I will play every level in Eternal X and comment on them.

For topics about the story, help in a certain level, game discussion, or finding/discussing content.

Post May 16th '10, 06:27

Guys, it's not like the title of the topic is I will play EVERY level in Eternal X... aw damnit.
User avatar

Wrkncacnter

Post May 16th '10, 07:27

W wrote:Guys, it's not like the title of the topic is I will play EVERY level in Eternal X... aw damnit.


Who says he has to do every failure line as they come?
He could easily just be finishing the TRUE END line to Eternal before coming back to the failure endings.

And besides, many failure levels are just rehashes of the TRUE levels.
I hope he does do the failure lines, but in all reality we should be ready for a lot of Cut & Paste reviews.
MoppyPuppy
Lake Nebagamon, WI

Post May 16th '10, 11:31

Pfhorrest wrote:The reason these first few levels of the S'pht chapter are so light on combat is because there's no way to get weapons or ammo to you (story-wise), since Leela doesn't have a ship full of ammo in this time frame she can beam things down to you from, and there are no Pfhor here yet to steal weapons from. So you could very quickly run out of ammo if you didn't come in with a shit tone from the previous chapter.

She doesn't? I was under the impression she had loaded herself into a ship in order to make the Cybernetic Junction work. Or did I completely misinterpret the point of "My Kingdom Pfhor a Horse?"

If you can think of a way of increasing the combat without making it a "fuck you, no-ammo-boy" to the player, I'd be happy to implement it.
Besides some kind of silly plot contrivance, the obvious way to do it is to use MML to gear up the player a little bit if they ctrl-click to that level. Otherwise I don't think running out of ammo is a real issue; as you can see in my screenshots, I have far more ammo than I could possibly need at this point.

Being light on combat isn't a problem for the first three S'pht levels. I like the approach, it's just that rehashing M2 levels but taking out most of the enemies is obviously repetitive, but also a little uninteresting. The only time it's a real issue for me is on "S'pht Happens," which, as it's a major Pfhor assault, should be a little more populated.

Also, I'm beginning to wonder if this point if you're intentionally dodging the failure branches using "out of character" knowledge (i.e. knowledge a first-time player wouldn't have, without reading forums etc) of which branch is the "right" branch. Some of my favorite levels are in the failure branches. EDIT: wait a sec... you went with Leela and ended up on "Second To Last Of The Mohicans"? "S'pht Happens" should take you either to "Eat S'pht and Die" or "Third Rock From Lh'owon". Bug?

I know two things: I know that the failure branches exist, and I know that they're always on the fourth level of each chapter. As to the latter, that's not hugely important for me anyway; I tend to go back and explore if I finish the objective without visiting most of the map (though I didn't on S'pht Happens), and often times the choice is pretty clear. For instance, on Unpfhorseen, after both Leela and Hathor tell you sinister things about Tycho, you are not likely to want to go with Tycho when he crops up.

Because of all the belly-aching in this topic so far, I'll be sure to go back and do the failure levels that I miss after I'm done with the rest of the game.

As to your edit, it's your game, not mine! But it looks like the level Third Rock From Lh'owon doesn't exist in the level select menu.
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 16th '10, 12:00

I don't know if the Eternal X team knows about this, but I've recently experienced a minor bug with the Major Enforcer (the one with the N-Cannon). Very briefly, I see it in a frame holding an S-Rifle, as opposed to the N-Cannon, reverting to normal, I think, if I just move or it activates, or stops idling. I'll try and post a screenshot to illustrate my point.

EDIT:

Last edited by Dugit on May 16th '10, 12:11, edited 1 time in total.
Polyplicity my second (less sucky) net pack. Go on. Download it. You know you don't want to.
Marathon Aeon- My scenario in the works ~on Simplici7y

riveting six-vertice amnesty ratifications
User avatar

Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post May 16th '10, 13:08

that "sprite" bug has been around for a long time, i thought it got fixed though. perhaps it was jsut more hidden than before.
What are you, if not seven different shades of stupid?
User avatar

CryoS
The Dungeon

Post May 16th '10, 13:12

The main reason that I like Eternal is that its very relaxing in comparison to other scenarios.
Music is relaxing.
The look of the maps is relaxing.
And the combat is lax also.

