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Thread: Trip Report: Total Knockout

  1. #26
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    i will agree with cigam the mages themselves were a great addition to series,and thieves guild was probably most polished out of the 3 missions

  2. #27
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    Yeah, I really like the ideas of the mages, but the outside towers do feel a bit lacking in content. Like the puzzles could have had a little bit more to them. It's strange that relatively-fit-but-not-a-superhero Garrett can swim through the water tower without even needing a breath potion, when that's supposed to be something that nobody but the water mages can do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cigam View Post
    Next thing on the list to confirm, as I forgot when I last played, is something I heard about every doorway having a line of perfect shadow at some point as you cross the threshold.
    This is definitely the case. It shows up at any boundary between 'rooms', but is most noticeable in doorways. For example, I was trying to see how close you can get to Raoul in the caverns, and as you cross the threshold that triggers his conversation, you hit that full-darkness line, so he must be able to see fish in the dark. I avoid using it unless the space itself is already mostly dark.

  3. #28
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2013
    I tested it in T2M1, and couldn't find the line in the door Basso has opened, and one or two others. But there were plenty of doorways that did have a shadow line. Or perhaps the one or two that seemed to not have one, well maybe I was just missing it due to it being a pixel-width for those thresholds? The line was certainly blatant in most doorways however.

    As for TKO, what happens when you have infinitely-spawning enemies? As in The Maw Of Chaos?

  4. #29
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    Yeah, poor phrasing on my part - I don't think you can find the line at every boundary, but it can show up anywhere. I would guess it's something due to FP math errors on the position of some rooms on the map.

    I was thinking about what to do with the Maw. It will probably be a bust. What I'm hoping to manage is at least get through knocking out anyone that is accessible, and still not having bodies found. I think that only works if I move fast enough that the AI freezes before spawned enemies reach a body. I'm not even certain that's possible.

  5. #30
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    9. The Lost City
    TKO: + Difficulty: **
    KO: 12
    Loot: 3205
    Pickpockets: 0
    Locks Picked: 0
    Time Taken: 1:19:36
    Bodies Discovered: 0

    Quite a low number of knockouts, and the number is only a bit higher than the minimum since I knocked out several burricks along the way. While the number of takedowns is low, several involve tricky moves, so the overall difficulty is set to two stars.

    Getting past the upper part of the cave (with the spiders) is not too hard. The spiders on the downward side of the river cannot be avoided silently without using crate tricks, but I can tolerate alerting them as long as it happens all at once, and they don't end up killing themselves or dealing damage. I just had to rush past them fast enough that they did not end up following me all the way down to the city. It might be feasible to use a fire arrow as a distraction, though I'm not sure what the angle would be to draw them off on the descent. Coming back I was able to fire one into the alternate passage and send the spiders hunting in that direction, but it was hardly necessary given how close that spot is to the end of the mission.

    The first location (the library) has one of the toughest burrick-based challenges I've encountered. While the burricks can be knocked out with no trouble, they inevitably make a roar that draws in more from a distance, and that leads to unwanted body discoveries. That's where the challenge comes from. I skipped knocking out the burricks on the upper levels, since it's easy enough to sneak around them. On the bottom level, however, other means are needed. There are four burricks, all guarding the route to a room where several pieces of loot can be found, and those burricks can't all be hit at once.

    Only one burrick patrols the section; it circles about halfway into the central hall, and then down the long hall to where the loot is. In the middle of its route, it passes by three stationary burricks. Two of them are in a natural cavern behind a broken wall, and one is tucked into a room opposite.

    These rooms have motion-sensing lights that make it impossible to walk through them while staying in darkness. I tried a few methods, and ultimately was unable to do it without resorting to gas arrows (I had bought the ones on the loadout screen since I knew they'd be required for some areas).

    To clear this floor, I started by knocking out the patrolling one in the central room right after it made its turn on its route. This caused enough noise to alert at least the one hiding in the room on the other side of the wall. That burrick hunted to the entrance of the central hall but did not come in (it took some work to take down the patroller at a spot where this happens). Once things settled down, I dashed across the room in front of the stationary burricks. That also triggered a Level 2 alert. I ran down and hid at the entrance to the loot room, out of range of the motion-sensing light within it. The burricks came down almost to the very end of the passage before turning around and heading back (this took a while, since they tended to get stuck trying to turn). Once I grabbed the loot and the burricks were back in their home spots, I returned to where I could just spot the two in the rear cavern. Rushing by was not an option this time, since they would follow me far enough that they would discover the knocked-out body of their comrade. It required two gas arrows -- I shot the first directly between the two on the left, and then I turned quickly and fired the second at the last burrick. They all went down together and the coast was clear.

    Most of the rest of the time moving about the city involved simply avoiding the fire elementals. I treat them as non-sentient, but since they tend to shoot dangerous fireballs (and can be led into fights with burricks if one is not careful), I made sure not to alert any of them anyway. I also knocked out another burrick not far from the library, because it made passing through that area to exit somewhat easier.

    The only humans to deal with are the mages. Some are just on their own and easily dealt with, but a few bear mentioning. Near the entrance to the tomb, two of them stand off near the back of the cavern, and cannot be approached. Not only that, one is an air mage and thus immune to gas arrows, a fact I found out the hard way. It took some doing, but I was able to fire off a slow gas arrow at the one, and then run up while switching to the blackjack to bonk the air mage before he could react.

    Inside the tomb, another two stand facing each other and there's no way to pull off a similar trick with gas (it takes far too long to switch weapons). I put out one of the braziers to lend more darkness, and was able to knock them out in quick succession after sneaking into the room.

