I will play every level in Marathon: Phoenix and comment on them.

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

Post Jul 8th '10, 16:19

Dugit wrote:Just getting back from Ypres and the Salient, so I'll be posting at least four more level reviews tonight when I get back to my home computer.

BeLOLgium
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jul 8th '10, 16:36

(3) Enchanting New Mexico



As far as I can remember, I don't feel déjà vu from TGI on this level, more perhaps from What About Bob? in Marathon 2. Good thing What About Bob? was one of my favorite levels from Marathon 2. There were a few well structured fights, but again, in some places, I am hounded by assistance. The roof fight against the MOAHs was far too easy considering the sheer volume of BoBs that teleported in. However, I welcomed the change in pace in the underground battles. The nostalgia in all of the rooms was sublime. But here I encountered a few problems. Firstly, on some of the ledges in the pedestal room, the snipers (I remember a hunter) is stuck in a walking loop but not moving, but is still able to shoot.

Secondly, in one of the large rooms with the central pillarbox (I believe it's the room similar to the one I took the screenshot in), I found that a few of the fighters just walked off the pavements and into the lava. In the same room, I might suggest that you move the circuitry on the pillar, since I found it difficult to see at first. The final quibble was a switch that opened when I destroyed the circuits in one of the rooms. I came out of the room as it flooded, and noticed that a panel had opened on my automap, so I went back down into the lava to flip the switch. I tabbed it- nothing. I punched it- nothing. Did this switch do something before? Did I need to hit it before the room fully flooded?

Design/Aesthetics: 3.5/5
Gameplay: 3.5/5
Architecture: 4/5


(4) The Bistromath



A Pfhor ship! A step up in difficulty again, with the welcome addition of Pfhor Cyborgs into the mix (I'd like to see more of them, maybe a MOAC). Although the level was well made, I miss the formatting of the ship, especially the space windows and the Juggernaut floating outside, in Murder on Rue Acheron. I also got pretty tired of nailing compilers as they stood on their ambush posts dormant, or just floating above the lava. However, there were a few cool battle scenes, like the one in the screenshot. More so, I enjoyed the fact that the sheer volume of BoB assistance is slowly falling, and a number of the VacBoBs are now being replaced with conventional BoBs (and they fit considering the amount of compiler sniping that needs to be done). Unfortunately, it did become tedious with the amount of BoBs being killed by friendly fire.

Not really much to say in terms of other flaws, but I did find it tedious constantly grenade jumping onto every free ledge for a potential secret. Nice music. Nice lighting effects.

Pity this is the only Pfhor ship level.

Design/Aesthetics: 4.5/5
Gameplay: 3.5/5
Architecture: 3.5/5
Last edited by Dugit on Jul 8th '10, 17:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Jul 8th '10, 17:32

(5) The Count of Tuscany



"Believe it or not, there may actually be a friendly alien species." Heh.

An immense increase in difficulty, considering the absence of any friendly assistance. The first sewage level, it's pretty well made. The rocky architecture melds well with the towers, and for the first time, I am struggling to find any quibbles. The fights between the Pfhor and the Renegades were well coordinated, but I'd prefer to see more of them, and the Pfhor, now and then, actually having a chance of winning a couple of the fights. The Renegade Enforcers are just evil, as are the seeking grenade Cyborgs when used in the open courtyard. Although I would abstain from recommending a turn-down on the monster difficulty, I would recommend a complementary 2x canister at the beginning. I thank you for the good amount of crossbow quivers you supplied.

I'd also like to have seen some Renegade Defenders now and then, but not too many, and maybe some Attack Compilers, but I'll leave that to you.

I think this might be my favorite level so far.

Design/Aesthetics: 4/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Architecture: 4.5/5
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

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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Jul 8th '10, 17:47

The Defenders were very deliberately left out of The Count of Tuscany to make the reveal on the following level that much more effective.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jul 8th '10, 18:00

Also: TCOT is the first level that I consider to be genuinely difficult; Bobs become a lot more scarce, 2x health is a rare commodity (usually), and so forth. The push from the first save to the second, and then the big lawn battle, are the first two really challenging fights in the game, imo.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jul 8th '10, 18:27

I had real problems winning the first big battle in the open area on TCOT. In the end I ran past the enemies and dealt with them later.
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goran

Post Jul 8th '10, 18:30

(6) Shades of Gray



Our first battle with the Renegade Defenders, and it's a good'un. The aesthetics really do give the level a sense of ominousness, allowing the very first Defender to fly up out of the water pool (with a very badly hidden skull in it) and painfully scare the pants off me. The level after the first few engagements steps up rapidly in difficulty, introducing the Renegade Trooper. I have no quibbles with the level design itself, but I am somewhat angry at a few of the cheap tricks used in some places. The first and most abhorrent was just after traversing the pedestals at the front of the complex (just after having dealt with one difficult group of Renegades), and another equally difficult squadron teleporting in after I had entered the next room. I was killed, and even after the second attempt, was left with little health.

