Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely Go
Posted By: MartinDate: 3/23/14 11:05 a.m.

In Response To: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely Go (VikingBoyBilly)

: The track I have chosen for this map is Norach from the Lh'owon album , and
: PerseusSpartacus taught me to use Atque to make the music play in the map
: automatically so I don't need to run a media player in the background.

I still don't feel the need for music in Marathon. I didn't have hardware that could play the music of M1 at the time, and was pleased enough to not have to worry with the later games. Especially with their ambient sounds, and the need to hear alien sounds, and the oft desolate and/or downright spooky atmosphere, I just don't feel the need. My interaction with music has actually become quite interesting in general - I'll have my headphones on all day at work because I can't work in silence; I'll take long walks and listen; I'll enjoy it in games where it is on by default, but I don't tend to just listen anymore, and if working from home, don't feel the need to put it on.

Anyway, in the current case, I think it is just like the comment here about enjoying the screenshot-heavy approach to the writeup - I just see things differently ... as you might have noticed. Partly in homage to the methodology of Marathon itself, I prefer to get things done here by way of much text, and the occasionally helpful (or misleading) map image or random picture :). It comes down to style, sure, but just so you know, you will all probably continue to have to wade through my essays - ironic as I always sucked at essays, I guess when you are passionate about the content....

: A pfhor water treatment facility rings a bell from our past. Or is it our
: future? More on that in Thing What Kicks. The s'pht on the terminal looks
: like the image was grayscaled, but could it be an official s'pht recolor
: we are yet to encounter? It also seems Durandal's still crudely hijacking
: pfhor transmissions with dimmed text.

Interesting point - I never actually made the connection here to Waterloo Waterpark, and always found our exit from this timeline a bit odd, I mean there are key differences and advantages to us going forward - the work we did in orbit - but somehow we feel things just won't work out.

: In any case, that description of a marshy swamp area brings my senses to a
: certain zen. I love marshes in video games (and IRL). Darkmere is a top
: contender for my favorite map from Hexen and Unreal has that scenic boat
: ride. The Deep Darkness bicycle of EarthBound! Swamps give me mental
: images of the picturesque river nile in egypt, peppered with long grasses
: and papyrus. I feel submerged in the chaotic maelstrom of nature with
: frogs chirping, bugs buzzing, water crackling and burping, and Lh'owhon
: loons looning. If I concentrate hard enough, I can even smell it. I can't
: wait for us to get to Rubicon. Pfhor prime is an entire swamp planet!

Uhh, I've never played any of those, and I've never quite been able to conjure an image of the marshes from what we see courtesy of the Marathon engine, myself :(. I like the picture you form there though - to me the waterways we fight around have always felt more mechanical/functional in nature, I guess due to the still metallic look to a lot of our surroundings.

: Actually, instead of all that, what we really hear is lots of wind and
: thunder (even minus the loons), and I'm sorry for the buildup, but this
: level really isn't that fun. Spoilers: the next map is even worse.

Ahh the next map, mmm.

: There are some f'lickta swimming around in the slime, and we need to take a
: swim over to the other side to progress. On the other side we encounter a
: very strange s'pht:

Interesting to note the new spelling of F'lckta in Durandal's terminal - good to have a source of the way I have always wanted to spell it! More interesting is that S'pht. On TC all of those that we encounter are major pains in the ass (I am an ass indeed....), but once we realise where they actually spawn, things get much easier - for the longest time I would just make a run for it in that initial area; it is hard to spot those damned Invisible Compilers! And they shoot yellow bolts regardless of difficulty level, suggesting that there might actually be a more frightening version somewhere?? I also never realised they shot at Pfhor. I just always assumed I was the target....

: The status bar has changed it's size since I changed the display settings.
: Now it's stretched out to it's natural size from the original engine
: (pretty big! I thought the M1 Hud was the only one to complain about in
: the size department)

Indeed, why do you not play with the overlaid HUD? I really enjoy the extra vertical that gives us on the game window.

: Martin forgot this terminal in uploads to the Tour of Duty folder on
: the story site, so I took my own screenshot.)

As I responded to your email, despite its seemingly obvious position, it's not on PS's map, and I'm not sure I had ever read it before! Curiouser. (You saw that coming right ;)?)

: Disappearing s'pht compilers? A missing pfhor? Oh my! I wonder if these
: terminals are all little building blocks to a complete story we can piece
: together. There's a sort of cubby hole in the wall above that some
: fighters came out of. You can ride the lift up and jump in, but there's
: nothing in there.

Unlike those holes later on - where there's nothing in there but ghosts....

: In this corridor is a mystery button that is inactive.

Yep, no idea on that one :(. Curiouser.

: Inside the building we knock some more heads and find a new item, the S'pht
: card key.

It's only a shame we don't have to find a S'pht key ring first. There must be a sitcom style comic like the one you posted, somewhere, with S'pht talking about losing their card keys.... la Seinfeld - Are these my keys? Whose keys are these? One of my favourite epis.