    The last tricky spot was near the arena bridge controls. The mage posted at the lever control does not move, and another one walks close by on his route. I got the patrolling one far enough away from the stationary one, and then used another gas arrow to take him down. There's also a fire mage knee-deep in lava that has to be drawn out using a L2 alert, as knocking him out with gas would cause him to drown in the lava.

    All in all, not a lot of work to do, but the few challenges it did present were at least interesting, and while it's not a perfect run, it's within the requirements to make it a proper TKO.

  6. #31
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    10. Song of the Caverns
    TKO: +? Difficulty: **
    KO: 60
    Loot: 2920
    Pickpockets: 12/13
    Locks Picked: 6
    Time Taken: 2:27:58

    The knockouts out in this one were somewhat challenging to figure out, but not that hard to execute. The availability of gas makes it easier to get through the harder encounters. Even so, the amount of ghosting required just to get into the right position for some knockouts is almost enough to bump the difficulty up to three stars. This one really balances the stealth, route planning, and swift takedowns in a way that makes for a satisfying, if lengthy, total knockout run.

    At the start, I went up to the tower guard to score the first knockout. While the key he holds does unlock the armory in the opera house later, I'm fine with just leaving it on him. It turns out the equipment in the armory isn't required anyway, and coming back through would agitate the spiders in the cavern more times than I think necessary.

    Said spiders can be simply rushed past on the way down. They get alerted but that's okay as long as they don't end up in the water as a result. I got by them and into the water before they could do anything more than hiss angrily. The craymen in the next area make a little more noise when they get knocked out, so taking them out was a matter of getting the timing right on their routes and hitting them when they are farthest away from the others. I had at least one of them hunting for quite a while but no bodies were found. The last lone one, near the stone stairs, I was not able to sneak up on without putting out one of the torches first (that might be due to NewDark changes).

    While Raoul can be knocked out at any point without affecting the objectives (even before he's reached, using a gas arrow), I consider him an ally and not requiring a knockout. The key he provides avoids a lockpick, too. I left him behind and proceeded to the opera house basement.

    The guards on the basement level have only a few patrol routes, and the floors are dark and relatively quiet. It's easy to get to them before they cross paths with anyone who's knocked out. The only trouble spot in the basement is the practice room that has four performers warming up in it. They all face in a line. The back two are no trouble. The frontmost two will be set off as soon as one of them goes down, and I could not find a dark enough route that got me in range of them both. So right away the first gas arrow bought was used, with one remaining.

    There's a guard on the landing between this level and the ground floor who needs to be approached from the side and knocked out when he's facing the other approach. Coming from below was better, as there is a pillar at the end of the stairs to hide behind if he noticed movement. There is another guard on the stairs at the opposite corner that requires a similar approach (but from the first floor, not from below), and one more on the second level in the 'backstage' area. They have nearby torches, but I did fine without dousing any torches.

    Only one person patrols down into the basement from the upper floors; the servant that delivers wine to everyone. I'm not sure when his route starts, but he appeared for me shortly after I came up via the kitchen. I followed him downstairs to take care of him somewhere quiet. The servant standing in the kitchen I saved until I'd completed the guards on the first floor. Their patrols are easy to work around as long as you move carefully.

    The guard post required caution when opening the door; I moved it a little at a time and then backed away slowly, and they detected no disturbances. From far out in the hall I fired my second gas arrow at just the right spot to get them both. That allowed me to procure more gas arrows, netting one more that I definitely needed.

    The two patrollers in the entrance area also had to be gassed, as they walk out in the open on a path that is brightly-lit and noisy when approaching. I had hoped to use the gas mine (available in the armory) here, but there was no way to hit them both with it. I would have had to set it up and get into position to knock out the second guard simultaneously with the mine going off, and that just wasn't possible.

    The 'coat check' woman I could have reached by coming down through the passage on the third floor, but instead I used the route to get behind her that klatremus details, coming to her right side from the dark patch on the carpet in front of the counter. Of course with the guards already out cold I could perform this without having to worry about anyone but her seeing me.

    I nearly forgot about the man sleeping on the bench out front, but made sure to KO him as well before heading upstairs. Lord Bafford and his paramour out on the front balcony presented some trouble, as I did not want to use gas again. I managed to mantle up from the stairs and then snuck into position right near the inside pillar. From there I could hit Bafford first, and then the woman. This order prevented any detection of one of them going down.

    On the second level and higher, the floors get a lot noisier, and cautious movement is required until everyone is asleep. Nearly everyone who patrols is easily isolated from the other guards, and aside from the central box the opera attendees are no trouble. That left just the four spots where two enemies are close by each other -- the guards at the top of the stairs, the guards outside Lady V's room, the two attendees in the room with the chandelier, and the couple in the box. With only one gas arrow and gas mine, I knew it was going to be tough to get them all.

    The bickering couple in the box are just far enough apart and in enough light that I couldn't do the same trick I had done with Bafford and his friend. I did find a method that sort of worked, although it's kind of cheesy: by creeping just a bit into the light, I caused a Level 2 search from the man, but didn't set off the woman. He wasn't able to push her out of the way in his hunting, and when he quieted down he was in range of my blackjack. At that point I could get them both without detection. That's not how I chose to run it, though. Instead I got them both just as they ended their conversation and turn away from each other. That still triggered a "Who are you?" from the man as I moved to take him out, but he was at the right angle not to have seen me hit the woman first (or see her body). Now his reaction is still a high level alert, but in this case I did it intentionally to get the two extra guards in Lady Valerius's room and score an extra two knockouts. To be honest, I'm not 100% sure that this is what brought in those guards. It's often impossible to tell if any other knockout has triggered an alert, and it might well have been some guard that I knocked out that actually caused the extra guards to appear.

