Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 3 Stage 2
Posted By: Lion O CyborgDate: 11/17/20 3:46 a.m.

Chapter 3 Stage 2: Crisis Galaxy

Forward by LOC: As per usual, the failure plank coverage of Eternal was written by Viking Boy Billy, with footnotes added by me in Durandal's color from my own recordings of said levels, currently on my log. Said recordings will be posted prior to Chapter 5 at a later date after the actual failure plank entries like this one so we get to see both sides (and major parts of the expanded story started in the prologue writeup), so to tell my ones apart from the actual Tour of Duty entries by VBB, mine will be referred to as Lost Episodes, like the Doom 3 expansion pack on the BFG Edition. I also add in map images, terminals and three normal ones from the Lost Episode version for context e.g. the conveyor belt mentioned below. I also used the Lost Episode recording as reference when helping VBB through the levels in our email correspondence while he was writing this Stage, especially as my memory is more fuzzy on Eat S'pht & Die than on others.

Act 1: Eat S'pht and Die

Last time, we got the S'pht'Kr onto K'lia so they can teleport away and trapped Hathor on Lh'owon by inserting two big computer chips under the tower of antiquity, only to somehow wake up one thousand years later in the pfhor invasion (which is in the 1700s Gregorian, if you're keeping track). Now we're going to bring the S'pht'Kr back and win the war for the s'pht, which should have no unforseen consequences whatsoever.

Actually, we're just going to be a distraction while s'pht—... umm... whatever his name is, calls them over so the Pfhor don't see them. So it's the old red herring diversion stall trope while the main character infiltrates the enemy and... wait, I'm the goofball doing the diversion! This doesn't feel right, and that map title signals that we're going to have a bad time.

And there's hardly any time to use the pattern buffer before a pile of enemies swarms all over us from the nearby alcove! But at least the pattern buffer and a 2x charger are right here at the start. But since we're stalling their attention by killing as many phor as we can here, that must mean this is another extermination map. But hey, we get to see some ancient s'pht architecture before Lh'owon became a desert ghost planet of incompetent pfhor outposts. That's a lot of Buts.

There's some debris floating down from above, probably ash, and one of Lh'owon's moons above. It can't be K'lia; the s'pht'kr haven't come back yet.

Note by LOC: Cool! It’s raining fire! Well, sort of.
Shining Raven’s rain script works well again here too: the volcano is erupting, blocking out the night sky and making it snow ash.

Personally I call the S’phtBobs S’pht Corals as S’pht in general remind me of coral, going by a cross section of them I saw in Geology class back in 2011: The machinery underneath they fly with is the skeleton (the bit that makes up the reef) and the organic part is the coral animal itself. I guess that would make the S’pht world network/collective consciousness the coral reef and Lh’owon the sea.

The corals are actually S’pht with no armour or carapaces, going by the image of unarmoured S”pht in Charon Doesn’t Make Change. I think the basement mentioned below is the one with blue shock absorbers I noted in the Lost Episode recording. Speaking of the corals, why are they here? (on this map) They should be hiding!

There' a bit of space out here and some s'pht flying overhead. They can't be s'pht'kr, but they use their sprites. I guess the modder(s) weren't arsed to make a new s'pht clan enemy, but they were arsed to make an unarmed civilian (I'll call them S'phtBobs), so I guess we're pretending these are an older version of their biomechanical suits.

There's only one way to go. Actually, two, but the battlefield on the other side of the stairs is suicide, so we're heading deeper into the tunnels. A bunch of friendly gray f'lickta block off a path in the sort-of garage/basement below, so we head up the only open route that doesn't require friendly fire. There's a funny elevator where the button rides up the platform with you, and the s'pht up in this area aren't so friendly. (edit: the texture with the lever on it doesn't rise up with the lift on later retries... it must have been glitched out the first time I hit it)

This map is just full of Fuck You skirmishes, as I suspect will be a continued pattern in all the failure plank maps. You need to use the elevator to take cover and the 2x at the top when enemies aren't attacking. The last enforcer amusingly dies in a lava pool, and there's a button that I THINK lowered the platform to another lever, and that lever raises the platform up to a lever that does... something (Edit from the future: the lever that activates the lift in the next paragraph is inactive until this lever is pulled). Who else but a game designer would make switch-based infrastructure like this? I guess it can be good for security in a battle. No wait. The first lever didn't lower that platform. What it actually did was open a locked door to a lever that... opens the door when it locks behind you. What is the point of that?

