|Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 4 Stage 1
|Posted By: Lion O Cyborg
|Date: 11/25/20 4:11 a.m.
Chapter 4: Legacy Stage 1: Mighty Philanthropy
Act 1: Pfhor Far Lamm
Last time on Tour of Duty, we finally reunited with Leela and made the S’pht Kr in the past call off the attack on the Pfhor at Lh’owon in the past. Not before leaving instructions to them and Thoth to return once the events of Marathon 2 play out that is. However, Hathor was reanimated and defragmented by the S’pht while I was on ice. She begged me just to let her have her revenge else I will somehow kill even more people both human, Reshep cats and alien than she would which is somehow related to the copy of Kingdom Valley floating above itself and the Soleanna bay in that strange mixture of sky and rough ocean.
Leela has also been to the macroverse, learned what it is and saw failure dream from that chapter. She concluded that if we don’t stop Hathor, she will go insane. While dreaming of the aforementioned floating valley, Durandal and Thoth gave us a detailed explanation as best as they could as to what an W’rkncacnter is and how the universe will function if even one is free.
Now, we’ve chased Hathor to another time period in another part of space. Currently we find ourselves on a Pfhor ship.
“Far far inte far far lamm” In Swedish, far means sheep. “Far” is pronounced the same as “pfhor” or Fore. Far can also mean “get” Don Martin Antell 2001
The map name comes from an old Swedish joke; Far, får får får? Nej, får får lamm. “Father, do sheep beget sheep? No, sheep beget lambs.” Thanks TV Tropes!
A throwaway reference in Marathon 2 during For Carnage, Apply Within is now a major plot point: This is the Drinniol rebellion, which serves as a good excuse to give the hulks more screentime and look at how they fit into the Pfhor’s slave ranks a little more, like the S’pht got.
There’s a pattern buffer, 1X shield charger and an oxygen charger in the room I start in. The small hall to the west leads to a T-junction with a trooper and a pair of fighters fighting a hulk.
Let the hulk deal with the lizards if necessary. Just avoid it though as they appear to see us as enemies right now, presumably thinking we’re some kind of new Pfhor terminator. I head north from hear through a little green room with a hunter in it. This leads through a couple of similar rooms past some small booths overlooking where we started to a large chamber with a big machine covered power conduits textured like the thundrillium fuel/plasma slime.
It’s chock full of enforcers with both weapons, troopers and hunters, though the darkness makes it hard to tell if they are commander hunters (Blue Mother of All Hunters) or Spec Ops (black/grey). There’s a lot of running back to heal and recharge in this fight. At one point, the hulk blocks the hall to the junction as I open the door on the way back and he smacks me across the chops. Then he does the same on the way back again and at the same door too!
I find out that some hunters are the usual major ones. Maybe they all were and the lighting made the colors run together. The hulks in the machine room seem to have killed all the other pfhor for us. That was kind of them. The machine must be the engine core Leela was talking about, as there’s a couple of switches in a control room overlooking it at the northwest and south ends. The low gravity lets me vault over the conduits nicely.
The curving ledge just past the stairs lets me jump to an empty grey room with a pair on major hunters in it. A spiral stairway nearby leads to a large elevator that loops back to the junction. There’s another door to the west at the top of the lift that goes past 2 enforcers to a thundrillium vent, with 3 pillars of the stuff on the left. The vent spills into another large arena of aliens. I can get back to the elevator by a switch controlled door.
There’s a secret in the other pool here: it has some kind of antenna guarded by a major enforcer. Past this strange pillar is an overshield chip and a 2X shield/3X health canister. The exit to the pool room heads past several enforcers to the other control room by the engine core, but first I check a nearby computer room with the same setup as the entrance.
They’re too late. I do just that and head back to the start terminal.
Act 2: The Incredible Hulk
Last Modified 2019.1.2 (again) by aaron
No sooner do I arrive am by beset upon by enforcers battling Drinniol in a large square room with kidney shaped lifts, made mostly of the grey lego stuff, lego tiles and sluiceway panels.
In order to reach those antennae I have to enter the small side rooms up stairs and elevators in order to unlock the doors leading to each one. The first room on the right unlocks an elevator to three switches. This area overlooks an outdoor rocky area. Careful! The hulks can and will follow you through the doorways.
