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Tour of Duty: Confound Delivery
Posted By: MartinDate: 2/28/14 7:44 p.m.

Last time on Tour of Duty, well, not much happened. Actually that wasn’t really last time, as in order for us to be here now, we had to not be there then. But with dead BoB scenery before the BoBs were in the area, forgotten skulls, crazy coop carnage areas in isolated arenas, and all that Shakespeare, it’s no wonder we’re a little confused. Okay, let’s go with: last time(line) on Tour of Duty we explored some S’pht ruins, but they were somewhat different to how we remembered … or did we? We became more familiar with Tycho’s new methodology, tricking the Pfhor systems to his own ends – so many encrypted stamps – culminating in his arranging for the Pfhor captain to be teleported into space … which reminds me of what they managed in the Blake’s 7 episode Hostage. Always a satisfying end to things anyway :). Then Durandal arrived, and Tycho finished with that great line: There’s nothing on Lh’owon but ghosts. Spine-chilling!

Now we start … just through the window and over the wall from where we (probably) finished off! The hunters seem to be gone from the ledges, and the secret end terminal seems to be gone from the map, but we can see the normal end terminal on the map if we move around a bit. A platform drops down behind us, allowing access to the next area. Then another one drops down and some F’lickta emerge from some shallow water. They die in 2–3 shots, what the hell? Oh, I had it on kindergarten for these vid runs for convenience in writing up and remembering stuff … shhh don’t tell anyone ;). Hunters arrive on the scene behind us, and they are still on our side – we give them metallic high fives. There's also a Potato Anus here, just bumming around.

The map suggests there is another platform here that we will presumably be lowering, and there’s a hole we can drop down into that actually gets us to the other side of it in advance – funny, I’d never really gone that way before. It’s a bit anticlimactic, just another F’lickta, but again, the map shows spoilers as these platforms don’t go all the way to the roof … and when I say roof, we’re actually out in the open so, whatever. Might as well continue from here, as it makes that silly lift down the stairs slightly more useful…. Down the stairs we find a lift, and a pattern buffer, and a water hole, but we’ll ignore that for the moment. The lift has some weird stuff going on, it has three separate sections and some untextured walls show if we turn it on and then off again. It takes us up to the last platform that dropped down in front of us, onto a ledge with a moat in front of us. There's a little ammo at the end of this moat, by the way.

From here we can jump across and climb up to a small area in the middle, where we find a terminal, a 1x charger, and 2 switches, in a triangle arrangement that makes for some head scratching, as it seems hard to fit three separate areas into the space they do right here. There is also a door just to the right of the terminal, but we never get it open :(. The terminal says:

Okay, so this rings a bell, the humans are trying to activate an ancient S’pht AI, but this time it is in a flooded area – well, we did do a lot with water levels in and around the personality cells we found in M2, and it really was down to us that they got activated. When we are instead enslaved to the Pfhor, things go pear-shaped for the humans :(. Next, Tycho’s ship has been disabled by Durandal’s, and Tycho has sent him a message only the three of us would understand – curious wording, except that we remember from an old dream:

We were only early on in our large scale exploration of the S’pht ruins in those days; as has been said before, there are certain things that seem to happen in every timeline, regardless of our role in things, just in a slightly different order and/or at a slightly different time – and of course, with Infinity looking to fit so many timelines into one games, also a lot more quickly.

Finally, a mission briefing, with a map pic showing the old M2 textures, taken just before the final changes. Also the automap pic shows a pattern buffer … oh no, wait, that’s only in PS’s maps that a red circle means a PB :D. So we are indeed off to see Thoth again, but Tycho’s motive is only really to beat Durandal; I’m not really sure if he knew of Thoth’s true significance at this point … or ours.

Let’s take a look at the map and figure out where to go next:

It is another case of The Hard Stuff Rules, with significant overlap between levels, so even when you know the level well it is hard to work out where some parts are. This is also not helped by the fact that we have underwater water, above ground shallow water, and above ground deep pools on the level *headscratch* but hey, we can still see that Thoth room … even if we can’t actually get into it.

Okay so first of all let’s go for a swim, in that water hole we ignored earlier – a slightly different path from the nice purple one PS marked, but to the same end. There are some more F’lickta down there if we happen to have any SMG ammo left, but if not, they tend to obligingly fall into the deeper parts of this odd stepped tunnel, allowing us to swim over the top of them. The tunnel branches – right is the way to Thoth, left leads us to two ways back to the surface. Adding yet more layers to the map, they both lead to more stairs back to the top level as well. The first is between the two floodgates we just opened; the second is an isolated area with just a little ammo, and what appears to be a very high ledge, which might offer something more interesting if we had a SPNKR *cough* Robot World Arena *cough* but I doubt it.

