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Tour of Duty - This Side Toward Enemy
Posted By: MartinDate: 11/10/13 12:43 a.m.

TOUR OF DUTY

19 – This Side Toward Enemy

The name. The Story page has some interesting musings. I especially like Strange... do we NOW need to be pointed to the enemy? Ah... but who NOW is the enemy? which I guess is from Hamish given that it appears between the sent in quotes (?). If so, that explains why I find it so poignant. Okay, so we are being likened to a remarkably deadly weapon, and given how many Pfhor we have slaughtered in the last few levels, that’s a fair call, but the concept of enemy is actually a curious one.

Our main ally, in fact the only reason we were here in the first place, came to Lh’owon to find out something that might help him in his goal of escaping the end of the universe – misguidedly according to Tycho a couple of levels back, and Durandal has always been rather vague about his long-term plans in M2 so far – and that ally is now dead as far as we know at this point, so what are our motivations? Well, as the Story page just reminded me: That's right. I said slavery. So what? You’re a slave here; you do what I say. I was humanity’s slave for over three hundred years. And so it is: we’ve just been sprung from prison, and are off to find new instructions, because that’s what we do. A little sad, really.

Last time on Tour of Duty we didn’t do much. But I guess prison is like that. If the sorts of investigation depicted in the Captured chapter screen really did go on, one would think whoever was in charge might have found out something of interest, but we didn’t seem to warrant that much security!

...

Teleported out by whoever sent in those BoBs, here we are, falling from the sky, into deep water. I think that this is the only level around that is easier to scratchstart on than to play through, as scratchstarting gets you both a magnum and full oxygen. I had very little of that last on my latest playthrough, and only just made it through the level after many attempts. This level forces us all to vid a bit, and the Troopers especially are rather painful as such.

The level does begin a new chapter, so we are officially no longer captured, and the numbering is back to what it should be.

Blake! So I guess that must be him, and I guess that means we got picked up by the right guy. Quite a stroke of luck as we would have had real trouble doing what Durandal said to on our own: Get out of here and find the human leader, Blake. Good thing I guess Durandal told Blake to find us as well, shortly before, from Blake’s perspective, Durandal just stopped responding? It’s not something we’re used to, having to consider another person in the story beyond the AIs. There is also the sound of a heartbeat for the chapter screen … we are, and hope is, still alive?

In this first room is a(nother) magnum, some ammo, and two doors leading out. I’ll take us west first, simply because otherwise we’d be back here soon anyway. We head into a large area with a central column, and Water F’lickta coming towards us, really not fitting in with our desire to not stay underwater for long! So they are best avoided. At the back of the column is a brightly lit platform (at point B on the map), and after it rises we can jump across and hit a switch, which lowers a platform in each of the north and south walls, revealing openings. They both lead us out of the water, along corridors and into the arms of three Sewer F’lickta guarding a switch. Again, convenient to have that second magnum already. The switch sets up platforms as stairs just through a window in each case, and these allow us to get further into the level.

We head back to the start and now go east, where we find just one Water F’lickta and fist him down. Still underwater we find a 1x recharger, which is more useful the more oxygen we have, and a little ammo. Then we find stairs leading up and out of the water. We hang a left and find a terminal and a PB (at point A on the map)! Were we required to raise the stairs just to make it more likely that in the first playthrough we would find these before going further on? It would be a really bad idea to go on without saving. The terminal is from Blake.

He doesn’t look much like the guy in the chapter screen, but I think we’ve gone past trying to relate those two components of the game. Okay, we were held captive for nearly a month, but it wasn’t all that hard to get us out once they worked out where we were – a couple of Enforcers and a few Fighters on guard duty, I guess the Pfhor never expected anyone to be coming to find us. A virus that kills Pfhor in a matter of hours, well that’s convenient, maybe we should just sit and wait? It sounds vaguely familiar, but the virus on Ex Cathedra was a computer one made by Durandal :). Oh wait, it was more familiar from Six Thousand Feet Under:

We, the Olders of S’pht, united finally but doomed, have released the S’ct’lac’tr in the citadel.

Let these aliens enter here and they will be destroyed.

