I will play every level in Marathon 2, and comment on them.

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

I will play every level in Marathon 2, and comment on them.

Post Jan 2nd '19, 04:34

Well, this of course was something that was started quite a few years ago and honestly after reading RTK’s thread on Infinity, and liking the way he reviewed them, I was interested about Marathon 2 since I consider it my favorite of the original trilogy. So, I guess the best way to have a commentary about M2 is to just play it yourself! So, that’s what I am doing, and a few have said they would be interested in this. Of course, I’ll be playing on Total Carnage.

Similar to RTK’s reviews, I’ll rate on the design of the level, and the combat. I’ll rate aesthetics too, though I know some have said that M2 didn’t really focus on that as much as Infinity did (I think the limits were still more strict than Infinity?), but I think some things do still manage to stand out. I’ll mention some secrets if they are pretty cool, or I may end up mentioning them all, who knows? :P

So, here we go.

Level 01: Waterloo Waterpark.

At the start, you’re facing some Pfhor fighters, but are quickly greeted by BoBs, and learn that the ones you knew from M1 are now armed and able to fight back, which is a pretty cool. I also like how this level starts you outside, and that it’s nighttime. I don’t know why, that just feels like a good environment to start in. As usual you start not too far from a Terminal and it’s easy to find. Durandal has awakened you, and he wants something done, now go do it! Two chip insertions are the overall goal here. Easy enough. 


I really like the map diagrams on the terminal pictures for this game, along with the images with it. Letting you know not only where something is, but what it looks like.

So along the way you’re fighting Fighters and Drones. Pretty good selection for an intro level, and it’s easy to find your way around without getting lost. Some of the areas are also good for practicing run-punches as these can be very effective against these kinds of monsters if they’re close enough (duh), and you have the room to move around. The BoBs of course are also around for some of the outside areas but are usually out-powered by the aliens on TC, though BoBs do still have the aliens take some damage which can make getting them a little easier for you. You’re also given the Assault Rifle right within the first level which I feel is pretty rewarding. If you also manage to get that secret elevator in one of the small tubs near the beginning, you’ll get some decent AR ammo too which is nice.

The outdoor areas do make good use of shading for the lower ceiling areas, and also the “shadow” room. The secret from there is pretty nice as you’re given a shotgun with a few shells, and a few more if you go back again. It also kind of teaches you that your pistol is great for long distance shots as you have those drones firing at you from that window overlooking the large pool. Of course you don’t HAVE to get them, but it’s good for some pistol practice. In terms of the other large secret room. Not quite sure what the point of it is other than “hey cool, I found a secret room!” All it really has is a switch that changes a water level. Maybe it’s to show you that some liquids can be controlled, but that’s all I can think of.


But whatever. Back at the terminal you learn that it’s been 17 years since the events on The Marathon took place, and you’re on a search. A decent starting level.

Level Design: 4 out of 5.
Aesthetics : 3.5 out of 5.
Combat: 4 out of 5.

Some may consider these ratings a bit high, but again, I feel it is good for an intro level.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 2nd '19, 05:02

Level 02: The Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune.

The first of some exploration levels. More Pfhor fighters at the start and you’re introduced to the F’lickta. Really though, if you just walk around the first room, their shots are pretty easy to avoid, and most of the time they start fighting each other so if one of them manages to go berserk, the last one standing can be dead in a shot or two. The general issue I have with these kinds of exploration levels are the terminals. This level isn’t quite as bad, but sometimes the main first terminals could be missed. While Durandal doesn’t tell you exactly where to go, they do still have some pretty cool details to read, so I think.

So being that this is an exploration level, there are many ways to go; not as straightforward as the previous level was. That's not really bad in itself, but it's just not a favorite of mine. It's also the first level where you need to go underwater in some areas, so you learn about swimming. A big problem I have with this level is when you are inside most of the flooded areas, the liquid so so close to your head that your grenades are pretty much useless as they'll just hit the liquid right away and you'll take the damage. Though some of the areas are decent enough for more run-punches if you want to conserve ammo, and you do get some extra here and there when outside.

The terminal at the end does mention about the new fusion pistol, but you can get an early one if you open that secret pillar near the end, as well as a small fight-show with small Fighters and F'lickta if you find the other secret pillar.

Aesthetically, this level doesn't really offer much. But I think that might be fault of the Sewage set itself. For both M2 and Infinity, it's kinda bland overall. They do make some use of the blue metal pillars, and some light strips to help, but it's nothing really "exciting".

Level Design: 3 out of 5.
Aesthetics: 2 out of 5.
Combat: 2.5 out of 5. Not boring, but some points lost here because of the high liquid level for much of the areas.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 2nd '19, 05:42

Level 03: Charon Doesn't Make Change.

