Thursday, August 6, 2020

Blake Stone: Controlled Pod Hatchery

The music on this level is annoying. Its the menu theme with some weird thing going on. Eugh. Right outside the elevator are a couple of guards, psh, no problem. Three doors. One of which has danger in front of it. You know, I don't ever pay any attention to those things. I'm going through it.
The pod hatchery of the level name is here. Featuring six scientists, three friendly captain obviouses and three people who think getting blood from a stone is a good joke. The hatchery itself is not as deadly as the scientists make it out to be. Shoot a pod with the auto-charger, if it awakens, PDU, otherwise, next pod.
I'm managing to sneak up on a lot of evil scientists this level. I get the impression that this is a tourist destination for some reason. And visiting hours for some reason. What exactly is up with this place? There's a locked door here and I don't have the key so its time to go secret hunting.
An ordinary treasure room reveals something interesting, a fiver food token. Since its hidden here, it must be a treasure as good as gold. These food machines too. The switch will do...something. I'll know later when there's a mysterious hole in the floor. This music track is hot garbage. I just can't take it.
Man, every level is just stuffed with secrets. Another one, this time filled with money and turrets, a theme that repeats itself on this level. I am eventually dropped in another non-secret part of the level, north of the starting point. There's even a Slow-Fire Protector out and about...for some reason.
A cafeteria and a giant turret-infested hallway are the exits from this area. More turrets, and Goldfire appears for some reason. Enough ammo to kill a plasma generator for a minute at least. From here, even more secrets, including one long and obnoxious corridor for some reason.
Then, I strike paydirt. An open barrier, and nary a switch to be seen. At first I think this my work on the previous map, but no, that's just the earlier switch. Turrets...fine more turrets. Then, something horrible happens. Two one-way doors, making a complete circuit at least. But the area behind those doors has a plasma generator. I could tell as soon as I opened the door. Ammo, health, treasure. Too much treasure for this kind of area.
Getting treasure when whenever you stop killing plasma things they get cheap shots on you. And let me remind you, they hit like a truck. So, I'm trying to run around these guys, while also looking for secrets. Because there's a huge, huge area left wide open, and I trust Jim and Mike to screw me over as hard as they can here. I eventually complete the area. Hopefully I didn't miss anything.
The locked area is...easy. Too easy. A few guards, more turrets, piece of cake at this point. Full enemy completion. Must be a single gold bar around here, it is only in the bricked area. Crisis averted. Gees, 70% done. Must either be a lot of informants or very few informants on the later levels.
Hmm, 33% floor complete. Must be a lot of informants...or that's just the standard amount. Stepping out of the elevator reveals a yellow keycard and a pipcture of Goldfire. I question these design choices. Two doors too, yellow locked door and wrong end of a one-way door. Why would you do this?
Locked door, just some canned mutants and a turret. Two doors, oh, but one of them isn't a real option! It just leads to a computer room with no secrets. New first, beating Half-Life to the illusion of choice!
Another hallway, no doubt my choices are meaningless here too. South is a cafeteria full of way too many aliens and exploding drones for my tastes. Only its a pod area. The pods are surrounded by exploding drones. There are scientists here, ergo there are informants. All of them, which means I have to herd them away from the deadly pods and explosives. This costs me quite a bit of health and ammo. Would you know it, but every food dispenser on the level is broken?
Ah...a crate filled hallway. And the good Dr. Goldfire pops in again. Well placed PDU attacks get me by. I'm checking my map at this point, one of the doors is locked. Oh, well, there's ammo over there. Its the level exit card. Now by my reckoning this is a quarter of the way through the level, possibly less-so. Oh, and sandwiches, finally. No working machines.
The hallway past the red key proves to be a nightmare. Hordes of guards and a lucky PDU shot against a scientist. Still no working food machine. I go south, glad to see we're back to having options. These rooms contain treasure, enemies and a working food machine! Weird place for a cafeteria, but whatever.
In a secret here, the barrier that was unlocked on level 4. Which is lame. I say with no exaggeration that with a ton of non-exploding crates and some very low scattered gold bars this doesn't feel like that big a deal.
Back up north it continues in a weird snaking hallway. The hallways themselves are normal, they just snake weirdly.
A pathway north takes me to room with a convenient chokepoint. Haha, no Sword of the Samurai-style smarts for you. This area is actually clever, when those guys approach, you imagine its safe, but its not. If there are informants around, they're hiding out next to turrets, and even still, more guards lie in wait.
One of the secrets up here is interesting, on one side, the switch, but no way to reach the treasure, on the other, a barrier but no switch. There's more, there are two one-way doors, but they don't have another end. You wait for the enemies to come out of them, then shoot them in the doorway. Hidden inside are more secrets. Very clever.
The rest of the level is very eh, more guards, typical of the level's previous encounters, but at least I leave with full health and ammo. More importantly, not having to run around again finding more secrets. 77% completion. Automatically having 33% complete out of every level really takes the fun out of finishing a level sometimes.

This Session: 1 hour

Total Time: 8.5 hours

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