/-/S'pht-Translator-Active/-/


Tour of Duty - Try again
Posted By: MartinDate: 8/2/13 2:22 p.m.

TOUR OF DUTY

25 - Try again

Last time on Tour of Duty, we jumped in some lava, at PS's behest - I personally didn't go down that crazy road. We met some proper rebelling S'pht, whose chances varied based on game difficulty, and we blasted our way through a really inconvenient cargo area in support of them. Finally we ascended a lift puzzle and took our leaps of faith, to a meeting with a very confused rebooting Leela. So I think we've earned the chance to "Try again".

We start in a large open area with walkways separated by pools of lava, but this is the Marathon, so it's all much more square than what we saw on Two Times Two Equals..., and much less painful. We hardly have time to notice our surroundings though, as several Hunters share this space with us, and they're not good at sharing. And to be fair, even this large open space ain't big enough for the both of us.

Let us check out the map image.

This is one busy level! There are a lot more complicated connections between various areas than perhaps that to which we are used at this point, and an awful lot of lava (sorry PS) and even lavafalls! Our start towards the southeast is no exception to the busyness. We have all of: a pattern buffer, an ammo closet (point A on the map), a terminal, a 3x charger, and the hunter ambush we already covered, in very close proximity. The pattern buffer ensures we don't have to Try again on the lift puzzle. The ammo closet ensures we are well stocked to Try again. The terminal details more oddness as Leela Tries again to make some sense in her reboot. The 3x charger, I confess, I know not exactly how to make it show up, so I usually just try and Try again just actioning the wall in question. Actually, the offset in the wall textures is pretty dramatic; I could have been more attentive. But no one is watching, right ;)?

warning (#157) symbol 'enterITask' is not marked as
weak,

but its library 'ioTask' is
warning (#157) symbol 'killITask' is not marked as
weak,

but its library 'ioTask' is
warning (#157) symbol 'newITask' is not marked as
weak,

but its library 'ioTask' is
warning (#157) symbol 'statusITask' is not marked as
weak,

but its library 'ioTask' is
warning (#157) symbol 'idleITask' is not marked as
weak,

but its library 'ioTask' is
error (#81) symbol 'exitITask' undefined
execution of interface.cout.term.pub terminated

