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Tour of Duty - Ain't Got Time Pfhor This...
Posted By: PerseusSpartacusDate: 7/29/13 2:39 p.m.

TOUR OF DUTY
23 - Ain't Got Time Pfhor This...

Last time on Tour of Duty, we used lots of transporters, killed the Controller, found a massive hole in the floor, and learned a little bit about BoBs in stasis.

When this level starts, you'll be in a small alcove with a 2x Shield Charger (thank god) and several streams of ubiquitous Pfhor slime separating you from numerous small ledges. Each time you jump across a stream, you'll take damage (this slime, if you hadn't noticed, will hurt you if you just pass through the same polygon as it), but the first jump is especially dangerous, as it will also activate a bunch of Wasps. It's advisable to jump back to the alcove you started in the moment you hear them squawk and then shoot them with the Fusion Pistol (or if you're scratch-starting, the Magnum). On the other hand, you could run across all the streams as fast as possible to draw them towards the first room, where there are some Troopers and a bunch of inactive S'pht, along with a Pattern Buffer (finally).

The S'pht will not activate unless they are shot, so you may want to shoot the whole lot just once to get them all going. If you kill all the enemies without the S'pht getting hurt, however, you'll just be left with this:

Not very helpful, are they? So much for a "S'pht Rebellion".

After saving the game, you'll open the door to this room, only to be greeted by a group of Pfhor Troopers. Yikes! At least if you already activated the S'pht you should have some left to back you up. Once you've dealt with these Pfhor, save your game and head back to the charger. Unless of course you've taken so much damage in the process of fighting the Troopers that you can't make it across the slime. ;)

Before continuing, let's take a glance at the map:

After passing through the door and the corridor it's attached to, you'll have to make a bunch more jumps across slime streams. If you fall in, you can always grenade hop out - in the original, you could use the Flamethrower to get out without taking too much damage, but in the recent betas, the Flamethrower doesn't have the force to get you off the ground, and can only propel you through the air when your feet have already left the floor: this means that not only do you have to fire a grenade at your feet to escape the streams if you fall in - you also cannot return to the first part of the level after making the big drop, preventing you from recharging.

After the many leaps over slime, you'll pass through a really dark corridor until you reach this:

There's always the question of how this Assault Rifle got here, but if you're a casual gamer, you probably won't be thinking about how it got there. You'll just be praising the Lord (aka Reginald Dujour) for putting it there. As for the split in the corridor, always go right. If you don't, there's potential for getting yourself stuck in a suicide trap later on - there's two switches here that open doors that will allow you to return to the main part of the level if you fail to complete your mission. Past these doors are some Troopers and Wasps, along with... what the heck?

In addition to the deactivated Hunters (or is it their shells?) and the column of Pfhor slime, there's eleven eggs on a ledge around this room. Before we start puzzling over them, it may be worth while to try and hop your way up to the ledge (which you can do with a Flamethrower by firing it up, jumping off the raised section of the floor, and turning around so you're propelled up to the ledge) - there's a huge battle here that you may want to deal with early so that you're not caught out with minimal health: a bunch of Troopers engage a group of S'pht Compilers in a large, windowed room. This is the room you'll have to exit from later, so it's better to finish the Troopers off early, while you still have some shields.

Interestingly, sometimes the Compilers will fail to activate (they love doing that), and just sit in their perches while you kill all the Troopers:

Some rebellion, eh?

By this stage of the level, you may start wondering, "Why am I here?" It's one of life's great mysteries, isn't it? It's certainly one of Marathon's great mysteries, at any rate: we killed the Controller, but Durandal seems to want us to stay here. The S'pht are rebelling (albeit poorly), yet we are still on the Pfhor ship. Why? What are we doing here? As the level's title says, "I Ain't Got Time Pfhor This!"

