The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 9: Chapter 9 (Battle) - Fuck Fog And Everyone Who Likes It

Update 9 (Battle) - Fuck Fog And Everyone Who Likes It

No. No no no.

I'm not doing it. You can't make me.

...But I could be tempted with some Jugger dialogue. You win this round, game.

Adapt. Take advantage of these conditions and ambush the enemy. Tell me, Jugger, is the placement of the black crystal complete?

Crystal placement incomplete. Lash running late.

Oho. Another mention of that black crystal. Whatever it is, it sounds pretty potent. Maybe it's the shit they made their factory pipes out of in the last game.

I see. We must purchase time to make up for her tardiness. Return to the base, Jugger, and see to its defenses.

Order understood. Jugger rolling out.

Do you require an ACO?

Ah, Madam Director. Yes. You will buy us valuable time.

...Yes, Commander.

The allied forces are closing in on the heart of Black Hole's army. Is there truly a CO among them capable of achieving our downfall?

I wouldn't recommend you underestimate Assistant Commander my dude.

You've mentioned that name several times. I still cannot bring myself to be afraid of it.

It will be your undoing.

Regardless, they must be extinguished before they grow too strong. If this black crystal gambit succeeds, these mere skirmishes will be meaningless. We will sweep across continents and seize control of the entire planet. And yet we need time. We must not lose our cool.

Well, that's enormously concerning. Sounds like they have more bullshit superweapons, just like last time.

Let's do it, anyway. Deployments here:

Today’s Deployments
Felix, Infantry
Dimitri, Mech
Harlow, APC
Jacquelyn, Tank
Fenya, Anti-Air
Ludmilla, Recon
Anatoly, Artillery
Anton, Rockets
Diana, Battle Copter

Age: 20
Personality: Increasingly confident younger brother.
Proficiencies: Medium Tank, Infantry, Anti-Air, Cruiser

Age: Unknown
Personality: Enigmatic individual, experienced traveller.
Proficiencies: [any]

Age: 31
Personality: Zesty but materialistic collector.
Proficiencies: Recon, Tank, Lander, Submarine

Age: 22
Personality: Sternly supportive older sister.
Proficiencies: Medium Tank, Mech, Battle Copter, Anti-Air

Age: 25
Personality: Chilled-out, satisfied with life.
Proficiencies: Missiles, Rockets, Artillery, Battleship

Age: 22
Personality: Has everything he needs.
Proficiencies: Infantry, Missiles, Rockets, Battle Copter

Age: 32
Personality: Short-tempered but devoted soldier.
Proficiencies: Fighter, Battle Copter, Tank, Infantry

...I mean, maybe it's just called "Fog Rolls In" and it doesn't actually contain-


Analysing data... Done! Sir, it's the Black Hole Army!

Yeah, but how am I supposed to see anything through this Fog of War? This looks sketchy--the enemy's got to be out there planning an ambush.

Oh, you think?

It's a good thing we decided to investigate this coastal route, isn't it? If we hadn't seen Black Hole here, we would've suffered a nasty surprise.

No doubt. Rachel and the others are quite a bit ahead of us, too. I gave them a call, but we'd better smoke these guys before they get too big.

I see what you're saying. And yet...

What's up?

It's this fog. To be honest, I don't deal with it particularly well.

I fucking feel you, Sasha. I hate god damn Fuck of War.

No worries, you two. I can rock this myself.

No! This is something I must overcome. Please, let me have the command.

Sure you're up to it? I don't want you to get owned.

Better her than me. I'm not going near that stuff. You can't make me.

My dude, you're usually so confident. You've had bad experiences with Fog of War, I take it?

Sasha, I need fucking therapy. Seven maps in a goddamn row...

I... see. Well, I think I can manage if you give me advice, Jake, my dude. That is, unless you don't want to.

No, it's cool. I'm down with the whole self-improvement thing. I'll just hang out and give you a hand if you need it.

Thanks, Jake. Let's go take care of business, my dude!

Hey, I never agreed to help! Oh, god, fine, let's just get this bullshit over with. Jake, hit 'er with the Nell lecture whilst I figure out a strategy.

Yo, on it. You can only see stuff that's in a lighted area. It's the same deal for the enemy. Each unit has a search ability that tells you how far it can see.

