The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 5: Chapter 5 (Battle) - And Here’s Why My Dude Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Call Airstrikes

Update 5 (Battle) - And Here’s Why My Dude Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Call Airstrikes

Welcome back, folks. Moving on to a new map, with a new enemy CO. Looks like Black Hole's really branching out this time.

WHAT!? Who do you think you are, waltzing in and giving ME orders, muscle head?

Simmer down! Man, you're just like your sister, you little hothead!

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I've never seen Nell as a particularly hotheaded person. She's usually calm and controlled, so I don't know what the hell Max is talking about here.

'Sup! What's going on?

I heard yelling. Are you two playing nice?

Hey, Jake, my dude! Gimme a hand with Rachel, will you? Black Hole forces have been spotted moving into the Tahira Range and...

And Max wants to march right out and open fire! Whose command is this? MINE! I decide who takes the field! ME! Now back off!

Hey, you two! Do you wanna calm it down a bit?

Oh, don't get me started on YOU!

Whoa, whoa... Chill! First, we've got to do some recon, then we'll talk.

You know tempers are running high when fucking "phat beat" McGee over here is the voice of reason.

They haven't started anything yet, right?

You're right. Max was being so gung ho and headstrong that I blew my top.

And what's wrong with being gung ho?

Take it easy, Max. C'mon, let's roll!

I can't BELIEVE I'm surrounded by so many people who irritate me.

Hey, I've not done anything to annoy you.

Well, OK, I've not done anything to annoy you TODAY...

So yeah, we just get thrown into this map. We'll do deployments in a moment - this is a new thing the game's introducing.

Didn't there used to be more trees and stuff?

Omega Land is rapidly deteriorating into desert, and it's a serious problem. We don't know what's causing it, but my guess is Black Hole is behind it.

Well, the game is called Advance Wars: it's usually Black Hole's fault.

For the time being, let's focus on crushing these goons in front of us! There's a factory by the HQ, isn't there? This must be a deployment map.

The characters referring to the levels as "maps" is throwing me off a little. It feels very fourth-wall-leaning.

So we can deploy any units we want, right?

Gasp! Selena? Finally?!

Yep. And that, of course, means you need funds to produce units. I doubt you've given much thought to money up to this point, am I right?

I have no idea what you're talking about.

That coffee you're drinking cost you like ten dollars.

...Is that expensive?

Oh boy. Well, on a map like this, funds are a part of strategy you can't ignore. First off, you receive funds at the beginning of each day. Now, the more bases you have, the more cash you earn.

This is all the usual stuff we already know. Still, it's nice to have a deployment map - I do prefer them to predeployed maps, unless we're talking Kanbei predeployed maps.

Remember, bases provide you with terrain bonuses, supplies, and funds. You'll want to capture as many as you can, no matter where they are. To deploy a unit, tap a factory and choose a unit from the unit list.

Word. I'll give it a shot.

Bold of you to assume we're using you, Jake.

The enemy ain't far away, and their numbers are pretty small. With all this flat land, I'd say Jake is better off taking this one on his own.

I get your point, but let's discuss it a bit before we come to a decision.

Yeah, let the tacticians make the calls, Max.

What tacticians? I don't see any.

Oh, that's low.

You know you can scout the map before taking the field, right? All you do is move the cursor around to check out the terrain and enemy units.

God, what a fucking lifesaver of a feature. ...Well, generally, anyway. My readers vote on multiple-CO maps so I don't get much choice anyway, but getting to see the map before choosing a CO is an excellent quality-of-life upgrade.

When you're ready to start fighting, tap the menu button and choose Deploy.

Well, may as well check out the new enemy CO.

Koal, huh? And a... road master. Sure, why not. He doesn't look too threatening, though.

Oh boy! A movement-increasing CO Power, can you fucking believe it? I sure can't. This is so out of character for Intelligent Systems.

OK, but seriously, are they kidding? Give me something more interesting. A SCOP that allows units to restore HP from roads as if they were bases for a turn or two, or lets you go through enemy units if they're on roads. Fucking anything that isn't goddamn Mov +1 and Mov +2 for your CO Power and Super CO Power respectively.

