ranged: windblast ( projectile special )
special: flying, invisibility, acidic gibs
Straight from the pages of Lovecraft, the flying polyp is a decidedly exotic monster to use. As well as being a flying monster, its windblast and invisibility powers throw up unusual gameplay effects.
Setting the “startonground” key to “1” places the polyp on the floor in the same idle posture as the spawn, though the polyp has a wobbly animation too. When alerted, it will play once through its launch animation then fly into combat as normal. It will not land again. Apart from the aesthetic effect of this, the launch behaviour allows a very short opportunity for the player to attack the polyp before it can use its windblast or turn invisible. It’s also a definite attention-grabber.
The polyp’s general behaviour is to advance quickly towards the player until it reaches optimum distance for its windblast. Having no melee attack, the polyp is not concerned with reaching bounding box contact and will begin to circle strafe the player instead. However, during the chaos of polyp combat, it is not uncommon for the player to stumble closer to a polyp, sometimes being surprised when it decloaks at point blank range.
This attack is basically a non-solid projectile, but has the added effect of pushing the player away from the polyp when it hits. There are any number of ways a deviously inventive mapper can take advantage of this to the player’s peril. The actual damage inflicted by the windblast is relatively low, but if the player actively moves against the direction of the blast the damage increases. If several polyps are able to blast the player simultaneously, the combined force can pin the player into a corner.
This is the polyp’s most unusual and disconcerting behaviour. While previous custom monster have had the ability to teleport short distances, when coupled with the polyp’s fast flight maneuvers invisibility allows the monster to travel almost anywhere to attack the player.
The polyp will cloak in order to move closer to the player or circle around them. While invisible, it cannot use its windblast and emits a throaty chant which warns the player of its proximity. The player can attempt to track a polyp via sound, but this is very hard to do. The polyp cannot move through obstacles that would block it while visible. If wounded while invisible, the polyp is forced to decloak and reveal its location, most likely windblasting the player for their trouble.
Both cloaking and decloaking are signaled by very distinctive sounds.
When a polyp is killed, it explodes. Unlike the spawn, this is not a rocket type explosion. The polyp merely spatters in several directions as a spew of bright green slimey gibs, causing very low damage if they happen to strike the player.
The biggest difference between polyps and other monsters during combat is their ability to rapidly outflank the player through a combination of very fast strafing and invisibility. In the right area, this can make combat more circular than linear. With two or more polyps attacking from different directions, the chances are high that the player will have to turn right around at least once instead of just backing away and shooting. So open areas work well for this, especially if the player’s exits are limited.
Cover is important, as much for the polyps as the player because they can pass behind structures while invisible and avoid being wounded into decloaking. Courtyards with widely-spaced pillars or multilevel rooms with walkways and stairs are good hunting grounds for polyps.
But even alone, a polyp’s apparently ferocious movement, sounds and attack can induce uncertainty or even panic disproportionate to how easy it actually is to kill.
The SG can be useful, if weak, for wounding invisible polyps and forcing them to decloak because its higher ROF allows the player to take pot shots quickly. The SSG can be enough against a single polyp when it gets close without the player suffering too much damage before the combat is over.
Nail weapons are the ideal for combating polyps. They’re very high ROF allows the player to spray indiscriminately around them to hit invisible polyps and force them back to visibility sooner. The SNG is powerful enough that once visible, a polyp is unlikely to live long enough to cloak again. Controlling the acquisition of nails is usually a high priority when polyps are around.
The RL can kill a polyp in two good shots, or one if it’s already slightly wounded. However, the difficulty zeroing them even when they’re visible means rockets are often wasted and the polyp’s occasional habit of decloaking very close to the player makes explosives risky.
When combat occurrs on a level area the player can opt to grenade spam the floor around them where the polyp’s tendency to float at low altitude means they may get caught passing over explosions. Doing this, though, effectively paints the player into a corner since they block themselves off from their own strafing maneuvers. If the player is attacked by polyps while on an elevated position, grenades are almost totally fucking useless.
The LG, having the highest ROD, can make short work of them. But it’s easy for the player to burn off cells impotently while trying to hit invisible polyps.
“Though their senses could penetrate all material barriers, their substance could not; and certain forms of electrical energy could wholly destroy them”
“Lightning Gun: A rare Yithian weapon, this device was created by the race shortly after their arrival on prehistoric Earth. Built to combat the carnivorous flying polyps, it is a camera-shaped weapon that fires great gouts of electricity.”
Based on these two extracts ( from The Shadow Out Of Time and the CoC Rulebook respectively ) and the general characteristics of polyp combat, the LG does double damage against polyps. It’s fun. But still tricky.
Because of the way Quake’s flying AI works, if a polyp and scrag infight they will continuously rise to gain altitude above the other. In some map areas this can cause both monsters to become trapped in the ceiling structure, unable to finish the fight. Clip off ceiling cavities in areas where polyp vs scrag infights may occurr, or keep the flying monsters separate.