Tour of Duty - Bob-B-Q
Posted By: PerseusSpartacusDate: 6/12/13 11:57 a.m.

10 - Bob-B-Q

Previously on Tour of Duty, we escaped the claws of Durandal, massacred Hulks and Fighters, crossed a string of elevators, found evidence of Tycho's rebirth, and rejoined Leela.

We now find ourselves staring at a rather hideous (or is it delightful) image of two Bobs being brutally tortured by a Pfhor Trooper:

Evidently the Pfhor are out for blood, thus the chapter title 'Reprisal'.

Our mission now, according to Leela, is to rescue a 'security detachment' that is being overrun by Pfhor troops. Don't get your hopes up about finding armed BoBs - they're still the same old walking barriers we know and hate.

Given the relaxed nature of the previous level, we're probably unprepared for the tumultuous slaughter-house that is Bob-B-Q. While the chapter screen is still there, look at that Pfhor. Picture it being pulverized with grenades. Specifically your grenades. Now look at the BoBs. Imagine them as brilliant distractions while you sneak up behind and blast Fighters with your Assault Rifle. The BoBs won't like it, but it'll sure give you a laugh as they die in the ensuing explosions, their little corpses flying elegantly towards the ceiling.

And no, I'm not a psychopath. ;)

As soon as the screen fades out, be ready to move, 'cause the start of this level is more visceral than any other level in the game. From the moment your feet hit the floor, you'll have a bunch of Fighters around you, baying for blood. In the distance, Hunters and more Fighters will be engaged in slaughtering BoBs. Don't worry about them. Just kill the first Fighters and get moving. You need to find a 2x Health Charger; it's the key to beating the level. Indeed, I died twice because I couldn't find it and had to consult the Marathon Spoiler Guide. To help orient you, here's the map:

Basically, what you want to do is run out the door, turn right, go down the corridor, and go through the third door you find. Be cautious of Fighter ambushes. Eventually you'll find a small, seemingly empty room. If you tap the wall a bit, you'll reveal 2x Health Charger. Without this, the level is nigh-impossible unless you are some kind of demi-god, and even with it, you're gonna need insane persistence or immense skill, or both.

The key to this level is Grenades. Why, you ask? This level has more Hunters than just about any other, beaten only by Neither High Nor Low (Bob-B-Q has 25 Minor Hunters placed on it, while Neither High Nor Low has 29). Without Grenades, you're doomed. Nevertheless, this level is very ammo-deficient, meaning you'll have to make due pretty much with what you have when you start the level. For this reason, you should do whatever you can to conserve your Grenades. Here's some tips on doing that:

1) Never use your Grenades on Fighters, only Hunters.
2) Use bullets or Fusion to finish off lone Hunters, saving your Grenades for stunning Hunters or for getting them to blow up near other enemies.
3) Try to get as many Grenades as possible to damage not only the target Hunter, but other enemies as well, particularly other Hunters, thereby allowing you to do more with less.

Even while obeying all these tricks, it's very difficult to avoid running out of Grenades. I actually ran out at the worst possible moment: there's an area where you reach a 3/4s closed door, and the corridor behind you closes for a few seconds. When it opens back up, a group of Hunters (including two Majors) and Fighters come in from the sides, ambushing you. While running circles around the bunch (and yet still getting blasted a bunch), I ran out of Grenades, forcing me to take the remaining Major Hunter and Fighters with bullets. I barely had any health left whatsoever after that encounter.

After any encounter where you lose more than a half-bar of health, it may be wise to return to the 2x Charger and fill up again. Also remember to save constantly, else one mistake can send you back to the very first parts of the level. The two Pattern Buffers are at opposite ends of the map: the one to the far east (right on the map) comes just after the encounter I described just a moment ago, and the one to the far west (left on the map) is situated on a ledge with an Oxygen Charger and a 1x Health Charger, which you can get to by jumping across from a high corridor to a ledge, and then to a few more ledges.