    The two armed guards at the top of the stairs are farther away from each other, but fortunately can be approached on carpet. All it took was for them to be looking in the other direction. I did have to sneak past the middle guard before hitting him, so that I could get to the second one in time. This is one spot where knocking out one could have also triggered an alert, but I did not hear one if it did happen.

    I really wanted to save my last gas arrow for the two guards at Valerius's door, but wasn't sure how to deal with the other standing couple. It turns out, however, that I could sneak carefully against the wall, and then mantle over the chair to get to the far dark corner. That set off several grumbles but nothing higher. From the dark corner of the room, it was easy to hit the two in short succession.

    Firing off the last gas arrow at the door to the lady's room involved precise aiming just as at the guard post, with a slight twist since you have to come at it from an angle. Only one guard is visible so it's a bit of a blind shot. I managed it on my first shot, although I had to mess around a bit to figure out just where the guards could or could not detect me, as the margin of darkness is quite small near them.

    I did not remember until after running this that I could have tried sandbag tricks. It might save a gas arrow or deal with the couple in the box more efficiently. That's something I might try on a another run, as this was a good mission and fun to do as a TKO.

  7. #32
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2013
    I don't think I knew that Bafford himself appeared in the Opera House? Anyway, can you actually get back to the first guard afterwards? I thought that there were points of no return in the caverns.

    Speaking of that first guard, notice how on Hard difficulty there is no initial objective to not kill anyone, and yet if you kill him you will fail the future "no killing" objective that triggers when you eventually reach the Opera House? Not fair.

    Just wondering though, how do people who write reports like these remember all the details during the write-up afterwards? Ghost, TKO, no horizontal camera etc etc, do the writers just have very good memories, or do they speak into Dictaphones or write extensive notes as they go along? Just curious
    Last edited by Cigam; 30th May 2022 at 17:32.

  8. #33
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2018
    Quote Originally Posted by Cigam View Post
    Just wondering though, how do people who write reports like these remember all the details during the write-up afterwards? Ghost, TKO, no horizontal camera etc etc, do the writers just have very good memories, or do they speak into Dictaphones or write extensive notes as they go along? Just curious
    If missions were easy to ghost, then sometimes I could do couple of ghost runs and then write reports from memory. When mission were harder (Sisterhood of Azura Pt. 2 or Rebellion of the Builder), then I usually ghosted part of the mission and then wrote part of the report. The same method I was using with reports of my challenges until lately I started to make notes during my playthroughs.

  9. #34
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2013
    That mkes sense Galaer. There's no way I could remember all that detail from memory, for some of these reports.

  10. #35
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    11. Undercover
    TKO: + Difficulty: *
    KO: 16
    Loot: 2758
    Locks Picked: 0
    Time Taken: 37:38

    This one isn't really meant for even a mildly violent thief style, and as a result it's one of the easiest to get through. There is one wrinkle to it, something a bit tricky that made me have to replay it four times. Thankfully it is quite short and the knockouts are few in number.

    While there are several guards that patrol on similar routes, they spend enough time apart from each other that taking them down in sequence is not much of a problem. I made sure to trigger all conversations first, just to be sure I knew the patrol routes. Then the knockouts began. I worked from the garden area toward the interior, from the catacombs on up, and generally from the back toward the entrance. There was barely a need to pause or wait for the right moment to strike.

    The last few to hit were the guards in the barracks and the two in the chapel. This is where I hit the minor snag. In one of the barracks, there are two guards standing far enough from each other that one gas arrow won't get both. Now sometimes you can knock one of them down and the other won't (apparently, see below) react, but I wanted a surer method. Initially I tried firing off a slow gas arrow and knocking the other just as it landed. That seemed to go well. In the chapel, I could hit the one standing to the side and then the other as well, seemingly without a response most of the time. Except, it turned out, that wasn't the case. On my first run I had one body discovery, and on the second try I had two! It turns out that the really slow reactions of the guards may be to blame. I think that they can detect a body in this mission and sometimes not even react at all, or at least not go to alert. Hammers must be hard drinkers.

    My solution was to use more gas. There's plenty available at the loadout screen, and only these two spots where anyone is possibly in sight of another body. In the barracks I shot two arrows from the doorway. It was a tiny bit tough to get the timing but not impossible. A single arrow in the chapel cleared that situation without difficulty.

    I then swept up the loot and grabbed the talisman. The level technically ends with an alarm still going off but I don't consider it a bust. Ultimately it wasn't a particularly enjoyable level for knockouts, since everyone just kind of goes down so easily. Well, there's always the next level with brand new targets for the blackjack... oh, right.

  11. #36
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    Quote Originally Posted by Cigam View Post
    I don't think I knew that Bafford himself appeared in the Opera House? Anyway, can you actually get back to the first guard afterwards? I thought that there were points of no return in the caverns.

    Speaking of that first guard, notice how on Hard difficulty there is no initial objective to not kill anyone, and yet if you kill him you will fail the future "no killing" objective that triggers when you eventually reach the Opera House? Not fair.

    Just wondering though, how do people who write reports like these remember all the details during the write-up afterwards? Ghost, TKO, no horizontal camera etc etc, do the writers just have very good memories, or do they speak into Dictaphones or write extensive notes as they go along? Just curious
    Bafford isn't named directly, but there's a letter you find somewhere that he presumably sent to whoever it is he's wooing. And then you steal the gift he was going to give her.

    To get back to the early guard, you have to use a speed potion in order to swim back up the well at the end of the craymen caves. It's another reason I avoided taking the key, since there's certainly a sense that you aren't meant to be able to get out that direction. And while I don't rule out using potions, I try to avoid them if possible.

