Volunteers: Feel the Noise
Posted By: Mark LevinDate: 11/5/01 12:28 p.m.

This level is Marathon 2's crescendo, a huge level of, well, noise, and large-scale combat situations. Only Hunters and Cyborgs block your path, and you have only the S'pht'kr to help you. Kill them all and let god sort the dead.

If you want to get your bearings, don't move as you teleport in; you won't trigger any monsters until you do. This room is the hub of the level, consisting of several layers and access points. There are also a number of ambushes and ammo drops scattered around the area, be careful what you pick up because the health canisters can be very valuable. Going clockwise around the room, and not counting the guys on the central platform, you will trigger: An ambush near the red path, an ambush near the first lava pit, three piles of ammo consisting of all three types of health (1x, 2x, and a 3x charger behind the lava), another ambush, including some hapless Cyborgs dumped in the lava, more ammo including some rockets across the second lava pit, and one final ambush as you return to your starting point. Take the canisters in increasing order (when you need them!) for best effect, the level gets more difficult as it goes on and you'll probably need 3x health for the last room.

This level's design is of the "looping linear" form, in which you do revisit areas but are rarely given an explicit choice as to where to go next. Just follow the path, taking the most obvious choice and killing everything in your way. Do not anger the Major Defenders unless you are ready to kill them, their shots are very powerful.

When navigating the large figure-eight staircase, there are two strategies that I find very helpful. Once you step onto the first set of stairs, a large number of cyborgs will teleport in ahead of you. Retreating back to the platform you stepped off of gets you more room to maneuver and prevents the cyborgs from hitting you, as they can't throw that far. Then, when you reach the second staircase, taking the flamethrower will trigger a Cyborg ambush on both sides of you. Take advantage of Marathon's physics by jumping off the stairs, turning in mid-air, and landing back on the stairs behind the approaching cyborg, putting them both on the same side of you and making them much easier to kill/flee.

Eventually, you will reach the central platform. Up here is a 2x health charger, a pattern buffer, and a terminal. Durandal is definitely back to his old self, delivering a classic self-important rant reminiscent of Marathon 1. He's won now, and all that's left is to clean up the Pfhor and go home. And as before, he fails to explain a good bit of what's going on. Oh heck, we're almost to Infinity anyway :P

The next room is full of Hunters. If you need cover after falling in, step on the sunken platform, it will rise up between you and your enemies.

The second loop through the level takes you back up the stairs and through the newly opened door, and into the final room. This is heavy stuff: A whole bunch of Hunters, two Mothers of All Hunters, two Mothers of All Cyborgs, and a bunch of S'pht'kr mix it up with you caught in the middle. Don't use the flamethrower on the MOACs, their death blast is wider than your flame trailer, so you will take major damage (heh) if you kill them with it. If you've found a rocket launcher by now (on either My Own Private Thermopylae or Beware of Abandoned Rental Trucks), don't be afraid to use it. There's plenty of rockets on the next level ;)

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Volunteers: Feel the NoiseMark Levin 11/5/01 12:28 p.m.
     Re: Volunteers: Feel the NoiseHamish Sinclair 11/5/01 10:01 p.m.

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