Eventually, you'll reach a room containing a few Fighters and four Platforms that will squish you if you stay on them too long. The Platforms are all located in different corners of the room, and the basic concept is that you have to get on the lowest one, jump to the next-lowest one before getting squished, then the next, etc., until you finally reach the highest platform, which will allow you to enter an alcove containing the only Terminal on the map.

Now, in the original Marathon, it didn't matter if you had finished the mission; Leela would still either say you had succeeded or failed and teleport you out to Shake Before Using... However, in the current version of M1A1, they added an 'Unfinished' message and removed the 'Success' message, making the level impossible to 'win'. For canon-lovers, there is no worse crime than this. Luckily, since the next version of M1A1 will be using more of the original Marathon assets, including terminal text files, this will be fixed. As such, the tips on the Vidmaster page will become truthful again.

Given that we have no choice but to fail (in the current version of M1A1), we'll invariably see this when we read the Terminal upon completing the level:


You let too many crew members die. You have failed in your mission.

I was unable to gain any useful information from the rescued

We must head off the Pfhor threat to the Engineering section.
I am going to send you into the primary re~Tick
Count=>first_thought #49.
You must clear the area of all aliens before they destroy the
Primary Reactors.




It is becoming increasingly obvious that Leela cannot hold her own against the S'pht cybernetic onslaught. If we don't push the Pfhor back soon, Leela is probably going to be destroyed or rendered inactive, sort of like Tycho was earlier in the game. Given that the Pfhor don't seem to be letting up (indeed, things are just warming up it seems), we have to wonder who will take charge of the defense of the Marathon when she is gone. Durandal, perhaps? (Of course we all know the answer, but it's more fun playing ignorant.)

Also, if you didn't notice the Seven reference in that terminal, here's a hint: it's underlined. ;)

You'll also notice something very interesting just a short while before that. An odd error in the text says 'I am going to send you to the primary re~Tick Count=>first_thought'. If you've ever dealt with Marathon mapping, Physics editing, or coding, you'll know that a 'Tick Count' refers to some kind of timing thing, sort of like 'Frames' but more of an internal unit. Then there's a reference to 'first_thought'. If you'll recall HAL's final moments in 2001: A Space Odyssey, you'll know that 'first_thought' probably refers to the first moments of an AI's memory, specifically the first thoughts it ever had. Which makes me wonder; what were Leela's first thoughts? Even more puzzling, what were Durandal's first thoughts?

Which reminds me of a quote from Rubicon X (which I just started over recently):

"Durandal, what color is hate?"

Bernhard always liked playing mind games with me. He'd give me 'unsolvable' riddles, or tease me with incomplete or incorrect information about the world of humanity. I'd sit there and humor him for hours, pretending not to understand. Sometimes he would laugh an almost fatherly laugh as he allowed me more information, a clearer explanation, or the like. Sometimes the laugh was of an altogether different nature. - 'Honk If You're An Underpaid Cyborg', (Term 9, 'Finished')

Perhaps Durandal's first thoughts had to do with Bernhard. I'm getting all teary-eyed just thinking about it. ;)

And with that, we move on to the next level, Shake Before Using... Will Durandal rear his head again? Will Leela's breakdown reach its conclusion? All your questions (except those answered by other levels) will be answered, next time on Tour of Duty.


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Pre-2004 Posts


Tour of Duty - Bob-B-QPerseusSpartacus 6/12/13 11:57 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Bob-B-QGodot 6/12/13 11:38 p.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Bob-B-QPerseusSpartacus 6/13/13 10:34 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - Bob-B-QGodot 6/13/13 11:13 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - Bob-B-Qtreellama 6/13/13 11:13 a.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty - Bob-B-QPerseusSpartacus 6/13/13 11:22 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Bob-B-QGodot 6/13/13 8:55 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Bob-B-QPerseusSpartacus 6/13/13 10:35 a.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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