Okay, I finished the game some time ago, and finally got around to preparing my notes for posting.Chapter 5: Antiquity
Echoes of Eden
Here we see the last shiny new texture set. New parts of it, anyway. It looks very futuristic.
The gameplay of this level feels 'new age' all around. The WMC always seems to lag my computer, so it's hard to see what exactly it's doing (unless it's slowing down time itself
). Then when I think I've seen all of Eternal's weapons, I get not one but two lightsa-I mean, gravitronic blades
. They hold a ton of charge, and still do an area effect of damage. Because they too kill the...black ghostly things, I can tell that it's the WMC's projectile that's bogging down my computer.
So there's this big platform that raises slowly, and as it rises you find...enemies from Pathways Into Darkness. It's too challenging an area to really contemplate what they're doing there, but you can bet I'm going to contemplate what the heck is going-gah, died again!
Once at the top of the platform, you may be interested to know I got blasted up onto where the PiD monsters spawn, without even trying. I don't think there's anything you can do about it, though.The Dead Live In The Catacombs
Ah, I see you give the player 1 gravitronic blade, in case they followed orders, took the platform first, and then read through the terminal without grabbing the blades. However, it looks like it's worth going back to get the second one, so I'll reload my saved game.
...and it looks like the platform won't lower again. So if you do take the lift first, you can't
grab your weapons later. That's too bad.
Polygon 315 is missing a waterfall sound that's on adjacent polygons.
This level is indeed reminiscent of PiD with all the regular, rectangular geometry, yet its design is more sophisticated as well.
Once you get to the guardian, there's a door leading back to the start of the level, but it's broken and stops halfway. It's really too long a distance to run all the way back the way you came, and the monsters in this level quickly dish out quite a beating. So please give us some shields or at least a save terminal near the guardian's terminal.
Since the guardian and the watcher are in agreement, my assumption is that there's no treachery going on with either of them.Not A Natural Formation
Say, the gravitronic blade looks mighty neat when you teleport with it out. I wonder if you could give it a static effect when you fire it or something. There's something lacking about the way it doesn't make an impact sound.
Oh good, you gave me a second blade for this level. But why did you put an uplink chip right underneath the player too? Unlike the gravitronic blades, you can't enter this level without picking up the chip.
On your long trip down what amounts to a spiral staircase, it is
possible to jump out in one spot and walk back up what would otherwise be the bannister of the staircase. I consider this an easter egg/secret though, and it only gives you some breathing room, so I wouldn't change it.
That south platform that takes you up to a switch was very easy to miss.Deep Into The Grotto
'The enemy are rapidly encroaching on this facility as we speak.' You can say that again, seeing as I barely have time to read the terminal before they reach me.
The water that floods much of this level makes it very difficult to activate some rechargers, since you can't use them while in motion. Although, in other places I see the surface of the water move, yet I don't move, on polygon 348 for instance. How did you pull that off?
If the respawning enemies weren't so annoying, I would marvel at the liquid dynamic in this level, where water is the safe area and air is the dangerous area.
I was stuck for weeks on this level. The problem was opening platform 871, which shuts off a section of the ventilation ducts. Whatever switch finally raises that door, you can hit it more than once. So, not knowing which switch does what (I was hoping I'd missed a switch that would bring down the force field), I'd ran around hitting every switch I could, multiple times, until I happened to check that door after hitting the switch an odd number of times. I strongly recommend setting the 'activates only once' flag for every switch possible, and perhaps tying in lighting effects on the switch polygons, so that it's clear what you've already hit.
I can't express the relief I felt when I walked through that force field and didn't smack back onto the opposite wall.
"too many other lives now rest on the choice the hangs here before you." This terminal doesn't have capitalization, which was probably on purpose, but in this sentence, "the" should be "that." Also in this terminal, coherent is misspelled as coherant. Also, "you do not understand what it is that you trying to do here," should be "you are trying," or "you're trying."
Hathor calls herself the dark one, and her dreams make clear references to the unformatted KYT terminal from M2, which cast her and the player as 'Lethe' and her lover, respectively. See the separate thread I made for more detail on that particular plot point.
Hathor says the Jjaro woke the W'rkncacnter in the first place. No comment on that, I just want to keep track of what new plot points Eternal adds to the original story. Hathor also claims her destruction will trigger a sort of galactic-scale mass extinction, which is orders of magnitude more destructive than Marathon's superweapon, the trih xeem
So, decision time. Hathor claims a galactic doomsday if I destroy her. It's not clear why
destroying her will trigger the device, but I admit I'm not reading every terminal for total comprehension. This is my chance to finally destroy her...she's dreamed of a retelling from Marathon 2, so she's not just making something up to save herself. In the end, I'm going to break that circuit in the corner, under the assumption it will lead to a failure branch, and I'll take satisfaction in destroying Hathor once and for all. Oh, and I would make it clear that just running through the terminal means going with Hathor.
