It's going to be a busy season for first-person shooter fans, with titles like Call of Duty 2 and Quake IV hitting shelves. One of the most anticipated titles, though, isn't a sequel at all, but is rather a new game, inspired in equal parts by horror films and Hong Kong action films. After many months of waiting, and after impressive single-player and multi-player demos, F.E.A.R. has finally arrived, and it's every bit the game we thought it'd be: a fast, fun, run-n-gun exercise in blowing stuff up real good, with a few genuine scares thrown in for good measure.
The plot of F.E.A.R. puts you in the shoes of a nameless operative of the First Encounter Assault Recon squad, a group of soldiers that's America's first line of defense against paranormal threats. Think Mulder and Scully with automatic weapons, in other words. It's your first day on the job, and things go poorly almost right from the start, when a cannibal that's psychically controlling a thousand slave clone soldiers manages to go rogue, causing a small-scale war to break out in the middle of a large American city. Since you're the only soldier in F.E.A.R. that can get anywhere near the combat zone without going insane or melting, it'll be up to you to take out the psychic commander, Paxton Fettel, in the hopes that doing so will break his control over the clones.
GameSpot's Game Guide to F.E.A.R. is here to help you get your sea legs, with a complete walkthrough of the game, weapon descriptions, and some general tips to get you started. Enjoy!
Surprisingly enough, you won't be using the AT-14 Pistol all that much in F.E.A.R. While it's a decent enough weapon, and is a bit more precise than many of the weapons in the game, it still lacks much stopping power, and forces you to click your fire button each time you want to fire a round, leading to a bit of trigger fatigue if you rely on it overmuch. It can, however, be dual-wielded, which can be a cheap but useful tactic in multiplayer, especially if you can land headshots with decent frequency.
Although the RPL Sub-Machinegun is wildly inaccurate at medium ranges, or while you're moving, it does have the benefit of having plentiful amounts of ammo available for it, especially early in the game. Almost all of the Replica forces you're going to come across in the first half-dozen levels or so will pack an RPL, allowing you to amass huge amounts of ammo. Its large, 50-round magazine and quick reload time also make it a handy weapon when you're just trying to put a few dozen bullets in the air and hope that one or two actually hit your foe.
At close range, the RPL can actually get most of the grunt-level enemies into a kind of crude stunlock, where they'll take so much damage so rapidly that they can't manage to fire back at you before they're dead. Just watch out for the reflex shots when they're going down.
VK-12 Combat Shotgun
Now we're talking. Every FPS game has to have a shotgun - it's a federal regulation - and we're happy to tell you that the VK-12 is a perfectly kickass example of a boomgun.
You know the drill by now: it's a shotgun. It's one of the most powerful weapons you're going to find at close range (a good shot can actually explode an enemy from the inside out), but is going to be almost completely useless at mid to long-range. That said, you're going to be getting up close and personal often enough to justify carrying the shotgun around almost all the time, especially since a single round to the chest is almost always going to be enough to take down a Replica soldier.
One of our favorite things to do with the shotgun is to turn a corner, fire at whomever we see, then retreat a bit and wait for them to come to us. When they round the corner, just blast them in the face; a good shot will actually shear their heads from their bodies quicker than you can say "Jack Thompson." And you just can't underappreciate that kind of comedy.
G2A2 Assault Rifle
The G2A2 is essentially a more powerful and more precise version of the RPL, albeit one that's also slower to fire and has a smaller magazine size. It's still a worthy upgrade to the RPL, though, especially when most of the enemies you encounter start dropping it instead of the RPL. Although it's not flashy, there's going to be enough ammo for the G2A2 to make it worthy of lugging around for most of the game.
The ASP Rifle is about as close as you'll come to a sniper rifle in F.E.A.R., at least until you come across a Type-7. In actuality it's more akin to a scoped MP-5 that's locked into burst fire mode; although it does have a scope, and can zoom in, there's just something that's kind of annoying about only being able to fire off three rounds at a time. The good news, however, is that those three rounds are going to punch a hole through almost anyone that they hit, even if you go for body shots. On a per-bullet basis, the ASP Rifle is one of the more powerful guns in the game, but ammo is quite limited for it, so use it while you can.
10mm HV Penetrator
The 10mm HV Penetrator is F.E.A.R.'s version of the trusty old nailgun. Shooting out polycarbon bolts at a frighteningly quick pace, and with excellent accuracy, the Penetrator will likely be the sharpshooter's weapon of choice for much of the game. Although it's a fairly weak weapon, it's almost 100% accurate when zoomed, so even though it doesn't have a scope, players who are good shots should be able to get headshots with relative ease. Failing an instant kill, the Penetrator is still decent at taking people down with rapid-fire shots, which leads to amusing deaths on the part of your foes, not least because of the way they'll often get pinned into nearby surfaces when they finally die.
