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Volunteers - Never Burn Money
Posted By: William SpencerDate: 7/28/01 8:09 a.m.

The Grasshopper Challenge continues with: Never Burn Money

I really like the music tracks for the first three levels, though the one for NBM gets a little repetitive near the end of the level...it'd be nifty in a longer remix with a better organ or two, maybe a saxophone for some good jazz riffs...

Nice level beginning: The computer terminal and save point are right in front of you, and you have a nice solid bulkhead door behind you to prevent you from being attacked in the back while you use them. (Yes, I know in M1 the game pauses while you're in a terminal, but the ambiance is the same - you feel safe, not all exposed.)

Our first non-linear (well..not-so-linear) level, with lots of great little nooks-and-crannies - that spot on the entry floor where you drop down and look into the AMS chamber - the dark ventilation duct - the corners behind the pillars in the second room...

You step through the bulkhead corridor and have a choice of directions. I head right, to check out those lights in the distance, then end up dodging around the corners of this area, taking out those fighters. Ah, and you can turn on the lights here to see better. Very nice - now you can see your enemy clearly!

A new alien! Some kind of flying, goo-spitting bug. Fortunately, they're easy to kill with the pistol: BLAM! Squeek! Nice sound effects...

The area to the left of the entrance is fun, too. All those bugs, rushing at you from both sides - but you learn to retreat and let them come to you. They may be smart, but they're not THAT smart - they just waltz around the corner and die. There are an awful lot of them now, though.

And those strange, rotating, shifting pillars - turbines of some kind? This is one of the levels that looks most like a real place; this bit of the level is obviously a storage area. I like that concealed recharger - it teaches you to be sure to explore everywhere, and not to judge a room on first appearances - and I like the spot where you can look down on the AMS chamber. And if you accidentally wake up the aliens down there, you can watch on your motion sensor as they try to figure out where you are. Oops.

There's also a spare AR stashed back there, just in case you were in too much of a hurry to grab one before.

Then we run through the maintenance ducts and out into the open AMS area - and find lots more fighters. But there's room to run, and you have grenades if you need them. By now, you're really getting into the battlefield routine.

Those little storage lockers are keen. They're so small, but they work perfectly - good polygon work.

Of course, the level isn't THAT simple, as Leela tells us - we have to go somewhere else to get the last chip. No problem, though, right? This is one of the first terminals that displays text related to actual ship's operations - output from the AMS control systems, in this case.

The first time I played the game, it took me forever to find the elevator - I still wasn't using the map mode to the fullest, and still hadn't learned to search EVERY corner. How was I to know that they'd leave a service elevator in plain sight like that?

I like the dark access conduit, too. There's that one purple fighter, lying in wait around the corner, that I always forget about, and who always attacks me from behind. But by now, you've learned to use the motion sensor - you see him coming, spin, and plug him with your pistol. Or maybe you're using your fists now, and show him what melee combat is all about. (Or maybe you're a dunce and grenade him - ack, there goes some suit charge...)

You can also see the other bugs in the conduit coming on the motion sensor, although it's too dark to actually SEE them, and there's not much room to dodge their shots. Keep moving, keep moving.

Ah, the Deprivation Chamber. It's so strange. It's so easy to hate, too, with the bugs sniping you while you're trying to figure out how to get out. Sprinkly-shield, grenades, hop, hop, hop, miss, fall, grrr. Try again, hop, hop, hop, out of shields, BLAM, fall. Man, it's so easy to hate that room.

But the Gheritt White terminal is reward enough. Truely enigmatic, and a complete surprise when you first see it. After all the postcard-length terminal messages that you've been reading, finding this short story is quite eye-opening. And it doesn't even seem to have anything to do with the story at first glance, but you assume it must mean SOMETHING...the kind of thing you have to sleep on. Who knew that folks wrote games like this?

Then the last room. It looks neat - with the windows all around, and the pillars in the middle. It even looks almost functional. Maybe if systems were on-line, the elevator would also go DOWN, into a loading bay of some sort - the windows suggest that we're on Marathon's surface, so it may even be a massive cargo airlock, with access and control panels on the pillars, and a control room above.

That one terminal is perplexing, but by now we're getting used to gibberish terminals - this one looks like output from...a gothic novel, maybe? Once you see Gheritt White, you may recall this one - is there a relationship? Hmmmmmm......

And then we have all 3 repair chips and we're away. There's one thing that changed between M1 and M2...apparently in M2 and MI, chips are bulkier - you can only carry one at a time, not three!

Tune in next time...

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Replies:

Volunteers - Never Burn MoneyWilliam Spencer 7/28/01 8:09 a.m.
     Re: Volunteers - Never Burn MoneyMark Levin 7/28/01 8:35 a.m.
           Re: Volunteers - Never Burn MoneyHamish Sinclair 7/28/01 9:56 a.m.
                 Re: Volunteers - Never Burn MoneyGrasshopper 10/24/03 9:32 a.m.
                       Re: Volunteers - Never Burn MoneyHamish Sinclair 10/25/03 7:38 a.m.
                             Re: Volunteers - Never Burn Moneydarakat 10/28/03 2:11 p.m.
                                   Re: Volunteers - Never Burn MoneyMark Levin 10/28/03 8:58 p.m.
                                         Re: Volunteers - Never Burn Moneydarakat 10/30/03 12:23 p.m.
           Re: Volunteers - Never Burn Money7revor Smith 7/28/01 10:41 a.m.
     Re: Volunteers - Never Burn MoneySoapstone 7/28/01 11:35 a.m.
           Re: Volunteers - Never Burn MoneySock Puppet 7/29/01 2:23 a.m.



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