Part 2: Where There's Life...
Welcome back. We left off having trounced the Beast with heavy weapons, and are deposited on the world map. Unlike previous Advance Wars games, you can use this map to go back to previous missions and try to get better scores. Since we have just one location to move on to, we start there.
: Sure thing, Captain Brenner.
: I'm glad you've recovered enough to be up and about.
: I've got you to thank for it, sir.
: Well, don't push yourself too hard. And be careful. This area's not
: Yeah, I... I know.
: What's wrong?
: The world really has changed, has it? This ash is everywhere. The sky is dark. It's like a never-ending twilight has fallen. Even the ground is coated in it. I've never seen so much gray.
I have, it's roughly most "realistic" games out these days. That or brown.
: Ashes to ashes...
Okay, not for nothing here IntSys, but you're trying to Use the idea of an impact winter, or impact darkness depending on the severity of the meteor strike. I understand that, it's a terrifying prospect. But Will's been digging himself out for weeks, he admitted it himself. In weeks, since the sun's been blocked out entirely, the average temperature would be dropping in areas covered by this darkness. Plant life would be dying due to the lack of sunlight for photosynthesis. Hell, just the effect on human psyche would be devastating. Ever work nothing but night shifts? Losing sight of the sun has effects on your mentality.
IntSys, you aren't Capcom, please don't start using Capcom science levels of ridiculousness.
: When will the sky return to normal?
: Years? Decades? Who can say?
: As long as there's life...
: Right. The world we know is gone, but we can't give in to despair. Someday things will be set to right. We'll have peace, and the life we had will return. That's what I believe. That's why we must help everyone we can.
: Keep it simple--never give up. If you can do that, anything is possible. Got it?
: Got it!
: Now let's get to work. Lin, I want recon units canvassing the area.
: Yes, sir.
: Captain! I want to help too!
: No, I don't think so, Will. It's too dangerous.
: Oh, c'mon! Look, I know I'm still just a cadet, but that doesn't matter! I can drive or search or wash dishes or whatever. I just want to help.
: ...You've got spirit, I'll give you that. OK, you're in. But if anything happens, get your tail back here. You're too weak to fight yet.
: Yes, sir!
Never say Brenner isn't understanding. Will's just been rescued, he wants to help out and not feel like he's coasting through this new life. Of course, he doesn't particularly listen to directions, but we'll see that soon enough.
: All these towns are the same. No survivors anywhere.
: That can't be true! There have to be people out there who need our help. What if Captain Brenner had given up on me? We have to keep looking.
: Move it, kid! Mission's over! We got raiders coming. Let Captain Brenner step in and take care of the hostiles. we stay out here any longer, and they'll be sizing us for body bags.
: Just a little more time. I've got a feeling about this. Captain Brenner always says to never give up.
: All nonmilitary personnel, fall back! This is now a combat zone! Get that tank up there and block the road! Keep that artillery safe!
Brenner, stop tutorial moding me so quickly. Let me think about what I want to do. And... artillery?
The new unit for this chapter, Artillery is the first ranged unit in Advance Wars. Hitting targets anywhere from 2-3 squares away from itself, one can win or lose a game simply by the placement of these units on the field. As the blurb says, you need to have it set up before you want to fire, as it can't move then fire. But using tank treads with a mobility of 5 means short of forest or mountains, this thing will be able to roughly keep up with the rest of your forces. Just don't leave them unguarded.
Anyway, I follow Brenner's advice and throw the tank onto the road, having it attack the infantry.
This is acceptable. I then move the artillery into the forest below the tank, giving it range on both where the infantry and where the recon currently are. Finally, I move my own infantry onto the mountain range, and use it to kill the Beast's infantry.
: You hear me, soldier boy? You and that punk kid are gonna pay!
I'm scared Beast, I'm scared. He moves his 8 HP recon up, and attacks my infantry on the mountains. I come out worse for wear on this, taking 4 damage. That's alright, it's the last combat the infantry is seeing.
And this is why. With a mountainlocked ruins being pointed out, that infantry is the only unit available to reach it, so he's making that trek across the mountains this turn. Before that though, the Beast needs another lesson taught to him, and Brenner needs one taught to him.
