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Tour of Duty - Neither High Nor Low
Posted By: PerseusSpartacusDate: 7/13/13 3:26 p.m.

TOUR OF DUTY
15 - Neither High Nor Low

Last time on Tour of Duty, we encountered Simulacrums, got hit with lava (again), and had to take a leap of faith and jump off a ledge to a pillar.

The name of the level we enter is truly fitting: the elevation changes here are quite large for an M1 map, and if you're not careful, you can find yourself going from high all the way to low in an instant. In addition, the enemy layout is devastating: Hunters and Wasps everywhere - the ammo-sinks and respawning back-stabbers. Oh what fun! ;)

The first terminal we find is rather unhelpful, but quite adorable:

***INCOMING MESSAGE FROM DURANDAL***

Give me a D.
Give me a U.
Give me an R.
Give me an A.
Give me an N.
Give me a D.
Give me an A.
Give me an L.

What does it spell?

Durandal?
No.

Durandal?
No.

T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

T-Minus 15.193792102158E+9 years until the universe closes!

***END OF MESSAGE***

Indeed. It's especially troublesome for us, because we have no clue what we're supposed to do here. Nevertheless, we will find that Durandal is obsessed with the closure of the universe, even though '15.193792102158E+9 years' sounds like a long time.

Let's look at the map to get our bearings before we continue:

The level is centered around a circular stairwell guarded by Hunters, some Lookers, and Wasps. The first time you exit it, you'll find a platform going up and down from the ceiling. You'll have to be careful to not get crushed, but that's actually not very hard. First, I think you have to jump through it, come around a short stairwell leading back to it, thereby activating more crusher platforms to allow you to continue, and then you can jump through these to safety. Once again, it's not that hard: if you wait until the platform on the other side of the first one is wide open, you'll almost assuredly make it through. I don't even think the crushers will fully crush you, just ding you up a bit and give you a migraine.

All throughout the level you'll be having to deal with Hunters. If you're scratch-starting, this is a nightmare. If you're doing a complete runthrough of the game, though, you'll already have an AR and Fusion Pistol at this point. If you run out of Grenades (which are useful because they make the Hunters explode, dealing extra damage to nearby enemies), use the overcharge feature on your Fusion Pistol - it should deal the same amount of damage as a direct hit with a Grenade.

There's a part with a few Wasps and a plethora of Hunters that attack from a ledge and at the same time ambush you from behind by hiding in a monster closet. Once everybody's taken care of, you'll find a small ammo stash on the stairway leading up to the ledge (point A on the map above). You'll then reach a mini-maze which contains two secrets: first, there's a raised alcove with a Flamethrower that can be reached by grenade hopping (point B on the map above); second, there's a hidden 3x Shield Charger that can be revealed by tapping the walls in the segment to the far north-east.

Eventually you'll have to hit a switch that starts a platform in the middle of the circular area that you'll have to quickly hop onto to get to a point where you can leap across to a raised accessway that eventually leads to the end. Be careful, though; there's a little more resistance here. Once you get to the raised ledges, avoid reading the terminal until you've grabbed the Rocket Launcher and ammo that's a short cross-ledge jump away. You'll also want to save again and charge up. Now you can read the terminal:

***INCOMING MESSAGE FROM DURANDAL***

You are about to see what no human has ever seen. This is a
fact-finding mission. You should explore as much as possible.

Stop in front of a window. If you stop and are not
teleported, then either I can't lock onto your teleport
beacon, or else I feel you haven't explored the area
thoroughly enough.

I will be watching everything.

***END MESSAGE***

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

Strangely, Durandal says we are about to see what no human has ever seen, even though Leela previously mentioned other humans being brought aboard the Pfhor ship:

I have finished debriefing the civilian crew you rescued a few
hours ago. They are the only group to survive prolonged
contact with the Aliens that I have been able to talk with.

They maintain that the Aliens were loading as many humans as
possible onto shuttle craft and flying them to the Pfhor
mother ship. I have watched many such shuttles bringing
supplies to the Aliens, but had no idea they were carrying
humans back to the alien ship.
- Smells Like Napalm... (Term. 4, 'Finished')

Very unusual.

This level has a strange, slightly incoherent aesthetic. The enemies on here will probably make you slightly paranoid, and the level is very dark and kind of gloomy, but the action and the music suggest a lighter, more 'progressive' tone. All in all, even the aesthetic is 'Neither High Nor Low'. ;)

Next time on Tour of Duty, we'll explore an alien ship, gain access to the final addition to our inventory, and find a new hazard more dangerous than even lava!

Vale,
Perseus

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Replies:

Tour of Duty - Neither High Nor LowPerseusSpartacus 7/13/13 3:26 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Neither High Nor LowMartin 7/13/13 11:14 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Neither High Nor LowPerseusSpartacus 7/17/13 2:56 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Neither High Nor LowGodot 7/17/13 3:14 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - Neither High Nor LowPerseusSpartacus 7/17/13 4:09 a.m.

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