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Get out of here stalker!
This page contains spoilers to the game's final plot. It is advised you skip this section or page if you haven't completed the game yet!
|“|| Got a job for you, Marked One.|
The Main Mission is the principal guiding thread that coordinates the player's actions in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Lost Alpha.
- Just as there was a Main Mission in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, there is one in this standalone game too.
- It may be argued that the player has more control over the development of the story here than in the Base Game, although some of the conditions that permit alternative forks to develop are particularly difficult to fathom from the standpoint of player intuition (joining Duty or Freedom, for example)
- How a player approaches the game will have a profound effect upon how the plot unfolds and how other NPCs will interact with the player in the process or as a result of these actions. This happened in SoC too, but here the effects are more far reaching and subtle. Also infuriating from the player's point of view.
- For the most part, Main Mission Forks are best considered as digressions from the Main Mission that eventually rejoin the Main Plot later on. However, the stances that are established during these Forks can be "sticky" or otherwise detrimental to the player's standing with other Factions from an attitude perspective:(working as a Duty member permanently downgrades the Loners attitude and impersonating a Bandit may become a semi-permanent affiliation that alters other relationships)
Main Plot Storyline
- The Marked One wakes in Cordon, meets Sidorovich and runs around the level performing tasks for Sid and Wolf.
- Immersed within the developing character of the Marked One, the player then travels to further tasks in Garbage, Agroprom and Great Metal Factory before taking on a potential suicide mission in the Dark Valley, useful numbers to remember are 5271 and 295.
- An eventual escape to Darkscape in a vehicle of unparalleled decrepitude, eventually introduces the player to the leader of Sin and gently pushes in the direction of Rostok Factory and Lab X14.
- Tasks performed here can result in the player now being "friendly" with both the Loners and Duty. This is marginally convenient from a trading point of view.
- Following on from this, the player now hauls over to Darkscape again to deal with Veles; conclusion of which gets a voiceover from Sidorovich with instructions to render services at Yantar(Lost Alpha) for the scientists.
- After trotting back - or perhaps driving - through Darkscape, Dark Valley, Garbage and the Great Metal Factory (the Cordon - Garbage - GMF route being a lesser proposition) - it is discovered that driving to Yantar is not permitted (from Rostok Bar)
- In Yantar, Sakharov will assign a milk run mission to Dead City, during which the Marked One becomes imprisoned and meets up with Doc.
- Freed, the player returns to Yantar with something for Sakharov and is rewarded with a wild-goose-chase through the levels to get the PDA 'fixed'.
- In the process of this the player is treated to an excellent reworking of the Build 1844 Military Warehouses scene that involves the central base.
- Player needs to eliminate a helicopter problem for Duty before progressing, but then advances through Radar to the Outskirts for further briefing.
- A subsequent return to Yantar results in the player's dispatch to Countryside via Radar again. With a scripted Blowout, cut-scene and teleport to Lost Factory.
- Naturally, player gets sent back to Countryside for a further jog to the Countryside Underground for a piece of equipment.
- After dealing with Lab X16, player will need to retrace back to Radar, meet Nomad and obtain something for him before progressing to the Lab X10 Bunker in order to switch the Brain Scorcher off.
- This enables a meeting with Voronin in the Outskirts bar which rewards the player with a trip to the Lab X7 'basement' for a confusing (and unfinished) series of cutscenes and downloads that satisfy Voronin's questionable interest.
- Player gets to meet up with Guide (mercifully locally) and then travel back to Military Warehouses for a momentary meet and greet with Strelok's old colleague Fang.
- Naturally, this sets the stage for yet another running session to meet with the elusive Ghost; initially in Radar but (pretty smartly) via Pripyat Underground in Pripyat proper.
- Pripyat is, of course, occupied by the Monolithians, but a Military task force now requires your help to degrade Monolith opposition. For services rendered, a required side mission has the player running escort duty for the Ecologists as they investigate the Bus Station.
- Completion of this task progresses to a meeting with the elusive Ghost in the usual hotel location.
- Unsurprised players will now travel back by way of Radar - Warehouses - Rostok for repairs before heading to The CNPP for the beginning of the finale. Alternative Radar - Outskirts is another possible route.
- For undamaged players, Ghost sends them for a run through the overgrown Arena where at least eight snipers will be emplaced. The exit point to the CNPP being close to the other side of this Arena.
