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Tour of Duty: Wiping Away The Dirt & Glue
Posted By: MartinDate: 6/3/15 5:59 p.m.




Tempus Irae
5
Wiping Away The Dirt & Glue

Last time on Tour of Duty, we ran around a church with some wonderful stained-glass windows and sculptures, and some pesky Pfhor. We read about golden ratios and honest priests, and we did not get a secret SPNKR because there wasn’t one to get. We ended our journey with some explosions revealing sewer trails, and with the usual somewhat subdued S’pht reaction to our efforts. Now we’re back yet again, to a level actually named for a period-appropriate practice of cleaning paintings. It’s those touches that really make this special. The level names in Halo are positively boring by comparison!

We start in a small room that provides some ammo and a Fusion Pistol as we move forward. And then the enemies wake up. They even detect us from behind the door! This part is a pain for the scratchstarter as Troopers are hard work with fusion, but fun can be had with competing to open and close the door, and hopefully get them to kill each other :). Alternatively, if we just run out the door and head to the right across the open space, and take a leap of faith off the edge as far as we can go, we can solve all our problems!

Again, because we can survive the fall, and I will just take yet another opportunity to say how much I hate edges of the map we can fall off as in Halo. Down there is a moat of lava, and a tracking cyborg patrolling a path beyond it, where we land. If we head right we find a shotgun with some ammo, and a path to a teleporter that takes us back up the top, and on one of two tries just now, the Pfhor had all left this area, so I was also out of harm’s way!

This is also the only way to open the door just behind where we teleport back to. This nets us a 1x shield canister – I’ll use that terminology after the recent discussion here :) – some more ammo, and a switch to open the door again; it’s a strictly temporary one. There are the usual few locked doors in and around this start area as well, very much a staple of Italy it seems. Maybe the humans are hiding behind those ones?

Heading out the one way we can go, we find an interesting phenomenon – the low-flying defence drones we once heard about! They don’t seem to want to fight much – I’ll bite your legs off! – but they are annoying for our aim. Is this odd behaviour to do with the nearby very low walls? Anyway, they are just the appetiser; once we go around said walls, we find ourselves in a bit more of an open area, and being shot at by at least one Enforcer, and maybe a few Fighters for good measure, and umm … maybe a bit low on health!?

To put this in perspective, as ever, here are the map pics:

Huh, the URL for the 3d rendering actually says Sistine Chapel. It looks like there are a few others with different texts also, but we’ll come to those in due course lol. Either way, the 3d isn’t much use here; maybe if we could spin it? On PS’s 2d version, we’ve already covered points A and B, and the question mark point is just weird.

This level definitely comes with a learning curve. One thing I know is that if I run across and just into the opening behind cover pretty much straight ahead, I get a 2x shield recharge canister! That solves one thing, but the scratchstarter is back on fusion now, and that’s annoying. Again in typical style, we’re still a bit away from a pattern buffer, and even for a continuing game, this area poses problems. One thing not to do is head to the nearby door we can’t quite reach, because that reveals more Troopers! If we grenade jump up to it, the room behind does have a Flechette and some ammo, though.

Back the way we came, there are Fighters and Enforcers in an area around what even the online guide calls a ‘lava fountain’. The Fighters will follow us back to our cover near the start, at least. Then we can gradually clear the place out. One step forwards, two steps backwards, and yet somehow it works :).

To catalogue it, heading out from the start, we have two Fighters trying their luck from a high up room behind us, an Enforcer and a blue Hunter concealed in a room off to the right, and further up, a normal Hunter patrolling his garden at point C on the map. Then there are those Troopers, which will also follow us back, and with luck blow themselves up courtesy of the low walls, and then there’s the new area we can actually get into! In there we find more Fighters, oh yes plenty, and various pockets of ammo, and then we are treated to some views of outside areas with Hunters, Cyborgs, and others that we can’t reach. Another staple of Italy, or as the Internet tells me, una materia prima :).