The small window on top shows the current CO. To use someone else, touch the current CO's name, then touch the CO that you want to use. See? It's that simple! Now, get out there and win!

No, it's fine, whatever. Let's just pick a CO and get on with it.

We're selecting Rachel for this map, as voted by you guys. She should be a decent enough choice, so that's fine by me.

We're ready to roll. Let's see how this new CO utilises his road-based prowess.

Ah, yes, and the deployments for today:

Today’s Deployments
Carter, Mech
Dave, Mech
Von Panzer, Tank
Ingo, Tank
Julian, Tank
Rin, Tank
Lucy, Artillery

Lucy Ophelia Maxwell
Age: 18
Personality: Everybody’s favourite bomber pilot.
Proficiencies: Bomber, Fighter, Artillery, [unknown]

CO Powers are special abilities that give commanders an advantage in battles.

Yeah, usually for Black Hole, because I never take enough damage to get my CO Powers off.

What's your CO Power? Convincing everybody except me that you're some brilliant auteur genius?

Better than yours, which is just "hur dur I want to be like my big sis".

Say that again and I won't let you call any airstrikes.

Wait, no! I want airstrikes! Come back!

Anyway, as I was saying, Jake... Check your CO profiles on the map window to learn more about individual CO Powers. The top screen shows a CO portrait, current funding, and the power meter. You can use a standard CO Power when the small stars on the meter fill up.

Man, my dude. You two really aren't getting on, huh?

Look, I'm trying my best. Nell made me promise to play nice... doesn't seem like she told Rachel to do the same.

Rachel's well-meaning, though. 'Course she's worried about the pedigree of whichever man's lucky enough to land her sister. You gotta prove you're more than Nell's match!

I fucking beat Sturm! Twice! What more does she want?

Maybe she just wants to see you in action for herself.

If you don't use it, the large stars will fill and you can use a Super CO Power. Super CO Powers are many times stronger than normal powers and can change the tide of a battle in an instant.

Ugh, don't I know it. Sidewinder, Black Storm, Meteor Strike, mother fucking Lightning Strike...

The type of power you use depends on the power itself and the battle conditions. When the power meter is full, choose Power from the map window and give it a try! Enough lecturing! Why don't you guys decide how you're going to fight this out.

Wait, I've got an idea! Hey, Rachel, my dude's the ACO, officially. He should get to choose which CO is a best fit for this map, right?

I, uh, right. That sounds reasonable.

Fine. Who's going with you, my dude?

Probably Ja--

My dude thinks that you should go with him!

Wait, what are you--this is your plan?!

Yeah! Now you can show her what you can do!


Oh, god damn it, Max. Sure thing, Rachel, you'd be good for this map. Want to help me crush them?

Fine, but you're going to have to EARN your airstrikes.

Bet you I can beat the map without them.

So, well, let's get on with it. We've only got Carter and Dave deployed right now, but they'll be a good start.

We'll want tanks as soon as possible though, so I deploy Von Panzer at the northern base. He'll be able to hold off most of the enemies, though for that medium tank we're probably gonna want Selena in a medium tan-


Yeah, and even if we had the funds, we don't have the materials.

You have got to be shitting me. I just wanna see Selena...

That Md tank on the HQ is our problem. No other ground units can take it on.

Hmm... I see what you're saying. We've got to come up with a plan...

It's all under control, don't worry.

And indeed, it is. I've got a plan for that medium tank - lure it out with Von Panzer, and crush it with ranged units. Even a medium tank can't stand up to some well-positioned artillery. It's risky, but we've not got many other options.

Meanwhile, there's this weirdo.

I laugh only out of sheer boredom with the fools populating this inane continent. I must continue, though, for the sake of the black crystal objective.

Oho! We learn something about what Black Hole's up to. But what the hell is the black crystal?

Good to see you're focussed on the goal at hand. I'll scout the southern area in a tank.

Quiet. You are not fit to speak to me in such a tone, you who has betrayed your country.