The buttons seem to activate the 4 elevators. The first room’s equivalent opens the door on the lower platform with the pattern buffer. It’s a trooper ambush. The switches here open the 2 hallways leading up some stairs. They each have a tall room with hulks and enforcers in them, one with a 2X shield charger. I’m forced to kill the hulks so they don’t do the same to me.
Up the stairs in the right room (facing away from the patter buffer by the elevators) I end up outside amid a battle between troopers and Drinniol. Dashing past them I find an enforcer, a pattern buffer and a switch. The left room has a 1X shield charger and also leads outside, to a curving rocky area with another battle. In the small guardhouse here is a switch that opens the 2 doors by the pattern buffer at the start.
The right door goes to the exit but the door at the end doesn’t open yet so I hit the switch in the left door to open the other elevator shaft in the main room and the switch in there to open the blast shutter behind the terminal.
This area is flooded with pfhor, hulks, drones and…
Oh shit! I’m in no shape to be fighting those just now! I dash around to the left and find the first antenna. There’s a very fast elevator inside which lets me reach the switch. The second tower is on the other side and it’s the same.
We’re not done yet. Checking the terminal again, Leela gives us a warning:
Only by reading this terminal message does the exit door open. I hurry through it into huge canyons. It’s at this point I discover that after having fixed a broken terminal in one of the failure maps for this chapter, there was a glitch with my savegames (those having been on the broken map) which reset the merged map to the default rainless one i.e. The game auto selected the default map and I had to change it back to the fixed rain WAD. Instead of wasting time redoing the whole game to this point like I first tried which would have taken forever, by Chapter 1 Map 3 I just decided to do something I never do: scratch start this level in order to get back to where I was on the right WAD.
Scratch starting in the main trilogy (and likely other mods) is horrible. It’s fine for those who like the challenge, but it isn’t my cup of tea, as I prefer to either stick to Total Carnage or lower, or vid the standard way. (normal playthrough but follow the Vidmaster tenets (this part was written before I learned vid actually refers to scratch start vids while what I'm talking about uses a different name)) The reason for this is because unlike the level select in say, the Playstation and Saturn versions of Tomb Raider 1-3, Marathon treats any level you first start on outside saved games as a new game, as that’s exactly what you’re doing. It’s like pistol starting in Doom, only you aren’t forced to do it. However, scratch starting in Marathon Eternal X surprisingly doesn’t suck: not only does it give you an inventory appropriate to the map and/or chapter in question; if you’re smart you can build up a reasonable supply of ammo fairly easily. The most trouble I had was getting killed by Drinniol a lot because you still scratch start with no shields and I made the mistake of letting them live.
That gun is the Marathon version of the BFG 9000 that was cut from Marathon 1, the Wave Motion Cannon. I think it’s actually supposed to be warping space and time around itself, causing it to distort the shape of anything it hits (or was that the other Jjaro weapon?) but I like to call it the Portable Halo, because it does this:
That pulse kills everything in 1 hit, including juggernaut tanks. The official name implies that it’s firing waves of radiation so I take this to mean it fires a huge pulse of charged neutrinos that eradicate everything in sight just like the Halo rings, hence the nickname. Doesn’t really explain how it can destroy machines like drones and juggernauts though, unless for jugs you assume it kills the pilot, causing the tank to crash. The portable halo is vastly improved in its HD sprites over the original Eternal X. The old wave motion cannon looked like a big black metal blob and it’s neutrino pulse was just part of a S’pht Kr death sprite.
Further down the canyon from here is a most interesting sight.
That is the cyborg Drinniol that kickstarted the whole rebellion and he appears to be invincible. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. Behind the cyborg Drinniol is the cliff wall at the end of the canyon but there are some ledges for me to climb up. Now it’s a race along the walls to the exit.
IT’S SNOWING! I love snow already though it’s never happened enough in recent years, so seeing it in games and TV is especially good now. I also have to say that I love these huge maps with platforming over cliffs, canyons and hills. We just need to make the vertex grid in Weland (i.e. playable level space) much larger in order to have more of them, as it takes a lot of polygons going by the map. I’d love to see more Marathon levels that do this as there was never enough in the main trilogy. Ones made to make use of my little jump script specifically can also add more to level design, provided some gaps can only be crossed with normal jumping (Vidmasters cannot use it unless forced to; if they can grenade jump there instead, they have to grenade jump).