Through a door is an Enforcer, and we gradually clear a loop here, which contains a terminal, a switch, a secret switch, and a secret door that leads to the Hunter’s garden and an assault rifle. First the terminal, with a new login screen, as it were:

Not Da Vinci anymore, but a guy that has been assigned to hunt down his manuscripts for the Venetians … I guess just as we are hunting down his manuscripts for the S’pht! Circumstances are cyclical and all that. And we will all groan under the yoke of Satan, much as the W’rkncacnter groaned under his slab. Da Vinci has been spotted with the shadow of death behind him – oh so it wasn’t just his imagination! Avoid him, but find his damn manuscripts!

Now the switches, which are in the room at point D. The obvious one opens the door to the Sistine Chapel – in the stairwell where we got the 2x shields. If we action the wall opposite, an L button is revealed, and grenading that slowly opens the other locked door right back at the start. So even if one found the button, which is unlikely, one still wouldn’t have found what it did! I found the button thanks to the show all polygons plugin, and had to look up the effect. Was it worth it? Well there was another shotgun, some ammo, and 2x shields, so in that regard, yeah, but I meant was it worth it to have the secret in the first place, if it wasn’t really going to be found? And I suppose it was; sure, it wasn’t as profound as some of the M1 secrets, but hey now I know, and just like with those … I will never forget it. Tucked into the impenetrable brainpan, y’know?

Through the door to the Sistine Chapel, we face more Fighters and Enforcers. Now knowing the secret for another 2x shield iteration, this doesn’t seem so bad, but it is still stressful when we’re still searching for a pattern buffer. After clearing the first room, there’s only one path we can follow as all other doors are locked, and we’re already in Rome, so I don’t know where our road leads! The locked door straight ahead opens a bit later on, seemingly just so that we don’t come back all cocky, as it reveals another four Fighters. For now we can only go through one to the left, and then another to the right, leading us to more Pfhor, and the most important room in the place, at point E, with the absolutely amazing ceiling, which I still don’t know how they pulled off despite having read what it says in the guide notes. I mean that’s just incredible with those map making tools, and the limitations they had to get around.

Walking around up the front, where there is also yet another 2x shield canister, is what opens the door I mentioned just before. OH. I had somehow managed to miss that this also opened the way to our path out of here, just at the back of this room where there was previously a wall. Going through that opening, we’re still on a one-path diet, and finally they were feeling sorry for us, and the one path leads to a pattern buffer. After that it seems like we have more paths, but they are mainly dead ends, or at least locked door ends. Down the stairs beyond the pattern buffer, we come to a room at point F, with a pit of lava, and Fighters and Troopers blast us from ledges beyond. Good thing we have those 2x shields, because we’re going for a swim!

Ahh okay, from a different save I see that the Fighters that are released from the room earlier can take potshots at us as we come towards that lava pit … interesting. Getting to the ledge above it allows us to breathe briefly, because while Pfhor do wake up beyond the door leading out of here, it is switch activated, and only opens briefly. It reveals Fighers, a Trooper, and a Cyborg – which can lead to friendly Pfhor fire, which really is the friendliest of friendly fires!

When the room is clear, we happily find that it has a 1x shield canister and some ammo. The room beyond has the manuscript! That was a little unexpected … we’re not that far in yet. Or maybe we are … 1,500 words in at least. Well, we’ll see. The room also has a switch to the left, which reveals a switch to the right, which seems to cause an explosion, and actually opens a door in the room we just came from. Which takes us to a room of many doors, of which two open – and one leads to a pattern buffer, man suddenly they’re getting soft! But the other door leads to a few open outdoor areas, and they’re why we want to save now.

Behind the first door it’s just Fighters. The second door opens very slowly, and puts us amongst Fighters, Drones, a Trooper, and an Enforcer, in something of an obstacle course as it plays. That bodes ill for our shields, but there’s a 2x canister waiting after we clear the area. The next are is more of the same, and I find the easiest way is to just run on to find the next door. This one has a switch, and only opens temporarily … and then we can’t come back, but equally we can’t be followed. This time we’re in a ring corridor with a central room, wherein an Enforcer, a pattern buffer, and some ammo. It is advisable not to save too low on shields here – for a change we don’t get given a recharge here, and the next room is quite annoying when low, as I found out this time around.

It’s another switch door, which opens onto another courtyard. This time there’s a tracking cyborg, a Hunter, and some Drones. The tracking thing in particular is annoying, but I found I could stand at the door and spray fusion into the room, and eventually kill the Cyborg … important as there is in fact a 1x recharger ready to spawn right near where he hangs out; I just couldn’t survive to get it.