The second was after flipping the switch in the corridor section adjacent to the room where the Assault Rifle teleports in, and a group of Defenders appears behind me. By now, I'd expected that, and dealt with it, but at a great cost. The third and final incident occurred before and during the boss battle, where having run up to the final door, another opened behind me to reveal more Renegades. Now, with the boss itself, I found it way to easy. Considering its lack of health, all one needs to do is drill it with the Fusion Pistol, and it'll disintegrate pretty quickly. I'd consider having two of them, but concurrently placing some more ammo and a 2x canister to help.

On the new Defenders, I now realize why the seeking shot ones were removed. I'd like to see some enemies in the room after the outside battle, where Phoenix teleports you back outside.

Not so nice music, but that's a matter of personal opinion.

Design/Aesthetics: 5/5
Gameplay: 3.5/5
Architecture: 4/5
Last edited by Dugit on Jul 8th '10, 18:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Jul 8th '10, 18:36

Dugit wrote:The first and most abhorrent was just after traversing the pedestals at the front of the complex (just after having dealt with one difficult group of Renegades), and another equally difficult squadron teleporting in after I had entered the next room. I was killed, and even after the second attempt, was left with little health.

These actually teleport in at the same time as the first group, just further back. On TC you can't kill the first group before the rest of them roll in, and since I primarily tested on that difficulty, I never noticed the problem.

The second was after flipping the switch in the corridor section adjacent to the room where the Assault Rifle teleports in, and a group of Defenders appears behind me. By now, I'd expected that, and dealt with it, but at a great cost.
They don't appear behind you, actually. They activate when you climb the stairs in the previous room; it's your own fault for running by them.

Now, with the boss itself, I found it way to easy. Considering its lack of health, all one needs to do is drill it with the Fusion Pistol, and it'll disintegrate pretty quickly.

Use the fusion pistol on boss Defenders on TC at your own peril. One is absolutely enough for this part.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jul 9th '10, 12:17

(7) Vampire Killer



lol level 7

A level of similar difficulty to Shades of Gray, but this time introducing to great effect the Renegade Fighters (who (projectile fighters) have an evilly fast shock staff bolt), and furthering the introduction of the Renegade Defenders. Due to the aforementioned reason, those projectile fighters are indeed a far worthier enemy than any Pfhor fighter. The level itself is our first level almost exclusively utilizing the sewage texture set to great effect. I unfortunately found the masses of green to be a little downing to the level, and would prefer them to be more dispersed in future releases.

For the gameplay, the level would've followed more or less the difficulty pattern of Shades of Gray, if not for a more generous supply of canisters. Sure, the 2x at the beginning was necessary indeed, but the inclusion of a 3x canister later (next to a 1x recharger), with the succeeding part of the level being no more difficult than the average? Surely it should at the most be a 2x. To the alien volume, I would like to have seen more Enforcers to take advantage of the sniping towers. The boss fighters were a little too easy (easier than the boss Defender at the end of Shades of Gray), since all you need is plenty of IMP ammo (which is supplied just before your battle with them), two IMPs, and a bottleneck (which are amply present). Just keep drilling the foremost one with the IMPs and repeat.

I also experienced a nasty explosion glitch that appears quite often and I believe needs addressing. It's a perpetuation of the "oft-noticed explosion glitch", and it appears near the first 3x canister. It's the lit up ledge with the (two?) fighters, and in most of my play-throughs of the level, the glitch annoyingly occurs. Apart from those quibbles, an awesome level, although none have yet superseded CoT.

Design/Aesthetics: 4/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Architecture: 3.5/5
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

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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Jul 9th '10, 12:50

Dugit wrote:Sure, the 2x at the beginning was necessary indeed, but the inclusion of a 3x canister later (next to a 1x recharger), with the succeeding part of the level being no more difficult than the average? Surely it should at the most be a 2x. To the alien volume, I would like to have seen more Enforcers to take advantage of the sniping towers.

Like a few other things you've pointed out so far difficulty-wise, that 3x can is an absolute necessity on Total Carnage; the stretch from that can to the next save/recharger is exceptionally difficult on TC.

And I use a copious amount of Enforcer snipers on other levels; I would have thought you'd appreciate the reprieve.