    As for my own write-ups, I do it from memory. Of course it's only the trickiest parts I write about, and I remember those best. Sometimes I go back and replay a spot over just so it sticks in my mind better. Though I'm generally better at composing my writing in my head and then writing down the first draft all at once. So once I start writing up a mission, I've already played it. That said, there could be mistakes in my descriptions; I wouldn't say my memory is anywhere near perfect.

  12. #37
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2013
    Fair enough. By the way, what do you mean by 'slow gas arrow'? Is there some trick to vary their flight speeds?

    Here, let me write the mission 12 report for you:



    [end of report]

  13. #38
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    take a left at the sewer then your in ,yesssss you innnnnnnn

  14. #39
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    Quote Originally Posted by Cigam View Post
    Fair enough. By the way, what do you mean by 'slow gas arrow'? Is there some trick to vary their flight speeds?
    Gas arrows and fire arrows are unaffected by gravity while in flight (presumably they're magic). The pull on the bow actually affects their initial speed since they always fly straight to the target. So if you hit the button just briefly when firing, it'll fly more slowly. Not quite slow enough that you could run ahead of it and be hit by your own shot, but slow enough that you can accomplish something else before it lands.

  15. #40
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    The last few missions (Escape in particular) are way harder than I expected. I didn't realize just how many enemies there are, since you're expected at this point to either just rage out and kill 'em all in revenge, or stay as far away from them as possible.

    But I am making progress. Did you know that the objective for leaving Constantine's mansion persists in Escape!, even if you go back inside?

  16. #41
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    12. Return to the Cathedral
    TKO: + Difficulty: -
    KO: 0
    Loot: 2126
    Locks Picked: 6
    Time Taken: 1:40:36

    This isn't really a viable TKO level, since there are no knockouts possible. We don't even have our blackjack to perform them with! For technical reasons I won't call it a bust, but it's just not one that is any different from a ghost run in this style.

    To minimize evidence, I avoided Murus entirely (I did trigger him to go downstairs near the end, but that doesn't change the objectives). I escaped by using a speed potion to run and mantle-jump onto the exit gate. I have considered doing a run while fulfilling his conditions, since there's a slight similarity to this style in getting all the backstabs on the Hammer Haunts. However, even that isn't in the spirit of TKO and it's still not something I'd count as a proper run of it. It might as well be a voided run like the Thief 2 'no knockouts' runs.

  17. #42
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2013
    I never knew that about the arrows. As I think I might have said earlier, you can have been playing Thief for over 20 years and still keep discovering new things.

    I assume that for the rest of the missions you are only counting the ape-beasts?

  18. #43
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    what i will find interesting is last level as i think you can sit by start and just k.o. for ever?

  19. #44
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    Quote Originally Posted by Cigam View Post
    I never knew that about the arrows. As I think I might have said earlier, you can have been playing Thief for over 20 years and still keep discovering new things.

    I assume that for the rest of the missions you are only counting the ape-beasts?
    For the most part, it'll be ape-beasts and craymen that must be knocked out. I consider bugbeasts kind of a special case and will do them too when I can (not in Strange Bedfellows, of course). In practice, most of them are nearby other enemies that I'll want to KO them anyway.

    As for my reasoning, it's something like this: Enemies like spiders, frogbeasts, or burricks clearly only alarm other enemies when the intruder is present, or they find a dead body. They have no awareness of a 'thief' and could not report his presence later. Bugbeasts, to me, seem like they could probably somehow communicate 'intruder' directly to someone else, but maybe don't have the memory or capability to fully describe what happened, even to another bugbeast. Craymen I consider to probably have some level of language, even if only other craymen understand them. When searching, they seem to do it more intelligently (via 'echolocation' ?) and with a probing activity rather than the way bugbeasts just get agitated and wander around checking an area.

    *I'm going to refer to them as 'monkeymen' to split the difference between what they look like and what they're supposed to be. It also distinguishes them from T2 ape-beasts, even thought it's supposedly the same enemy.

    Quote Originally Posted by downwinder View Post
    what i will find interesting is last level as i think you can sit by start and just k.o. for ever?
    I don't know for certain if you can literally wait just at the start. I actually think there may be some scripting for the first sequence of enemies coming up the stairs. Of course you can just stand where the bubbles pop and KO infinite enemies. As mentioned, I'm trying to do a run where I knock out whoever is visible on-screen, ignore enemies inside bubbles, and try to rush down before any bodies are found.

  20. #45
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    13. Escape!
    TKO: - Difficulty: ***
    KO: 33 [4 AB]
    Loot: 2126
    Locks Picked: 0
    Time Taken: 1:49:56
    Bodies Discovered: 2

    I went into this knowing it would almost certainly be a bust. There are too many enemies patrolling alongside or near each other to expect it to go smoothly. The patrollers are highly random and thus it's hard to get an outcome that isn't just luck. Still, I wanted to see just much I could reduce the body discoveries, as well as what would be necessary to avoid alerting enemies in proximity to each other. I feel my result is pretty decent.

    That said, I do have to confess that for this run only, I ended up moving one body. There was a monkeyman* at the boundary between the caves and the basement that I thought was knocked out in an okay position, but it kept setting off the fire elemental since it lights up more of the room. That only happened much later on in the mission, but it made it impossible to continue since even a suspicious fire elemental starts damaging enemies, and they either die, or get alerted and thrown into infighting. Since I already knew it was a bust and I had played through the entire mission twice, I adjusted the body only to see how minimal the body discoveries could be. It's in a spot where he could very easily have been taken down a short distance back, and that's enough to avoid the problems. So it's not a situation where moving the body created something that couldn't be duplicated by normal TKO play. I just wanted to be up front about it. Now, on with the mission.

