|Eternal Tour Chapter 1 Stage 1 Part 2|
|Posted By: Lion O Cyborg||Date: 4/24/19 1:58 a.m.|
Forward: I've had to split this up due to hitherto unknown post length limits on the story page, which weren't an issue in the PID Tour. I may have to do this for the next part but either way, I will have to split future writeups into three stages instead of two: up to the fork, failure plank and then success plank.
We return to our scheduled programming.
Act 4: Sekhmet Rising
This map’s title is mis-spelled as Sakhmet rising. I return to the Marathon on the outer hull, where I have to fight off a hunter, trooper and some pfhor drones.
Hey, it’s Tycho! Not the evil, Pfhor clone Tycho we are familiar with, the original Tycho.
Hathor double crossed me. This is the first of many times you can make a choice. I can choose to believe in her and keep going, or I can side with Tycho and try to stop her, assuming he is even right. So far, I will side with her. I don’t want memories of last night’s IRL sleep terror regarding KAP to come true. I’ll go into detail on Tycho more when we return in Act 1 of the next part.
Anyhoo, here’s the map.
We want to ultimately get into those towers on the east and west sides and smash some circuits. For now, I will head north and ask Hathor what the hell she was playing at. The full map will be covered in the next part, in the success plank.
Cheet... I mean Kri…I mean Hathor did take me back as her 5D copy in this world on Third Earth. This copy is different to KAP and isn’t even human; she’s a Kaminari. The real KAP reminds me of a lifelike version of this Kaminari, only human. That is one major reason I love her. The other is because she is kind, and sweet, has a soothing voice and all of those combined in kind words she had for a fan map I drew in school of Eat the Path when it was unfinished.
That led to me finishing it and she is still to see the fruits of her labor to this day. It makes the misunderstanding all the more heartbr…Excuse me, I’m rambling again. Must be the duotine I was given on K’lia. Hathor is right, we are humanity’s betters. Once she punishes them for what happened, we can let them repent by using the Junction to create a happy new world for them. We need not trouble them again; we can become King and Queen of our own personal dimensions. Or better than King and Queen: Human God and Lion Goddess, as the latter is the messianic title I give to KAP/Hathor.
The Marathon’s engineers plans for Durandal really bit them in the arse. Maybe Bernhard was intending Durandal to become a metastable rampant he could use after his takeover or before, whichever came first but didn’t count on him going to the angry stage and calling the Pfhor.
What I also find amusing is that Hathor notices that Leela is scrambling information to confuse the pfhor but ends up just confusing herself and the crew. That must explain the trash terminals all over the ship. The strange one on Never Burn Money –not the Gherrit White terminal, the other one- may be Hathor’s fragment, which she said was implicated in Bernhard’s MIDA mutiny. There was also a hex terminal too in Act 1 I forgot to mention. Does extracting it and fiddling with it reveal anything, like M2 & M3 did?
I say now that Eternal’s music by Craig Hardgrove (and others whose names I forgot) is another major strength of the game. The latter two games have great atmosphere but getting rid of music altogether except the main theme was a huge mistake. Eternal has both music and Marathon 2/Infinity ambience like the latter two games should have done to begin with. I wasn’t able to get the Marathon 2 music to work in the M2 95 map Lia gave me, despite putting the right songs in a tracks folder in the M2 directory and everything. Maybe I just set it up wrong, but that doesn’t matter right now. I hope I get it right sometime.
Eternal uses Craig’s Halo-esque classical remixes of the Marathon 1 tracks and adds three songs that combine with Halo tracks, one of which only plays once in the game near the end and is my favourite track in the game, helping calm me as the map in question is damn hard.
Eternal X Omega added some unique tracks too which spiced it up even further, and 1.2 adds some M1 tracks that didn’t appear before: Unwired used to use Durandal’s theme (i.e. Guardians) but now it uses What About Bob, whose Craig remix here I know as the ASE Podcast theme.
Some fighters are on the opposite side of the start terminal, one of which gets clobbered by hunter shots as I fight the other blue ones outside the little vestibule. The pillar has a pair of switches on it, one controlling the nearby lift to the balcony. The balcony doesn’t go around all the way and the west door is locked, so I head back down through an east door instead. This leads to a health station and two troopers in a small room with a switch. A third trooper guards the switch into that room and the room’s switch opens a secret door north of the lift on the balcony. Inside is a mysterious grey S’pht. I thought those were just corrupt, glitchy dream ones remembering being dead in another world (ala Bioshock Infinite, my interpretation of the greyed out monsters in the dream levels), what’s going on here?
