Tour of Duty - Pfhoraphobia
Posted By: PerseusSpartacusDate: 7/29/13 11:46 a.m.

22 - Pfhoraphobia

Previously on Tour of Duty, we killed some aliens, discovered we could use imgur (oh no wait, that was just me), killed some more aliens, discovered not one, but two window oddities, killed some more aliens, passed through some Incredibly Narrow Areas™... and killed some more aliens.

We appear in a very unique area with two ledges (one of which we are standing on, the other of which has a door on it), a massive drop, and a platform going up and down between the two ledges. If you're not careful, you'll be seeing this area again, and again, and again.

For safety, let's look at the map before continuing our quest at all:

A lot of people will go through the door on the other ledge and progress their way to point A on the map before continuing through the rest of the level. I generally do it the other way around, however, and that's how I'm going to talk about it. If you turn around and go right, you'll find a small room containing a few enemies and a [?dead?unconscious] BoB sitting on a test bed.

If you turned around and went left at the start, you'll have thought you had reached a dead end. However, if you tap the wall a bit, you'll realize there's a secret door here that leads to some dark corridors filled with Fighters. One of them is a Blue that's overlooking a staircase, behind whom is a Purple waiting to support him. Interestingly, if I remember correctly, shooting the Purple dead will not wake the Blue up, and the same goes for vice versa.

If you head down the staircase, you'll encounter a well-lit offshoot of these organic corridors, filled with Fighters, some Enforcers, and...

If you were attentive on Unpfhorgiven, you'll have noticed one or two of these near a pillar, and you'll know that they contain BoBs put in stasis. If you weren't attentive, however, you'll only just be finding out about these horrors. What's worse, if you look in the M1A1 shape files (which, while they are not used for the recent betas, probably reflect the contents of the old M1 shapes fairly well), under the 'Scenery 5 (Pfhor)' directory, you'll find something more horrific than anything we've seen thus far: a BoB strapped to the ceiling by his arms, with his lower half ripped off, seemingly without care for what it did to the upper half. I admit, when I first saw this, I was quite shocked. But here's a question - was it ever used in the game? If the answer is 'no' (and I think that's a reasonable answer, as I've never encountered any such scenery in my many playthroughs, praise be to god), then why is it there?

Moving along through the dark organic corridor, you'll probably miss one of the secrets on this level: an alcove hidden in the wall at point B on the map above, containing a Scatter Rifle and an Invisibility. Not the most useful thing, but still worth noting. Eventually you'll reach the end of this corridor, and pop out to find three Green Fighters and one Major Compiler. But hold on one second. Let's head back to the start of the level real quick. If you jumped down off the first ledge, you'll have found a small room with a bunch of invisible Compilers sitting on a transporter. Interestingly, if you look at the auto-map, you'll find the transporter is only half-complete (in other words, it doesn't completely cover all the polygons it seems like it ought to):

If you step on the transporter, you'll find yourself appearing behind the three Fighters we encountered a moment ago. Apparently they don't hear you. Why don't you give them a good whack about the noggan? Just be careful with that whack - if you fail to kill them in one blow, they might retaliate, the sound of which will activate all the other enemies here, including the Compiler, and if you happen to accidentally bump into another Fighter, or stand in his vision for a split second, the result might be the same.

Once you've cleared those enemies, look around for a second. You'll suddenly realize the room you're in is a lot like the 'sleeping Hound' room of the last level. The only big difference? The ceiling is open:

Very weird. Last level we were on the bottom deck of the ship (or a part of it) - now we're on the top deck of the ship. What gives?

If you head down the large corridor connected to this room, you'll reach a large door, connected to a large room, with a large... breach?

Curiouser and curiouser... ;)

Attached to this same room is another, smaller one with another transporter and a Compiler. This transporter just takes you back to the start of the level, so don't take it just yet. Instead, jump down the breach. Interestingly, an Invisible Compiler is start inside this breach - generally he joins the fight as soon as you enter the room, but sometimes he inexplicably misses his cue and fails to activate. As such, you can drop down the breach and land right next to him:

I don't even know what causes it - maybe somebody can open up SheepShaver, pop the old M1 Map file into Pfhorte and take a look at the polygon types to see what might cause it. My immediate thought is that it has to do with crossing a glue trigger, much like the way you can skip the starting ambush of Eupfhoria, but I honestly don't know what glue triggers really even do in any depth - they manage when Monsters activate, but how they do so is unclear to me. Anybody got a decent explanation?

