The City of Gold is a secret level hidden somewhere within the Temple.
Gaining entry to the City of Gold is considered to be one of the game's biggest challenges, due to the incredible difficulty of reaching the level and the extremely high scores that can be achieved by looting it.
To access the City of Gold, the player must play through the whole game from the beginning, collecting all of the special ancient Egyptian artifacts from each area:
- The Udjat Eye from the Mines.
- The Ankh from the Black Market in the Jungle.
- The Hedjet from the Ice Caves.
- The Scepter from the Temple.
- To acquire the Udjat Eye, you must find the Key to unlock the Big Chest.
- To acquire the Ankh, you must use the Udjat Eye to locate the entrance to the Black Market, use a bomb or a mattock to reveal it and purchase the item within for $50,000 or steal it, athough this is risky.
- To acquire the Hedjet, you must locate the Moai and kill yourself nearby to resurrect inside it, where you will find the item. Be aware that if the Moai is within the frozen region you will respawn at the level entrance instead.
- To acquire the Scepter, you must find and kill the Mummy on level 13.
When you possess both the Hedjet and the Scepter, you must then locate the Golden Door somewhere in the Temple to gain entry. The Scepter must be relinquished to open the door, leaving you with only the Udjat Eye and the Hedjet.
- The Udjat Eye is not strictly necessary to find the Black Market, it is possible (albeit extremely unlikely) to find the entrance by blind luck.
- The Ankh can be stolen if you are unable to raise $50,000 by the time you reach the Black Market, but you must fight off seven angry shopkeepers at once to do so.
The City of Gold is much like any other level in the Temple, except that it is made entirely of gold bricks and other treasures, giving you enormous potential for reaching high money totals. In addition, the level always contains a giant Golden Statue made entirely of gold and rare jewels, including diamonds.
However, the level also tends to be more dangerous than ordinary levels, spawning more enemies than usual and multiple Mummies. This is compounded by the fact that it is not possible to bring any weapons (besides the whip) to the City of Gold with you.
Although the huge wealth attainable from the City makes the level an attractive prospect, reaching the City of Gold requires a heavy investment: Finding the Black Market is tricky and can use numerous bombs, the Ankh costs $50,000 to purchase and its fantastic power is usually wasted early by killing yourself intentionally to acquire the Hedjet. Furthermore, the Scepter must be sacrificed at the door upon entering the City of Gold, depriving you of the best weapon in the game. Your ability to collect the gold from within is limited by the number of bombs you have available to demolish the place with, and you may also need several ropes to collect it all or a jetpack .
Ultimately, the City of Gold is only worth visiting when attempting to get a high money total, or simply for bragging rights about reaching it.
When visiting for score, the City of Gold is only particularly worthwhile with several dozen sticky bombs.
Since getting this sort of stock of items from supply crates or from legitimate shop purchases is extremely unlikely, the best way to make the City of Gold worthwhile for score is to rob your way through the Black Market - an extremely risky move. However, it can be quite worthwhile if you succeed.
Another strategy for recovering as much gold as possible from the City is to sacrifice as many corpses as possible throughout your journey. If you can earn enough favor from Kali, she will fill your bag with 99 bombs. A jetpack and shotgun make this task much easier.
Of course, all the above is made much easier once you've unlocked the Tunnel Man as a playable character, as his unbreakable mattock makes fundraising much easier as you mine your way through the levels.
This will net you enough gold to purchase any equipment necessary, and retrieving the gold from the walls no longer becomes a problem of resources. The City of Gold is likely to have a supply area stocked with around 3 to 4 crates and chests containing additional equipment.