Tour of Duty: Downward Spiral
Posted By: MartinDate: 5/23/15 9:23 p.m.

For those of us keeping score, it is now: Perseus 1 - Circumstances 0 :). That's right, the next maps are up, and so without further ado, I bring you:

Tempus Irae
Downward Spiral
Repository Three

Last time on Tour of Duty, we ran around a castle, thinking about how water flows. I wonder what Da Vinci would have made of MC Escher’s waterfall :). We encountered various inaccessible areas with Juggernauts and Cyborgs, including one that has since been pointed out to contain 5d space! And curiously, given that they could have so easily just not had the areas overlapping. Oh well. We finished up in another small maze, and then delivered our second manuscript – now we’re off to a church of sorts, to find a third one.

We start in a courtyard, in the shadow of a huge stone cross that reaches for the sky behind us – this is a really nice implementation, although the spoiler guide describes it as a complete sham – ahh ignorance was bliss lol.

In front of us appears a magnum and some ammo for it, plus some for the shotgun. Beyond is one of those doors that awaits a key. It is another lovely day here in Italy! Unfortunately, as we advance through the courtyard, our admiring of the weather, and of a nice sculpted wall texture around the building with the door, is rudely interrupted by a typical TI-style ambush, in front and behind, with Fighters, Troopers, and Hunters. Plus an Enforcer, in another group through some windows. What a party! At least for the benefit of the scratchstarter, there is a shotgun sitting nearby as well, but really, not the sort of welcome we were hoping for.

The room with the windows is behind another door we can’t open yet. Off to the right is the only one around here that we can! And it leads us down some stairs. This is actually a good place to run to escape all that action up front – tactical retreat! It leads us into the arms of a few Fighters and a Trooper, but there is also a health canister at the top of the stairs, so it is for sure the safer option!

I guess now would be a time to take a look at the map! Ooh it’s a complicated one, and this is where the 3d render really comes into its own, clearly explaining the level name, as well as its apparently being a Nine Inch Nails album – good for them! Just thinking about what Narcogen said regarding the stained-glass windows underground later in the level. The spoiler guide says we start the level on the roof, so I guess it actually has a shot at making sense – we are up quite high by the looks of things. Interesting. The walls are just a bit too tall up there to see parts of the map nearby from the roof. We are near the “top” of both versions of the map, anyway.

There’s also a little map writing crediting the designer; haven’t seen that sort of thing in a while – not polygon writing but labelling … and it doesn’t seem to show up on the 3d render ;).

Back to the action, around the corner to the left there are doors on both sides. The right one takes us to a terminal that reveals itself based on our proximity, and then closes while we read it, but we don’t get kicked out :). I also just realised that I have the power to invert the terminal images just as Narcogen did, so that’s how they’ll be from here on, except with the text still the right way around. This terminal talks of our protagonist’s work on cadavers and thoughts about perfection and the human body. The golden ratio comes from the body? I always thought it had to do with paper sizes…. He’s getting proper suspicious of the priests here, and one can’t help but chuckle at the line about meeting an honest priest. And of course, we fully expect to find that the manuscript has been moved to lower levels! There is also the sound of a crackling fire here, but no other evidence of such….

Back out in the corridor, the door opposite finds us in the company of an Enforcer and some Fighters, in a room with various wooden obstacles, and a switch, which opens a door just outside in the corridor, leading up some stairs. These lead us, via some stairway combat with an angry Trooper, to the room we looked into from the roof. Even if we killed everyone in there through the windows, there is another Fighter ready to teleport in! There’s also some ammo, and the key to that door on the roof, and a switch to get us out of here.

Through that key door is a narrow ledge above a long drop. Some Fighters spawn on the ledge, and we also hear an Enforcer wake up, most annoyingly, down the bottom. This makes the drop quite scary, especially as we haven’t had a pattern buffer here yet! *phew* I got him. But it doesn’t end there! Having taken the drop, we then proceed on more of an upward spiral staircase, find more Fighters, a Hunter, and then some larger rooms of the church, with still more, including an ambush behind us again … not friendly! Thankfully on this playthrough at least, the Fighters got mad at the Enforcer and killed it, and then didn’t try to follow me on my retreat. Equally thankfully, the beam-in sounds as I advanced across the room, were ammo and health!! rather than more Pfhor :).

Here we have the stained-glass windows, and although it makes the building rather tall overall, these ones make fine sense now, and I’m glad I’ve cleared that up in my mind! We could have gone left or right from the top of the spiral staircase just earlier, so now we can either go back or carry on around the block. The other side is much the same but includes a Trooper, and more damned ambushes from behind. Surprise Pfhor FTL! It really is a wonder that I’m so fond of this scenario. At least the health canister is there on both sides as well.