Now, this is an ice planet, going by the chapter screen, reinforced by the mountains and the snow. I thought by the hulks in the chapter card that this was their homeworld for some reason, except that wouldn’t make sense as they’d need fat to survive and Drinniol don’t have any fat. I guess they survive here because their vests are insulated.
Other than Marathon Eternal X, my favourite snow levels in games are the Tibet levels in Tomb Raider 2, the Antarctica levels in Tomb Raider 3, Kazakhstan in Tomb Raider Legend, most Halo snow levels, the snowspeeder level in modern warfare 2, White Acropolis, Icecap (both 2D and 3D) and Everwinter & The Pirate’s Graveyard in the Blinx games.
Following the clifftops I find a teleporter on a precipice for some reason. Whatever, I save here and take it.
Act 3: Babylon X
More snow! Hooray! And more platforming too! AWESOME!
Last modified by aaron 2019.1.2
It’s maps like this, the success dream levels, the Pfhor city and later ones to come that are why I love Aleph One and good 2.5D engines in general. We have huge, expansive environments with decent details to a lot of them and excellent gameplay. Tempus Irae does something similar with city levels, Rubicon with the swamps of Plun Darr: the Pfhor Homeworld AKA Pfhor Prime and both the Marathon in chapter 1 and Marathon 1 Redux with the inside of spaceships, far better than Marathon 1 tried to do.
Even though I am sad to finally admit Aleph One has gotten its ass handed to it by other engines like GZ Doom and Build (their contributions being Brutal Doom, Extermination Day & Hedon and Ion Maiden respectively), the original Eternal X is the one that proved to me that you can have all these large, richly detailed 3D levels in modern games yet not have them actually in full 3D (2.5D sidescrollers i.e. 3D worlds but with 2D planes only don’t count because it’s cheating), which is why I judge all 2.5D game mods and new 2.5D games by Eternal’s standard as I said in the prologue. Eternal X 1.2 has added to the original Eternal X 1.0.3’s reputation even more, with new areas, improved terminals and the ever awesome rain and conveyor belt effects.
That large building on the lower plateau is the garbage disposal facility Leela mentioned, We need to be there yesterday! So I jump down into the ravine and head for it.
There’s jell-o coming out of the cliff wall. This used to be dry in older builds. I quickly heal my wounds, charge both layers of shield and save in the jelly pool. There’s some rock stacks behind the Drinniol that let me climb up to a pass leading to the garbage plant.
That’s not jelly this time: it’s pools of garbage. Eww. In the original Eternal X, the trash pools have a more appropriate texture, looking like a greyish soup of rubbish from god knows what. However, when Third Rock from Lh’owon was added in Eternal X Omega 1.1 and used a harmless version of the radioactive pfhor jelly from Marathon 1, the developers were forced to change the garbage to use a jelly texture. This is why the pillar in the prologue is green now when it used to be grey: it shares the same texture as the garbage and it appears to serve as the liquid for this texture set.
The trash raises and lowers as it spills out via a crack somewhere into the ravine before being refilled as more gets pumped out. The crack has to be a leak as it’s meant to be teleported into space for pickup by recycling ships. The pool is deep too in places, flooding the bottom levels of the plant. I discover when going back for shields that the leak has polluted the whole ravine.
Inside the waste disposal plant, there’s a bunch on circuit boards we need to break in order to use the main garbage teleporter. I find the first one in a flooded area by the southwest entrance where I came in. In the south end up the stairs by the entrance is another circuit and a switch. Troopers hulks and hunters make Marcus an angry boy, so I give them all a face full of chibi suns, smacking them with the staff if they follow me into the slime. Another room where I avoided a fight in the west quadrant has the same but with 2 pillars.
Oh, what’s this now? The crack causing the leak is actually in the level –it’s in the sluiceway from the inflow pipe feeding the pool- and I can swim up it from the shield and pattern buffers as a shortcut. However, the ceiling isn’t solid and I can surface inside the polygon, causing the hall of mirrors glitch when I look out the non-connected linedefs (lines).
