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Tour of Duty - Cool Fusion
Posted By: PerseusSpartacusDate: 6/5/13 1:54 p.m.

TOUR OF DUTY:

In our previous edition of Tour of Duty, we closed two airlocks, grabbed a hidden Flamethrower (after maybe getting trapped one or two times and getting our first glimpse of Durandal's snarky humor), and squared off with Fighters, S'pht and Wasps in tight spaces.

Now, we teleport out and into a giant, empty room. There are four somewhat-open doors, all containing grenade clips - woo-hoo! However, the doors won't open just by tapping them. On the opposite side of each door is a switch that opens the door it's visible through. Those grenades were clearly placed to make sure we could get to those switches. But in that case, where's the Assault Rifle? Sure we have one now, 'cause we've been playing through all the previous levels. But what about Vidmasters?! They don't have an Assault Rifle, so they're screwed!

Indeed this was a problem in the original Marathon. But hold your horses, fellas. The M1A1 team saw this inconvenience and fixed it by giving this level a special Physics file that allows us to activate switches with the Pistol. So even if you're playing through the normal way, you may want to take advantage of this by switching to your Pistols to take care of the switches. After all, Grenades are in short supply all throughout the game, so you want to conserve on them as much as possible.

Remember, there are two hallways going around the middle room we teleported into, each with two doors. Your first goal will be to go to the north hallway (which we are facing towards when we begin the level). It contains a few Fighters and the first 2x Health Charger of the game (thus why you should go there first). Now head to the south hallway, clear out a few more Fighters, and read the Terminal.

There has been an unexpected lull in the fighting. I don't
know exactly why, but it seems that the Aliens have stopped
their advance. I want to use this break in the fighting to
send a message to Earth apprising them of our situation.

However, the long range transmitter array has been destroyed,
and you must manually reset the secondary transmitter. To do
this, you will need to go into the G-4 Sunbathing Landing
Station.

It would be foolhardy to send you into vacuum conditions
without a better vacuum-capable%#29SC^7 than your pistol. The
AR-75 doesn't work in vacuum.

I want you to find a Zeus Class Fusion Pistol. It has two
firing modes. Standard firing ejects hi#2423#Bfjr$bf volts, and
secondary firing mode charges on [transmission error] and
ejects a blast that does a huge amount of damage.

@t $#cY B. Ex
@t Y#C9 B.
@t $Y#9 B. exception

Sounds like she's doing pretty bad. We head to the south-west end of the hallway, which opens into a room containing some more Fighters and the Fusion Pistol, along with some Fusion Batteries and a Pattern Buffer.

To avoid confusion, here's the map:

After saving, we progress through a few large rooms, encountering Fighters, an Invisible S'pht and some Troopers along the way. Eventually we come to a room with a large pit. It is brightly lit, and there doesn't seem to be any enemies in it - yet! Don't jump in the pit yet. Follow the corridor in front of you. You'll find a door with a switch. Flip it. The door will open up. However, if you don't flip the switch again once it's all the way open, the door will close.

Passing through, we come back to the north hallway. Charge up again, save at the south-west Pattern Buffer, and head back to the pit. Brace yourself, because this is gonna be a wild ride...

We JUMP down into the pit, and... Nothing? Odd. We move forward a little ways.

The lights turn out, and dozens of Fighters and a few Troopers ambush us from all around. The problem here is that the pit isn't large enough to give us wiggle-room between all these Pfhor. As such, our best bet is to just gun everything down. Our instinct may tell us to use the AR, but it's probably wiser to use the Flamethrower we got last level. On Normal, this certainly isn't the hardest fight of the game, but it is tricky. However, on Total Carnage, I would bet this fight is one of the most deadly in the series, given how aggressive those Purple Troopers are even on Normal, let alone on Total Carnage.

Once all the Pfhor are dead, we'll find two switches. Hit the west one. A platform will drop down after a few seconds. Punch the switch again, hop on the platform, and you'll be taken back up to the place you jumped down from. Head back to the start, charge up, save the game, and then head back to the pit. Hit the other switch now, and another platform will drop down after a while. Same deal. Hit the switch again, run onto the platform, and head up. Moving on, we enter a room with two S'pht and some Fighters on a ledge. As of yet, I have never been able to get up to that ledge, so I don't really know for certain what all is up there.

If you look on the automap, you'll see that a map annotation in the room says 'The Wave'. That is actually referring to a certain puzzle in this room. If you look on the floor, you'll find a strip of differently-texture floor, leading up to where a door is placed in the top of the wall. If you cross the out-most part of this area, a platform will quickly extend out of the floor and, should you remain on the platform, squish you against the ceiling. When it stops, another will activate, and another, and so on and so forth, creating a wave effect leading to the raised door.