Another exploration level. This time learning of the Eleventh Clan.

If you actually get the Fighters just moving, but they don't actually see you, or the the F'licktas, they will just teleport out, but most of the time. I don't feel like waiting.

One thing I cannot stand on this level is that flooding that happens, and it's really hard to avoid on TC. Usually when I start this level, I usually run down to the basement/lower level to try to clear out everything before anyone has a chance to hit the Light On Trigger polygon by the split-door. But a lot of times a new alien or two will appear, so sometimes when you think you're done, surprise, the liquid goes up. The reason I have an issue with this is that if you are down there, and there's F'lickta, your combat is severely limited since you can't shoot, or even do a run-punch (I suppose a walking punch is still better than nothing, and I could technically make them come to the upper levels where you wont be submerged, but it's still a hassle having to backtrack that much).

For a long time I never understood why the game was designed in such a way that only players can trip platform trigger polygons, but anyone can trip light trigger polygons. Then I realized maybe it was because platforms could break a game or ruin a secret. Those are total guesses on my part. But enough of that, you get the idea.

Flooding or not, the combat on here is kinda repetitive. You're just shooting F'licktas and ticks most of the time, and while these ticks don't harm you (unless one dies right by you), they tend to get in the way sometimes. This is the first level where you get a 2X recharger, so that's nice.

The main terminals here bring you to different areas of the level, where the goal is to read the ancient S'pht terminals to find out more about the Eleventh Clan. Of course you don't need to read them, and instead just step on the Must Be Explored polygons, but like with the last level, I think these terminals are quite an interesting read.

This level does do a little better with the Sewage set for details, but only really the inside areas.

You should definitely find and grab the second pistol, as I think it really comes in handy for the next level.

Level Design: 3 out of 5.
Asesthetics: 2.5 out of 5.
Combat: 2 out of 5.
Last edited by Sharkie Lino on Jan 2nd '19, 05:47, edited 2 times in total.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 2nd '19, 05:44

I have done a couple of more levels, but this is before a new chapter, and it's 1:15 AM here. Time for bed.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 2nd '19, 14:13

Wait, there's technically a way to avoid the flooding in "Charon"? I figured it was on a timer...
welcome to the scene of the crash
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General-RADIX

Post Jan 2nd '19, 19:46

There are “light on triggers” on polygons 222 (near the exit for that northeastern area) and 121 (near the area with the crusher platform). There isn’t really any way to avoid the former, but you might be able to escape the latter if you’re lucky – and for that matter, you might be able to delay the former to the point where it doesn’t affect your game, but that depends on the monster AI, IIRC.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Jan 2nd '19, 21:53

General-RADIX wrote:Wait, there's technically a way to avoid the flooding in "Charon"? I figured it was on a timer...


Yeah, in the main area, if you can prevent other monsters from hitting the light trigger polygon (yourself included), the liquid stays down.

The Man wrote:There are “light on triggers” on polygons 222 (near the exit for that northeastern area) and 121 (near the area with the crusher platform). There isn’t really any way to avoid the former


Indeed, that area I know you teleport right on the light trigger, so that one is completely unavoidable. But luckily it rises slower, so it's usually not tough to clear out what can harm you before reading the terminals.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 3rd '19, 00:43

Level 04: What About Bob?

*I'll start off by saying that I am aware I have been mentioning run punches quite a few times. But over the years I have found many areas where they can work, and while not the most fun combat, it's a great way to conserve ammo, if you feel you need to.*

This is a fun level. Dealing with the garrison once again. Appearance of the cyborgs here. More BoBs to assist at the start. If you found the early Fusion Pistol (and haven't used it up by this point), they are pretty effective for the cyborgs. If not, the AR does an okay job.The beginning at the surface is some good basic combat with some extra ammo for you, and it's nice to have a terminal again nearby with (some, at least) instructions of where to go. Once you head down the vent shaft, this is where the combat begins to pick up.

This large room right outside of it is another place where you can do more run-punching, and the shots are pretty easy to dodge, especially since these cyborgs are the non-flame / standard bounce-grenade ones. So it's easy to take out the fighters with the punches, get a few on the cyborgs, and then get out your weapon and take them out. Same with getting the aliens here from the humming light room just past it. But doing any more than that just causes unnecessary backtracking, especially since the remainder of aliens down here are Fighters, and taking care of the ones before the lava areas aren't too bad. The projectile ones can be a bit of a challenge, especially because over here on the ledge, they manage to stop EXACTLY on a line between polygons, so sometimes the grenades do nothing at all (if you have them, I still managed to only have one left before that). But the best way to go is just race up the stairs, or back out of their view and they'll jump from the ledge. Though I will say, I do like the Heavy Machinery sound. Both in general, and where it is used here. As a kid I always wondered if it was a dishwasher or something. Haha.

