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Tour of Duty - Begging For Mercy Makes Me Angry!
Posted By: MartinDate: 11/6/13 10:11 p.m.

TOUR OF DUTY

17 – Begging For Mercy Makes Me Angry!

The name. It sounds much more quotable than it apparently is. The Story page, and the internets in general, give only one source, a Bugs Bunny cartoon of all things. I’m pretty sure I never saw that one, but I did just find a sound clip and it really doesn’t sound as angry as I was hoping, to be honest. Never mind though, we will soon be plenty angry ourselves. As an alternative level name I suggest: What are you doing, Dave? Of course we have Durandal’s full permission to destroy his core logic centers; he seems better able to handle his own demise than some, although:

You’re not dead, are ya? I mean, you’re dead! But you're not dead dead, because you’re still here, aren’t ya?

Last time on Tour of Duty we had fun with compilers en masse against a wonderful toxic waste green and Pfhor red backdrop. We found out more about the Jjaro, and that Tycho knows what we’re up to and suggests we’re kind of out of luck. After much carnage indeed, we were asked to destroy Durandal’s core, whatever that really means for his ongoing survival. As I said, that was a very open plan level with no prescribed path. This one could hardly be more different. We haven’t really met its like before: there are usually options for how to proceed, but not this time. Seven doors to open, eight switches to hit, and some dumb core logic centers.

...

I mentioned the PB – exit run on Carnage as being a favourite. The beginning here is a true trial, but then we’ve kind of been getting used to that. It is up there though, and things can go bad right up until you action that first PB!

All is quiet. Too quiet. We start in a roundish room with a central column, with door textures, and similar sections of wall on the outside, with sets of stairs in between. Every move we make, they’ll be watching us, and they could just wake up. The first moments are always tense even when you know what to expect. At the top of each staircase we get a nice ammo cache of some sort, and they all come together to form a further ring-shaped structure. Up one of the staircases, we find a terminal.

Blake, oh yeah we’ve heard of him. There’s still that nagging doubt out there that he’s not really real….

Lister, I’m not really here! I’m not really me! Don’t you see? I’m a computer simulation of me. That’s me, there, that pile of albino mouse droppings.

Hmmm. Well I’m just going to go ahead and take it at face value for the majority opinion anyway. There are more important things going on here. Just a jump to the left, or a step to the right, and we risk waking up Hunters, Troopers and Enforcers … hardly the timewarp we were looking for! Also appropriate nomenclature for the annoyance of the changing heights between the tops of the staircases and the rest of the corridor space, meaning that missiles sometimes fly over the heads of their targets ><.

Okay, enough with the suspense, we start running around like a mad thing, and find that the central column provides pretty decent cover. Equipped as we conveniently are with the knowledge that we lose all weapons next level, there’s no need to hold back, and the SPNKRs are flying. Two missiles for each Hunter and Trooper, no fewer!, and one for each Enforcer.

Let’s have a look at the map while we’re killing stuff:

It does look angry, with those big red eyes and large teeth! So yeah, 8 doors lead out from the big ring. A pair of Enforcers spawns when we get near one of the doors, and so begins the mad ambush theme of this level. It’s not just that they spawn around us, but this time they have a nasty habit of cutting off our escape as well, something I have mentioned before as being more typical of Tempus Irae; but we don’t have much time to think about that in this particular context.

The door leading north in the northwest corner is open from the start. It leads to a large room with a winding path leading up between lava pools (sorry PS), and more importantly, a bunch of Pfhor coming our way. The M2 Enforcer’s signature of standing still and shooting after it has spotted you is a real pain! Not so bad with a SPNKR on your shoulder, but boy what the vidders go through – just another factor for them I suppose, but whatever, for me it just makes it all the more enjoyable when the Enforcers actually die. Once the Pfhor in this room are dead, we think we can go in and explore, but as we get towards the winding path, more spawn behind us. Thankfully that is the last ambush for this room, and the reward is worth the effort, as at the end of the winding path, we find a 3x recharger, yum!

It’s still easy for things to go wrong though – there are the lava pools here if we get cocky, and there are more Pfhor outside…. There’s a switch next to the recharger, and when we head back out we discover that it opened the first of those core logic centers. A grenade or shotgun in its direction is all it takes, and destroying that opens the next door in our travels, diagonally opposite the first one. First, of course, we have to deal with the guarding Enforcers, and any other Pfhor that remain.

This is one of the ‘teeth’ rooms from the map, and plays very differently from the previous one: very close quarters with no way out. We enter into the middle of a long narrow room left to right – Pfhor spawn to our left and we run back out the door to deal with them, probably having to go back in for the Enforcer. For the uninitiated, this is hell. For myself playing it right now for the second time on TC in as many days, I just made it to the PB and can finally relax and get back to typing :).

Across a small lava river is another long space with ambush, and then a third. When they are clear we realise that some ends are brighter than others, and the bright ones turn out to be teleporters. From the first space we cleared, we access the other two teeth, which brings two Enforcers and a Hunter spawning right across from us, the last thing standing between us and the PB we see to the right! And then across the way is the next switch, and another ambush, naturally.

Two down, six to go. Okay, what is the deal with the triggers in the middle? There are extra Pfhor, including Enforcers, on the staircases, but they only show up if I’m shooting on the stairs? SPNKR strategy FTW! Except I’ve pretty much run out this time around.

