Trojan Volunteers - Aggressive Marketing
Posted By: Steve LevinsonDate: 8/28/05 8:28 a.m.

This may be my last Trojan Volunteers post for quite a while - it may be my last, period, if some of you don't start contributing to the series - but tomorrow is moving day for me. I'm moving to Detroit and may not have any home internet access (not even dial-up) for a couple weeks. Even then I'll still be settling in, so it could be a while. If anyone wants to continue the series themselves - more power to you!

Aggressive Marketing is to me the level where Trojan really turns the corner. As much as I like some of the earlier levels and as problematic as this one can be, this is where the story really starts to take off and the scenario really comes into its own. Time for some espionage (hence the chapter name). We've known it since they showed up, but we know that GenCorp can't be here for altruistic reasons. It's time to find out what they're really up to. We start out in a uniquely Trojan invention - a small communications satellite that will serve as our home base on this and several other levels. No need to come up with contrived excuses as to how we can use alien technology to save our patterns or recharge our shields, or to deal with the possibility of our patterns being stored in hostile territory. Here we have our own safe house that we can return to whenever we like - well, as soon as we clear a return path, that is. Kudos to the Trojan team for coming up with this. Now we can recharge our shields while on the GenCorp ship - the technology is compatible - but to store our pattern, we have to come back here.

I'm not going to rehash the details of how to play the level that are already in the Spoiler Guide - not that the guide comes anywhere close to giving you a feel for what you're doing - but there are a number of plot elements that are well worthy of discussion. First of all, there are some new enemies to deal with. We meet one of these right away - the GenCorp machine gun drone. These are very small, spherical robots that are dark grey and extremely hard to see in dark light. They are highly maneuverable and have a habit of getting up close and personal, but just above or below your line of sight. They tend to attack in pairs and their aim is deadly accurate - perhaps John Sumner would know, but I've never found a way to take these out without using ammo. A pair of these are right at the beam-in point, as well as some GenCorp soldiers. Next is the GenCorp energy drone - a hovering, shiny robot that to me looks a bit like a vacuum cleaner. These drones shoot rapid-fire pairs of energy bolts that pack a huge wallop - enough to knock the player back and in some cases, pin the player. There are 2 varieties we will see on this level - yellow ones, and much more powerful green ones. Later we'll come upon white ones and stealth ones. These drones have stopping power. We've encountered lots of aliens that we can stop with nothing more than our fists and we can stop almost any alien with our AR, but finally we have a monster that can stop us from shooting back. You need to be quick with these guys. Not until Rubicon's maser did the Marathon community find such a powerful weapon again.

In addition to the path suggested in the Spoiler Guide, there are many, many approaches to playing this level. The GenCorp ship has a real feel to it, although progression is at times linear as you have to read a terminal or flip a switch to gain access to the next area. Very often the way to go is not clear at all and this is my biggest gripe with this level - it can be hard to get through it without consulting the Spoiler Guide. In any case, there are 7 terminals that have to be accessed, and some of them do have some interesting messages. The GenCorp troop recycling facility is a real visual experience - finally we get to see the "tube thingy" that appears in inappropriate places in AO, in its true context - a pretty gruesome sight. There is one true secret on this level that I'm aware of - a transporter located in the north central area of the map that is only accessible for a brief time - it takes the player to a small room with a 3X recharger and some ammo. Also note that there are small ammo stashes in many parts of the level in corners, so be sure to look for them.

Read all the terminals, kill to your heart's content and return to the communications satellite to be taken back to the mines, back to Death of Drummand.

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Trojan Volunteers - Aggressive MarketingSteve Levinson 8/28/05 8:28 a.m.
     Re: Trojan Volunteers - Aggressive MarketingDr. John Sumner 8/28/05 10:18 a.m.

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