Tour of Duty - G4 Sunbathing
Posted By: PerseusSpartacusDate: 6/11/13 9:46 a.m.


Last time on Tour of Duty, we doubled our health, grabbed the Fusion Pistol, conquered the Pit, passed the Wave, and escaped the Experimental Vacuum Chamber (though strangely I never mentioned it by that name, which means I really need to do better with this series).

We start in a small room with a Pattern Buffer and a Terminal, sort of like in Never Burn Money. What could the Terminal say, I wonder?

I just finished a cursory examination of the Marathon's radar,
infrared and visual light sensor logs. I've determined that
the Alien ship must have a faster-than-light drive because I
have found no record of a ship entering the Tau Ceti System.
Considering how extensive the Marathon's sensors are, it would
be almost impossible to conceal a ship as big as the Pfhor's,
which is nearly two kilometers long.

With this knowledge, sending a light-speed transmission to Sol
may be futile, but it is the only possible way to warn Earth
of a hostile alien race. We must try.

When the Aliens initially attacked, the entire G-4 Sunbathing
Loading Station suffered explosive decompression, leaving the
entire station in vacuum.

Since the area is in vacuum, you will need to replenish your
oxygen supply. There is an oxygen supply outlet in the center
of the Station.

Strangely, at this point I notice what looks like an error on the Marathon Story page's part:

The secondary relay needs to
be manually reset. The dish
array is in the upper left
corner(of the map) of the
G4-Sunbathing Landing Station.

I can't be positive, but I don't think the '(of the map)' part should be there. Unless of course the weirdness stems from a strange mistake way back in 1994.

Anyhow, this is the only level in the entirety of M1 - indeed, in the whole of the first two Marathon games - that is a vacuum level. Nevertheless, if you've played the Infinity vacuum levels, this is a cakewalk in comparison. While the masses of S'pht are a nuisance and a few spots of combat can prove to be a bit much for us, this level isn't even the tip of the iceberg for later levels.

After a short while we will meet the infamous Hunter. These guys are not really that much of a problem on this level, but just you wait - two levels from now you will decide that every single Hunter you meet is a serious threat to your health and your collection of ammo. On this level, it is advisable to use the Fusion Pistol to deal with just about everything you meet, unless you've gotten good at using dual-wielded Pistols (remember we did get a second Pistol on The Rose), in which case you can use those to deal with Troopers, as it's a bit faster firing and you don't really need massive firepower anyways; it's the S'pht and Hunters that require heavier ordnance.

Our first priority (notice that I talk about priorities here rather than saying 'we now come to'; this level is more non-linear than the rest we've seen so far) is to get to the center. If you find a place to drop down into, don't. Save that for if you fall into the large open areas with the Hunters and S'pht in them. Instead, wait until you find a door leading to a room with a Pattern Buffer and... another Fusion Pistol? How strange. In the room next to it is an Oxygen Recharger as well as a 2x Health Charger (thank you, goddess of video game benefits).

The rest of this level operates in a clockwise fashion, pretty much. Look at the map:

The top right corner contains the first switch we need to press. Once we do that, a door will open up, allowing us to access the second switch. This sort of repeats three times; a switch in the corner opens access to a switch in the middle, allowing us to progress to the next corner of the map.

All along the way, the Compies (S'pht) on the map will turn up at our heels, begging for our destruction. However, their lack of a high firing speed on anything less than Total Carnage means that we can take on three or four of them at once with a Fusion Pistol and come out un-tarnished. On Total Carnage, however, I would assume the masses of Compies would be nigh-overwhelming. Furthermore, there is a spot where I think three Purple Troopers come after us; this spot, while not incredibly deadly, is problematic at best, and will probably force you to return to the middle to recharge.

At the very end, we jump across a small chasm to reach the Relay Station, and are greeted by a Major Hunter. These green fellows are to be feared in a way their brown brethren cannot compare; they can withstand more than pretty much all of the enemies we meet except for Hulks and Juggs. Luckily, there's only one at the moment. Wait until you get to Neither High Nor Low, and all the Hunters we meet will show their true ferocity. In the current version of M1A1, I believe we have to hit all of the switches, but in the original Marathon, we only had to hit the northern-most switch and Leela would allow us off, sort of like on Defend THIS! and Couch Fishing (interestingly, all three were created by different people: Alex Seropian made Defend THIS!, Jason Jones made Couch Fishing, and Greg Kirkpatrick created G4 Sunbathing).

Finally we return to the middle, recharge, and read this terminal:

You have done well. I have sent a message to Earth. I sent
all of the information I have on the Pfhor: their behavior;
their technology. The message will arrive in ninety-two

There has been a swift attack on the Engineering Section. The
Pfhor have brought in heavier troops, and the security details
in that section of the ship are being overrun.