We eventually find the one non-troll lever that lifts us up to a rampart above the arena. There's some very M1-ish design ala "welcome to the revoloution" where we have to run across the air into holes on the side of the wall to keep going... and M1 brown hunters. Ok, I like the howl they do, but why is this different? Bringing back the hulks and lookers is one thing, but is this an old hunter model the pfhor were using in the 1700s? We run all the way across the edge... back to where we started in this room. So this is one big troll room. I guess the only reason for anything is to kill all the pfhor.

As I head back to the pattern buffer at the start, I go out the wrong exit and almost get myself killed! It is time to explore the other half of this outside area at the start. There's some lava walls here that are solid so you can't walk through them. Must be decoration.

If we run up the sort-of-staircase in this room up to the platform with a column on it, we see a slot to insert a computer chip. There's nothing else here, so we make a mental note of that and go back downstairs to kill those f'licta blocking the last route. After getting them out of the way, the area has a lift that brings us up to... nowhere? There's clearly some fighting going on in the windows in the building around this place, and an innocent S'phtBob got downed by pathetic shock-staff plasma, but... where do we go?

The light in the pillar makes an odd locked noise when we press use on it.

It appears the only place to go is grenade-hopping into one of the windows up here and it's a tricky jump with the narrow space and the weaker grenades to do it, but I manage it after a few attempts. The weaker grenades might make it better for not killing yourself. There is a pattern buffer over here, which seems to be a wink from the map designer "yep, this is really what you had to do. Now go swim in lava! Hahaha!"

Yeah. The only new place to go here is into a lava tunnel. Err.. lava aqueduct? But nay, even that spits you out to the starting area. Somebody is getting their jollies out of this, and it's not the player.

Okay, back in the "troll" area, there was a hole I missed right here. It blends in with the lighting.

In it is a tunnel with a lever that reveals the computer chip we need surrounded by fluorescent light. Grabbing it opens a wall that is a shortcut to the computer chip slot. Inserting it opens a wall with some friendly s'pht.

But once we enter, so much hell breaks loose that it causes slowdown in the framerate. There's even a nasty juggernaut that likes to hide around the corner.

There's a hole in the wall we have to take a short lava swim to get to, and from there we take a ride up to some more ramparts, with a weird door that we have to walk into a lighted alcove to the left to open. One of these rooms has a horrible strobe light, and below we can see the area where the juggernaut was and some lights in the cliff face. A lever here will make an opening in the lights. We can jump down here and check it out, or keep exploring the ramparts. I pick the former, and get a 3x charger reward for braving the lava. The switch opens the door above, and it turns out we needed the 3x for the long lava swim back... and discover the lava is crawling with gray f'licta under the surface!

We have to jump around some closed doors to progress, and there's two levers at the end of the ramparts here. One of them opens up a wall at the end with a staircase, with a fork to a small lava river. I'm low on shield now, so I can't risk the damage and keep going upstairs. Turns out the top opens up that area we had to rocket hop to earlier, but the pattern buffer is still there. The lava river below is actually short enough for us to live, but there's a mean f'lickta guarding the lever at the end. The lever opens up a few areas where some flying ticks apparently sucked the life out of some S'phtBobs. So these floating things are natural predators of the s'pht... interesting that they choose to keep them floating around in the wild. These S'phtBobs probably ran in here to hide from the pfhor and ended up getting eaten by their own wildlife... like the equivalent of egyptians getting eaten by lions running from roman soldiers. Poor things.

But... how do they survive with predators like this? Humans had to deal with flying eagles and owls that can kill us, but these things are like arial anti-gravity vampires that never sleep... and the s'pht might as well be one-eyed brains in wheelchairs. You can shout Brain Beats Brawn as much as you want; there has to be something to even the playing field here. This is like if humans exist while dinosaurs are still roaming the Earth. You know how Jurassic park turned out.

