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Tour of Duty - Eupfhoria *IMGs*
Posted By: PerseusSpartacusDate: 7/27/13 9:25 a.m.

TOUR OF DUTY
21 - Eupfhoria

Last time on Tour of Duty, we returned to the Marathon, killed some aliens, got our face blasted wide open by evil MADDs, and discovered the Tru7h. Well, some of it at any rate.

Now that we're fully equipped and decked out with 3x Shields, we find ourselves in a tiny room on board the Pfhor ship, with a… window? What the heck? It's in the floor? It seems we must be in the lowest deck of the ship (at least it's the lowest for this part, considering how some parts are higher than others). When we open the door, we're attacked by a few Wasps. The Fusion Pistol takes care of them quickly, and now we move into the room… and are greeted with howls all around. When Narcogen-Blackstar, Inc. said Bungie didn't use monster closets, they were sorely mistaken.

This little ambush at the start is quite dangerous, especially for a scratch-starter and/or Vidmaster. However, there's a simple workaround: if you jump straight into the room as soon as you open the door, you'll end up standing on a glue trigger when the Wasps activate. Something about this ends up stopping the Hunters from activating, and you'll only have to deal with one that's standing in the corridor leading to the rest of the level, so long as you don't go back over the glue trigger.

Time to look at a map, I'd say.

Despite the fact that this level's number (in the original Marathon - even the latest betas always show Arrival as being level 1, thus messing up the level count) is a multiple of 7 (7x3=21), this is NOT, repeat NOT, a lucky level. You'll have to deal with lots of Wasps and Hunters in spaces which offer you very little room to move. Your only comfort as a scratch-starter is that there's a 3x Shield Charger and a secret area with a Flamethrower and a Rocket Launcher, though even these are guarded so heavily you might not even survive trying to get to them. You can skip the last two big battles, but you'll still have to contend with a few randomly spawning Wasps and Hunters, sort of like on Unpfhorgiven, though perhaps slightly less brutal.

Even for someone who's playing through from the previous levels, this level is annoying if not deadly. Furthermore, you'll probably find yourself returning to the only Pattern Buffer on here… again… and again… and again. Think you can 'finish' this level seven times in a single play-through? If you're playing Major Damage, that's easy enough, and if you're playing Total Carnage, you may start wondering if your constant sense of deja vu is from using Pattern Buffers all the time. ;)

Heading down the rabbit-hole at the end of this corridor (notice how that platform activates a little too soon), you'll have to deal with an ambush of Wasps and some Hunters. Notice how that test bed damages us if we get too close.

If you're attentive, you may also happen to notice the first of the two window oddities on this level. If you look through the southern-most of the two windows in this section, you'll see the Marathon:

Now look in the nothern-most window:

Now you see me… now you don't! This is the simple result of Reginald Dujour forgetting to connect the exterior view of the two windows, leaving the northern one with just a plain image of space. Tssk, tssk. I see this in Reggie's future:

Moving on, you'll find a large room with a central pillar with green slime flowing down it in parts (that stuff is everywhere, isn't it?) and numerous Wasps. As always, the Fusion Pistol deals with them handily. But if you're a Vidmaster, you ain't got one - time you use that .44 Magnum, buddy! Though this room is large, you're pretty much confined to a few ledges and a staircase, which leaves you with very little space. The ledge you jump to is large to enough to offer a little dodging room, but by then, most of the Wasps here will be dead. The door on this ledge leads to a pulsating hallway and the room with the 3x Charger. Gotta wrestle it away from two Hunters, though, at least one of whom will probably be a Major!

After charging back up (isn't that a satisfying feeling you get from using a recharge station?) you may notice yet another window oddity! If you position yourself correctly (as shown in the overlaid auto-map), you'll see this:

It appears that one of the exterior polygons has a very low ceiling height, causing it to obstruct the top part of the Marathon when you're standing in the wrong spot. Now Reggie's definitely getting the Hangar treatment! ;)

In the large room you were in a moment ago, it's possible to fall down to that ledge (and I'm sure many newbies who try to go up that staircase have fallen prey to this possibility), but you can easily get back up using a platform that's underneath the first door we used to get in here. Isn't that sound just weird? Of course, in the original Marathon, you could always escape using the Flamethrower (which would allow you to reach the lonesome ledge in the north-west corner of the room), but this is impossible in the recent betas because you can't get off the ground enough for the Flamethrower to be any help. After going across the Incredibly Narrow Staircase™, you'll enter an Incredibly Narrow Corridor™, which contains another Hunter. In addition, the part with the tiny pillar also contains the secret room with the Flamethrower and Rocket Launcher (point A on the map above).

