The Guardian of Steel is a level found within the Seven Portals, the first hub of Hexen. This map bears the features of a fortress, as well as a prison, constructed entirely from various steel plates, sheets and pieces. The place is fairly noisy and the air is constantly filled with grinding or clanking.
- First Visit
You will start at a junction of two staircases. You will fight Ettins and Centaurs in each. If you are the Mage, there will also be Afrits. This level is highly symmetrical, so you can go in either direction and not find any significant differences. At the top of the stairs, there is a room with more Centaurs, a bullhead switch, Blue Mana, and a windowed section. The use of the bullhead switches will be described in the fourth and fifth paragraphs. Presently, you can open the steel pillar at the corner of the windowed section to enter. Several Ettins and a Green Chaos Serpent will greet you. Note that although the steel door acts like a crusher, it does not do any damage (but it will crush corpses). Once the room is cleared, you can proceed. To one side is a descending staircase, which leads to a small room. It will have an Ettin, Flechettes depending on the class you are playing (the Fighter three, the Mage two, the Cleric one), and a window overlooking a basement area with a cage and rusty walls. To the other side is a barrier which remains closed for now. In the center, you will proceed up a narrow staircase that leads to the central square.
Here, you will battle more Centaurs and Ettins (and Afrits for the Mage). Two of the corners of the square are blocked off. If you only went through one side of the initial area, you can go to the other open corner and ambush the monsters waiting there from behind. The square also has windows overlooking two different areas. One is icy and full of Wendigos. The other has many steel walls and Afrits. Be aware that these monsters can shoot at you through the grating, although the areas are inaccessible for now. There are two large doors - the western one requires the Steel Key, but the eastern door is available. Behind it is a Green Chaos Serpent in an elevator.
The elevator brings you down to the narrow basement corridors, where the path is forked. By default, the right-hand/southern path will be open, while the left is blocked. There will be varying numbers of Ettins here depending on difficulty. At the end of the right-hand path, you will find Mesh Armor and a puzzle switch. The switch solves one third of the puzzle. Be wary of the Green Chaos Serpents in the cage on your left. They can attack through the bars, but so can you. Before you leave, there is a Quartz Flask at the end of the long, darkened slot to the south. Having pulled one of the two switches, you will make your way back to the corridor at the start, where you will make use of the bullhead switches.
The bullhead switches control a large sliding block in the basement area. The northern switch will pull it north, while the southern switch pulls it south. If you pull up the map, you can see the block’s movement as you activate the switch. It will block one path while leaving the other open. You should hear a rushing sound and a distant clank as it moves. If you pulled the right-hand puzzle switch already, then simply pull the southern bullhead switch to make the other path available.
If you are the Cleric on a higher difficulty, your second weapon will be in the northern end room which is blocked by default. To get it as soon as possible, pull the southern bullhead switch at the beginning and go directly there. You can then come back and pull the northern bullhead switch to access both end chambers.
With the other path open, you will go back down the elevator. The left-hand/northern path leads to another end room with Blue Mana and the other puzzle switch. The caged Green Chaos Serpents will be on your right this time. If you are going in the other order, refer to the third paragraph for the right-hand/southern path. Once you have pulled both puzzle switches, your work here is done. The way back to Seven Portals is in the east where you began.
- Second Visit
This one is going to be very easy, as you appeared in the western part of the Guardian of Steel, perfectly symmetrical with the eastern one. So again, go through the stairs up to the room with the door pillar (you will notice that this time, it requires the Steel key to open), then through the other long stairs back to the central room and through the Steel key door you saw earlier on. There again, an elevator will take you down to two corridors. Go through the one that is accessible and pull the switch at its end. Then head back to the door pillar rooms and toy a bit with the bullhead switches there, so as to move the steel bar from the corridor it was blocking to the one you already went through. Then head back to the central room and through the Steel key door down and through the other corridor to yet another switch. Having pulled this one, everything that needed to be is done and you can merrily head back to the Seven Portals for the grand finale.
- Third Visit
You will appear in a room quite full of Wendigos so start running around and kill them all as quickly as possible, as their attacks can hurt a lot. After the killing, the walls of the room will slide down, revealing an even bigger room with more Wendigos. When all of them have been killed, take a look on the map to find out where exactly you are (relatively to the parts of the level you have already been to). On two sides of the room (where it touches the door pillar rooms) there are elevators that will take you to either one of the southern door pillar rooms. Go there and through the long stairs first down and then up again to the other (northern) door pillar room. There, symmetrically, the same elevators have started operating, letting you into another room, to the north of the central one, exactly to the opposite of the Wendigo room where you just had appeared.
This big room will be full of crushers, so explore it carefully, killing all the monsters you find on your way. On some wall right behind a crusher (again, random each time), you will find a face-shaped switch. If you have trouble finding it, just look on the map where it should be quite visible, due to the characteristic shape of switches there. Pull it and get back to the door pillar room and through the stairs into the central room. The central area of this room will have opened now as a platform. Jump upon it, kill all the centaurs there and then jump on the very central platform of the level, where a Torch is. As soon as you get on it, a message will tell you that "stones grind on the Seven Portals". So just go back there to finally reach the secret level.
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Notes & Trivia
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|Hexen - Hubs & Levels|
| Hub 1 |
|Seven Portals • Guardian of Ice • Guardian of Fire • Guardian of Steel • Bright Crucible|
| Hub 2 |
|Shadow Wood • Darkmere • Caves of Circe • Wastelands • Hypostyle • Sacred Grove|
| Hub 3 |
| Heresiarch's Seminary • Orchard of Lamentations • Silent Refectory • Wolf Chapel • Dragon Chapel •|
Griffin Chapel • Deathwind Chapel
| Hub 4 |
Castle of Grief
|Castle of Grief • Forsaken Outpost • Gibbet • Effluvium • Dungeons • Desolate Garden|
| Hub 5 |
|Necropolis • Zedek's Tomb • Menelkir's Tomb • Traductus' Tomb • Vivarium|