    The first enemies encountered are the first challenging knockout sequence. There are two monkeymen and a bugbeast passing in front of the big staircase. The critical part of the route is the north end of their route, when they briefly head into a cavern. This cavern notably has a connecting tunnel back to the main line of their route, and that connection is how I took them down. First, I knocked out the other monkeyman that patrols on a route farther into the caves. He's on his own so it's safe to knock him out anywhere. Then, I had to wait for just the right timing on the patrollers. The key was to take them all down near this north end, but with enough separation that no bodies are spotted. Since the monkeymen travel farther into the cave, I hit one of them at the limit of his patrol, just before he circled around. Then I hopped into the connecting passage and followed the bugbeast to the corner, knocking him out just as he was turning into the cavern. Once again I had to dash around into the connector (avoiding the brightly-lit area at the foot of the stairs). Then I got the other monkeyman before he spotted the bugbeast's body. Getting this to work took some effort in timing it out, but it was not too difficult to repeat.

    With this done, I grabbed the loot in the 'upper' spider caves, i.e. the ones that connect to the house's basement. There are no required knockouts in that area, and the spiders can remain unalerted. I then bypassed the tree area and headed directly to the basement (not through the spider area, but at the far end). The stone-lined passages here have two areas of three patrollers each in them. Since they're mostly well-lit, the patrols need to go down quickly, and again that means waiting a bit for the right timing.

    The first area is easier since the floor is quieter and the patrols can end up fairly separated if you wait. I took down one in the dark tunnel (this was the body I later moved farther into the tunnel). The other two I knocked out more-or-less as I went, tailing them and then using an alcove to hide in if they were coming toward me.

    The next three have metal ramps near them, and there's no position in which it's possible to tell when you have one isolated, so getting them all took many attempts. I hit the first one at the bottom of the ramp, and then moved up the ramp as fast as I dared until I was in the dark hiding spot just past the top. Then I had to hope the second would come without the third one close behind and that it would also turn to go down the ramp instead of turning around. When that happened, I was able to knock the second one out and send it down the ramp a bit, so the body wouldn't be spotted by the spider that sometimes patrols up from the caverns into the darkened room opposite. The final monkeyman had gone higher up, so I made my way up the ramp again (this one's safer as it is darker), and hit him in the upper area.

    With the basement clear, I went up into the house. Here, there are a mix monkeymen, frogbeasts, and bugbeasts, but only the monkeyman move around on patrol. It's hard to tell exactly given the randomness of the patrols, but there seem to be four that cover the back of the house, and 3 that stay in the front area. Initially I thought I'd have to just avoid the frogbeasts, but it turns out they're pretty easy to sneak up on, and they can be knocked out when stationary. Although they are optional knockouts, getting the other enemies is much easier with them gone.

    The back of the house has a enough dark spots that there's little concern about getting all the monkeymen patrollers in any sequence. I first knocked out one in the passageway off to the north (to the right as you ascend the basement stairs), and then another that invariably gets stuck in the barrels. Then I hit two more in the dark area connecting the grand staircase (guarded by the bugbeast) to the bar.

    With them down, I could easily sneak behind the bugbeast guarding the loot from the last mission. I also knocked out the frogbeast blocking the route to the back of the house, and doing that allowed me to easily approach the relatively stationary monkeyman that's posted in the kitchen. That left only front of the house to go.

    As always, I wanted to take out the patrollers before I dealt with the standing guards, and especially the situation at the front door (where all approaches are covered). It turns out that the southwest corner (which is guarded by a frogbeast) is just dark enough that bodies in it won't be discovered by other patrollers. I should note that I initially did this with the torch at the far end of the hall (near the basement stairs) out, but I don't think it would be required, and I did re-light that torch later. I first knocked out the frogbeast. Then I waited for one of the monkeymen to come out of the doorway fully into that hall, close to where the frogbeast is, and took him down. The second one I got in almost the same place, at the doorway. After that, I knocked out the last patroller when he came to the end of the front corridor and turned around. A bit of luck was involved on those routes, but it was not as hard as it might seem, as they rarely go into the room and more frequently stay along the corridor.

    The front of the house here has bugbeasts facing directly along the corridors, and they do not shift position. Gas would be an option, except that I wasn't sure at the time if that would set off the frogbeasts that are close by. I also wanted to save more gas arrows for the very last chamber deep in the caverns. That meant coming from the direction they were least expecting an attack -- the front door!

    This is why I skipped straight to the basement and into the house instead of clearing the caves. I needed to go outside of the house, but if you've already completed the objective to read about Constantine's plans, you will end the mission as soon as you get outside. Indeed, the reason I had to replay this entirely from the start was because I arrived here and found no way to proceed except by the trick of coming in the front door.

    To get to the front door from the outside, I first had to get outside. The only route is via the second-story window on the west side of the house. To get to there, though, I had to get past the frogbeast guarding the hallway. Unlike its partner on the other side of the house, there's not much darkness nearby it. What I did was distract it and draw it into the adjacent dining room; then I dashed out of the dining room and down the hall before it came back. Once it did, I bopped it on the head for good measure. That wasn't strictly necessary, but it was becoming clear that I was going to be getting a KO on every enemy inside the house, and the frogbeast had given me enough trouble that I wanted a little revenge anyway.

    I dispatched the bugbeast and monkeyman that are on the route to the window, and hopped safely down to the ground outside. That checked off one objective but did not end the mission. I went around to the front door, and a gas arrow took care of the two frogbeasts stationed right on the threshold. The last two bugbeasts were easy to take unawares. I was a bit worried that the eastern one might set off the frogbeast. As it happens, that frogbeast is particularly oblivious, and not only did it not sense anything wrong, I could sidle up right next to it and knock it out with the blackjack. So every enemy in the house was clear, with only a single gas arrow required.

