---QUOTATION--- It is truly Man made hell. ---END QUOTATION---
That's what gives it its charm, isn't it?
Made a trip to the Cordon mechanic and back just in time to save the last remaining stalker from a large group of snorks. Then just a minute later he died in the anomaly anyway. After the first anomaly casualty all the stalkers start dying the same way soon after another, unless this is scripted I guess something breaks after a while.
It's interesting how the mutant attacks seem to escalate after a few days. In the beginning individual snorks often arrived one by one, which made them easy to deal with as long as you're vigilant (don't trust the PDA alerts, snorks may sneak up without warning). But then after a few days mutants started arriving from the south, including packs of pseudo-dogs. Finally snorks from the north started arriving in larger groups, like six snorks closely together, or fanning out so they approached the Devilish Encampment from different direction, so I had to run fast to catch them all.
I've restarted from the beginning of the level. This time I made sure to kill all mutants nearby Witcher's Circle before completing the ambush mission (this avoided the chaotic defense task which usually takes place just as the annoying cut scene starts playing). At first this broke the dialog with the surrendering ambusher, so I couldn't get info on Strelok's stash from him, but it sorted itself out on my second attempt.
BTW, I read somewhere that the Red Forest Bloodsucker doesn't start spawning until you've responded to the SOS signal, but now I encountered him even before that. The stalkers at Witcher's Circle helped me shoot him.
This time I've intentionally rushed through Red Forest, except for some quick artifact hunting and killing newly spawned dog packs so that they won't attack the stalkers at Witcher's circle or Dark Yar. I've let the stalker squad at Dark Yar stay put, didn't kill the pseudogiant on my way to Forester, and didn't clear the mine from poltergeists.
After arriving in Army Warehouses no new mutants have spawned in Red Forest so far (if the PDA is to be trusted). I've only spoken with the Freedom outpost commander, not the mercs in the bloodsucker village.
A few Monolith squads have poured in from the Brain Scorcher, killing everything in their way. A couple of Freedom squads have arrived in AW from Dark Valley (through Garbage) but haven't been able to kill a single Monolithian (that I've seen) and consequently haven't been able to reach Red Forest yet (like I recall they usually do soon after Duty enters the mine).
I went back to the Limansk bridge to get my Vintar, so I could kill the Military sniper in AW and get the artifact north of the military base.
Sure enough there were new mutant dogs in the Forest that didn't show up on the PDA earlier. Also a new bloodsucker appeared, he seemed to ignore the Stalkers at Witcher's Circle, instead running circles around the rock I was taking cover on. Had to step down to make him reveal himself and become vulnerable.
While in most cases, the PDA Map representation of a squad of NPCs or a
group of mutants is an indication of the leader, that does not mean that a
group of people or mutants can't exist in any area without that visual cue.
Decided to engage the poltergeists in the mine. Three Dutyers had spawned inside the metal plate, which also killed two of them, but didn't awake the poltergeists.
I decided to climb down the ladder and try to attack the poltergeists from the below. This usually ends badly, but this time I was able to take cover at the top of the tunnel, near the metal plates.
Using the tank machine gun against the poltergeists turned out to be very effective, which makes be believe they are not hard to hit, just very tough to kill (otherwise a shotgun would have worked better). Three (?) poltergeists were killed this way, then - when all seemed quiet - I walked down the slope only to be killed by the fourth one which waited further down below.
The tunnel yielded a Firefly artifact, but alas the Bulldog had dropped out of the geometry as usual (I cheated and used the flycam to check before bothering to go in there).