Wouldn't it make sense for the gravitronic blades to destroy circuitry?
A word about ammo usage on this level. I played the level on Normal, and since I didn't know where things were, I had to kill a lot more aliens than strictly necessary. I ended the level having used a little over half a clip of one gravitronic blade. I used the blade almost exclusively, since nothing else will kill the 'nightmare' monsters.
"...one of the operators has been corrupted by the Hathor entity just prior to her destruction." No satisfaction, huh?
So I'll be sent into a Jjaro ship, or at least one "broadcasting a Jjaro genome sequence." I still can't swallow that I'm not only on par with real, full-fledged Jjaro, but also powerful enough to take on multiple Jjaro, so I hope these will be...a Jjaro-derived species or something.This Message Will Self Destruct
First reaction: Oh...the terminal meant Pfhor, not Jjaro. That could only mean Pfhor have a Jjaro genome sequence. But why weren't the Pfhor destroyed like it said humans were? Unless the Pfhor are the 'seed' species Hathor mentioned to start the galaxy over. But that can't be right. I'd better find a terminal...
Darn, more nightmares, and this time the level is dark. Whenever these guys are in a level, I'm really tempted to use nothing but gravitronic blades rather than risk getting hit by them. So far the charge on the blades is holding up, but I hope I don't run out.
So this level is another gauntlet of infinite PiD enemies and finding switches. This time the switches only activate once, which is good, but there's no real terminal text to string the player along. The best way to get through it is to play entirely in map mode with the gravitronic blades, and I have to say that's not terribly fun.
Ahhh. Getting up and out of that dingy cave, to the outside where it's light and I can see the sky was an effective way of generating a sense of relief.
The nightmares seem to be set to spawn at random locations. However, that means they're spawning under some pillars that come down from the ceiling, and hence they can't move. You should run through the map checking for polygons that need to be monster impassable.
Well, I'd say the final run through the alien goo at the end is at least as hard as What About Bob or All Roads Lead To Sol. The way it works, if you're submerged before you're more than halfway up the stairs, you can't run anymore, which slows you down enough that you can't make it in time. Between the purple flash of the goo, and the white flashes of the nuclear hard deaths, it's very easy to get hung up on a nightmare that you can't see. I don't know as there's anything worth changing about that. But what's amusing is I made it to the automatic exit teleporter, and died just before teleporting. So my corpse made it to the next level, for all the good that does me
. I hope there aren't people that are so furiously sprinting for the terminal at the top, that they don't stop and realize there is an automatic exit. That would get pretty frustrating.
Ammo check: I had less than 10% left on my first gravitronic blade at the end of this level, which is the only weapon I used.We Met Once in the Garden
typo: "airborn" should be "airborne."
"as the sole surviving member of your biological species, it is imperative that you evacuate the installation immediately." I guess I'm to be the Adam of the next Genesis, then.
What's this, a level where you can actually kill everything? I wondered if I'd ever see one of those again! If I weren't so sick of these guys by now, I'd run back and gun down every last bug out of spite.Where Giants Have Fallen
Ah, interesting. Now you run through this level backwards. The climax must be upon us.
One side of polygon 453 uses a door texture, which must be an error. Then there's another side with no texture at all, for which I took a screenshot because there was no way I was jumping back down there to find the polygon number:
I assume there's a way up the cliffs without grenade jumping, but I couldn't find a path that worked before I got too frustrated, so I bit the bullet and grenade jumped out of the southeast pool of water. And onto polygon 599, which was even trickier.
"The power of the Junction is too tempting, and I am not strong enough to tackle with such responsibility." I think you need an object in that sentence: tackle what? Or else, remove "with."
Okay, one last leap of faith down the big hole...Epilogue: EternityThe Near Side Of Everywhere
Nifty, the landscape would have me believe I made it back to Earth orbit. And the sun isn't going nova; that's usually a good sign
Well, this is familiar. I'm pretty sure your intention was to make this return to the first level all bright and colorful as a means of resolution, making it feel like a bright, bright, bright sun-shiny day. Now that I've seen both, I have to stick with my original assessment; that the first level needs color like this version has, because people have to want to continue playing the game.
just a note: July 25th 2905 - That's after everything in all 3 Marathon games, except Durandal's return to Earth and the closure of the universe.
I would describe the final terminal as a cliffhanger ending. The author of the terminal describes an upcoming battle, which sounds enticing and meaningful, which we never actually fight. I was surprised there was no final chapter screen. So surprised, I split open the map file to check the terminal PICTs file, where it seems the final chapter screen (which I never saw, running the 6/22/08 build of A1) contains only credits.
I could guess, but I'm not sure who's speaking in the final terminal. It's not a Jjaro, W'rkncacnter, S'pht, Pfhor, human, S'bhuth, Leela, nor Hathor.