Part 43: Once You Go Black, You Never Go BackPART 43 - Once You Go Black, You Never Go Back
Welcome back, everyone, to Let's Play Advance Wars, where for the first time in quite a while, we're playing as Dipshit, since he won the vote in a landslide.
And... huh. I guess this is the mission where we'll be meeting our mystery Andy clone.
I see. So Eagle's is in this mission, just as an ally. Looks like the real villain is using black, because of course he is. The evilest colour.
That's quite dramatic.
Eagle, meanwhile, is apparently in Serious Mode.
Oh, shit, Eagle just had a Character Development MomentTM! Good job, Eagle. Proud of ya.
Dipshit, however, entirely disregards what Eagle was saying and notices that there's a clone of him on this map. Out of respect for his clone not being as stupid as him, we'll call the clone Andy.
"I think I prefer him to you, honestly."
Apparently the plot is just going to handwave this particular development, so what the hell, cloning is just possible in Wars World, apparently.
...I mean, it DOES explain why every one of my soldiers has a unit filled with their exact clones... holy shit, did I predict the cloning thing before it happened?
I was about to complain about this game's plot and say "why didn't he attack Orange Star then?" but that does make sense, since we'd have known it was a clone immediately otherwise. Our villain must be pretty smart to engineer such a conflict between the countries with just one clone.
No, Dipshit, he's making it uOF COURSE HE'S SERIOUS, THE CLONE IS RIGHT THERE.
Oh, wait, maybe we do get to play as Eagle after all!
Let's hope they're more useful than the average Fire Emblem green unit, anyway...
That's fair. I expect good things, Eagle, you're one of the two competent COs in this game.
(Grit's the other one. Sonja doesn't count because she's only competent in cutscenes.)
And, uh, apparently Eagle has forgotten who makes the plans around here. I'm the ACO, I'll decide what we do!
So, before we talk strategy, let's take a look at this map. Firstly, we've got all these dudes.
"Hey there, folks." says the lead plane. An older man is watching the field from on high. "I'm Edgar, and I'm an old hand at aerial combat. These are some of Eagle's finest troops - Otis, Petra, Franklin and Wade. And over there..."
"Pleased to meet ya!" says one of the men in the bombers. "We're a top-notch bombin' squad - I'm Gus, and my buddies here are Bruce and Mack."
Well, let's, uh, hope they all stay alive. Let's get a look at our clone CO, anyway.
Welp, he's exactly the same as Dipshit. I was expecting at least a different CO description to fit the fact that he's, you know, fucking evil, but whatever. Same CO power, too, which isn't a surprise.
Aw. You can't control them directly; I guess they're independent. Dammit, there's absolutely no way they'll all live, then. The AI in this game is, uh...
Well, it'd struggle to pass remedial colouring in, let's put it that way.
And here's the HQ we were told to storm. Three medium tanks, two battleships, bombers, rockets and artillery... unless we do something about all of that, there's no hope of getting everyone there in one piece. So, what's the plan?
Well, Eagle is adept at air combat - if he can take out all of the fighter jets quickly enough, we should be able to pull off a nice pincer movement - first, we lure the enemy units across the bridge to the leftmost area of the island, using one of the mountains or forests as a chokepoint. Tina could do that if need be. Then, whilst we're distracting the enemy, we can send someone in Bernard to nab the HQ. It all depends on how these first few turns of Eagle vs Andy go, though.
Also, Selena starts in a cruiser's range because this game hates submarines. We'll have to move her.
Gareth hops into Bernard, which is becoming something of a recurring trend. Those two must be good buddies.
Alfonse heads north, and Arthur gets into Rin.
Dave and Michael, meanwhile, pull off the Russian doll effect...
There we go. We'll bring them a little more north to start trying to claim some territory before the medium tanks show up.
I drop them up here.
And then Tina rumbles into action. She's gonna have her work cut out for this map.
I tentatively move Bernard upwards, also - I'll probably have to retreat him once the fighter jets move down. Currently he's being protected by Eagle's Wall of Planes, but obviously they're going to break formation to attack on his turn.
Evasive manoeuvres with Lloyd and Selena, also. We need to keep Lloyd moving up, since his ranged support will be a massive help at the chokepoint. Selena, though, just kinda needs to stay out of the way or risk getting completely ruined.
