Tour of Duty - Come and Take your Medicine
Posted By: PerseusSpartacusDate: 8/17/13 11:29 a.m.

05 - Come and Take your Medicine

Last time on Tour of Duty, Martin encountered the Cyborgs, found that pink BoBs will drop their Magnums on death (a process which I usually speed up manually), immersed himself in lava just to find a secret room, and uncovered the tru7h about Tycho and Leela.

Having just thrown the Pfhor into a fair bit of chaos, we teleport into a room with windows looking to an outside area with water, along with a Terminal and a 1x Shield Charger. Our presence will activate several Drones who will attack from outside. Nothing too much to worry about, though, even for the scratch-starter. Shall we read the terminal? Of course we shall:

This is a very interesting terminal. First off, it's a strangely... revealing look at Durandal's attitude towards humans. Second, there's the text "gjk//H-v58-w12pcgbk". Somehow that first part, "gjk", looks like Greg John Kirkpatrick's initials. Sure enough, gjk did make this level, according to the Level Credits section of FAPTA... Thirdly, Durandal tells us to follow a strict path, even though there's a massive level to explore beyond just that path:

The path durandal tells us to follow is shown here in a dotted red line (my apologies for how weird it looks at parts - I made all the annotations in Keynote, so what can you expect?), and the panels we have to break are shown with purple circles. We'll start by following the allotted path and then exploring a little bit.

First, we head down a staircase, and pop out to meet not one, but two new enemies: the S'pht Compiler, and the Pfhor Trooper. Granted, we've met them before, but their looks have changed quite a bit by this stage. Now the Compilers' heads are less pronounced, and the Troopers' weapons are now hand-held rather than seemingly 'worn' on one arm. In any case, they are just as dangerous as before. But we have an Assault Rifle, Fusion Pistol, and two Magnums, right? No? Well then get to punching! In fact, even if you have those weapons, start punching - that's an order!

In the north-west corner of this room is a set of breakable panels that open the door to proceed. Continue south, and you'll find a room somewhat similar to the first one, this time with two breakable panels - these are the panels we were sent to destroy, and most people probably just return straight to the beginning after breaking them. However, we're gonna explore a bit before we leave. If you head north a ways from the main panels, you'll find a Pattern Buffer at point B.

Scattered around this level are plenty of Drones, Compilers, and Troopers, so keep alert wherever you go. Eventually you'll probably make your way to point A on the map, where there is an Alien Weapon just laying in the corner of the room. This new-found Alien Weapon, sometimes referred to as the "N-Cannon" outside of the game (don't ask me why), is much different from the original: rather than firing off a row of little pellets, it fires big, burning, slow-moving disks that will roast monsters alive. The secondary trigger fires them diagonally, alternating between left and right. Personally, I rather dislike the N-Cannon; its only value is that it becomes more useful with each difficulty level. This is very different from the old Scatter Rifle, which proved its value when handling large clusters of aliens. The N-Cannon, however, is more like a poorly-designed sniper weapon that only becomes at all valuable as you ramp up the difficulty.

Just past the Alien Weapon are three doors that all activate together. Be careful with these, as they can crush you to death if you happen to pass through at the wrong moment. So at this stage there isn't much to find, except for the "Sixth Panel" and the Aliens-only door. I don't recall ever finding either, but the Marathon Story Page provides a nice explanation of how to find the "Sixth Panel" and what it once did. First and foremost, a map of the level with some special annotations (provided by the Marathon Story Page, not me):

Point A is the location of the Sixth Panel, located behind a blue part of the wall. Breaking doesn't do anything, but the Story Page has this to say:

"If you do [break it] what happens? No hoards of aliens come pouring in, no distant platform sound can be heard, no previously locked door can now be found open, nothing happens... nadda... zero. But it wasn't always like that. At one stage The Sixth Panel had a purpose. It opened three doors (see B, C, and D on above map). In an early version of this level these doors were locked thus preventing you from accessing parts of the level. But for some reason or another this was never implimented in the final release. It does however reveal that "Come and Take your Medicine" was intended to be explored more fully at one stage."

What I'd like to know is how the Story Page got the information in the first place. Explain yourself, Hamish Sinclair - the People are righteous in asking for your reasons! ;)

The Story Page also shows a picture of the Aliens-only door, which I think is found a short ways to the east of the Sixth Panel (at least that's the only area that looks very similar to the screenshot):

This door can only be opened by Aliens. However, the design of the game means that any monster can open an Aliens-only door, so had there been a BoB nearby, he could pass through and we couldn't! Very strange. Now, as I said, I personally don't remember finding either of these, but I probably wasn't looking hard enough.

Be careful when swimming on this map: there's no oxygen rechargers, and you'll need some oxygen left for the next level, which opens with a bit of swimming. Basically, don't spend too much time in the water or you'll find yourself incapable of proceeding through the game without repeatedly suffocating - a suicide trap of the weirdest kind. A bit like not having enough health to get back to the Shield Charger on Ain't Got Time Pfhor This and still saving your game.

Somewhere on this level (though I'm afraid I failed to put it on my map guide) there's another terminal with some Pfhor Troopers nearby. It's another S'pht terminal:

If I remember correctly, there's a S'pht Compiler waiting idly in front of the terminal. Considering that he's probably the one who 'wrote' the terminal, it would seem he's the only character we truly meet in person in the entire series, though that's up for debate (see the comments of Jean-Francois Lemay).

After exploring enough, we'll probably start getting bored, so naturally we return to the start to finish the level. Once again, the start is the end (don't even mention "starting back", Martin-- oh wait):

Once again, "gjk" makes a blatant appearance. Looks like Greg sure has an ego...

JAy rokz greg

Oh well.


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Pre-2004 Posts


Tour of Duty - Come and Take your MedicinePerseusSpartacus 8/17/13 11:29 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Come and Take your MedicineHokuto 8/17/13 11:48 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Come and Take your MedicinePerseusSpartacus 8/17/13 11:53 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Come and Take your MedicineHopper 8/17/13 12:02 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Come and Take your MedicineMartin 8/17/13 10:48 p.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Come and Take your MedicineMartin 8/17/13 10:52 p.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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