Siberia. The word itself has become shorthand for intense suffering. There’s a reason that even the mere threat of being shipped to this remote, bitterly inhospitable region under Stalin sent fear through every Russian… and it wasn’t just because of the salt mines.
But Siberia can also be a picturesque place – one of the most remote, serene places on Earth. Danger is always just a step away, though, even with mountains worthy of a postcard serving as a backdrop.
Lara Croft, however, isn’t one to shy away from danger – and that’s particularly true in her latest adventure, Rise of the Tomb Raider, which sees her set off for Siberia looking for mythical wonders of the ancient world once again. With that in mind, here are just a few of the dangers that Lara faces in this endlessly hostile environment, and what she can do to survive them. In 2013’s Tomb Raider, Lara was reacting to the danger that surrounded her. Here, she’ll need to plan ahead to become the master of her domain.
Coming Down the Mountain
Anyone with the job title of “tomb raider” has got to expect certain occupational hazards… but in Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft’s problems start from the second she commences her adventure – before she can even begin it in earnest, really. On her way to uncover the legendary lost Russian city of Kitezh, she’s separated from her traveling companion, Jonah, in a massive avalanche.
But if we’ve learned one thing about Lara Croft during her two decades of starring video game roles, it’s that she can handle a little trouble on her own just fine. She may be bruised, battered, and beaten after the avalanche, but she’s alive – and a wounded Lara just might be the most dangerous animal of all.
To Build a Fire
Just because Lara’s escaped an avalanche doesn’t mean she’s out of the woods, though – figuratively and literally. If she doesn’t get a campfire going in short order, she’ll end up like Ötzi the Iceman and discovered 5,000 years from now when the ice and snow finally thaw! Lara’s the one who discovers ancient artifacts, though – she doesn’t want to become one herself.
To that end, she’ll need to track down any and all materials that might help get a healthy blaze going. After the avalanche, however, she’s lost all her survival gear… so she has to get it done with only a pickax. Thankfully, there should be enough in the area to get a fire roaring… if Lara’s resourceful enough. Even something as innocuous as a tree branch just might do the trick. Base camps serve as Lara’s lifeline throughout Siberia, so she has to repeat this process as she ventures into even more remote areas.
Beasts of the Siberian Wild
Once she’s warm and toasty, you’d think Lara would be good to go, right? Well, other than the fact that fires tend to attract animals, and Siberia is teeming with them – very large ones, in fact – at every turn. Lara must outwit and out-muscle some intimidating beasties, including wolves (which roam in packs, naturally). She might come face-to-face with a bear, in which case discretion might be the better part of valor. There’s even the chance that she could go toe-to-toe with a leopard. That’s right: Those giant spotted cats don’t just call Africa and Southeast Asia home, and Lara learns the reality of that fact first-hand.
Stealth is now a much larger part of the Tomb Raider experience, though, and it’s an effective weapon against wildlife – and one of the only real options early on. Lara can even climb trees to shake the enemy off her trail now. What’s more, the types of animals Lara encounters will change depending on the time of day, so she’ll need to devise strategies depending on whether the sun is out or if she’s adventuring by moonlight.
A Craftier Croft
Thankfully, Lara has one powerful trick up her sleeve that can even the odds against all Siberian creatures great and small: Rise of the Tomb Raider’s enhanced, expanded crafting system. Even a death-defying adventurer like Lara Croft is no match for a gargantuan brown bear in a one-on-one brawl, but what if she’s packing poison-tipped arrows? Venturing out into the wild and hunting less-intimidating beasts – such as deer – can even the odds as well, since antlers can help craft a more powerful bow that should serve nicely against some of Siberia’s more menacing, teeth-baring foes.
Of course, these aren’t the only tools of survival Lara has at her disposal. Did we mention that she can even learn new languages? There’s plenty more to discover as players embark on Lara Croft’s deadliest adventure yet, Rise of the Tomb Raider – now available exclusively on Xbox One and Xbox 360.