The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by Alkydere

Part 10: CO Nook's arch-rival

CO Nook's arch-rival

Welcome back everyone. Time to see a new CO and a new unit. A unit that we will soon be stealing for ourselves.

We completely trashed the black crystal on Bearen Island, but the Black Hole Army wasn't even phased!

We've got to work our way up the food chain and take out their boss. According to the folks in intelligence, there's a large energy source somewhere in Red Rock Desert.

In that wasteland? Finding that thing is going to be some serious work.

And that is why we're going on desert patrol. It's an important mission.

If it's so important, how come there aren't more of us going?

HQ has ordered us to join up with a force of Yellow Comet COs and troops. But we haven't heard a word so far. I hope Black Hole hasn't ambushed them.

Yellow Comet COs? Adding their might to our own would be quite reassuring.

Commander Rachel! We've spotted enemy forces on the coastline ahead. It appears they're preparing to strike.

They've found us already. Listen up, people! Get ready to see some action!

Rock! Let's roll these fools straight into the ocean.

Lady Kindle, the allied forces are prepping for battle. The black boat repairs on the battleship are far from complete. They need time...


Oh, is this a new face I see?

Lady Kindle?

Inconsiderate rubes. I was planning to catch up on my reading during the repairs. Battling in this desolate squalor is absolute nonsense, don't you agree?

A person called Kindle wanting to catch up on her reading? This LP is brought to you by Amazon.

...despite what the title may lead the viewer to think, I honestly didn't catch that until you pointed it out. AW:DS was truly ahead of its time!

Yes, of course...

If we must fight, I prefer an urban setting. This appalling place is just so...rural. But orders are orders, I suppose. Get the black boats moving on those repairs. In the interim, I will make sure our guests are death! Aha ha ha!

Yup, yet another character gets to not really fight in good conditions for their first fight.

Those are weird-looking boats. What do you think they are?

I've never seen anything like them. Another new Black Hole invention, I guess.

There's no point in guessing. Let's be sure to keep an eye on them as we move in. If our lander sinks in this battle, that's it--we lose. Their battleship is damaged, but we should still approach with caution. Starting today, we've also gained the authority to use the Delete command. *Snip*

Right, cutting her off there. I'm sure you all can figure out how to go into the options to delete one of your units, and why this will pretty much never be used. Mostly this is for when you've hit the unit cap.

The Lander actually is a mission-fail if you somehow manage to lose it. But, really now, you have to actively work at it to let Black Hole sink it.

Anyways, here's our screen. It's more or less another tutorial battle, but it has a bit of bite in it. Two steps forward, one step back in terms of difficulty. Since we have no naval firepower of our own besides our Sub, we'll need our lander to get our forces across the water to destroy the Black Hole units, or capture the HQ, on the island. Either works.

Anyways, here's Kindle, Jugger and Koal's direct superior and the final member of Black Hole's "Bolt Guard". The trio are supposed to have a fire theme going, though dunno how "Jugger" has anything to do with fire. Kindle is a fairly solid CO and can be an utter pain if used properly. Her power is the power of being the queen bitch socialite, and is all based around cities. To start with she gets a natural +40% attack bonus to units sitting on "Urban" tiles. This includes HQs, factories, ports, and com towers (which we haven't seen). This is especially nasty when her Tanks are holding a choke point on a City, or her Artillery is sitting in a nearby City and getting that +40% as it pounds away at your forces trying to break through.

Yeah, I'm at a loss with the fire theme, myself. Only instance I've heard of the word outside this game is a drunkard. I mean, I guess technically if you drink enough you get more flammable...?

Her powers make her even more nasty. Her COP buffs her attack power on urban tiles to +80% in addition to the standard "I'm using a power!" bonus and does 3 damage to every enemy on a city tile. This can be especially annoying if you've just bought something nice and expensive like a Neotank or Battleship only for her to drop her power and force you to spend the cash healing it up to 9/10 at the beginning of your next turn. Her SCOP can be absolutely gamebreaking. To start with, all her units on urban tiles get an absurd +130% attack bonus. She also gains a 3% attack bonus to her entire army for every urban tile she own. That's right, her units start at 240% normal attack bonus (100% norm + 130% Bullshit + 10% "I've got a power active!") if they're sitting on a city tile and then get even stronger. The only thing that keeps Kindle from being absurd is the fact she doesn't get any defensive bonuses.

I find it incredibly amusing that she can get more bullshit bonuses that are even higher than her units' base power. Overkill is the best kind of kill.