Don't let your guard down just yet, as there are several Hunters (some of which are set to be Majors) and Wasps, along with a Wasp that pops out at you from an Incredibly Tiny Monster Closet™ as soon as you actually go inside the room. Strangely, sometimes you'll find Hunters that spawn embedded in the weapon ledge, and can only be freed by shooting them. Indeed, this level is prone to doing lots of weird stuff with spawning enemies: for example, I tried to retreat after opening the door and firing off a few Grenades, and was caught by a Wasp that had spawned in an earlier part of this corridor. Strangely, when he tried shooting at me, he did his animation, sound and all, and no projectile came out, as far as I could tell. Needless to say, I killed him before I even started asking myself what had really happened, so I can't be sure if the projectile just went off-screen so fast I couldn't see it (he was probably firing at an upward angle, considering that I was a step above him and he was near the floor of his step).

As soon as you exit the Incredibly Narrow Corridor™, you'll be faced with a polygon that's colored pink (the mark of a teleporter) and some more enemies. Once you take care of the immediate threats, you'll realize you're in a giant hallway filled with offshoots. In the end of the hallway closest to where we entered (which I always think of as the 'back' of the hallway, for some reason), there's two small offshoot corridors. One leads to an empty room, and another leads to a dead-end with a Major Enforcer, two Wasps, and a stream of slime. Interestingly, I think I once somehow managed to get the Enforcer stuck behind one of the Wasps, who didn't activate, thereby trapping him (although in truth this wasn't necessary, as I dispatched them both within seconds).

If you look around, you'll find most of the offshoots lead to ledges overlooking rooms with lots of enemies below. Strangely, they're all positioned so they can't see you:

They sure look dumb, don't they? :P

If you move on, you'll find some more Enforcers coming out from a corridor attached to a gigantic room containing… cryo-chambers? With Hounds in them? If you don't know what that looks like, here's the texture for the Hound chamber:

If you're an avid reader of the Marathon Story Page, you'll know the Hound was an enemy that got cut from the original game. The Marathon Scrapbook has this to say about it and other such cut monsters:

Reg designed three aliens that didn't make the cut for the final game: The Hound, the Armageddon Beast and a non-combatant alien crewman. The Hound moved quite fast but could not climb stairs and only had a melee attack. Hounds acted a lot like piranhas, guarding low spots on a map and wandering off when they couldn't attack the player any longer. The Armageddon Beast sucked down damage like the Big Blue Meanie in Pathways and shot streams of highly damaging little pellets. Both were dropped because no levels had been planned where these monsters would conceivably be fun to fight. The alien crewmen were intended to be Pfhor counterparts of the human civilians on the Marathon: weaponless and unable to defend themselves in any way. A memory limit on the number of monster types per level forced Bungie to abandon them.

What a shame. Still, at least we can remember them fondly.

In another corridor linked to this room is the only Pattern Buffer on this level. If you miss it, you're gonna be hating yourself for it when you find yourself restarting way back on Beware of Low-Flying Defense Drones after dying on the next level, which completely lacks any Pattern Buffer. The simple solution: don't miss it. Unless you have a death-wish or are trying to speed-run the game (a la Cody Miller, who now seems to have moved on to higher things), you'll really want to use this Pattern Buffer the first chance you get. Only then should you continue down the other corridor.

Eventually you'll reach another large door (the Pfhor sure love that galaxy-style door thing, don't they?) guarded by some Enforcers and Wasps. Despite the fact that this is an Exploration level, you don't actually need to go through this door - it just leads to those two large rooms with all the enemies, and all you need to do is look around at them from the ledges to exit the level. However, if you really feel the urge to let all hell break loose, then by all means, go through this door. When you do, you'll be greeted by a roomful of Wasps… all looking the wrong way. In fact, you can easily get directly behind them just for the fun of toying with the idea of not being noticed by a bazillion space Aliens:

If you fire a shot, however, all the aliens in this whole area will activate, and then you'll have to pay. If you're scratch-starting, use the Flamethrower and/or the Alien Weapon to deal with these areas - the Magnum is useless against these kind of numbers and the Rocket Launcher could easily kill you if a Wasp gets too close. If you've played the previous levels, however, use the Fusion Pistol on the Wasps and the Assault Rifle's Grenades on the Enforcers. Once you've cleared out all the enemies here, head back to the Pattern Buffer and save your game. Now take the teleporter back to the recharge station, fill up all the way, grit your teeth, and let yourself be taken off the level as you stand next to the window.

Not a whole lot of Tru7h on this level, and it's hard to say why we're even here, really. We haven't seen the cyborg Controller that Durandal described, and yet he refuses to take us off the level until we've explored everywhere. Either he's got faulty information, or he wants us to 'learn' a little more about this place before we kill the Controller. Or maybe he messed up and just wants us to think we ended up here on purpose? ;)

I guess we'll have to wait for the next level if we want to learn anything.

Vale,
Perseus

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Replies:

Tour of Duty - Eupfhoria *IMGs*PerseusSpartacus 7/27/13 9:25 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Eupfhoria *IMGs*Godot 7/28/13 12:28 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Eupfhoria *IMGs*Martin 7/28/13 5:09 p.m.

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