I know people love hardcore things nowadays, but sometimes it gets to a point where whether or not I'm progressing well through a scenario, the difficulty induced stress makes you stop and think about how much fun your actually having.

I hold Tempus Irae to the same concept. TI and EX are a pretty good pair, if you consider "chill" to be a genre in Marathon Scenarios.

It may be just me, but I've caught myself a couple times after beating a level or scenario thinking "thank sweet merciful god that's over."
That's usually after a second or TC run through. Beating a scenario is always fulfilling the first time.


People see things in terms of challenge, whereas I those same things in terms of how much RAGE I'm gonna feel before the completion of level.
MoppyPuppy
Lake Nebagamon, WI

Post May 16th '10, 14:13

RyokoTK wrote:As to your edit, it's your game, not mine! But it looks like the level Third Rock From Lh'owon doesn't exist in the level select menu.


I know that it's in the most recent version, but there was a bug in the second most recent map file (I think) where it didn't appear.
Last edited by $lave on May 16th '10, 14:27, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar

$lave

Post May 16th '10, 17:20

Because of this topic, I got Eternal. It's ok...

I'm on the sewer level, and it took me a few seconds in the actual sewers to die, due to the absurd amount of enemies IN THE FRIKIN WASTE TREATMENT PLANT.

I also spent nearly 30 Minutes finding my way back to the starting place in the FIRST level.

But the combat is awesome, and the staff makes wasps glitch which makes me laugh [MSmile]
User avatar

TectonInd

Post May 17th '10, 00:27

I know people love hardcore things nowadays, but sometimes it gets to a point where whether or not I'm progressing well through a scenario, the difficulty induced stress makes you stop and think about how much fun your actually having.

A game too difficult to complete is as bad as a game so easy it poses no challenge.
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 17th '10, 02:05

RyokoTK wrote:She doesn't? I was under the impression she had loaded herself into a ship in order to make the Cybernetic Junction work. Or did I completely misinterpret the point of "My Kingdom Pfhor a Horse?"

The point of "My Kingdom" was just to get a ship for her and Blake & Co, since their old one had recently crashed just before you met them again. With that accomplished, she turns her attention to Hathor and getting control of her Cybernetic Junction, which is the point of "Burning Down The Corporation". But you can't take a ship with you through time (with rare exceptions), so she leaves the ship and runs off with you after Hathor; since we're got a time machine, we'll be back "before we left" so to speak, so to the ship and the people on it we won't even be gone a moment.

Besides some kind of silly plot contrivance, the obvious way to do it is to use MML to gear up the player a little bit if they ctrl-click to that level. Otherwise I don't think running out of ammo is a real issue; as you can see in my screenshots, I have far more ammo than I could possibly need at this point.
Ah yes, the MML-gifted ammo. I've actually added that already a long time ago in the version I have on my HD; each map begins with one of each type of weapon you should have accumulated by that point. I guess I could stand to crank up the combat on some the S'pht levels in that case. Either way the combat on "S'pht Happens" on can get hardcore since it's full of Pfhor from there on out.

As to your edit, it's your game, not mine! But it looks like the level Third Rock From Lh'owon doesn't exist in the level select menu.

You're right, I just downloaded 1.0.3 from the website and that version was before the level rearrangement in Chapter 3. In the version I've got, "Mohicans" comes after "Eat S'pht" in the failure timeline, and "Third Rock" (new level) and "Flame of Icarus" are the success timeline. In the version you have, "Eat S'pht" and "Icarus" are the failure timeline, and "Mohicans" leads into "Forever My Greatest and Only Love", which is to be repurposed into a "coop vidmaster" whatever level for Omega. I've been looking at my newer version for so long I forgot the version online was different.
-Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
Director of the Xeventh Project, the team behind Eternal
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
User avatar

Pfhorrest
California

Post May 17th '10, 02:40

I would almost make the ammo for the Pfhor weapons infinite (but retain the reloading animation) since for all intents and purposes it amounts to the same thing. The only ammo I even bother to monitor is fusion ammo since it's so hard to come by in levels before the weapons were invented, and that way it will help you with level skippers. Granted, I haven't found the remaining weapons yet, but...
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 17th '10, 02:43

RyokoTK wrote:Granted, I haven't found the remaining weapons yet, but...

Neither has W!

