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RED Volunteers: Heads or Tails?
Posted By: Mark LevinDate: 4/10/04 12:46 p.m.

Heads or Tails opens with a bang as four golden Beasts converge on your position. Take care of them, grab the 1x canister you probably need, save at the PB in the ceiling, and read the terminal. Ignore the silly login message and get right to the content. Something's very wrong- You're not where Ian wanted you to go, the building is overrun with enemies, and Michael keeps breaking into the transmission. "With me"? This is bad... real bad. And it gets better- Ian says they "cut the hardline" out of the building, so you'll need to go exploring. The bit about "losing contact with you about the time you entered that sewer system" is a little odd, as the sewer system almost certainly refers to Looking for Floaters and Ian definitely kept track of you throughout the following level Last Minute Shopping. The next move? Get your ass to the roof NOW!

You're in a small room floating in a cylindrical space, with 4 possible exits. The two western doors are blocked, and you really don't want to go out the northeast door yet, so take the southeast. The Organics control this area of the building, watch out for the Turtle that's probably frying a Bob as you enter and the Larva wandering around (more to avoid getting hung up on them than any danger they pose). At the east end of the complex (head straight) is a mysterious locked-off room with a large number of items and panels in it; we'll be getting to this much later.

As you head into the west lab section, a pair of Raptors take out their frustration on being locked into tiny rooms on some Science Bobs. There's a golden Beast dead ahead, destroy him with something appropriate and kill the nearby Larva as well. As you pass the intersection, turn south, then immediately run back as a few Beasts teleport in. There sure are a lot of locked doors around here.

Find the broken door and kill the Beetles and Bob inside. The switch on the wall will open one of the sealed labs and let the Raptors out at you. This is about the only level in the game where I find the mine layer useful, but the mines have a tendency to explode when dropping them so save before you try using it. The switch in the first lab opens the second lab, the switch in the second lab opens a storage room with a health charger and some beetles, and the switch in the storage room opens the morgue at the northeast end of the lab.

The easiest way to survive the ambush you get when entering the morgue is to immediately head for the northwest corner and use the Conch to hold off the monsters until they go bezerk. To read the terminal, you have to tab the small section on the angled wall; when you do you are treated to a fairly disturbing illustrated report on the Lovecraftian descent into madness of the local coroner. Tabbing the closed pillar will release a flying Beetle, which startled the hell out of me the first time it happened. Each of the corpses also has a semicoherent story to tell, most of which are told in Michael's intercapped style. Note that one of them mentions "mister jaggy" who wants "bright happy colors". This is a private joke which will be explained in a few levels. Return to the hub and save.

We're finally ready to take on the difficult northeast door, not that we have much choice. In this first room, lay a mine in the small room just beyond the door and then a second mine in the center of the curve away from the windows. Then walk near the windows until some Raptors teleport in and get explode; finish them off with the Conch's first trigger. If it went well, go back and save. In the distance you can see a Raptor running around a small door; that's your final objective. The next room is accessible through an interesting "airlock" that consists of two doors such that only 1 can be open at a time. The way I usually beat the next room is to run in, set a mine, then run out backwards and close the door before the monsters start attacking. Wait until someone hits the mine, then use the door to harass them until they go bezerk or die. You probably have a buttload of Mercury and pulse ammo by now, here's a good place to use it since going toe-to-toe with the monsters is a dumb idea anyway. If the monsters are bezerked, the Turtle will almost always get killed since the others are immune to his fire, then let the Raptors fight it out until there's just 1 left and kill him. Then, edge out onto the path to the elevator until 2 more monsters teleport in; use similar techniques on them. If it goes well, go back and save.

Next, there's a door off to the side that leads to a smashed-up copy of the first room in this area, which is absolutely stuffed with monsters. Bezerk the nearby golden Beast with the Conch and let him do some damage. Entering the room will teleport a golden Raptor into the "airlock" you just left; be ready for him. Then pick up the ammo and 2x health canister and go back and save.

