The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by Alkydere

Part 13: Yellow Bellies

Yellow Bellies

Welcome back gals and goons. It's time to go meet the Yellow Comet COs, and then defeat them in an otherwise friendly battle! I'll try to avoid cutting out turns this time like I did on the last mission to avoid some of the confusion.

Commander Rachel! Yellow Comet COs have arrived.

Yes! The cavalry has arrived! Show them in, soldier.

Yes, ma'am.

Hey, big man comin' through! Ahhh, we're finally here at Allied HQ.

Hey look, it's Grimm! You won't like...what he's about to do to the free donuts you set out for the meeting.

We're glad to see you here, Grimm. And you too, Sensei.

I can't seem to get away from the battlefield. It's enough to make me cranky.

And it's Sensei! You won't like what he does when he's cranky. No, seriously, in AW2 Lash pissed him off and pretty much pressed his berserk button. The results were not pretty.

So we’ve got a lively fat guy and a cranky old guy joining our team of mostly teenage generals. Sounds good.

Hey! It's Sensei! It's good to see you looking so fit!

Hah! It's Max! And Colin, too. Looks like we'll be teaming up again, boys.

Not only are we rollin' with the legendary Sensei, but we also get Lightning Grimm! They say your attacks are stupid fast and strong. You know, like lightning.

Ah, Jake, the master of painfully clunky description. I'll get to what Grimm does later.

Lightning Grimm. Because you are fast, like lightning, you see. Jake once again shows that he is a master wordsmith.

Hah! Cut it out! You're embarrassing me it's all true, of course, but still. Before we go any further, we gotta get some things straight. Hey, Rachel! You're the big mustard of this outfit, but I know a lot of nothin' about you. If Sensei and I are gonna put our lives in your hands, we need to know more. You're gonna have to show us what you've got if you want to give the orders.

I get it. You want to test me, huh?

Yep! You whip Sensei and me, and we'll fall in line with the rest of the troops!

Dude, we so don't have time for this.

Jake is also, sadly, the only voice of reason sometimes.

It's OK, Jake. This is a good opportunity for us to learn each other's abilities. You're on, Lightning Grimm! For your sake, I hope you're ready!

When am I not ready? C'mon, Sensei, let's do this.

You just love to stir up trouble, don't you? You know these kids are a solid group.

Yeah, but there are only two ways to get to know someone--fighting and eating. And believe it or not, I ain't hungry.

That's probably because all the donuts on the war room table disappeared within ten seconds of you entering the room. I think in this cause correlation probably does equal causation.

I can’t blame the man. Donuts are pretty fucking awesome.

Just the holes are better for my diet.

I don't know what you're talking about, but it seems everyone's ready to go. Guess I'll show 'em what a shriveled old soldier can do.

The game jumps to the map and we learn that not only is this another dual-front battle, but this is also the introduction to missile silos. Luckily, since this isn't an air battle, we can control both fronts of the battle.

Missile silos? You mean those things on that island?

Yes. One thing to know about them is only foot soldiers can initiate a launch. They're easy to use--all you have to do is pick your target and fire away. They can attack anywhere on the map, and they're super powerful! Well, they can't hit targets on the second front--that's too far away.

Yeah, that makes sense. But I bet they can pretty much dominate the main front.

Oh, and another thing--their blast radius is big, so try not to damage allies, too.

Well, if they're that wicked, then we've got to snag that island!

That's right! This time, I'm going to take command of the main front. Look at the upper screen. As you can see, this is a dual-front map. Last time, your partner CO controlled the action on the second front automatically. *Snip*

Cutting that, I don't think you guys need to be told how to go into the menu.

Here's the two maps, the bottom one is just barely too big to fit onto one screen. Up top we've got Sensei with his rape-copters and Mechs against our totally inappropriate army. Down below we'll be fighting for dominance of the missiles with Grimm.

A mech, an infantry, a handful of tanks and MdTanks, and an artillery vs. 6 copters and 4 mechs, and as far as I can see no factories or any other way to replenish troops unless you import them from the other front. What could possibly go wrong?

The ideal way to handle this mission seems to be to send minimal forces to the second front (I’ve gotten by with just 2 AA’s), then make a mad dash for the central island. Tie up Grimm well, get all the missiles, and even the airfields don’t matter much and can be gone for second.

Alkydere’s approach is... not quite this.

Yea, it might have worked better if I did that, or at least gone faster, if I'd played the game that way.

Anyways, thanks to the thread we'll be using Rachel and Jake today. Good thing you guys voted to use Rachel because the game downright forces you to do so, and always on the main front. It's up to you who to use on the second front.

You're my second CO, Jake! I'm counting on you!

We're about to be clashin' with the legends! How cool is this?

First thing's first: turn the AI off. I derp from time to time but at least I know what I'm doing. The last thing I need is for the AI to rush forward against those 150% attack B Copters.

