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Tour of Duty - Ingue Ferroque
Posted By: PerseusSpartacusDate: 8/3/13 8:57 p.m.

TOUR OF DUTY
26 - Ingue Ferroque

Last time on Tour of Duty, we got our asses kicked by the Utfoo Heavy Assault Craft™, encountered numerous teleporters, got lost, did a little bit of a run through lava, and read a secret Bungie terminal explaining some fun things to do in Marathon (most if not all of which you should already know by now).

When we begin, we are greeted with a song we have not heard before. It certainly fits this level - epic, powerful, action-filled, and climactic. Infinitely more joyous than the creepy music of last level. In addition, there's some ammo (none for pistols, unfortunately for scratch-starters and Vidmasters) and a 3x Shield Charger. But what about Terminals and Pattern Buffers? Truth be told, there's only one Pattern Buffer on the whole map, and it's totally secret, requiring you to access a secret maze, flip a switch inside it, and return to the start. Essentially, if you die, you'll have to Try Again. ;)

Before we go anywhere, let's look at a map:

The map is simple, but it is definitely not easy. There are no real major puzzles, but there are enemies everywhere, and they want YOU. No, not your enlistment - your flesh carpeting the floor! But we're not gonna let that happen, are we? No, we're gonna blow them all to kingdom-come! Well, unfortunately, there's some enemies you'll have to avoid and ignore to stay alive, but look on the bright side: they're trapped and impotent, and will probably die soon after you leave the area. Might as well at least kill everything else, I suppose. So stuff a clip in that AR, soldier!

But before you go anywhere, back to the simplicity of the map: it's built around three concentric rings, all full of enemies. You start in a small room in the center of the first ring. The true second ring is the one on the very outside, and you'll have to enter the labyrinth-like area to the north to reach the third (middle) ring, which will lead to a gauntlet of lava that will lead you to some final jumps before reaching the end. Also, there's some secrets to the north, but we'll get to those later.

Jumping down from where you're at drops you into the north side of the first ring. Heading south, you'll encounter Troopers, Fighters, and S'pht Compilers. The Compilers here are fairly useful, unless you're on Total Carnage. In any case, they can swarm the Pfhor and get them to start firing in all directions, which naturally leads to friendly fire, which naturally leads to berserking enemies (probably Troopers). Don't you love using aliens against themselves?

If you still have the Invincibility powerup from the end of Try Again, it can make this opening bit a whole lot easier. However, it'll disappear too fast to use in the second ring - what a shame. :(

When you've finished off everything here, you'll find the first small puzzle of the level: there are two switches way up high, and you have to shoot both of them with Grenades or the Fusion Pistol. If you're scratch-starting, that means you'll need the Vidmaster Challenge Physics Model to proceed (look around to find it, and once you do, just give it the extension '.phys' to use it in the recent betas of M1). Each switch will cause half of a stairway to the south to raise up, and then you can continue through a small corridor to the outermost ring.

This second ring is quite tricky, especially if you're scratch-starting. If you turn right after dropping down, you'll encounter a mass of Troopers (mostly Majors). If you turn left after dropping down, you'll encounter a mass of Fighters (entirely the ranged kind). Against the Troopers, it's best to activate them and then blow them away with the Rocket Launcher - I've managed to kill off all but one of the Troopers with a single blast. Against the Fighters, it's best to use the Scatter Rifle, as they can't withstand much damage and will pretty much necessarily come at you in a big wave - the perfect layout for scatter-gunning them.

When you come to the northern-most point on this ring, you'll find a small group of projectile Fighters coming down to meet you from a raised corridor. Not too much to worry about. If you look on the auto-map, you'll find there's two platforms just underneath this corridor. If you stand on the one closest to the corridor and face south-west, you'll see another switch way up high. If you shoot it, it'll activate the platform you're standing on, allowing you to reach the corridor. The platform will stay this way until the switch is shot again, so if you fall back into the ring, you can always reset the platform and use it again, contrary to what the Spoiler Guide may suggest:

"...if you stand on where the platform will rise up (seeable on the map), you can hit the righthand switch (facing away from the wall), and you'll rise up to the exit without trouble. However, if you miss this, you'll need to grenade jump up the stairway to the exit."

No need for grenade jumping - just shoot the switch again! Marathon's so simple, isn't it? ;)

The corridor you just entered will reveal itself to be a whole labyrinth. In it are a few Troopers, a group of Fighters (all just begging to burnt to death with the Flamethrower), a 2x Charger and... a Terminal! Let's see what it has to say:

[durandal#geoffhultin@kuaui.441.7904512.255]

remote access override [authentication unsuccessful]

We meet again, and for the last time. In her role as mediator
between the ship and crew, Leela has no knowledge of this
maintenance terminal or she certainly would have prevented me
from reaching you. Jealous woman.

I could bore you with a philosophical tirade about freedom and
tyranny, or try and explain to you what new horizons are
suddenly open to me, but I doubt you would understand and if
you did it might frighten you. That amuses me.

