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Tour of Duty: Sodidae, Turpes et Faetidae
Posted By: MartinDate: 7/10/15 2:07 a.m.




Tempus Irae
7
Sordidae, Turpes et Faetidae,
Beyond The Black
&
Repository Five

Last time on Tour of Duty, we ran around the S’pht ship for a change, drained the central core, moved the goo elsewhere in dubious fashion, found an obscure lift, raided and recaptured the bridge, raised the S’pht colours, and checked out via a teasing weapons cache – hopefully remembering to top up 2x shields again just before leaving! We are now treated to a brand new chapter screen, which reminds me very much of the very first Earth level.

That’s right, we -are- now back on Earth looking for a fifth manuscript, on what is a remarkably short level, but can take a remarkably long time because of that incredibly subtle staircase! It is even more of a switch and search level than we’ve seen so far, but we love it, so that’s okay!

We start in a huge courtyard, falling from the sky along with a large number of Fighters, as a whole heap of ammo appears on the ground. It’s all a bit OTT right off the bat! There’s one door out, and it leads into a corridor lined with yet more ammo. Given that we had all that taken off us only two levels ago, we’re doing remarkably well! Around to the left is an SMG and then another courtyard with an Enforcer. A door to the right here puts us in a corridor between this and the courtyard that was to the right from the first corridor we came to, and within is our first pattern buffer, along with a 1x shield canister, and our first blatantly locked door. There are also various door textured walls about the place that never open, just to throw us off the scent, and did I mention there are a lot of courtyards? Let’s take a look.

I had been messing up the spelling in this level – it was definitely in my mind as “turpus”, which is odd as the only thing I can think of like that word is turpentine. This is another one where the 3D render is differently entitled, “The Streets Of Milan”. The spoiler guide gives a quote from a book that inspired the level name, but doesn’t actually name the book. Anyway, as I said, a lot of large courtyards, with no closely-packed people to be seen. Even a few inaccessible ones to house the Juggernaughts we were told were coming at the end of last level – even though now that I think about it, we’ve already seen several in inaccessible courtyards during our adventure! There are also a few tight corridor areas just for kicks, and to hold everything together most attractively as always.

Moving on, the third courtyard has a Cyborg and a bunch of statues, and more Pfhor falling from the sky just to add to the excitement. Around the corner to the far left, or through a door a little closer, or even a third passage even closer, is a large door to another courtyard, large enough to justify three openings I guess, but that did seem odd. This one has a door off to the left about halfway across, but at the moment it only leads to disappointment in the form of locked doors. This courtyard also has the incredibly subtle staircase against the far wall. It shows on the map but without that it really is very well camouflaged! I know I spent a good while on this level the first time around. Just when you think they’ve exhausted their trick book! Up the top is a switch. The first of many. And a shotgun and a 1x recharge canister.

That switch opens the door in the corridor with the pattern buffer – to reveal an Enforcer ambush, some ammo, and another switch … or is it bait? Then we continue to the left, through the second courtyard we hit, and through a passage to yet another one. This time there are stairs leading up to a door, and there are Fighters sniping us from raised platforms on either side. At least it’s not Halo style sniping, but it’s still a pain. And through the door it gets worse with a serious Trooper sandwich! They are definitely best coaxed out of their little hidey holes, which, once the place is clear, are good to check for ammo.

Now we have a room straight ahead with the terminal we’ve been waiting for, as well as a staircase down to the left, and one up to the right. First the terminal:

So we’re in and around the Duomo in Milan, which I saw briefly 11 years ago ... and while Leonardo is taken with the domestic and International influences on the architecture, he’s not stoked about the way people are packed in around the place, making it rather a smelly affair as the spread “pestilential death”, and hence our level name, translated (thanks Narcogen) as Dirty, Dark and Smelly. Now the higher-ups are onto Leonardo for his war machine inventions, but he has moved on to working on flying machines, which he learned about from his shadowy companion! Somewhat ahead of his time!

Next we back out and head down the stairs to the right. A window high up on the far wall allows a Hunter, an Enforcer, and a Fighter to fire at us, albeit not very successfully ... but it's hard for us to return fire as well with the angles involved. We will encounter them for real later on, but it can be convenient to get them out of the way now. Further down the stairs we get a major Drone ambush; retreating back up gets them at a more comfortable height for dealing with.

When we get down the bottom, there's an odd setup. The way straight ahead is blocked, but we can get into sewer passages to the left and right, and get around to behind that blockade anyway. Alternatively, there are switches up on the walls above the sewage that open up the blockade as two large doors, and reveal some Troopers and Fighters, and with seemingly inconsistent spawn triggers, more Fighters and an Enforcer, who doesn't seem to follow the proper Enforcer behaviour of staying in one place once she has seen us. Tut tut. It all makes for some tricky stuff, so it is nice to see a 1x recharge canister in here as well, plus some ammo. And the sewer passages are good for ammo also.

There are two switches here on the back of the central structure. For the left one, the guide only says that it has to be activated to reveal the manuscript, so I'm guessing it might be behind more than one door; I guess I would have to activate the switches in the other order to be sure, and I've messed up the save for that now. Anyway, the right switch is easier to explain; it opens the door at the top of the staircase that goes further up from where we came down. Progress! And while I'm thinking of the guide, it also points out that the sewer passages are 5d space - the only 5d space in the scenario ... surely not? We already spotted some from the 3d renders, hmmm.

