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Tour of Duty - Habe Quiddam
Posted By: PerseusSpartacusDate: 7/8/13 10:38 p.m.

TOUR OF DUTY
14 - Habe Quiddam

Last time on Tour of Duty, we were ambushed by suicidal insects, puzzled by the Seven Pillars, and learned about Durandal's true motives.

Now it's time to bounce back from the depression wreaked upon us by the apparent destruction of Leela and the aesthetics of the last level. With powerful music in our ears and a Flamethrower in our hands, we find another terminal (big surprise there):

***INCOMING MESSAGE FROM DURANDAL***

Strive for your next breath. Believe that with it you can do
more than with the last one. Use your breath to power your
capacities: capacity to kill, to maim, to destroy.

And just where do your capacities come from? Why do you
always go where I want and do what I say?

Perhaps you're just running a fool's errand, doing everything
as I've planned, never able to change your course. You would
do well to believe that I know the outcome of your battle with
the Pfhor already, just as I can decipher the chaotic motion of
gas molecules in the clouds of Tau Ceti IV.

Or, perhaps, that is not the case.

Perhaps, you are doing what you were meant to do. Your human
mentality screams for vengeance and thrives on the violence
that you say you can hardly endure. Your father told you as a
child to always fight with honor, but to always fight. Do you
care about honor, or do you use honor as an excuse? An excuse
to exist in a violent world.

Organic beings are constantly fighting for life. Every
breath, every motion brings you one instant closer to your
death. With that kind of heritage and destiny, how can you
deny yourself? How can you expect yourself to give up
violence?

It is your nature.

Do you feel free?

You should go to this location
and retrieve a device that the
S'pht have provided for us.
It will allow you to slay more
Pfhor. Does that make you
happy?

***END OF MESSAGE***

Despite our original antagonism towards Durandal, he quickly grows on you. He doesn't tell you more than your basic objective (sometimes he doesn't even tell you that), but he sure has a sense of humor, and he's quite enjoyable to listen to. He makes you think about so many questions. For instance, I can't help but wonder "Who am I?"

Audience: Who how? What now?

Why a Security Officer? Why not a BoB, or a Fighter, or a S'pht Compiler? I'm asking this as sort of existentialism, you know? Who am I? And how can a Security Officer be happy without a - you'll forgive the expression - a bullet in his barrel?

Audience: I don't know what you're talking about but it sounds illegal.

Yeah, you're probably right.

Audience: GET ON WITH IT!!!

Umm... oooohh-kayy...

*inches toward exit ever so slightly*

Moving on, we enter a room with a few Wasps and-- BoB! It's so good to see you--

BoB: They're everywhere!

Oh, right. Uhm, 'scuse me a moment while I, um...

*click*
*BLAM!*
*sploosh*

There, that's better.

After disposing of the Wasps *cough* and the BoBs, *uncough* it's advisable to take an immediate right turn. After a moment you'll hear 'Thank god, it's you!' Did the BoBs finally learn to speak more than one line? *looks back* Err, maybe I shouldn't have shot those first ones... Hey, why is this BoB following me? Cut that out, dude! *BLAM!*

After regaining your senses (and perhaps falling back into your seat after leaping seven inches into the air out of fright), you should quickly remember what Durandal said on Shake Before Using...

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.

Dang it, Durandal! Why didn't you tell us they wore green jumpsuits? ;)

After this shocking occurrence, you may be tempted to fire at anything that moves (if the constant cry of 'They're Everywhere!' hadn't already tempted you to do so, which it generally does). This may be a smart policy from here on out until you get to Welcome to the Revolution..., as there are no more levels where we have to save BoBs.

Continuing on, we find a Pattern Buffer and a 2x Shield Charger in this small section of the level. Time to check out the map:

This level turns Marathon's difficulty up a notch, with lots of Lookers, Wasps, Fighters, and the newly-encountered Simulacrums. It also forces you to rack your brain a little at certain points, such as forcing you to become desperate and experiment with jumping down to a tiny ledge surrounding a pillar. Along the way, we encounter...

Lava?! Dear god, Jason, what was the one thing I told you?!

In the recent preview release of Marathon, lava got changed a fair bit. Instead of using shallow media to recreate the feel, the game uses just flat polygons that look the same as any others on the auto-map, but that deal a heck of a lot more damage than before (which, I would assume, is more accurate to the original). This is particularly annoying on Fire! (x5), where the swarms of Wasps combined with the burning sensation in our toes can leave us with less than even a quarter of a health bar left, even on difficulty levels below Major Damage! Speaking of which, I noticed the Wasps somehow seem a lot more deadly in the recent preview build, like they fire more and deal more damage. Dunno if I just wasn't doing very good at that moment or what, but it certainly felt like they were more aggressive.

