Part 8: Mission 7: Sea For All (or "Don't talk to strangers, kids")
Mission 7: Sea For All (or "Don't talk to strangers, kids")
And now for the penultimate Orange Star mission.
Addressed to me? I wonder what it says...
Sir? What does it say?
It's a challenge. It says, "If you're not a coward, you'll come to the coordinates on this map."
What are your orders, sir?
We're moving out, of course! You think I'm scared of Black Hole? Not a chance!
Well, I guess Andy's no coward. He may not know what continents are, but he's no coward.
That it is, Andy.
Hey! Who are you supposed to be?
I am Hawke. A Black Hole CO.
Why did you send that letter to me?
I wanted to meet you. To challenge you... man-to-man.
What, you wanna fight?
That's right. I hoped you'd show me your tactical prowess. I gather you have immense potential. Unpolished, but great nonetheless. I require a skilled foe. Perhaps you would be an appropriate enemy.
What are you talking about?!? I have no clue who you are!
Andy, didn't your mum ever tell you not to talk to strangers?
Meet me in combat, boy, and you will learn all you need. Well, what will it be? Will you accept my challenge?
If you're selling, I'm buying!
Just what I expected to hear. Here are the rules: We use only air and naval units. The first to lose every unit... loses the battle.
And if I win?
Then I will return this area to the control of Orange Star.
OK! Then if I lose, I'll let Black Hole take posession of this land.
Quite generous... considering that we already have control of this region.
All right, I know it's Andy, but there's still no call to get sarky about it, Hawke .
It is done! Let it begin, Andy!
Here I come!
Well, how cute, they made our island bases look like Orange Star and Black Hole symbols. Trouble is...
Y'see, this small island here is so much more convenient for attacking Hawke from than anything over there, so it's where I'll be building my aircraft from. Hawke kind of agrees with me, as his small island airport is where all of his aircraft will come from. He'll also be building a couple of ships from his western port. I won't be building any ships, sorry. The trouble is - unless the guy with the navy is Drake - air units completely dominate naval units in Advance Wars 2. The only naval unit that can attack air units is the Cruiser, and it hands out decent damage, but it also takes a lot of damage from Bombers and B-Copters should the air unit get first strike.
Oh, well. Let's start proceedings off with a B-Copter. It's the only unit we can afford right now (well, we could afford a T-Copter or a Lander, but with no ground units they'd be spectacularly useless).
You copycat, Hawke. Oh yeah, that reminds me.
Paul.Power's CO Notes: Hawke (Black Hole) Theme
All of Hawke's units get +10% to their attack. To balance this, his CO Power meter charges quite slowly: it takes five stars to get his CO Power, and nine stars to get his Super CO Power. Only Sturm, Eagle and Sami have comparable power bars. Hawke's CO Power drains 1HP from all enemy units (aside from those already on 1HP) and gives all his own units 1HP (aside from those already on full health). His Super CO Power is the same, but with 2HP instead of 1. This can be pretty darn nasty on a large map with lots of units.
Background/Personality: Second only to Sturm in rank in the Black Hole army, Hawke is probably Black Hole's sanest CO. He treats his opponents with respect, he loses gracefully, but he's very, very competent. On the other hand, he does have a nasty ruthless streak and a habit of not stopping until he gets what he wants. In Advance Wars 2, Hawke is in charge of the invasion of Green Earth. In terms of evil counterparts, he's a bit of a mix: his name and hairstyle suggest that he's Eagle's evil counterpart, but the nature and names of his powers suggest Drake (Tsunami --> Black Wave, Typhoon --> Black Storm).
Well, I guess this is the infodump turn, because it's time to buy a new kind of unit.
Fighters (20000G) rule the skies, and are how you gain and hold air superiority in Advance Wars 2. They're devastating attackers against Bombers, B-Copters and T-Copters - and to add insult to injury, those three units can't even attack Fighters. They also have the largest movement range of any unit in the game. They can't do anything against ground or naval units, though: a common anti-fighter tactic is to surround it with infantry or something and trap it in. It makes no sense, but that's Advance Wars for you.
Hawke's still copying me.
A demonstration of a fighter's ridiculous attack range. See, I could go ahead and attack Hawke's B-Copter with mine, but then Hawke's fighter would swoop in and do in my B-Copter. So I'm not going there. Instead it's time to...