So back up and further up we go, and as usual, we attract some Fighters and a Trooper. And more Fighters around to the right, along with a couple of locked or just non-existent doors. A bit further back still to the right from our entry, we find a stairway down to one of the sniping Fighter spots we had to overcome earlier on, which nets us a 1x recharge canister, a shotgun if we need it, and a quick way back to our pattern buffer. Back up top, we can also go further around to get to the opposite sniping platform, via a Trooper, and some windows out to inaccessible areas with some really angry Juggernauts! And there was also a switch on the way, which is the finishing touch on revealing the manuscript, which is just through the only doors we haven't been through yet.

They open onto a red and green tiled staircase with plenty of Fighters ... too much potential for fighting on stairs for my liking, so I run away; I fight to run away! And when all is said and done, the manuscript is now happily revealed in a cubby hole at the top of that staircase, along with an L switch, but actually just picking up the manuscript has an interesting effect - there is a notable door opening sound, and said door is just back out where we came from; one of the ones around to the right ... and it now reveals another pattern buffer, and a bunch of ammo. Handy!

The L switch, meanwhile, opens a door we once sadly found locked, off the courtyard with the subtle staircase. You see it turns out that down the bottom of the red and green staircase, stairs down to the right lead to a dead-end, with a locked door that would open onto one of our earliest courtyards, but just doesn't, and the other way leads back to the subtle staircase one! Through a door that opened at some point but I really couldn't say when. And the newly opened door has the secret exit door just inside it, but it's not that time yet! Instead we follow a path that takes us past the rooms we previously experienced as windows with Hunters and Enforcers, so we see either corpses if we killed them through the windows, or live Pfhor otherwise. This is a situation we get well used to in a couple of levels' time!

The path continues to wind its way between areas we've already seen, and we get some ammo and another 1x recharge canister, and eventually it leads us to a door with its switch right there on the wall next to it. This one stays open, but next up we have a series of doors with equally obvious switches, but on both sides, so they just close after about 10 seconds - which is annoying because these are narrow corridors, and the Projectile Fighters are hard to dodge as such, and now also hard to retreat from because the doors keep closing! Never mind. We end up looking over a new courtyard. There's one last door just beyond, but this time the switch does nothing to it. The guide says it explodes a Juggernaut for effect, nice touch. That door we have to hit from the other side, on the way to the secret exit :). Oh yes there goes the Jugg, it just takes a while.

This new courtyard is a pretty deadly place, with sniping Enforcers, confused Drones, and the odd Trooper, and not much in the way of places to hide. I managed to grenade the Trooper who decided to stand still on the far landing, and then some of the Drones too, and got a few more caught in the Enforcer fire :). There is another door with a swich on that far landing, leading us to very much the last part of the level. A pretty simple corridor - to the left a pattern buffer, and also seemingly a trigger to open the space to the right, wherein we find a switch. It starts a platform descending, eventually even below the sewer level, while a Hunter to the left and an Enforcer to the right do what they can - they are through really small windows and are quite annoying because their firelines cross perfectly!

We descend to find the normal exit teleporter, but as we should have been all along, we check to see if it is also a door, and for once we are vindicated! Stairs lead us to the back of that door from earlier, and to a 2x shield canister. When we get back to the secret exit room, there is even an invincibility powerup waiting for us ... what fresh hell awaits? Well, there's a terminal to tell us!

That's right, we're going Beyond the Black, to a song by Metal Church, apparently. The line that it is known to few because it's dangerous reminds me of a recent safety video on Air New Zealand, the bit about smoking. If you're not familiar, they've done a good half dozen now with different themes, and they're worth a watch :).

And immediately we're pretty glad of that invincibility powerup, beset on all sides as we are by Enforcers and Hunters. They are confined to little corridors behind walls with openings just slightly too high for us to get over, but that doesn't make them any less dangerous. If anything, they're pissed off at being confined! And there are so many of them. We can clear up this area before the invincibility wears off, and we have a moment's peace. But there is more to the level, well, more of the same, around a corner, and then suddenly there are Fighters sniping at us from high up ledges as well - it's a real party ... and that's about it. They're nice enough to give us a SPNKR, but not a lot of ammo for it, and several 2x recharge canisters are strewn about the place, but that's because they are necessary.

At some point our exit teleporter is revealed on one side of a central structure. The map suggests there is an opening on the other side of it as well, but I see no evidence of such. All stocked up on ammo and health, we head out to the book depository!

Yet again there's the fail message, but that's well boring by now.

The success message is also kind of boring. Even the S'pht are a bit sick of this process - "yet another of these manuscripts"! And they've been trying to get through the Pfhor bureaucracy we came to know so well in Infinity, to synthesise a "heavy projectile weapon" - uhh much like the SPNKR we just got in the secret level? I guess the S'pht really don't know about those ones.

So there's much ado about nothing, and I guess we won't be getting that weapon soon in the main story. But we are heading back to Earth, and I for one am looking forward to it!

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Replies:

Tour of Duty: Sodidae, Turpes et FaetidaeMartin 7/10/15 2:07 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty: Sodidae, Turpes et FaetidaeHokuto 7/10/15 3:00 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty: Sodidae, Turpes et FaetidaeVikingBoyBilly 7/10/15 9:32 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty: Sodidae, Turpes et FaetidaeVikingBoyBilly 7/10/15 9:34 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty: Sodidae, Turpes et FaetidaeMartin 7/10/15 1:05 p.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty: Sodidae, Turpes et FaetidaePerseusSpartacus 7/10/15 1:25 p.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty: Sodidae, Turpes et FaetidaeVikingBoyBilly 7/10/15 2:40 p.m.
                             Re: Tour of Duty: Sodidae, Turpes et FaetidaeMartin 7/10/15 2:53 p.m.
                                   Re: Tour of Duty: Sodidae, Turpes et FaetidaeHopper 7/13/15 4:38 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty: Sodidae, Turpes et FaetidaeMartin 7/11/15 8:27 p.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts


 

 

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