I'll be here all week.
User avatar

treellama
Pittsburgh

Post May 17th '10, 13:59

Forever My Greatest and Only Love
[attachment=3778:ForeverM...ove_0001.png]
[attachment=3779:ForeverM...ove_0002.png]

There isn't a terrible amount to say about this one, so I'll keep it relatively brief. This level is boring, but not in the same way that most of the rest of the chapter has been boring. The level design is even more uninspired than the previous one. Just look at the automap: it's another hopelessly nonlinear level, like Hysterical Womb or Dysmentria, only this time it's just an endless linear switch hunt. There's got to be two dozen switches on this level, each one opening another door in this maze with another switch behind it.

It's just tedious, especially since once you clear out all the monsters you're just wandering helplessly through empty, samey, flat corridors looking for the next door that opened. The architecture is equally uninspired: flat lighting, repetitive texturing, and pretty much everything on this level is just a curvy corridor or an oblong room. Everything is flat and either 1 WU or 2 WU tall. The easiest way to make your levels not visually repetitive is to add variance to the elevation, and that's noticeable here. The annoying coup de grace is when you complete your mission; Hathor sends a message out to every terminal but one (there's like 20) and you have to find the right terminal in order to exit. zzzzz.

The combat is pretty entertaining, for the most part, and a fair challenge for the end of the third chapter. There's only one 1x recharger on this level, which is near the beginning, but imagine the frustration of missing it, which is entirely possible. This level is loaded with Wasps and Scatterforcers, which is a good combination, both because they make for relatively threatening enemies, and because the Scattergun absolutely destroys Wasps.

The S'pht chapter, to me, was a huge disappointment. I think there could have been a lot of opportunities here for some great architecture, some great storytelling, and a couple really exciting action levels. S'pht Happens in particular was a big missed opportunity. I think what MoppyPuppy said a little bit ago about Eternal being a "relaxed" scenario is on point, and there's nothing inherently wrong with that, but one has to carefully toe the line between "relaxed" and "boring." Not to mention, even a relaxed game can have some exciting parts. Hathor, as a villain, is starting to wear on me; I actually find her character to be pretty shallow and uninteresting. There's some kind of pseudo-romance between Marcus and Hathor that I don't think has any actual establishment in the storytelling, and one I'd recommend dropping; meanwhile, Hathor's monologues are quickly becoming pathetic and stereotypically villainous. Kind of like Tycho from M1, for example. Which is odd because Leela is not boring at all. Maybe Hathor needs more screen time so that Pfhorrest can better define and establish her character.

Level design: 2/5
Architecture: 2/5
Combat: 4/5
Attachments
ForeverMyGreatestAndOnlyLove_0002.png
ForeverMyGreatestAndOnlyLove_0002.png (91.9 KiB) Viewed 2252 times
ForeverMyGreatestAndOnlyLove_0001.png
ForeverMyGreatestAndOnlyLove_0001.png (474.6 KiB) Viewed 2252 times
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 17th '10, 14:11

RyokoTK wrote:I would almost make the ammo for the Pfhor weapons infinite (but retain the reloading animation) since for all intents and purposes it amounts to the same thing. The only ammo I even bother to monitor is fusion ammo since it's so hard to come by in levels before the weapons were invented, and that way it will help you with level skippers. Granted, I haven't found the remaining weapons yet, but...


FWIW, on normal difficulty the staff and ar were virtually unlimited for because of all the ammo drops through out the game. I had plenty of flamer and scatter rifle ammo, too (though i favored the scatter rifle and thus ran low a number of times). IIRC I ran low on ammo for the grav blades/WMC once, and picked up a healthy stash in the next level. I also had to use fusion sparingly throughout the whole game, which is kind of a bummer because I think it's a fun weapon, but it's also powerfully and versatile enough to make the game too easy.
Thank the sun that went nova so that Earth could have iron and silicon.
User avatar

effigy

Post May 17th '10, 14:18

The Land in the Sky
whatever

Pfhor Far Lamm
[attachment=3780:PfhorF__rLamm_0001.png]

Alright, this one's actually pretty fun, but I need to address one thing that's bugged me: this level is now ten thousand years before M2. Yet Pfhor architecture is exactly the same, and in ten millennia they have the exact same units in the same army? I mean, I know the actual reason why this is true, but it's still silly anyway.