Ooh, nice, Eagle gets his turn before Andy. That's pretty useful!
I mean, everyone was fooled, Eagle. Besides Sonja, who has access to the game's script.
Edgar opens hostilities by targeting the bomber here.
And, gosh, it is satisfying to watch Eagle murder the fuck out of something that isn't my own units.
Franklin enters the fray.
Man, I wonder what it's like, having five fighter jets in one map.
Must be nice.
Anyway, Wade's turn now.
Man, Eagle is just tearing through these planes. If I'd been in control, I probably would have priorities doing damage to the fighters, though, since they can counterattack - the bombers get one-shot anyway, and it'll be a few turns before they can be in range of any of my units.
But no, it's cool, do your thing, Eagle. Petra decides to finish off one of the weakened fighter jets.
And she does a good job! Well done, Petra.
"Nice one, Petra." Edgar says over the transceiver.
"Thank you! I'll keep trying hard!" she replies brightly. "You don't have to worry about me; I've got this!"
Finally, Otis heads into action.
That's definitely a good start, Eagle. Now the question is, what are the bombers gonna go for?
Please be the medium tanks. Please.
Gus decides that this battleship is annoying him.
Just shy of a oneshot, but hey, that's pretty good. One less battleship to worry about - all it can do is shitty chip damage.
Bruce, meanwhile, heads for the cruiser. I forgot that bombers can attack naval units, honestly - this might be useful.
And holy fuck, he delivered. I didn't need to move Selena out of the way after all!
Mack also wants to help.
God damn, Eagle is SHREDDING this map. Do I even need to be here? I could leave, Eagle, if you'd prefer. You seem to have things covered.
And after all that, it's finally Andy's turn.
Ooh, threatening. Well, he's certainly more likeable than Dipshit already. Maelstrom... is that the name of his master, or is he saying that he's a maelstrom? We'll never know.
...Well, I suppose we will once we find out who the big villain is.
Also, wow, Eagle. You did so much damage that he pulled off a turn 1 CO Power. That's kind of impressive.
He still looks goofy.
Special sparkles of power surround Andy's units - the most worrying part of this is that the half-damaged fighters are now healed enough to get their own back on Eagle.
And the token infantry unit does the token "instantly capturing the nearest property". Some things never change.
This fighter jet is desperate to kill the hell out of Mack.
"Hah! It'd take twice your numbers to take me down!" Mack laughs.
Mack's laughter stops moments later.
"Mack! Rest well, old friend." Otis says mournfully. "May the Forest of Light serve as your eternal home..."
"Forest of Light, guide us." Edgar prays quickly. "Right then... let's not underestimate our opponents. Seems like they're out for blood."
And indeed they are - Bruce is the next target.
That one just ends up being a massacre. Eagle, stop letting all your planes die!
This isn't going to end well.
"I'm not in a great situation!" Wade says, nervously trying to keep his plane from spiralling out of control. "Come on, Wade... you got this. Don't embarrass Eagle and Edgar in front of Orange Star..."
"Uh oh." Edgar replies.
"Are you guys doing alright?" asks Michael, observing the skies above the battlefield. "I was expecting it to be more one-sided."
"Argh! I'm sorry, everyone! May the Forest of Light protect me... oh goddess... oh goddess...."
Wade's plane crashes into the ocean in a fiery explosion.
"It would have been more one-sided." sighs Edgar. "But Eagle's not really got his best units right now."
"Why's that?" asks Dave.
Edgar laughs hollowly. "Because you, Orange Star, killed most of 'em!"
An awkward silence follows this comment, and the transceivers are shut off moments later.
A submarine is approaching us. I don't think it's going to be terribly threatening, but I at least want to take it out before it gets close enough to hurt Lloyd. We'd better keep an eye on it.
Hey, it's our turn! It's been a while.
We can squeak Lloyd up here, just out of the range of the enemy battleships.
As predicted, though, I need to get Bernard and Gareth out of here.
I fly 'em over here. They'll be able to head out once Eagle finishes the fighter jets.
At least, I hope Eagle finishes the fighter jets... I don't really have any counters to them if his air squad all die.