Like how Koal and Jugger were near-copies of AW2 COs, Kindle is a distaff counterpart to Lash. However, since Lash is in the game, Kindle gets a unique role instead of just a new visual and minor tweaks, though. Focused on urban instead of just 'rough' terrain, and she focuses on attack where Lash is more defense. She's beautifully bullshit in some missions. Ths one isn't really one of them.

Kindle's Theme
Thank you President Ark for reminding me about this.

And here's our new unit: the Black Boat. You might not think it to look at the stats screen, but Black Boats are fucking awesome. They're basically sea-borne APCs. They can carry two infantry at once, and their ability lets them refuel and repair adjacent units. They'll only heal 1 HP/turn, and unlike the APCs which passively resupply all adjacent units the Black Boat can only repair one unit at a time. The repairs also still cost money too. Still, they're wonderful for expanding the lifespan of your naval units by making sure your Subs have fuel, your Battleships have ammo, and keeping everything repaired too while they're at it.

These are sorta goofy. They can only load footsoldiers, so they're not a complete replacement for landers. They do have a clear and valuable role, but usually battles are won on land, not sea.

Anyways, we'll be taking Sasha along as our main CO, Colin's only along to get points. However, first I have something to show off at Epee Em's request.

If you want, you can only go with one CO from now on. The only exception is when you have two fronts like the last battle. Feel free to vote "Null" if you want me to only use one CO.

Of course, if we select Sasha to be the second CO, we'll have an empty first slot.

And if we start the battle Advance Wars freaks the fuck out. We've got a glitched out CO portrait up top and we hear the theme music of Andy, the protagonist from the previous games.

Oh, and apparently our CO has his SCOP instantly charged. Hmm...I wonder.

An empty text box appears for a split second, we see SUPER POWER! come down and then...this! The music plays but the game has locked up as it wasn't able to load the information for your SCOP. Remember kiddos, summoning elder gods/missingno is a bad idea. Don't worry, resetting your DS, or using a save state, fixes this so you're not going to permanently brick your cartridge.

I think most players found this one. It's sad testers didn't.

Hey, Sis! We've been given the command!

You mustn't get flustered, Colin. We have to do our best so we don't disappoint Commander Rachel.

Okay, I can take Colin's lack of confidence, but can you guys stop voting for him to fight alongside his sister? It feels like she's the source of his insecurity, cutting him off at the knees and always accusing the guy who just helped smash Black Hole's last invasion just a few months ago of being afraid to cover up her own anxiety.

But those sweet, sweet tag stars! Everyone knows that plot and characterization aren't nearly as important as the ability to break the game in half.

...When you can build things. Here, I'd probably prefer Jake alone over these two together.

The battle begins and Sasha's in the lead because I really don't feel like dealing with Colin's 90% attack.

First of all we rush forward and try to wound the Artillery while it's sitting on the plains. We get lucky and somehow hit for 6 damage instead of 4.

After that we bring everything forward and our Sub goes under. Sure that Battleship is at 1 HP, but I don't feel like taking hits if I an avoid it and we've got plenty of fuel.

Pay attention! Black boats can...*snip*

Ah, sorry Kindle, you were saying something? I already explained Black Boats. Kindle explains not only how Black Boats work but that there's a secret map in one of these cities to the research lab that designed these Black Boats. If we grab it, we'll unlock an optional level that will let us unlock our own Black Boats.

She tells you there's a lab with the plans? Your Black Hole leadership, ladies and gentlemen.

I'm not even sure who she's supposed to be talking to. Her own forces should already know this because they're operating the damn things already. I guess she's just yelling it at the allied COs so she'll have someone listening to her.

We're moving forward and making damned sure Kindle doesn't get any of her front line troops on cities. The last thing we need is for her to get that 40% attack bonus.

Kindle's turn and she attacks with her Battleship. I find something hilarious about her throwing a big, dramatic "Noooo!" over how weak her 2HP Battleship is.

Day 3 comes and goes. Our infantry starts to capture Kindle's property, I sink her Battleship, and I land a full APC on her island. I probably should have been more aggressive, or cautious about her Artillery, but I really don't care about her holding that land down there.

As we can see, Sasha's Power is full after that turn and so is Kindle's. Of course, that's not going to last for long.

I'll keep fighting until peace is restored!

This is, I suppose, at least some consolation for not having Jake or Max in the CO seat to just bull through Kindle.

