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PID Tour of Duty Chapter 1: the Great Pyramid
Posted By: Lion O CyborgDate: 7/22/15 2:31 a.m.

Chapter 1: The Great Pyramid

Last time on Tour of Duty, I reiterated the manualís introduction as the prologue to the write-up. Now I begin the game proper. Iím currently writing this up in My Own Private Lhíowon but will be back by the time I post it as thereís no internet up here.

I am playing the OSX port of Pathways into Darkness on an emulator, running on windowed mode to allow me to take screenshots and write this up on Word. (I donít think my VM screenshots will carry over to the main OS)

After beginning a new game we start in the antechamber I was locked in last chapter with my torch already on and staring at a dark hallway.

http://lion-o-cyborg-iii.tumblr.com/image/124501354437

(I couldn't find out how to get the image URL itself after fixing the image size so I've only left a log link here. I thank Perseus Spartacus for fixing the other image URLs.)

Itís still 6:13 according to my watch and it appears that when I click on another window so the view goes dark, the game pauses. I hope that means the clock pauses too or else Iíll be writing these up for in-game hours at a time.

Moving forward, we enter a junction in the middle of the floor: thereís an orange pebble by some red pillars to my left near a rotting Nazi, several bones here and there and a blue glyph in the centre of the room.

I pick up the ammo clip in the corner and loot the body. My messages tell me heís a German soldier as if the red and black swastika on his sleeve wasnít obvious. I canít complain because all adventure games (and some RPGs too) do that sort of thing. Heís got some Walther P4 clips, a copy of Hitlerís Mein Kampf and the pistol itself.

If I click the examine button, I get a nice little description of my items with a little more imagination than most other games. Itís rather bland right now but it picks up a bit later.

I notice they spelt ďAdolfĒ wrong but yeah, I donít know any German off by heart except for ďneinĒ and Iíve more pressing concerns than the Fuhrer ďAHĒĎs struggle. And I donít mean his name if you catch my drift. (Feel free to make a visual Red Dwarf Canít cook wonít cook joke here.) But as a trinket it will do. Into the canvas bag with that!

The view-sprite looks a bit like the Walther from Wolfenstein 3D and the picture looks like the pistol (a different one though I think) from Bioshock Infinite. Also we hear a ďSonic ringĒ esque noise when picking it up and I earn 1 XP for doing so.

Sorry for wasting time. Further on, we have a choice of right or left paths. Going left brings me to a red pentagram andÖ Wait what the hell is that?

I took a bit of damage trying to snap the bugger without the ďshadowĒ problem -due to the view window darkening when I pause- as opening the snipper when unpaused leaves me defenceless and he wanders out of frame before puking what looks like a ball of ass mould at me. (Yuck!).

This guy is a headless: a walking pair of orange trousers with a radula mouth and long tongue where the belt is meant to be. When he fires, he keels over like a pouty duck and spits the aforementioned smelly butt lint (it could just be intestinal bile) and causing Eddings to cry out in pain. You can strafe left and right with the Z and X keys but projectiles seem to still hit you after dodging out of their path sometimes because your hitbox is much wider than you think it is, so either Eddings is very fat or the bile is clipping his ear. It hit me head on in the first two snip attempts so it looked like it was going down his gob. It tastes like Twilight Sparkleís Fílickta maw sweat mixed with a 7 year old jar of Branston Pickle.

Not wasting my valuable ammo, I jab him where his belly should be and he yelps like a chicken before falling down after two hits.

Thereís a ladder in the corner leading up a small round shaft to Lock & Load. We however, backtrack across to the other path past a skeleton to another similar room, but without the headless. The pentagrams like this one and the one in the headless room are the respawn platforms of prototype pattern buffers. (At least thatís how Iíve always seen them anyway)

Sometimes, choosing a good savegame file can be a bit hard in a PID playthrough, whereas in Marathon I just name them after the level Iím on. Here you may need backups mostly because of the time limit, and you donít have many save slots. I think Iíll go with the name of the Marathon mod I was going to make designs for: Path of K.A.P.

Donít expect to see much in the way of this mod anytime soon as Iíve barely started drawing concepts and just so far been thinking about both them and story in my head. It was inspired by Pathways and the Binding of Isaac: Rebirth while influenced by both personal events and dreams and nightmares of my own but if I do eventually get around to building for it, I would have to use Aleph One instead of Torch due to both Torchís limitations and the fact the Windows version isnít out yet. (Not 100% anyway).

So, taking the Ghostbustersí advice, we climb up the ladder to the next floor: Never Stop Firing.

