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RED Volunteers: Mmmm... Tastes like Evil
Posted By: Mark LevinDate: 4/13/04 10:08 a.m.

This is it, folks. The last really difficult level in the scenario. If you beat this, it's clear sailing to the end. But first, you have to beat it :P

When you teleport in, some Organics are destroying the last of the Pfhor resistance. Kill everyone, then charge up on the red panel and save on the orange, then read the terminal.

This is another Organic-infected Pfhor ship, but it's even farther gone than the previous one. Some parts of it look vaguely normal, some parts feel like you're wandering around inside a huge animal. It's unnerving to see giant eyes or random rows of teeth emerging from the gloom, while something breathing (I'm still not sure if it's you or the environment) is all that you hear. The war is over, and humanity has lost- the Metalloids have developed nuclear weapons and are systematically sterilizing the planet. A retreat in the remaining human ships is under way, but there aren't many left. The only chance left is for you to explore this corrupted ship and figure out how to destroy it. Ian promises you ammo and items, but it will be a long time before they appear, and there are a lot of monsters to go through. He also mentions that the ship seems to have crashed on top of, or into, what appears to be a pyramid. Hmm...

When you leave the room, a swarm of Beetles attacks from a sort of hive hanging over a teleporter. Step through, and you emerge onto a balcony overlooking a dark chasm. There's a squad of Organics coming up from the left, destroy them and run past to enter a small door in the wall. A swarm of Beetles might follow you; kill them if they do. You might want to go slightly past the door to set off an ambush, then run back to the door, so there are more monsters running around in the level- see below for why this is important.

This place is quite unnerving, but is essentially empty of monsters. At the north end of the area, there's a single relatively untouched switch; hit it. Then head for the southeast end of the red area and exit to the darker section of the ship (watch out for the pool of blood in that room, which has exactly the same texture as the floor- it appears purple on the map). There's a turtle out here, kill him and go near the giant glob to trigger some teleporting Beasts. Kill them and the Beetles inside the glob, and head around the corner and up the stairs. Go up the stairs and turn right, and an Omega Raptor teleports in right behind you. But wait... he's not attacking?! Your bacon has just been saved by the Marathon engine's active monster limit, which only allows about 30 monsters on the level to "think" at a time. The infinitely regenerating Beetles and clusters of monsters earlier in the level usually use up all the slots by now, rendering the remaining monsters brain-dead. Obviously this wasn't supposed to happen, but it really is the key to beating the level for me :)

Keep going to the right- More monsters will teleport in and simply stare at you. When you find the cluster of eggs and the teleporting Turtle, return and go past the stairs to the dead end. In here is a 3x canister and a vast number of Beasts, who also don't attack. You'll have to kill some of them to get out of the cul-de-sac, so be aware that some of the ones behind you may "come to life" as the active monster slots are freed up. Now, it's vitally important that you keep the full 3x health for the next part, so go back to the south branch and try to edge past the monsters without waking them up. You may want to kill the Turtle because he's so dangerous to get close to, but try to avoid shooting the eggs as they also take up active monster slots. I'd give my right arm for a pattern buffer here...

Now to take on the hardest puzzle in the game. In the next room is a pool of blood. You have to jump into the blood, swim under the connecting wall, turn left, hit the submerged switch, turn around, and swim onto the platform with the giant eye. While you do this, try to keep your head about water as it will reduce the health drain. This will move you to a sealed chamber full of blood. You have to RUN across the room to a descending shaft and float down it while pressing against the northwest wall until you pop out into a clear room with a 3x canister and a Beetle to save your life. Just like on G3 Sunbathing, there must be no mistakes and no wasted moments; you'll finish with a small chunk of health and you must grab the 3x canister as soon as possible without getting hit by the Beetle. It's a good idea to practice this run in Forge so you don't have to replay the level over and over again in the game; thanks to this I was able to get it on my second try. It was also easier than before because the engine can't change the screen colors under OS X, so there was no distracting pulsing purple interfering with my vision. But don't relax yet, it's still a long way to the pattern buffer...

Jump down to the glob area and go back through the ship's intestines to the point where you teleported into the level. There's probably a huge pile of monster there waiting for you to get back. Try to kill as few as possible, since they're still consuming valuable activation slots. There's an infinite supply of Beetles in this area; kill any golden ones and run past the rest to cross a bridge that has raised across the chasm, leading to the second half of the ship.