    I still had to complete the mission and see what I could do about the enemies in the caverns. I returned back via the same route I had come up, and first snuck into the trees near the patrol routes to grab anything useful. That turned out to be unnecessary, as I ended up using just two gas mines, and I don't think anything else from the treehouses here is usable. There is the extra gas arrow in the third treehouse, but I'd either have to alert the spider or sneak past the fire elemental by putting out more torches, which I didn't really want to do.

    The main treehouse area has no less than seven patrollers: five monkeymen, one bugbeast, and a fire elemental. It's the last one that's the sticking point. Not only is it impossible to knock them out, they will also spot bodies even in darkened corridors, unlike most of the other enemies. There is where a bust is all but expected. As mentioned, it was at this point in my run that I discovered the monkeyman from the basement would get found by the fire elemental (I didn't know what was happening to cause it for a while, since all I saw was the infighting that resulted), and the point in the mission at which I adjusted the body. With the set-up now as natural as possible, then, I tried to see what could be done to minimize the bodies found by the fire elemental.

    The first thing I did was to douse the torches in the passage at the far end of one of the patrol routes, near the passage to the basement. There's a spot that only the monkeymen go toward (it leads to the 'upper' spider caves), and with full darkness I could safely take two of them down here; even the fire elemental doesn't quite go far enough in. The second one I had to lure with some noise, since it seems only one actually patrols all the way in, and the other only goes as far as the intersection.

    That left three monkeymen and the bugbeast to go. To get the bugbeast, I went to the other end of the patrol paths (near the start of the mission) and doused the torches there. Making noise in the cavern drew the bugbeast in, and I was able to knock it out safely a good distance in. Then I could draw one of the monkeymen in and get him in the cave as well. Unfortunately, despite this cave appearing to have almost no light sources, it actually has a lot of light coming in, and those two seemed to be the limit. Any more enemies drawn in would spot the bodies, and even the first monkeyman would spot the bugbeast if it walked over it. So for the last two, I tried to play the odds. First I waited until only one seemed to be heading into the northern chamber. I dropped a gas mine on one of the routes, and that took one out. Then I dropped another gas mine at the entrance to the same room and hoped that it would be a monkeyman and not the fire elemental who arrived next. Unluckily it was actually the fire elemental that came into the room first, but luckily it did not set off the mine and turned to go along the wall. Somewhat luckily as well, it did not spot the body across the room. However, the last monkeyman entered the room at about the same time and went down to the gas mine. That body was immediately spotted by the fire elemental, but it seems as if that was the only one found from this patrol group.

    The 'lower' spider caves were all that remained, with the final objective of the Trickster's plan down among them. There's one tough cave, close by the treehouses, where you can sneak in past the spider but can't easily get out (and even that requires putting out the torch first). Since I'm okay with alerting spiders, what I did was toss another gas mine into the room. Once the spider went to check it out, it got knocked out, and I didn't have to deal with another doused torch.

    Then I made my way down, past the other spiders, to the final cavern. Along the way I did trigger one spider to hunt me but none of the others were alerted and it failed to detect me, so I was fine. The last cave has two stationary frogbeasts and two patrolling bugbeasts, all fairly close together. I still had two gas arrows, but the second frogbeast cannot be hit from the entrance to the room. On my first attempt I let the frogbeast be, but that added to the body discovery count by 3. I came up with a better way to deal with room by dousing the torches again. That let me sneak all the way around (grabbing yet another gas arrow, not that it was needed) and get to a point where I could see both frogbeasts clearly. I fired off two gas arrows, one that hit both bugbeasts and one frogbeast, and the second at the other frogbeast. Somehow, one of the bugbeasts was conscious long enough to detect a body, which is why the end stats show two found. Given that it was already a bust, I didn't try to improve on it from that point. All I did was go up to read the notes and the mission was over.

    It would seemingly be possible to make it through this mission in the way I did and get lucky enough to have no bodies found. I think it would still be a bust they way I played it, however. At the end I had at least three torches doused that I was unable to re-light, since there aren't enough fire arrows. I could probably stomach two being out since it's a large level, but so many in the same close area is a bit too much. The randomness of the patrols stumbling on bodies is another factor as well; as much as can be done to reduce the chance of a body being found, it's still going to be difficult if not impossible for avoid it.

    This mission was a mix of good and bad for me. I really enjoyed clearing the house, especially since all of that is a fairly clean TKO and there wasn't too much waiting for the right moment, just figuring out a plan. If the patrollers had taken slightly different paths, I'd still have had no trouble with them. The lower levels, though, were a real pain. There's a lot of tedium in just sitting and waiting for the patrols that switch with no pattern, and it can take a very long time to reach the right moment. On top of that there are some odd geometry and lighting situations, so even just moving around in the rooms can be difficult until you really get intimate with the map. If it wasn't such an overlong map for TKO, I might well have enjoyed it more; as it is, I was just glad to be done with it.

    *monkeyman - As I've mentioned in the thread already, that's the term I'll be using. The game wanted them to be 'ape-beasts' but I guess no one realized that if that's the case, they should not have big long tails. I feel 'monkeyman' jives with the in-game appearance as well as the intended look.

  21. #46
    This is how Ive been playing since 1999. It is indeed fun. LOL

  22. #47
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    yes escape is one of my fav levels i knock everything out and kill all frog beasts,great exploration on that level and expert objective gives a bit more on lore on woodsie lord

    the only thing i never understood is half way through escape there is one hallway with a small platform you can go onto and the entire room is space with stars,i always wondered if there was suppose to be something more there?