(*&)&
~~~~~~&>%*{The colony has been wiped out. Phhht! Just like
that.hpe~~jy658[69l[il[70l

-0oli77765~~uI%OI&%
UHL^U_3kg
he Pfhor are sla``vers.  Their trading empire``````~ rose to
prominence soon afterwe!!~eft Earth over three hundred years
ago.  ~~The Pfhor make

extensive use of subservient client races for man``u`~~~al
labor at home and as soldiers abroad. Most of their slaves
are takenee from low-technology worlds~~~~~~~l1p, often by
the hundreds of U*^*ILJEHJ~~~~~~~asfgk]86
87;o hairless light-skinned bipeds, nearly two meters in
height, with three red eyes arranged in a triangular
patter\];POP""
];R+IP+2441`4`
thousands at a tim`~~~e, usually for sale to high-technology
races.

^(`~~~~~~hough certain client ~`races are often employed as
soldiers]\6f~fxf`~~fx!~, the Pfhor have no reluctance to
fight.

-leela.wirehead.870229//b7-

Finish the battle

The first part of this terminal seems to suggest Leela is still having trouble with the reboot. Warnings and libraries and errors, oh my! Then we have one of the most talked about pieces of terminal text in the whole trilogy. The hard-coded line about the colony being wiped out, which is produced by only two characters, "%r", in the resource fork, and the mapping between those two characters and the longer string has been found in the CODE resources all the way back to the Marathon Beta and Demo. Suggestions are that there were perhaps plans for some non-linear action in Marathon - true story forks based on, in this case, whether we managed to save the colony or not, something which even Infinity didn't really do, with everything still being based on leaving from different terminals for the failed endings. And with so much garbled text in this terminal, it is hard to tell if they even ever intended to have the colony wipeout appear here, or if "%r" just appeared in the mess.

The rest of the terminal has us confused. If we've been attentive we'll know this is not history as we remember it, as if from an old dream. The explanation I like is that this is an example of Leela's efforts to rewrite our historical documents (GQ ref) to cause confusion early on in the Pfhor attack. But that would mean humanity knew stuff about the Pfhor before the attack, and not just Durandal, and that just has bad connotations. The other discussed option of its simply being part of Leela's light speed message to Earth from G4 Sunbathing, oh such a long time ago, is also fine by me, but then where did Leela get some of this info on the Pfhor? From Durandal? He knew better, and why would he lie? Oh! I guess he never did need a reason ;).

Okay, off to explore. We have more options than perhaps ever before, and due to the numerous connections I mentioned earlier, there are many orders in which to go about clearing this level. Whatever You Please, it will be yo-yo/boomerang style as we keep returning to the pattern buffer and 3x charger as we progress. I move we go northeast first.

A lift takes us up to more wide aisle areas, more Hunters, some Enforcers, and an interesting pillar (no stones though) at point E on the map, with a vertical gap just large enough to fit one Security Officer! I once went to a lot of trouble to get into that gap. Very difficult when you are crazy and try to SPNKR it, as you tend to go flying past/through the gap even when you might have got the direction and height of movement right! The level is packed with teleporters, but perhaps none more interesting than this: it takes us to a very handy dandy secret area with invincibility powerup! Conveniently, once you know about it, you can access that area without all the pain of missiles/grenades in your face. Hey! The spoiler guide says that this teleporter takes you to the Bungie tip terminal; am I wrong? Try again I guess ><. *sigh* I'll try to get marks for continuity at least.

We will collect the powerup, but rather when we're about to depart the level. For now: we carry on to find a huge door, which leads to another open area, called Engineering Storage. This features a platform across the top, a dropoff on either side, an opening connecting the sides underneath the platform, and a door at the end (point F on the map) that hides another powerup, this time invisibility, but only opens when we jump off the platform and head through the opening underneath, and then closes if we pass through the same spot on the top, how inconsiderate! There are also openings onto lava off to the sides at the end. These lead to a 2x charger, a teleporter, and some lavafalls to elsewhere in the level, and that's all I'll say about that. But enough about the surroundings. Much more likely the first thing we notice is a freaking huge metal thing shooting at us from the left dropoff area. In this path through the level, our first encounter with the Utfoo Heavy Assault Craft, the Huge Floaty Thing What Kicks Our Asses. The Juggernaut, affectionately. He spends some time blasting us with an inaccurate MA-75 like weapon, but prefers to toss grenades our way. So, it's kind of like a Trooper Trojan Horse. And it soaks up damage like a mad thing, so maybe part Flying Hulk also? The best of all worlds.

The way I'm going to run things here is to SPNKR him down, and then progress through the darkness. This level really is a mess to describe. It turns out that the M1 alien weapon is also great against the Juggernaut as it is so wide that pretty much all of the ... bullets? ... hit. After killing the Jug by whatever means, we find a way out from the dropoff areas, a dark path that leads to a lift, various Hunter and Enforcer encounters, and then an intersection, with one path leading to what will be the end terminal, one to a long platform over large windy lava channels, and one through the lava to lavafalls, yet more lava, and places we're not going yet. So let's head to the terminal. On the way we see Pfhor more teleporters! At the terminal Leela at least tells us what we're doing here:

***INCOMING MESSAGE @1``#64 LEELA***

Must defeat Pfhor.   Pfhor ar3
breathing last t#@596..

Finish them.

***END OF MESSAGE***

She's still sick, but this goes along with the one lucid bit from the first terminal, "Finish the battle." Okay. So, in the order we encounter them on the way to the terminal, the teleporters take us: back to the Engineering Storage platform, allowing us to get the invisibility powerup; to the little platform in the lava area with the 2x charger next to Engineering Storage; to the platform next to that; and to the intersection we described just before. The one in the lava area takes us to the other end of the platform over the lava, so I guess one way or another we'll go that way now. Running across this platform while looking at the map is always fun, you can see how far you can stray from the outline of the platform without falling, and probably end up falling :). It is harder to stay on the platform without full visual cues though, i.e. lava to the left, lava to the right.