At one point, you'll get onto a ledge with a 2x Charger and some Fusion Batteries (man those things look good). There's two pillars in the lava down below and another (inaccessible) ledge on the other side. After killing off the Fighters and Lookers (note that in the current preview build, shrapnel damage doesn't seem to work, so Lookers and A-BoBs are utterly harmless, sort of like balloons - more bark, less bite), you'll eventually become desperate to find a way out. Like I said earlier, jump to the pillar on the left (relative to your ledge) and you'll land on a thin ledge around the pillar. On the opposite side, there's an elevator that'll let you continue.

The first secret is at a corner in a corridor in the northern part of the level (point D on the map above). Tap the walls a bit and you'll find a hidden ammo stash with some wonderful goodies, including two SSM Missile Packs (!). A short while later, you'll reach two windows overlooking the room you first jumped into the lava from. Don't jump down. If you haven't yet found the area with the thinner of the two windows, jump over to it, but be careful you don't miss, or you'll be forced to traverse a ton of the level all over again. After jumping over, you'll find a switch and two Lookers. Hit the switch and tap the dead-end closest to it, and you'll be able to quickly return to the room with the three raised pillars you can run across to reach a newly-opened door.

The second secret is in a room with a long walkway in the middle of a bunch of lava and a bunch of Wasps and Lookers (point E on the map above). There's two 'rivers' (as the Marathon Spoiler Guide describes them) filled with lava leading out of the room. If you jump down, you can run through them and find a Flamethrower and some Napalm canisters. Then run back and look for an area where the lava is higher up. Head up there and grenade hop back to the walkway. You'll want a full 2x Shields before you try this, though, or you're sure to end up badly burnt and blasted.

Moving on a short ways, you'll find a ledge overlooking the room we first appeared in. On the other side is a lower ledge with a terminal. Get a good running start and jump over. It's not that hard, but it may be worth it to 'straferun' (quote President People), just for safety. If you failed to grab the 'Alien Energy Converter' (and you kinda have to be lazy, dumb, or just plain scared of lava to not grab it), you'll be greeted with this terribly painful message that will invariably make you slump back in your chair and potentially even curse Jason for putting such a cruel level so shortly after the horror of the Seven Pillars:

***INCOMING MESSAGE FROM DURANDAL***

You didn't get the present that the S'pht so kindly left for
you. You should go back and retrieve it. I could let you
leave without it, but you'd be sorry later.

***END OF MESSAGE***

If you did grab it (and I'm sure you did, didn't you?), then you'll be greeted with this message, which is far more pleasant to hear:

***INCOMING MESSAGE FROM DURANDAL***

I have learned from the S'pht many things. One of them is a
complex software enhancement that allows me to extend the
power and distance of the Marathon's teleporters. This
enhancement also removes the need for destination apparatuses.

Soon, you will be going farther afield.

Does the distance one travels from center make one more free
to move?

No. Freedom has two parts: potential and resolution; as
metaphor has two parts: form and interpretation. Of course,
the two are intertwined. Metaphor lines the road to freedom,
as symbols and words are the bricks and mortar of meaning.
Freedom is being the bricoleur, the mason.

***END MESSAGE***

***JUMP PAD ACTIVATION INITIATION START***
***TRANSPORT WHEN READY***

Durandal's statement on freedom here is most cryptic, and his comparison with metaphor seems to take him away from his apparent original intent to explain what the two parts of freedom really are in any real sense. In the end, though, it probably sounds so good that we'll miss this detail in the process of beaming out to the next level.

All in all, Habe Quiddam is a well-built but very difficult level. Without care you'll probably wind up with your guts plastered over the walls and/or your ashes drifting through the air the first time you try this on Total Carnage. The music is most enjoyable, and fits perfectly with the aesthetics. This level could very well have become a very dark one, just like Fire! (x5), but the music makes it pop into a more happy and therefore more enjoyable light. We're used to listening to the insane rambling of a mad AI, and we're moving on to just doing what we're supposed to, as is our job. Nevertheless, things are getting tough, and the music does contain an element of intensity, like we're fighting hard.

This level's title has drawn much interest. It's best translated perhaps as 'Get Something' (fitting, considering our objective), but there are numerous spellings used throughout the series:

'Habe Quiddam' in the level name.
'Habe Quidam' in the Marathon term resource.
'Habete Quiddam' in the Marathon manual credits.
'Habete Quidam' in a secret terminal on Ingue Ferroque.

Why all this variation? For that, visit FAPTA... In any case, the level's map writing is a little more unusual: 'ANOTHER ALL-NIGHTER'. My thought is that Jason may have started work on this map late at night, deciding he needed to crunch out some material, and threw this down just for fun. Just a thought.

Vale,
Perseus

P.S. - This marks my 400th post on the Marathon Story Forum. Woot! :D

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Replies:

Tour of Duty - Habe QuiddamPerseusSpartacus 7/8/13 10:38 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Habe QuiddamMartin 7/9/13 12:52 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Habe QuiddamGodot 7/9/13 3:59 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Habe QuiddamHokuto 7/9/13 4:17 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Habe QuiddamGodot 7/9/13 4:31 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Habe QuiddamGodot 7/9/13 4:45 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Habe QuiddamMartin 7/9/13 1:59 p.m.

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