The other thing I don't get, and maybe this is me not paying attention again: Leela has some kind of scheme to trap and destroy Hathor when she arrives in this timeline, and to do that she arrived a little earlier than Hathor did. But, if Hathor realized she was trapped, why wouldn't she warp back in time by a few more days or something else? Also, if I'm not mistaken, Hathor isn't an AI, she's a battleroid like the player. So why doesn't she actually get some shit done? I really must have missed something crucial in the storytelling somewhere.

Anyway, on to the level. This is a short little romp through a Pfhor outpost as you press some more anonymous switches. Actually though, it's not bad; the station is arranged in a big loop, so you progress more or less linearly through the level and you end up where you started. It's easy enough to find the objective and there are some nice big rooms and open spaces with plenty of room for battles, as well as some of the Drinnol/Pfhor fights. The level is short, sweet, and fast-paced; after a chapter that moved slower than The Sheltering Sky, it's nice to just have a quick little level to move the plot along again.

Level design: 4/5
Architecture: 3.5/5
Combat: 4/5
Attachments
PfhorF__rLamm_0001.png
PfhorF__rLamm_0001.png (336.65 KiB) Viewed 2252 times
Last edited by RyokoTK on May 17th '10, 14:25, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 17th '10, 19:06

The Incredible Hulk
[attachment=3781:TheIncre...ulk_0000.png]
[attachment=3782:TheIncre...ulk_0002.png]

Here's another good level, and the first "real" level of the Drinnol chapter, it seems. Two good levels in a row, it's amazing.

This one actually has a bit of meat to it, too. It's not just a single interior of some indeterminate structure like a lot of other levels, but the exterior is included as well and you spend a considerable amount of the level outdoors. The interior of the level is neatly laid out; you begin the level more or less in the center, and the beginning 60% of the level or so is spent orbiting around this area, where a pattern buffer and rechargers are readily available. The rest of the level is a harrowing gauntlet outside.

So, from a level design standpoint, this one is pretty much spot on. It's basically a straightforward, linear level, but it's not dressed like one; there's enough stuff in the level, but you continue to find yourself starting back returning to the beginning area, which gives the interior a good sense of cohesion. Part of it is switch-hunting, yes, but unlike "Forever My Greatest and Only Love" (what a mouthful), you are sort of corralled to each switch in turn, so it's less of a hunt and more of a sensible progression, which is fine.

The combat is easy, but done well. Monster placement is pretty good. This level has more Drinnol/Pfhor fighting each other, so for a considerable amount of the level you aren't actually fighting things and can safely run around the opposition -- or you can join in, whichever you prefer. The battleground areas between these two forces are done well and sensibly, and they don't feel "artificial." Speaking from (considerable) experience in the subject, making two forces fight each other in an authentic way can be pretty tricky to set up. There's a good amount of room to move around and fight in, and generally speaking I just had a good time on this level. It's not really "intense," but it's done well.

The last part of the level is this lengthy canyon that you have to slowly climb up (pictured in the second image). It's a pretty fun experience; all of these Juggernauts are flying around, and you can safely run under them and ignore them while hordes of Hulks beat up the Pfhor. Enough of the enemies in this area are actually focused on you to keep you involved in the combat without being overrun by everything else, and it seems to me that this level actually got a fair bit of testing in this regard because it all worked very nicely.

My only complaint about this level is the lackluster exterior design. The interiors are fine; a little plain, yes, but they'll suffice. The exteriors are oppressively bleak and gray, and the lighting is flat. If you're going to have all this generic texturing like so, you need to focus a lot on good differential shading to bring some life to your environment or it's all going to run together. Plus I had to spend too much time looking for the next ledge to jump to because it kind of fused visually into the wall, which is not so good because you have to kind of run a lot through that area.

Overall, a fun level, and one with the sort of degree of intensity that I expected back on S'pht Happens. It's not especially challenging, but that's okay -- it fits in the setting fine.

EDIT: And you get a new gun! Finally! The Wave Motion Cannon is a lot of fun, but like a lot of easier scenarios it's too hard to justify using it when the AR is really just as fine.

EDIT 2: And I've apparently misspelled "Drinniol" the entire time. Oh well.

