Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 1 Stage 1
Posted By: Lion O CyborgDate: 4/24/19 1:43 a.m.

Chapter 1: Memory Stage 1: The Doom

Act 1: Dťjŗ vu all over again

Last time on Tour of Duty, I waffled on for pages giving what ultimately amounted to as a glorified manual before covering the prologue map, The Far Side of Nowhere. Now I begin the game proper and will try to keep the rambling down for the most part.

Thereís a reason Iím posting this just after posting the Prologue. It also didnít help that Iíve also actually had deep dreams and sleep terrors recently. The night before I started writing this (after starting and finishing the prologue), I dreamt of meeting the real KAP for the first time in 5 years. This was not the first time Iíve had dreams of this kind. Letís just say old wounds and bad memories of a misunderstanding regarding KAP and my feelings for her from 2013/2014 were reopened in both that dream and the related sleep terrors prior. Itís complicated and hard to explain without sounding like the bad guy (when this story has no bad guys, only horrible coincidence). I donít want to talk about it.

What does that text in at the bottom of the vertex grid say? Oh well. I recently found out that the snips have to be of the non-rain map as Welend doesnít let you open a WAD that is currently being used.

Landing on the hull, I teleport inside the ship, save my game and enter a room with a large square teleporter in the middle. Up the stairs opposite is a nostalgic Marathon ship terminal.

Basically what Hathor means is she using an AI fragment of herself, like Cortana does in Halo Reach or Black Box (the closest Halo AI to Durandalís sense of humour) in the Kilo Five Trilogy of books.

I love the sonar effect on the nav points in the maps.

The two doors to the west go to the same place. In there, thereís Bobs and unlike Marathon 1, they actually fight back like in the sequels!

Long before Marathon 1 Redux was even conceived, I greatly appreciated this retcon in the original Eternal X (1.0) and it still holds true here. VacBobs appear later on too, and both types were in the prologue. The northeast door leads to a small room with fighters and a compiler in them. The Sípht use their Marathon 1 sprites, which I like just as much as their XBLA ones.

This is also the first time I used the shock staff in Marathon. I saw it in the rampancy boys EVIL LP (though I donít think I got far enough for one of my own) and Redux uses a similar one to both this game and EVIL. By now, we have learned how to use the Pfhor weapons and they make up the bulk of our arsenal.

Is he referring to Hathorís fragment or the Sípht who was accessing this terminal when I came in? I like how Eternal added more terminals like this to the Marathon itself, which Redux later follows suit on.

*Gasp!* Whatís this? A CHAIR? IN MARATHON?! Itís rendered in polygons and appears to be metal, unlike the giant comfy sofas from Tempus Irae. (If Iím remembering that right)Thereís also a BED. (Dun dun duuun!) The next step would be swivel chair sprites to save polygons, like these ones:

Thatís more for future mods/Map Enhancement scripts I guess. No need for them here, sans said optional scripts. They donít change the geometry, but add new models, sprites etc. to the level to spice up the maps. Back to the better game:

So Bernard was a MIDA spy the whole time! This is less of a surprise to us, thanks to theorising and the reveal in a grimoire for Destiny 2. Since I donít have Destiny 2 and canít be arsed to look up the grimoire for either game because itís not in the game itself like Marathonís terminals as it should be, I only know this from TV Tropes. After checking it out, I charge up my first layer of energy shields at the charger next to the terminal.

I need to point out something that confuses a lot of Marathon players: the red bar is your health. Itís just your health. Like that of Halo 1, 3 ODST or Reach. I donít care what the manual says, you are not as weak as the Bobís without shields because thatís stupid; if we were, we wouldnít be ďbigger, stronger and a better shotĒ like the Battleroid we are now would we? Well, the second of those anyway.

I think what happens is that the health terminals power autorepair systems that take priority over shielding and those heal us. Some are only emergency repair power chargers, others charge our shields, but all power the auto repair first, kind of like in Half Life where the health stations provide you with morphine or something that Gordonís suit applies automatically.

The yellow and purple bars are your actual energy shields, which makes more sense. The confusion comes from the fact that they share a metre unlike in Halo. Destiny uses the same method as Marathon albeit with all three regenerating, with the sections of the bar segmented and the two shield ones coming a second or two after health.

In Eternal, the colors are changed to yellow for health, green for 1x shields and purple is still 2x shields. In both Eternal X Omega versions, the health bar is more orange than yellow.

The switch activates a big lift outside with fighters at the bottom. The east hall leads to a lift at the top of the map. At the top is my first enforcer.

Minor enforcers use Marathon 1ís scatter rifle and majors use the plasma flamethrower from later games. The former now has a shotgun blast which works wonders on crowds and tough enemies like hulks. Unlike previous versions of Eternal, the shotgun blast now uses a 5th or so of the magazine instead of half.

