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DiaBD Volunteers - Who put the crack/you who
Posted By: Steve LevinsonDate: 6/2/05 3:25 p.m.

Sorry about being off schedule already, but I got slammed yesterday with work. Today I've largely been catching up. In any case, today we get a two-fer - 2 levels in one. Who put the crack in the liberty bell and You, that's who are nearly identical levels. Except for the removal of a few scenery objects in the latter, you would never know that they're different levels - until it comes to the level of fighting or trying to recharge your shields or save your game. As you'll recall from the discussion of Hostage, if you don't heed Merlin's instructions and head back to the beginning of the level rather than the end, he let's you know you f***ed up and and tells you he won't be able to send you to the lighlty infested area he'd planned to. Strange, then, that you seem to end up in the same place after all. The more obvious thing would have been to tell the player that they wasted valuable time and the area they were going to is now heavily infested with aliens, but it took Rubicon to show us how to properly make use of the time element.

For the most part, this is a very boring level. The action seems really staged. Again, switches to open new areas are often no where near what they open. And it's a very compact level. I guess the compactness flows from the original M1 origin, but it seems compact even by M1 standards. One thing that can be confusing is that once you activate the proper switches, you have to go back to the beginning, where an elevator is now active. This is an extermination level, so you have to completely clear the water passages of all the F'lickta. Funny that the role of the F'lickta are never really explained - they make for good action, but they somehow seem out of place here. Later scenarios that make use of F'lickta at least try to explain why these creatures of Lh'owon are off-world, but I guess the MMMG felt that since this is not taking place in the Marathon Universe, anything goes. But primative creatures that attack the aliens as well as the humans - that just doesn't make sense here.

The most dramatic part of the level is a fight with a jugger. Now you don't have nearly enough ammo to take a jugger out, so you're given a nice little tool - a rising platform that you can use to crush it. The key is to move very fast and activate the platform before the jugger can attack you or move off the platform. Once the jugger's dead, be sure to check the pool for some ammo. There is also a very nice secret in the pool area - in one of the corners of the pool room, there is a small door hiding a switch. Flipping the switch lifts the platform control switch out of the way to reveal a new switch. It only opens for a moment and cannot be locked open, so you need to be fast. Activating the new switch lowers a platfrom in the large room with all the compilers and the PB and shield regenerator (in Who put the crack - only). Step onto this platform and it will raise back up. Jump to the platfrom nearby and you will be teleported to a room with a bunch of ammo and a 2X power-up. A pretty cool secret, but one you really have to look hard to find.

To me, haveing two identical levels seems somewhat wasteful. There was so much potential to better differentiate them, but the only difference was that the second one has a few more monsters and no way to recharge shields or save your game. In effect, I'm sure the intent was that you would die, revert to your last saved game from Hostage and then do the right thing by leaving by the right terminal this time. I've always felt that a secret should reward the player in some way - not that it's inappropriate to punish players for doing stupid things, but if a player goes the extra mile, there should be something in it for them. If the play actually does manage to get through the harder level with the extra monsters and lack of PB/recharger support, they should at least get a pat on the back.

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Replies:

DiaBD Volunteers - Who put the crack/you whoSteve Levinson 6/2/05 3:25 p.m.
     Re: DiaBD Volunteers - Who put the crack/you whoKyjel 6/2/05 6:04 p.m.
           Re: DiaBD Volunteers - Who put the crack/you whoMartiNZ 6/2/05 6:17 p.m.
                 Re: DiaBD Volunteers - Who put the crack/you whogoran 6/2/05 9:51 p.m.
                       Re: DiaBD Volunteers - Who put the crack/you whoSteve Levinson 6/3/05 7:05 a.m.

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