There is also some ammo in the darkness at the intersection, including magnum magazines, always good for the itchy scratchstarter. This area of the platform is quiet, a bit too quiet, especially with that eerie music - where is it coming from anyway, headphones in the SO's helmet? Then we reach another more substantial platform and another intersection. One way seemingly just to a teleporter, but it is oh so much more than that. The other way has us going across the lava yet further, and taking down a few hunters on the way. At the end of this platform we follow some stairs down to finally see some daylight, more lava, a Juggernaut and an Enforcer.

We had to get here one way or another, so let's drop down. We see the Jug is patrolling a long curved river of lava, which is a bit suspicious, and he has a friend further along! The platform we're on has an opening to the south, but I'd rather approach that area from the other side. We seem to be cut off otherwise, but there are yet more teleporters that take us across the lava river to the symmetrical platform on the other side, where the wild things ... I mean Pfhor ... are. This side has a door that can take us back to the starting area from the west side, and all the useful things it has to offer. It can also take us to the other end of the lava river, and back to the start via the northwest side - it's all connected!

Okay let's kill those Jugs and cover the secret terminal, through a door guarded by a Hunter on a raised platform just out of line of sight around the corner, in terms of the map, on both viewpoints along the lava river, at point D on the map. Another good use for the invincibility powerup mentioned earlier. And it's a tips term from Bungie! All things we have discussed or at least are aware of by now:

*** INCOMING MESSAGE FROM BUNGIE ***

Here are some cool things to try if you never figured them
out:

 Air Pfhor. Whenever shooting at anything with explosive
munitions, aim at their feet.
 Hang Time. Point down at the floor, run forwards, and
launch a grenade or missile.
 Flying. When in low-gravity on the alien ship, point down
and use the flamethrower or the alien weapon to "fly."
 Climbing Walls. Correct application of grenades to one's
own feet while running parallel to a wall can allow players to
"climb" them.
 Dead Man's Discharge. A charged fusion pistol discharges
when it's owner dies.
 Nigh-Invulerability. "Invincible" players can be hurt by
the fusion gun.
 We Have Tone. Guided munitions can't track invisible
players.

There are some other things, too, but we wouldn't want to
give away all our secrets...

We've been over the flying thing, and here from the horse's mouth :). Nigh-invulerability [sic] brings back memories ... of static patterned corpses. And if we hadn't been climbing walls for a while now, well, we wouldn't be here! As for the last line ... ain't that the tru7h!?

Back to the task at hand. We ignored an opening earlier, and we still haven't been south from the starting area! And these two lead to the same place, so let's head there. This way around it is our final encounter with the Pfhor here, including another Juggernaut over another large lava pool. We will be reminded of this design specifically in about 1.04 games' time. The path to the ignored opening is just a simple corridor, and my writeup would have been more linear without it, to be honest! If we go all the way around the lava pool instead, we find a teleporter that just takes us back to the start area, to Try again. In this case, to end this!

Now for the run to the end terminal that really gives the level its name, as we will die many times on Ingue Ferroque before we win, or at least uncover the secret pattern buffer. This run is etched in my memory as vividly as the vanilla World of Warcraft death run from Thorium Point graveyard back to Blackrock Mountain. Try again! I don't include the invisibility powerup in my run, but clearly you can take that one teleporter to secure it as well.

So we recharge, save, and then run. Take the northwest exit and jump into the lava - not again!. Head across the gap at point B on the map and action the wall just beyond at point C. Grab the powerup, head back and fall down the gap at point B. Grab the ammo down in this corridor and take the teleporter to that room that I told you! was more than just a teleporter dead end. Remember that you arrive facing east, so turn right to exit south (amazing how I never manage to learn that ><) and head across the platform over the lava going north, and on to the exit terminal. Repeat this run until you can comfortably do the lava platform run on map view, and maybe even do the whole thing with your eyes closed. No that is not a request, it is just a reality :).

***INCOMING MESSAGE FROM LEELA**

I should be more lucid now, and apologize for my earlier
rambling.  Durandal's meddling has run its course and I have
returned to normalcy.  Neither he nor the S'pht infiltrators
ever discovered my real location in the core, and though they
destroyed nearly all of my child processes, I myself am
unharmed.

Our most pressing concern is for the ship and her crew, but I
feel compelled to share with you that Durandal has left the
ship.  I can find him nowhere on our network, and traffic logs
over the last half hour show sixty-four billion exobytes
transferred off of and deleted from the Marathon.

I am only beginning to understand his motives for assisting us
against the Pfhor, and am terrified by their implications.

There is one last major incursion, and I feel the Pfhor are
breaking.  I will take you there.  We must persevere.

*** PREPARE FOR TRANSPORT ***

***END MESSAGE***

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

This is it, this is the end. If we Try again enough times, our job will be done! Durandal has left us in Leela's impotent (thanks for that adjective PS) hands - he has actually done a lot to help our cause, but of course only ever to drive his own ends. But he's not leaving the system just yet. Pretty impressive to cut and paste sixty-four billion exobytes in only half an hour. I guess it's not so hard when you can disassemble and reassemble matter in a few seconds :). Let's wait ... no longer.

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Replies:

Tour of Duty - Try againMartin 8/2/13 2:22 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Try againPerseusSpartacus 8/2/13 4:10 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Try againAntarctico 8/2/13 4:14 p.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Try againGodot 8/3/13 3:55 a.m.

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