It becomes apparent that this was a no exit route, and so we head back, confused. Also confusing is that there appears to be a ring corridor above the door we came in, but no way of accessing it? to find that another door has opened off the rung corridor – I guess from exploring that courtyard? A slightly odd design choice when there were plenty of good doors we could have carried on through! The new one puts us against an Enforcer and a Fighter, and starts us through a corridor to link back up to earlier parts of the level. That excuses the design somewhat, but why did we have to bother with the courtyard before at all?

This last courtyard sports a cross depressed into the wall. The process of getting out of here is curious … again. Neither of the doors seems to open, but when we move over to the right one, the left one starts opening very slowly. Like Blaspheme Quarantine slowly. Not sure why. There’s a Trooper at the end of the corridor just around the corner, but if we wake him up and then back off, he heads up some stairs instead. And if we go straight to the end and around to the right, we get a 1x recharge canister, and open a permanent link back to the chapel and our first pattern buffer!

It seems that at some point we raised the lava level, as it comes up the stairs here that we originally went down to get to the lava pit – no big deal. Actually it is a bit confusing: from an earlier save it would seem this might have happened with the explosions we heard with the switches just past the lava pit itself. Going back there, it would seem that the platform raised so there is no jumping back over the pit, but somehow the lava got over it in the process, and spread up to these stairs. Thankfully, the little window I observed earlier also got boarded up just in time, so that the lava didn’t spread out to the door into the chapel! Convenient huh?

Heading back to check out other new things, we have stairs that take us up to above some of the courtyard gauntlet from earlier. One way we have to do a lot of fighting on the way up the stairs – that’s where the Trooper headed just before – so I don’t go that way. The other way is most peaceful, and we reach the ledge above our final courtyard before we meet more Pfhor – a Fighter and a Hunter – and then we have the option of hooking up with the top of the other stairs, via a switch door … or not :).

Heading the other way takes us above another courtyard, and there are some Pfhor firing at us from a slightly lower platform, which is annoying. Back slightly, we can also take some further stairs down, and we find that they link back up with our ring around a pattern buffer. Going to the bottom also spawns a 1x recharge canister and some ammo back up on the first landing. It seems that much of this is actually optional, as I just noticed that the door leading to our way out is open – now to find out exactly when this happened!

Gosh, so by the guide, it was way back when we hit the switches past the lava pit! Also, the areas we have seen since then were the cemetery and the morgue, and the rectangular container by the pattern buffer was in fact a coffin – less convincing than the ones on Downward Spiral! Also the one-way courtyard triggered two options of getting to the exit – both of which I have already written about, but from slightly different perspectives.

So the whole thing since the lava pit has been an exercise in survival, plain and simple. Okay then, let’s head back one last time. If we back up from our first pattern buffer, and head past the chapel ceiling room, we find a gap where there was previously a locked door. This leads to stairways down to the left and right, and a lot of Fighters at the bottom. Definitely best to wake them up and run back up, in typical Pied Piper fashion, even if they’re not too keen.

Once they’re clear, we can head further into the room down the bottom, and we come across an innocuous looking switch. After hitting it however, our opinion on that changes. Somehow an Enforcer falls down to behind us, along with various Hunters and Troopers, although we can avoid those by running away! What we find in doing so is that the wall on the other side has been replaced with an opening to a lava column, and on its right is an L button! Finally something simple, this reveals our teleport exit in the wall opposite, and we’re off to hand in again! But we'll do that next time, because the terminal pics haven't been uploaded, and it actually works well as an introduction to the level following. Sorry about all the words.

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Replies:

Tour of Duty: Wiping Away The Dirt & GlueMartin 6/3/15 5:59 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty: Wiping Away The Dirt & GlueVikingBoyBilly 6/4/15 6:41 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty: Wiping Away The Dirt & GlueMartin 6/4/15 10:28 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty: Wiping Away The Dirt & GlueVikingBoyBilly 6/4/15 11:52 a.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty: Wiping Away The Dirt & Gluetreellama 6/4/15 12:02 p.m.
                             Re: Tour of Duty: Wiping Away The Dirt & GlueMartin 6/4/15 1:10 p.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts


 

 

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