  23. #48
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    Quote Originally Posted by downwinder View Post
    yes escape is one of my fav levels i knock everything out and kill all frog beasts,great exploration on that level and expert objective gives a bit more on lore on woodsie lord

    the only thing i never understood is half way through escape there is one hallway with a small platform you can go onto and the entire room is space with stars,i always wondered if there was suppose to be something more there?
    I feel like that was meant to add to the atmosphere of Constantine's house being this strange place that was present in The Sword. Weirdly enough, that's kind of gone in Escape! since the house itself is less bizarre, it just has this big cavern underneath it. I think it doesn't work because, as you say, it's sort of off away from everything. It would be better if, say, the enemies maybe patrolled down into it or something, so it feels like it's part of the environment instead of just a side room with an odd view.

    I guess alternately it could represent that some portion of the house is no longer there? Maybe Little Big World was an illusion created in this space, and now that things are falling apart the illusion has been dropped.

  24. #49
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    14. Strange Bedfellows
    TKO: +? Difficulty: **
    KO: 15
    Loot: 100
    Locks Picked: 1
    Time Taken: 58:19
    Bodies Discovered: 1 [due to Hammer fight]

    This one wasn't quite as hard as I expected, and it had just a couple of trouble spots. As in Escape!, there are enemies of different types mixed together, and some cannot be knocked out. You do get a moderate amount of gas, but it needs to be saved for the end of the mission, and even if there were more, it'd be hard the get enemies positioned where you want them. Still, I managed a proper TKO, with one iffy point (it's not the dead body discovered, nor is it the Bugbeasts, which I consider skippable this time). It turns out this mission actually doesn't have all that many places where the enemies' routes overlap, and that's how I was able to finish it relatively smoothly.

    The initial cathedral area is only lightly patrolled, but it does present the first tough segment. The main patrol route downstairs has two monkeymen on it, which are easy to handle, and a frogbeast, which is not. Frogbeasts on patrol cannot be knocked out without using gas, and since I wanted to save all my gas for the end, I had to get a little lucky here. I first went around and grabbed the loot, which amounted to ghosting the lower floor since I wasn't ready to knock anyone out. Then I went out to the cemetery and waited for the monkeymen to patrol as far out as they would come. While there are dark patches here and there, there are actually no safe spots along their routes that are safe for bodies to fall; the frogbeast will find them, given time. So not only did I have to wait for a monkeyman to come out to the cemetery, I needed the second one to come out soon afterward, and for the frogbeast to be well away from that side of the patrol route while all of this happened. The good part about those dark patches is that you can hide in them well enough to see whether it's safe to start the knockouts. It took several minutes of waiting, but it eventually worked. With the two monkeymen down, I had to rush up from the cemetery and into the chapel, so that I could get down to the siege caverns before the frogbeast would notice. That finished off all the loot in the game and no bodies found in the cathedral area.

    The first cavern section isn't too hard. There are four monkeymen but also several dark spots where it's safe to knock them out. I did have a close call after getting overeager. I tried to just knock out my third target in the open and run to get the last one, but only barely managed to do that, as the last one was about as far away from me as it could possibly be, and somehow was also heading directly along a route that would encounter the body that was in the open. Still, I did it, and being more cautious would have made this part quite easy to get through.

    While I actually did go down to the Hammers to get the objective first, I may as well mention getting the chisel here. I could not make it past the spiders without setting them to L2 hunting. That's fine since they did not even go full alert, and didn't search far enough to discover any bodies. I know it should be possible to be quieter or faster, but there was really no need since I'm okay with even higher alerts on spiders.

    Once I got down to talk to the Hammers, there was the fight that follows inside their territory, and this is where the body discovery comes from. While it is possible to use gas on all the Hammers that can be seen through the slit to knock them out, that makes it impossible to complete the mission. This falls under the rule of death/damage being avoided if it can be, but I see no way that it can be done. The battle may as well be fully scripted. Also, since the Hammers are effectively allies, or at least neutrals who must be awake for the objective to be completed, I don't consider it a requirement to knock them out.

    Down at the bottom of this section is the 'pit' containing one monkeyman, a bugbeast, and several frogbeasts on random patrols. Initially there is another monkeyman patrolling above them, but I knocked him out in one of the side tunnels where no one can spot him. This pit presents quite a puzzle. The monkeyman needs to be knocked out, the bugbeast cannot be knocked out (the 'bonus' objective requires killing), and the frogbeasts would only be possible to knock out with gas, which I had to save. I actually did this room at the end of the mission since I expected trouble, and it was quite a tough one.

    My only hope was to draw off the monkeyman alone (or to at least get him to search farther up than the other creatures). I crouched in the stairwell near the edge of the pit and waited until he was a bit separated from the others and passing by the stairs. Then I fired a noisemaker arrow up the stairs. I grabbed the noisemaker on my way up and ran out onto the beams overlooking the pit. The noisemaker had worked nearly perfectly — the monkeyman came up while the others were only starting to hunt. That actually turned against me, though. The monkeyman would give up the search first and start to head downstairs, right when the frogbeast (and sometimes the bugbeast) were heading up. I could not knock him out without them seeing the body almost immediately.

    I thus needed to draw the monkeyman away even more. I hopped a bit on the beam to keep him coming, and cautiously headed for one end of the 'element' chambers — the side with air and water on it. If I made the noise in the right place, the bugbeast would only investigate a little bit. The frogbeast that came upstairs however, was a different story. Frogbeasts are far more tenacious in their hunting, and in fact seem to beeline for the player (even when they are not fully alerted). Often the monkeyman would give up before I could get him off the beams, while the frogbeast would be almost on top of me if I made too much commotion.

    Still, with careful manipulation of noise and making shadows move, I eventually got the monkeyman to come off the beam and at least look into the side chamber. There is plenty of darkness there, so the monkeyman would rarely spot me, but the frogbeast was again another story. It would be hopping all around and I would try to keep the monkeyman to stay around while the frogbeast left, but that just wasn't happening. The little fellow just didn't want to give up.

