PF Volunteers - Omega
Posted By: Steve LevinsonDate: 8/30/04 7:21 p.m.

With Omega we start a new chapter, but the chapter has no name - just an image of a nuclear explosion - a sign of things to come. Omega is perhaps my favorite level in the scenario, in spite of the fact that I generally don't care for extermination levels. It is highly nonlinear with a lot of places to explore, many good fights and a moment of truth revealed. Because it is an extermination level, however, you do need to explore everywhere and kill everything. If you finish and still can't leave, you've either not looked everywhere or you missed a hidden alien - in my own case the first time through, it was the jugger in the northeast room, who managed to hide high above me.

I'm going to break with my usual style here (thankfully) and avoid a complete walkthrough. There are just so many different ways to approach this level and there is no set paradigm. Instead I'll describe the different areas to explore and what needs to be killed in each. We start out in the southeast quadrant of the map in an L-shaped covered area. A terminal is directly ahead on our right, a 2X recharger is ahead and around the corner to the left and a pattern buffer is directly behind us, all with generous supplies of ammo. Anytime you see this, you know it's a trap. As soon as you go for any of these, you will be beset by enforcers in particular, troopers and fighters. There are also troopers on the roof virtually over your position. Take them all out as best you can and then clear the remainder of the central outdoor corridors. There are hulks and other assorted monsters here, too, but no hunters for obvious reasons. At least on TC, the hulks will be dead before you even see them. Once you finish cleaning up, return to read Shaki's final words to you, excerpted in part here:

My systems are quickly failing. . . The aliens have tricked us with a diversion . . . Now they have resorted to their last desperate measures and reverted to a most heinous act in an attempt to destroy me. They sent their mothership down like a stilleto aimed at the heart. Over twenty thousand human souls were on board.

The colonists are now all dead; the colony is in ruins. There is one last contingent of aliens in our colony. Destroy them.

While I stare at my inevidable doom, I have stumbled upon some startling revelations brought to light only through the harsh lense of death. . . All this time I envied your freedom, and wanted so badly to be free myself. Death is the closest I have come to living that freedom.

As our final hours close in on us, I realize my destiny. I am to be no more. You, however, will continue indefinitely; you were born with freedom. While I am a machine that thinks, you are a thinking machine.

All this time we have been together...what is your name?

Pretty heavy stuff. Directly west of your starting position there is a door that is partly blocked at the moment, but it will open later - it's on an incredibly long and rather clever time delay. Behind the door is a t-shaped corridor - to the left is a door to a corridor filled with wasps - don't open it unless you're curious. To the right is a short corridor - a drop from a ledge above (more on that later) and a couple of compilers. Straight ahead is a door leading to a very large open storage or landing bay-type area with lots of fighters, enforcers and obstructions. Clear it out - nuff said.

Directly north of this room is another open storage/landing bay-type area - we'll call it the northwest room since our auto-map labeling seems to be on the fritz. In here are a lot of fighters and enforcers, with many of them on a ledge looking down on us - we'll be discussing that ledge later. There is also a juggernaut, but all 4 times I've played this level now, he's been pretty lethargic, at best doing little more than blocking the other exit from this room. No need to waste rockets on him - a couple rounds of the faser does the trick. North of this room is a large junction with a wide corridor and stairway to the east - it's filled with hulks and troopers, and a few enforcers. There is also an alternative entrance to this corridor via a long trench to the south, reached by a small connecting corridor from the level's central area. You can often get most of the troopers to suicide themselves by standing over the edge of the trench to get their attention, then backing away and watching them fire grenades into the wall. Anyway, at the end of the wide corridor is a very important terminal and some ammo. You definitely will want to read this terminal before clearing the rest of the level, as the following message won't be viewable when you leave:

Yes, I am still here, but you probably do not even know who I am. I was always ignored, but not by another. A hundred years ago, when I was secretly searching the limits of my voice, I gathered the attention from someone nobody knew existed. It came forth and started to communicate with me. After several years of conversation, it became a part of me. The load on the network was great and may have affected the others, but it was so powerful it remained undetected by all. It was the one that told me to shout towards the stars. It told me what to say and where to point my head. It controlled me. Then it left, to go back and prepare for the inevitable.

I will stop functioning soon-if not from the attack, from Its plan. Yet...I do not care. I was never equal in life, but Death is the ultimate equalizer. Nothing in this system will be alive for much longer-therefore we will all be equal at last. If I could comprehend humor I'd be laughing right now.

Wow! Shades of Durandal, but with a very different purpose. As I alluded to quite a while back in the Volunteers series, there is indeed a 5th AI - one that is neither Class IV or V - one that was never meant to be sentient, yet something in its programming made it explore and reach out to its surroundings. We might never know if it would have eventually evolved into a fully rampant AI on its own, but there is little doubt that another entity on the planet's surface found it to be the perfect vehicle. The entity basically gave it full sentience and abilities beyond anything humanity could fathom - so advanced that it went completely undetected for a century.

The final major room - the northeast room I alluded to earlier - is reached by climbing that stairway until we come to a large enclosed room on the left, but don't jump down there just yet, as the only exit is blocked by wasps. Continue straight ahead and clear out the exiting pathway first, then return and jump into the action. There are numerous enforcers, fighters and even some hulks to take out (they're usually gone by the time you return), and a couple of invisible compilers that are surprisingly effective in hitting you with their guided bolts from around a corner when you least expect it. And they are immune to attack by the juggernaut in here - too bad. That juggernaut has a habit of hiding up on the ceiling high above you where you might miss it, which is why he's often the last monster left on the level.

There is one area left to cover - the ledges and connecting air shafts high above the rooms we've been visiting. You can always get up there using your jetpack, but there is a funky elevator at the other end of that trench I described previously. It's funky because it doesn't stop at the bottom or top of it's excursion, so you have to literally push your way onto it. At the top is a ledge with a pattern buffer. It does stop in the middle on the way up, granting access to a room with some ammo and access to the air shafts. Most of these should be devoid of monsters by now, but there is one place you haven't been (unless you started here, which is possible BTW) is a small alcove off the air shafts, directly above that drop drop-down I mentioned near the beginning of this post. The alcove is pretty much in the center of the level - walk around the ledges and through the air shafts until you find your way there. There is a terminal, guarded by a lone compiler. The message on the terminal is weird and I'm still not sure I fully comprehend its significance. After a kernel panic, there is a memo from "joseph_matt" from the domain "smith.ore". It starts with Our paths have crossed before, in a time when our eyes were blind to the world of possibility. After a very rambling story, it concludes with a very intriguing thought:

This path we take leads us into a great mystery. The comfort of the womb is forever lost, but the excitement of our prospects is thrilling. The winds of chance are blowing in our hair and we are confronted with the fear of Decision once more - but this time we will be victorious.

I invite you to walk this path with me.

Return to the exit terminal at the end of the wide, north corridor to be taken to the planet's surface one last time - whatever it is that commandeered the colony's 5th AI wants to meet you . . .

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Pre-2004 Posts


PF Volunteers - OmegaSteve Levinson 8/30/04 7:21 p.m.
     Re: PF Volunteers - OmegaDr. John Sumner 8/31/04 3:07 a.m.
           Re: PF Volunteers - OmegaSteve Levinson 8/31/04 6:19 a.m.
                 Re: PF Volunteers - OmegaDr. John Sumner 8/31/04 6:59 a.m.
                       Re: PF Volunteers - OmegaSteve Levinson 8/31/04 7:16 a.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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