To attack in Fog of War, you've got to figure out where the enemy is first.

So I use the recon unit to spot the enemy, then attack with a stronger unit. I see how that works. You need more than superior firepower to win here, right?

Yep. You are so all over this.

Oh, please... Say, I can't see into that forest above and to the left of the recon unit.

Woods are different--you can't see into them unless you're next to them. If you don't spot the enemy and try to head into the wood where it's hiding, you'll get ambushed.

I see... But doesn't that mean I can avoid enemy attacks by hiding in woods, too?


Pretty much. And reefs act just like woods. You can't see into them without rollin' right up next to 'em.

OK, I'll proceed with caution. I'll follow your lead, my dude.

Good, because I've got a plan. I think. Let's see how it goes...

As usual, with Fog of War, there's no strategy other than just testing the waters and seeing how many of our dudes get murdered every time we inch forward. Jake's got some more sage advice before we start, too.

I would love to say I'm being sarcastic, but no, this is legitimately good advice from Jake.

They can hoof it up to the top of mountains and scout out long distances. Have your infantry climb to that peak and check out how far it can see.

This is probably our best opening move, so hey, let's get Felix over there.

"Well, well! Took you all long enough to get here!" Dimitri says loudly as he greets his soldiers for this battle. Felix and Fenya look up, with Felix giving a nervous salute and Fenya instantly saluting to near-perfection. Anatoly and Anton wave in a relaxed fashion, and Diana marches up to Dimitri and nods at him.

"I'm sorry, again, for the delay in arriving here. I wanted to come with you, but someone had to knock these soldiers into shape before we came to Omega Land. We're all present and accounted for now, though. Once more, you may think of me as your most devoted soldier - the extension of your will."

“Di, come on. It’s just me; you don’t need to be so formal.” Dimitri replies gruffly. “Just have my back in this battle, alright?”

“Naturally! I’ll be right behind you the whole time.” Diana says.

“Good.” Dimitri says. Then, he faces his mercenary group, now mostly reunited, and gives them a quick salute. “Welcome to the next war, ladies and gents. Glad to have you here with me. We’ll show them what Dimitri’s Mercenaries are capable of when we’re all together!”

As the soldiers give a yell of assent and prepare to fight, Dimitri turns to Diana once more. His mouth has barely opened when Diana answers the question he was about to ask.

“Zlata’s here too, don’t worry. She couldn’t be deployed in this battle, but she’s waiting back at the barracks.” she says, giving her leader a rare grin. “That’s some motivation to finish the fight, right?”

“It sure as hell is. Let’s wipe ‘em out!”

And we discovered some horrible things! Well, one horrible thing and one entirely pointless APC: the surprise artillery, a classic staple of Fog of War maps. Well, it's usually surprise rockets, since they have more range, but I suppose they wanted to play slightly fairer since it's the tutorial and all. So hey, let's get rid of this thing before it becomes a nuisance.

Diana can open fire on it, no problem.

And then we finish it with Ludmilla - this also lets Ludmilla move a few spaces over, so we can see a bit more of what's coming. Thankfully, doesn't look like much yet.

Moving ahead, we still don't see anything of note. Still, I suppose it's not a big map, so we'll be running into Koal's forces sooner rather than later, I'm sure.

Y'know, thinking about it, we've not had any big maps yet. I swear even AW2 had a big map during the Orange Star tutorial, that one with Dipshit and the first Black Cannon. Wonder if AWDS cuts down on the map size generally, or if we've just not hit the big ones yet?

Even without a complete army, I accept their challenge. Class is now in session.

I'll crush them if they try to move towards the HQ.

You know, I was going to sarcastically point out Black Hole units capturing things as I usually do, but serious question - why the hell did we start with two properties over there anyway?

Some more threatening units show up, but they don't actually attack. Question now is, do I overextend to get rid of that tank, or play defensively?

Pfft. Let's be real, I want to get this map over and done with as soon as possible. First option - overextend like fuck!

Besides, statistically I'm totally fine attacking this thing with Diana. Tanks and infantry alike do no damage to her, and artillery and rockets can't fire on her. Statistically, Koal's more likely to have one of those than an anti-air, so this feels like the sensible option.