Now, to take on this level's extremely complex primary secret (it's not necessary to beat the northern area first, I just only got around to it now). Go back to the morgue and smash the panel to the left of the terminal. This opens the door into the southwest area of the building. Save before entering, as it's also full of monsters. Try to lead them out onto the bridge back to the hub so you can use the Conch on them. Taking out all the Beetles is a bitch and a half, good thing you have a ton of Mercury ammo (but watch out for the golden ones). If you run low on health, head back to the storage area in the lab and charge up. Once everything is dead, you have to hit a set of switches. Go to the easternmost column and tab the door in the south side, then swim up the water column as high as you can go and run forwards. You'll drop onto a small ledge with a switch, which opens a similar area in the westernmost column. The switch in *there* opens the large door to the east, which leads to a blocked-off part of the lab complex. Lay a mine if you have any left, and run for the south end; a number of monsters appears around you. Kill them, pick up the 3x canister near the switch, then head back and save. This switch opens the large door in the west of the main room, leading to a room full of pillars. Run around in there until you set off the ambush, then return to the entrance and Conch anyone who follows. Once you're sure everyone is dead, you can take the stairs in the rear up to a tunnel/ledge combination that runs across the room and eventually terminates in a circuit panel. Smash this, then head back to the lab and go to the east end of the southernmost corridor and through the new door. Be careful, because entering this room will trigger a golden Beetle behind you. In here is everything a space marine could need- ammo, a pattern buffer, a 2x charger, a 3x canister, another Fusion Mace, and another unique weapon- the RY-ST RPG wrist-mounted rocket launcher. Again, I very rarely get to use this weapon since it's so incredibly secret, so it's not a large part of my strategy. While getting this secret, the northwest corridor in the primary hub is destroyed.

Head back to the mysterious elevator in the north, and ride on up (you might want to save back at the hub as you pass, because it's closer than the rocket room). Finally, the Metalloids Ian said the level was crawling with make their pathetic appearance- a pair of Gattlers and a pair of Raptors try to flank you in the gray room. Take care of them, then grab the 2x health if you need it and save. That mysterious sound again...

The next room is a fairly pointless trap: If you walk into the area in the center, Michael and Joshua will both come out of the pillars and kill you. Next, you have to shotgun a switch (the one on the left, through the door) in the distance to raise the bridge to get across. If you're out of shotgun shells, there are an infinite supply on the east side of the ambush room. Then, cross and shotgun the other circuit to open the door to continue. This switch has an odd bug- It's not really wires, it's just a weapon-activated tag switch, and its platform is not marked as Can't Stop. This means that each seperate shotgun pellet has a chance of toggling the switch, and it's possible for the same blast to turn the switch on and then off after moving a few inches. If this happens, just use more shells until the door is open. But, before going up the elevator, look around. Before a giant statue of Joshua and some of his creations is a 3x health canister. Grabbing it sets off a massive ambush.

The final room, on the roof, is a puzzle I've never seen before in a Marathon scenario (no other scenario ever had invincible enemies...). Michael and Joshua appear and start to attack you, and you have nowhere to run. Michael fires the energy blasts he used before; Joshua manifests flying exploding Beetles that chase you around. There are 2 terminals in the arena, each of which has a short countdown before you are teleported. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to hit return as fast as humanly possible to read through and teleport away before Mike or Josh catches up and knocks you out of the terminal. This is a really cool idea and actually very fun to play.

I think that this is one of my favorite levels in the scenario, despite some stupidness and the mine layer being buggy. It has great design and lightning, the encounters are fun and can be overcome without relying too much on luck, the terminals are well-done, and the final sequence is exciting. We're almost ready for the last-ditch push against the invading hordes...

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Pre-2004 Posts


Replies:

RED Volunteers: Heads or Tails?Mark Levin 4/10/04 12:46 p.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: Heads or Tails?Dr. John Sumner 4/10/04 1:49 p.m.
           Re: RED Volunteers: Heads or Tails?Dr. John Sumner 4/10/04 2:27 p.m.
                 Re: RED Volunteers: Heads or Tails?Mark Levin 4/10/04 2:35 p.m.
                       Re: RED Volunteers: Heads or Tails?Steve Levinson 4/10/04 4:12 p.m.
                       Re: RED Volunteers: Heads or Tails?Speaker-To-Animals 4/10/04 7:43 p.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: Heads or Tails?Steve Levinson 4/10/04 4:42 p.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: Heads or Tails?Yossarian 4/10/04 5:10 p.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: Heads or Tails?Dylan 4/10/04 5:41 p.m.
           Re: RED Volunteers: Heads or Tails?Mark Levin 4/10/04 6:29 p.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: Heads or Tails?Dylan 4/10/04 6:48 p.m.
           Re: RED Volunteers: Heads or Tails?Dr. John Sumner 4/10/04 9:36 p.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: Heads or Tails?Dylan 4/10/04 6:52 p.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts


 

 

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