... make a strategic withdrawal.
My fighter moves up to just outside the range of Hawke's fighter.
Hawke's fighter decides that yeah, whatever, you can take first strike, Paul. Meanwhile, though, he's built a cruiser. I guess I may as well tell you about that unit now...
Cruisers (18000G) are the anti-air and anti-sub naval unit, designed to protect battleships and landers from their main predators. Trouble is, while they're pretty good at dealing with subs, air units are more of an issue. Bombers do serious damage to them, and even B-Copters can knock them down below half health (and Sensei's B-Copters will... hahahaha... you'll see). A little-remembered fact about Cruisers is that they can also carry two helicopters, protecting them from Fighters and stuff and also refuelling them. We probably won't use that gimmick in this campaign, but it can be useful.
Let's get this party started.
Although again, some other unit is stopping my B-Copter from going on the attack. This time it's the Cruiser. I guess I could go attacking the Cruiser, but that would probably turn out even worse: it has a defence bonus from the port, it'll do serious damage on the counter-attack, and it'll heal up two health from the port next turn - enough to finish the copter off. So...
... more cowardly coptering.
Another fighter should help me secure the air.
Hawke decides that a war of attrition is the way to go with his damaged fighter.
Hey, don't complain, at least you're still alive. Meanwhile, let's build a bomber so that we can take care of this pesky cruiser.
And Hawke's cruiser finally decides that it's fed up chasing my B-Copter around and wants to end it all.
He's got a new fighter to replace his recently destroyed fighter, too.
Oh well, if Hawke's cruiser wants to end it all, who am I to complain?
The cruiser weakened, my cowardly copter finally sees some action.
Hawke decides it's time for a Black Wave. -1HP to all enemy units (that aren't already on 1HP), +1HP to all of Hawke's units (that aren't already full health).
Black Waves do sting, but unfortunately for Hawke he's up against the one CO who doesn't really care about them.
First though, check it out: Hawke's got himself a replacement B-Copter and Cruiser. Well, they'll keep him going a bit longer.
Right back at you, Hawke.
Andy's healing ability makes him very effective against any CO with a damage-dealing power.
Hawke's fighter takes a bit of a beating.
My bomber and b-copter move up to just outside of Hawke's cruiser range.
And for good measure, let's have another fighter.
Cheer up lad, you're still going to survive.
Hawke decided that it'd be a good idea not to actually build any units this turn. Oh that AI, it makes even supposedly competent COs look dumb. Well, I'm not complaining, it means I can finish him off.
B-Copter down. Just one unit to finish off, and it's an easy victory.
Hm... Quite impressive, Andy. Victory is yours.
Now, like you promised, pack up and get out!
It seems I've no choice. All units, withdraw!
Good grief, a Black Hole CO losing gracefully. Wonders will never cease. Don't get used to it, though, because we don't get to fight Hawke again for a long time: the next time we fight him, we'll be in Green Earth.
Commander, the Black Hole forces are retreating!
Yeah! We did it! I've gotta tell Nell. Put me in touch with her right away!
Oh boy, oh boy, oh...
Nell, listen to this. I beat this guy named Hawke and drove his troops out of...
I don't have time for that! Orange Star is under attack! The enemy is here in massive numbers!
They've advanced beyond the front you were supposed to be holding!
Uh, that means...
You fell right into their trap, Andy! Get back here on the double!
I guess Hawke knew what he was doing after all...
But... but... What about...
If the continent falls, those islands mean nothing!!!
Commander... Commander! Awaiting your orders, sir!
Back to the mainland! NOW!!! Drat! Double drat!!!
... and that, kids, is why you shouldn't talk to strangers. Because they'll lure you away from the front you were supposed to be defending and it'll jeopadise the security of your nation. Wait, I guess that doesn't apply to most kids. Oh well...
Oh well, cheer up Andy, at least you got a 300-point win out of it.
Tune in next time for...
... Black Hole's most annoyingly broken secret weapon to date!
... convenient weak spots!
... a choice of CO!
Yep, we've arrived at the Factory, Black Hole's stronghold in Orange Star. Beat it and we complete the Orange Star section of campaign. Before I post about it, I'm going to make a post about general factory strategy and the pros and cons of our three Orange Star COs when it comes to beating this mission, so that you can make an informed decision about which CO is going to tackle the Factory.