That's not how I remember it. What I remember is you invading my homeland, killing any resistance, and conscripting my people to work in your factories to achieve your secret ends.

Oh? That may be true for the rest of your people, but you? Heh heh heh... You were different. You were willing to betray your country. That is why you shot up through the ranks to become an ACO, is it not?

...I have my reasons for partaking in this war. They just happen to slightly align with Black Hole's. Besides, given the choice between service or death... I'll take service any day.

Heh heh heh... I look forward to watching you slaughter your fellow countrymen. Resent us all you like, but you know as well as I that you can never go back to Orange Star now. That is the steep, steep price of betrayal.

Lord Koal! Enemy forces spotted!

That decrepit guerilla force? They are beneath me. Battle them as you see fit.

Er... They're actually allied troops led by a commanding officer.

Truly? Then I shall see if there is a CO on this continent worthy of facing me. Heh heh heh...


His mechs begin moving out, but the medium tank doesn't shift. The tank in the south, Madam Director, doesn't move either. Guess she's not going to attack until we get into her range. The primary threats, as you can see, are the anti-air and the recon. Von Panzer can wall them easily, and good job, too - they'd slaughter Carter given half the chance.

That bridge is going to be a vital chokepoint for this map, so let's grab it as quickly as we can.

Von Panzer moves out, and lands a solid hit on the recon as he does. That should send it packing.

Next stage of the plan is an artillery, so I deploy Lucy.

"Von Panzer, have you sighted the enemy forces?"

"Ja! They are bearing down on us. Ranged backup necessary!"

Lucy nods. "I'm on my way - hang in there, guys!"

Down here, meanwhile, I decide to start capturing some stuff. A bit of extra money is always useful, and I'd rather not wander across the river to capture that base right now - the Director would win that fight. Dave will need some backup before he takes her on.

Let's see what Koal's got planned, other than "not a lot".

As predicted, the recon flees, leaving the city open for Von Panzer to sit on next turn. He'll be in range to bait the medium tank from there.

Not much of any other note happens, so let's get started with that plan, shall we?

What are you yelling about now?

The Md tanks! I think I've come up with a strategy that'll take care of them.

Oh, this should be good.

How's that?

I don't think those Md tanks move unless an enemy enters their attack range.

Yeah, so?

So first we produce an artillery unit and deploy it near the upper bridge.

Way ahead of you.

Then we send an armoured unit, like a tank, to the city at the end of the bridge.

Done that too.

Right. Then the Md tank rolls out to slam the unit on the city, and...

The next turn the artillery unit takes aim and KA-BLOW! The old bait and switch. Too many artillery units and the enemy won't take the bait, though. Be careful.

Artillery units can beat down even Md tanks, so just one of them should do it. Plus, I could always use a tank or mech unit to move in for the kill. We just can't give it any chance to repair itself at all.

All right! Let's give it a shot!

Am I on fucking drugs? I had ALREADY come up with this plan! I'm in the process of doing it right now!

I... Oh. That's why you've deployed... Well, that doesn't prove anything! It's a pretty basic plan; if you're such a tactical genius, of course you should have already thought of it.

You're not going to give me credit for anything, are you?

Sigh. Well, may as well execute the plan that I was already in the middle of executing. Dave captures the property down here, also. I'll send him back up to the mountains after this, so that he can go for the base across the river if the situation changes.

Lucy can move right into a perfect position to target the medium tank. Now to get our excellent, nigh-unkillable bait, Mathis Von Panzer...

And hey, may as well poke the anti-air whilst we're here. I don't want this thing wandering around when I have mechs near the front lines.

I produce another tank, Ingo. He'll help out up north, because after a medium tank hit, Von Panzer's gonna need all the help he can get. If he even makes it out unscathed.

Hm, one medium tank..? Nah, he can definitely survive that on a city.

Let's see just how well this goes...

"Brace yourself!" Lucy cries as she sees the medium tank moving in. "Von Panzer, hold it together!"

"You can do this, Von Panzer!" says Carter, watching in fear as the medium tank opens fire.

"Ngh! I am fine! I have faced far worse than that, Schwächling!" Von Panzer roars. He falls quiet, however...