Annoyingly, Diana is basically the only person in range of the tank. At least I was able to weaken it so it can't kill anything of mine now - next task is to cut off Koal's vision by destroying this recon. Anton can help out with that.

Finish it off, Ludmilla. I must admit, recons are nice all-purpose units. I'm fond of them.

Hm... this thing's got a lot of range. Question is, are we still on AW/AW2 rules where enemies can attack what they can't see? I could've sworn someone mentioned that the rules had changed for this game and the enemy played slightly more fair now... hm.

In the meantime, Jacquelyn lines herself up next to Diana.

"Hey, guys! I didn't get the chance to introduce myself earlier. I'm a new recruit to the army, just transferred from Cosmo Land HQ. Name's Jackie, or Jacquelyn if you want to be fancy. I'm a collector, and I love meeting new people-"

"That's great, Jackie. Focus on the battle for now - we'll do all the introductions later, alright?" Dimitri replies, from inside Harlow's APC. At that point, he looks up at the masked figure driving the APC. "Speaking of introductions, you said you were new too, right? Why do I recognise you?"

"Name's Harlow." the figure says. "We probably met in the last campaign - of course, I was with Green Earth at the time. I only transferred to the Blue Moon division recently. I wanted to travel, you see."

Dimitri nods. "I see. Well, good to have you. If you were in the last campaign, I already know you're a soldier of a certain esteem. So, let's get rollin'."

"On it. Straight for the enemy HQ?"

"Yup, full speed ahead."

I arrange my soldiers like so - in particular, I want to keep my foot units safe, so Felix dips into the forest next to the peak, whilst Harlow's APC charges ahead. I'm just kind of hoping Koal doesn't attack it.

Now let's see if that gambit pays off...

Wait, shit, where's my notebook-

This Dick Captures A Property: 4

And now they're trying to capture a second one! We can't have this.

A slight side-effect of keeping track of dicks capturing property is that I'm now weirdly motivated to try and keep that number as low as possible. So I can add that onto the list of my self-imposed challenges for these fucking games.

But hey, look, the tank didn't attack! And now it's surrounded by about fifteen things that want to kill it (and two ranged units that want to kill it but can't, because it's out of range), so it will not longer be a problem soon.

This is proving to be a pretty nice Fog of War map. I mean, it still sucks, but like, less so than other maps. It's no Show Stopper, that's for damn sure.

Yes, because I'm brilliant.

Good to see your confidence has returned now that we're making headway in this map.

Cool. Remember to keep an eye out for that Director lady, also.

I will. Thank you. I noticed I can also see the areas where I have bases. I suppose this means I should capture as many properties as possible, right?

May as well, everyone fuckin' loves capturing properties in this world. Black Hole loves it the most though. Though it would be useful to have some bases around for defensive use.

Yes, I do believe I'm starting to get the hang of this.

You're good to go already? You've got fierce skills, Sasha. Rachel had to give me a special crash course on this stuff. It took ages.

I'm sure that's because Rachel sees how much potential you have, Jake. And I can tell you're a good student. I think you two are a formidable pair.

Don't give him false hope. It'll increase his ego and make him as insufferable as Dipshit.

Yeah, think so? Rachel and I have both lost everything. Even our families.

What the fuck is he talking about? Rachel literally has a sister. And also me, though I don't think she'd count me as family.

I guess smacking down Black Hole is the only thing we've got. Wanting the same thing has pulled us together.

Wait, does that mean... Is that why she..?

I have no business worrying about my own fears and weaknesses then, do I? You've given me extra incentive to win this fight, Jake!

Harlow drops Dimitri off for the time being. I can't really charge ahead until I know exactly what's going on and precisely how many surprise artilleries there are, so they can afford a quick rest here.

And Jackie can finish this tank off, no problem. We're having a surprisingly good time of it on this map so far.

...Which is probably why I'm feeling confident enough to send Zlata way over here to harass this infantry. That'll stop him from capturing our property.

Seeing those Black Hole infantries doing such good capturing has put Felix in the mood, so he begins capturing this property, too. ...Speaking of infantry units, where the hell did that unit-carrying APC go, anyway?

I mean, it's not a threat, but I'd at least like to know its vague location.