And now you can see that Kindle doesn't have her COP charged any more. I really would have preferred to use this at the start of my turn and get the strength bonus for attacking, but it's good enough to help keep Kindle nice and nerfed.

Capturing the first city across the bridge triggers this message. We have unlocked a free mission that will net us our own Black Boats. In later missions the secret lab map won't be so easy to find, this one's just a gimme.

Really? Let me see... Yes! This is a map leading to a lab where black boat research is taking place! Perfect! Now we can steal its design documents!

Of course it would be hidden in the city closest to your troops. After all, they're invincible! Why would they ever need to retreat for any reason?

A better question is why they just dropped a map to something important in a neutral city and fucked off. Why is it there? Why does it exist in the first place? Why can't you go look for it after Black Hole leaves the area, since you know it's around. ...This game is better when you don't sweat the details, basically.

Kindle's forces dwindle and our Mech is knocking on the HQ's front door. The main reason I brought the APC is because I didn't want to force my Mech to wade through the Artillery's fire, which would be further buffed by Kindle's bonus for being on urban tiles.

Let us play a more dangerous game, shall we? I grow weary of this.

This is going to sting. Oh well, she's helpless to stop me from taking her HQ now so I'm not too worried.

Right off the bat she reduces the HP of my Mech, one of my Infantry and my AA by 3. With her 80% + COP bonus on her Artillery, neither my Tank nor my APC stand a chance. Good thing I brought the APC to run the Mech past her Artillery's range.

I really should have brought down more troops to fight the Artillery. It takes all my Mech's rockets but I finally kill the Artillery on day 8. Nothing else really happens besides me and Kindle juggling troops about.

Which really happens way too often on this map. Play too aggressively and she'll bloody your nose in return with a power or super, so you end up in this somewhat protracted little cat-and-mouse.

Finally we win on day 10.

Losing to you corn-fed country folk is enough to give me frown lines. The time I spent on vacation must have dulled my killer instinct.

Considering how much high-fructose corn syrup is in food in America, I'm pretty sure most city folk count as "corn-fed".

Why limit it to city folk? Fucking everyone counts as "corn-fed" if you go by that definition.

Whoa! Do you use napalm for hair gel or something? Surrender now, you're done!

I love Kindle's hair. She reminds me of the women in "The Far Side".

If you insist. Do you promise to interrogate me personally?

What, are you insane? I'm your enemy! We just owned your army!

Aha ha ha! It's a joke, darling. You've no sense of humor at all, do you? When we meet next, I'll be leading a proper army. You'd better do your homework. Oh, yes, my name is Kindle. Can you feel the flames burning within you? Aha ha ha!

'Aha ha ha?' Nice laugh, snob! Jake, stay away from that tart.

These Black Hole COs just keep getting weirder and weirder...

And she even goes all to troll Jake. Maybe she's not so bad after all.

A not quite perfect score. Was a bit slow capturing the HQ (killing everything would have taken longer) and lost a few too many units by being careless.

What's this? Sasha's rank is now 1! I can now show off the MOST broken aspect of the game, the CO skills. Rachel tells us about how to equip them and how we can earn more (rank up) and hints at SOMETHING good happening if you reach rank 10.

You rank up via earning these points. Now, I doubt Alkydere is planning to show it off, but it's technically possible to just replay the first mission or two to quickly grind up the COs there, assuming you wanted to quickly max Jake. (Yes, I know about Hard Campaign, but let's ignore that until we get there.)

So very cheesy.

Next time we'll be fighting Jugger and Koal to get those new Black Boat plans.

But first, welcome to the bullshit folks. Now that Sasha is level 1 we can start equipping skills on her. We can only select from the tier-1 skills and can only have one right now, but every few levels we'll be able to select an additional skill, though we can only select one from each tier. We can swap between these freely between battles too. Right now we can select from the following for Sasha:

I'll be going with Combat Pay until the thread votes for me to use Sasha again and selects a new Skill. It's not much, but more money is always good, especially since her COP is based on it.

Considering how much combat you'll see outside of the one turn you use her SCOP, I'd bet Combat Pay actually ends up putting you ahead more than it would. And you know, money for the CO.

Personally, I like running with the defense boosts, but... yeah, this is a universal boost for your COs that the AI never uses. The only competition it has for 'most broken' is the Dual Strike itself, and at least the AI can do that when it feels like it. This lets you increase your bonuses, offset your penalties, or acquire other little advantages, and, oh yes, there's nine more levels of skills to unlock.

Also, next mission: whack-a-mole!