Just beyond is a chasm with a broken walkway going up. The breaks are just wide enough to sprint of faith over. There’s a trooper, S’pht and hunters at the top as well as the first pattern buffer of the map. Another switch down a small bunker raises a lift between the second gap and opens the south door, letting in some blue fighters, which are really annoying as my shields are down.
After healing, I come to a large “square” with what I think is the transponder down below. The northeast door leads to a small area with 1X shield & save stations and some fighters and wasps. I’ve largely been leaving out my deaths but I got creamed several times by the fiddly little bastards before I could run back to the health terminal, as they would ambush me if I went for shields instead.
A nearby switch lets me into the room. This four-way chamber is the most recognisable part of the map other than the transponder square, as it goes up to 9 units and you come back to it now and then as each quarter of the centre lift becomes active. I notice there is lava in the pits behind the walkways that wasn’t there before.
Hunters ambush me on the first landing. There’s 2 doors on this floor. The left one goes to a hall with a locked door and flickering lights. The right one leads to a pattern buffer and the next switch, at the top of some switchback stairs.
This opens in the seizure hall not the locked door, but a secret hive of both the bugger and data variety. Bob in here is doomed. It seems to be brand new, as I think the previous full versions just had a weird blocked ledge room with switches in the doorways below those obstructions.
Hitting the switch upstairs, I die again from stepping on a whole conga line of Tau Ceti e’s second worst insect; the giant looker moths. Or are they alien scarabs?
Oh. Nevermind, the weird obstruction room has just been moved. I think. I find those ceilings over the lower rooms to be dumb. It would be hard to set up (as I learned first-hand when trying to make a well and pipe when learning to use Weland), but making a 5D space bridge over the doors by adjusting the vertices of the floor below to fit under a full ledge would make it look less odd. Not sure of the best way to go about it though. The switch up the door at the end is the one that opens the flickering hall door.
The door goes to a labyrinth that leads to a walkway over the transponder, which is still locked and there’s a battle going on. The second of two troopers loses his gun because there’s a glitch in Aleph One that destroys dropped monster weapons if they die on an active platform. Hunters and wasps strip me of my shield and most of my health too.
Now’s a good time to mention never to linger too close to hunters or enforcers as they can punch you in the face now, such a reward from a hunter is how I died next. The switch he was guarding I think opened a door in the transponder room. The lift I came down to the labyrinth is one-way. This means a bit of Marco Polo downstairs once I respawn, thanks to another looker. I get some mileage out of the glance controls for dealing with those pesky wasps and learn you get more bang for your buck with the grenade launcher as it fires faster now and has a larger clip size. Several frustrating hunter and fighters in the exit hall deaths later, I just say “fuck it” and bring out ambassador Sun Gun.
Then I use the scatter rifle for the hallway fighters. Durandal makes his debut as his past self, giving some funny words.
It was possible to miss this terminal and see his actual debut one later on but that’s changed now, as the lift I entered from doesn’t go back and I jumped off the catwalk. Ever since Blaspheme Quarantine and his ramblings once Leela is offline, Durandal became my personal favourite thanks to him being the primary source of Marathon’s Portal style sense of humour and unlike GLaDOS, being a lot less malicious to us than he could be. His god complex, existential stories and desire to escape his own personal hell and the universe itself make him a kindred spirit for me, even moreso in recent years.
And if you still believe he stays behind at the closure of the universe at the epilogue of Infinity, you’re wrong: he only doesn’t escape because he already has. His message came from the place we meet him and Thoth again later, so he has no need to escape a second time as he’s already outside.
The door leads to the upstairs square. Back in the 4-way chamber, lift 2 is now on and there’s more hunters above. The left hall up here is flooded with buggers. North of me down some stairs is an interesting jump. You’re meant to use some steps to get over a low wall which descends afterward but I can just jump over it. I hit the switch past him and take the first of many leaps back downstairs to heal, charge and save.
South of where I was up a second stairwell I find a small pumping station with a switch and missing pumps. This opens the obstruction in the bugger hall that was blocking the junction lift switch.
At the top of the final lift, there’s two hunters, one already dead, a pair of dead Bobs and the right door is locked. The left door leads to a ring of platforms with a switch at the top that opens the right door. It leads to a twisty hall with a switch that opens the west door of the upper transponder square. Just inside I encounter my first Commander hunter.
