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Tour of Duty: One thousand thousand slimy things
Posted By: MartinDate: 8/12/14 1:56 a.m.


Last time on Tour of Duty, we welcomed back one PerseusSpartacus to philosophise about the situation we found ourselves in with Tycho, as he helped us escape from the Pfhor prison, gave us vague details of what had been going on, and then explained his motive, that he was kind of a prisoner as well and wanted our help to get free.

Perseus took us on a journey with huggable BoBs, exploding BoBs, burning BoBs, and BoBs that appeared as enemies and read from the wrong script. A journey with cyborgs best avoided, lava best avoided, and crushing prison cell doors … best avoided. And an intense secret involving a switch that wanted pressing for only like half a second, to open a secret weapons cache in the dungeon. Amazing stuff. Fascinating theories, mystery second only to the dream levels themselves … and then we got found out by Tfear, who promised to kill us. But first he wanted us to help the Pfhor kill the humans.

And for once in this labyrinthine scenario of the Blood Tides of Lh’owon, that is actually what we’re going to do now! Out of the lava and into the sewer, we find ourselves on a platform, with a river rushing past, and some stairs leading up over the top to higher ground. There are bits of dead Pfhor around the place, and from some spawn points we can just make out a BoB across the way, through a small window. My first action here, though, is usually to go for a swim. It’s a nice peaceful way to start. West as far as we can go at this point, there is a nice ammo stash, and a 2x health canister – mmm. Closer to the start, there is also an assault rifle and some grenades! I don’t think I actually knew that before prep for this writeup. There’s also a sleeping potato anus! There is no oxygen charger on the level, which became a problem for me when I was filling out the map, for the image below, so don’t spend too long down there. The ammo is arranged on a series of small steps at differ heights, in a kind of honeycomb configuration, a design that is a signature of this level, as you can see just by looking (I’m OneDriving it, as I seem to have lost contact with PS and his magical uploading skills):

Returning to the start at the northeast point, and getting out of the river, which is a bit harder than usual due to its having quite a big range in the water level, and also quite a current. Taking the stairs up across the river, we see a closed door and more windows with BoBs behind. There are a couple of sewer pools here, but nothing to write home about. As we move closer to the door, things start to get real: it starts opening; BoBs start shooting; more BoBs teleport in around the place, and so do a bunch of Troopers and Hunters, ‘help’ for the likes of us. We can pretty much let them clear out the room behind the door, which is handy as those damn magnum BoBs are still really accurate! The Troopers keep respawning, but I believe the Hunters are just a one-off. Having said all that, it seems like a good idea to, and I think I might have at times, set the Pfhor a-spawning before going for that swim – both safer and more time-economical, and given that the Pfhor just got owned in my current game, they can require a bit of time on the job, as well.

The BoBs still seem surprised that we’re shooting at them, but ... they’re quite happy to open fire from the outset! Okay, so, with the first room here clear, we get to explore. The heights here are done quite complicatedly, so we have to climb stairs, run around, and jump down to get to the 1x charger that is here. On the way around, we actually look into what turns out to be the final area, but the opening is too small – where the hell is that Drink Me potion? Carrying on further, as we are still quite healthy from the 2x canister, we see another opening, wherein a Compiler is trying to read a Pattern Buffer ... uhh, buddy, that’s not for you! Although I guess it’s not the first time; Ne Cede Malis springs to mind. Compilers are not on our side here, and fair enough, but it becomes a proper issue later, on TC at least. For now, this guy is just begging for a couple of grenades. Also in that room we look into, there’s a solitary BoB, who gets another grenade, and a switch, which gets a fourth, and opens a door to let us get into that room, in a nice circular way. The only other way in would be via the level’s main secret, on which more later.

Next there are some stairs down to the left, or more likely just a dropoff, as they’re not all that obvious. This reveals a largish area on the map with various obstacles along the way. There’s a stairway to the left that leads to that pattern buffer, another one a bit further on that takes us further into the level, and at the end of this area, there’s a pit wherein BoBs are already fighting, or rather thrashing, Troopers. Our helper ones are pretty good at being active and coming into the level this far, which can mean they get in the way, but it is nice that we’re not quite alone. Once everyone here is dead, we find our first terminal for the level.

So the humans are working on an escape plan. There is no mention of a certain S’pht AI, or anything like that; I guess now is not the time. Up by the pattern buffer, we also find another 2x health canister, handy for BoB-inflicted wounds. And of course there’s the other locked door to the secret. Carrying on into the level via the other set of stairs, we get a glimpse into that secret, as well, with SPNKR and 3x health canister among other things, mmm indeed. We then find more BoBs and Compilers shooting at us! This can be a painful area as they are also shooting from higher ground across the river here, and hitting those guys is harder than it is for them to hit us! After it’s clear, we find a terminal embedded in a central platform. This is something we haven’t seen much of before, an intra-level teleporter via a terminal. The first that occurs to me is the last one on Hang Brain if we don’t smash the circuit. Then there’s the start of IIHARL, oh, and OF COURSE Son of Grendel, but that’s still to come. Other than that I think it’s pretty rare!