Level design: 4/5
Architecture: 2.5/5
Combat: 5/5
Attachments
TheIncredibleHulk_0002.png
TheIncredibleHulk_0002.png (414.09 KiB) Viewed 2252 times
TheIncredibleHulk_0000.png
TheIncredibleHulk_0000.png (511.98 KiB) Viewed 2252 times
Last edited by RyokoTK on May 17th '10, 19:09, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 17th '10, 19:30

Babylon X
[attachment=3783:BabylonX_0000.png]
Here's another good level, but a shorter one. Now you're making your way across more broken landscape into the pictured facility, where you need to locate a whopping 12 wires and break them. At first I balked at the task, but it's pretty easy to find them so it all worked out in the end.

This one hearkens back to "A Friend in Need" with a level that actually represents a place, rather than just being a mass of rooms; even more so than the last level, I feel like this is a legitimate structure, so in the question of level design this one is excellent. The interior of the facility is neatly laid out: it's basically a big loop with a wire in each (smallish) room, and then four more wires in the center to round it out. It's a perfectly sensible layout, and one that seems to be geared for more Pfhor/Drinniol fighting.

Unfortunately, the fighting here isn't executed quite as nicely. Ultimately the problem, I think, comes from a lack of familiarity with how to use monsters. It appears to me that the monsters inside of the building are all blind and deaf, and so they only trigger when you enter a room. But since there are very few doors, you can see all of these enemies long before they wake up and attack, which just looks sloppy. The other problem is that they're all told to attack the player first -- but in a level like this, it's imperative that they attack "nearest hostile," which may or may not be the player himself. The worst thing is when you enter a room with two Hulks facing away from you, and then having them turn around to attack you before getting shot by the Trooper behind them, which they should be attacking in the first place.

The other problem is that Hulks are just boring enemies to fight. Now, they're not nearly as bad as the Rubicon Hulks, where seeing even one would just grind the level's pacing to a halt. These guys aren't too bad to take down with the shock staff; they're just kind of dull and nonthreatening. Still, overall, the combat's pretty fun and the level goes at a good enough pace.

The architecture is fine, a little better than the last level, but mostly because it's a built space, I think. This set is extremely weak, in my opinion. I don't like many of the actual textures themselves and the greens and grays are oppressively bland. I hope to be out of here soon.

I have no real comments about the plot either. I like where it's going, and it's doing its job fine. The one thing the S'pht chapter did really well was relating Eternal X to the Trilogy and the overall canon in general. This chapter is not quite as interesting in that regard, and the plot is a lot more utilitarian, which is fine, but it seems like the scope is a bit less dramatic than I kind of expect a 52-level scenario to be.

Level design: 4.5/5
Architecture: 3.5/5
Combat: 4/5
Attachments
BabylonX_0000.png
BabylonX_0000.png (344.96 KiB) Viewed 2252 times
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 17th '10, 20:14

RyokoTK wrote:There's some kind of pseudo-romance between Marcus and Hathor that I don't think has any actual establishment in the storytelling

The idea was that it's sort of a one-sided romance. Hathor apparently remembers more of her life pre-Battleroid than Marcus does (possibly due to the memory-extraction that turned her into an AI), and has some kind of romantic feelings either because they once knew each other that way, or just because he is the only other person still alive in the universe who has been through anything like she has. (I'm curious, did you read her terminal on "Sakhmet Rising" or did you miss that? That establishes a lot of her personality, so if you missed it, it's understandable you'd be lost on her. Also, she gets a lot of screen time in the failure branch of Chapter 1, which the aforementioned terminal leads to, so since you skipped that...). But Marcus, not remembering any of that, is just left kind of like "huh?" while she gets all sobby and sentimental on you. Also, dropped here and there in her text are references to the Unformatted KYT Terminal from M2, the one with the "She has been nameless since our birth. A constant adversary, caring for nothing but my ruin. A sword drenched in my blood. Forever my greatest and only love." That mysterious terminal was the inspiration for her character, and it becomes more significant by the end of the game.