Note that, despite the fact that this weapon is called the Penetrator, it really doesn't seem to be all that effective against armored opponents. It works best against the fleshier of the Replicas.
MP-50 Repeating Cannon
The MP-50 is probably going to be the last weapon you encounter in the single-player portion of F.E.A.R. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite match the stature you might think this affords it; while it's a powerful weapon, it's not quite as powerful as it probably seems like it should be.
When fired, the MR-50 will launch what appears to be a concussive round at your target; it has good accuracy, so you'll rarely go awry when aiming it. Even these powerful shells aren't one-hit kills, though, at least not at Hard difficulty; sometimes you can even take two or three rounds to finally kill someone. They do, however, almost always stagger or knock down your target, allowing you to switch over to a more powerful weapon to finish them off. There's also a small radius of splash damage on this weapon, but not enough to normally hit more than one enemy, since they don't often clump up together.
Type-7 Particle Weapon
In lieu of an actual ballistic sniper rifle, we have the Type-7 Particle Weapon, a devastating electric weapon that can usually just zap an enemy right to death. It has almost pinpoint accuracy when fired while standing still, as well as a scope, allowing you to hit someone from a good distance without worrying about hitting air. What's more, a single shot will usually be good enough to take down most enemies, especially Replica soldiers or ATC Security officers. Hardier enemies, like heavy armor or EVEs, will take less damage from the device, but will still be hurt fairly badly.
Unfortunately, ammo is very limited for the Type-7, and it'll also make you move more slowly than almost any other weapon you find. Still, the benefit of being able to pop someone off with a single shot should more than outweigh those drawbacks.
MOD-3 Multi-Rocket Launcher
Unlike most FPS rocket launchers, the MOD-3 doesn't launch a single massive blast; instead, with each pull of the trigger, you'll throw out three smaller shells that'll spiral in towards your target. The results shouldn't be surprising; large explosion, fine cloud of ground brain matter and powdered bone. Like the Type-7, though, ammo is scarce for the MOD-3, and it suffers from poor accuracy when you fire while moving. It also takes a while for your rockets to travel the distance between yourself and their target, allowing distant targets to dodge your fire.
F.E.A.R. isn't all that complicated a game; after you learn how to shoot a guy in the head, that's pretty much all you need to know, really. That said, here are a few tips that you might find helpful.
Don't Forget to Lean
You have lean keys for a reason. By default, these are bound to Q and E, and will allow you to lean left and right, respectively. Leaning will enable you to shoot without exposing a large amount of your body to enemy fire, which will, in turn, let you shoot without taking a lot of damage. Enemies will still be able to hit you, but weapons with large sprays, such as the RPL Submachinegun, will see most of their shells either miss you or hit your cover. So don't forget to lean; your enemies certainly won’t.
Know Your Weapons
One thing that's not immediately obvious about the weapons in F.E.A.R. is that holding different weapons will affect your movement speed. An RPL or a shotgun will enable you to move more quickly, but holding up a Type-7 or a MOD-3 will cut your speed drastically.
Since you can carry three weapons at any given time, it's often worthwhile to switch over to your shotgun or something that lets you move quickly when you're travelling around, then switch to your heavy weapons when the situation dictates and you're not required to move around as much.
This is something you'll undoubtedly find out for yourself, but keep in mind that, during all of the many hallucination / psychic invasion scenes that you sit through, the specters within can do actual damage to you if they hit you. They have to impact you to deal any damage, though, so if you shoot them before they manage to impact you, you should escape unharmed.
Ramping Up The Difficulty
One way to increase the challenge of a game of F.E.A.R. is to increase the difficulty, of course, but if you're looking for a good amount of challenge without a stable of incredibly hard-to-kill enemies, you might want to consider simply disabling the slow-mo effect by unbinding the key that goes along with it. Unlike other games with bullet-time effects, F.E.A.R. has no sequences that are outright unplayable without the slow-mo. It's a more difficult experience, to be sure, requiring much more deliberate movement, forcing you to stick behind cover during most firefights and pick your headshots where you can
Note that this walkthrough is based on going through the game on the Hard difficulty. Some of the strategies, such as those for dealing with turrets, might be overkill if you're playing through on a lower difficulty level.
