The Let's Play Archive


by berryjon

Part 6: Short Essay for Level 6

Ah, the TCTF Regional HQ.

Screw that, I GOT THE BEST GUN!!!!!

Woo-hoo! The Mercury Bow is in the house! This sexy, sexy gun is the best gun in the game, and probably in the top five of all First-Person Shooter-hood. Sure, others may have more boom, or more 'thud' to them, but the Mercury Bow is a Sniper Rifle without any of the disadvantages. You don't have to zoom in, or use the iron sights as the gun's built in reticle lights up when there's a target down range. And the range is absolute insane, as in past the game's nominal draw distance. Though you really only see that in the hands of the enemy AI as they can see farther than you can.

The lore behind this is interesting, as the gun is a recent development by the TCTF, one that has only seen field deployment in the past few years. As I mentioned in the video, it fires a small slug of cryogenic Mercury from a railgun at super-sonic speeds. The combination of the shot leaving the barrel and the sudden cooling of the gun gives it its distinct 'thwang' sound, hence the name "Mercury Bow".

As it turns out, Mercury becomes a superconductor when cooled to 4 degrees Kelvin., so there's real :science: here!

Now, I'm going to spoil something here that's not stated outright, but was in one of the Bungie forums years ago about the Mercury Bow. The spoilers are because we haven't been formally introduced to the McGuffin of the game yet. The TCTF developed the Mercury Bow, not as an anti-cyborg weapon, for the likes of Barabus or Mukade, but rather as an Anti-Daoden weapon for use against Muro, Konoko and any others that might have the Chrysalis. The combination of hyper-kinetic impact, cryogenic damage, and heavy-metal poisoning is hoped to overload the regenerative properties of the Chrysalis, putting the target down, rather than making them tougher when they get back up.

Look, once you get your hands on a Mercury Bow, there is exactly one reason why you should put it down. It's because you got caught with it equipped, and someone knocked it out of your hands. It is far and away, the best weapon in the game, and if the option presents itself, not having it is effectively a challenge mode.

But enough about that, I'm sure that people in the thread will make their own comments as well about THE BEST GUN. Let's get back to the level itself, shall we?

The TCTF Building is divided into four parts, and each of these sections is fairly distinct, helping break up the monotony of other levels. The car-park is a nice safe opening area, allowing the player to control the encounters there, while the next area, the utilities area, showcase an actual reason for identical levels, with the machines over top each other.

If I had once complaint, it would be that in a real building, all of these would have been below ground, as part of the foundation. As it is, the basement is locked to us, and we can't open it. Whatever is down there will have to remain a mystery.

Moving up, we get the work spaces for the building, and here I can see a game with a more advanced engine absolutely revel in the destruction that could be caused as the Syndicate and TCTF battle through the offices, blowing holes through walls, scattering cubicles all over the place, and being such a chaotic mess that the Havoc engine would cry uncle.

Wait, is Havoc still a thing? checks Yes, the Havok Physics Engine is still being updated. Excellent.

Anyway, this sections really suffers from the limitations of the engine and the cutbacks required to take this from a working space and into a proper battleground as the player alternates back and forth between levels. And, as I promised in the video itself, I tried to make that one jump that's here:

But the distance is too far. All that's up there are a TCTF Elite and a Fury, and unless you provide fire support, the Fury Wins.

Justice Served.

The Command Center has one the more overt Marathon references, as the seat where Shinatama resides is a Durandal computer interface, but that information isn't readily visible, I checked after looking around the outside ledge. Wait ledge?

This is the window that leads to the ledge that overlooks the carpark, like so.

You can see the road that Konoko drove down to get into the building, as well as the drab roof to it. This view reinforces my thought that that entire section should have been underground as it would make more sense from a construction perspective, and you could expand the upper building, or in a story-breaking choice, put down a nice little park there for the employees of the building and the nearby ones as well.

Anyway, out this window and to the left, there's a Kinetic Ammo clip out there.

It's a trap. The only way you're going to get this is if you carefully, and I mean utterly carefully crouch and inch your way onto the ledge, stay crouching the entire way as you press your face into the wall, and stay crouching as you pick it up and crouch-inch back to safely.

If you stand up, you fall. No questions asked. The ledge won't support the hit box of a walking Konoko, so you take a plunge to the ground floor.

Out the other side, away from the car park, we get this view:

Goddamn, I love these buildings. I mean as much as the efforts to build real buildings to play in, when you don't have to worry about that and just make terrain and background, the urban cityscape is amazing. But coming out here give you a Phase Cloak to the right, with the same warnings as the Ammo on the other side, and a Mercury Bow to the left.

Moving on, let's talk the Boss, Barabus.

He's the same as the previous battle, just the environment is different. But what I like about him, compared to the other bosses in the game is that he knows when words don't need to be said. Unlike the others, he knows what's going to go down, so why bother talking? Just fight it out, and only one of you is going to walk away.

I think he knew this going in. Told by Muro to get Shinatama, he did just that and once he knew that Konoko was murdering her way up the building, he knew that his options were no option at all. He could join in evacing with the package, leaving Konoko undaunted and unchallenged, ready to pursue. Or he could send Shinatama away to Muro, turn and stand, to fight Konoko and buy every last second he can.

And if he won? Well, all the better. Because his throws are throws, and being tossed off the building is a legitimate danger in this fight. But perhaps, in his eyes, this was his chance to undo the blemish of his loss two days ago, either go down swinging, or know that he might still have a chance against Muro.

Look, I'm making shit up here, but aside from "Boss Fight 1/3 through the Game", why else would he stand and fight? We didn't see Muro order him to do so, as we've sen him give orders to run before. Accomplishing the mission doesn't mean getting into a punchout with Konoko on the roof of the TCTF. So in the end, I think the choice for the fight was personal, not professional.

Next time, we talk about the fallout from this, and the first scene in the game that I'm going to take a crack at re-writing to make some sense of the plot.