Also, Chapter 4 is quite closely connected to canon, just to a major background event only alluded to in bits in pieces. On "For Carnage, Apply Within", Tycho says: "the Pfhor found much that they were unable to exploit, and they destroyed all known traces of these technologies after a foolhardy Pfhor scientist implanted a Jjaro cybernetic junction into a Drinniol, causing the most terrible and destructive slave revolt in Pfhor history". That's where we are. That also establishes the general time frame of this chapter, since the Nakh revolt was 6,000 years before M2 and was the next-most-recent worst revolt before the S'pht revolt ("All Roads Lead To Sol", final terminal), but the Drinniol revolt was the worst of all according to Tycho above, so it must have been prior even to that. 10,000 years was just a nice rough figure of not-quite-twice-as-long-ago.
-Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
Director of the Xeventh Project, the team behind Eternal
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
User avatar

Pfhorrest
California

Post May 17th '10, 20:29

I am actually aware of the presence of the Drinniol revolt in the backstory of the canon, but it's not really on the forefront of storyelling like the downfall of the S'pht.

I did read the Hathor terminal on Sakhmet Rising, but I think I realized that she wanted to take me somewhere and I backed out. I stand by my original feelings about the Hathor/Marcus thing in general, though.
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 17th '10, 21:58

Dread Not
[attachment=3784:DreadNot_0001.png]
[attachment=3785:DreadNot_0002.png]

Another good level! This is a fairly similar level, in some respects, to the first level of this chapter. You're on a small space station with a more-or-less circular layout. Only, this one is a Jjaro ship and not a Pfhor one, but...

The one thing that stands out to me is the really excellent use of lighting on this level, and just solid architecture in general, which really brings a fair bit of life to an otherwise-drab level. There are a lot of corridors on this one again, which as usual aren't really aesthetically appealing, but it's balanced out by a fair number of rooms to even out the layout.

I am irked by the layout a little bit, though. All of the objectives are on the south side of the map, or nearish the center. The only saves are in the north half of the map, and there's a lot of empty space to just get lost around in or killed. My first attempt through this map today, I had cleared out about half the map fairly well but hadn't found a save aside from the one in the beginning of the map -- and then I died fairly quickly in one intense battle and lost all my progress. I had to hang it up for a bit there, because that was frustrating.

The combat's pretty fun but it's kind of a corridor shooter again, so basically all you have to do is hold both AR triggers and run forward to win the day. I'm most impressed by the architecture, though the level is solid overall. And I'm pretty sure I found the success branch here, mostly because I was tipped off by Moppy in this very topic, but also because of the conspicuous locked door with all the red dots on the map behind it that was still closed by the time I reached the exit. It seems to me that the notion of failure/success has to do with noticing some kind of small detail that you're overlooking, rather than making a distinct choice; in other words, it's less a question of intellectual reasoning and more a question of making sure you explore the entire map. Which seems a little dubious to me, but...

Level design: 3.5/5
Architecture: 4.5/5
Combat: 3/5
Attachments
DreadNot_0002.png
DreadNot_0002.png (556.61 KiB) Viewed 2252 times
DreadNot_0001.png
DreadNot_0001.png (525.19 KiB) Viewed 2252 times
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 17th '10, 22:24

Once More Unto Breach...
[attachment=3786:OnceMore...ach_0000.png]
[attachment=3787:OnceMore...ach_0001.png]

At first I was concerned that this was the Drinniol chapter's obligatory "pointlessly expansive Pfhor ship level" that all three chapters prior to this one have had, but it turns out I had nothing to worry about. This level has a pretty straightforward layout.

This one feels a bit like padding to me, though. Extermination missions are almost always more trouble than they're worth, and I sort of covered the point back at Hysterical Womb. Ultimately, you're almost always going to waste more time scrounging up the last few enemies than you would if you had a specific mission in mind, and on top of that, it seems like EX could safely lose this level entirely at no cost to the plot. You're basically helping the Hulks take over this new Pfhor ship, and get them safely off the soon-to-be-destroyed Drinniol homeworld.

Well, okay. But why do I have to help them kill everything? Ah forget it.

The level itself is fine but pretty unremarkable. You can tell by the screenshots that some of the architecture is pretty bland, though it appears I sort of shortchanged the level with the images I took. The level is basically structured around four large rooms with a cross-shaped network of support corridors between them. So really, all you have to do is clean out each of the big rooms, and you're done. The worst part is, actually, finding the only recharger on the level. In a move that hearkens back to Rubicon (X), finding the facilities (and the objective) is an objective in itself, which I just can't agree with. I was fortunate to find the 2x recharger right away, but that's all luck; I could have gone the entire level without it and died a good dozen times in the meantime (and been sent back to Dread Not, too). If you ask me, there should always be a save point very near the beginning of each level. Sure, you lose a bit of challenge, but you save the player a mountain of frustration, and that's always more important in my book.

