Part 51: Normal Campaign vs. Hard Campaign: Spot The Difference - Part 2
Normal Campaign vs. Hard Campaign: Spot The Difference - Part 2
Well, we've finished Hard Campaign, so you know what it's time for - part 2 of our exploration of the differences between NC maps and HC maps!
The differences in Duty & Honor are pretty small, mostly a few extra units here and there. Interestingly, Hard Campaign starts Adder off with fewer footsoldiers down in the bottom right, although it does place a couple of mechs in the mountains en route. I guess partly it's because, with the extra units Black Hole gets (particularly the rocket and arties up by the bridge, ugh), it wouldn't be fair to the player to still have three mechs/three infs in the south east.
The Hunt's End is pretty much the same barring the predeployed units (ignore the differing colours of Orange Star and Blue Moon here). Putting rocket and missile launchers behind the pipes in Hard Campaign is a dick move though, in terms of slowing OS/BM's advance. Also don't forget that as it's a factory map, the factory build orders for Normal and Hard Campaign will be different.
Sea Fortress mixes things up nicely by suddenly shifting the map from a horizontal mission to a vertical one (I'm currently resisting the urge to say "you got to FLIP it. TURN-WAYS"... whoops, too late ). You face fewer fighters in HC, but more AAs, B-Copters and cruisers. You also get a few more units in HC, including the "what why does eagle have boats" battleships and cruisers, and Hawke gets artillery, subs and neos to try and counter them.
Back to the land of "not actually changing the map" with Sinking Feeling. There's a few more units scattered around, including that pair of useless subs and those annoying rocket launchers by the battleships, but you get an extra middie and a couple of extra tanks to help.
With Drake's Dilemma, there are a few extra units and you don't get an APC on Drake's island, but that's about it.
Danger X 9 keeps the map the same (zzz) but it does change the units quite a bit, partiuclarly the ones you start with. HC takes your battleship, replaces your ground troops with B-Copters, sticks a rocket in that little niche and gives you a mech. Hawke gets an extra neo, middie and arty but curiously loses a B-Copter.
Rain of Fire keeps the same map (even the same volcano pattern) but adds a bunch of predemployed units, including all of those mechs chilling by the volcano.
As with Drake's Dilemma, there isn't much to say about To The Rescue beyond "the same but more". Adder has a few more units, you have a few more units. There's some infantry looking to attack Sami early on, some more bombers, fighters and ground troops for Adder... the usual.
At last, another mission that mixes it up a bit - and when I say "a bit" I mean "a lot" in the case of Navy Vs. Air, which is pretty much an entirely different map. Even Sea Fortress is the same basic design, just flipped turn-ways, but Navy Vs. Air keeps very little the same other than the basic premise. In Normal Campaign there's no land bridge, you have to transport your troops to the central island with landers, while Hawke gets a bridge and a little bit of a head start. Hawke also isn't as crippled by a lack of bases in NC as he is in HC. On the other hand, at least in NC all your cruisers are in the same connected body of water, so there's no worrying about where to build your next cruiser.
Great Sea Battle slips back into the "the same, but with predeployeds" rhythm, unfortunately, but the good news is that it's the last mission that does. And, as it's a factory mission, the factory build order changes to something nastier in HC.
Hot Pursuit goes with a very different design. In NC, the majority of Sturm's forces are stuck behind a pipe and won't even try to break it, so it really is a case of attack at your leisure. In NC of course it's very much the opposite, as all of Sturm's forces charge into the funnel-like bottleneck around your poor, meteor-struck central CO: basically in NC your central CO's a lot more important than in HC, given the way the Black Cannons are all clustered together and the lack of missile silos. As a random aside, note that in NC the CO on the left doesn't get an airport.
And finally, the one you've all been waiting for, (now with 100% less table breakage): Final Front. There's a lot of differences: suddenly there's a sea on the left-hand side, the left and right COs are up the top, the Black Cannons are facing backwards... of course, it's these backwards-facing cannons that are the killer for Sturm, given that it's suddenly an awful lot easier to get rid of them. Additionally, Our Heroes also start out with more properties in HC, and NC Sturm starts with eight bases and six airports to HC Sturm's seven bases and two airports: no amount of pre-deployed battleships and neotanks is going to make up for that. I still tend to think of Final Front HC as a much more fun and cool mission than its NC counterpart, but there's no doubt NC is tougher.
Author's Note: Unfortunately, that's it - for now. I was going to do a couple more War Room missions to showcase Nell and Hachi, and a run of Hot Pursuit with different COs and Final Front NC, but I sort of ran out of steam - and then the thread hit the archives. I am, however, thinking of making a second thread to explore the War Room, including showcasing Nell and Hachi. As it is though, that's it. Hope you enjoyed!