I aggro some troopers and hulks in the north area to get them to fight and defend myself from drones in the dry area outside. I lose my shields in the process and get hurt so now the crack isn’t the only thing that’s raw. The baddies in the north were guarding a switch, an oxygen station, a 1X shield station and a pattern buffer. The next panel is behind a divider around the corner.
The panel after that is under some stairs to the east. A bunch of hulks crowd on the steps. The east area of the waste plant has another panel overlooking a glassed in box with a switch and 3 fighters. The last 2 panels are on a balcony over the northwest stairs and in a small room overlooking the dry area in the southeast.
All of these switches open maintenance hatches around the trash teleporter in the centre of the plant. After killing the troopers guarding them, I smash the circuit board panels inside, save my game and dive into the teleporter.
Act 4: Dread Not
DMA Antell Software 2004
Urm…Oops. I think Leela and I didn’t think this completely through.
Whew. That was close. As the map name implies, I’m now on a Jjaro dreadnought. The door ahead is actually 2 doors to a divided hallway. The right one is locked and has a 1X shield charger. The left one isn’t and goes to a big room with a square elevator. The enforcers at the top give me trouble, but I get past them and follow the corridor north to a pattern buffer. Another divided hallway goes to a room with a kiosk in the middle which is well guarded.
This kiosk has a switch, another shield charger and the first terminal.
I have to carefully snipe them with the scatter rifle as my shields are down. Luckily, when I take a pelting, I retreat and find a secret switch next to the entrance that opens the 1X shield room.
Excuse me Leela but you’re the one who told me to use the garbage transporter to begin with! Weren’t you supposed to teleport me onto another ship anyway? I find S’bhuth’s line funny; it feels like someone apologizing for their friend’s tantrum at a party.
I start my search by heading back to the pattern buffer upstairs and heading through the door next to it. The hallway behind leads to 2 doors; one has a second pattern buffer and the other goes to a large marble and metal corridor with troopers and hunters. There’s a secret behind a not so well concealed hatch in the pattern buffer room: a lift that goes down to the big vault chambers below a particular hallway of the ship. There’s a 2X shield charger at the end and you will need it.
The hunter end of the marble hall has 2 majors and a commander, backed up by troopers and a bunch of drones. At the end of the hall is a small living space looking out some windows and with lights on the pillars. Beyond that down another lift is another corridor with a pattern buffer by a door.
Hmm. This looks important.
I’m in the right place. The switch opens the trigger mechanisms in the triangular box opposite the terminal booth. Those switches open the others and then the exit areas.
Now would be a very good time to leave! I run down the other hall past a health terminal to an internal junction in the centre of the ship.
The north door goes to a small room with a balcony and a second door to somewhere we don’t want to visit yet. The east bulkhead opposite the west door I came in opens into the start and the south bulkhead goes to the exit terminal in an empty room.
Durandal said as much back in Marathon 1. Are the wasps and explodie bugs also kept in line by fear like he said? Either way, the intelligence and strength of the Drinniol would come in very useful with them as allies. It would be like that one and only time we see Covenant separatist hunters in Halo 2. A more official Marathon 4 should explore things like this including the hulk’s culture (and the other aliens too), just like the Halo books did. With terminals, it should be a piece of cake.
Leela directly mentions glassing! I have to say I squeed with delight when I first read that on the success plank in the original Eternal X back in 2013, as it marks a direct reference to Halo, which I played first. This is not the first nor the last reference to Halo in this game, though most are more subtle than others. Before chapter 5 that is…
And with that I teleport out. However, our mission will have to wait for the next part. For some reason, I have a strong sense of dread, like a pilot light in my id just waiting for a gas leak. Something big is coming and I think I know what. Tune in next time with Viking Boy Billy for Chapter 4 Stage 2: Honou no Saiyaku, as well as a special entry afterward: the Lost Episodes from Chapter 2 to 3, where I share my own recordings of those levels originally posted on my log in 2019 as well which I've been using for notes in the main entries, including major LP plot points started back in the prologue. This lets us see both sides and provide some context for some ramblings of mine in the endgame parts instead of them just being a gainax ending.
Don’t miss it!
|Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 4 Stage 1
|Lion O Cyborg
|11/25/20 4:11 a.m.
|Re: Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 4 Stage 1
|11/25/20 4:52 p.m.
|Re: Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 4 Stage 1
|Lion O Cyborg
|11/26/20 2:56 a.m.
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