September 22, 2011

Tomb Raider 30-Day Challenge Day 22: What sequence gave you the most difficulty?

UPDATE: This month-long challenge has officially finished, but you're still welcome to post your comments below at any time. We'd love to hear what you think.

Unless you're a gaming genius, I'm sure you've struggled with at least a few Tomb Raider puzzles, traps or battles. I know I have. Which game sequence did you find the hardest?

Today's question was suggested by Buffalo Mein, a reader and fellow raider who has commented on most of the challenges so far. The original question for day 22 was about Tomb Raider music, but I decided to combine it with the challenge for day 13.

Something old: The Palace Midas fire pillars from the original Tomb Raider. Screenshot courtesy of Perusing Pixels.

Something new: The retracting ledges above the lava pool in Tomb Raider: Anniversary's Great Pyramid level.


  1. If it weren't for the first difficult sequence pictured above, I might not be writing this now. If you've read my "Beginnings" post [], you'll know that it was my husband's unfortunate failure in the Palace Midas that ultimately led to my becoming the dedicated raider I am today. So I guess that's my *favorite* hard sequence.

    The one that gave me the most trouble and frustration personally was the tall room with the retracting ledges in the Great Pyramid level of TRA. I have never been so angry at my favorite game developers. And when I went online for help and saw certain players saying how "easy" this was, I seriously wanted to whip out the mini SMGs and start shooting. Fortunately I got a great tip from another player for beating that section. It's still wicked hard for me, even using his shortcut, but I've managed to do it a few times now.

    I guess if it weren't for hard parts like this, we wouldn't feel the same sense of triumph when we finally beat them.

  2. Hmmm, there have been many times of me screaming at Lara! I remember hating those fire pillars in TR too! I hated the element rooms in AoD, I probably fell off the pillars in the windy one a million times before getting across. But my all time least favorite sequence was the speed run at the end of Chronicles where you had to run from the helipcopter and the cyborg, and trap the cyborg in a gas chamber. I could never outrun that punk and he always followed me into the switch roo mand massacred me. EVERY TIME! I ended up having to stop playing, I was so mad. I just youtubed someone doing a play through of that section and the end FMV, so I could feel like I still saw it. Haha, am I a TR wimp or what? Didn't even finish the game!

  3. Oh, one of the hardest parts is the Hall of Seasons area in AOD. I love the concept, but only the Neptune room is easilly doable. It's a lot of trail and error in the other three rooms.
    In terms of the "modern" games, all of them are much easier than the classic ones, but the old "cistern" (Tomb of Tihocan) gave some trouble in Anniversary.
    Another very frustrating part was in the Catacombs in TR4, in the part where Lara had to jump from rope to rope I never got it right. I died a lot, and simply couldn't get past that. And it's a funny story, since I was so desperate, I asked my mother (who never played any videogames at the time) to try it. She didn't know the controlls properlly, but she got it at the first time, it was a miraclle! After she got it I was screaming so that she didn't let go the grab button. Thankfully she didn't and I passed that part :)
    Another nice story is the TR5 one, in the part where you have to kill the cook of the submarine, I spent weeks trying to get that. When I finally realised what was needed to do, I did it and ran to my neighbour's house to tell him (since he tried to help me but couldn't). Ah, good times

  4. haha......i had a tough time at the pyramid level(annivesary) also and i tried that forever bfore i could beat thatt stage and was thinkn how wicked Natla was....:-).....also i guess pickn the artifact from the midas chamber stage was another difficultt task and i ended up not picking that up. finally the cyborg at the VCI office (chronicles) was more than a tormentor, he kept out the same pace everytym and it took me almost a week to beat that part .....haha cant wait 4 the new tomb raider...when will it be released on ps3?

  5. Stella,

    "WICKED hard"? Was that a regional giveaway? =o)

    There are some that have given me brief fits, but no gasket blowers on the games themselves. But if you play the TRLE levels, some of those builders have put darn-near impossible timed run sequences together. Some of those have taken me literally 40-50 attempts.

