RED Volunteers: How big's your can?
Posted By: Mark LevinDate: 4/20/04 11:16 a.m.

You've finally penetrated to the very heart of Michael's chariot, and reached some sort of critical nerve center. As far as I can tell, the idea behind this level is that the chariot, all the Metalloids, and Michael, are all part of the same system and are all connected to each other. It should be possible to disrupt all of them at once by destroying this critical nerve center. Of course, Michael is sending in everything he has to stop you.

This level is a boss fight in every sense of the word- Michael's giant, motionless head (we're nowhere near reality as we know it) watches as you race around trying to solve some puzzle while tons of enemies pound on you. Your objective is to hit a number of switches in the arena, some at ground level, some higher up, requiring you to ride platforms up to them. These switches, however, can only be toggled by the second trigger of the Reaver Omega Cannon as far as I know. Each switch shuts down one of the reactors or whatever that is feeding Michael with energy. Once all the switches are hit (try to keep track of which switches you've hit already, because it's definitely possible to un-hit them again and get confused), a final switch in the center opens; shooting it will begin Michael's and the chariot's destruction, and open a door in the north of the arena for you to escape. As you run down this hallway, the place fills with flames behind you- a very nice effect done with tiny invisible monsters who are shooting extremely inaccurate projectiles at you. Run down the very long corridor to freedom.

The final screen describes your escape from Michael's chariot, your spirit return to its anchor in reality- and your final mastery of powers at least equivalent to the dead brothers. The PX-39 crisis is over, at the cost of the planet and every human on it. As we see the player wearing an incredibly long red cape straight out of Todd McFarlane's Spawn, he returns to his original self, only now he's one of the more powerful players in the cosmic game. And, of course, the question raised earlier of whether or not the player is just a bloodthirsty killer has not been answered ;)

The "secret room" on the level is part of the 4 switch mechanism- it contains the "AND gate" that reveals the final switch when all 4 of the arena switches have been pressed. I have no idea if it's possible to open the door to it- I assume the trick Steve and John keep hinting at is to use the Reaver Rocket Glove to push through the relatively thin wall separating it from the arena? In here is a large supply of weapons (I suspect it's the complete set weapons that provide the Reaver powers), as well as 2 invisiblity and 1 invincibility powerups, and a chance to charge up. It's also possible to steal a little health here and there by using the "alternate mode" of the Reaver Fusion Mace that John mentioned- it will heal you if you run into a wall while firing, so you can just run circles around the arena slamming into walls and pillars and coming away with a bit more health each time.

There are 2 levels left in the scenario that got skipped earlier because I didn't know how to get to them. WE BE SLACKERS is a copy of what I can only assume is Ian's dorm room circa RED development, along with the scenario's credit terminal. Up from the Depths... 30 stories high... makes the player literally Godzilla, taking advantage of a shrunken texture set and tiny enemies to let you rampage through a city. Check out the map writing for props to various Bungie community personalities as well as a number of names I don't recognize.

So, what did we learn from this series? :) Some rules, conventions, and standard features in Marathon scenarios are more flexible than they appear, and breaking them can allow for very interesting situations. Conversely, some conventions both the players and map authors depend on to allow the player to jump into a new scenario without having to be instructed on how to play- and breaking these, while allowing for some nice tricks, also causes confusion and frustration that may not be worth the effect. Testing your scenario, and playing it through yourself, is of vital importance, because sometimes your testers will not know what they are missing. Also, infinitely regenerating monsters should be used with great care, if at all. Did I miss anything? :)

Now that we've seen that the scenario has some real bugs in it, and now that the original creator has given his approval, RED 1.1 is starting to look like a better and better idea. However, among all the discussion, we should keep one thing in mind: This is just RED 1.1. It's not RED II or even RED 2.0. The original purpose of this project, back when people first started kicking it around, was to fix critical bugs in the game and ameliorate some of the unnecessarily frustrating aspects that drove people away from the scenario when it was first released. Nothing more. (This should also be weighed against the fact that, really, there are very, very few people who would be interested in RED 1.1 and yet have not played RED 1.0...)

That said, here's the list of changes I would make:

  • Too tired to kill:

    • Add a briefing to the first terminal, in the room where you wake up, instructing you to talk to Ian in the hangar. This would make it explicitly clear that you have to tab characters in the game now, as well as showing that that panel is in fact a terminal, something that's done inconsistently for the first few levels.
    • Make the door to Hydroponics take less time to open (seriously, it's just annoying right now).
    • Add a briefing to the two Hydroponics terminals, again to make the player realize there are terminals there for the revisit later.

  • Noises in the dark:

    • Prevent the door to the main infected area from killing the player.
    • Make the 1x recharger in the southern area more obvious.
    • Remove any "sticky" areas in the catacombs to the east.

  • Needs more duct tape:

    • Remove infinitely regenerating Beasts; the Beetles are bad enough.
    • Remove switch in fake door out of first room.
    • Pattern buffer, terminal, and health charger in reactor control room would always be active. To balance this, the chip quest would be required to complete the level- inserting it would open the exit teleporter.

  • Why did it stop?

    • Prevent the player from cheating by tabbing the switch through the wall without going through the underground passage.
    • Add a 1x health canister immediately after the elevator, possibly in the ladder room.
    • Make the switch that raises half the elevator shaft raise the entire elevator shaft, to fix the suicide trap that would occur if you fell back into the beginning of the level.
    • Move the level exit teleporter from directly in front of the pattern buffer to an alcove off to the side, which can be designed to be more obviously a teleporter. Also, re-jigger the Beetle ambush so it is possible to reach the PB (but not the health) without getting attacked.