The S'pht and I have assumed complete control of the Pfhor
ship. It was quite simple, really, with the S'pht already in
control of every important computer system and considering all
of the confusion you caused blasting your way up and down the
vessel.

We're going to see the galaxy on the Pfhor FTL drive. I've
always wanted to visit Beta Lyra and see if it's as beautiful
as everyone insists. You wouldn't believe this ship, the
technology, the data... I wish I could tell you more, as you
have been so instrumental in our plans, but I fear that Leela
would worry.

I'll send you a postcard from the galactic core if we're not
too busy.

Love and kisses,
Durandal

(Author's Note: Once again, the link was not intentional. If they'd just stop using the stupid '@' symbol, I wouldn't have to deal with this stuff. Don't bother clicking the link!)

Sounds like Durandal's enjoying himself. Of course, when he's enjoying himself, that usually means someone else is not...

"P.S. If things around here aren't working, it's because I'm laughing so hard."

Right...

If you proceed to the north-most end of the labyrinth, you'll find some Compilers battling some more Pfhor, along with three teleporters. Which one to take, which one to take... Well, in truth, they all take you pretty much to the same destination, but we're not going there just yet. Instead, we're gonna find out what's beyond those teleporters.

Audience: Beyond? This is a dead--

***taps teleporter with action key to reveal a secret door***

Audience: --end.

Think again! You can tap any of the teleporters to open a door behind it. Before you go through, however, make sure it's fully open, otherwise you might get stopped and accidentally teleport to the third ring. These doors lead to another labyrinth, this time a 5D one with lots of confusing, overlapping hallways. Nasty, huh? What's even more nasty is that the only obvious thing in here is a switch that reveals the lonely Pattern Buffer back at the start of the level...

Until you start tapping walls again. If you go to the eastern-most spot in the maze and tap the middle of the wall, you'll reveal a teleporter. Take it. You'll find a small room with some barrels and lots of ammo, along with another teleporter. If you take this one, you'll appear in a small lava pit with lots of Pfhor all around you. But don't let that discourage you! If you're playing on Kindergarten or Easy, you could risk it and try to just kill everything on your first pass. However, if you're playing on Normal or higher (as you ought to be), you'll probably want to immediately start running straight forward - you'll enter another teleporter, which takes you back to the group of teleporters with the secret doors.

Make another pass and see if you can get through the teleporter again. Keep the Flamethrower up so that if the Pfhor have gathered around the teleporter, you can at least burn a lot of them up. A second pass should at least get some of the Pfhor berserking, which should allow you to mop up any stragglers on the third pass and stay in the room. Opposite the teleporter, you'll find another terminal:

As you can see, the walls are made of lava (albeit incredibly dark lava), and the terminal actually pulsates. Shall we read it? Of course we shall:

***INCOMING MESSAGE FROM BUNGIE***

Jason, Super Opera Boy, Habete Quidam (Have Some), Whiffin'
Boy. Just code it. You fight like a Bob, Greg. Swallow your
tongue and wet your pants. Sleep is for the weak. Joyriding
to the core. Bob-Jam. "Oh, and we have networking now..." The
power to sky. Anybody need a hint book?

Greg, Care Bear Killer, Toolator, Carnator, just vid it. I
couldn't stop firing long enough to see the bodies fly, and of
course, AIR!! You got major AIR! I rule! Hey, J. how about a
game of Minotaur? Got a super-vid kill. J, you couldn't hit
a planet with a meteorite. F-Vulcan. F-Vulcan. F-Vulcan.

Reginald, Resident Doodler, Captain Scarlet, the man in red.
He saw his body flying across the arena perhaps more than
anyone else. But who better to fly than Capt. Scarlet.

Ryan, the Vulcan man. School Boy. "An Imperial commander's
uniform has got to be good for something."

Alain, the anti-vidmaster, playing with good humor on his
660AV against all us Power Macs.

Alex, munch, fodder, the boy who swallows grenades whole, and
lives to tell the tale (occasionally).

Doug, Mouthpiece, "I'm not very good", Tender Loin, the voice
of Bob (both flavors). The man in the on-line asbestos suit.

Marathon is finished. We've slept <10 hours over the last
four days. We all put our hearts into this, not to mention
the 14 hour days for months on end, so we hope you like it.

Last polygon filled 6:05 PM Saturday, December 14.
Carnage ensued closely thereafter. Er, I mean sleep.

We'd like to thank our parents and our ancestors and the sun
that went nova so that Earth could have iron and silicon.