...As he sees the anti-air preparing to finish the job. I hadn't calculated for that.

"The anti-air!" gasps Carter.

"What the hell's going on up there? Is Von Panzer alright?!" Dave yells frantically. Carter makes as if to answer, and then he sees the anti-air fire on the weakened tank unit - the only thing between them and the medium tank.

The bullets rip through the tank, and Lucy narrows her eyes.

"Von Panzer's always alright. The unbreakable wall of Orange Star! ...Right?"

"Ach! You're correct, young Lucy." Von Panzer says through the transceiver. "I do one thing. But I do it well. I hold the line!"

"Oh, thank heavens, he's OK!" Lucy sighs, slumping next to her artillery. "Get out of there, Von Panzer, as soon as you can! I'll take care of that medium tank!"

That was... a little closer than I was intending. If I'd chosen any tank other than Von Panzer, I'm sure I'd have lost them. But Von Panzer simply does not fucking die, so we're all fine on that front. Now then, how to deal with all of this bullshittery?

First, like Lucy said, we'll fire on the medium tank. Halving it's HP makes it much less of a threat, though I'm not going to relax until it's completely gone.

Carter hops through the river to take out the anti-air.

"This is for nearly killing Von Panzer! Hiyaaaa!"

Von Panzer pulls a swift retreat, safely behind the new tank, Ingo. He did heal 3HP from that city, though, thanks to Rachel. That might be useful.

Just gotta hop the medium tank doesn't retreat yet. I'm usually confident that units don't go to heal until they're on less than 2HP, but that recon retreating at 4HP makes me wonder if this game's AI is slightly different. It'd be nice to have confirmation on that.

This Dick Captures A Property: 2

The medium tank does not retreat, and instead punches Ingo in the face. It doesn't hurt that much, but it's still a pretty hefty blow.

And the recon, which has apparently healed up enough, is now going for Carter. That's a little spanner in the works, but Carter does quite a lot of damage to it in retaliation, so we'll probably be fine.

Right, let's get rid of that terrifying fucking thing. (The medium tank, not the recon.)

Though we are going to be killing the recon as well - Carter gets quite a clean kill on it here.

Lucy can finish off the medium tank without breaking a sweat, and that's a pretty relieving thing to see. The only threat left on the map now is Koal's Super CO Power, which I'm concerned about. His mechs with +2 movement could be problematic once they've finished all their capturing, since they'll totally ignore my very cool chokepoint.

The medium tank left Ingo on 6HP, so joining with Von Panzer puts them back up to exactly 10.

How fortunate! That said, I'd like more tanks to help deal with the remaining enemy troops...

Up north I deploy Julian...

And down here I deploy Rin.

"Oh, Dave!" Rin says, waving. "What are we doing down here?"

"Right now, sittin' tight." Dave replies. "There's an enemy tank across the way... we might be able to get that base, but it'll be risky. Now that you're here though, we might be in with a chance."

"Of course! I'll do anything I can to help!"

"I shall cover the northern squad, in the meantime. Fear not about your impending demise - my skills should prevent you from meeting your end." Julian says, and Ingo rolls his eyes.

"The only person who I'd entrust my life to is my dude. This guy's delusional."

"I feel I must agree." Von Panzer sighs.

Koal's not got his biggest hitter any more, so we should be able to advance, provided he doesn't do anything wacky this turn.

This Dick Captures A Property: 3

Well, this might be a spanner in the works. The mech slams Von Panzer/Ingo since he finished his capturing last turn. We'll heal most of the damage off, though.

If Julian could get the hell over here ASAP, we could make a start on approaching the enemy HQ. I'd like to rout this map sometime in the next fortnight.

Especially since we have an extra-risky turn coming up. Lucy takes out the enemy mech, who was weakened by Von Panzer/Ingo, whilst Carter retreats back and lets Julian sit in front of him. Why, you ask?

Koal's got his SCOP charged, that's why. His mech is about to get +2 movement, and there's no way Carter can outrun him. So our tanks will be protecting our weaker units, Carter and Lucy, from the impending attack.

