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Tour of Duty: Theatre of Pain
Posted By: MartinDate: 11/30/15 1:02 a.m.




Tempus Irae
14
Theater of Pain

Last time on Tour of Duty we were indeed on a boat, and it was rather claustrophobic making. Not only were the colours really good at hiding openings and such, but the ambushes from both sides made it a panicky place. We did our job and sank the thing, and right at the end there, there was a secret with a 2x shield recharge canister and an invincibility powerup, and those are gold for the start of our level today!

We start in a courtyard with a couple of open doors leading into rooms, and of course more of the courtyard on the other sides. We are soon joined by Troopers and Fighters, and as we explore out a bit, Hunters and Enforcers shooting us from behind windows. They are a right pain here, but we hopefully have some SPNKR ammo left to sort them out.

There is quite a bit to deal with before we get to our first Pattern Buffer, so don't be surprised if you find yourself back on that boat again many times. Apart from anything else, it is not exactly obvious where we have to go here. There is a staircase that leads us to some ammo, a 2x shield recharge canister, and a locked door that wants a key. There are some Drones and a Cyborg a little further on through the courtyard and into a hedge area, and if we follow this path to its end, there is a switch that doesn’t seem to do anything we can work out.

Back a bit there is a raised area with a small sewage pond and a sewagefall behind it! To the right against the wall is a platform that keeps rising and falling, and we can take it up there. Then sinking in the sewage teleports us to the top of the sewagefall, to some ammo, and the ability to drop down on a ledge in the wall to the right. Carrying on along it, we can also jump across to the tops of the hedges. Walking around this area causes a wall to start opening, further along the ledge we were on, and that's where we’re headed next.

Let’s have a look at that in the context of the map.

The main thing that stands out there is the round area to the northeast, but we’re a ways from that still. We have so far travelled northwest across what really is a reasonably uneventful courtyard, as far as the map is concerned.

Now down a large tiled staircase, a whole lot of Pfhor are waiting. Waiting for a SPNKR to the face! This room is walled with tiles with Latin words that I think we have seen before; through the next switch controlled door is our first Pattern Buffer, along with several Pfhor bearing down on us, and the door happily closes behind us. Yes there's a switch on the other side also, but still, it was clearly meant as a bit of a trap. At least now we're saved!

This room seems like a dead-end. The door at the far end won’t open; what looks like a door on the wall opposite the Pattern Buffer won’t open … but it doesn’t make sense to have a door there, and those rather decorative walls to the sides look a bit suspicious, and even more so on the map! Indeed, actioning the left one reveals a switch. Grenading that opens the right wall, revealing another switch, and this time it opens the door … not the nonsense one, but the one at the far end of the room. Now, I don’t care who you are: that is an awesome lock mechanism.

Not far past that door, we come to our central hub for the next little while, and also the site of the secret exit to Never Satisfied, which I’m going to have to actually finish now, obviously! The hub is a courtyard with walls to the east and west and behind those, two doors on each side, as well as Troopers ready to pounce, and a fair share of Pfhor in the middle to boot. To the north is a door that doesn’t open, and a switch beside it that doesn’t open it, but opens the northeast door off the courtyard instead.

It leads us to a more round courtyard that is just too quiet, and there is a switch on the reverse side of a wall that we have to go around to enter the courtyard. Surely nothing could go wrong in hitting that switch, right? Au contraire! Suddenly the outside of the courtyard turns into stairs, and two openings reveal Pfhor including Hunters and Enforcers – a nasty trap at higher difficulties. And what’s more, the stairs are all out of our reach, until a platform descends opposite the switch, revealing a whole lot more Fighters and another opening. When they are all cleared out, we find that where the Enforcer was is a dead-end; where the Fighers were leads to a door that doesn’t open, but does supply some ammo, while the north opening leads us around to the west, past a Pattern Buffer, and to a small room just north of our main courtyard, pretty much just spitting us out back into it, through the door that wouldn’t open, and even now only does so temporarily via a switch, and can’t be propped open.

Now the southwest door off the courtyard is open, but it closes behind us, or at least a platform replaces it when we go through it; the texture from the courtyard side is different. Behind the door go down a corridor around another courtyard, getting a small preview of it through a window, a small sewage pool its main distinguishing feature. A door stands between us and the courtyard, but for a change, it opens, and can be propped open obediently, via the switch just next to it. When we actually enter the courtyard, we cannot be surprised to find that things change – to the tune of Drones from the pool, some Fighters, and a Blue Hunter! A slightly off-key tune if you ask me!

