Part 11: Oh The Weather Outside Is FrightfulPART 11 - Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful
Strap in, fuckers, this is gonna be a long one. 223 dicking screenshots.
"He's Russian, constantly drunk, and basically the worst CO ever."
Oh, huh. That's... surprising. They promoted Olaf over you, despite you being the more competent and sensible CO? I have many questions about Orange Star's upper management.
...That's not what he does. He might be popular with the troops but he is nowhere near "skilled".
In the dark conference room, an official points at one of the pieces of paper on the table. A single light shines down on the table, where various pictures of different COs are placed.
"What are you suggesting?"
"This man, here..."
"He's far from the most competent CO, Lord Petrov."
"Earl Ivanov, have faith. He is popular."
"Ah." a voice says. "You mean to control him, and thus control the people. Keep them... happy."
"Indeed, Lord Vasiliev. He is malleable enough."
"We shall tell him that it was his power that made us catch his eye, hm? And then he shall be ours."
"He is gullible, fellow lords. He will certainly be ours, should we... stroke his ego somewhat. Then we begin asserting our dominance in Orange Star."
Absolutely insane. Y'know, if he's the kind to switch allegiances that quickly, I feel like he definitely shouldn't have been so high up in your ranks.
I feel like "wretch" is an underwhelming word for a man who TURNED ON YOU, INVADED YOUR COUNTRY AND STAKED A CLAIM TO YOUR LAND, KILLING COUNTLESS FELLOW SOLDIERS IN THE STRUGGLE.
"Oh, what a scoundrel that Olaf is, eh?"
Jesus Christ, Nell.
Oh, man, we're actually almost there, huh? I don't know how to feel about that.
Nell believes in me. Here we go, gents, let's do it!
More missions. Guessing this one's gonna be about weather.
Huh, not many gimmicks to the map this time. Just two routes to Olaf, and a fuckload of units between Orange Star and his HQ. The two medium tanks and the numerous battle copters make me nervous.
And of course he has rockets, just for additional fuckery.
Oh, don't say that. Please don't tell me this map has additional nonsense on top of the dudestorm that's about to come down on us.
His power? Oh, right, CO powers. Can't wait for that.
You are absolutely underestimating my ability. I couldn't low-turn-count this if I tried.
(I did not try.)
Nell was surprisingly light on the bad news today. Ah well, let's analyse the field and figure out an attack strategy.
These two bro copters are probably the most immediate threats - there's nothing else with the range that they command. They'll need to be taken out first, but everything else is also gonna come attack us.
I think the best plan here is to advance slowly - I don't want to get caught in the forest. A lot of my units are one-shots against the right opponents, so manoeuvrability is going to be key here. Advancing slowly also means my units get split up less slowly, so I can gang up on certain troublesome units if I need to.
Michael drives the Alfonse Alliance over to the bottom here to start capturing cities, whilst Carl prepares for the bro copter to approach. It's a non-issue with him around, but my problem is that I only have one of him.
I send the mechs up...
And Larry down. Larry can move through the mountains with no problems, so keeping him in the middle should allow him to help out on either side - wherever he's most necessary.
Fred heads to the bottom path, whilst the Mulligan Missileers move up - they can do to the northern copter what Carl's gonna do to the southern one, just... from a distance.
Mulligan doesn't like to get his hands dirty.
Dave heads into the Bernard Batch's copter and gets dropped off on the other side of the mountain range. I don't know how crucial these cities are going to be for this map, but I'd rather be on top of them if I can.
Literally on top of them. Since that's how you capture them.
Olaf's turn. What's he got planned..?
I swear to god, Nell, this is your fault somehow.
I HAVE THE BIG CONCERN
Shit! Nell, status report, what are we looking at?
90% accuracy? My god, we're all fucked, run!
What amuses me most about this CO power cut-in is that it reveals Olaf is quite literally an armchair general. I just... I can't take it seriously, I really can't.
...Whoa. First things first, the palette change is super pleasant, I like it. Second things second, why do I get the feeling that this is not going to be beneficial for me in the slightest?
Olaf's troops all vaguely move forward. Most importantly, the bro copters got right into our range!