Unlike their counterparts in Marathon 2, Infinity and possibly other mods, these ones die the same way as other hunters. This commander was a Spec-Ops hunter in 1.1 and possibly 1.0 too. There’s an irritating square arena with two hunters in it I can’t reach and a trooper in the exit hall. This hall teleports in more troopers so I recommend going back for shields if they go down. I take out the hunters in the square by circle strafing and firing staff shots over the barricade.
The hall twists downstairs to a small room with exhibiting fighters and a side room with a pattern buffer, switch that opens the way ahead, 2X shield (3x health) station and past Durandal’s main introduction.
Ahead is the other lift catwalk over the transponder square. The hall down the other side leads through an antechamber full of blue fighters at attention who quickly become a bit upset that their now late superior officer didn’t come back.
Past that are a couple of diamond shaped rooms with pfhor in them. The switch in the flaw on their far side opens the west flaw of the middle diamond. That opens the east one, letting in a bunch of troopers as well as activates a platform hidden in the corner. You need to be quick to get on it, but fighting the troopers used up both my layers of shield and 80% of my health so I return to Durandal’s terminal to recharge.
Up the lift is a welcoming committee of hunters, one or two troopers, and some buggers at the south of the map. The small closet has a terminal where Hathor has a message for us and a lava pit down below. In both past versions, this pit was empty and had lookers in it.
Ahead is a rare tertiary automatic door, beyond which is a lot of hunters, a pair of Commanders among them. I get stuck on the an invisible wall by the linedef of a small pillar near the commanders and have to run away to heal.
The passageway past the commander’s alcove loops around past the other two hunters to a switch that does…something or other. A hidden switch next to the lava pit opens the cupboard with Hathor’s terminal as well as a 1x shield station, pattern buffer and the switch that opens the bulkhead door inside the vestibule above the lava pit.
The transponder square core is just past the lava pit vestibule and there’s still troopers in there. There’s also a commander hunter. The circuits themselves look less complex than the older ones but they still look like circuit boards, more realistic ones I’d say, as opposed to the tangle of wires they normally look like.
Sandbox type? That’s another Mac term, this time something to do with OSX. I have no idea what “sandbox” systems are.
Act 6: Roots and Radicals
This is quite a fun map and Rushing plays, just to make it better. Durandal has some words for us upon arrival.
Hathor isn’t planning to save the future. She wants to eliminate all history.
That last sentence is unintentionally creepy. I don’t want to see any Rule 34 of that, even something non-creepy like Marcus with Leela is pushing it. How does human/AI R34 even work anyway unless the avatar is hard light? A USB in the recharge socket? A Solid State Drive or even a punch card containing replication instructions in the primal pattern input? (Watch out for viruses!)
He gives us his primal pattern, which I believe is not automatically compiling sourcecode like he says, but a memory crystal storage device similar to the one Cortana uses in Halo. (Bear in mind I only know of Marathon because of Halo) Ahead is the Marathon’s bridge, presumably in that Thundercats brand of Aperture Science white painted dish at the bow of the ship.
That green thing is a radar screen. I have no idea what the buttons and gauges are. The Emergency Systems Broadcast from the very beginning of Marathon 1 was sent out from here, as we see when we access the terminal located next to the main view screen.
Traxus IV type AI you say? Was Durandal born of leftover Traxus IV code after he went rampant? Anyway, a hall some defence drones come out of leads to a switch that opens the door to Durandal’s core. There’s a 1x shield station nearby.
The blown apart bulkhead constantly spawns hunters from the jump pad instead for the defence drones to fight off. In the original Eternal X (1.0), a metric fuckton of troopers spawned in there too, granting a generous wealth of havok rifle ammo. On the upper platform near one of the many light switches, there’s a Bob frozen in his death animation.
Durandal always seemed like a male GLaDOS to me, minus the obvious evil side and his AI core definitely gives a strong Portal 1 vibe. Maybe Bernhard Strauss also intended there to be a red phone nearby in case he went to the angry stage of Rampancy? I flip two switches down the catwalks on either side and enter.
I’m ambushed by dream S’pht upon going up the lift to the circuits and I can see right away that the circuit area is now open to the elements instead of the cramped, forked passages it used to be.