We'll have to come back to that question in a minute. In the meantime, we'll head back down the side of the corridor we never explored. After taking out a group of Wasps lying in wait for us, we find a door. When we open it, we find we are in a gigantic room. A bunch of Wasps will try to attack us, but the Fusion Pistol (assuming you have it) can deal with them easily. Afterwards, you may finally start to realize what you're looking at:

Another egg? And why does that pillar keep going up and down? And why do I hear Pfhor chattering constantly-- oh wait, there's a Trooper that constantly gets stuck in one spot on the other side of the pillar, chattering continuously and running in place. Let's put him out of his misery, shall we?

Now let's take a look around. The first thing you may notice is a dozen Wasps all hovering patiently in one place:

There's also another group of Wasps on the other side of the room, all colored brown. Interestingly, none of them will attack, though in the recent betas they will squawk a bunch (this is not canon, however - in the original, they were completely silent aside from perhaps wings fluttering). No need to kill them. You'll also find a raised switch in the wall between the two groups (point A1 on the map above). Shooting it will cause another switch to appear on the other side of the room (point A2 on the map above), which will stop the pillar moving and turn out the lights when shot:

Interestingly, you'll see here that a Compiler decided to start 'talking' to the egg (in reality he's just stuck on it, but it sure looks like he's trying to do something with it) - he starts off in front of the first switch, but I'm not sure what activates him exactly. In any case, he usually ends up stuck on the egg, as in this screenshot.

On the far side of the room is a transporter, which will take you to the ledge with the eleven eggs from earlier. If you activated the Compilers when you were last here, you may see something like this:

Two S'pht seem to be chatting, while another one seems to trying (and perhaps failing) to communicate with the egg. This, along with not doing anything, seems to be a favorite pastime for the S'pht on this level. You could justify this by saying "They've finally gotten their freedom - they don't know what to do yet," and you might be right. In any case, they sure aren't the most helpful fellas.

So what about our earlier question: why are we here? It has been theorized that these eggs all around the level are in fact baby Controllers, and that the one on the pillar is being incubated, a process we stop by shooting those switches. However, in 1995, in a usenet post that you can read here, Jason said the following (underlining added by me):

"As soon as you killed the Pfhor cyborg which was telepathically controlling the S'pht and deactivated the Pfhor reactor,"

Pfhor reactor? Is that what we were doing here? Shutting off the Pfhor reactor? That would make sense - after all, Durandal's ultimate goal is to capture the Pfhor ship, so he wouldn't want it escaping, right? But then why is there an egg in the reactor? Furthermore, Reg did say that they were "incubation bubbles", and that we were supposed to be able to break them. So what are we really doing here - shutting down a reactor, or killing embryos? I guess we'll have to wait for later levels to provide us with the Tru7h.

Interesting fact about the end: if you die and your corpse lands in the exit room after you've completed the objective, you'll still teleport onto the next level, albeit as a puddle rather than a still-living Security Officer. You can also witness the same kind of thing on the M2 level 'The Big House' - if you get killed and wait for the Pfhor to get killed off, you'll still be teleported onto 'This Side Toward Enemy'. All very strange.

Provided you're still alive, you can exit this level successfully by standing in the room with all the windows after completing the objective of deactivating the pillar. Of course, if you didn't hit any of the switches on this level and still took the transporter... ;)

Vale,
Perseus

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Pre-2004 Posts


Replies:

Tour of Duty - Ain't Got Time Pfhor This...PerseusSpartacus 7/29/13 2:39 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Ain't Got Time Pfhor This...Godot 7/31/13 10:45 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Ain't Got Time Pfhor This...PerseusSpartacus 7/31/13 10:58 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Ain't Got Time Pfhor This...PerseusSpartacus 7/31/13 12:29 p.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Ain't Got Time Pfhor This...Godot 7/31/13 12:46 p.m.
                 It's a Conspiracy! *NM*PerseusSpartacus 7/31/13 1:30 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Ain't Got Time Pfhor This...Martin 7/31/13 8:46 p.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Ain't Got Time Pfhor This...treellama 8/1/13 5:13 p.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - Ain't Got Time Pfhor This...PerseusSpartacus 8/1/13 6:21 p.m.

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