Remember last mission, when the tank did 7 damage to the recon on the first turn? The tank was able to use it's main cannon. As the last screenshot is showing, there's a bullet indicator on the tank. Somewhere between last map and this one, the tank ran out of ammo. I'm pretty sure I left 5 rounds in the damn thing, so unless they didn't like the look of some rocks, we've lost some ammo. Running out of ammo on a tank reduces the effectiveness against recons by half, and makes them almost worthless against anything with real armor. There will be ways to fix this later on, but the lesson here is never let your army go without ammunition, EVER.
: Is she alive?
: I... I think so. Her breathing is really faint. Come on! We've got to
get her back to camp!
: It ain't worth the trouble, kid. I doubt she's long for this world.
: Are you serious?
: Hey! Can you hear me? Give me a sign, will you?
: That's it! I ain't sticking around to rescue a corpse!
Yes, leave. You're going to be much more effective against the tank, bike and recon rolling up against the rest of our forces. Great plan.
: Open your eyes... I know there's not much to see, but you can't give up. You're alive, you know? And where there's life, there's hope.
: Who... Who are you?
: Yes! You heard me! You're alive!
: P-please tell me... Who are you?
: I'm Will. I'm with Brenner's Wolves. What's your name?
: I... I don't know.
: What do you mean?
: OK, OK, don't worry. You've been through a lot. Everything's going to be fine. Just come with me.
: ...All right.
Alright, with that... useless introduction of a character over with, let's get back to the task at hand. We still have our artillery available to us, so let's use that.
Beautiful. On his turn, the Beast moves his tank directly behind his recon. See a slight problem with that move? We'll get to that in a minute. For now, more talking.
: What's happening?
: Don't worry, you're safe. You're with the Rubinelle Army now.
: Rubinelle... Rubinelle is one of the two main countries on this continent. At the last known date, the army employed 1,296,973 men.
: What the... How do you know that?
: Rubinelle and its neighbor have been at war for a century. Despite several armistices, the fighting has never truly ended. Ten percent of Rubinelle's GDP is expended on weaponry and research. The last recorded assessment of its military strength was "Excellent"
: Where did you learn that?
: I...I don't know. I don't understand.
: Right now we have to get back to camp in one piece.
: All right.
Will, I'm glad you're slightly suspicious of this, given I doubt as a recruit YOU had this much knowledge of Rubinelle's standing forces, military expenditures, and history of it's war with someone else. I wouldn't trust taking her back into camp.
We go from someone with extensive military knowledge to one with no strategy whatsoever. You see, the Beast parked his tank in range of my artillery. It's quite effective at what it does, leaving it at 2 HP. At this point, it's mostly mopping up. My tank finishes off the recon, and on his turn the Beast moves his tank in, and suicides on my own tank. He then moves in the bike. I decide to finish him with style.
This ain't over, ladies! You ain't seen the last of The Beast!
I'm SO glad, Beast. You're a fun target.
Another S Rank, though at this point the game is kind of feeding them to you. This will eventually change, and I'll have to use strategy.
Hopefully he means ones we found off screen, or Brenner really can't count.
: I'm fine, sir. But the girl we found...
: Who is she?
: I don't know. I fond her unconscious near some ruined buildings.
: Good work bringing her in.
: What's your name, sweetie?
: Umm... I don't know.
: You don't know? Listen, kid I--
: Captain Brenner! Let me explain...
A quick fade to black happens here, to avoid us having to endure more talking this chapter.
: She lost her memory? Is that what you're saying? It's not surprising, with all that's happened to this world. Sometimes I wish mine was gone too.
: Easy, Lin. She's a survivor who needs our help, not an enemy combatant. Will saved her, and we're going to see that she gets someplace safe. Clear?
: She's your responsibility now, Will. Stay with her, and see that she's taken care of.
I like Lin's thinking here. Why does nobody listen to Lin? Who knows, maybe light interrogation will snap mystery girl's amnesia. In any case, we're done with the mission, and onwards we go.
The Beast! Again! Other people! Brenner's strategy to win wars!