Evil Volunteers: Life's End
Posted By: Mark LevinDate: 2/10/04 9:22 a.m.

Life's End is a fitting end to the scenario: Quite difficult, great design marred by a few problems, and a story that would be a sweeping, epic coda if it was more consistent and made just a bit more sense.

We start out by picking up the chip we saw at the end of the previous level, and fighting off the two Mystics we saw before. After heading back through a familiar room, don't forget to use the first pattern buffer, which is right behind you as you exit. Next, we go along the gigantic room we saw before, except this time we're in the upper path. There's a door here which leads to the secret terminal (and, to make it extra hard, the door is on a 2-second delay, so you'll have to wait to watch it open. The secret terminal features some rather bizarre personal messages from the creators (How many of you thought, upon reading a certain entry, "In 2004, Chad Poland will KILL BILL" :P) and a large fight to get through, so it's best to save this for the return later when you have 3x health.

After some more large areas, we arrive in the lava gulch room, which contains a big mapmaking no-no: If you fail to hit the switch here, you are screwed and find out later that you can't complete the level. It activates the large red platform behind you, which is necessary to return from the underground complex after the one-way lava ride we're about to take.

Speaking of which, jump into the brown end of the lava river to pick up an invulnerability, some ammo, 3x health, and go shooting down the lava flume to emerge in an underground cavern. You will need a small amount of health to survive the moments before becoming invincible (it's probably about 30% of a red bar on TC), which is another boo-boo as there is no health of any kind available on this level before here. I did actually manage to take too many minor hits and reach this room with a tiny sliver of health left; it would have been polite to put at least a 1x recharger somewhere. You might have to revert to a saved game even on the previous level and run all the way back to its charger if you end up saving in an unbeatable situation.

After the lava ride, you are in a set of underground caverns, which brings us to snother problem with the level: It's possible to take the wrong path, smash a panel that as far as I can tell does absolutely nothing (the one in the far east), and return to the beginning of the level to find that nothing has changed. Once you figure out that you're in the wrong place, you can only go back down the shaft; you can't make the lava run again since the invincibility is gone.It would have been pretty simple to prevent access to the shaft until the chip is installed.

Once you find the right way, you navigate some corridors that were also borrowed from part of Marathon 1, then find yourself facing a bridge guarded by 3 "super" Mystics of a class you haven't seen before. They fire a very large number of guided bolts, and when I nuked them they just rose up to the ceiling and continued to fire at me, out of weapon reach. Then, you reach the final core of the Mystic installation, and insert the chip to cause that area to fill with lava. Run back out and head to the Shaft, stopping to defeat more "super" Mystics. They're quite powerful, but by now I had enough nuke ammo to throw 2 or 3 of those puppies at anything that moved (as long as it wasn't too close!)

The Shaft is obviously meant to be the architectural highlight of the level and possibly the scenario itself, and it does look very cool. The vertical shading was unlike anything that had been done at the time, but why is the elevator so damn slow? It takes over a minute to make the trip up the shaft (and another to come down when you summon it), which is more than enough for the magnificence of the shaft to wear off.

On the way back, nuke more baddies that have been revealed by a set of secret doors, head into the secret terminal and nuke everyone in there too, nuke the fairly large ambush that awaits you at the final terminal, and finally see how this all ends...

...what? The conclusion presented by the final terminal is pretty good, and would certainly make a future follow-up scenario interesting, except for the fact that I remain convinced that the player is not the Marathon Marine. The final screen also breaks convention by playing a sound over the theme music; the opening of the music is pretty quiet so it doesn't sound that bad, but I do think it clashes a bit.

So, what scenario do we want to do next? (After a short break, perhaps...)

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Pre-2004 Posts


Evil Volunteers: Life's EndMark Levin 2/10/04 9:22 a.m.
     Re: Evil Volunteers: Life's EndSteve Levinson 2/10/04 10:53 a.m.
           Re: Evil Volunteers: Life's EndElliott 2/10/04 11:27 a.m.
           Re: Evil Volunteers: Life's EndMark Levin 2/10/04 11:27 a.m.
           Re: Evil Volunteers: Life's EndDr. John Sumner 2/10/04 2:31 p.m.
                 Re: Evil Volunteers: Life's EndMark Levin 2/10/04 9:47 p.m.
                       Re: Evil Volunteers: Life's EndDr. John Sumner 2/11/04 4:09 a.m.
           Re: Evil Volunteers: Life's EndSpeaker-To-Animals 2/10/04 7:37 p.m.
                 Re: Trojan for M2 in AOSteve Levinson 2/11/04 6:05 a.m.
                       Re: Trojan for M2 in AOMaxX 2/11/04 4:32 p.m.
     Re: Evil Volunteers: Life's EndAdam Ashwell 2/10/04 11:38 a.m.
           I intend to *NM*Steve Levinson 2/10/04 1:13 p.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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