The recent lull in the battle must have been an effort at
reorganization. We must defeat the Pfhor by subterfuge of
some sort, as I am afraid we are doomed if we continue to meet
them in battle. Their resources appear limitless, and I have
reason to believe there may be other Pfhor ships in nearby systems.

I am sending you to the Engineering Section to rescue the
security detachment. You will have to clear the area of

Teleport when ready.

This actually sets the stage for Bob-B-Q, which is in fact two levels away. The next level, Blaspheme Quarantine, is actually more of a tangent from where we should be.

This level was actually fun to play on. The vacuum element isn't really that much of a problem, and if I worked at it, I could probably get through the whole level without recharging my oxygen. The best element I think is the aesthetics. While I don't think it quite compares to a level like Bob-B-Q or Couch Fishing for aesthetical talent (I know I said I hated Couch Fishing, but that doesn't mean they didn't create a convincing aesthetic; in fact that's partly why I hated it - they made it so convincingly depressed), it is convincing enough to warrant a high place. The level is decidedly down-tempo, what with all the darkness and the use of Landing as the music.

If I were to turn an M1 map into a Marathon Infinity map, I would definitely pick this one. With the help of ambient sounds and the awesome Jjaro texture set, this level could be amazing. I can already hear the sound of creaking ships...

This map, unlike most, has a fair number of Annotations. In the rooms near the middle of the map with the switches in them, you'll find the following:

M.C. Control (northeast)
D.S. Control (southeast)
D.V. Control (southwest)

What these could mean, it is hard to say. Somehow, they remind me of this picture of the HUD from the Marathon beta:

Not sure why. Notice that it says 'Zeus Class. Plasma Gun'. Evidently the concept of the Fusion Pistol wasn't quite complete until later. More intriguingly, Anvil and Forge both refer to it as the 'Plasma Pistol'. It's not Plasma, it's lightish red-- er, um, Fusion. Yeah, that was it, Fusion.

Speaking of which, now that we get to try Fusion on Hunters, we realize that unlike in M2 and Infinity, the Fusion Pistol doesn't do any extra damage, proven by the fact that the Hunters don't explode when we Fuse them to death (enemies with a weakness will play their hard death sequence when killed with whatever it is their weak to; in the case of Hunters, they would explode, but of course, they don't, proving that they are not weak to Fusion). Indeed, the only enemy in the game that is weak to Fusion are the Wasps (which makes sense to me, given just how effective the Fusion Pistol proved to be against them during my Normal playthrough).

Anyways, back to the topic of Map Annotations, the level also contains three other Annotations besides the ones I mentioned earlier (you know, before my stream of consciousness went on a total tangent). The 'Satellite Relay' one (I'm sure you can guess where that is) is obvious, but in the two southern pits, you'll find the east one contains the Annotation 'Dead Sea', while the west one contains the Annotation 'Death Valley'. Intriguingly enough, these are both actual places in real life. The Dead Sea is a salt lake near Israel and Jordan, and Death Valley is a canyon in California that contains the lowest point in America (known as Badwater Basin).

The level also contains the map text 'YOU MUST LOVE M-THON IT KICKS'. What it kicks I have no idea, but I do love Marathon ever so much, making this text truthful. Indeed, anyone who learns about that text must really like Marathon, otherwise they wouldn't be looking around hard enough to find it.

And on that note of self-confirmed map writing, we end this edition of Tour of Duty. What will happen next time, you ask? Here's a hint: You shouldn't ask yourself such worthless questions. ;)


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Pre-2004 Posts


Tour of Duty - G4 SunbathingPerseusSpartacus 6/11/13 9:46 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - G4 SunbathingGodot 6/11/13 11:04 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - G4 SunbathingPerseusSpartacus 6/11/13 12:56 p.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - G4 SunbathingDispatcher 6/11/13 3:51 p.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty - G4 SunbathingGodot 6/11/13 11:49 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - G4 SunbathingPresident People 6/11/13 2:26 p.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - G4 SunbathingPerseusSpartacus 6/11/13 7:32 p.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - G4 SunbathingPresident People 6/11/13 10:52 p.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty - G4 SunbathingPerseusSpartacus 6/11/13 11:04 p.m.
                             Re: Tour of Duty - G4 SunbathingPerseusSpartacus 6/12/13 10:01 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - G4 SunbathingGodot 6/11/13 10:55 p.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - G4 Sunbathingtreellama 6/12/13 4:04 a.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty - G4 SunbathingGodot 6/12/13 8:36 a.m.
                             Re: Tour of Duty - G4 SunbathingPresident People 6/12/13 11:10 a.m.
                                   Re: Tour of Duty - G4 SunbathingPerseusSpartacus 6/12/13 12:00 p.m.

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