Starbound - Catacombs #1 - Erchius Mining Facility
Starbound is one of my favorite games of all time, especially when added onto with the modpack known as Frackin' Universe. To show my love for the game, I will begin a series of articles known as Catacombs, where I explore my favorite dungeons from Starbound and Frackin' Universe.
The first dungeon that I will be covering is known as the Erchius Mining Facility. Lets begin, shall we?
To access this mission, you must first complete the tutorial of the game, involving exploring a singular planet and collecting enough resources to enter an outpost, located on an meteor orbiting a gas giant on some faraway star. A man by the name of Penguin Pete offers to fix your FTL drive for free - which had been fried during your escape from earth, now destroyed by what seems to be a discount eldritch horror named The Ruin. However, in return for this action, you must investigate what exactly happened to the Erchius Crystal Mining Facility he typically orders his materials from. You see, in Starbound, Erchius Crystals are the key to FTL travel, and the mines he orders the crystals from has not sent him a message in an unusual amount of time. So, you are given the coordinated to the shafts, and must investigate - what happened to the Erchius Mining Facility?
Well, it's very simple.
The worst-case scenario...
When accessing this mission, I would recommend you have the following equipment on your person;
- A moderate amount of healing items (Bandages, preferably)
- A set of Tier 1 Armor
- A melee and ranged weapon for usage interchangeably
- The Dash and Double-Jump Techs
- (If on normal/hard) A supply of food
- Explosives (No, I'm not Morshu.)
As you arrive, you are struck by the loud and admittedly great-sounding song known as Ocean Battle. However, much like the name of the song itself, it doesn't quite fit the mission. You can leave it on if you'd like, but here's what I'd recommend;
Go into Options, and turn the music down to 0, while keeping the sound effects on. Then, turn on a different song from the soundtrack; 'Nomads'. Here is a link to the song on youtube for your convenience.
Now, back to the actual mission itself. You arrive right outside the employee's areas; sleek metallic walls are bathed in darkness, the only solace being the bright red emergency lights that fill the corridors. Something's wrong.
Exploring deeper, you find that the caverns are sealed shut due to a lockdown. You must search for the lever to re-open the caverns, but keep your weapons ready. Because, right as you open the locks...
... A pink, humanoid beast will jump from the vents above, and start to attack you. These are Moontants; they have two methods of attack. The first is a simple charge, while the second involves them standing still for a moment, before spitting a large quantity of pink goop at you, dealing a high amount of damage. Use the Dash tech for an easier way of avoiding this attack.
After you fight through these creatures, you will enter the mines, encountering even more Moontants and a few isolated groups of surviving personnel. Assist them in combatting the moontants, but remember to pull back when necessary to use healing.
As you explore deeper into the mines, you'll soon find that the player is approaching a large drop; this will soon lead to the boss fight against the Erchius Horror. While quite easy with the double jump tech, I would recommend you turn your music back on for the fight, as the in-game music fits much better than Nomads does.
When you finish, you get the following as your loot, so long as you look in the majority of the chests;
- The Spacesuit Cosmetic Set
- Various Blueprints
- Mining Operator Cosmetic Set
- Pickaxes, Iron Bars and Stim Packs
- Various Codexes
- Capture Pods (2)
And, most importantly of all, you are given the ability to explore the cosmos with a new FTL drive! Overall, the loot is very good, although an incentive to replay the mission in the late-game could have helped.
Another important part of the mission is the atmosphere; Although the more combat-heavy, bombastic feeling that the game originally desired doesn't fit at all, the sci-fi horror feeling that you are given when you use Nomads as the background track is a legitimately scary at times.
The level design is incredibly good as well; you need excellent placements of ropes, double jumps, and flares to know where you're going and actually get there.
And, finally, we have the boss fight against the Erchius Horror. It is a bit easy, yes, but it is the first boss; that is to be expected. The focus on movement is also very helpful for a new player who has yet to be antiquated with the nuances of combat. It is exactly what I expected for a starting boss, and that's not necessarily a bad thing at all!
Overall, the Erchius Mining Facility is an excellent start to Starbound. Taking the training wheels off, the game lets you quietly step into the deep, dark beyond, all alone.
9 / 10.
Current Dungeon Rankings;
1. Erchius Mining Facility
Next Up: The Hunting Grounds.