Once you get to the lava areas, it sure does look pretty intimidating even today. This is where it is very beneficial to have the second pistol from Charon. If you've barely used them by now, you'll have a ton of ammo for them. Much of the walk down here are just narrow walkways with a ton of Fighters. So as they're coming along, just fire away, and it's not too hard at all to take them out, even all the extras that come down the stairs. The terminal here from Durandal is pretty straightforward on what's next. Break two electrical panels, and be prepared to leave fast when you do. It's best to go up the stairs though before you do any of that, just because it makes everything all clear, and you do get one grenade reload at the top, so you can shoot the panels (especially the second one) from a distance which can be helpful to you. Fun fact, when I played this level for the very first time, I had no idea where to go for the first 3 or 4 times when I flooded the area before finally I was like "Hey moron, how about those stairs behind you??" But in my defense, I was 7 or 8. :P

If you choose to take the secret that opens after hitting the second panel, it does give you some good ammo, but I would only do it if you still have some 2X left over from the last level because even at full red, you're going to take a lot of damage, and there will be more fighting you will need to do before reaching another 1X recharger.

But anyway, once you successfully survive all that, you're back at the surface and now have more to check out as the surface lava levels have lowered. The rest is just basic "kill everything that's left" and return to the terminal when all is done. The fighting here is not too bad. More fighters and cyborgs to take care of, with some BoB assistance. One of the rooms even has a flame cyborg, so I'm sure that would be quite a "woah" moment for those first encountering one.

The appearance of the smashed in ceiling where you start is a pretty impressive sight, along with some shading and good lighting effects. One thing I really like the use of is the red texture for low / small walls that touch the lava, a really nice detail. One issue I have with them though is that a lot of them are not aligned properly. I'm not sure if maybe that was done on purpose, but even so, a little more work there could be good. But oh well, it's not like it's game-breaking.

Level Design: 4 out of 5.

Aesthetics: 3.5 out of 5.

Combat: 4 out of 5.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 3rd '19, 01:36

Level 5: Come and Take Your Medicine.

*Side note: one thing I was wrong about was then I told W'rk that I didn't find any sound faults with this game and of course AFTER that, these things come to mind. I'm not a fan of liquids where you only hear it as you stand over it, and then when you're not, it just goes away completely. That just rubs me the wrong way. Was it really THAT hard to put some floating water sounds?? But that's not the main problems with this level.*

This level is a real downer. And I'll explain why.

The terminal is very easy to follow, break two more electrical panels, and return right back to the terminal. But why would they make a big level so short? I never really understood that. To have this commentary be more accurate, for lack of a better term, I wanted to check out all of the level just to see if maybe I would be missing something with just following the path given.

Really, what I was missing was next to nothing. The combat is there, but I feel it's pretty excessive. You're still very low on grenades (at least I was), and there's plenty of Troopers firing at you (and they are tough fighters on TC), even on the normal path, and the level continuously spawns new drones no matter how many you take out. If that does end at some point, I probably didn't stay long enough to find out.

To be fair, Durandal DOES warn you that this is a heavily guarded place, so I can't say I didn't fully expect it. There are I think 3 areas where you can get some ammo, but considering you need to do some traveling, and fighting to get back to the original path, you're probably not going to be saving much.

Really, when I look at the entirety of this level, it does seem like it had some pretty good potential, but I am wondering if Bungie just gave up on it and was like "Screw it, just have this quick path and end it there.". That's the vibe I get from it anyway.

Level Design 1.5 out of 5.

Aesthetics: No Rating. I've usually never stayed on this level long enough to see how much it has to offer, aside from this time.

Combat: 5 out of 5.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 3rd '19, 15:56

I think I've casually explored Come and Take Your Medicine once. I like the idea of there being a larger map to explore beyond the intended path but this map just disappoints in execution. The intended path is far too short. The map itself is uninteresting to explore and lacks proportionate incentive. It feels unpolished and maybe even unfinished.

But I think this level does break the mold of expectation. I think this sobering map wasn't ever meant to meet player expectations of exploration. I think it falls solely on the idea of exploration to feed that initial intrigue of deviating from Durandal's request to stay on track and keep it simple. I see it as a way to build yet another small characteristic of Durandal at the cost of player's fun. Durandal is in control and knows best.