Second thing: bring up the info page for the new CO. Grimm is a firm believer that the best defense truly is a good offense. All of Grimm's units have tremendous 130% attack but only 80% defense. That means he can crush you under his tanks' treads even better than Max or Kanbei, but at the cost of suffering greatly on the counter attack. He's basically a budget version of Kanbei, hitting harder than his boss with normal priced units but at the cost of survivability. He also apparently has a negative luck modifier on defense which I've never been able to find numbers for but it means his troops have a nasty habit of taking even more bonus luck damage when they're defending.

Grimm's powers are pretty straightforward. His units are pumped to 160%/90% at 3 stars and 190%/90% at 6 stars, with the 10% defensive bonuses coming simply from the general +10% to all stats that using a power gives a CO. The only CO who matches Grimm's attack when using his SCOP is Max, and unlike Max, Grimm's infantry and ranged units also get to use this massive attack bonus. Sure, other players can, and will, hit harder than Grimm, but they'll only do it as specialists taking advantage of their specialty.

Sometimes, simplicity really is the best option. Making “blowing shit up” your sole task, and then getting really good at it is certainly one way to get results.

I don’t like Grimm much. That defense penalty hurts. I like my units to be a bit sturdier. With increased offense, too, though, at least fights with him don’t tend to last long, one way or the other

We start by building an infantry over to the right near the river, an APC to carry future soldiers up north, and then send our AA to Jake on the second front. On the main front we'll want to keep Grimm from rushing across the river with his infantry while doing our best to secure the island up north, as well as the airfield and as many of the missiles as we can.

When we switch to the second front the screens flip and now we can see everything in wonderful pseudo-3D. Other changes since this isn't a gimmicky air battle: we can use our powers and units can be sent via factories (or seaports if they're naval units) as well as the HQ. The game will just stick the transferred unit on the closest available tile to the HQ.

Anyways, until we can get some AAs up here we'll be playing mostly defensively. By defensively I mean "treat every unit but the AAs as expendable bait" since units lost on the second front don't count against your Technique. Those B Copters are death incarnate so they'll be the main target every time we put a dent in them, but we'll have to keep an eye on those Mechs too. If Sensei captures too many cities he can start pouring free infantry onto the map.

Since Alkydere didn’t give me a standard CO readout screen here, I’ll make my comments here: Sensei is just ridiculous. B Copters are a pretty common sight. Between their massive boost and his infantary swarm CO Powers, Sensei is one of the best COs in the game in any mode.

Of course, here he has no airports and no starting cities, so he doesn’t get to show that off much, beyond watching his super Copters shred your ground units for a bit.

Just Md Tanks? Build enough of the suckers and they'll just grind everything but AAs and Jets down, and that's only because AAs get a massive defense bonus vs. air and the Copters can't hit planes.

Day 2 involves more buying foot soldiers and preparing for a mad dash up north.

And here's what it's like playing against Grimm. He basically increases the attrition both sides take by hitting so hard and then taking a beating in return.

I’m presuming this is him attacking you? Because it would be downright terrifying if it were the other way around. And even if it’s not, losing half a unit’s health with three defense stars is pretty damn rough.

That’s Grimm for you. Matches just happen faster than normal. He does need to watch out for indirect fire, though; when that’s directed at him, he suffers more than usual.

On Jake's front we send our APC out as bait/sacrificial offering so that our AA can get the first hit on a B-Copter.

We start building AAs for the second front while the APC bus drops off its first passenger up north. Grimm's so far away from the central island I'm not terribly worried about him grabbing it before the APC bus can drop off Infantry #2.

This is where I would have gone for the central island first, but the lure of air units seduced Alkydere away.

Something I should mention before Jake wrecks this B-Copter is that I love the unit art direction for Yellow Comet forces. They are badass enough to have military parity with the rest of the world despite using weaponry that's blatantly four or five decades out of date. Their Fighters are still prop planes but can go toe to toe with jet fighters, and other such absurdities.

I know you’ve played Civ, you know damn well that technology has nothing to do with how good a unit is. If a spearman can beat a tank, I see no reason that a prop plane can’t go toe to toe, or even come out on top of a jet figther.

So you’ve fallen for their fake aesthetics, have you? Smashing success, then.

This is why we need to start sending more and more AAs ASAP. See that one B Copter between a cluster of Tanks and Recons? That's the best I could do, even with them all getting the 10% plains bonus from Jake, and look at the damage I took in return. AAs can one-shot these Sensei-commanded demons, Recons and Tanks can barely nick them.

This just seems wasteful of tanks and recons.

Not my best move in hindsight, but as the score at the end proves it all works out well in the end.

Oh, and this is the aftermath once Sensei's B-Copters get done.

Day 4 and we send the AA away. We don't have enough to build another sorely needed AA, so we build an Artillery to lob shells across he river.

Woo! Only 3.4 more B-Copter demons left to go!

So .4 of a helicopter is like what, the frame with no window, only one rotary blade, and a cannon filled to half capacity?