This topic is kind of awkward since you're playing on Normal and complaining about the lack of difficulty. That is why multiple difficulties exist; if you find it too easy, step up to Major Damage at least. You don't even have to start over for it.
Last edited by RyokoTK on Jul 9th '10, 12:51, edited 1 time in total.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jul 9th '10, 14:32

(8) Great Cave Offensive



Some nice déjà vu again, and some interesting and unique combat, since we will never be seeing the Renegade BoBs again. At the very beginning, we are supplied with an invincibility powerup to supposedly, I assume, help us with the giant pit of lava we've just fallen into. Fair enough, but it's quick enough to get out of, and there's a 1x nearby. So, I thought, I could use it to my advantage against the next troupe of Renegades (not knowing that this specific monster was starred), and continued. Into a group of Renegade VacBoBs, who, of course, carry fusion pistols. Dead. Later I found there were also pistol BoBs on this level, but I rarely saw any of them and wished to have seen more. There was a group of four in a looping back corridor, near the first secret skull, but you can kill those at the beginning (whilst they're dormant) with a well shot grenade looking up and into the hallway, without actually fighting them. Much later, I realized that they also have impact splashes in red blood, whilst the corpse sprites show gray blood; I believe this is already being discussed elsewhere. Also, I see the faces of the pistol BoBs are grey, whilst the faces of the VacBoBs are normal skin color.

On the second major battle, after the second secret skull in the double room, I experienced a glitch where, upon exiting on the right, the defenders on the left moved towards my right (their forwards) first, and into the path of the BoBs' fusion shots. I enjoyed the semi-linearity of the level, and, for the first time, the bosses, with some (deliberate or not; remember Evil?) nostalgia on behalf of the fusion pistol charging bosses.

I think this might be nearly on a par with CoT :)

Design/Aesthetics: 4/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Architecture: 4/5
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

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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Jul 9th '10, 14:45

Dugit wrote:we will never be seeing the Renegade BoBs again.

Not true.

Edit: unless you exclusively mean pistol Bobs, in which case, you're right. Vacbobs appear on The Face of Modern Gaming though.
Last edited by RyokoTK on Jul 9th '10, 14:53, edited 1 time in total.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jul 9th '10, 14:49

RyokoTK wrote:Not true.

Really? I must have missed out something big. Thanks!
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

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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Jul 9th '10, 15:01

(9) Neo New Mordor



Again, some pretty well executed déjà vu from TGI, and some pretty memorable scenes played out to the letter. But I see you've removed the Katar in the first secret, and there are only two secret skulls in such a huge level! Thanks for the recurring ammo at the beginning.

I'm not surprised we saw this in the demo- it's certainly worth showing off. I haven't really got much to say about this, except in a couple of places, there were a few incidents of friendly fire, namely the cliff with the hunters and enforcers opposite the player at the beginning, and when the Renegade MOAH is introduced. I haven't really got anything against it, except I'd recommend not putting other enemies with spread shots like red defenders with it, since it berserks easily. I'm also impressed by the enjoyment experienced with the hunter bosses, and the only thing I have against that is the size of the battlefield we have with them. Maybe making it slightly larger, so we can dodge their shots, and they don't hit each other?

I must say, this is a firm near-favorite.

Design/Aesthetics: 4/5
Gameplay: 4.5/5
Architecture: 4.5/5
Last edited by Dugit on Jul 9th '10, 15:04, 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

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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Jul 9th '10, 15:09

The boss Hunters are immune to their own shots, actually, and the best way to not get shot by them is to stunlock them with the AR or IMPs rather than the fusion pistol.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jul 9th '10, 16:00

(10) A Change of Seasons



Another excellent level. I found few quibbles; the first and most niggling being that a number of monsters got trapped underwater on my run-through, namely hunters and fighters. Now, fighters can fire underwater, allowing them to painfully get the edge on you.

Some of the green pillars around the area with the Juggernaut have misaligned surfaces.



The image shown above shows a small water pool where a group of Renegades teleports in. The cyborg at the back of the group immediately trundles up to the waterfall, and gets stuck in a moving loop and won't move. Please address. Also, I found that the hunters on the (southwest) ledges around the final outside area did not activate at all, and the second troupe of hunters and cyborgs actually arrived late, allowing the VacBoBs to do a lot of damage to the first lot. The final boss was another good piece of the level (oddly, a MOAC boss that enters the game before the normal MOAC- clarify?), but it lost its sting without Renegade assistance. Out of personal opinion, another firm near-favorite.

