RED Volunteers: Noises in the Dark
Posted By: Mark LevinDate: 3/27/04 9:35 a.m.

After getting you off guard with a fairly pedestrian introductory level, RED hits you with everything it's got in a huge and very difficult second level. This is definitely a Pfhor ship, but something is very wrong here- Grayish gunk covers the walls, the ships' systems are acting erratically, and the Pfhor crew is being slaughtered by a pair of squat, black monsters. Grab your gear and get moving, because the nightmare has begun. As the map writing says, "Ian kicks arse/ you enjoying your demise?"

Before opening the door to the rest of the level, we'll take a moment to go through our new inventory. The weapons are described here, on the RED site.

  • Fists: Same as usual. The only thing they're really good for right now is killing Pfhor, Beetles, and Wretched if you find any.
  • Mercury .33: This is more of a submachine gun than a pistol, holding 90 rounds and firing very, very quickly. It's also limited to the Pfhor and lesser Organics for now. When you get 2 of them it can be more formidable.
  • DS Microwave: This "smaller version of the Tozt" is going to get a lot of use on this level. It's important to remember that the second trigger is the main attack (the one to use most of the time), and the primary trigger is the "special" attack that must be reserved for emergencies. The second trigger fires a flame that's every bit as powerful as the original Tozt, and the primary trigger will jettison (in addition to beta testeres, Ian could really have used an editor...) the entire ammo clip at the enemy as a grenade. Fortunately, a quirk in the Marathon engine will let you fire the primary trigger no matter how much ammo is left in the clip, so you can run the clip down to a sliver and then fire the primary, greatly extending the life of your ammo.
  • Version 3 Pulse Rifle: This gun will keep you alive on this level. It holds 16 shots of "superheated uranium" and is the best ranged weapon you have. This is best for killing the Turtles and Beasts at range, but switch to the flamethrower if the Beasts get close.

In the first room, you get to see some of RED's new creatures. Try to let the marines handle them, since conserving ammo and not wasting a single shot is of the utmost importance on this level. The Pfhor don't stand a chance, but the marines can inflict series damage with their pulse rifles. If you're lucky, the Turtles won't be able to kill them.

  • Pfhor Spiderbot: The little brother of the Spider Tank we'll see later, these guys are, as Ian says, pretty useless. A single shot of pretty much anything will take them out, so you probably won't get a chance to see the neat smoke effect on their grenades (which are guided, by the way).
  • Organic Beetle: Ian says these are "pathetic", but don't believe it for a second; they can be very dangerous when there are no health chargers around, as on this level. Their main attack is a jet of acid, which can do quite a lot of damage if it's not dodged completely. There are several varieties of Beetle: Beetles crawling on the floor, flying beetles which can be very hard to hit, and copper-colored beetles which explode when killed. The best weapon to kill these with is the Mercury Pistol, since it's very accurate and has a high rate of fire, but it will only take a few bullets so be careful not to shoot more than you have to.
  • Organic Turtle: Bad news. They're slow-moving, but they take a lot of damage and are armed with devastating dual flamethrowers. If one of these gets close to you, you're toast (heh). The best strategy for these is to use the pulse rifle at a good distance, and here the best strategy is to let the marines do some damage before they get killed.

After cleaning up the monsters, look at the nice texturing (and annoying lighting and sound) in the flickering room and continue on down the passage and enter the lighted hall to reach the second room. In here, a second three-way battle is taking place. Kill the flying beetles before they attack your marines, and get ready to repel the Organic push up the stairs to the left. Once the monsters are dead, collect pulse ammo from the marines and head down to read the terminal. The Pfhor are not having a good day; most of the ship has been taken over and the enemies appear to be quite intelligent. If you turn around from the terminal, you can enter a side passage and see what appears to be a nest, where Pfhor have been cocooned in the process of being assimilated into the Organic ranks. This place is guarded by a Beetle and a new enemy, the Larva. Larva are very weak and quite rare; a few bullets from the Mercury will take them out. Punch the cocoons to put the Pfhor out of their misery (if you're lucky, a marine will have wandered in to help) and head over to the pulsating grayish mass at the far end of the terminal room.

Here, we encounter one of RED's dumber mistakes, as the door that opens on your approach will kill you if you linger. Move through quickly and read the terminal. Ian will perform a scan and tell you that you'll have to do more work to get off the ship. You can't go back to the start because of a growth that has cut off the breach in the hull- if you stick around at the beginning of the level for a minute or two, you can actually see this happen. You will have to find 3 switches in 3 separate areas and hit them to activate an elevator, but first you have to escape from this room.

