Old Friends and New Enemies: As-I-Play Rise of the Tomb Raider (Part Nine)

We last left Lara on her way up the cliff to be reunited with Jonah, who we last saw when Lara was swept off a mountain in an avalanche back in Part Two of this series. When she sees Jonah, she runs up to him and hugs him. He says she looks “Terrible but happy” (um… yeah? Also, the hell, dude? I fell down an avalanche and have been shot at pretty much non-stop, in addition to crawling around in thousand-year-old tombs. How pretty do you think I’m gonna look?). She immediately tells him that her father “was right.” Okay, I gave Jonah crap for the looks comment, I’m going to give Lara crap for obsessing–ask the man how he is, for Pete’s sake. Let go of the obsession for thirty seconds, already. She says, “I wish he was here to see this,” and Jonah tells her he’d be proud of her (yaaaak).

I know I’ve said it repeatedly throughout this series, but we’ve now gotten to the point in the game where the spoilers are going to come hard and fast and be BIG spoilers, so I’m warning you again.

Sofia comes up and sends them to the observatory, where Jacob is waiting. Lara walks up to him carrying the Atlas under her arm, then holds it out to him. He sounds in awe, and says, “You actually found it,” he puts his hands outside of hers, but doesn’t actually touch the Atlas or try to take it away from her. (Not that I blame him, mind you, since she might bury a pickaxe in his head if he does.) He says that the observatory was used to view the Atlas, and Lara places it in a holder which Jonah winches up to catch the sunlight, and it reflects the light down on to the floor in a glowing map. Lara locates the center of the city under the lake, but then she says that the Cathedral is in the wrong place. She has Jonah rotate it until it aligns, then says that Kitezh is under the glacier–“The Divine Source must be there.” Jonah, rather practically, asks, “How the hell are we going to get through all that ice?” The camera shifts to Jacob, who is standing silently with an odd expression, the glowing lines of the map almost eerie on his face. Lara doesn’t notice, and continues tracing a path which she says shows an entrance to Kitezh… “is here.” Then she turns to Jacob and says, “You knew.” I have the distinct impression that there isn’t much Jacob doesn’t know. In fact, I’m starting to think that Jacob might just be the Prophet. Maybe.

Just then a helicopter flies over, and everybody looks at the ceiling, just as the helicopter shoots down (or bombs) the dome, knocking the Atlas loose and throwing Lara out the window–she grabs a chain and ends up hanging over the waterfall as Trinity soldiers drop in through the roof (parallel to the scene in the Prophet’s Tomb in Syria). Jonah grabs the Atlas, then tries to save Lara, but is attacked from behind. The Trinity soldier hooks both of them (and the Atlas) to his rescue cable, and they are pulled up into the helicopter. Jonah calls down to her, “Don’t come after me! Run!” which is more or less what she said to him when the avalanche hit her. It didn’t work then, either.

Jacob has been hit, and Lara goes to him. He tells her “We don’t have much time. It won’t be long before Trinity discovers the location of the Source.” She says, “But… I have to go after Jonah,” and he asks, “Even if it means giving up the truth you came here to find?” I want her to say yes. I want her to realize that living people are more important than dead ones and are definitely more important than her obsession with the damn Source. She doesn’t say yes, but she does say that “I almost lost him once. Not again.” Jacob tells her to “Do what you must,” and she leaves him as other Remnants come in. She says that Jonah must be in the gulag (and this is the reason they have me go back to those old areas), so it’s back into the snow.

After killing some time taking care of a few final quests that I can now accomplish—like cutting down Soviet flags—I follow the path toward a new area of the map toward the gulag. While waiting for some of the Trinity guards to stop talking to one another, Lara overhears two of them discussing how one was “called to the island to clean up” after “some Sun cult,” and he continues, to say that he was “amazed that Croft survived that hell.” Trinity is somehow connected to Yamatai and what happened there, even if only in the aftermath, since it does not sound like the guards know who the Solarii were.

And then I accidentally fell off a branch and alerted eight guards, then proceeded to beat them all to death with my pickaxe, healing in between, because I didn’t really have time to switch from the bow to a firearm–this means that eight soldiers were just beaten to death by a girl with a pickaxe and no armor. I did shoot the ninth one, because he was up the hill a bit.