    Stella--do you ever play the TRLE levels?


  6. The retracting ledges in Anniversary's Great Pyramid gave me a lot of trouble, but I did eventually manage them. And when I saw that one of the XBox achievements was a speed climb of those ledges I knew immediately that I'll never get it. But the sequence that has given me the most trouble (even without trying to speed run it) is the "refinery speed run" section of Lara's Shadow. Dodging enemies, leaping on moving blocks, cockroach-climbing between pounding blocks, whew! I barely made it and my hat goes off to anyone who's managed to speed run it!

  7. Whoops! I almost forgot. Thanks for using my question, Stella! And here's a Youtube link to a video of the two doppleganger speedruns:

  8. I thought I recognised that fire pillar image! :p

    It's hard to think of the sequence that's given me the most difficulty, mainly because I find that anything requiring more than ten seconds of thought sends me running to the nearest walkthrough. A stand-out one in my mind, though, is the maze-to-timed-door dash at Lara's Home in TR2, which took me forever to master. Anything that involves a chain of precise acrobatics gets me frustrated, too.

    Considering this and my tendency to feel overwhelmed when faced with too many path choices, I have to wonder why the hell I like Tomb Raider in the first place!

  9. Yup, the two you've illustrated, although I think the Great Pyramid in Anniversary was hard merely because of a stupid camera angle or something.

    I rather liked the end of the first level in TR2 within the Great Wall of China with the closing spiked walls and stuff. Wasn't that hard though.

  10. Without question the retracting ledges in Anniversary gave me the most.. frustration. I might not have made it through those at all if I didn't read an alternative way of doing the jumps in your walkthrough, Stella. Thank you.

  11. Speaking of the labarynth hBush maze at Lara's home in TR2, in the last level when Marco's last goons invade her house, I was convinced there had to be more than just that 1 shot gun for Lara.
    So I mapped the maze (from the daytime home level) then followed my map at night.

    ...I finally made it but the secret passage was still closed!!! :x

  12. The hardest game for me was Revelation or TR4 because the levels go back and forth or recap from one place to another and sometimes it gets frustrating or confusing for me but I still finished the game with the help from Stella's fit

  13. I'm not good at timed events. The combination of the need for precision and my astounding ability to get flustered about anything isn't really the best...

    I also didn't like the Hall of Seasons. I got pretty worked up about that undead warrior hurling balls of fire at me, I remember running Lara up to him and just shooting until I died... Ahhh, happy days :D

    I didn't like the last level of Underworld. It took me SO long to finish because of many ill-timed jumps, one too many fireballs and plain frustration. But finishing made it all worthwile :) I was not a fan of any kind of creature that came out of the eitr, either. Those thralls can go to hell (or Avalon...)

  14. BREATH OF HADES. How I hate you >.>

  15. Sorry for double post (I'm Matt). Forgot to log in.

  16. I think every single post on here touches on a sequence I would have considered my most difficult. The ledges above the lava pool in Anniversary probably constitute the sequence that most nearly brought me to tears of frustration! I'll have to admit that I never figured out where all the fuses were in TR1, so I was only able to get my weapons back with a cheat. I wonder if it would give me as much trouble now as it did then...

  17. Looking at the posts, everyone had trouble with the ledges in TRA, so glad I'm not alone! My other nightmare in TRA was getting the artifact in the Obelisk of Khamoon level. How many times did i do that run, only to find the pole retracted as soon as I got to the top, aaaggghh! There's an amazing video on youtube by a young person xRikux89 showing his/her speedrun for the level I wish I was that dextrous!

  18. Oh, yeah! I can relate to many of these...the cyborgs, the speedruns in Lara's shadow (I aced the refinery run but still haven't mastered the Right of Passage), etc.