: Uhh... do we happen to be the cause of that untimely demise?

Hmmm, I'm gonna go with ... maybe?

: If we go for a swim in the southwest area of the map, we'll find a small
: underwater alcove that will teleport us into a fl'ickta mosh pit. I was
: too confident with my fists here and almost met an inglorious death, but
: some fast shooting saved me.

Interesting, I guess I did know about that teleporter, but I've just never gone that way in a normal playthrough. I like that little door puzzle, but it does make one think there just isn't a way in there ... of course, that's what the best puzzles should do :).

: What are these s'phts doing here? Are they prisoners? Pushing the buttons by
: their cells will lower the ceilings, slowly crushing them to death. And I
: do mean slowly. It's torture in the literal sense of the word. Did the
: angry translucent s'pht we met earlier escape from here?

Possibly the invisible ones are messed up experiments that St'ngr let out / lost track of / lost in teleport (translation)? I blame him anyway - hate those guys.

: And I do mean FULL map. This and the next level is another two-parter, like
: Poor Yorick and Confound Delivery. All the green dots are important marks,
: like teleports, terminals, and maybe a pattern buffer or two. It's nowhere
: near as useful as the Tour of Duty maps, so I can't parse what each
: individual green dot landmarks.

And from Hamish's post, these were the first levels developed for Infinity! Amazing that they had such large ambitions from the get-go. It would be cool to see the extended terminals. I've said it before, but I love these joined levels.

: But actually, there is a way out. The other two lifts are death
: traps, but if we tap on the left wall while we're rising, we'll open a
: door to a secret cave we can scurry into before we get crushed (a lot like
: that mandatory crusher room back on DEFEND THIS).

Again, I'd never made the connection to THIS. Glad to see this included :).

: A lift lowers us down to a hallway full of fighters and some more of those
: rapid firing invisi-s'phts from above and below make our lives miserable.

Indeed - one each in a pair of alcoves on the way down, best to jump in there and kill them and leave the lift to descend on its own. Then one more down below, in another alcove up to the right - typically the most dangerous of all to the unprepared; it's a good thing we don't have more of these ridiculously fast-firing guys. If the grey ones on the dream levels were like that, oh God *shudder*.

: Is this how the s'pht reproduce as well? I'm trying to imagine baby s'pht
: inside the wide vagina of an adult s'pht inside the mechanical exoskeleton
: that eventually get spat out and attached to mechanical exoskeletons of
: their own when they are matured.

Okay, yep, I've never tried to imagine that before ... now not sure I can unimagine it.

: One last thing. The terminal was written by S'tngr and got cut off
: prematurely. I guess that other guy we killed before wasn't S'tngr after
: all. He's one of the recently fallen corpses in this room somewhere.

Good point - I hadn't fully connected that he wrote both this one and the one about the compilers. I think he might have locked himself out of his prison area :( - forgot his card key?

: At the top of the stairs we'll find a window overlooking a wide outdoor area
: into a room on the other side with a terminal.

Interesting - is there no "cheat" style message on that one on this level? I don't see on the Story page.

: We can't reach it, but there is another terminal in our immediate room next
: to us.

What I do see on the Story page is another terminal message that I (we!) missed:

(Sorry for the ugliness - OneDrive - but that extra width makes the reply strings do sensible line-endings, so it is all for the best. Click the image for normal size.) A "not-quite-done" message from Durandal, although much less angry, more informative, and actually worried than we are used to from him. Much more in character is the "not-quite-done" message on the next level, and this when it seems a lot of people had issues finding those panels to destroy :D.

This one is also the first sign we get of problems on the way in the form of lots of Pfhor ships. So, how do we see this message? What is the actual victory condition here? Which terminals do we have to read?

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Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoVikingBoyBilly 3/22/14 7:29 p.m.
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           Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoHopper 3/23/14 8:14 a.m.
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     Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoGodot 3/23/14 7:51 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoPerseusSpartacus 3/23/14 8:55 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoHopper 3/23/14 9:18 a.m.
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                                   Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoGodot 3/28/14 11:55 a.m.
                                         Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoMartin 3/28/14 1:14 p.m.
                                         Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoHokuto 3/28/14 2:52 p.m.
                                         Seventh place, woo! *NM*Bob-B-Q 3/29/14 7:15 a.m.
                                               Re: Seventh place, woo!Godot 3/29/14 7:43 a.m.
                                                     Re: Seventh place, woo!PerseusSpartacus 3/29/14 9:32 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoPerseusSpartacus 3/23/14 11:53 a.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoMartin 3/23/14 12:36 p.m.
                             Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoPerseusSpartacus 3/23/14 3:25 p.m.
                                   Freeverse and Aleph One 1.0Hopper 3/23/14 7:46 p.m.
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                             Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoDocument 3/25/14 8:20 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoHopper 3/23/14 9:02 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoMartin 3/23/14 11:05 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoMartin 3/24/14 1:27 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty: Where Some Rarely GoVikingBoyBilly 3/24/14 7:52 a.m.

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