Interval 01 - Inception
Objective: Investigate Area for Signs of Paxton Fettel
This is going to be a fairly slow level for you. You'll get a few tutorial prompts here and there, which will let you know how to crouch underneath obstacles or interact with your environment. Although you have a pistol, you don't have any real need for it, as there aren't any enemies for you to interact with.
One thing to note here is the appearance of a Health Booster in one of the rooms near where Janikowski busts out a window to talk to you. Grab it for a permanent boost to your health total. Beyond that, there's not much to see here except for one very, very dead corpse, and a chance encounter with the Paxton Fettel that you're looking for, on the rooftop of the building. There's no way to avoid what happens here, so return to the corpse when you regain control of yourself to leave the area.
Interval 02 - Initiation
Objective: Rendezvous With Jankowski
Now that you've completed your first field op, it's time for your trial by fire. Initiation will see you landing outside a factory with a small squad of regular troops, who, predictably enough, will quickly be iced by forces mysterious and obscure.
Before that occurs, though, you'll need to open the gate leading into the complex. On your way to the stairs leading up to the control room, you'll notice a half-open shutter; duck under it to find a Reflex Booster, which will let you use your slow-down power for a longer period of time without stopping. Awesome.
After the first pair of soldiers here, you might run into a dead end. If you do, head back inside the building and climb up the stairs to find an exit through a window that'll lead to a door. Shortly after that will be another big fight against four or five soldiers. Take stock of their excellent AI and use your slomo power to tip the balance of the fight in your favor.
As you fight your way through the factory, you'll come across a bunch of small offices; be sure to explore all of these to find extra armor, grenades, and medkits. You'll eventually need to move a crate with a lever and jump across it to move on; watch out for enemies that appear shortly after you flip the switch.
After that, you've got at least one large fight before you reach the end of the level. When you see Jankowski again, explore the small hallway near his second disappearing act to find another Health Booster.
Interval 03 - Escalation
Objective: Locate and Kill Paxton Fettel
Although you just got blown to smithereens and knocked right through a reinforced plate glass window, you're apparently all right. You just got the wind knocked out of you. It's up to you to find and kill Fettel, now that Jankowski's disappeared.
To get past the first little puzzle here, enter the control room and flip the switch to rotate the walkway, then find the accessible end and walk across. You'll see Alma in the sewers here, but she's a crafty little girl, so you won't get a good look at her. You will get a good look at the Health Booster nearby, though.
Shortly after killing the next few soldiers, you'll come to another seeming dead end, but if you poke around near the storage tanks, you'll see a shootable padlock on a door. Blow it and climb up and over to move on.
From here on in, you'll have a few heavy fights to deal with, but nothing extremely complex. Just keep your head down, lean around corners to fire, and you should be all right.
Eventually, you'll fall down into another set of sewers and go through a small loading screen. Some of the Intervals are big enough to justify splitting the level up into two smaller levels, so, enjoy the loading time, then get back to work.
This level doesn't have much in the way of challenging puzzles; it's just a series of firefights, albeit entertaining ones. When you reach the exterior portion of the level, with all the walkways and the empty holding tanks, be on the lookout for dropped shotguns, which you can exchange your pistols for. Near it, you can dive into a deep pit to find a Reflex Booster.
Beyond that area, you'll come to a broken bridge; to get past it, hop over the railing nearby and spin the wheel over the pit to fill the bridge area with water, which will also cause a couple of boxes to float to the top of the water. Jump across them to put your shotgun to good use, as there are more soldiers waiting for you.
Heavy Resistance, Continued
Soon after this little fight, you'll come across your first Proximity Mines, which will lead you into another portion of the demo level. With your shotgun, you can hop up onto the bench where the mines are, shoot one of the soldiers here, then wait for the rest to come to you while you blast them with your boomgun one by one.
If you recall the next little sequence from the demo, then you'll be well prepared for what happens next; when you try to cross a little wooden bridge to reach a door, a heavily (heavily!) armored opponent pops out with a 10mm HV Penetrator and will proceed to mess you up but good. We generally liked to throw a Proximity Mine at him as soon as he busts the door open, then retreat a bit and use our shotgun on him from medium distance, with slomo time allowing us to avoid his rounds somewhat. He's a tough foe, so be sure to have your health as high as possible before approaching the door.
Just after this fight, you'll note that the remaining Replica forces are pulling out of the area. When you spot two of them running away from you, look straight down to find another Health Booster; you'll need to jump the railing to get to it. After that, you'll come to a room which is seemingly unpassable; flip the wheel, though, to raise the water, and you'll be able to swim across to another area. The ladder leads to another dead end, but if you shoot the panel in the floor you'll access the crawlspace below.