- In the grounds of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant the usual proposition is to rendezvous with the Military detachment in the middle-south of the map and progress from there, complete with set-pieces and mutant invasions. None of this is obligatory.
- The player gains access to the Sarcophagus, obtains data, moves to the Generators level, Lab X2 and concludes the game in Generators 2 prior to entering Freeplay.
- A walk in the park.
Main Plot Subversion
- No major difference prior to the first visit to the Great Metal Factory.
- However; in 'Rostok' conduct any business transactions that you wish to have with Hunter or the Snitch. Do what you need to for the Hunter and ideally conclude the mission.
- Return to the 'Wild Territory' and continue into the tunnel and past the Zombified Stalkers. Run on to Forgotten and, depending upon whim, do whatever needs doing there too.
- Run north and JUMP into the Yantar transition. This gains early access to Yantar which will be prohibited for the current experience level of the player.
- Loot the level for its exceptionally useful items: Snowflake, TRs 301 rifle and SSP-99M suit, and slot the soldiers protecting the Ecologists bunker (this has no detrimental effect upon your relations with either faction)
- Chat to Sakharov. This triggers the "I've been sent by Sidorovich" introduction line (which has not taken place)
- Without crashing the game, breaking the plot or other gremlin, Sakharov duly sends the player off to Dead City on the milk run mission.
- Furthermore, the runaround sequence to fetch the PDA wires, the PDA boards and the Maddog Crystal all become sequentially activated and completable as do all subsequent Main Mission elements as outlined in the previous section.
- Bottom line: The player may complete the Main Mission without visiting Dark Valley, Lab X18, Darkscape, Rostok Factory or Lab X14.
- The Yantar => Rostok north gate is useable but return is not possible.
- Access to Darkscape is barred from either entrance until the initial set of documents is taken from the office in the Monolith base.
- Taking the said documents - and not gaining the other five documents to later give to Petrenko, may be convenient to some players for the purposes of arbitraging the Military weapon loot from the failed raid on the Monolithian base, but will result in the player becoming viewed as a member of the Bandits as far as other factions are concerned. This may only affect trading returns marginally.
- Releasing the Duty captive in the Bandit Base will not alter this situation.
- Performing tasks that later elevate the player's standing to one of friendship with Duty will not alter this affiliation either.
- There is no need to run around the levels to hook up with Fang after meeting with Guide.
- In fact, there is no need to yomp over to see Voronin to get the word on Guide in the first place. He's in the (mined) church adjacent to Freedomtown anyway, so can be dovetailed with a repair visit after Lab X7 has been dealt with. A subsequent visit to Voronin will conclude both tasks anyway.
- The player may return to Radar, 'jump the wall' again, and revisit Pripyat Underground. This time the Guide will accompany you as 'normal'.
- Entering Pripyat by this method leaves several mission elements unsatisfied: Fang did not "push" in Ghost"s direction, there will be no memo from Sakharov to 'help the Military', nor will their stance towards the player be friendly and is quite likely to be hostile.
- Running between the Military task force and their field HQ is possibly the best option to avoid them and most Monolith troops.
- The hotel has its usual occupant but the door is inoperable and communication with Ghost is not possible.
- On the plus side, the northern exit from Pripyat is quite functional and the eastern path to the Stadium is free of mutants and patrolled by only a few Monolithians.
- The Stadium has its usual complement of all opponents and there are a few more on the other side for opportunists attempting Sniper rifle SVDm-2 and Gauss Rifle looting operations.
- There is the possibility of a random Blowout at all times and few safety areas.
- Entering the CNPP grounds with a hostile Military is best approached from the "Take no sides" strategic plan with avoidance of the Military being the first consideration.
- The gate near the Duty squad in the east will certainly lead to Radar, but it is a one-way passage (unless the player 'jumps the wall' and gets to this gate through the Radar Badlands - clearly not possible with a vehicle).
- The large Monolith contingent and BTR-70 Armored Personnel Carrier are easily avoided and any Pseudodogs near the eastern radioactive bridge will not have spawned yet.
- The first dead Dutyer of the group of four will provide the door code to the Sarcophagus and entering said door triggers further mission tasks as usual.
- The game may then be concluded with either end strategy as usual.