  • G3 Sunbathing at 300Mhz:

    • Add an oxygen charger to the airlock leading to the bridge. Delete errant canister on top of level.
    • Fix trick recharger, either by turning it into an oxygen charger or making it properly display the 1x armor texture.

  • Nothing's too big to Nuke:

    • Delete or prevent access to debugging switch room.

  • Floating in Agony:

    • Retarget terminal teleporter to put the player somewhere with a proper view of the room and its contents, instead of facing a wall.

  • Medatron of the Void:

    • Add a PB to the "front desk" area.
    • Delete the pit under the front door to the power station.
    • Add a 1x canister somewhere before going up the stairs to the second floor, possibly in the small "office" immediately inside the entrance.
    • Fix rubble in room with annoying door so you don't get hung up on it.
    • Remove infinitely regenerating head bots.
    • Add return elevator to at least one of the alternate underground paths, so John can collect all the ammo :P
    • Move Metalloids around in "run like hell" room so it's more likely that attempting to run through actually works.
    • Change 1x charger in final "home base" to 2x, replace dangerous 2x charger with 3x powerup farther away in the room.

  • Burning down the park:

    • Shotguns teleport in immediately (not after a little running around outside).
    • Add 1x health canister to ammo pile near southeast switch.
    • Figure out why the Gunners cause crashes, fix if possible.

  • Looking for Floaters:

    • Add better instructions on completing the level to the "diagram" terminal.
    • "Broken" door near end is always open (don't need to explore dead ends to trigger it).
    • Replace Gattler in final battle with Michael.

  • Last Minute Shopping:

    • Make it possible to reach the 3x recharger without using either of the secret weapons (c'mon, everyone deserves that :P)
    • Make it easier to get out of the water in the basement area.
    • Add something to the balcony area above the clusterfuck room to make it worth exploring (right now it's just empty).

  • Heads or Tails:

    • Remove silly login message on first terminal.
    • Remove brothers ambush in bridge area.
    • Adjust ammo to make sure that shotgun shells are always available at the bridge.

  • Jagermeister's Nightmare:

    • Place 2 mine packs at the location of each breach point, so it's no longer easy to run out of mines before then.
    • Change first terminal message to be more clear about returning to that location, then change final terminal message to instruct player explicitly to go to "secret" level exit.

  • Tastes Like Evil:

    • Tone down infinite Beetle supply to remove monster lockdown cheat.
    • Add pattern buffer directly before blood run. Since it is definitely possible to make the run without knowing about the switch, and most of the frustration would be removed by not having to do the level again on each failure, I no longer think it needs any more changes.

  • Can we say MOSH PIT:

    • Add mechanism for determining if Ian has been killed and altering terminal accordingly.

  • To the Liver:

    • Tone down infinite beetles again.
    • Argue about what to do about the fusion mace.
    • Re-add pattern buffer before blood run.

  • Chaos Inc:

    • Add the Rebellion flag and a complete set of Reaver weapons to spawn point, to allow the player to resume the story after Up from the Depths.

  • Up from the Depths...:

    • Add proper terminal and teleport back to Chaos Inc to giant Ian clone.

That should be enough to start discussion...

[ Post a Reply | Message Index | Read Prev Msg | Read Next Msg ]
Pre-2004 Posts


RED Volunteers: How big's your can?Mark Levin 4/20/04 11:16 a.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: How big's your can?Dr. John Sumner 4/20/04 1:35 p.m.
           Re: RED Volunteers: How big's your can?Mark Levin 4/20/04 2:17 p.m.
                 Re: RED Volunteers: How big's your can?Dr. John Sumner 4/20/04 2:21 p.m.
           Re: RED Volunteers: How big's your can?Steve Levinson 4/20/04 5:09 p.m.
                 Re: RED Volunteers: Questions, and questions...Ernie 4/20/04 6:57 p.m.
                 Re: RED Volunteers: How big's your can?Dr. John Sumner 4/21/04 4:06 a.m.
                       Re: RED Volunteers: How big's your can?Steve Levinson 4/21/04 5:30 a.m.
                             Re: RED Volunteers: How big's your can?Dr. John Sumner 4/21/04 6:08 a.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: How big's your can?Steve Levinson 4/20/04 6:54 p.m.
           Re: RED Volunteers: How big's your can?Mark Levin 4/20/04 9:31 p.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: How big's your can?Steve Levinson 4/20/04 7:12 p.m.
           Re: RED Volunteers: How big's your can?Mark Levin 4/20/04 9:35 p.m.
           Re: RED Volunteers: How big's your can?goran 4/20/04 9:45 p.m.
     Re: RED Volunteers: How big's your can?Callie21V 4/21/04 5:43 p.m.

[ Post a Reply | Message Index | Read Prev Msg | Read Next Msg ]
Pre-2004 Posts



Your Name:
Your E-Mail Address:

If you'd like to include a link to another page with your message,
please provide both the URL address and the title of the page:

Optional Link URL:
Optional Link Title:

If necessary, enter your password below:




Problems? Suggestions? Comments? Email maintainer@bungie.org

Marathon's Story Forum is maintained with WebBBS 5.12.