At least everything else threatening is dead, pretty much. The impending SCOP is also why we didn't move out to that base down south - Dave and Rin can probably handle the Director, but I'd rather fight her after the CO Power's worn off, rather than during it.

Oh, man, I'm gonna beg when this useless mech plinks away at my tanks.

We do have a slightly different SCOP animation than the previous game, though. First, this pops up...

And then we get a nice cut-in of the character. I also have to say, the powers themselves might be boring as all sin, but the names are pretty cool. You get minor respect points for that, Koal.

As predicted, the mech goes for one of the tanks. It doesn't do a whole lot of damage.

So, hey, let's murder it with Lucy and be on our merry way.

In the meantime, Dave's gonna cross the river and go for the base. I don't need it, but hey, it's something to do.

"The tank's noticed us, Rin." Dave says. "Get ready for a fight."

"OK! You better stay safe - I'm on my way!" Rin replies, heading out.

Rin sits herself on the city. What with her being in a tank and having all those defence stars, there's no way the Director will go for her over Dave.

Right, NOW we slaughter the last mech with Lucy. She does a solid amount of damage to it, and the rest of our boys can forge ahead after that - but not too far, the artillery is still going to be a slight issue, especially if it keeps sitting on that city.

Seeing as it'll be another turn before we can move ahead, I decide to let Von Panzer/Ingo pull a retreat and heal on the base for a turn. Julian can deal with the mech in the meantime.

See? Easy.

"I do believe our foes are almost routed." Julian says, smirking. "They were barely a threat."

"Overconfidence is gonna get you killed, you know." Carter replies grumpily. "That's one thing I've learned from the rest of these guys!"

This is how we're all shaping up. Now it's just a case of wandering over to that artillery and poking it several times until it explodes.

Oh, and the tank down south, too, but Rin's got that under control.

As expected, the Director moves in.

Now I have a chance to assess the strength of this group for myself. I've heard much about their exploits in the past... just how true are those reports?

"Wh... what the hell?!" Dave says as the tank opens fire on him.

"Dave? What's up?" Carter asks on the transceiver.

"I just got visual on the tank attacking me. There's a woman, and... well, it's very damaged, but it's unmistakeable."

"What is?" Lucy asks.

"She's wearing Sturm's mask!" Dave says, and the rest of the troops aren't sure how to react. Rin shivers, thinking about the imposing figure of Sturm, long-thought to be dead.

"Sturm's mask... why would some random ACO have that?" she murmurs.

"I don't know, but I don't like it. I need backup, Rin - let's take her out."

Right, let's press our advantage already. This map's difficulty kind of died along with the medium tank, so there's not much to do but, you know, win.

Dave countered for some damage, so Rin can weaken the Director even further. He might even be able to finish her off, come to think of it.

"You want a taste of what Orange Star can do? Well, then," Dave growls. "Lemme show you the heavy ordnance we're packin'!"

The shots blast through the tank, rendering it a pile of junk in a matter of moments, though as the smoke clears, the masked woman is nowhere to be seen.

Damn... I've been defeated. But I can't fall here; I must make my retreat.

"Just who on earth was that, Dave?" Rin asks.

"I've no idea. But I don't think we've seen the last of her." the hardy soldier mutters in reply. He nurses his wounded arm. "Right... let's finish capturing this base."

The rest of the troops surge forward, preparing to beat this final enemy.

I can only imagine how much this one artillery is shitting itself. Ranged units are fantastic, but not like this. Not when they're surrounded on all sides.

And so, to nobody's surprise, it doesn't move or attack. So, guess we'll have to start the party.

Julian lands a hit on the foe, but it's not quite a kill. I targeted it from the HQ, though, preventing the artillery from sitting on the HQ, getting those sweet 4 defence stars and regular healing.

Dave's injured, which slows down his capturing, but he's still got enough juice to do it in another two turns; which is good, because the map'll be over by next turn.

Everyone else advances, though I can't see myself needing any of them. Julian'll finish it next turn.

We're at my favourite part of the map now, the classic "the enemy does fuckall becase they can't do anything".