When you look at it, it may seem like getting past the puzzle has to do with timing and all sorts of complicated stuff like that, but in reality, the solution is very simple. Run across the platforms to activate them, and continue to run into the wall where the door should be. Eventually a platform will activate beneath you, taking you up. Because you are already 'moving', you'll pop through the door, avoiding a rather nasty fate at the hands of the Wave. Moving along, we find a small room containing two switches. One activates a giant platform at the start of the level, and another causes that platform we used to get out of the pit and into this part of the level to contract, allowing us to return to the rest of the level.

We charge up again, save the game, and hop onto the giant platform. If you hadn't noticed before, there is a raised hallway connected to this part of the level. Jump over to it. There will be a few S'pht and some Troopers in there, so once you deal with them, you may want to head back, charge up, save again, and ride the elevator again. Be careful, because if you wait too long, you'll be crushed to death. A dark room a short while later contains a bunch of columns, behind which are a number of invisible S'pht waiting to ambush us. Take them out one at a time. Eventually we'll activate a number of Troopers and Fighters to come out of a small room to attack us. However, their tendency to bunch up into groups means we can just blast them all to bits with grenades and use our bullets on any stragglers.

Originally, Bungie intended to have it so that if we failed to grab the Fusion Pistol before we got here, the Terminal would say:

You have not retrieved the Fusion Gun. Return when you have
done so.

However, while this message is contained within the game, it cannot be accessed, as the level does not have a goal and so a terminal cannot display an 'Unfinished' message. Even in the current version of M1A1 you cannot access this message. Naturally, one of the largest 'canon' debates in Marathon history has been the debate on whether or not to add a goal to Cool Fusion that forces us to grab the Fusion Pistol and thereby allow this message to be shown.

It would certainly be a simple matter to do this. The mission type 'Exploration' requires that we step on certain polygons marked 'Must Be Explored'. If you made a small polygon around the Fusion Pistol marked 'Must Be Explored', and set the mission type to 'Exploration', the effect would be achieved, and the message could be accessed.

Of course, the debate around this relies on Bungie's original intent (sort of like debates about the Constitution). Did they intend for this or that feature, or did they not intend for it? In my mind, there is no doubt that Bungie intended for this message to appear. Sure, they put a Fusion Pistol on G4 Sunbathing (the very next level), but that wasn't because they anticipated people getting past Cool Fusion wihtout it; it was because they expected Vidmasters to be in dire need of something better than a single Pistol. Since I think it was their original intent, I believe it may be worth it to give Cool Fusion a goal and thereby make this message accessible.

Either way, the current version of M1A1 will give you the following message no matter what we do:

I have obtained more debriefing reports from the crew whom you
rescued earlier.

They have reported seeing two types of Pfhor that you have not
yet encountered. Evidently, these are two of the other
"clans" which Durandal alluded to in earlier communications.

One is taller than the Fighters. Oddly, the report indicated
that this new Pfhor fired only upon other Pfhor and never on
any humans. Because of this and their general appearance, the
crew who saw them referred to them as Enforcers.

The other Alien was named Hunter by the crew due to its size
and appearance. It fires an energy weapon from its shoulder
and is heavily armored. Unlike the Fighters, the Hunters
never take prisoners.

I am sending you to the G-4 Sunbathing Landing Station.

Standby to teleport.

We teleport off, and into the cold vacuum of G4 Sunbathing.

Given that I have mentioned no secrets this whole time, you may be wondering if I missed something. In fact, I have not. This level, according to the Marathon Spoiler Guide, has no known secrets other than the missing text I mentioned earlier. Well, and the fact that this is the Seventh level of the game (if you count the levels the way they are counted in the game), though that's not really a secret, given that it's plain as day.

So, now to deal with the aesthetics. In my mind, Cool Fusion is well-designed aesthetically. Everything suits the dark, slightly depressed feel of the level. The majority of the level is in darkness, and even when there is a fair amount of light, it doesn't come off as garish in the way that it does in some of the Pfhor levels later on or in Smells Like Napalm... or The Rose. This, along with the music and the kinds of enemies we face, develops a very dark atmosphere that is very suiting of Marathon.

And with all that settled, we end this edition of Tour of Duty. Hope you enjoyed it.

Vale,
Perseus

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Tour of Duty - Cool FusionPerseusSpartacus 6/5/13 1:54 p.m.
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