THE EMPEROR'S TOMB - Tomb of the First Emperor|
Indy and Mei-Ying climb down into the tomb and survey the impressive circular chamber lined with giant snake pillars. Not exactly Indy's favorite creature. Mei-Ying will wander the corridor while you are left to solve some of the most dangerous action puzzles in the game so far. The worse thing is that nearly all these puzzles are fatal, so if you fail just one you have to replay the entire level. You can take the Torch lying on the floor if you wish. It's not necessary but it does add a bit of extra light for as long as you carry it.
Follow Mei-Ying down the long hall and you will come to a Prayer Pillar situated between three circular doors. Spin the column to lower a section of floor around the pillar and you will descend into a deep shaft.
When the spikes move across the room they create new ledges for you to climb on or jump and pull up onto. The trick is to always be ready to climb or jump to each new section immediately after it appears. Timing is critical and you only have about a one-second margin for error. If you get caught with your legs dangling over the edge you are dead meat.
Head back down the long hall. Mei-Ying is still wandering around aimlessly. Note the open door on the left (walking away from the Prayer Pillar) and go through to face your next challenge.
The passage continues to the left. Roll under the flames then carefully walk to the very edge of the next pit. You need to make a double whip-swing across this pit and arc over a flame jet that shoots from the ground. Don't worry if you catch on fire. The flames do very little damage and go out quickly.
Go back down the long hall and note the new circular door that is now open on the right, opposite the one you just went through. Enter and watch the cinematic then prepare for a very deadly challenge. Note the glowing orbs. These will shoot deadly bolts of electricity when you get within a certain proximity. After they discharge you will have a few short seconds to safely pass by before they can shoot again.
Walk carefully up to the edge of the next pit and move the camera around so you are looking down the shaft. You can spot a circular opening below you and a lower ledge across from you. Hang from the edge then drop down and go in inside the opening to get the Hidden Artifact: Shang Statuette. Make a running leap out of the alcove across to the low ledge and pull up. Jump and pull up to the top passage and continue to the corner.
When you come to the final pit you need to hug the right wall and shimmy slowly toward the door. Wait for the electricity to discharge before quickly shimmying the rest of the way then run out the door. The final door next to the Prayer Pillar is now open and you can leave this level.
Go either right or left and take the curved stairs leading down to where several Triad warriors are ready to challenge you. These warriors are not the undead warriors you fought in the previous level. They are much tougher and can take a lot of damage before dying. Mei-Ying will fight alongside you but you will have to do most of the work. The best strategy for this fight is to get on either of the stairs and try to position yourself so you can punch or kick these guys over the edge. Not only does this end the fight quickly, it doesn't leave any dead bodies around for the second round.
When the final Triad has fallen two orange spirits will come out of the statues. If there are any dead bodies lying around they will inhabit these bodies and you will have to fight the undead version of the Triad warriors. When the body is destroyed you still have to destroy the orange spirits before the door opens.
You now have a large bed of spikes divided into three sections. The outer sections will retract and the middle will disappear. You need to get the timing down and run and jump over the first section just as the middle ones go down. Then run and jump over the third section and stop short of the next invisible wall. This is a bit trickier. Walk into the first wall when it is close and wait for it to open then quickly run through into the second wall and wait for it to open. Run through this final deathtrap and stop short of the pit.
Carefully step down onto the first ledge and walk out a few steps. Carefully turn to face the second ledge, which is actually the top of an invisible wall. Jump across and angle to the left. You will either grab the wall or arc over it and land safely on a flat ledge behind it. Pull up and pull the ring to disable all traps, seal the pit, and open the exit. Mei-Ying will now join you.
Look out for that... Oops! Too late. Indy steps into a trap and slides into the next level where a growling Triad warrior greets him. Make quick work of this nuisance then go through the circular door behind you. Go down some steep wooden stairs and through another door at the bottom.
Slowly walk into this next room and watch as the orange spirits bring the two Terracotta statues to life. These guys are slow and they have an uncanny ability to block your Pa Cheng when you throw it, but they are no match for personal attacks. Simply move in and start slashing with your secondary fire and watch as limbs and heads go flying. These guys are tough and will keep coming at you unless you completely destroy them.
When the two statues are reduced to rubble you can go through the large doors. Equip your Mirror of Dreams. This is a very sneaky secret, as there is no real clue to indicate that you should do this, making this one of the most often overlooked artifacts in the entire game. The glow of the mirror will clearly indicate a pair of bamboo ladders leading to a secret change above.
When you enter the room a series of bells will play. You need to listen and memorize the tune (or order of the bells) just long enough to repeat the notes on one of four sets of bells located in the various corners of this room. Your Mirror of Dreams will illuminate transparent walkways leading to each corner section.
Prepare to go insane. This is the most difficult part of the game so far, and while I wish I could help you more, words simply can't get you through this next action sequence. It took me 127 attempts to finally finish this level. While I can't be sure if the difficulty setting has anything to do with this part of the game I do know that I changed it from Normal to Easy after 125 tries and was able to do it on my second attempt on this skill level. If you are playing on the PC I highly recommend lowering your resolution down to 800x600. You need as fast and smooth a framerate as you can get for this segment.
Each time you make a whip-swing Indy will get centered back on course. You need to jump over several gaps and swing over several more until you come to the first left turn. Stick to the inside wall as you make this turn and swing over the next pit.
After this very tricky double swing you will come to another corner, as the passage turns right. Stick to the inside and be careful as the claw on the tank will block your view of Indy and you are fast approaching a gap in the floor. Jump the game and make a normal whip-swing then watch for more collapsing floor indicating another swing you need to cut short so you can land and still have time to start a second swing. After this you will need to jump several sections of falling floor and make one final tricky swing to reach the ramp leading down.
Don't relax just yet. You are sliding toward a bottomless pit so get ready to whip that beam near the bottom. You don't need to jump, only whip and swing across to the far ledge. Turn and enjoy the demise of Von Beck and his tank before heading through the circular doorway.
Carefully make your way through this next section. There are large gaps and crevices in the floor and you certainly don't want to fall and die this far through the level. As you near the orange glow of the entrance to the Netherworld watch out for one last tricky gap. Jump over this and go through the door to end the level.