There's a sort of lava fountain here with a switch opening the wall on the left, which opens up a path to an exit. But it also looks like something opened up where that "locked light" was on the tower before from the view here, so we gotta check that out first. It looks like a breakable panel! But it's not breakable. So it opened something, but it's actually nothing. There must have been plans for this map that got jettisoned to the wayside. Ok, we're done here. Moving on.

Act 2: Second to Last of the Mohicans – Forge of Hours

Note by LOC: ““drictelt 0906” aaron ”’|8-’|9” Raven 19 Also, the original map text in the original Eternal X says “Why can’t I all this?! Boohoohoo!””

I’ve been looking forward to this map in particular for 1.2. When I was in the chat for the Rampancy.net Halo 2 Anniversary stream, I mentioned during the energy conveyor belt section in the Arbiter that Aleph One seriously needed conveyor belts like Halo 2 and other 2.5D shooters like Marathon (starting with Build engine games). Infinity at least had conveyors but they were just animated textures with no behaviour so they did nothing.

In both main older versions, this map had a cargo conveyor belt in it (some sort of factory or mine?) but you couldn’t reach it, as it was impossible to ride it. During that part of the chat, Shining Raven informed me that she had actually made the conveyor belt on the 1.2 version of the map not only accessible, but functional too. That is one of the best upgrades to Eternal X 1.2 besides the rain script, geometry and texture updates.


Check the chat around here.

According to the rain script after splitting the Eternal Precipitation WAD into individual maps, the rain here on Mohicans in my copy at least is supposed to be nuclear fallout.

Now, this map was originally a success plank map in 1.0. Leela sent us here for some reason or another. By Eternal X 1.1, it’s now a failure plank map: this one and Flames of Icarus swapped places. Flame of Icarus in 1.2 is now is a tad more faithful to the original map, necessitating a title change but hold on, we’ll get to that.

We're teleported to a big tower that has a lone pfhor fighter in chartreuse armor. The switch he was guarding opens a door across the field, and the terminal here says this:

So this map is more filler. This terminal is a kind of trick, too, because the lever is one of those timed switches that closes the door some moments after it's activated. We have to open the door and then turn it off to stop it from closing. There's a long stairwell there and it looks like there's a lot of places to go. I choose to climb all the way to the top and burn away the small resistance, and it's a lucky guess because the pattern buffer is in the tower this path leads to. We can see a lot of juggernauts stationed outside, and another trick switch that we have to tab twice to keep a door open. The windows are plasma-proof glass, so we can't shoot the juggernauts.

If we head down one story, we'll be on the ledge with that door we just opened, and the juggernauts seem to be asleep. A hunter comes out and wakes them up, but they don't seem hostile. One even blows up easily and I wasn't killed, despite being near the explosion. We walk up and to the right to the next ledge over, and in the next door are some S'phtBobs and a trooper and hunter, and a lot of boxes. This map is full of wide, boxy areas. We can't proceed from here, but there's a big red platform on the map at the bottom of this room, so we must be able to access the roof above eventually.

Another weird thing about these pfhor: not only do they wear chartreuse armor, but their skin is... greenish? Maybe it's the lighting. Take a look for yourself.

I bet they're cribbing from that M2 terminal that showed green pfhor shooting a s'pht's face. If we head back to the stairs, the middle path has a 1x charger, and if we keep going we find a switch to open that door that was locked on the other side, as well as wake up an enforcer on the other side of glass that can wander, but not shoot us. That enforcer will somehow be there to greet us on the other side when we head there, so we must be headed to the path he was on, and... it was another trick switch, because the door shut >=(

After reopening the door, and keeping it open, we eventually find a 2x shield charger on the other side, and a button that's permanent because I can't re-press it, but it's not obvious about what it did. It becomes apparent when we head back and a door is open to a skirmish with fighters and a hunter, and there's a PB in here. We find an enforcer guarding another trick switch we have to hold down, and proceed downstairs to find a switch that opens a big garage door with a juggernaut outside.