The halls take me to a small observation window overlooking a vacBob on the outer hull (where I started?) with a switch that opens a bulkhead. The other raises the whole floor instead of a smaller lift to get back. I then stumble into a dark hallway with a pattern buffer and accidently quit when I tried to pause after saving to write this paragraph. Oops.

A bit further on, I come to the auxiliary databank, which looks like the Warp Factor reactor from Duke Nukem 3D:

This should be the last similarity to that particular game for a while. Next to it and the circuit breaker are a pair of buttons that look like part of a control panel. They appear as geometry.

Down the lift and through a short hall I come to the bridge room: two 5D space bridges in covered walkways run through the room with a lift between them to get up. The north one leads to a balcony above the most redundant room in the map. Itís a small group of platforms above some fighters but other than some of those weird bollard things in the gaps, thereís nothing here. I thought it would be the place to hide a secret ammo cache or something.

The hall loops past a first aid terminal (1x health) to the room below Bernhardís office. I return to Hathor at the start where some Bobs are having a pow-wow on the teleporter.

Act 2: Septococcal Pfhoryngitis

Say that 10 times fast. It sounds like a pun on a disease. Fitting too, considering I teleported into the Marathonís sewers, which we never saw in the original game. That changes in Redux though.

Hathor shows that Marathon still has its sense of humour. Arbitrary sewer level? The teleporter malfunctions. It helps that we never saw the sewers before and I actually like sewer levels when they are done right, which is 90% of all examples of sewers I can think of. (I wonít bore you with that list) Maybe itís because I love the water and swimming, though sewer water is anything but pleasant to swim in and depending on the location can even be caustic.

DMA Feb 2005. Thatís how long this was being worked on, albeit earlier builds. The floppy disk or flash memory card or whatever the chips are is in that little twisty pipe in the middle near the main cistern. You can see the poo flowing through the pipes in the form of chase lights. I get ambushed by some fighters and go to pick up the nearby VISR chip by the terminal.

The map is a bit darker in this version so it comes in handy but for some stupid reason the pfhor show up as allies, unlike the main trilogy. This was an issue in X Omega 1.1 too. I accidentally deleted the screenshot before uploading so I canít show it without using a 1.1 one.
Nearby is a tank with some sluices dumping human waste into it and two most unwelcome guests.

The wasps are back and I FREAKING HATE THEM! Theyíre a lot smaller than the original, they fire faster and they do a lot more damage. They drained my shields completely and left me to hobble back to the health station with my rifle in one hand and my kidneys in the other. Some auto-repair systems energy and a squirt of biofoam later I run into the other unwelcome guest in a small room south of the tank.

They were white in previous Eternal versions but you know them, you hate them, the explodie bugs are back. I call lookers that after what Shudaki called them in his Marathon LP.

The smaller wasps also appear in Redux alongside the normal ones, presumably their larvae.

Ahead are some nice chase lights that were static in 1.1 and a sewage canal flowing very fast.

Until Aleph One supports sloped polygons, this canal and the tunnel past that pump are the closest we get to a waterslide. The current is surprisingly slow though despite the speed. It doesnít pull me along fast enough without running, which the conveyor belt physics in a later map (so I was told about) could alleviate, no need to change the flow values. Thereís a much faster, more appropriately fast current in Core Done Blew, but itís very short.

The canal leads to an ambush with wasps and the hall beyond goes west down a lift to another wasp ambush and some pfhor. Thereís a nearby 1x shield terminal (2x health) up some stairs next to a pattern buffer in a hallway. The nearby pool of sewage has the entrance to the pipe the chip is inÖexcept itís not there.

I follow it to a nearby bridge and check the other pipe, discovering a secret shield charger. The pipes lead through a small canal to the big tank where the first wasps were. There are three pipes on the west end and a surprise current that sucks you up to the start of the waterslide canal and pump.

I ride the poo-choo train back to the other cistern and discover a small southwest area where a bob helps me fight off fighters and an enforcer before I return to the cistern and peer into the pipes some more.

I have to say that the sewage looks pleasantly disgusting: the surface has blotches of brownish green poo on it in otherwise stagnant water and thereís dark green fog under the surface to make it appear thick. Makes me wonder what on earth the crew are eating. The pipes reveal nothing new but looking at the map reveals multiple spawns for the chip. A pool below the west bridge is empty of chips, so I check the splash pool below the flume.

Sure enough, itís there and the port is by another big -this time empty- cistern east of the pattern buffer. Itís past a small junction made of a strange blockage and lifts up to it. Or there was, before the blockage was removed in this version as it made no sense.

I also tread on an explodie bug by the door. I say about the liquids in general that I really like the Darth Vader breathing when underwater or in vacuum and also that the oxygen bar actually goes back up when in breathable air, like it should. No more hilarious drowning as soon as you go under fails and it also means worrying about air recharges less.

Act 3: Dysmentria

Erm, WHAT? How did I end up on Boomer again? Something isnít right. Anyway, behind me is the first 2x shield recharger i.e. 3x health.

