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Combat Basics in Tomb Raider Underworld
Tomb Raider Underworld is a game that requires you to stay in the moment at all times and focus on the audible and visual clues that is provided by the game. Listen and look as you play, and as soon as you hear or see an enemy press and hold the Lock On Button. Lara will immediately draw her weapon and target the enemy. Keep an eye on the target reticle. The enemy's health is represented by a line of red pips on the left of the reticle, and if it turns red then you're within range. Just press the Fire button and Lara will blow her enemies away.
After you play for awhile, you'll notice that whenever you're close to possible targets, a white targeting reticle appears over them when the Lock On is on. This white targeting reticle indicates that you can fire on these targets. If the reticle is grey then your aim is blocked by an object between you and the target. Always remember to wait until the target turns red before shooting, and you'll save time and ammunition.
Lara can switch between several different targets while in Lock On Mode with a flick of the right analog stick. She can also target two enemies at the same time in Dual Fire when using her one handed weapons. Just hold down the Lock On Button to aim at both targets and turn her little devil loose. Lara is even adept at firing one handed at enemies when she's hanging onto a cliff face with the other hand. Use this ability when Lara is attacked from the air or when she faces-off against enemies who can cling to sheer walls and reach areas of the environment where Lara previously thought she was safe from attack.
You can also manually target an enemy to achieve a more precise result by clicking the Precision Aim Button. Move the target reticle over your target using the right analog stick. It will change from a broken white circle to a solid red target with an aiming dot in the center. Use this tactic to target explosive barrels at distance to take the enemy out before they can attack you.
You should try to conserve the ammunition of your backup weapons while playing Tomb Raider Underworld. Use Lara's automatic firearms until you need heavier firepower to deal with tougher opponents. You don't want to run out of ammunition during a heated gun fight, so release and press the Lock On Button to reload manually during a running fight. If you don't, then Lara will reload automatically when the clip empties, which could happen at an unfortunate time.
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Using Sticky Grenades
Sticky Grenades are especially useful devices that are now available for Lara to implement during game play. They are particularly effective against specific enemies, but you'll need to keep a few important points in mind as you use them. You'll need to make sure there's at least a minimum safe distance between you and your intended target when throwing a grenade. You'll also have to do a little trial and error to determine the correct minimum distance when trying to use a Sticky Grenade. If you hit your target with a Sticky Grenade, it will stick to your target as its name suggests and will result in their grisly death. Make sure to keep an eye on your enemy when you hit them with a Sticky Grenade however, as they'll run right at you and try to take you with them. It's an unwise tactic to use Sticky Grenades against animals that are in hot pursuit. You can also use Sticky Grenades to destroy large objects and cause chain reactions in explosive containers.
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Combat Tips and Hints
You need to always consider the effective range of your weapons and the available room you have for moving around the environment before entering combat while playing the game. The damage your weapons inflict changes dramatically over distance and Lara is best when on the move, so she needs space to operate in battle. Always pick the right tool for the job. Taking out an enemy at short range with a high-velocity rifle is fun and satisfying, but it's best when used at long range. A shotgun will remove any threat at close range, but beyond that it becomes a liability in combat.
Lara will even find it necessary and desirable at times to enter into melee range to take out her enemies. She is just as effective in this scenario if you can combine melee and weapon attacks. Lara can seamlessly release a flying kick for a spectacular stun or knockdown as she speeds toward an enemy. She can even push enemies over the edge of cliffs and injure or instantly kill them, or she can swing the handy cement block she happens to be carrying to remove a threat.
Lara will encounter groups of organized enemies at times. During these times, Lara's dodge movements during Lock On can leave her open to attack from other assailants and she has limited vision when surrounded. You can use two tactics that may work, depending on the situation. One method is to draw your enemy out one at a time by drawing their attention and then backing up, which may lure them away from their friends. The other is to target the toughest enemy and remove them before moving onto the next. If you make sure to remove each threat one at a time this way before switching to a different target, you'll be a lot more successful.
Lara's main advantage is her ability to move around at lightning speed and keep her enemy guessing as to what amazingly athletic move she'll pull off next. Keep Lara on the move or you'll die. She can deliver just as much as she takes, and she usually deals more damage when she's moving around.
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Enemy Tactics and Strategies
Pay attention to enemy attack patterns and animal behaviors as you progress through the levels of the game. (See the Tomb Raider Underworld walkthrough article series for help on individual levels). Underwater animals like to circle before attacking, while animals on land have developed a charge or stalk evolutionary approach to being a predator. Learn to recognize the information contained in the movements of enemies to anticipate their next action and you'll be more successful at reacting correctly.
Human opponents will use the environment to their advantage, taking cover when possible and exploiting the advantages of their weapons to greatest effect. They'll often retreat and try to flank you and are quite effective at striking out in melee combat with whatever they have at hand.
You can also exploit the tendencies and lack of intelligence of your enemy. Learn everything you can about each particular enemy and your battle is half over. This fact comes into play when Lara is facing animals who don't know the difference between one human meal and another. If you can manage to stay back and let your enemies take each other out at points, your journey will be a lot more fun and less hazardous.
- Screenshots created by Sheila Robinson.