If you continue from the breach, you'll find two Enforcers coming down an ultra-fast-moving platform to meet you (near point C on the map above). They pretty much always activate as the platform is still coming down, causing them both to fly off of it in a weird, physics-bending way. However, they're still close enough together to kill with one Rocket. Give it to 'em.

As you're heading up the platform, remember to jump over to a hidden alcove containing an Infrared Vision powerup. While it's not really that useful, IMO, some of you might find it valuable for the rest of the level. When you finally reach the top of the platform, you'll come through a door... to realize it was hidden from view in the massive corridor earlier. If you want to get back to the start quickly, use the transporter in the breach room.

Time to head through the door we saw at the start, I think. After passing through a small room with a Fighter and a Compiler (and some slime, IIRC), you'll come to another small corridor. As you inch forward, you'll find a well-lit offshoot corridor. When that happens, you'll probably hear doors opening and enemies activating. This means you've triggered the ambush here. When this happens, I generally jump into the offshoot and toast the Fighters inside it with the Flamethrower before switching to the Scatter Rifle to deal with the guys that follow me in. An alternative strategy would probably be to retreat, using the Scatter Rifle to clear the path if you get blocked off, and take on the advancing Pfhor from the safety of the small room we saw a moment ago. However, I prefer the bottleneck strategy.

If a bunch of Compilers were mixed in with the ambushing Pfhor, you'll know you activated the enemies in the final room. If not, however, you'll know the enemies there are still inactive, allowing you to advance up the corridor so that you're able to look into the final room without setting anything off, like so:

This allows you to send in a rocket to take out some of the enemies before they have a chance to scatter. This will get them going, and you'll be hit by a large wave of Compilers - some invisible, some not - coming up to meet you. The Scatter Rifle works a charm on them, or at the very least the sound it makes is quite appealing.

If you already triggered the final group of baddies along with the ambush, you'll find that the Enforcers and Fighters will mostly bunch up near the floor around your ledge, firing up at you despite not being able to hit you much if at all - I would assume it's because the line between your ledge and the polygons touching it is Transparent, causing them to think they can 'see' you. In any case, the clustering tendencies of this bunch (along with the fact that Pfhor Fighters fire their projectiles from very low to the ground) means that a lot of friendly fire results here, and if you blast the two Enforcers around that ugly thing in the slime, you can basically wait for the Pfhor to thin their own numbers out before jumping down and taking out the remainder with the SPNKR.

No matter how this works out, jumping down is risky - the Enforcers are aggressive and liable to deal lots of damage if you don't take them out fast, and the slime can hurt you even more if you're not careful. If only we could look down further so we could blast those Pfhor from the safety of the ledge!

When the killing stops, you'll probably start wondering what that ugly guy in the slime waterfall is. The answer: that's the Controller you were sent to kill. As odd as it seems, you can kill him with just a few bullets from your Magnum. How lame is that, huh? My guess is that Reg wanted to make sure it was possible to Vidmaster this level. In any case, killing the Controller doesn't change the loyalties of the S'pht on this level, almost like they still have residual commands in their system, or maybe they don't realize they're free yet.

If you killed the Controller before exploring the rest of the level, you'd probably do what the Spoiler Guide's map for the level suggests, and exit from a pair of windows below the breach, which you can do by using the teleporter in this room to return to the ledge up top and then go about business as usual. If, on the other hand, you do what I usually do, and explore before killing the Controller, then you can sit in this room and be taken onto the next one.

No matter how you play this level, you'll never find a Pattern Buffer. Basically, don't die. Then again, that's kind of the golden rule of Marathon, in addition to 'Punch All Switches' and 'Kill Everything in Sight'. ;)


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Pre-2004 Posts


Tour of Duty - PfhoraphobiaPerseusSpartacus 7/29/13 11:46 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - PfhoraphobiaMartin 7/29/13 2:05 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - PfhoraphobiaGodot 7/30/13 4:11 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - PfhoraphobiaMartin 7/30/13 11:22 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - PfhoraphobiaPerseusSpartacus 7/30/13 11:53 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - PfhoraphobiaGodot 7/30/13 1:27 p.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - PfhoraphobiaPerseusSpartacus 8/4/13 8:48 p.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty - PfhoraphobiaGodot 8/4/13 11:30 p.m.
                             Re: Tour of Duty - PfhoraphobiaPerseusSpartacus 8/5/13 9:41 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - PfhoraphobiaGodot 7/31/13 1:53 a.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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