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


Tour of Duty - Shake Before Using...
Posted By: PerseusSpartacusDate: 6/13/13 3:36 p.m.

TOUR OF DUTY
11 - Shake Before Using...

Last time on Tour of Duty, we fought Hunters with a limited supply of Grenades, we fought Fighters with a TOZT-7 Backpack Napalm Unit, and we found that Leela is deteriorating quite rapidly.

Having just come through a hellish environment, filled with dark rooms and monstrous aliens, we find ourselves in a well-lit room with a Terminal, listening to sweeter, more up-tempo music. What could this Terminal say, I wonder?

***INCOMING MESSAGE FROM LEELA***

Everything is not as it seems{}. seems{}. seems{}. You
should be extremely careful. I have detected Durandal[Tycho]
in the Engineering Section, but I don't know what he is doing.

My main programs are failing<299.229>

Be careful. Everything it not is as used to be.

Tenderly transmitting maps and guidance, but futile.
filters failing.

!2@!`~*(_ Use %``934~ autom#tic
teleporter to ~l1leave

Control = assimilated =
!````~TXlcar
[Transmission Error]

***__#004002004__***

We can tell she said we should use an automatic teleporter to leave, but that's not the interesting part. Remember that secret Tycho terminal on 'Defend THIS!':

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.

Assimilated...

Control = assimilated =

Oh no...

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.

Two and two makes... Oh god!

It appears that Leela may end up following the path of Tycho; once a helpful AI, now rampant and perhaps even under the Pfhor influence. That leaves Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes, aka Durandal. Well, look on the bright side: he's a lot more funny than Leela, albeit much less helpful.

No time to doddle, though; the Pfhor want to destroy this Engineering Section, and we're the only ones who can stop them. To orient ourselves on our mission, let's look at the map:

Moving on, we find two S'pht looking at a Terminal and a Pattern Buffer, respectively. After taking them out, we can read the Terminal:

[Unauthorized access-alarm 2521-]
[Security Breached 31-d[40.59.21.10]-]
~13!@1ournal entry of H.`1 McYultry:

The attack came so fast, first those crea ~12``30101!~2
who didn't run away, and then two huge armored creatures came
after us and killed !`jkfrc@@z else but myself. I managed to
jump into an air vent, and escape here, but
[Filter Error]
hear the strange worblings of their speech getting nearer, and
I am unarmed. I have only a few minutes.

[Spurious Interrupt- Breach Disabled]
[Further Access Denied]

Despite the up-tempo music and the reasonably bright lighting on this level, the story being laid before us here is a bit unsettling. First we find Leela may be in the process of being [?assimilated?corrupted], now we hear the story of a poor civilian having to watch his friends being massacred and then being chased by Pfhor, knowing his time has come. Oh the humanity!

Now it's time to save up. Speaking of which, Pattern Buffers are kind of the oddest feature of the Marathon Story. I mean, for starters, what do they do? I think the general assumption is that they analyze and then record the biometric 'pattern' or whatever of the thing that uses it (which, if you've played Marathon: Phoenix before, actually serves as a critical plot-point in it). But what do they do with it? It seems like teleporters operate by disintegrating and reintegrating matter, and if that's the case, do Pattern Buffers do something similar? In other words, do they take the 'pattern' they record and use it to 'reintegrate' stuff? If that's the case, though, then couldn't Leela just clone us over and over to create an immense army to combat the Pfhor? To be honest, Pattern Buffers are perplexing and impossible to explain fully; really they can only be summed up with "It's a feature of the game". Sort of like the Save Runes of PiD.

Now, before we continue, there are three secrets nearby, two of which are connected and all of which we should enter. First, go back through the door we just entered this room through. There's a switch. You should flip it. When you do, a large door will open up in the room we were just in. There's some alcoves in here, some of which contain ammo for the AR (including Grenades, which we are probably running very low on since the last level). However, if you tap at the interior of the second-from-our-right alcove, you'll reveal a secret room containing more ammo. Now, tap around at the walls inside here. Eventually you'll reveal another little alcove containing even more ammo.