This level is pretty much just fine. Not bad, not great, just fine.

Level design: 2.5/5
Architecture: 2.5/5
Combat: 3.5/5
Attachments
OnceMoreUntoBreach_0001.png
OnceMoreUntoBreach_0001.png (590.62 KiB) Viewed 2252 times
OnceMoreUntoBreach_0000.png
OnceMoreUntoBreach_0000.png (551.6 KiB) Viewed 2252 times
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 17th '10, 22:41

RyokoTK wrote:It seems to me that the notion of failure/success has to do with noticing some kind of small detail that you're overlooking, rather than making a distinct choice; in other words, it's less a question of intellectual reasoning and more a question of making sure you explore the entire map. Which seems a little dubious to me, but...

Well, it is designed so that people will most likely 'fail'* the first time through, if they just charge ahead without really thinking about it much. So in that sense it is dependent on noticing the small details and not just clicking through the first terminal you come across. Even if you do notice the details, though, you still have to choose which of the two paths to take, if you don't already know, though there are clues nudging players in the right direction since so many people get stuck in failure-branch loops.

In chapter 1, when we first meet Tycho on "Sakhmet Rising", most players will remember him as the villain for most of the trilogy, and possibly distrust him; going with Hathor, who has this whole sappy lets-rule-the-galaxy-together-as-bf-and-gf schpiel, might well be the right choice, especially since she's been the protagonist thus far. In Chapter 2, both Tycho and Leela are warning you about how dangerously unstable the other is and both are acting a bit suspicious themselves, so you have to choose which one you trust more. In Chapter 3 you have to choose between abandoning the S'pht to their doomed history as we know it or trying to make a difference and possibly making things worse, which is even more of a substantial choice than who-do-you-trust-more. Chapter 4 here is most guilty of the "overlooking a small detail" thing, since both exits are via the same, almost-identical terminal, and if you took the success path you won't ever have any idea what the failure path might have been. Chapter 5, I think, has the most poignant choice at the branch point, with both choices seeming equally dire and dangerous, but I won't spoil that.

*(I'd like to reiterate what I've said before, that I don't consider going down a "failure" branch to be a failing on the player's part. I think of it more of just a plot event which you can circumvent if you are observant or know it's coming. Consider a level design scheme I've seen in several games, where your ostensible mission objective is to follow down some path to obtain the necessary plot widget, but when you near the end of that path some scripted event happens obscuring your ability to obtain said widget -- an explosion collapses the hall in front of you or something -- so you have to backtrack and find an alternate route around the obstruction. I consider the branches in Eternal to be an interlevel analogue of such intralevel designs. In either case, if you just blindly follow forward until you hit an obstruction, you will go down the one path first and have to come back around, but if you've done this before, or are observant enough to see it coming, you could just go around first and not bother heading down the "doomed" path.)
-Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
Director of the Xeventh Project, the team behind Eternal
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
User avatar

Pfhorrest
California

Post May 17th '10, 22:44

Genie in a Bottle

I'm not going to talk about this level.

The one glaring weakness that literally every Pfhor ship level to date in this scenario has had is that they do not, in any way, resemble a ship. Now I'm not one for structural realism in level design here, but these levels in their design are so devoid of any architectural restriction that they just kind of spread formlessly across the grid. Like if you spilled a bucket of paint on the floor and then traced around the splatter pattern. Each of these levels, then, has no hierarchy of spaces. It's more like an ant colony than a ship of any kind.

On an unrelated note: can someone explain to me how the Wave Motion Cannon works? I tried shooting it at a cluster of Scatterforcers early on this level and the shot just exploded in my face. Later in the level I managed to kill one Enforcer but not the one standing right next to it. Further still in the level, it worked normally. I can't tell if this is a level-specific glitch, an error in the physics in general, or what.

Also, the big twist involving the origin of the Jjaro is stupid and pointless. As far as I can tell (and obviously I'm not done with the game yet), there is no legitimate reason for it except to shoehorn in a link to Pathways Into Darkness. And although the addition to "Arrival" in M1A1 is more immediately annoying and wrong, I think I find this plot twist to be more offensive overall.