Arthur and Alfonse do some property capturing to while away the time. We'll get to have a proper battle very shortly, don't worry, lads.
This is about how things shape up at the end of my turn. We didn't make it up to those northern mountains fast enough to make it our chokepoint, but considering that the battleship can fire on that area, perhaps that's for the best. We'll try and hold this central area around Tina for now.
Hey, Eagle, feel free to actually kill all the enemies this time.
Edgar begins the assault once more.
The bomber is down! Slowly, the biggest threats on this map are being removed.
...We'll work on getting rid of the medium tanks, I swear.
...A bit. Come on, Franklin, get it together.
"I'll help out!" Petra replies, swooping in.
And she sure does kill that fighter jet on 1 HP. What a good use of your turn, Petra.
Otis tries to avenge his buddy Mack.
Almost, Otis. Almost.
Gus just kind of... goes for this lander that wasn't doing anything?
Like, great work, but also, what the fuck.
I mean, he currently is getting the better of you. But-
oh! He's talking mid-battle! Lightning Strike time?
God, this is hype as hell when it's not against you. Crush them all, Eagle! Leave none remaining!
I mean, seriously, leave none remaining, otherwise your lower defences next turn are going to come back to bite you.
Edgar finally does the Mack avenging.
Franklin assaults this plane up here.
I wonder what the plane equivalent of 'bote' is? Plaen? Playn? I have no idea.
Anyway, Petra's showing off again.
Though I can't deny, she did that pretty well.
Otis just kinda shoots this nearby plane since Edgar stole the other kill.
"Yo, was that a falcon?" he says, staring out of his cockpit.
"Otis! Focus on the battle at hand!" barks Edgar. Otis falls silent.
Finally, Gus decides to go for the more threatening bote, the battleship.
OK, one down. One left.
However, it's time for Andy's turn.
God bless this game's AI.
One of the damaged planes just goes off the rails and guns right for Gus.
Welp, that sure happened. Urgh, the black planes just remind me of crows...
Unsurprisingly, Gus survives this as well as an alcoholic at a wine-tasting course.
Thanks for your hard work, Gus.
"Rest easy, Gustav." Edgar replies. "Pet, I-"
"...It's OK. These things happen." Petra replies. "Gus... thanks for looking after me when my parents couldn't."
"Any... time..." gasps Gus, moments before his bomber collides with the sea and sinks beneath the unforgiving waves.
Oh, fuck, something's interacting with my units. Been a while.
"Hang on tight, Dave!" Michael says, readying the APC against the incoming tank fire.
"I eat tanks for breakfast." grunts Dave.
"Yeah, so you've said..." Michael grins. "But where's the proof?"
"I heard that Dave onthe killed a tank on hith own!" Rin says. "Though, that wath way before I joined... it wath a rumour at military academy."
The conversation continues as this sub tries to be sneaky. It doesn't work.
"That ain't quite true." sighs Gareth. "The tank was severely weaken-"
"Hey, let her think what she likes." Dave replies, grinning. "You're right, Rin, I killed a tank."
"That'th tho heroic!" Rin gasps, and Dave instantly grimaces.
"...No, not quite... urgh, never mind!"
My turn. Now we need to figure out how best to handle...
Well, this. Two medium tanks basically on our doorstep. This will need to be carefully managed if we're to get everyone out alive.
With the amount of firepower coming to us, a strategic retreat is in order. We interrupt Arthur's capturing to get him the hell out of here, courtesy of Rin's delivery thervice.
You stay back there. Good boy.
Tina nabs the city. It still provides a defence bonus, even if she won't get any healing from it. And any enemies that come down to attack her will have to come into range of Lloyd. I'm going to rocket the fuck out of those medium tanks.
Let's just move Lloyd in, actually, so he can cover more range.
I put Bernard here, too - this is juuuuust out of range of the fighter jets, but I think they'll be dead in Eagle's next turn, so I want Bernard ready to fly out. The quicker we get capturing that HQ, the less time I have to hold the line against this horde of tanks.
Come on, Eagle. Make me proud.
Edgar makes an excellent start.
One plane left. Come on...!
...Why are you attacking from that side, Franklin? You're blocking the way for Petra and Otis!
I... that didn't work out like you hoped, did it? Sigh.