Working her way through the area, Lara finds one particularly noteworthy artifact: a rifle shell with “Kill them all, God will know his own” engraved on the bottom in Latin. (Creeeeeeeepy. Creepy and Catholic.) Inside the compound is a journal from Jonah, who “Got up close” to Trinity while looking for Lara. He says that “Before too long, I might be the one who needs rescuing.” (Prescient, that Jonah.) There’s also one from Ana, who says that Konstantin was always “difficult.” Then she says, “The night I cut those marks into his hands, the night I whispered into his ear, I made him. I saved him. He believed it to be the work of God, just as I’d hoped.” Well, I guess the stigmata aren’t holy after all (although they keep bleeding, possibly because he keeps making fists and digging his own fingers into them).

As she heads down the hall of the final building, Lara spots some keys on the wall, which she takes, then throws to some prisoners, saying, “Sssshhhh.” The scene jumps to Konstantin talking to Jonah, saying, “Your loyalty to her is strong. I admire you. I do. But even my patience has limits. Tell me what you know. Now.” Jonah spits and laughs. Lara pulls her pistol and shoots, hitting the glass (which does not break), distracting Konstantin long enough for Jonah to launch himself at Konstantin. Jonah backs him against the wall, then he says “Please… Please no.” Lara yells at Jonah to “Do it! Don’t listen to him!” Konstantin says, “I was only doing what I believed was right–” When Jonah hesitates, looking up at Lara through the window, Konstantin lunges at him with a knife, sinking it into his side. Lara screams “No!” as Jonah falls. Konstantin picks up the radio and says, “Sweep the cell blocks. Kill everyone.”

Lara eventually manages to break through the glass with a fire extinguisher, reaching Jonah. He says, “I’m sorry. I should have killed him. But he was unarmed. I just couldn’t…” At least one of the people in the room is a decent human being. The freed Remnants have moved into the room behind them, and one says, “He’s dying. We don’t have much time.” Lara tells them to “Bar the door.”

I guess now there’s a personal justification beyond obsession and daddy issues for Lara to find the Source, but it’s just as selfish as Konstantin’s desire to save Ana. Someone each of them loves is dying, and they’re willing to risk the world to save them. It just so happens that Ana is selfish and dying because of herself (or God?), and is willing to exploit her brother to survive, and Jonah is selfless and dying because of his love for Lara. So, both Konstantin and Lara are being insane and obsessive because they love someone (in Lara’s case, this transfers here from her dead father to a living friend), it’s just that Konstantin has the bad fortune to have a bitch for a sister, while Lara happens to have an awesome friend she doesn’t deserve because she’s willing to endanger his life (as well as an entire population) to prove her dead father was right about something.

From there, Lara has to fight through Trinity soldiers, avoid a helicopter, and then is knocked underwater by a grenade explosion. After taking them all out, she rushes back to Jonah, who is clearly dying. The Remnant says, “His end is near.” Lara says, “No, he can’t die,” tears running down her cheeks. The Remnant says, “We can help him. We must get him to the Observatory. To Jacob.” Lara nods.

The scene shifts to their arrival, and Lara turns to Jacob, saying, “Jacob, he’s dying.” Jacob kneels, places his hands over the wound, and begins to pray. He then turns to the others and says, “Keep pressure on the wound. Prepare him.” (For…? Is having to guard the Source eternally the price for immortality? Is that who/what the Deathless Ones are?) They take Jonah away on the stretcher.

Lara follows Jacob, saying, “Jacob, you were shot. Jacob, you are him. The deathless Prophet.” He looks at her–“I can feel pain. I can be hurt. I am human, save for a human ending.” He replies, “I’m not proud of it. But I did it to protect them. I once used the Source to grant my armies their long lives. But it was a terrible mistake.”

Then a helicopter heads over the glacier. Sofia says, “We’ve already lost.” Lara says, “No. There has to be a way to stop them. Jacob… The map showed a secret entrance into the city…” He replies, “The Path of the Deathless. It’s too dangerous.” Lara replies that “You know I can’t give up now.” Sofia will take the Remnants to attack Trinity to distract them long enough for Lara to get through, and Jacob orders them to open the path. The stairs beneath their feet open. Jacob tells her that when she’s ready, the entrance is there. (An achievement pops up: The Road Less Traveled. It makes me desperately NOT want to go down there. I hate Robert Frost.)

This seems like a good time to catch up on the last caves, tombs, missing challenges, and all that jazz. Because I have the strong sense that once I walk the Path of the Deathless (unlike the paths of the Righteous, thank you, Javert), I’m not coming back.

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[…] of the collected volume The State of Play on TLF. Part Eight of Rise of the Tomb Raider on TLF. Part Nine of Rise of the Tomb Raider on TLF. A review of Adrienne Shaw’s Gaming at the Edge on TLF. and A retrospective on the original […]

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