Tour of Duty - Beware of Abandoned Rental Trucks
Posted By: MartinDate: 12/17/13 2:10 a.m.


24 – Beware of Abandoned Rental Trucks

The name. The Story page reveals some pretty sinister connotations that also kind of date the game as pre-9/11; mind you had it not been, I doubt such a reference would have been made. Suffice it to say, without risking too much poor taste, I guess terrorism in the ’90s was more grounded.

Bungie likes us to beware of things – low-flying nightmares, low-flying defense drones, and now abandoned rental trucks. I can’t say if the trend has persisted, as I haven’t played any Halo games or other such successors. But it’s there.

Last time on Tour of Duty we killed some sims, rescued some BoBs (yeah right!), possibly met Blake, got some cryptic musings from Thoth, and generally felt like we were being given the runaround. And IMO this level isn’t much better.

The start is curious. We’re in shallow sewage, with at least four terminals nearby all with the same message from Thoth, and a 2x charger and pattern buffer into the bargain. Why so many terminals? Was this some kind of message centre when Thoth ‘lived’ before? Whatever, the message is as cryptic as ever:

As Narcogen said in the KYT video, kind of Yoda-like. The first part makes me think of the children’s line of argument, “I know you are, you said you are, but what am I?” The second part, does he refer to his new activation? This time or even this timeline (ooh Infinity?!) is tainted, things are not as they should be? As for what must be done … we must kill more Pfhor, duh!

Through the door that is the only way out we find an odd series of boxy rooms joined by stairs, going all the way around to make a square with a hole in the middle. We immediately find some Enforcers and Cyborgs, and the easiest thing to do here is to run straight past them, heading right from our entrance to this ring, and following around. About halfway along the north run of these rooms, where we duck down into sewage again, there just so happens to be a door hidden in the south wall that leads to one of the most astonishing secrets yet. And I only found out about it a few months ago courtesy of PS’s map … oh yeah, the map.

That would be the huge room at point A. It is filled with sewage, and contains at various heights within that, all the weapons we could ask for and plenty of ammo to boot. Including a Tozt, which is really handy on this level and the next. Mmmm toasty Enforcers. As if that weren’t enough, there is also one each of a 1x, 2x and 3x charge canister! So that makes things rather trivial for the scratchstarter. Yay. I could complain that it is a pain to swim around to pick up everything, but that would seem rather petty :).

Leaving this paradise we continue around and complete the loop, spawning Pfhor behind us as we go, and ending up back where we started, with a few angry Enforcers left but nothing we can’t handle. So nice of them to fight the Cyborgs in our absence. Curiously there are no standard-sized ammo caches around here – I guess the secret was an all in situation. And actually looking for other caches in the corners can be bad for the health, as there are especially several homing grenade Cyborgs waiting to teleport in in such places.

So, there’s a very slow opening door to the southwest, behind which is another door that requires us to hit a switch in order to open. And for that we head to the northwest of the ring, stand on the space marked as a platform on the map, and hit the nearby switch. We head down some stairs and find openings to two sewage areas with raised walkways, wherein Enforcers, Cyborgs and F’lickta spawn. We can leave them to fight it out for a bit and then clean up the leftovers – our 3x health and weapons from the secret really allow us to go in guns blazing! And at the end of the fight, we progress through to find that door switch at the end of the first opening, as well as a third sewage area to clear.

Back out in the central ring, there is also an opening to the south, which is seemingly optional, as our goal is to hit the switches in the two towers still to come, and that room only enables us to kill more Pfhor … but I suppose that makes us happy :). Not that our goal is obvious at all with Thoth in charge – wait, he said it should be obvious :(!

Through that slow door to the southwest and its newly opened successor, we reach some stairs going down and some Cyborgs and Enforcers wanting to come up – well really the Enforcers prefer to stay down and make it harder for us to kill them, but each to their own, and ‘harder’ still won’t keep them alive for long. Further on we see a suspicious-looking terminal at the end of a long room, and sure enough as we approach it, Enforcers and Cyborgs spawn behind us – oh N&BS are going to love this place – and it’s all the more annoying for the fact that the terminal is yet another repeat of the first one!!

From here we have the entrances to the two towers wherein lie our objectives, as per the nice purple rings on the map. Either way, we head up several flights of stairs. Some of the landings have Enforcers and Cyborgs waiting to teleport in, and there are windows out into a central courtyard – that strategy guide says to look at your co-op friend in the opposite tower: Narcogen, read this! I would further suggest BS take a shot at you in this situation, just to balance out my seeming mean to him before :).

On one of my plays while writing this up, I managed to fall out one of the windows and into the central courtyard! Is that legal? It hurt. There is nowhere to go and I couldn’t SPNKR myself back in :(. I think only some of the windows are tall enough and I didn’t have the health for a full faceblast. I was suddenly curious as to whether there really is only orange to see out there, or if something was amiss with my textures … that’s my excuse at least. I need to update my A1 anyway, and try out those snazzy 1024x1024 textures mmmm.

Okay, reading back to Volunteers, Mark Levin wrote that the structure here is some kind of S’pht machine to recall the S’pht’Kr … and confirmed the open window that I just fell out ><. Hamish commented that you can fall further into the sky – I tried just out of standard operating procedure in finding such an odd situation, but didn’t manage that. He also said it feels like this level just wasn’t quite finished … and with the optional room to the south and the lazy secret room it does have that feeling – like it’s the Ain’t Got Time Pfhor This of M2, with unclear objective despite what Thoth says, unclear storyline progression, and that nagging feeling that we should really be elsewhere.

After hitting the switches at the tops of the towers, we come back down to find that that terminal message has changed – I guess that does save us having to go back to the start, but then it’s always nice to hit the 2x recharge and pattern buffer before leaving a level :), so that extra terminal’s convenience is questionable.

The final message is rather tricky without the aid of the story page and its contributors.

Far out. That gets intense. So Thoth now understands what his original ultimate purpose was – to help in bringing back the S’pht’Kr when the time came that they were needed. And the rest was cleverly linked to the Pfhor’s upcoming use of the trih xeem, and a request for us to get the humans far away from Lh’owon before that occurs, and to that end, to now head to the nearby Pfhor ship and clear them out, now that the signal has been sent, from the towers here.

Well. It’s little wonder I usually lose track of the story at this point – that was some sleuthing … we walk only in the shadow of those earlier scholars. Wow, even as I write I realise how much I had missed here, like just where we are and what we are doing on the next level – I never linked that to the description in the final screen of Blake and co’s escape!

Short and sweet. Next up, as described above. Then two more levels from me before I hand back to PS for the grand finale … and then we’ll have some Infinity in the New Year!

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Pre-2004 Posts


Tour of Duty - Beware of Abandoned Rental TrucksMartin 12/17/13 2:10 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Beware of Abandoned Rental TrucVikingBoyBilly 12/17/13 5:34 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Beware of Abandoned Rental TrucPerseusSpartacus 12/17/13 6:44 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - Beware of Abandoned Rental TrucMartin 12/17/13 8:21 a.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty - Beware of Abandoned Rental TrucPerseusSpartacus 12/17/13 10:25 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - Beware of Abandoned Rental TrucVikingBoyBilly 12/17/13 8:40 a.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty - Beware of Abandoned Rental TrucPerseusSpartacus 12/17/13 10:27 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Beware of Abandoned Rental TrucNarcogen 12/17/13 7:33 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Beware of Abandoned Rental TrucMartin 12/17/13 8:23 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Beware of Abandoned Rental TrucMartin 12/17/13 8:25 a.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Beware of Abandoned Rental TrucNarcogen 12/17/13 7:34 a.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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