Petra and Otis just kind of latch onto the other two, since they can't actually get close enough to attack. Speaking of attacking, it's Andy's turn.
I have a feeling Franklin's dead.
Oh, ooh, yeah. That was nasty. At least the other three should survive, since they can gank that final fighter next turn.
I call this one "cosmicPostman-forgets-that-tanks-can-go-on-shoals-and-regrets-everything.png"
This one, however, is called "tanks-are-fucking-useless-against-botes.jpg"
"Yer gonna have to do better than that, bucko!" shouts Lloyd from the prow of his ship. "Lads, ready the cannons - we've got a greetin' to give these black soldie- wait, fuck, no, that's wrong."
"Black-clad soldiers, perhaps?" suggests Alfonse. Lloyd chuckles.
"Aye, much better, lad."
He comes. Everlasting, eternal. Andy's submarine.
The medium tanks and infantry advance, and we're on the cusp of battle...
Unfortunately, that's all we have time for today. Join us next time as we desperately try to get Gareth to the HQ before the medium tank squad murders everyone I've ever known and loved. I mean, this entire map was mostly Eagle vs Andy, but next time, it'll be up to us to actually finish the map. See you soon!
As for the support votes, Tina and Lucy won by a huge margin. Next time, we have a smaller pool to pick from (I decided to cut the ones that people most likely don't care much about) - who do you want to see finish their supports next?
Cassandra and Lucy (1 remaining)
Lucy and Ingo (2 remaining)
Lucy and Michael (1 remaining)
Rin and Dave (2 remaining)
Alfonse and Mulligan (1 remaining)
Mulligan and Cassandra (1 remaining)
Lloyd and Elvin (2 remaining)
Howard and Mulligan (2 remaining)
Selena and Alfonse (2 remaining)
The Barracks: Tina and Lucy 3
Tina finds Lucy sitting in her bomber, eyes shut, listening to music. As the taller girl enters, Lucy opens her eyes and takes off her headphones.
Yo, Lucy. Saw you palling around with Ingo the other day. I wanted to get the details straight from the source.
Oh, its nothing, really. Were just friends for now - with how emotionally vulnerable he is, itd be taking advantage of him if I tried to make things romantic, you know? Lucy replies.
Surprisingly mature of you. agrees Tina. Makes sense.
You and Wilbert still good? Lucy asks.
Tina nods. Absolutely. You know, Lucy, there was something else I actually wanted to tell you today.
Lucy falls quiet, and watches Tina expectantly.
I just want to say that you impress me. Tina says. You know, I originally wanted to be friends with you mostly so I could keep an eye on you. Felt some kinda responsibility, since you were so young and all.
Tina runs a hand through her hair as she tries to put together her words carefully.
When I was your age, I was in rough shape. I lost my parents when I was pretty young they were both soldiers too. After a few years of sleeping rough and taking what I needed, I knew I couldnt keep it up forever. So there was only one choice, really. Go to war like my ma and pa, and become a soldier.
Thats Lucy breathes, horrified.
Military academy is tough. You probably found the same thing, with boys thinking theyre men looking down on you. Makes you stronger, and makes you kinda hate the idea of going to war with them all. I got very aggressive during that time. Still am, sometimes.
Lucys eyes drift to the ground, and she nods. I understand that. They were always leering.
But military academy trains us all. Tina replies. With each year, the boys get less rowdy and more mature, and we got stronger and more capable. Took a lot of years, but I felt like I was getting closer to my parents when I finally got sent to join the Orange Star Army.
Lucy smiles brightly. You really are getting closer to them, I believe. Youve become such a core part of this army! Were like a family.
A family. Tina says, her hand resting on her stomach for a moment, lost in thought. Yeah, I guess so. But what Im trying to say is that it took me a long time to get here. And youre so many years younger than me, and already as mature I respect you, Lucy. Handling the Ingo situation so well, dealing with your shitty mom and your upbringing, looking after your dad youre pretty incredible.
Tina grins at Lucy; the younger tries not to blush furiously. Thank you, Tina! Youre amazing too, and we can be even more amazing together!
Yeah, we sure can. I got your back in battle, and I know you got mine. Tina replies. Lucy cute name for a cute girl."