A river crossing reminiscent of the jump between Where Some Rarely Go and Thing What Kicks…. And it’s a two-way deal, as on the other side we find:

For now, at least.

Around this point, we can also incur a bunch of Compilers coming down the river, and better some now than an even bigger bunch in a little while! There is also a stair puzzle in the middle of the river here, this being the only useful way out if we fall in anywhere in this quite maddeningly large body of water! Upriver to the north, on the other side of the barrier from where we found ammo right at the start, is more ammo to match, this time of the shotgun variety, but it’s a pretty unlikely place to go! And I don’t think there’s much to speak of if we swim the other way; just a lot of disappointment, including another in vain glimpse of the way to the end room.

Conveniently, there are some stepping stones down from this side of the river, along a new path; unfortunately, there are more BoBs on the platforms at the bottom. Most of them can be dealt with by hiding behind various walls; the next area is especially well set up for this, with narrow ledges and blindspots, provided we still have grenades. There are more Compilers as well, and a couple of potato anuses just to look scary on the radar. After a narrow opening with BoBs on ambush duty left and right, the ledge gets very narrow, perfect for taking out the next ones, who happen to be guarding a room with a pattern buffer, 1x charger and switch – our next base of operations. The switch opens the barrier that the BoBs had tried to put up here to keep us out of the next area, I guess.

The next area allows us to kill more BoBs ... does this make you happy? That includes some that are on higher platforms, which are actually later parts of the level – it’s quite a stark diagonal line here on the map that divides these areas, and I guess one might be able to grenade jump up there instead of doing the honeycomb stair puzzle?

We jump across the river again to find yet more BoBs; there’s also a suspiciously shaped recess in the wall, but no, it’s not a terminal. Then there is an ammo cache – fusion batteries and some magnums, which I guess would be handy for dual wielding; I haven’t actually noticed if the BoBs here drop weapons. And the ammo is at the bottom of a narrow staircase in the level’s hex design. It leads to a ledge where BoBs seem to be shooting at potato anuses – actually that seems to happen a bit around here ... odd. And with that it seems like we hit a dead-end, but the map clearly shows the stair puzzle just out in the sewer. This part of the river is separate from that where we started, but I still don’t think there’s much else to be found in it.

The stair puzzle requires us to ascend around a central pillar, with really just one annoying jump where one tends to hug the centre too much. Then we repeat pretty much the same thing, higher up, and find ourselves jumping across to the higher area we looked at not long ago, behind that diagonal line. From here we can get to the way to the final room, but there is a platform in the middle of the sewer that needs to be raised to make things easier; as Narcogen showed, a grenade will do the trick if needs be. Instead, we’ll go through the other narrow opening and on to an even more annoying set of hex stairs, with BoBs shooting at us from ... somewhere, seemingly through a platform! If we make the climb up the right hand side, there is almost an illusion of safety, as there is no sign of BoBs ... until we drop off the edge and suddenly get hit through their little window to the left! Of course, once we know about it, it is we that do the hitting, but it is a hell of a trap.

This particular area is otherwise empty, with a couple of doors that really make me want to know what is behind, and only one switch, to open a door up to those BoBs from the window, and more BoBs, and boy are they quick on the draw. I just now thought I had made it to the 2x charger, before getting finished off by the last man standing. So yeah, there’s a 2x charger! And a pattern buffer. And a switch. The switch. It raises that platform in the sewer that lets us across to the final room, and it represents a race against time that is easy when you know how, but can be kind of a pain, requiring another honeycomb puzzle run and good directional awareness. The reward is another pattern buffer, and a switch to open the door to the final room.

Not sure if it’s this switch or something earlier, but at this point, if we take a long swim and head back to the jump teleporters, the b-side becomes a secret c-side, something that records never had, and that takes us to the secret room and all those goodies, including a flamethrower!

Of course, heading back like that does mean we have to repeat the switch race, but hey, that’s worth it :). Also convenient as the BoBs in the final room seem quite keen to come up the stairs towards us, and the flamethrower seems to be quite keen to light up those stairs as we descend!

Then a few shotgun shells and a shotgun, a view back to that first room with BoBs, and the final terminal. A puzzlier level than we have had recently – well not really, Eat the Path was fairly puzzly, especially the secret way; it has just been a while for ToD. On which point, I’m not sure about the status of the next level. PS, could you please post here or email with your intentions of doing it or not? I’m quite happy to do the rest at this point, and get ready for whatever comes next. I had a plan to do Tempus Irae, but not sure about the interest it would generate, and I don’t have what I need to get full pictures of some of the maps.

Anyway, that last terminal:

Some further insights into just what Tfear has planned for the humans, and us, “our kind”. The Empire before the Self! And again, the details on where we’re going next are totally accurate ... maybe it would have been nice to have had Tfear commanding us all along!

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Replies:

Tour of Duty: One thousand thousand slimy thingsMartin 8/12/14 1:56 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty: One thousand thousand slimy thinHokuto 8/12/14 9:38 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty: One thousand thousand slimy thinVikingBoyBilly 8/15/14 10:52 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty: One thousand thousand slimy thinMartin 8/15/14 12:41 p.m.

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