I'd fucking gathered that, Nell. What does it do?
Yes very good Nell
WHAT DOES IT DO
It is a well-known fact that the deafest thing on the planet is a mid-tutorial Nell.
No kidding. I guess we'll find out what 'devastating' actually means later.
Right, we've learnt about Olaf's, so what's yours?
Bad News Nell is at it again.
...But she did apologise! You know what, Nell, apology accepted. It's not your fault most of the time, I know.
I'm sorry too.
She must be feeling nicer towards me since I got her that Christmas present.
"He makes snow angels like you wouldn't BELIEVE."
If I go to Blue Moon later in this game's campaign and it doesn't have any snow, I'm going to be so pissed.
How did Blue Moon even find out about his snow powers, considering there's no snow in Orange Star?
That's an actual problem. I liked it better when you hadn't told me what snow does.
Remember what I said about needing manoeuvrability?
A few days? Sheesh. Olaf is gonna steamroll me if I don't get on the offensive and remove his heavy hitters.
...Alright, chumps, the sun is coming. We just have to hold out.
So, how do we begin?
First things first, we delete these bro copters.
Mulligan's the best.
Admittedly, this anti-air is now in an annoying position. I'm pretty confident that it'll one-shot Dave; during playing, I did forget that he was on a mountain. Which is why all the stupid things that are about to happen happened.
And the Carl Crew clean up the second copter.
They stood no chance. So that's the biggest threats taken care of, but new threats are gonna keep coming until the snow subsides. Sigh.
The ever-helpful Michael comes along to distract the enemy fire.
Alfonse begins capturing, basically because he has nothing better to do at the moment.
This is where Fred will come in. The Fred Fusiliers fire on this anti-air, weakening it. With such low HP, it won't be able to do as much damage to any of the units it can reach, which is handy.
I briefly considered sending the Larry Lot to take on this unit, but then I remembered it was called anti-air for a reason.
I move everyone that's nearer the bottom to the right. We're gonna be taking some heavy hits, so I need everyone I can get.
"Ah!" I thought. "I'll move Bernard out of the way, and Dave can move down so that's he safe!"
Movement costs being cut on already low-movement units on movement-lowering terrain ruined this brilliant idea.
Eventually I moved Tina one space up and slotted the Dave Division behind her. Now it's Olaf's turn, but at least the main problems have been taken out for now.
His infantry prioritising capturing over their actual lives never fails to amuse me.
This is a bit more threatening, but once again, Michael has proved his worth. This copter is in perfect Carl-kill range.
"I laugh at your attempts to defeat me!" shouts Michael.
Whilst this is going on, the anti-air bothers Mulligan.
'Bothers' being the operative word.
"I've had tickles more aggressive than that." Mulligan smirks. "Are you mad because missiles are better than anti-air units?"
"That is NOT true." Wilbert asserts.
"What's your kill-count for this mission so far, Wilbert?"
Aha, you thought Michael was safe? It was all a clever ploy.
"Michael died again." Tina says. "That seriously isn't normal."
"Hey, nobody's questioning it anymore." Steve replies. "It's just a thing that happens."
Alfonse stares at the burning wreckage of the APC with horror in his eyes. He turns to Bill and Eric, who shrug.
"Seriously, kid." Bill says. "He'll be back after the battle. Now focus on the task at hand."
And this is Olaf's forces at the end of the turn. The tanks are starting to reach me, and I've been trapped in the chokepoints. I can barely move my units, let alone get them into viable attacking positions. This is gonna be a nightmare.
Speaking of viable attacking positions, Mulligan is not in one. Direct fire is not his thing.
And then there's this asshole.
Right, may as well start off by deleting the complete non-issue that is the enemy bro copter squad.
(Spoilers: the enemy bro copter squad will continue to be an issue for the rest of the map. See that last one in the top-right corner? Remember him.)
I also need to get rid of the tank and the artillery, and I'm not sure I have the firepower for getting rid of both.
Damn. Rockets are really oppressive in the right positions!
Bill and Eric go bother an artillery.
Though, when I say 'bother', I mean 'grievously wound'.
Alfonse did a thing! And we're all very proud.