An opening leads us into the Theatre for real, with stone aisles on the sides of uncomfortable looking stone bench seats, and a wooden stage with curtains to the left and right. Tonight’s performance stars an Enforcer, and there’s a Hunter somewhere waiting in the wings … or was he an usher? It’s a nice touch and they really did have fun theming this scenario. The backstage doors both just simply open, it’s quite a miracle really! And backstage there is a Fighter and some ammo, not the most obvious of props! A switch on the wall heading back towards the stage opens a door next to it, revealing some stairs to up above the theatre, and clearly they didn’t want actors leaving, because straight ahead at the top of the stairs, there’s a Juggernaut through a window!

We can look in on him, but we can’t join him in his space, so I’m quite happy just to let him be – although it is a rather large room on the map to leave inaccessible! A door to the right takes us back downstairs, and back to the room north of the courtyard, to be spat out there once again – I guess that’s why the PB was nearby. And, you guessed it, our next door is now open, to the southeast.

Viking pointed out to me that there is actually a terminal on this level, and perhaps it is somewhere in that inaccessible area? Or is it just a technical thing? It speaks for itself pretty well, but leaves me wondering what about the Pfhor ship levels in M1? How are they treated in A1?

We head down a few stairs and enter a room with a few Pfhor. Two doors to the left take us into a large hall, church-like but nowhere near as grand as others we’ve seen. The ambush that awaits is quite grand though, including two Blue Hunters and various Troopers. When all is said and done, switches to the left and right of the altar open corridors with another switch each – in coop I guess you could do this in synchrony, like the keys for activating Skynet. The end result is the rise of a platform above the altar, a bit more innocuous than the rise of the machines.

It is harder to time the jump for that opening than I remembered. You need to take a run up, hit the stairs and leap to the altar, just as we did for a secret on Downward Spiral. Then the jump still seems to require a bit of side-stepping, or just several attempts, at least. Carrying on,, we follow a corridor to a door, with a switch that doesn’t let us hold it open – there is no going back, a point which can seem rather confusing given that the next area holds rather a headscratching puzzle. First though, we get a Pattern Buffer and some health and ammo, also starring some Pfhor, oh and the key for that door back at the start of the level … kind of. And then a courtyard with a Juggernaut. Just what we’ve always wanted!

Once he is downed, we find that the courtyard is rather empty. At the far end to the left there’s a switch to open the door at the far end to the right, and going to the switch spawns one Projectile Fighter, but that’s about it. Through that door is a room packed with Pfhor, and then another with more including a Juggernaut, and a central pillar that houses the earlier mentioned puzzle. The only way forward from this room is a locked door, and when I first reached this room, I just didn’t get it – I went back to earlier parts of the level trying to find a switch somewhere; I’m not actually sure whether -that- would have been a more acceptable path to success than what I found out was the actual one courtesy of these here Internets.

The pillar has a slightly flickering face to the southeast, higher up, and it is actionable even from ground level, revealing an L switch, which opens the door! So irritatingly simple, but so nasty at the same time, and a complete freeze on progress – but an intentional one, not like the slightly buggy door in the non-secret level that follows this one. Oh yes there is also a secret way to leave this level, and while we’re here, we can trigger the ability to access it by grenade jumping ourselves up onto the ledge of the pillar … but that’s fine as it is supposed to be a secret!

Once we’re through the door, we pass the other side of the keyed door from early in the level, without noticing it at all, and then hook back up to the big door we opened from the window ledge quite early on. With key in hand we kind of know where we’re headed, and it doesn’t take long. The door doesn’t actually open; rather our exit teleporter is revealed in the wall just over to the right. The secret exit is via the fourth door from the level’s central courtyard, and the teleporter there opens in the right wall at the end of a short corridor. And that leads us to Never Satisfied, which clearly refers to the puzzles, because that level is just rife with them!

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Replies:

Tour of Duty: Theatre of PainMartin 11/30/15 1:02 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty: Theatre of PainGeneral-RADIX 11/30/15 4:47 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty: Theatre of PainVikingBoyBilly 11/30/15 6:05 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty: Theatre of PainMartin 11/30/15 3:38 p.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty: Theatre of PainVikingBoyBilly 12/1/15 7:22 a.m.

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