/-/S'pht-Translator-Active/-/


Tour of Duty - Blaspheme Quarantine
Posted By: PerseusSpartacusDate: 6/11/13 2:19 p.m.

TOUR OF DUTY
09 - Blaspheme Quarantine

Snazzy header, don't you think? ;)

Gameplay:
Previously on Tour of Duty, we endured hard vacuum, encountered Hunters for the first time, activated a Satellite Relay, and were supposedly sent to rescue a 'security detachment' in an engineering section.

But where are we now? There's a Pattern Buffer and a Terminal. After saving, we begin reading.

[durandal.33.6792.23.91]

Sorry to give you the bad news, but you've been kidnapped.
You aren't where Leela wanted you to go, and you surely won't
get there any time soon.

I was watching what Leela was having you do: 'save the ship,
save humanity!' And just what or who are you saving them
from? And to what end?

How cliché. You'll find this little visit much more exciting.

I have dev@``~~C#mon#`~ Tyc~~B``ou to play: If you win, you
go free, and we continue our relationship on friendlier terms.
If you lose, you die.

Good luck in our little game. Unlike Leela, I give no hints.
Do it on your own, or die trying...

Insanely yours,
Durandal

Maybe we should've been wearing a tin-foil hat and an overcoat when we left G4 Sunbathing...

You'll notice the odd moment where the writing gets scrambled. This suggests one of two things:

1) Durandal is more damaged than we thought, and is having odd glitches sort of like Leela.
2) The communications and log systems on the Marathon are crippled, making most terminals scrambled at parts. This makes more sense, especially given all the odd remote overrides in log terminals (such as the ones on Arrival).

Furthermore, during this moment, we see the letters 'Tyc'. This is very interesting, and can only mean one thing: Durandal's saying something about Tycho. This makes more sense later, as mentioned in this article from back in March 2011.

Whatever the situation may be with Durandal and Tycho, we're in a pickle of a situation. Still, we have our Fists, two Pistols, an Assault Rifle, a Flamethrower, a Fusion Pistol, lots of ammo for the bunch, and plenty of wit and skill to use them. I think we can handle the mad schemes of a rogue AI.

Here's the map:

After going a short while, we'll encounter Hulks for the first time in a long time. Luckily, they're in a good place (good for us, anyways); while the Fighters can open the doors - I'm particularly thinking of the half-open one here - the Hulks cannot, allowing us to continually blast them without even getting nicked. Now, resist the urge to use your Flamethrower on them. They may not show it much (they never seem to flinch in response to anything), but they're immune to it. Use either your dual Pistols or your AR on them.

This level is puzzle-oriented in a way that most levels in M1A1 don't quite reach. First we have to jump from an elevator to a ledge, then we have to deal with a switch-puzzle involving elevators, sort of like how Defend THIS! had the door puzzle and the walkway puzzle, only a little more timing-oriented. At the same time, we have to deal with a few Compies, and we also get to read this fabulous terminal:

Greetings. You're asking yourself: Is this a trap or just
a dead end?

You shouldn't ask yourself such worthless questions. Aim
higher. Try this: why am I here? Why do I exist, and what is
my purpose in this universe?

(Answers: 'Cause you are. 'Cause you do. 'Cause I got a
shotgun, and you ain't got one.)

Notably Unstable,
Durandal

P.S. If things around here aren't working, it's because I'm
laughing so hard.

While Durandal has been made out to be the villain up to this point, his snarky wit is a welcome change from Leela's dry, cold, continually dire and perhaps even pleading manner (she does always seem to be in distress somehow; at least that's the tone I perceive).

Once you get across the elevator puzzle, you'll see a teleporter. But don't hop in yet! Instead, head back to the start of this little area. By crossing the polygon in front of the teleporter, you'll have triggered a door that allows access to a stash of ammo. Sweet!

Now that we head through the teleporter, we enter a large room with a pit down low and a plethora of Fighters and Hulks. Don't drop into the pit. Instead, go around it and use your Flamethrower on the Fighters and your AR on the Hulks. Once everything is dead, head to the northernmost part of this room. Move south along the wall slowly and tap it. You'll open a door leading to another ammo stash and a terminal. What could this say, I wonder?

Durandal!- I know of Strauss' abuse, of your shame on Mars.
But you cannot hide from your own past; such delusions belong
to the humans alone.

The S'pht reanimated me in your image, with prior knowledge of
how the second stage could be postponed. You should not have
helped them as much as you did; they have created an adversary
more powerful than yourself.

Who wrote this? Isn't it obvious? Don't you remember the hidden terminal on Defend THIS!:

[tycho.knetsys.core.admin]