It was at this point that my brain starting working and I remembered that Wilbert is totally in range to shoot some things. The Wilbert Warriors begin reasserting control of the battlefield.
If you were in doubt, I still love Wilbert.
Tina can do a lot of damage to this tank, but I'm also wondering if I can get rid of the anti-air, too.
If I just reorganise some stuff here...
Dave, do your thing!
"I'll shoot it anyway." Dave grunts.
"No!" Barold shouts. "Dammit, Dave, focus!"
"NO SHOOTING ANTI-AIRS."
I decide to just have Tina take out the anti-air, because I think it's the more threatening thing. Uh... turns out the Tina Team are stupidly powerful. Who could've guessed?
I, too, like my enemy anti-air units to be completely atomised.
It's gonna do no damage, but it's very tempting.
"Dave, what did I just say about shooting tanks?" Barold says.
"It's right there, Barold, come on."
"You're not a fucking mech. Don't do it, man."
AND SOMEHOW HE MANAGES TO DO 2 DAMAGE AND TAKES NO COUNTER DAMAGE.
My god. Dave is fucking obscene. Is he secretly effective against tanks or something?
Larry hasn't done much yet, so I go to attack this mech. If I can weaken him, he won't be able to finish his capture next turn, making him waste more turns finishing the capture.
It indirectly buys me a little time. And time is what I need right now.
Speaking of time, it's passing and now... Olaf's turn again.
The plan works out exactly as expected. This scrub can't even crush an entire city on his own.
The artillery go for Carl, probably because he's a psychotic weirdo.
Wilbert isn't strong because he's artillery. He's strong because he is Wilbert.
By which I mean, this is a sad attempt at an attack.
The turn ends with that tank, so dismayed by the fact that an infantry squad did two damage to it, fleeing north.
I would too, tank. I would too.
The Fred Fusiliers laugh at the range of the artillery.
Beautiful, rockety death.
This allows the Carl Crew to use their weird quirk of being really strong against infantry units to their full advantage by shooting this mech.
They do take some counter damage, though. Carl's looking pretty beat up now.
Bill and Eric go to finish the mechs off.
This asshole isn't getting away from me that easily, though. Larry chases him down.
However, it occurs to me that this medium tank needs to be lured over so I can kill him. And we already know how good bro copters are at completely ignoring damage from medium tanks.
So I attack from the right instead, parked in the range of the medium tank.
Nell grins with the joy of somebody who is about to lure a large armoured vehicle to its complete demise.
The Alfonse Alliance was so buoyed up by their first victory against a city that they immediately go to capture a second.
Either the snow got drastically worse or the screen faded to white.
Please be the latter.
Wahey! Finally. I was getting sick of the tiny little movement ranges.
I love how Olaf gives his soldiers pep talks. "We probably scared them a bit maybe? I dunno, g'luck out there, I'll be in this armchair yelling to the heavens if you need me."
Funnily enough, I was intending to regroup. The snow's gone but that doesn't put me at a clear advantage, so I still need to remain cautious, especially with those medium tanks hanging around.
This guy is still valiantly trying his best. I'll put him out of his misery next turn.
Also, this enemy mech appears out of nowhere and starts going for my cities. I really wasn't paying attention to the mechs, but at least he targeted my cities instead of my dudes, right?
Operation Bait Stupid Unit is go.
It went off without a hitch. Glorious work, Larry.
Uh, thanks? It wasn't actually as bad as I was expecting, and I would've been fine had I expected it from the get-go.
Yeah, I'm aware. I'm dealing with them. Slowly.
Bill/Eric finish off the tank down below.
Fred continues to shoot all the things I don't like.
I'm starting to enjoy having rockets in convenient locations.
And Carl trivialises the problem for good.
Alfonse even finishes his capture. Everything down south is looking pretty solid right now!
Besides that one mech. I'll get to him.
The other mech, though? I got to him.
Barry hops into Bernard's copter to be dropped off further over.
He begins a staring contest with the enemy mech.
Olaf's turn again. Man, he was a lot more threatening several turns ago. Everything down south is sorted, and nothing near his HQ has come to attack me, so I'm doing fine.