The APC bus is rolling up to the island while we put our Artillery in position to pound Grimm's factory. We also grab an airfield so if we weren't busy building AAs we could start pumping out copters of our own.

Grimm gets the first missile off, but it's not going to matter since Rachel's troops heal 3 HP a turn from repairs.

Stupid Sensei hiding his Copters in the middle of rough terrain so I can't reach them. I take my frustration out on his Mechs.

And Sensei wastes his SCOP by failing to kill my otherwise worthless Artillery.

In return we launch our own missile. I wasn't paying attention to Grimm's Recons so he's denied me the central island for now, and doing 3 damage to them won't change that. Doing 3 damage to the Infantry will slow down their capturing by a turn.

Sensei continues to run away from our AA units.

The big problem with this mission is you have to keep splitting your economy between the two fronts. I want to build more AAs but I need something to fend off the Recons so I spend my money on a B-Copter instead.

I think this is the first time I’ve seen non-infantry units on the OS side of the map in this mission. Between starting with two extra cities and getting to go first, it’s unusual to see Yellow Comet get this far.

Well if he wants to run away, I'll just speed up my troops with my own SCOP!

Of course, having an AA recently transferred onto the HQ, and therefore right in the middle of Sensei's B-Copters, will help.

Much better. We only have to run down one more BCopter and then all we have to do after that is clean up the infantry.

If only it were that easy.

If only you had some lures to suck the copter out of evasion.

We're not doing so well on the main front, but with the second front clearing up we'll be able to devote more resources to the battle, and soon we'll have two COs to Yellow Comet's one.

Damnit Sensei, why do you have to be so good at hiding out of range?

We're bouncing back, but it's about to get nasty as Grimm's finally filled his CO meter.

Incoming 190% attack!

It stings but it doesn't stop me from pushing forward.

It doesn’t really look like he accomplished much. Judging by the picture before this he killed one tank and mildly hurt a couple other units.

Dammit Sensei, stop dragging this out! I'll just start cutting Jake's front now as it's a game of cat and mouse.

Bonus ‘Where’s Waldo’ moment: the last enemy copter is hiding under the interface there.

Moving forward, dunno why I'm saving Rachel's SCOP at this point.

Right, let's soften Grimm up a bit.

And add some more missiles from the map's silos.

No Grimm you don't get to repair. As you can see we're also pushing across the river into Grimm's territory.

About damn time.

The Orange Star Army has won on the secondary front!

Took me too damned long to grab this, I should have gone for the factory first and THEN the airfield.

You're in a bit of a pinch now, aren't you, Grimm?

What, are you senile? I'm just getting warmed up!

He says, after getting “dropped like a phat beat.” Most people don’t gloat after they get their ass handed to them, but Sensei evidently gives no fucks.

Sensei’s laid-back, sensible approach makes him one of my favorite characters. Having copters that can shred Md Tanks doesn’t hurt, either.

There, all the missiles have been launched. We've got the factory up north and a steady stream of Mechs fording the river under artillery cover down south. Anyways, I swap to Jake because the 10% attack bonus on a plains filled map is probably more useful than an extra HP repaired a turn when I'm on offence.

This is what happens to Grim if we can actually focus on the main front. He gets utterly swamped. His SCOP is charged again, but he'll only be able to attack with a 3 HP Infantry and a 7 (5+2 repairs) HP Tank. We're pretty much in clean up mode now.

Screw it, we don't have enough for Orange/Omega Crush, but the extra firepower should be enough for me to guarantee Grimm's Crushed.

Oh, by the way, before I win I thought I might as well show you this. This is why I sometimes call Jake "Grit Jr." as both of his CO powers give +1 range to his indirect units.

We totally worked 'em!

Hah ha! We were defeated fair and square. Score one for the young 'uns."

So, Grimm, this means you'll be fighting with us now, right? Under my command?

I gave my word, didn't I? And the way you mowed us down? I'm happy to! Listen up, people! Lightning Grimm is one of yours now! Let's go find Black Hole's COs and make their mugs even uglier!

"Hey, you slaughtered our forces to the last man in a friendly war fair and square while we were both trying to fight a foe that has nearly infinite resources. Let's be best buddies now!"

We’ve been over this. IntSys doesn’t really have a grasp on the intricacies of this whole “war” thing.

He certainly is full of steam. I have a feeling he's the life of the party.

Apparently having to spend several turns hunting down Sensei was taken into account when determining the score. I was expecting to at least lose points in Speed. I wasn't worried about technique because only losses on the main front count.

The game can be forgiving at times, thankfully. Until you completely empty out Hachi’s store, it’s nice to get full points.

Next time, we learn about another new feature in this game: Com Towers! Believe it or not, they're actually not gamebreaking!

It speaks volumes about this game that “Doesn’t break the shit out of the game” is a notable descriptor. You might as well have just called it useless.

Tune in next time when I explain how Com Towers aren’t far short of gamebreaking!

They're only really bad when you're facing or using a certain CO we haven't seen yet.