Remember guys, this isn't Doom. It's so much more.
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RadBurn

Post Jan 3rd '19, 18:35

There is that one S'pht terminal to find as a reward for exploring - possibly the only message we ever read from an enslaved S'pht - and an early alien weapon. If you play on co-op, there's even a rocket launcher!
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jan 3rd '19, 18:56

I actually like Come And Take Your Medicine but you are correct in that it's unrewarding. You don't really gain anything from exploring besides a small amount of bonus ammunition. I wish they replaced the spare Alien Gun you find to the side with something useful you could actually keep, like perhaps a second shotgun.
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Flowers

Post Jan 3rd '19, 19:55

I actually found it rewarding to explore for its own sake, just because the combat is challenging. And I did it fists only, just to raise the stakes. (Video: https://youtu.be/7YnF9NVZGRA) But it definitely feels unfinished, which is why I made more of the level relevant to the mission for the Chronicles remake (https://youtu.be/F-zPG9p03eQ), which is also still unfinished, ironically.

Also, there's a better, albeit less direct way to access the secret on What About Bob: https://youtu.be/qwySYINhfyg I'm not sure if anyone had demonstrated this before I did it last year.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Jan 3rd '19, 22:58

ravenshining wrote:There is that one S'pht terminal to find as a reward for exploring - possibly the only message we ever read from an enslaved S'pht - and an early alien weapon. If you play on co-op, there's even a rocket launcher!


Here's the website to the terminals on that level :
http://marathon.bungie.org/story/volunteers.html#5

A rocket launcher only accessible by cooperative play? Does that have something to do with a timed switch / platform? I gotta say I appreciate the added depth only rewarded by exploration.

Here's the YouTube video of Rampancy coop playing this level :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFiqbM1JZd4&list=PLIof4Cp3-camdIi9GDBG5LVCbUyds1Lyu&index=5

They find the extra terminal, additional ammunition, and alien weapon. They touch on the topic of enemy forces respawning but no mention of the rocket launcher.
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RadBurn

Post Jan 3rd '19, 23:53

RadBurn wrote:I see it as a way to build yet another small characteristic of Durandal at the cost of player's fun. Durandal is in control and knows best.

I guess that's a decent point. But still, this is the only level which does this, so it still just seems very off.

ravenshining wrote:There is that one S'pht terminal to find as a reward for exploring - possibly the only message we ever read from an enslaved S'pht

I had forgotten about that. It IS a pretty cool terminal, but it doesn't really change my opinions about this level.

Flowers wrote:I wish they replaced the spare Alien Gun you find to the side with something useful you could actually keep, like perhaps a second shotgun.

You do get that in the same area, but only if the level is being played on Co-op.

The Man wrote:Also, there's a better, albeit less direct way to access the secret on What About Bob.

I had a feeling that grenade jumping was possible, but I didn't feel too comfortable doing it.

RadBurn wrote:A rocket launcher only accessible by cooperative play? Does that have something to do with a timed switch / platform?

Nope, the missile launcher is marked as Network Only. So it will only show up if played on Co-op.


Glad you guys seem to be liking this. I'll do maybe three more levels tonight.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 4th '19, 02:48

Level 6: We're Everywhere.

This is a nice change of scenery and pace after the letdown of the last level. It is sort of another exploration level of sorts, but Durandal does at least tell you what your overall initial goal is at the previous terminal. Also, even though there are different ways to go from your initial starting ledge, only one way will really let you progress further. The first time I played this level, I mostly already knew how to go, as this level was in one of the demos that you would get from the menu screen of the original Marathon 2.

As soon as you arrive, your best bet is to just ignore the battle and dive in, as you and the BoBs are pretty outnumbered here. But as you swim, you are greeted by the fusion pistol (if you don't already have it from the Slings & Arrows secret) and a 2X recharger, so at least you have a pretty strong starting point. The fusion pistol is definitely the focus here as all the monsters you fight are S'phts and Hunters, there's plenty of them to fight, and said weapon is pretty effective against them.

Since it causes the Hunters to have a hard death, it can be really effective if you can get them and the S'phts close together and their explosions will either have them take a decent amount of damage, or a pretty nice chain reaction if they are weak enough. So as you explore, you'll encounter more, as well as some more ammo to usually keep the fusion pistol going. I only ran out once, but the AR was decent enough, and there were plenty of new fusion batteries to find.

Eventually you make your way to the terminal, and along with the combat, you just need to get some large doors open, and the way there is very straightforward. I never did understand why there is that circuit panel there when both switches can also be hit. Obviously the immediate benefit is that it opens all 3 of them for you, so you don't need to head to the other side for that switch. Though there is a Thoth terminal at the other end which is pretty cool.