This guy does his thing. Well done, mech.
We will reward you with a swift and painless death.
The only other interesting thing to happen this turn is the continuation of Operation Bait Stupid Unit.
It's not a sustainable baiting, I'll agree. But the medium tank is almost in range of the rest of our units now, so we're getting there.
hello wait what
...guess who forgot to make sure everyone down below was out of the medium tank's range?
Well, if there's gonna be a stupid mistake in this map, at least it's not a lethal one.
Hang in there, Bill and Eric.
This occurs at the start of my turn. Oh great, more adverse weather effects.
A blessing, huh? Rain? Dare I say, is it down in Africa?
Bad News Nell, welcome back. It's like you never left.
Because you didn't.
...Huh. That's actually convenient for me! Finally, some good news this mission.
That's still just as unfeasible as it was at the beginning of the map. But I do have an idea now!
This guy has a very sad movement range now.
Carl decides to sate his bloodlust by attacking this mech.
It goes well!
...Fuck. Gonna have to take him out this turn now, he's in with a chance of killing Carl.
Barry, from the mountains high, shoots down bullets. More conveniently, he takes no counter damage.
Finally, the Alfonse Alliance plucks up the courage to perform some actual combat.
"I... I did it!" Alfonse says, looking hopefully up at everyone.
"You sure did." Barry says. "Congrats, kid."
"Truly, you have felt the blood touch you now." Carl whispers. "You will never feel clean again, nor will you ever feel as alive as the moment that the click of your trigger extinguished a life."
Everybody falls silent, and Alfonse makes a mental note not to invite Carl to his birthday party.
Bill and Eric have a dire need to not be anywhere within several spaces of that medium tank, so they book it.
And we're good! Gosh, that really was the best possible time for the rain to start.
I move Bernard up to prepare for my plan. Which is basically to get an infantry unit over to the HQ already and capture it whilst the rain is happening.
Don't think I haven't noticed you, bro copter. Your demise is coming.
Dave hops in.
"Why is it, whenever I mount an attack on the HQ, it's always you?" asks an incredulous Bernard.
"I get shit done." Dave replies. "Come on, we're wasting time."
Wilbert gets to do two things this mission! Here's his second one.
I hope you enjoyed this nice reminder that the Wilbert Warriors exist.
Now, the rockets over there are going to pose a threat to any copter that tries to drop Dave into range of the HQ, so the Larry Lot will be our advance unit, taking out the enemy before we arrive.
Rain, Olaf. You've heard of it, right?
He couldn't be more of a pantomime villain if he tried.
His troops are so motivated that none of them move this turn.
And then it was my turn again!
So much for being in high spirits.
Larry immediately sends a nice greeting to the enemy rocket squad.
It was not well-received.
Wait, I lied, Wilbert does three things in this mission.
There we go.
Also, it's on 1 HP.
Is it time... for the Ultimate Disrespect part II?
As hilarious as this would be, I'd rather not risk it this far into the mission.
We all know my infantry are totally capable of the Ultimate Disrespect though.
I move Tina up, since the Tina Team should be able to deal with the problem quite handily.
Down south, I park Bill and Eric, and Carl, on the cities so they can heal up a little.
I don't know why. Am I just suspicious of reinforcements after so many Fire Emblem games?
Alfonse starts capturing this city. He's going for the hat trick!
Right, time to actually do the thing that will help me beat this mission.
I move Fred into the range of the medium tank. Just to bully it, really.
Olaf did nothing in his enemy phase.
Well done, Olaf.
This thing continues to not be dead. It is weakened enough that it won't be an issue, at least.
And I put Bernard and Dave out of range, right here. If I take it out next turn, Dave's got a clear run to the HQ.
Yes, I remember the bro copter. I told you, I'm going to deal with it.
Alfonse gets the hat trick, ladies and gents! Truly, the bestest boy. Well done, Alfonse.
Speaking of bullying, are you ready for what Tina's about to do to this enemy medium tank?
Bitches love cannons.
I don't even know why it's bothering to let me know that it is Olaf's turn. What can he do?
As if to mildly inconvenience me, the rocket squad flees over there.