The passage around the back that connects the two side rooms has an Enforcer who just stays put in there, true Enforcer style. I chose to beat him at his own gun. Therein is a door heading back towards the side rooms, revealing an Enforcer, sight of that crackling fire at long last, a Jesus save terminal plus a panel that opens to reveal a more official one – in case we hadn’t worked out the Cross thing? It would have been a real effort getting this far then! It seems this was the Enforcer’s bedroom – what do Enforcers dream of? And finally, there’s a switch that opens a door to … WTH? The corridor with the terminal room – how on Earth did they fit this map together quite so? We fell down a long way, climbed up some stairs, and I didn’t even realise there was enough empty space where we’ve just been to accommodate all that other stuff – and I can’t make it out well enough from the 3d render to see if we’re talking 5d space here again. Never mind. The switch also closes the door again unless you turn it off – one of those – and of course, I forgot and went through it. At least the path to saviour was clear!

Back out in the -other- corridor, there is a door opposite that leads to a proper big downward spiral staircase, and we’re well pleased we are now saved. The Pfhor initially react but then seem to run away down the stairs – at least until we start heading down. The first door on our right reveals a rather empty room, except for the Pfhor – just a couple of Fighters, but they are soon joined by a whole flock coming in the door. When they’re all dealt with, another door takes us further into this distraction, and a well-earned health canister. Thankfully the next door doesn’t open, and doesn’t appear to go anywhere secret either.

The second door, down the stairs further, takes us to a room with obstacles, and a Trooper behind one of them. This is a save after every room kind of place, not least because fighting on stairs sucks, and the ambushes back up the stairs keep coming! This aside is also two rooms deep with a health canister, but while there are a lot of bookcases, none of them seem to hold secrets – aww. The third room … well you get the idea; this time there’s an Enforcer as well, another fireplace, and another cross save. But still no secrets. I recall these guys do like secrets where you have to climb up things, but this room doesn’t have a high enough ceiling, and I’ve got all polygons on the map :).

Our next stop is the bottom of the staircase! This leads to Fighters and Enforcers that aren’t pleased to see us, a keyed door, another that is just a façade, and the entrance to the main church room … uhh, yeah that’s all I’ve got to describe it off the top of my head sorry. More stained-glass windows, lots of pillars, a couple of statues, although no pews to speak of, and far more Pfhor than one might expect. They don’t seem to want to come out though, so we can take potshots from just outside.

At first it is Fighters, Troopers and Enforcers, but we advance through the room expecting more at every step. And more do come, finally when we reach the back corner. This time there’s a blue Hunter in the mix, and we’re supposed to have used the earlier peace to access the secret rocket launcher and 3x health. What!? It’s actually a secret SMG? I was sure there was a SPNKR here, and I was planning to try some exploring from the roof. Oh well, still useful! To access it, you have to run up the stairs in this area and climb onto the raised platform at their top. This opens a door from the ledge around to the right, and if you jump to it around the pillar to the right, you can get in before that door closes. There’s also a pattern buffer in there, so it is definitely useful for the blue Hunter fight, especially with no hidden rocket launcher…. Instead as I had spawned him earlier, I took potshots from outside again, mainly with the shotgun as the alien weapon struggles to get over the little ledge that is right there.

At the other end of the church here we have the confessionals, with some amazing doors that actually spring open – I thought the spoiler guide mentioned those as well, but it doesn’t seem to. Quite impressive with the engine. What it does mention is that this cathedral area – ahh yes, that -is- what it is called – was pretty taxing on many CPUs of the time! It is large, and pretty, and with quite a fight, so not a huge surprise, but always fun to think of such things as being taxing :). It also mentions a secret I missed earlier, in the rear corridor back up top – and now I know that “wainscoting” is apparently the horizontal surface on an indented wall section? Just a small room with 2x health and some ammo – but man, that would have been handy for the stairs!

Back to the point, one of the confessionals also had a 2x health canister, and the other had a key, such that we can open the door back at stair bottom. It leads to more stairs, just in case we were missing them, and then down into the crypt we heard about earlier. More Pfhor, a couple of nicely done tombs, and a wall of text … Latin text. And as we advance towards it, stuff blows up – apparently some tricky nuclear death Ticks, and suddenly there are more Pfhor behind us, and a path into some rather organic-looking underground tunnels.

These run a fair distance, and include a sewer flow, but the main point is for us to work a jumping puzzle, which eventually brings us out to a manmade area again, more Pfhor, and an oddly shaped wall. I’m not sure if it is from auctioning or just running around in the little moat, but the middle section opens, revealing our manuscript sitting in front of a fire – how the hell long has that thing been burning with no one around and no ventilation? Anyway, looking back at the wall with that section open, we see a happy face. There’s also another explosion, this time on the side of the wall of text from earlier. Fighters and Drones lie in wait in another sewer, and finally our Vitruvian Man exit.

Back on board, we can fail again:

But it’s much more fun to get the highest of S’pht praise: SATISFACTORY. OMG, praise overwhelming. We read that the Pfhor Secondary Command Mecha is kind of offline, but it doesn’t seem that important when their primary one is doing just fine!

And now they’re reading our damn travel guide just to make sure they arrive before us … or you know, are in teleport range or, whatever. Back we go again!

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Pre-2004 Posts


Tour of Duty: Downward SpiralMartin 5/23/15 9:23 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty: Downward SpiralHokuto 5/24/15 6:39 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty: Downward SpiralVikingBoyBilly 5/24/15 8:14 a.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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