara’s grasp. “Yeah, right,” she sneers. “In your next life.”

Some top-notch witty banter from the queen of cosmetics there.


Lara draws her pistols as Sophia hurries away. “We’ll see.”


It says one and a half hours, but it forgot to add on the millennia I spent navigating that godawful maze.

Coming next: the battle for the Eye of Isis.