I get Bernard out of range. He's done his job; it's down to Dave and Larry now.
In lieu of something to do, Steve and Barold do their regular thing of capturing cities.
Larry, still somehow able to fight, goes for the bro copter.
If you think this looks bad, it is.
Victory is not earned without sacrifice.
I have two choices here - fire on the rocket squad, or start the capture.
However, nobody is in the range of the rocket squad, and if it moves away from the Dave Division, it'll only end up playing right into Tina's treads.
With this sound logic, I opt to capture.
"Dave, how are you doing?" shouts Larry.
"I need more time!" Dave says. "Hold off the copter!"
"I can't!" Larry says, desperately hitting buttons as his copter squad comes under fire. "If I attack again, it could kill me; Dave, it's heading for you!"
"Shit!" Dave mutters, drawing his gun. "Squad, form up. We might be under copter fire shortly - focus on capturing at all costs, though!"
"Are they gonna be alright?" Barold says.
"I hope so." Tina replies, her countenance worried. "I really, really hope so."
Olaf's turn. The copter does as expected, and prioritises the unit currently capturing their HQ.
It's a blessing in disguise, though. They could've killed the Larry Lot, whereas the defence bonus from the HQ lets Dave survive far easier.
To add insult to injury more than anything, I finish the captures with Steve and Barold.
The rocket squad also moved as predicted - am I finally learning how Advance Wars AI works? - and Tina greedily goes for the kill.
That's all the main problems removed. Just the HQ left now.
I go for the bro copter, but don't have the firepower to finish it. God damn, this thing's annoying.
SO CLOSE. Keep it together, Dave Division!
Oh my god, please no.
But it's now too weak to do damage! I think we're good!
And it's my turn, but as a final fuck you...
I eradicate the offending copter.
The troops at the HQ cheer as the last copter blows up, falling out of the sky.
"Got the bastard." Larry sighs into the intercom.
"You did good, soldier." Dave says. "I'll take it from here - go back and get patched up."
Can we all just have a moment of respect for the Larry Lot in this mission? Took out enemy mechs capturing cities, lured tanks, dealt with an annoying rocket squad, then fought tooth and claw to protect Dave whilst he was capturing the HQ! I liked bro copters before, but now I feel Larry has truly earned the title of BRO COPTER.
And there we go! My god, that was an arduous map.
I see. So COs have strengths, but also weaknesses. Good to know. I wonder what Nell's weakness is?
...God, I hope it's ACOs who are a little flirty, nervous but also highly adept at strategy.
Thank you! I'm so pleased that this all turned out OK. It was getting dicey in those last few turns.
Man, Nell, that pleases me to hear. I guess you're not so bad after all. I'm feeling so happy right now, not even the worst bad news you could give me would knock the wind out of my sails!
No, no, Nell, you can't-
...I need some time.
This can't be happening.
The Barracks: Dave and Michael 2
Michael stops eating his lunch, feeling a pair of eyes boring into him. He turns to see Dave sat a few seats down, looking at him curiously. The minute Dave realises Michael has spotted him, he comes over to sit beside the young man.
Uh, you alright?
Yeah. Dave says. I dont get you. Ive seen you die three times in battle now, at least, and you come back every damn time without a single memory of dying. I dont get it.
Oh, that? Michael replies. He shrugs. I dont know. Its convenient, though I can draw enemy fire without putting anyone else in danger.
If you dont want to tell me, fine. Dave says, glaring at Michael.
Michael tilts his head, realising that Dave isnt convinced, then leans in conspiratorially. Alright. This is for your ears only, mind; my mom is psychic. Shes a hotline psychic by trade, and some of her powers were passed down to me.
Dave stares intently at Michael, trying to figure out if hes telling the truth or not.
I draw enemy fire by exuding the right kind of aura, and I can foresee the moment of my own destruction - a few minutes later, Ill wake up in a field near the wreckage, completely unharmed.
Thats Dave whispers. That cant be true. Psychics arent real.
Michael stands up and begins to walk away from the table. He turns back to Dave.
If psychics arent real, how do you explain it?
Dave watches the figure walk away, his mind racing.
It cant he whispers to himself. Or maybe?"