Another sub-level. If you hop into the waterway under the bridge near the beginning of this area, you'll notice a glowing Health Booster; to reach it, you'll need to head down the nearby hallway, drop into another empty sewer, and walk back down the corridor to nab the health bonus.
After more firefights and general spookiness, you'll come to Mr. Moony, whom Fettel was interrogating before. He's not exactly good at finishing people off, though, as Moony will still be alive when you reach him; alive enough to mutter some cryptic words, at any rate. After Betters gets done yapping at you, you'll be ambushed by more soldiers, so be quick with the slomo key.
Eventually you'll reach a narrow corridor where gas is gushing out of a leaky pipe. If you shoot the pipe here, flames will billow out, damaging nearby opponents. From here, you can either just move up by walking up the steps, or you can take a longer path by heading into the nearby corridor, climbing up the ladder, and hitting the grate to open access to a crawlspace. After crawling through and jumping over some pipes, you'll reach a small space above the flames, where you'll find some Remote Bombs and a Reflex Booster. From there, it's just one more big fight until you reach the next sub-level.
The title of this subchapter means "everyone leaves," in case you were wondering. After climbing the ladder near where you begin, walk back down to the hallway where the soldier was placing proximity mines. You can shoot them, if you wish, but doing so will cause electrical arcing, which will still prevent you from getting past. Bust out the grate to your left to pass by this area.
After your first encounter with the soldiers here, you're going to find two ladders, one in an area partially submerged in water, and another one near a pair of rotary controls, on a walkway. If you walk up the ladder by the walkway, you can eventually reach an office with a Health Booster in it; the other ladder is the one that leads on. Flip the switch to disengage the electricity and off you go!
Be sure to bust through the locked door in the next hallway to access more grenades and an ASP Rifle, which essentially acts as a sniper rifle, should you desire one, scope and all. The next couple of sections are straight from the demo, so proceed slowly, kill anything that moves, and you should be all right.
After defeating the soldiers that drop from the helicopter, you'll come across a room filled with explosive barrels. Walking into the room will cause all manner of hell to break loose due to the scripted appearance of the soldiers here, so drop back to the entry hallway and wait for as many of them to come to you as possible. When their numbers have thinned out a bit, walk around the corner and start busting the remainder up. Watch out for one of the heavily-armored soldiers to appear from an upper doorway when you walk up the stairs, though.
When you reach the landing zone, kill everyone in the area to clear a path for your chopper to arrive. The most difficult foe here is another of the armored bastards. If you stay far enough away from him, though, you should be able to avoid the bulk of his fire, so just stay back and pop him with any accurate weapons you might be holding.
Interval 04 - Infiltration
LZ Is Hot
Boy, this LZ sure is hot! You're going to come under fire from eight or so soldiers as soon as you land here, with half on top and half below you. You do have a crate to duck behind right near where you begin; we found it best to crouch behind that and pick off soldiers that came into view with our G2A2 or our Penetrator. Assuming no one lands a grenade on your position, you should be well protected from enemy fire.
When things die down a bit, check out the entry foyer for some ammo and health; you won't be able to pass on from here, so drop down below the helipad and find another door leading on. When you come across the soldiers who are heading to the roof to confirm the breach, check the small alcove underneath the stairs to find a Health Booster.
There's also a Reflex Booster in this level, a bit further on, just after you head out to an exterior part of the area and have to climb stairs up to reach another interior portion. It would seem that the buildings in F.E.A.R. consist almost entirely of piping and air conditioning access areas, as if the architects said "Offices, workspace, cubicles; who needs them? Let's make a building that will maximize the kickbacks we'll get from our electrical and air conditioning subcontractors. A building that's nothing but access space. This is our dream." And then, they built it. And it was good.
Well, we apparently jumped the gun on indicting the designers of this building: there are indeed some work areas inside. We regret the error.
Start making your way through the offices here, and note that there's another laptop you can download in the meeting room with the corpse on the table. Just after that, you'll be surprised by a corpse being thrown through a window; if you have your flashlight on, you might get a glimpse of someone moving really fast through one of the windows behind this guy just after he gets thrown. The room that the person moves into is empty, although there is a board in the ceiling missing...hmm.
If you head up the stairs in the large foyer area, you'll run into one of these guys for the first time. Assassins aren't equipped with ranged weapons, but have stealth suits that can render them temporarily invisible while they dash forward and attempt to punch you. If you still have your shotgun, it'll be a great way to take them down here; just back away from them and fire away when they phase into sight.