For being a Sewage set map, I think it was done fairly well. I've come to learn that the wall texture used for the outside areas is actually very fitting. It does actually look like it belongs there. The indoor areas are pretty similar to one another, but the use of the light textures for the doorways seems to work well with this set, and the bridge platform trick is certainly impressive work.

I like how at the end, the terminal reminds you of the assimilated BoBs. Kind of makes you think "Oh god... am I going to see those again??"

The room with the other 2X does have some pretty nice lighting effects for those shafts in the ceiling. It also has the secret room where you have to try to get a major fusion bolt to fire through the barbs, and hit the switch to open the room. If I remember right, if you hit the circuit panel, it will disable the switch, but you can always reload from a previous save to get around that. And the elevator does take you up to a nice batch of shotgun and AR ammo which can really be handy.

This is a fun level, and really a nice improvement to have over the last level you played.

Level Design: 3.5 out of 5.

Aesthetics: 3 out of 5.

Combat: 4.5 out of 5.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 4th '19, 03:46

Level 7: Ex Cathedra.

A quieter, less active arrival. One Trooper to take care of at first. Durandal plans for you to plant a virus for some of the drones and have them switch sides because of it.

This level, along with others later on, is really how this game gets you to use your oxygen, since M2 has no vacuum levels, and you need to do a pretty decent amount of swimming. The chip for said virus is located inside of a temple, and in order to open it, the power circuitry need to be hit, and that's where the swimming part comes into play.

You have pretty basic yet active combat just outside the temple and the outside areas as well. Dual pistols are very useful for Drones and Troopers if you are far enough away from them, or have enough room to dodge the grenades. There is one thing about this level though that really annoys me. Just WHAT the hell is with the respawning drones?? I'm not really sure what the point of it is in this level other than just to annoy you. Many times I think an area is clear, but nope, two bolts, and maybe more to the back.

Well anyway, you head in the water and swim through the underwater to where you need to be. The auto map is also very useful here too. Once you get where you need to be and you're above water again. your dual pistols are the best here. Your fusion pistol is good for the drones, but ONLY if you are on that raised floor once you are above water again, and that's probably what it was put there for too. Otherwise you're so close to the water's surface that the bolt will probably backfire on you any time you try to use it. Stick to your pistols otherwise.

The Troopers really make this area a challenge. For some of them, you can stay safely far enough so that your pistols take care of them, but some are harder, such as the one by the door for the panel you need to hit. After you hit it, some further exploration does reward you with some more AR ammo, but also more fighting, however I did not find this to be as bad. You can also swim up to dry land once again where a door will open and bring you back to the temple area without having to do all that swimming again. So, there is that.

There is one secret door near the temple that has a tag switch which will open all the doors so you don't have to do that swimming. Most of the time I actually don't use it, and I wasn't going to for this playthrough. So once you are in the temple, you have quite a number of Troopers to deal with, and they're fighting at you from both on ground level, and the ledges. Usually if you can get one to go berserk, it does help out. There is a 2X recharger in the temple which is quite nice.

The last two rooms I've discovered a way that can actually make them incredibly easy. When you go up to the ledge in the temple, get near the second elevator, but don't go up it. When the Troopers activate, they'll foolishly shoot their grenades at the floor because of how low you are compared to them. They'll end up taking themselves out. Haha. I usually put the chip in after that as it activates the last elevator. In the final room, you gotta be pretty speedy, as when you enter and make noise, several troopers will teleport in, and trying to fight them is seriously difficult. So what I found to do is, run out of the elevator, fire a couple of shots, and then quickly get back on it before it starts to go up. Then head back outside, and stand near the window above for that room. Same thing, they'll fire grenades at the floor and just take out themselves. Usually there will be two Troopers at the terminal that will be unaffected, but they're easy to take out with some AR/Grenade combo.

As far as level details. This one is pretty lacking. There's really not much different texturing used for some pillars and the walls around it as well as the outside areas; it looks very repetitive. The lighting used in the temple and water areas is fairly decent, but that's about it.

Level Design: 2.5 out of 5. There's really not that much special about it.

Aesthetics: 2 out of 5.

Combat: 3 out of 5. Some lost here for the unnecessarily respawning drones, and the insane amount of Troopers at the very end.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 4th '19, 19:51

Hoping for a good review of Nuke And Pave. Not sure exactly why but I've always had a strange draw towards that level, even though it's not very memorable.
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Flowers

Post Jan 5th '19, 22:59

Level 6: We're Everywhere.
I like this level. The fusion pistol can be put to good use here against the hunters. Is this the first level in the campaign proper the player encounter hunters? Bobs are almost useless but I really like the flow of encounters and small battles in this one.