The branch to Thoth opens into a huge area with yet more different floor heights – how annoying. We really have to use the map to see where we’re going, and as we know, that has its drawbacks, but better at this point in our exploration than later on. As I said, we can’t enter the Thoth room; all we have to do is look inside it – presumably judged by must-explore polygons?

Back on the surface, we explore through the newly opened floodgates, and find first a little back alley, wherein an assault rifle and some ammo, mmm, and then a bit of a surprise. Which shouldn’t really be that surprising given our current master, and that he’s kind of anti-Durandal, and by extension, anti-Human. But still, we are not quite prepared for *ouch* the accuracy of the magnum-toting angry BoBs around the corner! At least we know it’s not our fault they’re shooting at us … although for some of us, it might just be considered atonement ;).

Further on, more friendly Hunters and hostile BoBs, and some more high ledges. Then some stairs down to yet another room with a water hole, although this one doesn’t go anywhere, and then a path on to a 1x recharger and then a lift in the middle of a pool, which takes us up onto the ledges. There where we find one deep pool on the far side, and on the near side, an interesting fight, between F’lickta on the one hand, and Hunters and … a baby Juggernaut on the other – well, he has been described as baby, but he’s still pretty big! Still, he’s the first friendly one we’ve seen *pat*, can we keep him? If things go according to plan, he will teleport out :(.

The deep pool is pretty interesting as well – it hides a Fusion Pistol and associated ammo! Rather a big deal with Acme Station not too far away, and so easy to miss. Further along the ledge we find a passage to the other side of that damned door by the first terminal! The next room has another Juggernaut taking on angry BoBs down below, and we could jump down to their area now, but around the next corner is something more interesting. An area that once looked like this:

A gone-but-not-forgotten terminal! The Story page details what it says in the final release, and what it once said. It was once the only S’pht terminal in Infinity. It is easy to forget that they just aren’t around. When we’re with Durandal, the shortened timeframe has us doing more important things that need doing, and we never get a chance to look for S’pht stories. Just like Durandal said on Ne Cede Malis!

One of the most intriguing things about this unreleased terminal is the fact that it relates how S’pht Y’sa M’nr had forgotten who Yrro was. Suggesting that the warring clans had forgotten their roots.

Had they in fact forgotten why they were at war? It’s interesting stuff either way!

Then on we go into the fray. Following one ledge leads to some shotgun ammo; another floodgate opens, revealing lots more angry BoBs, and we compete with the Juggernaut for glory … which is dangerous as his grenades can still hurt us if we get in their way! From here we take a passage to the first oxygen recharger since the very start, and then on to the other side of that door from Poor Yorick, which opens from this side, and then to that level’s end sequence, although access down into the water is blocked by an apparent cave-in. Aww.

Now, if we hadn’t found the Thoth room, Tycho gets a bit annoyed and insulty with us, while carrying on his rather egocentric monologue:

As we did find it, he instead gives us the latest news:

Durandal’s ship is offline … man he needs to be more careful! And this before Battle Group Seven even shows up. Well, fast-forward mode, a large structure has entered orbit – K’lia (thanks Volunteers I would have missed that) – and Tycho’s big reveal, his ship has the trih xeem, oh great. And yet his last words sound like they would put us on the other side of the IIHARL fight, only like halfway through Marathon 2. Messed up!

Oh well, Tycho’s pretty much threatening to release chaos again, at least a far as our belief system goes – we’re kind of still taking this whole W’rkncacnter thing on trust. But it is specifically what we’re trying to stop – we really won’t be able to while working -for- Tycho, and we don’t yet have sufficient control, or even awareness, of whatever it is that is letting us travel around like this, and so we apparently take our leave of this timeline … it is only a shame the next level is not called “Try again”.

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Replies:

Tour of Duty: Confound DeliveryMartin 2/28/14 7:44 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty: Confound DeliveryVikingBoyBilly 3/1/14 6:14 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty: Confound DeliveryPerseusSpartacus 3/1/14 9:41 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty: Confound DeliveryPerseusSpartacus 3/1/14 9:33 p.m.

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