After passing through some more offices, you'll have to climb up into the crawlspace above the area to move on. Eventually you'll run across Norman Mapes, an engineer for ATS that'll offer to help you get into the network if you can shut down the local security system. Before heading through the door he unlocks, find the ramp leading up into the ceiling nearby to find another Reflex Booster.
When you're past Mapes, you'll have to fight your way through to the local security office, where you can shut down the security system. Doing so will let Mapes run off on his merry way. That bastard. Well, if it's any consolation, most of the employees of Armatech are meeting very bad ends, so perhaps he has one in store as well. Anyway, disabling the security system will open a shutter outside the security office, so head through. You'll need to pass back where you first met Mapes, then follow the path of soldiers until you reach the network room, where you'll be able to reboot their network. Watch out, though, as soldiers will quickly come through the wooden door nearby; you might want to drop a proximity mine there before flipping the switch.
After you've rebooted the network, you'll have to make your way through an unfinished section of the building to reach Jin. There are no enemies here; it's just an extended excuse for Fettel to screw with your head. Don't miss the Health Booster in the area just past the point where you enter the burning building hallucination.
Interval 05 - Extraction
After a couple of big fights here, you'll come to a hostage in a supply closet - Aldus Bishop. He's wired up with explosives, so you'll have to hit the nearby elevators to rendezvous with a demolitions team.
Now, when you hit the elevators, you will of course be ambushed by a half-dozen or so Replicas, including a heavy armor. We had a bunch of proximity mines at this point, so what we did was simply lay them down all over the foyer area, then ducked behind the small security desk at one end of the room and proceeded to pop up and down, firing our shotgun at the heavy armor soldier when he got close. When all of the enemies are dead, the demo team will appear. After an uneventful escort back to Bishop, you'll be sent off to shut down a fire alarm. Obviously, leaving everyone behind bodes well for their future.
When you hit the stairs by the next reception area, head down the hallway below the stairs and investigate the offices nearby to find another Health Booster, then return and start your ascent. You'll find the security office without a problem, along with a clue as to who triggered the alarm. Activate the elevators, then get into the open one and go up.
The next room you come to is a seeming dead end, but you can jump on some boxes to reach the fafters here and proceed through to the little slaughterhouse where the Armacham employees are enjoying a nice, bloody slumber. Eventually you'll reach a corner office, where you'll have to exit out to the ledge outside the window and circle around to another unfinished part of the building. You might want to make a proper save here and name it "l33t fights lamalama" or something like that, because there's going to be a lot of action between you and the next checkpoint. It's fun to reload it and just bust through Replicas for a few minutes.
Eventually you'll reach something of a stopping point, where five or six Replicas are milling about, and two exits. You'll notice a Reflex Booster on the upper level; find the finished stairs and head up to grab it, then drop back down and walk up the plywood planks elsewhere to try and reach the roof.
Well, not much to say here except watch your back. There are plenty of enemies between you and the LZ, and the air conditioning on the roof can make for some confusing ground to cover.
When you do reach the helipad, you'll have to fight off ATC corporate security, who've apparently decided that everyone's an enemy at this point. Some of these guys wield ASP Rifles, so you may have a hard time closing in on their position; if you still have a Penetrator, try to take out the snipers before moving in.
Eventually you'll reach an area where you're forced to jump onto piping to cross a gap; the piping will drop, and before you know it, you're setting off a huge explosion by shooting a gas main. After being blown into the water, return to the gas main to find a Reflex Booster, then climb up the twisted ramp leading on.
You'll come to another walkway that'll be destroyed by falling pipes. To move on, jump off the walkway onto the surface below it and crawl through. You'll need to do the same thing on the far side of the walkway to shut down the gas that prevents you from moving on. After flipping the wheel, climb the ladder around the corner from it (in the same room) to find a Health Booster.
When you reach the freight elevator, you'll have to power it up. Doing so involves heading into a nearby room, flipping a switch to raise the water nearby, swimming underneath the water to another room, and flipping the switch to shunt the power where you need it. After returning to the elevator, you'll have to fend off three soldiers, including a heavy armor, so be ready for them to pop out.
Interval 06 - Interception
Well, it looks like Fettel is somewhere on the research level, and he's looking for Norton Mapes, who apparently knows the location of the "Vault." We're guessing that's where Alma is, but we'll see...
After you meet up with Mapes again, explore the offices just past the checkpoint to find another Health Booster. After a longish sequence of fights, you'll come to what appear to be former research areas that have now been converted by the Replicas into storerooms. If you poke around in the first of these, you'll find a MOD-3 Rocket Launcher. Hoo-ah!