Level 7: Ex Cathedra.
Nope, just nope. Interesting bit into the story to spread a virus among the drones but this map always seemed like a chore. Ever since I found out about the hidden room with its secret switch to open the doors to the temple I never again went about it the intended way.
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RadBurn

Post Jan 6th '19, 04:25

Level 8: Nuke And Pave.

Until this playthrough, I really had no idea just how many levels this game had where you don't start near a terminal. Probably because the last several times I played M2 was with Co-Op, so I wasn't paying attention. Haha.

So this level really has no direct mission. Mostly it's just to see what effect that virus had on some of the drones, and engage in combat! As usual, they do help some, but like most things on TC, they probably wont last long. It's a pretty challenging level though which is not necessarily a bad thing. Fighting mostly Troopers and Cyborgs, and they sure are quite the challenge on TC. Lots of circling and sidestepping where you can is what helps here. The first room you go to, I just run past the cyborg and if the Troopers are focused on the Drones, you can knock them in the lava with a couple of grenades. Haha.

I do like the disguised 3X recharger and that you can get an invincibility power up here too. Ive found the best time to get that is when you activated the elevator for it. I usually grab it, start running back where you came, and then go to the last room (in this case) before the lava room, and grenade-propel yourself across to the lower ledge. Take out the two Troopers and head in the next room. Your static shield should last long enough for you to take out the cyborgs and others in that room, and it has a pattern buffer where you can save right then and there. It's this room where you can hit the switch can head to the terminal. If you go further, more to fight, but you can get some fusion batteries, and reach a "secret" outside area where you grenade jump up to that has some shotgun and AR ammo waiting for you. A nice little treat.

More use of the red texture for some of the low walls in lava, AND they're properly aligned this time. Some decent lighting effects too on that, and the shadows for the corners outside where the terminal is.

Overall, just a combat level that's pretty straightforward. While not adding too much to the story, I still find it pretty fun.


Level Design: 3 out of 5.

Aesthetics: 3.5 out of 5.

Combat: 4 out of 5.
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If You Are Always Dying in The Game, You Are Not a Bad Player, You Are Learning.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 7th '19, 02:31

Level 9: Curiouser and Curiouser...

Explore explore explore, really the drill should be known by now. Gotta find the terminal. The fact that you start in a quiet room with only a door is kinda giving you and idea of whats in store for ya. Haha. Walk out and be greeted by a batch of Troopers and Cyborgs. Originally this seems very challenging, but for a lot of the areas, if you know how the game works, it's actually not hard at all to get rid of them. Just let them come to the door, and stand far enough away so the Troopers switch to grenades (as well as the Cyborgs, since these are non-flame), and keep closing the door every time they open it. They'll hit the door every single time and do the job for you. Haha.Some areas, such as the outside portion, you cant really do that, but it's open enough for you to be able to dodge most shots. Of course you don't have that option with the F'licktas, but most of the time they'll just start fighting the others before even focusing on you.

Anyway, this level isn't all that bad if you know where you're going. For first-timers, it can be intimidating, I know it was for me. But even though I know where to go, I actually do enjoy exploring this level. Maybe because I like a lot of the design of it. Not sure how many will agree with me on that, but I think it's not bad.

So when you find the terminal, the drone virus project didn't go as planned, as it was done before, so they expected it. The goal is to explore and find 3 electrical panels to hit in order to access the last terminal. Hopefully you read this one first, because when one of those panels is hit, it will disable the terminal. And again, not necessary to read it for the way out, but it's good to read.

In terms of the level design, even though it's exploration, I am pretty impressed by it. I like how it is designed where there's the inner dry area, the middle flooded area, and the outer outside flooded area. And for all the rooms, they did pretty well on shaping them ,and using more light columns for many of the doorways. It does add good detail for a set that usually lacks it. You don't really need to go to the outside area (other than to go across it for the end terminal) as there's not all that much, though a couple of areas do give you some decent ammo. But, if you like to explore, and like more combat, go for it.

Other than that, not much else to say. Durandal tells you at the end that the Pfhor hold nothing useful for the Eleventh Clan, and it's time to search somewhere else.


Level Design: 4 out of 5.

Aesthetics: 3.5 out of 5.

Combat: 4 out of 5. Even though you can do those door tricks, it's still a very active level.
Marathon Player Since 1995.

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If You Are Always Dying in The Game, You Are Not a Bad Player, You Are Learning.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 7th '19, 03:04

Level 10: Eat it, Vid Boi!