Now, go through the door we haven't yet gone through. You'll find another switch. Flip it, and another door will open, revealing a room with alcoves, very similar to what we found earlier. If you tap the farthest-left alcove, you'll reveal a corridor with a hole. Drop down into this. You're likely to catch an elevator as it's going up. Just wait for it to descend again. When it does, you'll find a Trooper. Of course, you should kill him. There isn't really much else down here, but eventually you'll see why you should kill that Trooper now instead of later.

Moving along, we go up a small elevator, kill some Fighters, and find a 3x Health Charger. Woo hoo! Also, there are some small niches you can open up, sort of like on Never Burn Money: these contain yet more ammo for the AR. Having charged up, we flip a switch, open a door, hop in, accidentally close the door once again, and engage a bunch of Pfhor located in alcoves and on lowered platforms. Then there's another small room with a bridge. If you touch the central bulge, it will drop down rapidly. It may be wise to hop on and hop off quickly, allowing you to avoid a bunch of Pfhor down at the bottom. The platform will rise back up after a little while and you can continue. Turning to our left, we find a door leading to a small room with some Troopers and, if you look on the auto-map, lava!

The curious thing about this level (and the next level as well) is the presence of lava on a Colony Ship. I have no clue why it's even there. Another oddity in the Marathon Story.

Then we come to a gigantic room with a really long bridge, some Fighters, and a bunch of Compies. You may think you should avoid falling down, but in reality, it's worth it. So go ahead and jump. At the bottom of this area, we encounter a new foe: the Lookers.

These buggish things move fast and blow up next to you. Luckily, you can set off the whole group if you get them clustered and shoot one of them. It only takes one shot of anything to take out a Looker. Entering a long, dark corridor, we find a Terminal and a teleporter. Let's read the Terminal first:

***INCOMING MESSAGE FROM DURANDAL***

Leela can't reach you here, but I can. I am able to access
all sections of the ship, and the S'pht have even stopped
attacking me- realizing the futility of the enterprise.

Durandal then gives us a series of fake hints as to where the exit transporter for the level might be. In the process, he gives away all of the earlier secrets on this level:

At the end, Durandal says something very interesting:

The S'pht have informed me
that he Pfhor are building
cyborg simulacrums of the
Marathon crew. I imagine that
you will meet some of them
soon, and wanted to warn you
not to get too close to them:
about three meters.

Some of you may actually recall how a while back I made a post about how I thought the Philip K. Dick short story 'Impostor' may have influenced the idea for the Simulacrums.

Heading through the teleporter, we find ourselves back in the corridor with the Trooper we killed a while back. Moving on, we find that the 3x Health Charger is missing. Drat! Evidently, a platform gets triggered when we go through the hallway just after the first little bridge room, covering the Charger up. Not to worry though - if we use our action key while facing towards where the Charger should be, we'll still get a full 3x Health. Apparently it's possible to access Health Chargers through platforms that have closed but only activate once.

Crossing the very long bridge (and this time not falling off), we find a Pattern Buffer (again, I still don't know how those things work), more enemies, two switches, and a teleporter. You can ignore the switches: they just activate eye candy platforms that make it seem like we're looking at a working engine of some kind. Head in the teleporter, and you'll be taken off the level and onto the next one.

Interesting tidbit: if you looked at the original level in a map editor, you'd have seen the Map Writing 'I RULE'. Now who could be saying this? Since the map was made by Alex Seropian, we can assume it was he who claimed to RULE. Of course, there's always the possibility that Durandal, in his insanity, wanted to make himself feel good. ;)

And with that, we end Shake Before Using... Next time on Tour of Duty, we'll receive a message from Durandal, see Leela's breakdown come to a climax, and get our feet wet... in lava!

Vale,
Perseus

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Replies:

Tour of Duty - Shake Before Using...PerseusSpartacus 6/13/13 3:36 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Shake Before Using... *LINK*Godot 6/14/13 7:00 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Shake Before Using...PerseusSpartacus 6/14/13 9:47 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - Shake Before Using...Dispatcher 6/14/13 2:46 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Shake Before Using...Godot 6/15/13 8:08 a.m.

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