Shortly past that area, you'll come to the security office, where you can override the lockdown. We're pretty sure that every man would like to override a lockdown at least once in his life, so enjoy the sensation. If you head back past the stairs leading up to Mapes, you can find a Reflex Booster in one of the unlocked areas. When you do return to Mapes, though, he'll obviously be preparing to leave the area with all due haste. Head into the room to the left of the elevator and start climbing the ladder there to eventually reach the next area.
After meeting up with Mapes at the beginning of this level, he'll try to kill you! He really is a bastard! You can destroy the turret here by slo-moing yourself underneath it and unloading on it with your shotgun. You might also try to attach a sticky grenade to it and detonate that.
Anyway, you'll have to retreat back up into the ceiling to move on; the turret was previously retracted into the ceiling, but since it's dropped, the path beyond it will be available. Unfortunately, there are a lot more turrets in this area. The first one can be shut down by blasting the padlock off a door and shutting off the power, but most of the other ones are just there to kill or be killed. It can be difficult to survive their fire, so again, try to get up close and personal. If you can get underneath them without dying, you've usually got the kill in hand, since they take so long to pivot.
The most difficult turret to kill is in the hallway past where you see Mapes again. It'll have a good length of hall to shoot at you, but if you can get down near the small cart in the middle of the corridor, you'll find a crawlspace leading to its power switch. There are actually two turrets overlooking the next hallway, so as soon as you see them drop down, duck into the door nearby and start crawling through the ductwork to get to them and destroy them before moving on through the crawlspace nearby. Luckily, you'll be past the bulk of the turrets at this point, and will soon start hitting good old-fashioned clone soldiers soon enough. Never thought you'd be happy to see them, eh? There's a Reflex Booster on a table just past the first group.
Unforuntately, after you bypass the soldiers in the cargo elevator area, you'll be faced with a more grave threat: an EVE, which is apparently some kind of autonomous battle robot. To bring it down to your level, enter the central elevator control room between the two elevators and flip the switch there. It'll ride down the elevator outside your window and immediately open fire with its own MOD Rocket Launchers...if it happens to see you, that is.
On harder difficulties, the EVE is going to be a tough little cookie to take down. You'll be able to find another MOD-3 of your own near this switch, which does significant damage to the enemy, it you can make it stand still long enough to hit it. We found it a bit easier to just get in close with the shotgun, by flipping the elevator switch, then immediately heading to the left. If the EVE doesn't see you, it won't follow you, allowing you to reach the elevator and open fire before it even knows you're around. If you use one of the elevator pillars here for cover, and pivot around that, then you should be able to unload a few dozen shotgun rounds into the EVE while dodging its fire. You can also throw grenades at it if you think you'll be able to hit it. This is a tough enemy to kill, but it can be done with a little smarts. Alternately, you can just try to lead the EVE away from the elevator, then run back and ride up, but it's awfully fast for such a big enemy.
Next up is a toxic leak area. We get the feeling that Armacham will be plummeting on Fortune's "500 Best Companies To Work For" list this year. Anyway, when you reach the switch to turn on the exhaust vents, walk up the steps to reach a Health Booster. Beyond that, you'll find a security station with a turret control system nearby; be sure to hop in and kill as many soldiers as you can with the turret before moving on. It's fun!
There's another Health Booster in one of the offices here, near the one with the flashing answering machine. These Armacham people must've been one healthy lot. You can also get a Reflex Booster, by checking out the operating table in the room past where you see Fettel through the window.
Most of the ensuing fights here are pretty standard, but when you get into the courtyard, be ready for another EVE enemy. This one's harder to kill than the first one, due to the fact that it'll be supported by grunt Replicas, making it hard to strafe around it while unloading shotgun shells into its body. If you still have a MOD-3, you can fire that at long range, try to lure it over proximity mines, etc. You'll need to find some way to take it out if you want to pass through. There's also a small amount of cover near the plants at the top of the small set of steps leading down here; you can duck behind that and pop up and down to fire at it while protecting yourself from its damage.
You'll find a Type-7 weapon on the other end of the courtyard. This is essentially a sniper rifle, but better; any shot anywhere on the body of a Replica is a one-hit kill, at least up until Hard difficulty. You might've also found a Type-7 back near where you fought the first EVE, in a hidden passage, but this one is out in the open and easily findable.
Interval 07 - Redirection
When you reach the top of the elevator that you take here, poke around a bit, download data from the laptop, listen to the messages on the phones, etc. There's no one to kill here, but there is some interesting backstory.
