This guide will cover how to keep your group of highly vulnerable Marines alive. I've accomplished it personally once, getting all Marines to escape alive.
Guide to Marine Survival
As stated, I've accomplished this massively difficult task once. I have no interest in doing it again. The primary reasons for this are:
- AIs are about as intelligent as Superfly in Daikatana. Sometimes they get stuck on terrain. Sometimes they flee back to the start of the level while being chased, forcing you to catch up.
- AIs are about as suicidal as Superfly in Daikatana. I've lost several characters to grenades or landmines, because they run towards the explosion, rather than away.
- AIs often require constant babysitting, as they will do weird things, if you aren't constantly on their case.
- You cannot issue commands to your allies, such as Stay, Follow, Go There, etc...
- They are less accurate than Imperial Stormtroopers, and can often be seen shooting at the walls, with no enemy nearby.
- They can die, and if you complete the level, they are gone for good. So, you'll likely have to restart levels a fair bit, if they die and you didn't want them to die.
- You can heal marines by dropping Medical Supplies at them. If multiple marines are grouped up, a single Medical Supplies will heal them all.
- For reference, Health Kits heal you for 50 HP, Stims heal you for 100 HP and give healing over time, and Medical Supplies heals you for 100 HP. So, you shouldn't ever need to use Medical Supplies on yourself, but you can if you are desperate.
- The most common way I've lost marines is from them getting caught in the explosive radius of a Grenade or Landmine. So, it is generally best to avoid using either of these items, if you are trying to keep marines alive.
- Grenades also have a tendency of bouncing back towards you, if they hit a solid surface. Probably a bug with the physics engine, but something to be mindful of.
- Fire can hurt them. So watch your "friendly fire". Pun intended... deal with it :)
- Energy Shields will protect them from gunfire... if and only if they stay inside it. Otherwise, gunfire usually obliterates them in a couple seconds, so if you encounter a foe with a gun, you need to kill it fast.
- Energy Shields do not protect you or them from explosions, but any enemy walking into it, will be set on fire and will usually run away. Thus, Energy Shields can be very useful for preventing your marines from being ambushed or to slow down an encroaching horde.
- The simplest way to keep them alive, is to kill things before they get to them. Energy Drinks and Steroids give a temporary speed boost, which allow you to charge on ahead, and kill enemies before they get to the other marines.
- You can usually herd the AI by running towards them, and they will flee away from you. If you chase them into a corner, this can be useful to heal them up or to make sure they are behind you and the enemy is in front of you.
- Usually the Marines will not try to walk in front of you, if you are standing still or crouching.
- Marines can take quite a few hits, but there are specific enemies that can one-shot them. The most obvious is the Sentinel, which is big, and has a charge attack where it tilts its head forward. To me, it looks a lot like a xenomorph praetorian. If it hits you or your marines, from behind, it will one-shot you, regardless of current Health or Armor. So, when you see a Sentinel, focus on it first. There is another enemy that can one-shot them, but it is only encountered later in the game and you'll know it when you see it.
Early Levels Woes
In general, you won't run into anything that will kill the Marines off. I consider Early Game to be Levels 1 to 7.
However, there are some specific things to watch out for:
- They have a tendency to shoot at the eggs, even when enemies are not around.
- Crawling Zombies can run past you and hassle the marines. They can be hard to see in the dark.
- You don't have a ton of powerful weapons yet, and have limited ammo, so it can be difficult to keep them alive, if stuff gets bad. And you are unlikely to have a lot of Medical Supplies either.
Mid Game Woes
The midgame is usually where I lose the majority of my Marines. There is a lot of different threats that can obliterate them. I consider the midgame to be Levels 8 to 13. Dangers to your marines in this portion of the game include:
- You will encounter the Sentinel for the first time, in Level 8. Remember don't turn your back to it.
- Hordes of foes are generally larger, and can sometimes have an attack from in front and from behind. Usually when this happens, the other attack is smaller, but as you will likely be backpedalling / fleeing in that direction, this is something to be mindful of.
- You encounter enemies with guns in the midgame. These can totally annihilate your marines in very short order, and thus you need to eliminate them as fast as possible. If you managed to keep Valenco alive, you will have a powerful weapon that will obliterate these attackers quite fast too.
Late Game Woes
So you managed to survive all of the midgame, eh? The Late game is Levels 14+.
Well the worst is still to come; so lets get to it:
- Again, fairly large hordes of foes and they often have multiple Sentinels in them. Though, you should at this point have most of the weapons, so pick your preferable way of killing them. If they get too close, then you are likely using the wrong weapon for the job.
- You start to encounter the other enemy that can one shot your marines. It also takes a lot of hits, so try to kill it off from a distance as well.
- The hardest part is when you get to a level called Maintenance. It is super dark, labyrinthine passageways with tons of deadends, and ambushes happen frequently. The number of times I lost my marines to the darkness, to then hear them scream for support, but I don't really know which passageway they took, makes it really hard to get to them.
- The worst part of this is that the Marines tend to split up and so you could have two separate marines being attacked in different corners, and you have to decide which one to try to get to first. And when they are being attacked they don't try to move towards you as a general rule. So have fun with this level.
- After you complete Maintenance, there will be one last surge of resistance, so don't go charging out of the airlock too fast.
- Fortunately, in order to complete the game, you only have to enter the exit area yourself; you don't have to wait for the rest to catch up. So for the last level, just run towards the exit, to complete the game.