One good plasma charge is enough to down the juggernaut, but the outside doesn't go anywhere. Another path takes us to a trick switch that opened a door in another location; head back to the other side of the wall where we came from and we find a door outside on the other side of the building with some troopers and a hunter to fight. There's a tower here, and two wacks with a shock staff downs the enforcer and we can open the door at the outside area where that juggernaut was. We head up to find more stationed juggernauts, and one of the rooms with an enforcer on a ledge has a pattern buffer for us.

A switch here opens a door back to the entrance staircase and... it shuts behind us! One of the worst trick switches! The other path we can go leads to a switch that does...

*explores aimlessly a bit*

I think it raised the stairs in this region. See those red stairs?

Up ahead are boxy rooms full of pfhor waiting to get slaughtered, and we make our way inside another tower. It's hard to see, but using the map, we can tell that it opened a door at that juggernaut rest area, and we need to re-press it so it doesn't close on us. In that room is a weird block with a texture on it that looks like a s'pht terminal, but it's not.

The switch here opens up the whole wall with a hunter, and the next switch opens the next wall with an enforcer. He likes hiding behind the boxes, but I'm still beating these guys back with a shred of my shield left. Up ahead is... a room dedicated to an oxygen charger? Ok, that's not useful, and I really need to go find that 2x that's way back in the opposite direction because there's just more danger up ahead. The next set of rooms are deviously tricky, with enemies taking advantage of higher ground to make things difficult. If we take a left in the room with the black and brown hunters, this set of boxy rooms has no glass in the windows! Everything can shoot at us through these rooms! But there is a 2x charger. There's a couple of perma-switches, that opens up a room to another temporary switch that opens the door on top of the stairs where an enforcer gave us trouble earlier. This leads to a shortcut back to an earlier area. There's also another door on the side up the previous staircase I missed that loops back to the stairwell all the way from the start. So one of those two switches from earlier must have opened something in these earlier rooms.

Aye... ok, there was another room in the northwest I missed with a button that opens a door across the... sewer area? It's a big tunnel with a stream in it because the map marks it azure.

Note by LOC: That’s the cargo conveyor belt. Now with chaselights!

I find this very soothing. If anyone makes a map taking place in an aquatic base or underwater aquarium like Deep Sea World by the south river, I’d love to see a shark and jellyfish tank belt section with this kind of lighting.

And over there is... a terminal of Thoth???

Eh... Thoth? Did you get shut down yet? You're clearly awake, but you don't look alright (tip from an alternate timeline: we might find out what's going on with Thoth if we chose to find Leela when we had the chance instead of becoming a sideshow to win this war).

We can enter the "sewer" tunnel, but there isn't any water. The ground is a moving treadmill, and to get it to look azure on the map, they must have put liquid under the floor (or above the ceiling). But... the ambient sound in here is that underwater rumble. What's going on under the hood in these polygons?

Note by LOC: Reading this terminal opens the conveyor belt umbilical. At last! Conveyor belts in Marathon!

They seem to be faked with a barely hidden layer of water, going by the automap but I don’t care. Hat’s off to Liacrow/Shining Raven for upgrading this map so. Other map makers better be talking notes. I want to see more conveyors in the future e.g. factory levels, starports etc.

Crouch controls to go with my jump script too, so air vents of more realistic size (not too realistic or we wouldn’t fit) or narrow caves to be made, enhancing maps further.

There’s circuit panels to smash but even doing that, in the Lost Episode recording those notes I add are taken from I take the slow way back, savouring every picosecond. The belt is too slow though: it outruns me as I ride it but again, I happy enough just to have it. The panel I break opens the belt’s loading hatch back at the start. Also, I need to point out the Tomb Raider 3 & Doom esque Hall of Mirror’s glitch due to missing textures in the cargo conveyor belt’s doorframe by the exit sluice.

This hall of mirrors glitch makes me think of the infinity well illusion at the Satrosphere science museum down at the beach.