Pull out your flamethrower and hit the switch on the opposite wall, then immediately turn slightly to the right and start blasting. A huge pile of Organics will come pouring out of a hole in the wall; your first target should be the exploding copper ones as they'll do major damage to everyone else if you can keep them pinned in the hole. The explosions will kill most of the Beetles and hopefully drive at least one of the Beasts bezerk. Pull back and use the primary trigger of the flamethrower on the largest group, then use the second trigger and the Mercury Pistol to finish off anything left. If you take a lot of damage, there's a 1x health capsule in the back of the hidey-hole.

A new door has also opened, into the "hub" of the level. It's a huge pit of blood-red liquid surrounding an island occupied by a few Organics and some very nice "scenery structures" that twist between the floor and the ceiling. You don't really need to kill anything on this center island, so save your ammo. What you *do* need to kill are any Beasts and flying Beetles still in the room. Then, you are presented with a choice of areas. I did them in this order:

  • Lower left: This is a good place to start because it's pretty small and contains a pattern buffer. The first thing to do as you enter is turn left and kill the exploding Beetle who charges you out of a hole in the wall. Next, a few Organics have managed to get themselves onto a ledge that offers very little maneuverability. If your flamethrower is nearly empty, use its tank, otherwise take them out with the pulse rifle. A few Beasts and flying Beetles will charge you as you go further into the room, kill them and also the Turtle up on the ledge. You finish the area by looking to the right, then running up the stairs, along the ledge, into the hole with the copper Beetle, and onto the ledge with the Turtle, where you will find some shotgun ammo, a pattern buffer, the first of the 3 switches, and a terrified Pfhor. You'll have to be strafe-running all the way to make this run, or else a door will close in your face. Once you've saved, go back to the ledge you jumped from and pick up the gas tank that teleported in, also go a bit past the entrance to the stairs and pick up a second gas tank (be careful not to become stuck in the narrow passage). Also, don't forget the 3 pulse rifle clips outside the door to the pattern buffer room.
  • Next, the upper left. This is again a very small area, but it's infested with Beetles. Kill them all with the Mercury, then go out onto the small bridge and nuke the four Beasts in the small room. The large green thing is the second switch you have to hit.
  • Finally, we take on the catacombs. This place is huge, dark, and full of Beasts that like to pop out of invisible holes in the wall. Take it slowly, so you don't end up with a Beast on either side. The flamethrower is your best friend here; you're given some extra ammo for it as you enter. One tank is good for about 5 Beasts worth of flame on Death Wish, and 4 or 5 shots from the pulse rifle will also do the job. Eventually, you reach a small room- the orange panel is the third switch, and there's another pattern buffer here.

Once you find the 3 switches, enter the opened column in the center room, save again, and take the elevator upstairs. There are 2 rooms up here. If you head left after going up the elevator, you can see a pair of Turtles slaughter a crowd of Pfhor and then turn their guns on you; don't get too close because they can reach you through that crack. To the right is a seemingly empty room; walk around in here a bit and your friends will blast open the hull and rescue you (stand under the hole in the ceiling). The nightmare is over... isn't it?

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Pre-2004 Posts


RED Volunteers: Noises in the DarkMark Levin 3/27/04 9:35 a.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: Noises in the DarkDr. John Sumner 3/27/04 10:10 a.m.
           Re: RED Volunteers: Noises in the DarkSteve Levinson 3/28/04 10:33 a.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: Noises in the Dark: PistolYossarian 3/27/04 12:44 p.m.
           A question for the resident Ammo Expert...Ernie 3/27/04 1:12 p.m.
                 Re: A question for the resident Ammo Expert...Ernie 3/27/04 9:23 p.m.
                       Re: A question for the resident Ammo Expert...Mista_B 3/28/04 2:38 p.m.
                             Re: A question for the resident Ammo Expert...Yossarian 3/28/04 6:32 p.m.
                                   Re: A question for the resident Ammo Expert...Steve Levinson 3/28/04 8:46 p.m.
                                         Re: A question for the resident Ammo Expert...Yossarian 3/28/04 9:11 p.m.
                                               Re: A question for the resident Ammo Expert...Steve Levinson 3/29/04 5:55 a.m.
                                               o/~ See how they run o/~ *NM*thermoplyae 3/29/04 3:36 p.m.
                                         Re: A question for the resident Ammo Expert...Andrew Nagy 3/29/04 7:19 p.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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