Well, it's not over here, anyway. Ludmilla lights up most of the area, and reveals a distinct lack of dudes. They must be nearer to the HQ.

Hopefully we can lure them down with all of our units just kinda sitting here waiting to be shot at.

Oh, fuck. CO Power.

...This reminds me, I forgot to check out Sasha's CO details. One sec, where's her file gone... I had it just a moment ago...

yeah this guy's doing stuff, whatever

look at how much damage that did, wow

This full-HP infantry decides to attack Diana.

An absolute fucking mistake, as you can see. She didn't even take any damage from that. What the hell was the point?

Ah! Here it is. Let's see, Sasha, what do you do?

Mhm. Not bad, bit of extra cash. 100 isn't a huge amount, though, you'd need a lot of properties before you see a notable increase in funds.

...Yeah, that would have been fucking useful last turn. Reducing the enemy CO meter? That's absolutely fucking insane. I mean, sure, her SCOP's solid, but fuck me, especially for my style of play, this is amazing.

One of the disadvantages of playing with minimal casualties is the fact that I almost never get a CO Power off, and the enemy gets plenty of them off. So a 2-star CO Power which limits the enemy's CO Powers is literally perfect for me. Might have to use Sasha more often, damn.

Anyway, can't use her CO Power now, so Felix, finish capturing whilst the rest of us continue moving ahead.

Dimitri gets back into Harlow to continue the journey up to HQ. On a Fog of War map, there's almost always another enemy hiding in a hard-to-reach reef or forest, so capturing the HQ is usually the wisest approach.

"Whoa-hey, we've got trouble." Harlow says, glancing up. "Forest's occupied."

"Shit, if it spots us--what's over there?" Dimitri asks, staring out of the APC's front view.

"Uh, another APC." Harlow replies.

"Oh, well, ignore me, then." Dimitri says, shrugging. "What a near miss; an APC's no threat to us."

"Yeah, I thought it was gonna be that Director lady the Orange Star crew have been talking about." mutters Harlow.

We can make a start on this APC with Jackie, too. She weakens it quite a bit - and it's got someone inside, so best to get rid of it as soon as possible.

Oh, and those infantry need to be removed before they suicide themselves on my units again.

It's more humane this way.

I gather everyone into the Partial My Dude Victory Formation* and prepare for more stuff to come harass us. Koal's got to have more surprises in the fog, right?

* it's only a full My Dude Victory Formation if it's five medium tanks in a V shape.

Here we go. At least he can't surprise us with his CO Power any more. Movement-increasing powers are always the least predictable.

Jackie suddenly faces heavy fire from an enemy tank, and they can see the masked woman atop the vehicle, bearing the visage of Sturm.

"So that's-" Dimitri gasps. "Orange Star were right. That is definitely Sturm's mask. Who the hell is this woman?"

The Director faces Jackie.

"You're... not who I'm looking for. Blue Moon soldiers, I take it?" she mutters. Then she sighs, and prepares the barrel of her tank to fire. "Nothing personal; it's just the job. It's not you that I need to find..."

Thankfully, Jacquelyn's mostly fine. She ought to get out of there, though, unless... can I take out the Director with what I've got? She's only in a tank.

Fuck it, divert as many resources from capturing HQ as possible, and capture the Director!

OK, so now that Diana's attacked, we have a good chance of beating her outright, but...

No, I'm leaving nothing to chance.

I order Jacquelyn to attack from above, instead. You'll see why - the Director survives the attack on 1HP...

So I needed an extra space open for Fenya to finish her off. God, I'm so good.

"Take this! You won't be commanding these forces for much longer!" Fenya shouts as she opens fire.

The Director glowers furiously behind her mask, her single visible eye dilating with rage. "I can't- this isn't- I was supposed to be defeated by her. Commander my dude, you really are too intelligent for your own good."

As the gunfire rattles through her tank, she realises that the vehicle isn't long for this world and leaps up to exit.

"Lander unit! Are you in position?"

"Yes, Madam Director." comes the reply over the transceiver.

"Good! Prepare for pickup - I'm on my way!" the Director shouts as she sprints into the fog; seconds later, behind her, there's an almighty explosion as her tank is blasted to pieces. Fenya curses and picks up her own transceiver.