You'll be immediately attacked by 3 golden Raptors, but at least the Beetles will leave you alone now. Monsters will continue to harass you as you go along the passageway, along with a large Beast ambush that usually puts all the other monsters back into brain-dead mode. When you reach a small bridge across a blood pool, Ian finally starts sending you ammo and health. Watch out for the Omega Raptor behind you as you grab the loot. Eventually, you reach a room where a balcony full of Beasts watches a large platform. Running around this room triggers more ammo and 2 1x canisters, but you probably still have 3x from the bridge a moment ago. In this room is a switch at the top of the rightmost pillar; I have no idea what this switch does. Stepping on the platform causes it to slowly rise to the ceiling; up there is a bleeding, barely operational teleporter. Step into it, then turn around and finally save your game.

Head north from the pattern buffer to reach the next obstacle. In a large room full of Beetles, there are 3 pillars emerging from a blood-filled trench. Edge around to behind the north pillar (the ledges there are very small, and you don't want to fall in the blood) and shoot the switch there, which slowly opens a teleporter in the east column and starts filling the entire room with blood. The teleport puts you outside the room; save and head east. You're circling a giant glob of flesh hanging from the ceiling over a pool of blood, and as you go around a huge eye becomes visible, watching you. Shoot it out, fight off the Raptor ambush if necessary, and find the door. There's a dormant Omega Raptor around here, kill him just to be on the safe side. Then, take a closer look at this door we've found. The red and spiky design seems to resemble Michael's work, but I'm almost positive this area was meant to have been built by Joshua. Open the door and you're in a corridor that looks almost Egyptian, with a stone floor and walls covered with heiroglyphics. And drawn on each of the pillars is a strange symbol- 3 circles arranged in a triangle, with one filled in. The area almost, but not quite, looks like something out of Pathways Into Darkness's deeper levels. The end door opens automatically and closes behind you; there's no going back.

The last section of the ship is similar to the first, with the added problem that it's slowly filling with blood. Run through as fast as you can, avoid falling into the first blood pit, and find the final area with a pillar emerging from another pool of blood. Jump into the blood and get close to the pillar; a platform carries you to the top. Step into the teleporter.

Welcome to the Temple of Joshua. The lighting in here is very nicely done, with the object in the center casting shadows on the walls behind the pillars. I believe that this temple represents the seat of Joshua's power, where he has control over physical form and reality; you've gotten very, very close to his actual being. Ian sent you here in a desperate attempt to kill or disrupt him, but Joshua has other plans, and you can't do a thing to stop him. The object in the center of the temple is just a void, a 5D portal into Joshua's personal space (perhaps some sort of pocket universe? The brothers obviously don't obey the laws of physics as we know them). And in the distance is a pulsing beacon- the symbol written on the walls in the hallway. Jump into the void and approach it- the void behind you closes up and you are entirely within Joshua's power. When you reach the symbol, keep going and your new master appears out of the darkness to claim you. Let's see what he plans to do with his pet...

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Replies:

RED Volunteers: Mmmm... Tastes like EvilMark Levin 4/13/04 10:08 a.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: Mmmm... Tastes like EvilDr. John Sumner 4/13/04 12:25 p.m.
           Re: RED Volunteers: Mmmm... Tastes like EvilMark Levin 4/13/04 12:53 p.m.
                 Re: RED Volunteers: Mmmm... Tastes like EvilSteve Levinson 4/13/04 1:07 p.m.
                       Re: RED Volunteers: Mmmm... Tastes like EvilDr. John Sumner 4/13/04 2:15 p.m.
                             Re: RED Volunteers: Mmmm... Tastes like EvilSteve Levinson 4/13/04 2:29 p.m.
                                   Re: RED Volunteers: Mmmm... Tastes like EvilDr. John Sumner 4/13/04 2:55 p.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: Mmmm... Tastes like EvilSteve Levinson 4/13/04 1:00 p.m.
           Re: RED Volunteers: Mmmm... Tastes like EvilMark Levin 4/13/04 1:18 p.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: Mmmm... Tastes like EvilYossarian 4/13/04 1:39 p.m.

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