Part 7: Plight of the NavigatorPart 7: Plight of the Navigator
OK, digression over. Where were we again? Oh right.
One of the reasons I interrupted the run to talk about glitches is that we needed to cover the mechanics the glitches interact with to start really making sense of late-game maps. We start to see that right here. Thanks to the way blocking rules work, once we clean up the immediate threats to the Federation world here, we have to take on the Corridor next.
Furthermore, thanks to where it's located, that means we're also off to the next quadrant.
This is a weird one. The quadrant is divided into three mutually inaccessible regions, with a threatened Federation world under attack in the central region. The wormhole, however, ends up taking us over to the right-hand region, which means we blast over to...
We're isolated on the southwest half here. The wormhole blocks access to the north and east and if we take the wormhole it puts us back down in the southwest corner. If we're staying glitchless, our only real option is to go south.
That actually takes us back to Periwinkle Quadrant, into the northern side of the middle region. It is extremely difficult to fight through the Flagship fleets in time to rescue the Federation world, so you'll probably end up with a Red Zone sooner rather than later. Oh well.
Proceeding to the south, we find a new area.
A lot of mobile enemies here, and a Federation world that is under attack from both directions and also blocking our way. This isn't the real run, so I permit myself the Savior's Passkey trick to get through the Federation world and see what's on the other side. I'll be able to use the Zylon world on the other side of it to get back with Tunneling.
Proceeding to the west... wait, are my scanners correct?
They are. This is the lost Omega Quadrant, and that blinking planet down there is the Lost Planet of Solaris. Apparently it got lost because we blockaded the entrance with a Federation world. We've also got a Zylon planet here, and I'm not sure how lost that one is.
We're blocked in here by the starfields, though. We'll have to go back to Magenta sector and make our way out with the tunneling glitch.
It's interesting. Lime, Green, and Magenta Quadrants all have a Federation world that blocks passage and all three of them are under attack from both directions and have a Zylon world nearby for easy deployment of the tunneling glitch. My initial theory was that those planets were there to be unlocked as a consolation prize if you failed to defend the Federation world, but I have to wonder if the Savior's Passkey wasn't completely intentional.
No matter. When I said I wanted to beat it glitchless, I'm including the Passkey. That hasn't mattered yet, at least, because the far side of these worlds are all dead ends.
An amusing diversion, at any rate. Let's go east and see what there is to see.
Another three-region quadrant, kind of like Periwinkle turned sideways. This one's got a Zylon planet to raid and three fleets to keep off the Federation world. The enemies here are significantly less vicious than the ones in Cobalt Quadrant were. I'm not sure what the deal is with that, but I'm sure not complaining. Aqua and Magenta Quadrants will make a fine home base for our remaining explorations.
Only one way to go, which takes us east to...
The wormhole takes us to the northeasternmost sector, so without the tunneling glitch, our only option is to go north. At least the wormhole means we can do that without a fight.
Unfortunately, that takes us back to the southern part of Cobalt Quadrant. There's a Zylon planet to raid there, but otherwise we have to turn back and fight our way through those guys the wormhole let us skip. Oh well.
We have to keep backtracking; our next stop is going to be going south from Magenta.
We arrive with a crash of lightning to a blood-red cosmos.
Cyan Quadrant is rigged. It's always a Red Zone by the time you get there. It is also the fifth quadrant whose background is some shade of blue. Seriously. That is over a quarter of the game. Seems like an odd choice, especially given a palette of 128 colors.
Color choices aside, the quadrant is divided in two in what is becoming a wearyingly familiar scheme. It's also the last one. All we have left to find are interconnections. Heading east...
... well, if we were permitting ourselves the tunneling glitch, then the game would be already as good as won. By tunneling through the wormhole with the help of those Kogalon Star Pirates, we'd be on a direct path to Solaris. In what is also becoming wearyingly familiar, that wormhole puts us deeper into the part of the quadrant we already know how to reach.
Well, off we go to the south.
... which takes us back to Cobalt Quadrant. We've catalogued a huge set of glitches that would let us go to other places, but whenever we take the exits that are available glitchless, we've almost invariably only had one choice and those choices lead us in a loop the size of the entire second half of the game.
We are being trolled.
But have we been thwarted? Must we give up our quest for a glitchless run?
The dream isn't dead yet. We've still got a few tricks left.
Keep the faith. Watch the skies.