Already thereís a save rune in front of us and the silence is unnerving. There are no footsteps but I know whatís around those corners.

I didnít have time to dodge the bile before it hit me but the second headless did accidently shoot the first one as I ran up to them so the first one only took 1 hit. They sometimes appear to still need an extra hit if you stab them and then theyíre shot by other monsters, though friendly fire can still finish them off for you.

Like in Marathon, you have glance controls for peeking round corners; the Bungie equivalent to Thief and System Shock 1 and 2ís leaning controls. They are Shift+ left or right which meant I could glance right just in time to see and dodge another puke ball.

Saving in a new slot, I proceed down some more headless infested corridors, dodging their puke and smirking when they hit one of their mates. Thereís no infighting in Pathways but monsters can still hurt each other at least.

I canít say much about the level design in this game other than how it looks: itís a set of repetitive mazes with automatic stone doors and some puzzles, plus the very rare hidden warp zones to bypass certain other floors like in Super Mario Bros, so I apologise if my write-ups appear too simplistic, and donít have too many screenshots as half the game is made of those hallways.

What makes it memorable unlike Wolfensteinís level design is the kind of puzzles or routes you have per floor, the chilling, silent atmosphere especially when playing late at night in a dark room as well as a better variety of textures. Tell, me, what was your favourite Wolfenstein 3D level: the blue, wooden and grey titular castle, the red, purple and grey bunker or the yellow and grey castle?

Despite no actual difference in level design i.e. one floor levels and a limited amount of wall angles, it at least feels like a multi-levelled structure especially as you can go up and down between floors Ultima underworld stairwell and System Shock 1 elevator style as you please whereas Wolf 3Dís lifts served as level exits only.

Rise of the Triad at least had elevators that moved around sideways or at minimum behaved like teleporters as well as Gravitational Anomaly Disks that served as gondolas, lift platforms, stairs, walkways, toboggans for the guards when they got bored etc.

Here, we currently have the green cobblestone and grey smooth stone floor and ceiling textures of the pyramid proper. The door to our left here opens when you pass; leading out to the middle path of the three we could take earlier. I chose the right but you can start with Whatever You Please. There may still be headlesses hiding in the middle path that can ambush you when the door rattles open.

I also keep running over green rocks as Bungie hid ammo clips under them i.e. layered behind their sprite and also in little alcoves to the side of the halls. I just lay down for a bit in one in them as my health was a bit low and was woken up a minute later by another headless and Iím now at 1.4 HP. A couple of uneventful corridors later, we run into an undead skeleton in a fancy headdress:

The game calls them zombies but theyíre clearly skeletons. Like the headless and other monsters, he looks like heís goose-stepping as he walks because they were all hand-drawn on paper and colored in Photoshop instead of Doomís (and possibly Marathonís) method of digitising clay and metal models.

Maybe one of those Nazi corpses came back, went native and is trying to impress the saucy former Egyptian princess several floors down by practicing his ďFunny WalkĒ. Except sheís a ghast so pepper spray will be the least of his worries if she gets offended by him. ;)

While unlike the skellies in Minecraft he has no longbow, he does however chuck pieces of himself at me which sting a little. He throws one as I unpause but I kill him in time with my pistol and findÖ

Öthe menís bathroom. Pulling the chain flushes the pan and spawns monsters we wouldnít encounter until Feel the power. Thereís another one in the womenís bathroom down the left path and pulling both lets us into the disabled toilets in the middle path where upon flushing that one, the many oozes combine into a giant shoggoth (sloppoth?) who proceeds to sing an opera eulogy at us of ďShit day AriaĒ:

It actually opens a door in the middle path partway, but not enough to actually enter; we need to pull both chains to get in.

* * *

In writing the rest of this, from here, Iím sorry this has taken a while but after writing the above passages and coming back home, Iíve recently been sick with a stomach virus and Iíve spent the last couple of weeks recovering. I currently write this section at home after wasting some time playing the Binding of Isaac Rebirth. (On top of image URL trouble)

If you can imagine a top-down 2D version of PID with similarities to the original Zelda and a difficulty curve so steep it loops around Earth and Sol before ascending into the blackness on space, and dropping nukes on anyone who dares to climb it except people who are forced to hack the game in order to win, thatís pretty much what Isaac Rebirth is like.

Sparing you guys the details, I work my way back to the chain with slightly more health than last time and pull it. I now find I will have to use the Save Anywhere cheat occasionally if I die and reload too much. I donít normally do this unless its dinner time and my pork chops arenít going to eat themselves; but itís more for preventing me trudging back countless times just to continue the write-up.