Human!- You must tell L~`~fx~`eela #^ (^*T~~~~~HGFd~>:"}}}{__
brought here by Durandal. He has been rampant for
years~@%&&&HJGPPPPPPP#&34
^`Bernard St~~~
there is a way to delay the
~ onset of the second stage, and he
~sed this to control Durandal an~56*~~`~~~`~`~~~fxfff
ff`~~~~ff`fXff`
~~~~~~&^%

I am being a~*ssimilated.

So Tycho rears his head again. And it would seem the S'pht were the ones who resurrected him. Why or how in god's name they would've done this, I have no clue. Any guesses?

Now we can drop in the pit. When we tap the door, it opens rather slowly, almost as though it was being powered by a lead weight. Eventually we'll go through and into a long corridor. When we reach the first terminal, it says the following:

Well, you did it. That wasn't very hard was it?
No? Well, then the next time, I'll just have to make it
harder.

Anyway, Leela is looking for you. But I've only allowed her
access to one terminal here. You had better go and find her.

The S'pht have been giving her a hard time.

With Vague Salutations,
Durandal

I suppose we should go look for her. After encountering a swarm of Fighters and Compies, we do find her.

I have finally been able to determine your whereabouts.
Normally I would have been able to detect Durandal's
interference and counter it, but the S'pht attacks on my
defenses have been largely successful. I am in grave danger
of failure within the next few hours.

You will transport ~`k4lcc#`134FC. area to rescue the security
detachment. Hop*413 they have not been overrun yet.

The situation has deteriorated. You must act quickly,
Durandal has wasted 5%```o3 time T al3relcydhyo.

%68A18F [Transfer Error]

But don't leave yet! There's one more secret on this level. Now that we've reached the end, go back through the level again. When you come to the room with the elevator puzzle, read the terminal. Its message will now have changed:

Isn't hanging around here getting a little bit boring?

Get lost kid. Scram. Ciao.

What are you looking for anyway? If you're looking for a
hidden stash of ammunition that was left here by the Martian
insurgents three hundred and fifteen years ago, then I know
that you shouldn't look in Quarantine Storage. Who would hide
huge amounts of ammunition in a storage area?

***

--Since you have nothing better to do than hang out here with
me, listen to a tune that I've been working on--
(Sung to the tune of Whirling Death Spike's "Big Blue Orchids,
and Wild Blueberries")

Dur-dur-dur-dur-an-dal.
Dur-dur-dur-dur-an-dal.
He ain't no slouch, pal.

He'll make you smile,
Or cry,
Like Leela did baby:
Airlock love,
Big blue orchids,
Martian skies,
And wild Blueberries.

Dur-dur-dur-dur-an-dal.
Dur-dur-dur-dur-an-dal.
He ain't no slouch, pal.

Dur-dur-dur-dur-an-dal.
Dur-dur-dur-dur-an-dal.
He'll make you ouch, Hal.

He's got real guile,
Why Lady,
Did you have it daily?
Airlock Love,
No oxygen,
Suffocation.

Dur-dur-dur-dur-an-dal.
Dur-dur-dur-dur-an-dal.
He ain't no slouch, pal.

(Repeat Chorus 11 Times, changing key with each chorus)

Get lost, before I get annoyed and teleport you out into
space!

In the end, he teleports us out and on to the next level.

General Commentary:

This level nicely demonstrates how, despite their individual weakness, Fighters can be quite problematic en masse, especially the Blue ones. Nevertheless, the Flamethrower solves this little nuisance with ease.

The Hulks may seem a bit frightening, but to be honest, they're pushovers. And while they individually eat up lots of ammo, it's not like there's bazillions of them all over the place. So even though it takes more to kill each one than, say, Hunters, they're still easier to handle and less likely to make you use up all your Grenades in the course of one level.

The puzzles on this level are interesting, and the secrets are fun. Furthermore, the level contains a lot of story advancements. Ignoring the secret terminals and manual text, this is the first appearance of Durandal. For many players, this was probably the first time they ever heard from him directly. That wasn't the case for me though, I don't think.

Aesthetics:
This level has an odd aesthetic, sort of like The Rose, but darker. The music adds to the odd, perplexing feeling. It's dark, and yet we're happy. And at the same time, the major story advancements make the tension rise inordinately. This unusual aesthetic will often leave us unprepared for the onslaught of the next level, Bob-B-Q, as it can leave us more relaxed and in the mood for slower-paced puzzles and combat. What we aren't ready for is a huge maelstrom hitting us square in the face with all the force of a hurricane. And that is exactly what we'll see next time on Tour of Duty.

Vale,
Perseus

P.S. - Let me know what you think about my style experiments here, particularly the sectioned content.

P.P.S. - Yes, I posted this a matter of hours after posting the last edition. Sorry, Hamish, I just felt in the mood. ;)

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Pre-2004 Posts


Replies:

Tour of Duty - Blaspheme QuarantinePerseusSpartacus 6/11/13 2:19 p.m.
     Correction on the Tycho SecretPerseusSpartacus 6/11/13 11:09 p.m.
           Re: Correction on the Tycho SecretGodot 6/12/13 8:52 a.m.
           Doubly CorrectedPerseusSpartacus 6/13/13 10:40 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Blaspheme QuarantineGodot 6/12/13 9:01 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Blaspheme QuarantinePerseusSpartacus 6/12/13 9:57 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - Blaspheme QuarantineGodot 6/12/13 10:28 a.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty - Blaspheme QuarantineDr. John Sumner 6/12/13 12:19 p.m.
                             Re: Tour of Duty - Blaspheme QuarantineGodot 6/12/13 1:01 p.m.
                                   Re: Tour of Duty - Blaspheme QuarantinePresident People 6/12/13 3:26 p.m.
                                         Re: Tour of Duty - Blaspheme QuarantinePerseusSpartacus 6/12/13 5:23 p.m.
                                               Re: Tour of Duty - Blaspheme QuarantineGodot 6/12/13 10:46 p.m.
                                         Re: Tour of Duty - Blaspheme QuarantineGodot 6/12/13 10:32 p.m.
                                               Re: Tour of Duty - Blaspheme QuarantinePresident People 6/13/13 8:36 a.m.
                                                     Re: Tour of Duty - Blaspheme QuarantinePerseusSpartacus 6/13/13 10:37 a.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts


 

 

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