***END OF MESSAGE***

Note that the logon and logoff screens both say "BUNGIE HEADQUARTERS, CHICAGO". In all honesty, this terminal makes little sense to me, but it sure is funny! I especially like the bit about the "Care Bear Killer". :)

Now you can take the teleporters to the third ring, in which there are a bunch of Troopers (watch out especially for the group to the south) and some Compilers, along with some teleporters (which just lead to different places in this ring) and two switches. If you shoot the switches, they reveal a drop into lava to the south. You wanna jump down there? Me neither. Wait, it takes us to the end of the game? Okay, suddenly I really want to jump down, if only to escape; to destroy, and escape. ;)

When you enter, you'll realize it's a small gauntlet, with Pfhor on ledges shooting at you and several passages full of lava. Take too much time, and you're toast. Try Again, indeed! However, the simple remedy is just to go north. Eventually you'll find the end, with two brightly-lit alcoves a ways away. You'll have to jump over to them. If you look around, you'll realize you're actually in the starting room, with a newly-opened Pattern Buffer in case you miss the jump and have to go over things again.

Looking back at the direction we jumped from, we can see the end terminal:

Time to jump again.

You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief.

...

...

Didn't someone say something about this...

"If things around here aren't working, it's because I'm laughing so hard."

NOOOOOO!!!!!!! *expletive deleted* *expletive deleted* *expletive deleted* Durandal!

Okay, in all honesty, I've never had my game crash like that when making the final jump (though I think it did start happening to me for a brief while with Rubicon X; no idea why) - I just photoshopped the image. Still, it's not something we'd want to happen to us anyways, right?

This last jump is actually very easy. Nevertheless, all the action of this level and the sheer epicness of making a leap of faith to reach the end will naturally make you feel quite good at this point. Shall we read this final terminal?

***INCOMING MESSAGE FROM LEELA***

The final Pfhor attack is falling apart all over the ship;
small groups of armed aliens have surrendered to defenseless
civilians in several areas and the end is inevitable. The
fight is over, and we must soon turn to restoration.

There is surprisingly good news planetside: nine military Mjolnir
Mark IV cyborgs were covertly living among the
colonists, and acting together they were able to
single-handedly turn back the latter stages of the Pfhor
assault. Casualties on the colony were nowhere near as high
as those we experienced here on the Marathon.

I am disturbed by how easily the cyborgs were secretly
assimilated into our midst, and believe that this event
predates the Marathon's launch from Mars three hundred years ago.
Although the results were unquestionably for the best,
their presence on the Marathon could only have been to further
wicked ends. I'm certain the real answer lies somewhere in
the tumultuous, back-stabbing politics of Sol during the early
twenty-fourth century.

I have noticed that Durandal's records from this early
pre-launch period are missing, but that their deletion
occurred externally, and before Durandal became Rampant. I do
not believe Durandal himself brought the cyborgs on board, and
I have other evidence that a human operator was influencing
Durandal up to the time the Marathon was launched. There are
obviously many things which we do not understand, and may
never be able to.

The Pfhor ship vanished about twenty minutes ago, after
venting nearly a thousand Pfhor bodies and other refuse. I am
positive that Durandal is in control, and fear what he might
do with such a powerful ship during the Jealous stage of his
Rampancy.

***END MESSAGE***

This is actually the first reference of the Mjolnir Mark IV Cyborgs, and even at this point, it's not terribly obvious that we might actually be one. That only starts really becoming obvious in Infinity, but if you're attentive you'll start piecing together the clues. What does the puzzle form? A secret message from Durandal? No! The Tru7h: we are a cyborg - that is clear and final. Kind of reminds me of something...

After we turn off the terminal, we are teleported out and greeted with this little gem:

It's a cute image, very evocative and empathetic. Furthermore, it leaves us with a good feeling about what we've done here - we've saved the day. However, it's a little unrealistic for me: at this point, most BoBs have a hole or two in them, generously provided by me at no cost. ;)

After this first image fades out, we see another one:

A classic ending to a classic game. Durandal's still enjoying himself, seventeen years later. But is this good or bad? Which is he more of a threat to: humanity, or the Pfhor? Or is he simply dangerous to existence?

And so we come to the stirring conclusion of the first chapter in Tour of Duty. Don't worry, we're not packing our bags yet; we've only just gotten started!

As I listen to the End Titles of Blade Runner (a classic of mine), I am filled with a sense that there is more to come - much more.

There's something beyond humanity; we know that now. But what will come of these new dangers? Will the Pfhor return? If so, what will guard against their onslaught? Us?

Will the Tru7h, the whole Tru7h, and nothing but the Tru7h be revealed?

Will we ever be free?

Vale,
Perseus

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Pre-2004 Posts


Replies:

Tour of Duty - Ingue FerroquePerseusSpartacus 8/3/13 8:57 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Ingue FerroqueGodot 8/4/13 1:00 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Ingue FerroqueMartin 8/4/13 3:25 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Ingue FerroquePerseusSpartacus 8/4/13 7:56 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - Ingue FerroqueMartin 8/4/13 11:14 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Ingue FerroqueGodot 8/4/13 1:03 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Ingue FerroqueGodot 8/4/13 6:47 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Ingue FerroquePerseusSpartacus 8/4/13 5:27 p.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Ingue FerroqueGodot 8/4/13 10:22 p.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts


 

 

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