Level design: 2/5
Architecture: 2/5
Combat: 3/5
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post May 17th '10, 22:51

The Jjaro origin actually stems from a prerelease Halo plot that was told to me back in 1999-2000ish, when Marathon and Halo were still connected. Chapter 5 was originally a Halo tie-in, and I squirmed around for a bit trying to rewrite it to be something not Halo related but still significant after it became obvious that Halo and Marathon were now unrelated. The Jjaro backstory was from the mouth of Jason Jones himself, relayed to me via... someone I won't name for his own sake... and then got tweaked around a bit as the rest of the chapter's story was tweaked.
-Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
Director of the Xeventh Project, the team behind Eternal
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
User avatar

Pfhorrest
California

Post May 17th '10, 22:56

Pfhorrest wrote:Well, it is designed so that people will most likely 'fail'* the first time through, if they just charge ahead without really thinking about it much. So in that sense it is dependent on noticing the small details and not just clicking through the first terminal you come across. Even if you do notice the details, though, you still have to choose which of the two paths to take, if you don't already know, though there are clues nudging players in the right direction since so many people get stuck in failure-branch loops.

In chapter 1, when we first meet Tycho on "Sakhmet Rising", most players will remember him as the villain for most of the trilogy, and possibly distrust him; going with Hathor, who has this whole sappy lets-rule-the-galaxy-together-as-bf-and-gf schpiel, might well be the right choice, especially since she's been the protagonist thus far. In Chapter 2, both Tycho and Leela are warning you about how dangerously unstable the other is and both are acting a bit suspicious themselves, so you have to choose which one you trust more. In Chapter 3 you have to choose between abandoning the S'pht to their doomed history as we know it or trying to make a difference and possibly making things worse, which is even more of a substantial choice than who-do-you-trust-more. Chapter 4 here is most guilty of the "overlooking a small detail" thing, since both exits are via the same, almost-identical terminal, and if you took the success path you won't ever have any idea what the failure path might have been. Chapter 5, I think, has the most poignant choice at the branch point, with both choices seeming equally dire and dangerous, but I won't spoil that.


As for Sakhmet Rising, joining Hathor to conquer the galaxy is probably the second most cliched villain bit ever conceived. She also sort of indirectly pulls the first most cliched bit ("We're not so different, you and I"), but it was clear to me that Hathor was up to no good. On the other hand, anyone flying completely blind into the scenario would have no idea about the whole failure/success branch thing, so that's less of a distinct choice and more of a sucker punch to the player.

As for Unpfhorseen, I seem to recall Hathor dropping comments about Tycho being an agent of hers (perhaps unknowingly), or something like that, but because Tycho's terminal is the more obvious one and Leela's is all the way across the map, that one seems to me to be a little deliberately hidden from the player.

Now I never found the failure terminal on S'pht Happens. I have a habit of taking the least obvious path first when presented with multiple options, and it was a choice of either proceeding straight or following a brown ledge around a brown corner and it was kind of concealed by the level design as well. This one kind of falls into the same category as Unpfhorseen, but even more so.

*(I'd like to reiterate what I've said before, that I don't consider going down a "failure" branch to be a failing on the player's part. I think of it more of just a plot event which you can circumvent if you are observant or know it's coming. Consider a level design scheme I've seen in several games, where your ostensible mission objective is to follow down some path to obtain the necessary plot widget, but when you near the end of that path some scripted event happens obscuring your ability to obtain said widget -- an explosion collapses the hall in front of you or something -- so you have to backtrack and find an alternate route around the obstruction. I consider the branches in Eternal to be an interlevel analogue of such intralevel designs. In either case, if you just blindly follow forward until you hit an obstruction, you will go down the one path first and have to come back around, but if you've done this before, or are observant enough to see it coming, you could just go around first and not bother heading down the "doomed" path.)

Except the key thing about it is that it's a choice that the player makes. It's not the same thing as a scripted event throwing you off-guard. Maybe this is just me, but even if I get snookered by the level design into making the wrong choice, as long as the right choice is available, I end up feeling like an idiot because the failure is mine to some extent.

Also, I just like to project myself into the story a little bit and avoid failure because the destruction of the universe (or whatever flavor of catastrophe you have) is a Bad Thing that I theoretically have the power to prevent.
User avatar

RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

PreviousNext

Return to Marathon Discussion



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users