valve float? bad vanos? that wouldnt explain the steam but could for the ticking.
maybe a leaking headgasket? has the car ever over heated?
if you are having problems over heating look for a leak in the cooling system, replace the thermostat, and check the water pump. those are all easy things to check.
if you have bad compression maybe it was overreved and the valves are damaged. piston ring damaged would cause low compression as well.