I seem to recall one of you others here suggested that that was actually the virus that left radiation in the citadel … but I can’t find that post now. Another thing I’ve missed ><.

Anyway, now after all the work we did looking for information on the Eleventh Clan, we get the reveal that Durandal already had another lead, the idea of reactivating a S’pht AI – Thoth, as we will come to know and love him. Is this the first mention? Aside from that strange terminal on We’re Everywhere!? And reachable only through teleportation. Well. At least we’re no strangers to dropping down deep holes … because only you would survive the fall. The last time we were on Lh’owon we were probably even lower down than Blake’s about a mile below the surface. On this level we can see the sky at the highest point, so we’re not far underground, but still we could only get here through teleportation, hmmm.

Also in this room is a raised platform with two switches to control it for whatever reason. We actually find a few Sewer F’lickta incoming from there when we enter the room, but I forgot to mention them earlier. The platform is well out of our reach even when lowered, but its state affects convenience later in the level – if we leave it lowered, we can get back down to this PB more easily, but we need to raise it in order to advance further, and the next PB is not far from there anyway. I think that I did leave it lowered first off on my very low oxygen run, but generally I wouldn’t bother.

So we go back the way we came, but carry on along instead of going back underwater, and then we find the stairs we raised earlier in the level. Both sets. And then we seem to come to a dead-end at point C on the map. But if we look out across the water we first fell down into, we see two windows into the sides we have just walked around, and one to the left (point D on the map) that is new – that side toward enemy! It is here that you get a second magnum if you’re playing through, and boy is that lucky, as just around the corner and up the stairs we find two Troopers teleporting in. That’s a nasty wakeup call for a magnum-only level! Running away, via the water, back to the 1x recharger, is a good option if you have the oxygen for it.

After those Troopers we find ourselves back in water again, though thankfully not very deep. Two Compilers teleport in in the first room here, and then standing on a platform in the middle at point E on the map reveals openings to another water room, wherein a total of four Troopers teleport in, but generally not all at once. If you get them to come back to the first water room and cower further back around the corner yourself, they don’t follow, but have an annoying habit of standing in spots where you have to expose yourself significantly to hit them, and then magnums vs. grenades is a bad situation!

The second water room has a platform in the middle as well, at point F on the map. This time the new player would have to think about the possibilities. It turns out that the height allows us to get on platforms in the corners, and one of these, just across from where we entered, reveals an opening, and soon takes us across the platform from the PB/term room or down into it. Stairs take us down after we cross the platform, and a compiler shows up at the first landing, although he seems to want to stay below that point, and if we chase him, his friend shows up. Annoying times when you have no oxygen left and know that your salvation is just beyond! That’s right, we finally find an oxygen recharger at the next landing and, down the next flight of stairs, another terminal!

Blake in a relaxed but slightly annoyed pose, with more details on why we’re here – save the S’pht AI, save the world! Down the stairs in front of the terminal is a PB not marked on the map, and one of the switches we have to activate. That’s right, this is one of Thoth’s personality cells, and a room layout that we will become very familiar with over the next few levels, and then across various levels in Infinity.

The switch up the stairs lowers the water level, the one below turns up the lights and gives a bit of ambient sound. There are F’lickta here, and, as we come to expect, heading down the end of the room brings in a bunch more. In some instances it also brings in ammo and/or weapons, so it’s not all bad. Indeed, here we get a Fusion Pistol, which is never a bad thing :). Finally, further along the corridor from the terminal is another personality cell, second verse the same as the first. Now Blake is happier.

Aww a few hours for a SPNKR … does that include secret ones ;)? PS will be back for the next two levels, and then I return for one of my all-time favourites, KYT. Good times.

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Replies:

Tour of Duty - This Side Toward EnemyMartin 11/10/13 12:43 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - This Side Toward EnemyPerseusSpartacus 11/10/13 6:31 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - This Side Toward EnemyMartin 11/10/13 7:56 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - This Side Toward EnemyPerseusSpartacus 11/10/13 8:33 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - This Side Toward Enemytreellama 11/11/13 3:48 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - This Side Toward EnemyMartin 11/11/13 9:49 a.m.

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