I really like this level. The story starts to get interesting now. Your goal is to get access to the ancient Citadel to get more information about the Eleventh Clan. You start out facing the entrance to it and it practically yells "destination!".

So the door you can open, you are immediately greeted by a batch of Fighters and Cyborgs, but the room is large, and you have the space to dodge shots pretty easily, and maybe get the fighting one another. Gotta find the door for the terminal and shield rechargers, but it's very easily marked, and I like how you can readily go there to save and recharge if you need to. A lot to fight here too, including more S'phts. Pretty fitting for them to be in this area.

As usual, the path is pretty straightforward. Go along, open some doors, raise some floors, shoot the bad guys, and read the S'pht terminals. These terminals I really like. Short, but to the point and really give an event of what happened around there a long time ago. It really adds a lot to the story I feel.

Cool thing is when you hit the switch next to the terminal, which activates the second elevator near your starting point and opens other areas, if you go back to where you did start you'll see that the walkway to the Citadel is up, but the door is still closed. So it kind of lets you know that you're halfway there, still more to do.

The rest of the level is basically just more combat, and reaching another terminal. But this one lets you know that the Pfhor's Battle Group Seven is heading over, and Durandal lets you know they're a strong fleet. So a couple of more switches finally opens the Citadel door and hopefully on the way back, many notice the lava level in that big room has lowered. Hello second shotgun! I remember being excited finding that as a kid. Haha.

Once inside the citadel, a decent fight, but the way this room is set up, it's a great set up to not only go around, but also practice some glancing shots.Your only break in motion is that lava pit in the floor, but it's not all that hard to avoid. Time to explore the citadel to get more Eleventh Clan information!

Originally I had thought this level was pretty plain-looking, but then I remembered the lighting effects for the floor sections rising out of lava. Fantastic detail there for sure, and I began to appreciate some rooms looking like they have skylights instead of just a full open sky. The use of glowing red stripes is pretty cool too. And considering engine limitations, the design of the outside Citadel is not too bad.


Level Design: 3.5 out of 5.

Aesthetics: 3.5 out of 5.

Combat: 4 out of 5.
Marathon Player Since 1995.

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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 12th '19, 00:56

Level 11: The Hard Stuff Rules...

Finally inside the Citadel for more S'pht history learning! I consider this the masterpiece of Marathon 2.

You start out on the lower floors and pretty much work your way up. An exploration level where you have a terminal nearby which is nice, and you probably know the objective by now. Combat is pretty intense on this level. You have a lot of F'licktas and Cyborgs later on here. While the ticks don't harm you, it might be a bit of a nuisance, and I'll explain why later. You do get some ammo in the early parts, but it can be used easily with all the fighting within this level. As you go up and fight more, you eventually come to the S'pht terminals with more of their history, as usual, good reads. There are a lot of cyborgs though on the upper levels, and they are quite a task to fight off sometimes, whether you use the fusion pistol, or AR, they take a lot of hits.

Obviously a lot of this will be about the design of this level. I mean just wow. The fact that they managed to get a 7-floor level all together like this is amazing. I'll start off with the drawbacks of it. A level like this can make your motion sensor inaccurate, as anything by you will register, no matter which floor you're on. But really that's easy to get around if you get everything on the floor you're on, those ticks included, which is why I brought them up before. And unlike earlier levels, I don' think anything respawns here. Your auto map might not be too good either, but really I don't think it is easy to get lost on this level. I certainly didn't when I first started playing it.

One big feature are those three two-part sections near the top that overhang. They can be viewed from 3 different floors, and they really make it look very aesthetically pleasing on different floors. And one of them you can view across from each other Very impressive for a game of its time.

Many of you know I am big on sounds. The level is pretty ambient on the lower floors, but once you pass the floor with the lava, it gets very quiet, except by some windows. I actually like that. The look and quietness of the level, it really does make it look and feel like it's a place that has been abandoned for a long time. Kind of sad / eerie in a way. It works very well.

I know some may say that the aesthetics aren't on the same level as something like Aye Mak Sicur, but in all fairness, Infinity did not exist at the time that this was made, so I don't think it would be a fair comparison.

So after ya read the terminals, Durandal tells you that Battle Group Seven is close by, sooner than he thought. Sounds like things are getting pretty active up there, and it's now time for you to head underground for yet even more information of these clans.

Without a doubt, the most complex level of M2. But the work put into it really shows, and the detail for the kind of level you're exploring I really think works here.

Level Design: 5 out of 5.

Aesthetics: 5 out of 5.

Combat: 5 out of 5.
Marathon Player Since 1995.