Well, OK, the artillery flees to a nearby city, but I'm not counting that as doing something. It's just extending the inevitable.

See, look? Map's almost done and I didn't even need your airstrikes, fucking amazing as they would have been.

I suppose I got them prepared for nothing. Not bad.

Wait, they're prepared? Screw it, then, let's style on this guy. Call an airstrike on that artillery.

...You mean the damaged artillery? It would be pointless! It's going to be destroyed next turn anyway!

Yeah, but like, it would be very satisfying. And also crush this guy's ego a bit.

Fine, but it's coming out of your paycheck!

Hold on a sec. Subtract that... Carry the two... I've calculated that it would be totally worth it. Call the airstrike!

I seriously can't believe we're doing this.

Woo! Here we go!

Come on, Koal deserves this after talking all that smug shit earlier.

You said it, Rachel. Missile them to kingdom fuck!

The name may not be that cool, but it's undeniably a neat power to have on tap. Much better than the CO Power, anyway...

BOOM! The first blast brings the artillery down to 1HP already. Unsurprisingly, like Meteor Strike and other out-of-combat damage, this doesn't kill. It'd be even more stupid if it did.

BLAM! The second strike. Unnecessary, but amazing. Now missilinate it once more!

BRAKKOW! A final hit just to remind the artillery just how much it's about to die.

How'd you feel now, Koal? We had airstrikes the whole time, and instead of using them to help win the map, we used them to style on you. Fuckin' loser.

And, right on cue, Dave finishes capturing the base, so we're all done here. Julian, if you wouldn't mind?

Julian tosses a rock at the enemy artillery, and with it on literally 1% HP, the rock is all it takes to send it flying into the air with a spectacular explosion.

Now I'm certain. It must be Commander my dude.

That... that mask! It can't be...

Who you calling misfits, circus freak?

Oh, you must be that gung ho gorilla, Max, yes? I see... So Cosmo Land has sent reinforcements to join in the fun? Heh heh heh... This pleases me greatly. Perhaps you can entertain me after all.

Stop talking like that! It's creepy! How did you get here? Who are you? And what's with your masked friend?

This is Black Hole we're talking about. They're gonna brag for a bit, and then not tell us anything useful.

We have no time to waste on you. But you may call me the Director.

And my name is Koal. It is a name you would do well to remember, little girl.

Little girl?! My name's Rachel! And why are you so scared to tell me why you're here? Black Hole is responsible for turning Omega Land into a wasteland, isn't it?

Heh heh heh... I'm not ready to spill that juicy secret just yet. You'll find out soon enough. This land will be as devoid of beauty as your face.



Can't you be on my side just ONE time?!

Heh heh... Farewell, fools!

Let us retreat. There's nothing more we can do here.

Hey! They're gone.

That woman... why does she feel so familiar?

That's a lot of sass from such a small man! You're the one who got owned!

Oh my god, Jake. I don't know if I want you to never stop saying stuff, or to never speak again.

That pasty-faced weirdo is not getting away with this!

Let's get out of here, Jake. The battle's over, but we're still in danger.

Yeah, yeah. I was just thinking the same thing...

You better watch your back, Koal!

And whoever you are, Director, I'll figure you out!

Hey, my dude.


You... were... good. On the battlefield. Just now.

Aw. That was really hard for you to say, wasn't it?

I'm TRYING to give you a compliment! If you're going to be like that, I won't bother from now on. You're the most arrogant ACO I've ever worked with!

Something to think about : if every CO and ACO you've worked with is arrogant or annoying, maybe you're the problem.

Well, we won, anyhow. 97 points for speed - must've been a day late. Wonder how I would have pulled off a quicker victory than that?

Nobody called you cute. In fact, Koal called you the opposite of that, so...

Anyway, another mission done, and there's another one for next time. Judging by that name, seems like we'll be having a naval tutorial. All aboard for more fucking dialogue!

Nah, I jest. I'm actually enjoying all the new characters; even Jake is sort of hilariously stupid. So, see you all next time, folks!


Update 6 (Intermission) - The Imbalance Of Time