The ship is also looking even better than the other two texture packs for Eternal in past versions. Thereís nice use of purples, greens, blues and various types of swiggly patterns. The northwest area I start in has a purple room where I am and a tall green room nearby. The blue lower trench links to an area with a window, health station and pair of enforcers.

Thereís a blue twisty hallway next door to that and the green room as a pair of elevators that lead to a fancy hall with an enforcer and a nearby liquid thundrillium pool.

I try to return to the save terminal via some halls near a smaller pool with stairs above it and find a 2x shield charger behind a panel. I also use my fists and now I say something else I love about Eternal is Rocket Punching; you punch much faster than the other games so if you remember to put away the staff and keep dodging, itís much easier to punch enemies to death but it is too easy to be tempted by the staff as thereís plenty ammo.

Continuing, I come to a room with a liquid thundrillium pool and some pillars of the stuff with gooey walls.

I always assumed thatís what the coolant/fuel was, going by the thing I saw around the time I first started playing Marathon in 2012. Itís a pink/purple crystal, itís used as fuel, and paradoxically, itís apparently radioactive on some level (like the green goo from M1) and is as hot as lava, going by its alternate name in the fake timeline as ďfire rocksĒ. In other words itís like a pink eitr from Norse mythology, but without being a nanite/cordyceps hybrid ďgrey gooĒ. (long story)

The pillars also make me think of the bubble machines in the school quiet rooms I sometimes went to during free time. Ahh.

Going on, I come to a large window and the strange purple divider whose practical use still remains a mystery to me. In gameplay, itís to separate the two paths. The divider loops back to the start. For enemies here, I find itís best to use the staff and break out the scatter rifle when things get hairy. Past the window is the enforcer nook hall, where I get a glimpse of some major hunters. Iím on Total Carnage, so the hunters will always be major, except commanders (blue) and spec ops (black). They also use the M1 sprites but EMP from fusion still affects them like in M2 onward.

This chessboard room is on the other side of the divider, with a pulsing ceiling. Thereís a thundrillium lap pool nearby with some fighters taking bets on who will try to skinny dip first. I spoil their Truth or Dare pool party and demonstrate the LUA script I mentioned before. Normally you hop along the platforms in the pool and need to be on the right one to reach over the ledge lips. But with this and low gravity, aliooop!

Yes, itís a jumping script. I remapped microphone to space for the purpose of using it. Iím so used to not having a jump button, most of the time I forget itís even there. This is actually soon after I got it and now I put it to use. Itís a realistic jump too, not the ridiculously high one from Visual Mode and the cheat scripts. That one was always intended for debugging e.g. texturing levels with Forgeís visual mode, though Vasaraís teleport feature is better for that.

The addition of jumping properly also means that new mods can have jumping puzzles built around it as well as the sprint of faith. Jump shouldnít be abused though and I say itís forbidden when vidding, unless there is no other way to get there e.g. grenade jump or wall-walk first. If thereís no ammo, then jump.

Even when jumping in Brutal Doom as I hinted at before, I donít use it if I can help it, though I do use it more often there as Doomís sprint of faith is terrible compared to Marathonís one. Thereís also still no crouch, but Strife has jumping and no crouching so it can work. Still means no semi-realistically sized air vents until we get a crouch feature though. :(

The blue intestine like basement hall leads to an outer lift and past some enforcers overlooking a room with our first troopers. You will have new respect for trooper encounters in this game and Redux alone as you will soon see.

The rest of the hallway leads to the first thundrillium room I found, where I snipe some enforcers into the pool with the shock staff. Yes, Marathon is now the kind of game where your second best sniper rifle is a melee weapon. How many other games can claim that? And boy is it a good melee weapon, the energy sword can suck it for once. I follow the fancy blue hall from before to a small room with a thundrillium fountain above the start, where I admire the view of the Tau Ceti star itself through the window.

Above the first pool I found, there is a ledge with two enforcers on it you can only reach with grenade climbing. Not even low gravity jumping reaches there. But I have no assault rifle! In fact, itís not in the game. Or is it? ;) Thereís an overshield/invincibility chip up there and it also lasts longer than the trilogy, so grab it when you find the rifle.
The trooper room is easily accessed via the south east door in the lap pool room. From there, you find this:

The trooperís Havok rifle is the replacement for the MA-75B assault rifle. You may remember it fires in vacuum and there is one of those right up next so it will get to shine there. Grenade climbing is still nerfed, due to that code not being restored in most mods physics models but that isnít the moddersí fault, itís Bungieís for nerfing it in the first place for M2.
The original rifle sprite from 1.0 & 1.1 looks like some kind of weirdly shaped alien dildo. The HD one here is from M1 Redux.

Ahead is the large green room with the troopers behind the large window, standing around like some kind of Third Reich rally from Wolfenstein. Ahead is a hunter ambush and the exit teleporter. I need to split this up some more, thanks to post length limits I didn't know about. (Oops)

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