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If You Are Always Dying in The Game, You Are Not a Bad Player, You Are Learning.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 19th '19, 02:17

Level 12: Bob's Big Date.

Time to head below to find more secrets. Overall you're looking for two more S'pht terminals in here for more history information, and there IS a lot of resistance for that, and plenty of combat for it. Even with infinite ammo storage on TC, you're gonna be using a lot of it here. I sure did. If you know this level, your best bet after taking care of the room right by your starting point, is to get to the room with the 3X and use it as much as you can. Aside from that, just explore. I don't think there's any particular order you need to follow other than your own preference, and really that's about it.

I have to say though, the setup of this level? I don't like it. The rapid liquid tide seems cool at first, but it doesn't take long for it to get repetitive and annoying, and no matter what, you always have to go back to it. Yes there's a switch to make it settle to the bottom, but considering you can only access one room if you do that, what's the point?

You're supposed to be in bunkers right? Doesn't feel like it. Really this level seems like it would fit in perfectly with Problem Pax. It sometimes feels like it is more designed for net play than single player, and even then, I wouldn't find it fun. This level should have been designed much differently.

So, the cool thing is the terminals tell you of all eleven clan names, and you can pretty much figure out what the eleventh clan is, and it does give you the feeling of things kinda coming together some. It's clear now that the battle with the Pfhor and Durandal's ship has begun. A lot has been learned, but still need more, so time to search even lower now.

Some rooms do have very good use of more light pillars, as well as strips. The 3X room also has good design with the metal blue columns. But that's about it. The level is good for combat, but in terms of overall design? Hardly.

Level Design: 1.5 out of 5.

Aesthetics: 2.5 out of 5.

Combat: 4 out of 5.
Marathon Player Since 1995.

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If You Are Always Dying in The Game, You Are Not a Bad Player, You Are Learning.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut

Post Jan 19th '19, 02:55

Level 13: Six Thousand Feet Under.

"I come from the land down under!" Yeah that was lame, but I felt like it. :P

Many different areas you can end up here to start, but in just about any of them you'll be greeted by several lava F'lickta. Not by a terminal to start, but really I think by THIS point, you know what you're trying to do. So aside from finding the S'pht terminals, you're just battling a bunch of lava F'lickta, some Cyborgs, and pretty much just working your way up these geothermal shafts.

When you find the regular terminal (I don't even remember how I did when I first played this level), just the opening screen shows you that there's trouble, and Durandal confirms it when the battle did not go in his favor. You know the rest of the drill by now.

This level does demonstrate how switches can control liquids. And it does make for some (sort of) interesting things on this level. When you find the switch that lowers or raises the lava just outside that window where one of the S'pht terminals is, when I first played this level I figured you had to just swim across that lava pit each time. I never knew there was a second switch that totally clears that pit out. Haha. Didn't take too long for me to learn that one though.

Aside from all that. There's really nothing special about this level. You're pretty much just exploring the deep undergrounds for the usual terminals, and there's just a bunch of F'lickta to clear out of your way. I do like the one terminal that finishes with "When we are all one, The S'pht'Kr will return." And by another terminal, there's some fantastic use of 5D space for that little bridge stairway that goes over the lava, so I will give it that.

Maybe the only "fun" part of the level is past the pattern buffer where you lowered the lava. In that large room, if you know where to go, you can take out much of the lava F'lickta, get up on that corner platform and then hit that other switch to raise the lava back up. It's pretty awesome seeing it take out all the cyborgs there, and it's a great ammo saver if you are able to do it successfully, and fast enough before all their bouncing grenades become hard to sidestep. But what's really annoying is if a tick flies overhead, it'll drop the platform back down. Guess they made it controllable by aliens to make it more challenging? Who knows...

One thing I want to point out about said room is, lava I don't think should be anything other than Light 0. It just does not look right. Sure, you have great lighting effects such as the rising platforms on Eat it, Vid Boi, but that's a temporary thing. Otherwise it just does not have it's "hot glowing" look like I think it should. I don't feel it improves upon aesthetics.

Once you get to the final terminal, things are bad on Durandal's ship, and for Durandal himself it seems. It looks like all the info is needed and your terminal searching is complete. Time to head up to his ship and assist with the battle.

Overall, this level I guess is middle of the line. Not bad, but also nothing amazing. Hope your weapons are all fully loaded though, because you're really gonna need them!

Level Design: 2 out of 5.

Aesthetics: 2 out of 5.

Combat: 2.5 out of 5.
Marathon Player Since 1995.

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If You Are Always Dying in The Game, You Are Not a Bad Player, You Are Learning.
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Sharkie Lino
Connecticut


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