Design/Aesthetics: 4.5/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Architecture: 4/5

Addendum: Great Cave Offensive (and levels that share its music) has/have the best music so far. Reminds me a bit of Kraftwerk. :)
Last edited by Dugit on Jul 9th '10, 16:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Marathon Aeon- My scenario in the works ~on Simplici7y

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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Jul 9th '10, 16:20

(11) Something Wicked



Apt level name.

Having played through the level, I am struggling to find anything wrong. The only things I can say are that the outer is a little bland, but I guess that fits the overall mood. First use of fog; done well. The gameplay was awesome, and the inclusion of three separate set sections was exemplary. This place would look awesome on a clear night.

Design/Aesthetics: 4/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Architecture: 4.5/5
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

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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Jul 9th '10, 17:24

Dugit wrote:(oddly, a MOAC boss that enters the game before the normal MOAC- clarify?)


I saw no reason not to do this... so I did it.

This boss is also fairly challenging on TC unless you want to dump all of your IMP ammo into it to stunlock it to death.
Last edited by RyokoTK on Jul 9th '10, 17:24, edited 1 time in total.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jul 9th '10, 17:35

(12) The Face of Modern Gaming



A trend of excellence continues. This level has replaced CoT as my overall favorite so far. However, I do have a few issues. I'd have love to have seen some pistol BoBs as snipers rather than enforcers. The boss troopers I have little against, but it's very easy just to lock and kill with the flamethrower. Nonetheless, for some reason, they scared the life out of me when they appeared. Nicely done.



On the ledge the player is facing here, a group of hunters appear and one jolts off to the (our) left side of the ledge, and gets stuck in a flickering loop, half moving loop, half still. On other playthroughs this occurs often, but not every time. The same occurs with fighters on ledges, but to lesser frequency. I'd love to see a full fight between human BoBs and Renegade BoBs, or maybe even S'pht'Kr and A'Khr Defenders. Both would be awesome, and I'd like to ask if either occur later in the game?

I'm starting to appreciate the assistance. :)

Design/Aesthetics: 4.5/5
Gameplay: 5/5
Architecture: 4.5/5
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

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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Jul 9th '10, 18:56

Face of modern gaming

It took me quite a while to find the stairs at polygon 688. It's a narrow staircase whose entrance was somewhat shielded from my view when I crossed this area. The stairs lead to an important switch. I'd appreciate some more architectural clues for this entrance. Like a stair sticking out 0,125 wu from the entrance.
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goran

Post Jul 9th '10, 19:43

Dugit wrote:I'd love to see a full fight between human BoBs and Renegade BoBs, or maybe even S'pht'Kr and A'Khr Defenders. Both would be awesome, and I'd like to ask if either occur later in the game?

No; neither occur in the game. The idea seemed a little shallow for my tastes.
Last edited by RyokoTK on Jul 9th '10, 19:43, edited 1 time in total.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jul 9th '10, 19:47

(13) S'phtstorm



The Pfhor return with a fighting chance. But I don't remember them winning anything. :)

The level was awesomely filled with action, and there were spots where I would've preferred 2x chargers dotted around rather than canisters. The texturing of the level was well broken up, but...



Although it's only a small problem, the polygon the marine is standing on, in this picture, is oddly textured. See for yourself.

As for the action, the Pfhor hunters were a little odd; they fire their bolts in burst like the Renegade MOAH (I don't know if this is deliberate or accidental). The boss defenders, I distinctly remember (unless my memory betrays me), fired red and blue bolts. And the fight I had with them was a little cramped, allowing the boss hunters following them no room to fire properly, thus they hit the defenders, and later vice versa. Nonetheless, a brilliant level, on par with CoT.

Design/Aesthetics: 4/5
Gameplay: 4.5/5
Architecture: 4.5/5
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
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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Jul 9th '10, 20:32

Yes, the blue Hunters shoot fast bursts. Think of them like the Hunter counterpart to blue Troopers or Compilers. They're just the same blue as MOAHs because, well, there was already a blue Hunter palette and I was lazy.

Yellow Defenders do shoot both red and blue bolts. They're somewhat different.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jul 10th '10, 02:18

RyokoTK wrote:No; neither occur in the game. The idea seemed a little shallow for my tastes.


are you calling marathon 2 shallow???

[attachment=3962:NukeAndPave_0002.png]
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Last edited by thermoplyae on Jul 10th '10, 02:19, edited 1 time in total.
dude, seriously. dude.
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thermoplyae

Post Jul 10th '10, 04:13

thermoplyae wrote:are you calling marathon 2 shallow???

[attachment=3962:NukeAndPave_0002.png]

Nuke and Pave is seriously one of my least favorite M2 levels. I don't even really know why, I just don't enjoy it at all.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

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