You'll have to climb up the elevator shaft to proceed. When you reach the upper level, again, just start checking the offices for miscellaneous clues to the storyline. There are relatively few soldiers to begin with, but they'll start popping up more often as you proceed. Indeed, most of this level is one big fight, making it fairly enjoyable; there aren't a lot of difficult-to-find routes or anything like that. Don't miss the Health Booster in a conference room right near where a heavily armored foe appears. Be careful, as the next heavy armor soldier actually wields a Type-7. Luckily, when he goes down, you'll be right outside Harlan Wade's office, where Alice Wade is waiting for her knight in shining psychic aura.
After you take Alice back to the elevator, you'll have to ride up with her, resisting the urge to sing Aerosmith's "Love in An Elevator" at the top of your lungs, killing off the soldiers as they open up the doors on the subsequent floors. In point of fact, you don’t even really need to kill these guys; just hide in a corner of the elevator, across from Alice, and the doors will usually shut on their own accord after a few seconds. Of course, it's more fun to pop a few caps.
Eventually, the power will go out, and Alice will stay behind while you check out the floor beyond. Bad things will happen, as they are wont to do, and you'll be forced to climb up the stairs to the roof.
Things continue to go poorly for you at the beginning of this level. Wait until the doors in the first room blow open, then head out onto the roof to start attempting to track Alice back down. You'll need to kill your way through the soldiers here, then head back inside the building to try and cut her off before she can make it to the garage. You'll actually see her at one point, where she'll run from a strange blue ball floating outside the window; check the waiting room below her to find a Health Booster.
After moving on for a bit, you'll discover what the blue lights were, as you'll run across a pair of UAVs that'll bust through a window and start to fire frickin' laser beams at you. These guys can put a good hurting on you, but they can be taken down with a single well-placed shotgun blast, so lure them into a hallway to do the deed. There are more of these guys up ahead, so quicksave often and be ready to backtrack if they get the jump on you.
When you reach the stairwell, you'll need to get off on the fifth floor, but before you do, go all the way to the bottom to grab the Reflex Booster there. After bypassing Genevieve Aristide's crappy little office, fight your way to a power switch on this floor, then return to the elevators and head down. You'll eventually wind up in the parking garage; fight your way back up to ground level to end this mission.
Interval 08 - Desolation
The Replica forces have moved away from Armacham, apparently having obtained the location of the Vault, and you're hot on their tail. Unfortunately, your helicopter has been shot down near the Vault, forcing you to cover the intervening distance on foot, through the urban blight. You begin in an abandoned rowhouse, so go up and get your kill on.
There is a Reflex Booster in this area, just beyond the first small area where you go outside and see a helicopter fly overhead; head up the ramp made of trash to reach it. Shortly beyond is another surprise EVE unit that drops down through the ceiling. Fight it if you have the tools to do so, but the cramped conditions may make that difficult. You might want to just blast the boards off of the exit with a shotgun or something, crawl through, and leave it behind.
Next up is a little bit of a sniper's gallery, where you'll have to fend against numerous Type-7 wielding foes in distant windows. You can find a Type-7 for yourself shortly before your first exposure, and these guys are far enough away to reduce their accuracy to negligible levels, at least on Hard difficulty, so you shouldn't have a problem hitting them. Seeing them, on the other hand, can be difficult, especially when they're on the buildingtops. Watch for the electrical tracers from their fire to distinguish their silhouettes from the background. Be especially careful on the rooftop with all the airconditioning equipment, as there'll be plenty of snipers popping up as you walk across.
On the plus side, you can also find your first MP-50 Repeating Cannon here. This massively bruising weapon is essentially a rapid-fire grenade launcher, and will kill most Replicas in one shot, as well as do good splash damage to anyone around them.
Anyway, wrap back around into the other apartment block, pick up some more Type-7 ammo from the soldiers you killed earlier, and poke around for a Health Booster. After you get past another Fettel appearance, you'll have to jump out of a window into the alley below to move on.
Point of Entry
Welcome to the point of no return...for your framerate! The open areas here may do a number on your system's performance, so get ready to turn your graphical settings down, if need be.
You'll have to fight your way through a number of Replicas to get through the first series of alleyways, including a Heavy Armor with a MOD-3 rocket launcher, so take it slow. After the Heavy Armor goes down, jump over the crates and barrels to reach the dark alleyway beyond and move on. Be ready for the truck that comes at you; it won't be the last one to make an attempt to run you down, but at least your slomo will automatically kick in, allowing you to duck into the nearby building before it impacts you.
After a couple more close calls, you'll be able to enter the Pendleton Machinery Company factory, so crawl through and start ascending up from the factory floor. There's a Reflex Booster inside, near where you eventually have to drop down to move on.