    Eventually I hit upon a plan to turn the frogbeast's actions in my favor. While the frogbeasts have a tendency to move straight at you, they also are, relatively speaking, quite slow. What I did, then, was deliberately get the frogbeast to just notice me and raise its alertness, but then run off before it could reach me. That was sufficient to make the monkeyman follow but never go above L2 alerts. It's not quite a bust for me but I realize it's pushing it, so it's a questionable solution, but the best I could manage.

    To accomplish my plan, I needed near-total darkness as well as space to run around in, which fortunately was at hand in the air chamber. It is almost completely in darkness, but the pillars make it easy to evade the frogbeast in there. Not only that, once I finally got the monkeyman to give up and start to head back, I could knock him out and the frogbeast was none the wiser. Once it had its fill of chasing me around the room and gave up as well, the pit was just as I found it, minus one knocked-out monkeyman.

    The other areas also have a mix of bugbeasts and monkeyman, but it turns out that none of them are ever in the same area. The patrolling monkeymen can be knocked out easily and in fully dark areas. On the bottom level, no enemies move about; they are all stationary around fireplaces. Yet I did need all the gas arrows I had at hand. Some of the monkeymen are just a bit too far away from each other to blackjack quickly enough. I used two gas arrows to help with the paired ones, and blackjacked the rest. Luckily the bugbeast is oblivious to all of this as well.

    The separation of enemies making blackjack use hard is particularly true for the final chamber (where the priest is being held). I needed one gas arrow for each monkeyman there, since if anyone gets knocked out the others will either sense it, spot the body, or will turn to spot it soon. Only the 'front' one (farthest from the priest) gives a little bit of time before reacting. The sequence I knocked them out (again, viewed from the priest side) was on the right, the rear, and then the one in front. The one in the rear also needed to have just turned around so that it would be facing away from the fire and not spot the body of the first one to fall. It was tight timing, but once I got the sequence it was easy to do.

    This was much less frustrating and demanding of a level than Escape! was. I was worried it might be a total bust, or require extreme luck to finish. Even if it's not the cleanest run, it still feels more like a solution than a run that's all down to timing. Sure, it has some of that, but on balance, it's not so bad.

  25. #50
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    15. Into the Maw
    TKO: - Difficulty: *
    KO: 12
    Loot: 0
    Locks Picked: 0
    Time Taken: 21:57
    Bodies Discovered: 1

    While the initial expectations on the last few levels suggested this one would be impossible, with the conditions I set for this run, it was surprisingly easy. Although the stream of creatures into the portal would seem to be constant, it appears that at least in the upper areas the initial sequence is limited to only a few. Not only that, but the numerous gas arrows in the start area make it relatively easy to proceed quickly.

    The first two enemies can be knocked down in the red tunnel without the bodies being noticed. The next part had the trickiest timing, but it was not hard once I figured it out. I first ducked into the side passage to grab another two gas arrows, and then returned to the platform overlooking the staircase. From there I could remain in darkness and still see the standing bugbeast. The enemies coming up the stairs were a bugbeast, followed by a crayman, followed by a monkeyman. However, bugbeasts move so slowly that by the time this one reached the top of the stairs, the crayman had caught up to it. One gas arrow would hit them both. The chamber is well-lit, however, enough so that the monkeyman would notice them fall, and this could trigger the bugbeast standing guard as well. I waited until the monkeyman had just passed below the stationary bugbeast, and then fired off gas arrows at each to take care of them. Then I quickly wheeled to hit the ground between the crayman and the bugbeast, taking all of these enemies down without a peep from any of them.

    The next area just had one moving enemy, and two standing guards; all bugbeasts. I used the blackjack on the standing guards and gas on the walking one. It would probably even be possible to blackjack the walking one, but there are so many gas arrows available that there's hardly a reason to conserve them (though I did need to hold on to a few for the portal area). I grabbed the remaining gas arrows and descended to the point where the 'bubbles' come up from the portal. This is where I ran into the body discovery which busted the mission. I could see one bubble approaching with a bugbeast in it. I waited at the point where the bubble drops them off, and knocked the bugbeast out almost immediately. The next bubble comes about 90 seconds later. By running past most enemies, it takes just about that long to get down to the waterfall/pipe cavern. However, it seems that even this far away, the creatures are still emerging from the bubbles and finding bodies. If you take the 'side route' out of the fire elemental cave (which I did), you can observe the bubbles passing through below, suggesting that the areas are probably close enough that enemies are still active within it.

    It is possible that the body discovery might be avoidable with judicious knockouts along the upper path. I think the actual body discovery was probably a monkeyman I'd knocked out on the way to the ledges, and not the bugbeast I'd hit right at the bubble drop-off point. So it is maybe possible to get a perfect TKO on this (allowing for AI freezing), but I wasn't going to keep trying given that just one body found is much lower than I expected.

    The water/ice section only has frogbeasts and fire elementals, so it can indeed be rushed by without the need to knock anyone out. The spiders in or above the tree can also be rushed past, although I used rope arrows to get up the tree itself since I did not need any extra moss arrows. That leaves only the monkeymen to knock out. There are three at the base of the tree, who are all in enough darkness to be knocked out practically anywhere. The ones that patrol the final path to the ritual chamber and portal are also on darkened routes and barely need any effort to take down cleanly.

    Three gas arrows are required for the final area. One is for the portal itself, and two for the monkeyman and the bugbeast stationed next to it. Each can be knocked out separately; I took out first the portal, then the monkeyman, and lastly the bugbeast. From there, it's just an easy ending after swapping out the false eye.

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