Volunteers: Son of Grendel
Posted By: Mark LevinDate: 12/1/01 2:16 p.m.

This is my favorite level of Infinity. It's a huge, complex area that has a lot to see, a lot of fun situations, and a pivotal role in the story. It's also full of that Night Wind sound :P This level is absolutely crammed with optional areas and secrets, even more so than Come and Take your Medicine. The map design is also top-notch, with a great feeling of structures built around natural terrain. The place is full of locked doors and not-quite-reachable places, giving the impression that the facility is far bigger than it looks.

You go through this level by means of a network of teleporters, where you are moved alternately by Thoth and leftover Pfhor commands, following their troops. This leads you to a number of initially isolated areas that can be opened and connected to make most of the level available. Also, it's very common to see an area that cannot be reached until much later and/or via secrets. The river and its various attachments leads all the way around the level, and can be used to retrace one's path after an erroneous teleport.

The first area is where you start: A handy pattern buffer overlooking a sort of guard post and a watery canyon, with a distant ledge leading around it and a balcony across the way. It also features bridges that connect the main structure in center with various extra things on the sides of the canyon. The room with the Fighter in it is a secret reachable much later; the balcony leads to the second area (and an elevator takes you up there if you fall in the drink). Beware of drones. You can jump from here to the first of several courtyards inside the main structure. In the middle of it is a strange machine, a small white square surrounded by a barrier. To the south is a large door and a small white opening. The switch visible through the opening will open the barrier and reveal the exit teleporter, but where's the fun in that? To the north is a barred window that lets us see into a corridor; another secret. Finally, a terminal will take us out of here and into the next area. It talks about efforts to contain the rogue conditioned unit, and the "containment". I believe what is going on here is that the Pfhor already know that this place is important, but haven't quite figured out why, and are in the middle of their investigations when the Marine shows up out of thin air and starts kicking their asses. They could have gotten this location from Durandal, since we know we failed to kill him in time on Hang Brain. I think this is the location indicated by the S'pht poem found on Six Thousand Feet Under, the real key to Thoth's mind, which we never found in Marathon 2.

The second area is a ledge, running around the outside of the canyon and connecting to a small room with a terminal. Visible from here is a large area with a mysterious block in it, and a number of Troopers waiting for you. The terminal is from Thoth, who says mysterious things about threads and "venge"-ing, before sending us toe-to-toe with a Trooper.

The third area is a small ledge overlooking a pack of Troopers in the courtyard we spotted earlier. It's not very defensible since there's almost no cover, indeed there's a trooper right up there with you when you teleport. Snipe around if you want, then head into the small room nearby for a second terminal. More Pfhor commands send you about 25 meters to the northeast, to a corridor with much more cover, a different perspective on the arena, and places to jump down into the next area and the arena itself (through the door). If you jump to the arena, running around a bit will cause the central block to slide open, revealing a pair of dead Troopers. Hmm... To get back on course, jump across to the ledge in area 2 and teleport back up.

The fourth area is some sort of Pfhor base camp. It has all the comforts of home: A terminal to send you on your way, a pattern buffer, a shield charger, an oxygen charger (the first one in a VERY long time), and lots of mysterious switches. On the south column: The south switch opens a door we will get to later. The east switch opens the northern of the two doors you passed to reach this area; going through this will bring you to a ledge which overlooks a courtyard full of Troopers and a 1x charger. Don't fall in, there's no way back up besides swimming around and going the long way (or grenade hopping, I suppose). The west switch opens the southern of the two doors, revealing the door the south switch opened, which leads to a ledge overlooking the first courtyard, with the level exit. The north switch opens a door next to the point where you jumped down from the third area, leading to another perspective on the Trooper courtyard from earlier. The south switch on the north column opens the door that separated the two ledges above the third area; you'll notice that none of these switches is required to actually complete the level. The terminal sends you on your way, as usual.

The fifth area is one of the bridges that goes across the river, but this time the main door is open. Inside is a pattern buffer and a terminal that tells of some strange events regarding the Pfhor investigation of the "Alien Artifact on the south plateau", which probably refers to the teleporter in the first area. the dead Troopers inside the other artifact may be remnants of similar efforts. The two nearby switches will open the second large door and the alien artifact, respectively, this is the normal way to complete the level. But why leave now, when there's more fun to be had? In the room opposite the switches is a terminal, which contains the Pfhor equivalent of a media blackout and teleportation up to the start of the long chain of secret areas.

The sixth area is a ledge running above the canyon, that was visible from the start of the level. It will take us to a small guard post featuring a pattern buffer and a terminal. Purge and reburn? Deja vu... (for anyone who doesn't get that, all of Tycho's terminals on Poor Yorick had a logout containing the phrase "purge.reburn"). Airburst sterilization? Looks like the Pfhor are giving up all hope of controlling this thing and preparing to, once again, destroy a potential threat they don't understand. Teleport when ready...

The seventh area is behind the barred window visible from the first courtyard. In here, a stream of water runs down the floor, starting from a small pool near a terminal, which will send us back to area 5. But there's more stuff through the door: A deep tank, some Fighters, and a pool of water open to the sky that appears to be feeding the stream we saw earlier. Rainwater collection? There's also a real secret: Tab the north end of the path around the tank to access a narrow bridge guarded by Drones, Fighters, and teleporting Troopers. Don't get knocked off or you'll fall in the river. Once everyone's dead, shoot the visible switch and head on around to grab a huge collection of ammo and a flamethrower. The only way out, aside from jumping off into the river, is through the terminal back to area 5. You might want to jump in the river anyway, if only to take a peek at an underwater terminal by Thoth, containing the words "double" and "aught". Coincidence? :P

Step into the alien teleporter for a trip way, way down into the planet, and the long-awaited meeting of Thoth and Durandal...

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Pre-2004 Posts


Volunteers: Son of GrendelMark Levin 12/1/01 2:16 p.m.
     Re: Volunteers: Son of GrendelCallie21V 12/1/01 4:08 p.m.
           Maybe they finally sold the colony ship! :) n/tTim Frede 12/1/01 9:21 p.m.
     Re: Volunteers: Son of GrendelCharlesS 12/2/01 4:38 p.m.

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