The idea is to open those circuits with switches in the side rooms and smash them. The southern-most passage has 4 switches in a small cylinder, reached by a teleporter whose texture is going crazy. I don’t know how that animation effect was achieved. I saw something similar on the floor in Post Naval Trauma in one of the curving hallways.
The northern-most passage leads up an elevator to a pattern buffer and a switch that opens the north circuit. Smashing it opens the north passage and an adjacent switch. The north passage has a pair of blinking strobe lights by a 1X shield station. It leads to the big switch room I glimpsed near the crazy teleporter.
In here, I expose a computer core. In Heart of Fusion, the linedef for the fence surrounding this core's counterpart is not solid and you clip right through, as will be shown when I get there. 1.1 had this glitch or oversight too. Up some stairs behind me is the switch that exposes circuit South 3.
Hathor contacts me from the terminal in here and she is pissed. By agreeing to revive Durandal, I appear to have voided our deal. She storms off and tells me that once she’s ravaged humanity with the other battleroids, she might come back for me once I’ve had some time to cool off, treating it as a strained couple “having a break” to borrow a Friends term. She doesn’t hate me nor intend any ill will; she only wants me to sit on the ship and think about what I’ve done.
Back on the bridge, Durandal activates and gives me a curt “I told you so”.
I don’t hate Durandal. He has been a pain back on the Marathon before, but that’s a bygone now, as past Durandal will soon see.
Unlike SHODAN, I appear to know Durandal enough that I know he won’t betray me. With that, we depart the Marathon through the junction. Cue TARDIS dematerialise sound from the Hartnell era.
Act 7: The Tangent Universe
Hey, you must be kidding! I’m dreaming now, so that’s only a fake right? No! No, it’s not! The junction induces waking dreams as I travel, which is how I was able to die in the Marathon Infinity dreams, so this is real for me.
That is a Trih Xeem. Even if the W’rkncacnter inside Earth does not get released, the Sol system is fucked anyway, as Sol itself will be destroyed. They even mention the Jjaro by name, after they first appeared in Pathways into Darkness, or rather, its manual. Wait…they told us to guard our sun. Does that mean…No, it couldn’t.
The Inti Station failure level dreams are more or less the same. Here’s the guided tour for now. Near the terminal is a window looking into the hallway further on, and another observation deck is nearby. The hellish glow of Sol’s plasma, KAP/Hathor’s vengeance creeps into one passageway to another terminal, which is mostly disabled in the majority of those levels.
Thankfully, I appear to have dodged Hononosaiyaku, for now. I still do not know what that fire truly is.
South of here is a generation with a health station built in. Next to the generator room is a pattern buffer. Make a note of where this is as on future visits, YOU WILL NEED IT, Especially in older versions of Eternal. Bobs of both flavours are scurrying about and I find you run pretty fast when dreaming. There’s some kind of weird fisheye effect too, like I have a constant Extravision armour ability chip.
Downstairs near the hanger, is a bunch of corpse drawers like you’d find in a morgue. One of them is open. The mipmaps/bumpmaps let me admire the now 3D letters on the open drawer. On the south of the morgue hall, I go up some stairs and cross a bridge to the hanger. This connects to another observation room. This contains a locked airlock, oxygen station, some shutter switches and a nearby room with a pattern buffer and the switch we need to access the other wing.
This room is also a godsend later on, and is a stone’s throw away from a 1x shield station. I have to sacrifice a Bob to get a defence drone to move and let me into the umbilical.
There’s a pair of nodules with breakable circuits beyond and the final terminal of this plank. Present day Durandal and Thoth contact me there.
Durandal has left the universe and indeed become a god. Outside the universe is where he and Thoth live now, in the Macroverse. One is effectively immortal out there. There are no laws of physics, chemistry or biology to stop you existing and yet you already don’t exist. Such is the nature of the chaos outside. “Sense?” Durandal would crow at this. “What fun is there in making sense? Now, that is.”
Durandal adds to Thoth’s rhetorical question by saying I must. I am warped back in time to Sekhmet Rising. In order to continue, I must follow Tycho’s advice and play the map in full. But that will have to wait for the next part. This was even longer than the last part. Once I get to chapter 2, I'll need to keep a closer eye out for terminal differences besides images as I don't know what they are. The next part also uses 1.1 terminal images in places as well for space as all three were written before posting the prologue, but I will need to screenshot 1.2's terminals more in case there's something subtle I miss.
Tune in again real soon for Chapter 1 Stage 2: Black Acropolis. Don't Miss it!
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