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Tour of Duty - Two Times Two Equals...
Posted By: MartinDate: 7/25/13 2:08 p.m.

TOUR OF DUTY
19 - Two Times Two Equals...

Previously on Tour of Duty we might have found Bernhard Strauss. We also might have killed him, early reports are sketchy on the details. He may even have been among those prone on test beds. Either way, we did our best to leave no respawning Pfhor alive, and Durandal obligingly let us leave....

So we're still on the Pfhor ship. We start in a long corridor with views to outside, a locked door behind us and an unlocked one in front. This leads to a dropoff quite a long way down, and to a door, and a pink polygon on the map, but this doesn't seem to do anything teleporty!? Through the door we find an extensive raised walkway with slime filling the gaps and troopers standing in wait. So nice that Pfhor doors close really quickly!

If continuing from previous levels, hopefully we saved just before leaving Unpfhorgiven; while there is a pattern buffer in sight across the way, the troopers kind of want to stop us getting to it, it can bring us into line of sight of enforcers around the corner, and of course the slime is a hazard to the careless/lazy always-runner in all of us, and that is certainly one convenience of which I will always avail myself.

Let us at this point examine the map:

The progression here is essentially linear. The walkway I've been describing is around point A, and there is just one offshoot in the exploration (leading to End on the map), which is the task at hand. But is there more? What are we doing here? Still just killing more Pfhor ... yes it makes us happy, but What About Bernhard (Bob)? He's certainly not around here; this place is strictly Pfhor only. We can only hope for some answers (tru7h) soon....

Back to that walkway. Who builds such a thing? When it is purely to (literally) trip up the player, I'm reminded of Sigourney Weaver in Galaxy Quest, on encountering "the chomper":

"What is this thing? I mean, it serves no useful purpose for there to be a bunch of chompy, crushy things in the middle of a hallway. No, I mean we shouldn't have to do this, it makes no logical sense, why is it here?"

I've certainly fallen in the slime my fair share of times. Of course it didn't used to be such a big deal thanks to Tozt-style takeoff! And given that I tend to relax and get a bit careless after checking in at the pattern buffer, that was quite an asset...!

There's one main path for the rest of the level, and one offshoot, which is actually the much more obvious way to continue. We first have to deal with more troopers and a few enforcers, who try to trip us up from rather distant platforms on the walkway, under cover of darkness. The alien weapon hurts! And that's why the enforcers, in my book, really deserve a SPNKR in the face. I don't fancy the idea of having to deal with those guys with a magnum! And it would be nowhere near as satisfying.

Especially as we move forward along the walkway, and through a large set of doors - there is the wonderful chance of sending to Pfhor heaven the two enforcers at the end of the following corridor, without their even waking up :).

This path ends somewhat surprisingly with a very large room with yet more enforcers and troopers. Again M1A1 was incredibly strict with exploration on this level, and that was especially the case with this room. I trust this is better in the beta (which is said as beater, just so you know).

At this point we have a bit of a "huh" moment as it looks suspiciously like that's it for this level. Of course that would make it very small, there's the memory of that other door from the start, and running around trying to exit by exploration will yield nothing. It's time to jump some slime. On the far platform from which we previously got peppered by a trooper, we find a door!

I've always loved the Pfhor door graphic and associated sound. First knew them from Waldo World Arena, where I spent much time getting killed by my brother back in the day, and of course my favourite part, suiciding with a SPNKR into a just closed door - good times! And the sound was used in another of my all- time favourite games, Escape Velocity: Override, for the launching of Azdgari fighters. That game still holds the record for the longest I've accepted waiting for a game to load up, at over 5 minutes, while RAM Doubler did its best to convince it we had more than 8MB.

Anyway, through the current door, we find a small Fighter ambush from a dead-end room with some freaky wall textures as Hamish recently mentioned. More importantly, we find a 2x charger! Clear, after the first playthrough, this is where we come first. Otherwise we always run the risk, also recently discussed, of carelessly saving with too little health to make the slime jump ... or is it? I have made a similar mistake on Eat The Path, twice! But more on that ... in a few months' time at this rate.

Further on we find more fighters and enforcers around a central pillar with four slime streams coming out from it, and it turns out that Pfhor don't cross over even the very narrow slime channels, which makes the enforcers all the more annoying. It is an interesting design - what is this structure? What is this place overall, and again, what is the slime for? I was reading the story page a few weeks ago, as one does, and was reminded of the idea that the egg room on Ain't Got Time Pfhor This represents a reactor - I know that's still a few levels hence, but could this be along those lines as well? With the slime providing power to whatever systems. Of course the question really has to be asked, why is it kept uncovered!?

Carrying on, through another door, a trooper snipes at us from a much higher vantage point, or we just SPNKR him before he wakes, as he deserves. Indeed, "he". Troopers have always been male as far as I'm concerned. Enforcers are really the only Pfhor I've always considered female. Not sure why originally, but they do seem to be wearing green (yes green) dresses.

A bit more jumping over slime follows, and then more enforcers and troopers shooting at us from side platforms, and one of these, again, has a hidden door. This makes things easier, as the door along the central platform brings quite a lot of Pfhor our way, and of course that alien weapon stings like a magnum-toting bob as we run back down the platform. Forget scratchstarting, I have enough trouble with just being too brave / not bothering to go back to the charger or buffer often enough, especially on such a dull level.

After wiping off the dirt and glue (need to get back to Tempus Irae, Civ V expansion claiming too much time!) we have our second? encounter with deactivated hunters. They are deactivated, and we may know this from their brown "shell", for want of a better word at this point. I guess green means going :D.

Ultimately, we find ourselves starting back. There is a lift that leads us to the other side of our locked door from the start, and a switch for it. Now, I have memories of exiting from this point in the original game, or at least up on the start platform, but M1A1 required me to drop back down and revisit the offshoot room. -That- Durandal was so picky!

So ... what have we gained from our time here? I say more mysteries/ questions, and so much for answers/tru7h. And we don't get them next time either. We're headed back to more familiar territory to recharge and resupply.

Thanks to PS for the opportunity to practice such a post before hitting the hard stuff in M2 :). I'll be back for the next level as well - bonus!

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Replies:

Tour of Duty - Two Times Two Equals...Martin 7/25/13 2:08 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Two Times Two Equals...PerseusSpartacus 7/25/13 3:03 p.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Two Times Two Equals...Martin 7/25/13 3:16 p.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - Two Times Two Equals...PerseusSpartacus 7/25/13 3:33 p.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty - Two Times Two Equals...Martin 7/25/13 3:42 p.m.
                             Re: Tour of Duty - Two Times Two Equals...PerseusSpartacus 7/25/13 3:51 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Two Times Two Equals...Godot 7/25/13 10:03 p.m.

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