"We lost her. I'm sorry - she fled into the shoals, and I can't see her in the fog."

Thank you for your report, soldier. Hm... The shoals? She must have had an escape route in place. That Director really is tricky...

Yeah, she fled the first time we beat her, too. Just what is she up to? I don't feel like her interests are aligned with the rest of Black Hole, and yet I can't figure out what she's after...

We can't worry about it now. We must press on and halt this surprise attack.

Harlow drops off Dimitri next to the HQ - I decided that those two forests next to the enemy HQ were way too suspicious, so by dropping Dimitri here I could scan for any potential problems. And lo and behold, there was one - a surprise artillery. By placing Dimitri here, he's completely safe from ranged attacks.

And we can even start harassing it with Ludmilla.

Meanwhile, this APC which fled before has unfortunately fled right into rocket range, so... yeah, Anton kinda crushes it and whatever was hanging out inside it.

Felix is just merrily capturing things. He's having fun, so I'll leave him to it. Poor kid doesn't want to get thrown into the midst of the actual battle, let's be real.

A weakened artillery shouldn't do too much damage, though I'm just hoping there's nothing else in the fog now. I feel like Koal's all out of surprises.

And indeed, he does nothing. As expected.

Well, the artillery moved onto the HQ, but that's just delaying the inevitable. Diana, first hit, if you would?

And, thankfully, Jackie can just squeak a kill here, leaving the HQ free for Dimitri to do his thing.

So, hey, let's do that.

And down here too, whilst we're on a capturing roll.

Oh, shit, I just realised where the Director went. Of course! That's why she attacked alongside the shoals.

Where did she go?

Hey, Fenya, would you mind advancing north a little bit and telling us what's in that reef over there?

"Enemy lander spotted!" Fenya gasps.

That must be it! How did you...

First rule of Fog of War: if there's a random reef or forest somewhere, there's almost always something hiding in it.

We might still be able to capture her, then--we just need to get our ranged units over there.

And indeed, we move Anton and Anatoly over there - the brothers should be able to squash this thing.

We've got the HQ covered too. Man, this map really wasn't so bad.

Argh! The fucking lander fucked off! We're not going to be able to take it out on the next turn, but we are going to capture the HQ next turn, so...

...Damn it. We'll have to let the Director get away for now. I'm sure we'll see her again.

Yeah, that's where it went. It's in rocket range, but not artillery range, and we'd need both to take it out.

Still! We got the HQ captured, and the first Fog of War of the map on this campaign is done with! Thank god for that. It was practically painless.

Dude, Sasha! You dropped that fool!

It's all thanks to your good advice.

Sorry, what now?

Ah, you were excellent too, my dude! But I expect excellence from you, as most of the COs here seem to. You and Jake... well, you helped me conquer my fear.

Nah, it's all you. You should be all, like, "Whassup now, Black Hole?!"

Did you really just say that.

Hah! I'll be sure to say that next time. That will surprise them.

No kidding. Sasha coming out with something that dumb would surprise me, that's for sure.

Too bad that enemy CO and ACO peaced out. I wanna know what they were up to.

I get the feeling they were here to slow us down and buy some time.

The last thing you want to give Black Hole is time, especially with Lash working behind the scenes. They must be up to something.

So you think this was a diversion? Part of some totally evil master plan?

It's possible. Let's get going and join up with the main army.

Rock on--let's go!

Oh, and... my dude? I take it you weren't serious about needing therapy for Fog of War... right?

It was probably, like, 75% a joke. Why d'you ask?

Well, if you do ever want to talk about it, I'm no therapist, but I'd be happy to listen.

Oh. Yeah, thanks. That'd... that'd be nice, actually.

Another tidy S-rank for our troubles, which is pretty neat. I'm still waiting for the difficulty spike - I know it's coming once we finish the tutorial missions.

...Sasha is, uh, a woman of few words. And they are potent words indeed.

So, next time we'll be fighting... two COs? What?

And we're moving out, OK, cool.

It's another free choice map after this, too! And we have quite a few to choose from, so place your votes for: Rachel, Jake, Max, Sasha or Colin!

I am always the ACO. You don't get a choice on that, I'm afraid. See you next time, folks!


Update 10 (Intermission) - In Solemn Service