Re: Evil Volunteers: Life's End
Posted By: Steve LevinsonDate: 2/10/04 10:53 a.m.

In Response To: Evil Volunteers: Life's End (Mark Levin)

: 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.

I agree with your assessment that this is a major flaw, but my understanding from the Spoiler Guide is that the lava gulch route is supposed to be a secret. What "sensible" marine would jump into a laval-filled gulch without knowing that the invincibility and 3X power-ups were there? My solution would have been to have a trap door that blocks access to the lava gulch until you flip the switch. Indeed, this could help to guide the player to use the gulch if they see a platform move out of the way.

: 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.

This is not as problematic as it sounds - you can always ride the elevator in the shaft down rather than taking the lava bath. Indeed, I think this is what the player was meant to do in the first place. There is a 2X recharger in an out of the way corner near the bottom of the elevator, so this is a very acceptable alternative - you'll just to have to ride back up if you want to collect the ammo from the lava gulch.

: Once you find the right way, you navigate some corridors that were also
: borrowed from part of Marathon 1,

Marathon 1? I didn't recognize this. Which corridors and which M1 levels? Oh, do you mean the place where the Mystics drop down? I guess that is reminescent of Bigger Guns - I remember thinking about that the first time through.

: 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.

In the many times I've played this level on TC, I've never had trouble with the super mystics. Basically, they're very slow to react and the one directly in front of you must be deaf and blind, as she (don't ask why I think it's a she) won't fire on you unless you fire on her first. I just run across the bridge, sidestep the Mystic that's in my way and proceed onward without taking any damage.

: Then, you reach the final core of the Mystic installation, and
: insert the chip to cause that area to fill with lava.

You make this sound so easy. The core is filled with Mystics. They can really ruin your day, and the quarters are a bit cramped for the use of your nuke weapon. What I do is to lob a nuke grenade into the room and sidestep out of the way before it detonates, then repeat the process. 2 or 3 of these will completely clear the room (occasionally, one of the Mystics will get caught inside the walls where they can still hiss at you, but not do any damage). Also, be sure to take advantage of the 3X shield charger before inserting the chip.

: 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!)

There's a good ammo stash guarded by these mystics, but they teleport in so that you need to activate them first if you want to nuke them. Would you believe that I take these Mystics out with the Pfhor staff? I know, it would be so easy to nuke them, but I guess I like to see them suffer.

: 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.

Her's an important tip. Before you head down, even if you do intend to use the lava gulch shortcut, go to the elevator in the shaft first and peak around the corner just enough to flip the switch without actually getting on the elevator. That way the elevator will be waiting for you at the bottom when you return. One thing you may not have noticed is that there are 3 mystics just haning on the far wall about halfway up the shaft. If you have lots of nuke ammo left over, you can hit them quickly with a couple of nuke grenades, but practice this first. Your aim and timing have to be perfect - otherwise you'll just knock them off the wall, and they'll plague you the rest of the way.

: 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...

The credits terminal has a very important message that you might miss if you flip through it quickly. There is a mention of a secret level and instructions on how to access it. Unfortunately, it just tells you to vid-start on that level after finishing the game. Come on - what a lame way to include a secret level! What fun is a secret level without there being a secret way to access it. Otherwise, you have nothing more than a separate, single-level scenario, which is essentially what this is. We'll discuss it tomorrow or Thursday.

: ...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.

I really havea problem with the final terminal. Unlike Mark, I'm willing to accept that the player is the marine from M1/2/I. The whole idea that the USEC would resort to converting its finest battle asset into an AI is absolutely preposterous. Besides which, if they did wish to do this, why not just copy you to the AI rather than transfering your engrams or whatever. This is exactly what Durandal did in Pfh'Joueur, and the result was much more believable IMHO. Frankly, to cap this whole scenario about the Mystics and the origins of the Pfhor off with a totally lame sideplot was, well, lame. If we're going to be converted to an AI, at least give us a whole scenario dealing specifically with that plot.

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

A l-o-n-g break, please! I have too much stuff that needs doing - maybe after I get back from vacation and my conference, and after I complete my taxes, and get another grant application off, maybe then I can start with another volunteers series. I've already volunteered to lead an effort for Pfh'Joueur, which has a very nice story, outstanding visuals and excellent game play if not a bit on the easy side. Once I finish the spoiler guide I've been working on for it, I can put it on line one level at a time as we discuss the game. Just a thought. John suggested Fell or EMR. Fell has one of the most intriguing plots of any 3rd party scenario, but the scenario isn't ready for mainstream. Ben has shown me some of the stuff he's worked on since Fell that he plans to incorporate into v. 3, and it's very impressive. With all the bugs fixed, the rough spots smoothed and the new levels in place, it would be an outstanding choice for the future. EMR would be a great choice, but it's not set in the Marathon Universe. I'd still like to discuss it, but it would take the forum in a completely new direction that we may not want to consider. We need some feedback on that one. Having recently gone through Red again, it does have an interesting story, but it's poorly implemented and although the game has its highlights, it's lack of playabilty by less experienced players and its mediocre levels would make it a poor choice.

Other levels we could discuss - Trojan is high on my list - too bad the authors refuse to let it be ported to AO, even though an M2 Windows version already exists. I would suggest OV, but Mark has too much insider information. The Black Series is a great scenario, but the plot is one of the worst of any. WMaiD has one of the better plots - oh that's right - it hasn't been released yet. Any other thoughts?

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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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