    @Buffalo Mein: Thanks for suggesting the topic. And, yes, that's an awesome speedrun. Maybe you noticed that I linked to it in my walkthrough. It's very helpful but still hasn't helped me beate that second run yet. ;)

    @Guy: Nah. I'm a Noo Yawker but I do have cousins who live in Maine, so there's a little New England in me. ;)

  19. P.S. @Twin Pistols: Whoops! Was going to ask to borrow. Then I ended up being late for work, ran out and forgot all about it. Hope you don't mind. :)

  20. The part I found most difficult and still dread is fighting Boaz with Kurtis. His controls are so unfamiliar, he is sooo slow. Closely followed by the "Red Ghost" in the Hall of Seasons.
    When it comes to the classic games I cannot think of a specific sequence, maybe something in TRIII in the London section. But the fire pillars from TRI were also hard at the time, and still are difficult.
    As for TRA and the lava tower, once I got the hang of the controls, where Lara has to look to make a jump or shooting the triggers work and how to lock on the enemies and when to evade them, I didn't find it that difficult. That was something I could learn.
    But what I hated the most, probably more than Boaz, was the "Right of Passage" time run in Lara's Shadow.

  21. Stella, I don't mind at all. On the contrary, I was quite pleased to see it here. :D

  22. What sequence did I find most difficult? The entire game TR Anniversary. I was so frustrated with this game I actually threw it out! Only later did I find out that if I turned my monitor level down from 1920 x 1080 to a more reasonable level of 800 x 600 I would find the jumps and sequences easier to master. Oh well - live and learn!

  23. The worst ever was in TR: Underworld. In the - I think it was Yggdrasil - when I was trying to get across that sea of blue lava stuff while fighting thralls and trying to collect the secrets in that area. I hate that blue lava stuff it's a nasty ick throw up ugh ugh ugh I hate how restless I was getting I wanted to take a break but I also wanted to beat that part. Anywhere that blue lava was throughout the game I hated it.

    That's so weird that so many struggled with TRA! I found it really enjoyable and not too difficult, I mean it was hard, but not like "AHH this is driving me up the wall". Unless however there was lava, then I'd get aggravated and die over and over and over.

  24. First, I would like to let you know that I buy games to have a good time and entertain myself. I don't like to feel frustrated while playing.

    If I can't solve a puzzle or figure out a sequence by myself after a few tries, my hand will not tremble while picking up the mouse and clicking away at to find the answer.

    However, there are still some things that are not easy even with a good walktrough. Most of them have to do with timers and running or dashing, jumping or flipping, swan diving or dropping, etc.

    I remember certain sequence in TR3 (can't remember exactly where) that really frustrated me to the point that I stopped playing the game for a big while. Eventually I managed to made it trough, of course, but still ...

  25. main that gave me the most problems is lost library in relvelations. stellune, u might see me on ur walkthroughs again. xp

  26. The Palace Midas burning platforms were awful. But the sequence that came very close to frustrating me to tears the million times that I had to try it is the timed sequence for the very last secret in TR3 in the Lost City of Tinnos. When I was playing it, I had used my very last save crystal before I fought the last mutants, so every time I would inevitably catch fire on the burners or fall from a really high place and have to do the whole switch sequence again. Or I would run to try to fall in the water after first activating the secret and hit the floor instead. So I needed that last save crystal to just finally finish the level and get to Dr. Willard. And of course, I wasn't going to just skip it because I had worked for every single other secret and wanted to access All Hallows without cheats, haha. When I finally got it, I swore I'd never play that part ever again.

  27. Right, there are loads! I'm horrible at boss fights, so I hate them, and also hate timed sequences, which is weird, since I'm good at them. It's really the pressure of knowing I've got a tight time limit that gets me, because once I've done it once or twice, I know I can do it, and I do it brilliantly. So for hardest thing that isn't a boss fight, it's the timed motorbike sequence in Underworlds' Southern Mexico level. I couldn't get the motorbike controls, so that was so stressful and hard!!!!!!!


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