The third door gives us another climbing path around a lava pool, with more Pfhor, as you might expect. At the top we see a platform just above the lava, a small jump away. We have to go there in order to hit the next switch, but I’m always hesitant, knowing what comes next. Blasting the platform switch and letting it come up quite high makes it easier to deal with the Enforcers that appear back up top. The Trooper has somewhere else he needs to be – last time I met him again heading to the 3x recharger. He did seem to need more health.

The switch we have to hit is high up on the wall completely concealed from the rest of the room and not entirely obvious, but there it is. The fact that we’re shooting from and being shot on this platform can lead to our encountering platform-related bugs here: yesterday I got frozen in place as the platform descended; today I couldn’t stop moving, which is definitely the more annoying of the two.

True to the pattern the switch does indeed reveal another of Durandal’s cores, and that in turn opens another door. And after recharging and saving, that’s where we head. The contents are somewhat tamer this time. A corridor full of crowding Pfhor just begging to be SPNKRed, and then one of the ‘eye’ rooms, wherein a platform falls into the lava, revealing the next switch beneath it, and then rises again. Then we have to hit the switch on the opposite wall to open the door to get back out again. Yet another thing that would be more of a pain without all these useful weapons, although having said that, I guess the Alien Weapon is the saving grace in this case.

Right now, we go and recharge, as this is our last chance: destroying the next core deactivates that 3x recharger, and the first terminal it seems, unless that went earlier and I didn’t notice, because why would I? Happily, we are about to get our hands on another recharger, but: it is only 2x, quite a few Pfhor stand between us and it, including a nasty ambush, and we’re running out of ammo.

The room is, you’ll be shocked, a winding path between lava pools in wonderful bright red and green with yellow pool walls. New is a pile of rubble? in blue with black flowing down it, complete with green crackling, and this seems to be a favourite spot for Enforcers to hang out. There’s the usual spawn all around on entering, followed by the usual retreat, wait, kill, lather, rinse and repeat. Then I like to head in to the left to wake up another Enforcer, just to secure the more important retreat coming up. This would almost certainly yield death for the new player, and I look forward to seeing it rampancy style as well. As you approach the 2x recharger, suddenly there are spawns in front and behind – that’s no good at all on stairs! If you’re prepared, there’s just enough time to run back down and leap across the lava before a Trooper cuts you off. Otherwise, it’s painful. As it is, it seems to be designed so that an Enforcer gets in the way of the rest of them coming down. I was out of both grenades and missiles this time, but thankfully a shotgun shell in the face sorted them out, and all but the Enforcer made it all the way out to visit me … even if I wasn’t a benevolent host.

So we’ve secured a new recharger. Right now, we go back and save, as this is our last chance … oh you get the idea. I think it’s a really nice touch, on a very superficial level, that different cores are actually responsible for powering different parts of the ship. I guess our door switches are overrides – this is after all the rather elaborate process required to destroy (part of) Durandal. Of course in gameplay terms this nice touch is just a pain. Five down, three to go.

Next is the second ‘eye’ area, very similar to the first but with a MoAH thrown into the mix. He seems to be content to just hang out in his corridor – is he too big to come out? – and he dies surprisingly quickly to fusion. The part with the switch is just the same as before, and we’re still short a Pattern Buffer! Also, seeing as I managed to die in the next area just now, I went and tried, and the MoAH takes about 2.5 Alien Weapons to kill, so it’s not the worst thing in the world for the scratchstarter … but it probably is for the no ammo player :o.

Next we get a unique sight: whoever is teleporting all these Pfhor down apparently didn’t know about a pool of lava just through the next door in our adventure. Indeed, quite a large group arrive, then fall, and then presumably die, I’ve never gone to check! It was the fact that some also spawn on the ground just before that pool that killed me just now. I was thinking about taking a screenshot … nevermind. Around the next corner we see our replacement PB, the Pfhor we have to kill to access it, and another lava pool! Finally we have to go swimming in one of the big ones, as the next switch is down there. We can see it easily enough with transparent liquids, but it is still an uncomfortable thing to do optimally.

Last but not least we have the second ‘teeth’ area. It is nastier as the Pfhor are already spawned all the way across when we arrive, rather than our having to go and wake them up. This is especially a pain with the ammo we have left at this point. Anyway, this time the useful teleporter is on the far side, and it takes us to the final switch, and a terminal! It’s from Tycho! He’s not happy with us.

Okay so technically he’s backing up some of Durandal, and, as Durandal said, he thinks he’s won. Well, it sort of seems like it at this point, as we head out to blast the last core. Then if we stand still in the central area, we get teleported out immediately. Otherwise, the lights go down and we can run around the level and bask in the desolation, but we can’t do much of use, so we might as well stand still, and get captured – I think PS is going to do a writeup of the next level, but I’m hoping it will be another short and sweet one. Sorry about the length and lack of variety in this one. I’m down for This Side Towards Enemy, so no rest for the wicked :).

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Replies:

Tour of Duty - Begging For Mercy Makes Me Angry!Martin 11/6/13 10:11 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Begging For Mercy Makes Me AngrHokuto 11/7/13 1:18 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Begging For Mercy Makes Me AngrPerseusSpartacus 11/7/13 6:30 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Begging For Mercy Makes Me Angrtreellama 11/7/13 6:51 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Begging For Mercy Makes Me AngrMartin 11/7/13 8:38 a.m.

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