Tour of Duty - Pfhor Your Eyes Only...
Posted By: PerseusSpartacusDate: 7/17/13 5:24 a.m.

16 - Pfhor Your Eyes Only...

Previously on Tour of Duty, we sucked up all our Grenades to deal with Hunters, received a major gift from Durandal in the form of the SPNKR-X17 SSM Launcher, and charged back up to 3x health.

Immediately after teleporting off the last level, we are greeted with this beautiful little image recalling the events of the Marathon Manual:

We now find ourselves... WOAH!

Say hello to alien space-tech. If it's not obvious just based on the huge change in texture style and music, then a quick glance out the window will do it, as the only thing in sight (other than endless fields of rather pixelly stars) is the UESC Marathon itself. Considering just about the only thing within visible distance of the Marathon is the Pfhor ship, it's only natural to assume we're on it. Unlike one might expect when teleporting into a random point on an alien mothership, we are not instantly set upon by confused and unpleasantly surprised foes. Instead, we're given a moment to realize what's going on. Behind us are two... waterfalls... of slime?

Needless to say, the Pfhor ship is the strangest location in the game. It's never really even revealed what that slime even is, but it does seem vital to the ship somehow, considering the vast amounts encountered throughout the six Pfhor ship levels. There are a number of other oddities, of course, but we'll find them as we go along.

This level is perhaps best described as an incredibly long (and also a fairly wide) corridor with lots of turns going around what looks like some kind of intestinal structure, with a varitable menagerie of foes spread throughout:

Strangely, this map misses out on one crucial element: there's a 2x health charger in the room that's the furthest to the south-west. If you're scratch-starting this level (my own term for starting a level with Command-Option Begin Game), you should return to this location constantly.

Immediately after rounding the first corner, you'll be greeted with two of these dudes. They are certainly more annoying than any of the other enemies, and can pose a real threat if you're not careful (particularly the greenish-looking ones, who are much more aggressive and harder to kill), but with a quick application of Grenades, you can dispose of them easily. If you're scratch-starting, though, your best weapon against the first ones you meet is probably the Pistol, as they're quite likely to deal some damage to you in between punches if you're using the Fists. So long as you don't kill them with a Flamethrower (or by dropping them into harmful lava or goo), they'll drop a nice little gift that, despite lacking an official name besides the Alien Weapon, is often called the Scatter Rifle (if my memory serves me correctly). It's so called because, despite being slightly more accurate than the Assault Rifle, it fires bazillions of little (but very powerful) pellets all in a horizontal line in front of you. This ability, combined with the sheer power of each projectile, makes it an incredibly deadly weapon in close-quarters and especially in corridors.

The Scatter Rifle alone makes this level much easier to scratch-start: if you use it for all your combat (unless you run out of ammo for it, in which case you can revert to using your Pistol or Fists) and return constantly to the recharge station, you can make it through fairly easily. Nevertheless, this level isn't necessarily a cake-walk, and without proper care you can find yourself getting caught out by Hunters and Enforcers all over the place.

To make things all the more simple for us, there's an entertaining little secret on the map: if you punch the switch in the outside corridor (I believe there's only one, and even if there's more I think they all do the same thing - correct me if I'm wrong, though) and run quickly to point A on the map above, you can edge out so you're just barely hanging off the edge overlooking the slime pool, though not enough to fall down or get damaged. A platform will soon activate and take you all the way up to a teleporter. If you hop inside, you'll find yourself in an otherwise-inaccessible room at the far north-east end of the map. In it are a bunch of Scatter Rifles just laying around and-- W'OH MY GOD!!!

Fear not this lot - they harm you naught. Indeed, if you shoot them, the bullet detonates the same way it would if it hit a wall or a scenery item, partly because that's exactly what these are: scenery items. Of course, so long as you're not playing on Total Carnage (where all the real Hunters are green), you could easily assume these are real the first time you see them and start unloading a whole clip of Grenades into the bunch. In truth, I think Jason Jones (yes, this is the only Pfhor level done by anyone other than Reginald Dujour) did this intentionally, purely because it would mess with our heads. He certainly seems to love doing that, what with the pillar trick on Habe Quiddam and the lava dilemma on Fire! (x5).

Nevertheless, this little game of trickery on Jay's part forces us to ask a question we might not have previously asked: what are the Hunters? Normally we'd assume they're Pfhor in robotic shells, but it seems like these Hunters are... deactivated? Either they're robots or this is just armor in storage. Considering the presence of a bunch of Scatter Rifles just laying around in a fashion that suggests they're being stored for later use, the latter option certainly seems possible, but you never know - might as well run a Voight-Kampff test while we're at it. ;)

As I said, the Pfhor ship is a strange place, and so far we've only scratched the surface. Just wait for the eggs... Eggs?!?! Nobody told me abo--

Yeah, so anyways, the goal, as Durandal said earlier (and you were paying attention when we finished Neither High Nor Low, right?), is to simply explore as much as possible. In M1A1 this meant you had to run around literally walking over every polygon marked 'Must Be Explored', but in the latest betas, which use all the old M1 assets, you merely have to get the game to recognize that you 'saw' all those polygons. The best way to check if you've looked everywhere (literally) is to just open the Automap and see if there's any rooms that look 'unfinished'. Once you're sure you've explored the whole map, empty your current Scatter Rifle (unless you haven't used it since picking it up), grab a fresh one, and return to the start of the level. You'll be teleported out, just as Durandal said. Okay, so maybe he's not that bad after all?


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Pre-2004 Posts


Tour of Duty - Pfhor Your Eyes Only...PerseusSpartacus 7/17/13 5:24 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Pfhor Your Eyes Only...PerseusSpartacus 7/17/13 6:55 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Pfhor Your Eyes Only...President People 7/17/13 8:13 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - Pfhor Your Eyes Only...Godot 7/17/13 8:46 a.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty - Pfhor Your Eyes Only...PerseusSpartacus 7/17/13 9:04 a.m.
                             Re: Tour of Duty - Pfhor Your Eyes Only...Godot 7/17/13 10:46 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Pfhor Your Eyes Only...Martin 7/17/13 2:11 p.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Pfhor Your Eyes Only...PerseusSpartacus 7/17/13 3:44 p.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - Pfhor Your Eyes Only...Martin 7/17/13 4:13 p.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - Pfhor Your Eyes Only...Godot 7/18/13 3:47 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Pfhor Your Eyes Only...treellama 7/18/13 3:12 a.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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