The noise mentioned in the messages is actually audible but definitely not faint. Itís the sound of both the chain clanking and the door in the middle path opening. I think it echo's as well but I can't be sure. I walk back to the middle path door; we can use that as a shortcut back to the save rune.

Iím ambushed by a headless after saving but I dodge his shot and drop him. Now I take the left path through some twisting hallways with more squid chickens and pass another door. This one connects to another part of the left path but a second door just past it links back to the middle path again.

A headless approaches from around the corner and the door opens when I pass it. Like the other one, there may still be more headlesses hiding in the middle path. I found one on the return journey from the right so maybe I got them all.

Just around that bend I find the other side of the outer path door. There, I find a couple of Walther clips among some bones in two side rooms; each guarded by a headless. The second one comes to investigate when I kill the first. More twisty headless halls later I find yet another outer path door and a crossroads just beyond.

The left path is just a side room as the right path eventually loops back around. A tag team of two headless jump me as I start down it: the one in the side room shoots but I dodge and kill it only to just barely avoid being lint-balled by the one at the end of the hall. More wanderings later I kill two or three headless and a skeleton before finding the second chain.

I go to sleep (uninterrupted this time) before pulling it in order to heal. I couldnít get a screenshot of the dialog box so I may have to cheat and add it in from the PID story page. (Post writing, I've just looked for it in the Story Page's image page but I can't find the image page so I can't show it. Sorry.)

After pulling it and with full health; I walk back through the outer path doors to the inner path door to the middle, stopping to grab the ammo clip I missed in the side room earlier. There was another headless in there when I arrived so either there were two all along or the first one respawned.

And now, I walk up the middle pathway (into darkness) passing some pillars and bones, fighting headless and picking up more clips. The middle path weaves more tightly than the others and there are a lot of headlesses here. Finally I find the door we opened with the chains, guarded by four headless and a skeleton.

After all that trouble, we enter the columned room inside and find the yellow Isfet Crystal.

We earn 2 XP for finding it and now we can talk to corpses. That stiff on the ground floor should be a good start. We return down the middle path to the ladder and climb down again before saving.

Now itís time to use the yellow crystal. Currently I stand on the Naziís body.

*clears throat*

CATO. MATA. AMUTADRESPTGHDFLISGHLIDFHGKIDS!

I ask him about the jungle but he waves away the question.

Maybe he had a bad time outside. This is the Mexican rainforest, although look how coming in here helped him.

So, anyway, urmÖ Mr amnesiac German; since youíre dead do you mind telling me what happened?

We will be hearing a lot about Muller from most of these guys before meeting him underground. However we canít get underground because the two doors are locked. I ask about the doors.

Playing an instrument in a certain way to open catacombs/dungeons? Maybe some of the Nintendo team behind the first 3D Zelda were Macintosh gamers. ;)

I can ask him about the blue rune but it isnít necessary. He doesnít say anything else so letís leave him and go to the left ladder room again.

Before I leave, letís show everyone the map of the last floor we were on courtesy of Perseus Spartacus:

I wonít show an image of the Ground Floor just yet as we canít yet explore the whole map until after we use the Alien Pipes.

Thanks to everyone who put up with me and my errant ramblings, and Iíll give you more errant ramblings in Chapter 2 of the PID Tour of Duty. I will definitely be tackling Lock & Load but there is the Mario dilemma in They may be slow afterward.

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Replies:

PID Tour of Duty Chapter 1: the Great PyramidLion O Cyborg 7/22/15 2:31 a.m.
     Re: PID Tour of Duty Chapter 1: the Great PyramidVikingBoyBilly 7/22/15 10:39 a.m.
           Re: PID Tour of Duty Chapter 1: the Great PyramidLion O Cyborg 7/22/15 10:46 a.m.
     Re: PID Tour of Duty Chapter 1: the Great PyramidVikingBoyBilly 7/22/15 1:07 p.m.
           Re: PID Tour of Duty Chapter 1: the Great PyramidLion O Cyborg 7/23/15 1:33 a.m.
                 Re: PID Tour of Duty Chapter 1: the Great PyramidPerseusSpartacus 7/23/15 8:14 a.m.
           Re: PID Tour of Duty Chapter 1: the Great PyramidBob-B-Q 7/23/15 5:36 a.m.
                 Re: PID Tour of Duty Chapter 1: the Great PyramidPhiltron 7/23/15 5:43 a.m.
                       Re: PID Tour of Duty Chapter 1: the Great PyramidMartin 7/23/15 1:17 p.m.
                             Re: PID Tour of Duty Chapter 1: the Great PyramidPhiltron 7/23/15 3:48 p.m.

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