After passing through the factory, you'll see Jankowski again, who'll let you know that Alma's close by. You'll have some tough fights coming up, including a pair of MP-50 wielding soldiers, and more Assassins. The worst part of this run, however, are the two EVEs that you'll eventually come across. Instead of going toe-to-toe with them, it's probably best to run out past the police car, stick to the left wall, walk through the gap behind the containers there, then run towards the stairwell up to the nearby factory as quickly as possible. So long as you keep a little distance between yourself and the EVEs, their rockets should go past you, allowing you to move on without taking a horrendous amount of damage.
Inside the next small area, after killing the ATC officers, find the red switch on the rear wall and flip it to move on. Shortly thereafter, you'll find a cargo elevator leading down into the Vault; before you head down, though, walk across the catwalk nearby to find another Health Booster.
Interval 09 - Incursion
Ah, lovely; more turrets to deal with. Guess it wouldn't be a vault without a bit of security. Do your best to take these guys out without being made into lunch meat, then start your penetration into the facility. Most of the enemies you'll encounter here will be ATC security, so you shouldn't have too many problems. Unfortunately many of them will fire on you from elevated positions, so be sure to keep an eye on the sky to prevent any unexpected ambushes.
When you reach a secured room with another turret in it, you can bypass it by jumping onto the pipes near the door, but entering the room and destroying the turret will net you another Reflex Booster. From there, this is mostly a sequence of small skirmishes until you reach the crawlspace underneath the complex. Watch out for proximity mines in your path down there.
Well, it would appear than Harlan Wade bears as much of a grudge against Mapes as you do, since he shoots him in the chest at the beginning of this level. You probably were hoping that you'd get to do the honors, but no such luck.
Anyway, to open the Vault, inside which Harlan has locked himself, you'll need to divert power back to the door. Doing so entails dropping down into the infrastructure beneath the complex again and finding the four switches which will shunt power to where you need it. After fighting your way to the first two switches, continue on until you reach the next two. The fourth shunt here is blocked, so you'll need to make your way through the room, climb the ladder in the corner, and activate the moving platform up there to get it out of the way. When that's done, return to the fourth switch and flip it.
Beyond the hallway with the UAVs, you'll find a room with a bunch of moving cylinders in it. Find the vent leading into the room, then drop down into the cylinders when a few of them go missing on the right side. Moving on from there, you'll find the main reactor, where two more switches will allow you to finally shunt power to the Vault door. From there, fight your way back up to the Vault, destroy the UAVs protecting it, and head inside....
Interval 10 - Revelation
After entering the Vault, you'll shortly come across Fettel, who'll give you one more hallucination for the road. When you find yourself inside his cell, put a bullet in his brainpan to finally put him out of your misery. Unfortunately it would appear that he's killed Alice Wade, but are you really willing to accept what you see as the truth after all this?
You'll shortly reach Wade, who believes that Alma is dead. Subsequent events will prove him wrong, unfortunately for him. Start wading through the facility, shooting each of the phantasms Alma summons to get in your way (they only require one bullet to kill), until you reach the control systems for the four main reactors. Expose their cores and shoot them to start what you hope will be a chain reaction to destroy the facility. Nuclear explosions underneath an urban area? Sounds like a good solution to your problems.
From the reactors, you have a straight path to a second exit from the Vault, and an elevator back up to solid ground, so book it!
Interval 11 - Retaliation
Well, it appears that the nuclear detonation that's about to occur is one of those slow-building detonations that somehow manages to send shockwaves through the surrounding area before it finally occurs, knocking down ceiling panels, shuffling you around on your feet, etc. Everyone likes nuclear explosions, obviously, but they're awfully inconvenient just before they finally go off.
If you needed any confirmation that Alma's out and about, then the appearance of more and more phantasms should provide the evidence you're looking for. These guys, again, aren't difficult to kill, but can do a shocking amount of damage to you if they manage to swarm you. As per usual, though, you can just move forward until you see them warping in, then start backtracking while firing. If you come across an HV Penetrator, you'll definitely want to pick it up, because you're going to face a major ambush in an abandoned factory that you have to drop down into. With the Penetrator, though, you can just sit back after you drop and start firing away; each phantasm will take one round to kill.
During the vision that occurs when you're passing through the corridors underneath this factory, shoot Alma whenever you see her. She can and will kill you if she gets her hands on you, so just go crazy with your pistol whenever you spot her, and eventually you'll return to the real world, with the heavily-implied fact of your origin finally confirmed. From there, it's a short walk to the end of the game. Keep in mind that there is another Metal Gear Solid-style phone call at the end of the credits, so be sure to watch them all the way through, if you're interested in such things.