Serious Subversion 1
- As noted in the previous section, 'jumping the wall' in Radar allows unauthorized access to the CNPP through the Radar Badlands.
- Should the player be so fortunate as to gain the Strange psi-helmet from a rare stash in the Monolith compound by the entrance to Lab X7, there might be no need for visits to Yantar or the Lost Factory for similar headgear.
- Whether this permits continuation to the Sarcophagus and the Generators will need to be investigated.
- (N.B. - The Strange psi-helmet has since been discovered to be non-functional)
Serious Subversion 2
- With reference to the Badlands section concerning Radar:
- If the player is so motivated to rush to the end, the runaround rigmarole concerning headgear is subvertible.
- In order to do this it is necessary to reach the rear of the NPP transition on the first visit to Radar within the fall dead time limit of a bit over four minutes.
- Apart from the time spent "negotiating free passage", the Brain Scorcher will disable the player's sprint repeatedly, further wasting time so it is advisable to use a vehicle.
- Planning ahead is also advised. The best jump to the Badlands is in the middle of the map over the hill-fence south of the snork gang.
- At this point the hill is at its steepest leaving little in the way of parking opportunities. Bailing out on the hill might let the vehicle crash into the truck, overturn unpredictably or just explode against a tree. Furthermore, if this is the "mobile stash" then recovery might be a later consideration and the player will need to perform this with or without Psi protection.
- It takes about two minutes to drive to this point and make a fist of running to the NPP transition. It is far more practical to leave any such "stash vehicle" in a reachable zone for a Freeplay rendevous.
- Use the provided Lada Niva Hospital Service near the Dead City transition. It saves time getting in and out of the favourite car, only has enough fuel to get to the hill anyway, and has no functional boot to store anything in.
- A good suit and a few Ball of Twine belt artifacts may also prove useful.
- Attempting this strategy will not have given the player the opportunity to visit Outskirts, get briefed by Ivancov about the Not adjusted psi-helmet obtained from Sakharov, but later (freeplay) access to the Outskirts should be possible via the Swamps transition.
- Freeplay access from Military Warehouses to Radar may also be permitted, allowing for a Badlands run to the Countryside transition with the possibility of acquiring the Functional psi-helmet without the dead weight of the semi-functional helmet from Yantar.
- In order for the player to have the opportunity to join Duty at a later stage of the game, it is a requirement that the Sin detachment at the Sin House in Cordon are exterminated.
- This may either be accomplished without entering into negotiations, discussions or pleasantries beforehand, in which case the Sin faction will be an enemy with a relation value of -550.
- Or the player may exploit the attack upon Sin by the Loners depending upon their success or lack of it, by eradicating the surviving Sin entities.
- In the second instance the player will achieve a lesser -80 relation with Sin who technically remain 'neutral' at this stage; however, the Go deeper into the mines task will be contraindicated by Petrenko anyway in either case.
- The difference between the two cases is that Voronin will require 4000 Ru for 'Duty membership' in the first example and 10000 Ru in the second example.
- The player will probably have views regarding the ethical nature of this precondition for Duty membership irregardless of the cost.
- Joining Duty also carries a permanent -250 point relation penalty with the Loner faction which may adversely affect trading returns.
- Relations with the Ecologists is further improved over and above what it may become if the player remains a Loner.
- Although the player remains bound to the Duty faction for the duration of the game, the Storyline rejoins the conventional plot line when the player is sent to help the scientists in Yantar.
- According to the game scripts, the following conditions need to be fulfilled before this becomes an option for the player:
- Ivancov may be severely wounded if a nearby Petrol can should mysteriously explode in his office, but he will probably limp off and need further 'help' to die. Silently assisting him on his way will incur a -150 point relation penalty with the Duty faction.
- If the player has been to the Dark Valley for the purposes of shopping with the Bandits or camping out at the Anomaly Fields and has received suitable headgear from Sakharov, it may well be possible to "jump the wall" at the Monolith Base in Radar and head for the Pripyat Underground transition and jump backwards into that.
- Since Sakharov is unlikely to be selling an Artifact Merger early in the game and only for 40000 Ru if he does, the free one here will be very useful.
- Although untested, entering Countryside and returning with the Moskvich near the entrance in a similar manner to the previous note may also be beneficial at this stage of the game. Other easily purloined transport will be on the inaccessible Darkscape level or prohibitively expensive.
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