Volunteers: Eat the Path
Posted By: Mark LevinDate: 11/26/01 9:50 a.m.

IMO, this is the best of the dream levels... It's much longer (in terms of time to complete), it's straight-up Marathon gameplay (as opposed to WAMID) and not so outrageously difficult as to interfere with the experience (as opposed to Whatever You Please) . It's also packed with fun stuff to find, wierd terminals, optional areas, secrets, and so on, much closer to a conventional level. And it has the coolest name :P

This level starts off with a bang as you are plunged into lava. Heading for the health will trigger a number of platforms that transform the lava pool into a giant maze. If you jump onto the long, narrow platform that runs parallel to the way you just ran, you can ride it up to an alcove that contains some ammo.

The first terminal is the famous rant about mazes, rats, crossing over the cell bars, and finding the new way (deja vu?). Going with the story idea from the previous level, the Marine is starting to realize that manipulation involves more than fighting, and his quest to win by brute force and conquest is pointless and neverending. The W'rkncacnter crisis must be solved in a different way.

Unlike the other two dream levels, the two paths here are mutually exclusive: There's no way to get back out of the lava stairs in the alternate exit, and there's no way back from the jump down near the end of the main path. To get the most out of this level, follow the main path until you reach the jump right after the sky room (where the pattern buffer is, just in case), then go all the way back and take the alternate path.

The main path is a series of puzzles. You must find the switch to activate the next bridge over the lava, and then jump down and follow it along. At the same time you have to avoid the invisible dream Compilers; they can be sometimes surprised by shooting them with the fusion pistol as they hang from the ceiling (wait for the lights to cycle to full intensity). Eventually, you reach a small gray room with some surprises: The second terminal hidden in a wall, a rocket launcher, and a new ambient life form, the Mothrid, which looks like a flying invisible squid. Beyond this is a small room containing the first visible dream Compilers. They're gray, just like everything else in this vague world inside the Marine's mind. The switch in this room does nothing but turn on the light. Next, some dream Compilers guard a pattern buffer, and a window. If you climb the stairs and jump at the window, you can run out for a walk in the clouds. Out here are three more terminals that continue the story of the protagonist's girlfriend and the encounter with the MIBs at the movie theater, although these terminals are much less coherent than before, and we can no longer even pretend that the story takes place in reality. It's like he's narrating a dream, which may be exactly what he's doing. After this, a neat bit of switchwork creates a hole in the sky, leading to a place where an Enforcer and dream Compilers snipe at you. Oddly, the Compiler's projectiles are suddenly not guided. Also, they seem more interested in the Potato Anuses than you. Hmm...

After this point there would be no turning back, so I return to the alternate exit instead, stopping on the way to pick up a 1x canister on one of the ledges over the path. As you run down the stairs, you will be ambushed by... Ticks. They can actually be quite dangerous on Total Carnage with their death explosions, but I'm on Normal so I ignore or kill them. They are also useful in another way: As you reach the 1x charger, a Compiler and an Enforcer will appear and attack any Ticks remaining in the room, so you can either run away or blindside them. Maneuver on the sidelines, play enemies against each other, make your move when you have a chance... The same lessons he's been learning in the real world.

To get to the interesting places, head around the bend in the lava to the dead end to the east, and wait for the platform to raise you. There are three places to get to from here. To the west, you can jump down to the ledge where the Enforcer was; this will give you the exit terminal to You're Wormfood Dude. To the south, you can reach a long ledge that overlooks the lava jumps you just made. Finally, if you ride all the way to the top and jump north, you can enter a small corridor that leads to some optional areas, including a place with some lava pools of the type you're about to encounter when you wake up on By Committee, and a secret room where the lava spells HOME, and turning on the switch will cause the ceiling to spell IN. Home in?

The exit terminal makes it clear that the stories of Hangar Ninety Six and the movie theater are one and the same. But they're so different and inconsistent, the only way they could both be true is if the narrator is experiencing... multiple... realities... [laughter]

Let's see what happens in the universe where Durandal manages to set off his cybernetic suicide bomb. On to You're Wormfood, Dude...

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Pre-2004 Posts


Volunteers: Eat the PathMark Levin 11/26/01 9:50 a.m.
     Re: Volunteers: Eat the PathHamish Sinclair 11/26/01 9:55 a.m.
     Re: Volunteers: Eat the PathRincewind MoG 11/26/01 11:04 a.m.
           Re: Volunteers: Eat the PathRahmeve 11/27/01 3:32 p.m.
                 Re: Volunteers: Eat the Pathekul 11/28/01 10:33 a.m.
     Re: Volunteers: Eat the Path[Tycho?] 11/26/01 11:15 a.m.
     NO HOMEZudo 11/28/01 1:00 a.m.
           Doh! (NT)Mark Levin 11/28/01 5:08 a.m.
           Cool thanks (nt) *NM*Hamish Sinclair 11/28/01 6:59 a.m.
                 Re: Cool thanks (nt)vile warlock 12/6/01 4:01 p.m.

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