PF Volunteers - Base of Titans/On Top of the World
Posted By: Steve LevinsonDate: 7/24/04 11:38 a.m.

Today I give you a 2-fer. We are now about to embark on two of the more bizarre levels in PF, complements of an extremely deranged Class IV Communications AI that doesn't even have a name - a fact that he takes note of one of the terminals. To be honest, I'm not quite sure where Matt and Andrew were going with this. Class IV AIs aren't supposed to have human emotion and it's not clear how they could become truly rampant, yet this AI is clearly off the wall and exhibiting faulty circular logic. We are obviously here to dismantle him and he can't let us do that, yet Mece will punish him if he doesn't let us restore communications, but that means we will dismantle him and he won't let us do that . . . I guess this is an attempt at a dysfunctional AI that is incapable of true analytic thought and to an extent it works but, well, I'm not sure. In any case, the AI settles on not hindering nor helping us, but agreeing to transport us the rest of the way if we can get to the top of this level.

The level design is as bizarre as the AI - switches that must be hit in a certain order to activate platforms that lead to other switches. Mark gave the exact sequence a few days ago and I won't repeat it here, but my approach was to basically hit everything and take whatever opened up or started working. Eventually the player comes to a platform that takes them to a new area above the starting point - lots of monsters to kill, but the main objective is a platform in the center that ultimately takes them to yet another area with monsters to kill. Eventually the player comes to a long corridor that ends in a T. To the left is a circular room with some ammo and a series of terminals, pattern buffers and shield rechargers, all out of reach. To the right is a similar room, but with things within reach. The communications AI is so helpful - he's going to transport us up the rest of way. And he's sending some "friends" up there with us to help.

On Top of the World is one of the most difficult levels in the scenario - perhaps only second to the level that follows it, but more on that next time. You start out in a large circular room surrounded by four vents through which wasps will stream. They come at you so densely and quickly that it's very hard to get around them, surround them and take them out. It is possible, but perhaps less than 5% of the time, if that. I'm just not that patient ;^)

There is one corridor that leads out of the circular room, but it leads to an equally perilous area. The corridor branches two ways - to the left is a compiler reading a terminal with a message to us from the AI. To the right is a longer corridor with some troopers to keep us company. Beyond the compiler is a door to a room with a pattern buffer guarded by another compiler, but some major fighters will swoop down on us as soon as we try to save. And the troopers will still be there. Back down the right branch is a large room with more monsters and a 1X shield recharger, and a corridor to the main part of the level, which is filled with even more monsters. My approach is to clear the way to the shield recharger first, making it possible to survive the fight for the PB.

I head straight for the left branch and quickly neutralize the compiler with the shrapnel cannon. I then turn around to face the troopers who are already after me, switch to the AR and gun/grenade them down. The beauty of this approach is that the wasps that will have followed me from the starting area will get caught in the cross fire. I next wake up the monsters in the shield recharge room and let them follow me back to the circular starting room, where I can easily take them out. I do this in particular because I don't want to wake up the monsters in the next room beyond the shield recharge room just yet. I then go back and secure the PB and save my game. Finally, I go back and wake up the monsters beyond the shield recharge room, and take them out. Sadly, they won't follow the player to the circular room where they would be easier to take out. Once the area is cleared, the player can enter a room that contains a PB and a 2X shield recharger.

The player has a choice at this point Ė they can go back to the first PB room, climb up a set of stairs, drop down, deal with a lot of monsters and proceed around back to the room with the 2X recharger, flipping a key switch along the way and releasing a bunch of monsters. I personally find it easier to attack it from the other direction, since I always have the 2X recharger and PB to fall back on. BTW, watch out for the invisible compilers in the corridor with the lit columns. Once that key switch has been flipped, there is a switch revealed in another room that will allow access to the exit teleporter, off the initial circular room. But wait - we're not done yet!

The exit teleporter takes us to the second half of the level, where we start out in a large, dark room with a lot of invisible compilers. My advice is to not try to take them out just yet - there are so many of them that they'll likely trap you. Instead, exit the room, head up one of the two sets of stairs, taking out the fighters along the way, head down the central corridor, which will trigger a door to open. Leap inside the door and deal with the troopers and compiler inside. John and I have had some arguments about this, but if you do everything just right, at this point you should still have most of your 2X shields left, making a saved game unnecessary. However, there is the small matter of those compilers and some fighters waiting outside the door. There are 3 switches in this room, two of which reset the communications array and one of which opens the door. Fortunately, the door opens in the middle and can be locked in place such that it only opens as a small slit through which you can shoot. I find it very easy to use the faser to shoot all the monsters through the slit, with ample time to dodge their return fire. Once they have been cleared out, you can open the door the rest of the way and return to the compiler room, where stepping on a transporter square in the floor will take you to the next level. All of this can be done so quickly with practice that getting killed in the next level is not such a big deal. John, however, feels otherwise, probably primarily because there is some ammo that can be collected, but that takes time and loss of shielding to do so.

From the top of the stairs the player can jump down to a very dark, lower area that is filled with troopers. There is also some ammo that can be collected, providing a reward to the player for doing so. Unfortunately, I donít think that the ammo is enough to make up for the ammo and shielding that is lost in the process. There is also a PB down here in the bowels of the level, but it's too far recessed into the wall, making it unusable in gameplay. ARGH!!. My advice is to skip the basement area, but if you're like John, just be prepared to play this over and over again.

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Pre-2004 Posts


PF Volunteers - Base of Titans/On Top of the WorldSteve Levinson 7/24/04 11:38 a.m.
     Re: PF Volunteers - Base of Titans/On Top of the WDr. John Sumner 7/24/04 12:59 p.m.
           Re: PF Volunteers - Base of Titans/On Top of the Wmattschenk 7/24/04 7:31 p.m.
                 Re: PF Volunteers - Base of Titans/On Top of the WSteve Levinson 7/24/04 8:56 p.m.
           Re: PF Volunteers - Base of Titans/On Top of the WSteve Levinson 7/24/04 9:11 p.m.
                 Re: PF Volunteers - Base of Titans/On Top of the WDr. John Sumner 7/25/04 5:04 a.m.
                       Re: PF Volunteers - Base of Titans/On Top of the WAdam Ashwell 7/25/04 5:12 a.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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