We finally get to shoot down the drones we may have saw here through the windows earlier, and there's even a hole above for them to drop down from. We have to punch a panel to open the door at the end, which spits us out to an earlier area? So what's left? If we go back to Thoth, he's now more coherent:

Witness the consequences of your intervention? Thoth, do you see into the future, or are you just that good at prediction?

Act 3: The Manipulated Dead – I Need TP For My Bunghole

Here we are, back at the station of the failed timelines. Let's see what went wrong this time (like I really can't guess what happened when the pfhor have that Trih Xeem thing for battles they can't win because they're sore losers):

Uhh... is this Lh'owon's W'rkncacnctr? Speaking into our mind? Ok, it's a little tacky for marathon storytelling.

Note by LOC: Personally, I don’t think so: It’s deliberately evoking the Gravemind in Halo 2 & Halo 3, who speaks in a really hammy poetic way. Imagine if the Gravemind evoked Ahriman from Zoroastrianism or Mephiles of the Darkness from Egypt instead and there’s the Wrk. It’s also why I added the edited text referencing the above on my log screenshots of the terminal, though I forgot to edit out the MS Word spelling error wavy lines.

And as we wander the ship, even a little bit, we run into a phantasm from Pathways into Darkness! Good thing I had my fire gun equipped (the enforcers should work on one that shoots ice crystals). Plasma is far more effective on them than fire (fire IS a plasma, but you know what I meant). And there's an invincibility we really need because these guys move faster than they did in PID. They can quickly surround and kill you before you have time to blink. The Swirls track does not fit with the creepy atmosphere here, so I'll turn that off. Maybe I'll substitute Iron Cthulhu Apocalypse music in its place, but I got flak for recommending music tracks for maps before so I'm not enforcing it as a rule (an album named "Universal Suicide" is pretty fitting for this scenario).

The way they move around the map is like playing a slenderman-type game, and I highly suspect they're respawning. In fact, I recommend using plasma sparingly because I ran out of charges getting overrun by the things.

Note by LOC:

Yes, not only is the W’rkncacnter free again, but now it actually spawns its ayakashi, which as we learned in my Pathways into Darkness Tour of Duty, are monsters created as living manifestations of its own nightmares. Like Pathways into Darkness they constantly respawn, in all previous versions of Eternal X, NOTHING we have at this point can kill them. You can only run. But there’s no escape; they WILL catch you, which means dying and reloading A LOT. Instead of the Manipulated Dead, this map should have been called “I Need TP for My Bunghole”.

In Eternal X 1.2, the banshees are weak to fusion shots and according to Liacrow, the plasma flamethrower too. This is why I warned you all to save your ammo for this point.

When we sruvive this creepypasta game and make it to the end, it's a terminal that I assume is from Thothrandal (because he exists outside the constricts of time)

You're accusing the literal cyborg killing-machine of acting rashly? Soooorrrry!

Note by LOC: I second Billy’s concerns so just don’t, Durandal. Causality be damned, we saved the S’pht from the Pfhor when they were supposed to be first enslaved and THIS is how you and Thoth repay us? Ungrateful bastards! Even though the Pfhor used the Trih Xeem, We could have just done as we did in Infinity and stopped it millennia in the past. The only reason we’re here is because either you two or past Thoth sent us to the future world against our will! Leela could have found us and helped us steal a pfhor ship to reach the terraforming platform from Aye Mak Sicur. As it stands, the W’rkncacnter Trigger did its job, assuming Hathor’s little name for the Pfhor to get me to go on her mission still applies after she revealed her true colors.

Ok, joke's over, let's get back to S'pht Happens.

Note By LOC: This time I need to find Leela. Tune in next time for Chapter 3 Stage 3: Cosmic Base. Don’t miss it!

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Pre-2004 Posts


Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 3 Stage 2Lion O Cyborg 11/17/20 3:46 a.m.
     Re: Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 3 Stage 2Forrest of B.org 11/17/20 9:51 a.m.
           Re: Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 3 Stage 2Lion O Cyborg 11/17/20 12:43 p.m.
                 Re: Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 3 Stage 2Forrest of B.org 11/17/20 9:00 p.m.
                 Re: Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 3 Stage 2VikingBoyBilly 11/18/20 3:45 p.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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