The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by Alkydere

Part 15: Mexican Fireworks

Mexican Fireworks

All right, who's ready to grab some Black Bombs that we'll probably never use?

Hm... Maybe if I move some of the artillery over here... Hee hee...


What's this, a new face? Meet Hawke, in AW2 he was Sturm's right hand man. In AW:DS there's a bit of tension between him and the Bolt Guard due to internal politics. Probably because he's actually competent.

Are you implying Lash isn’t competent? Crazy as shit, sure, but she’s damn good at what she does (“What she does” being “Make crazy inventions with constantly increasing killing power”).

In game, she uses the same damn AI as every other enemy, which is just as exploitable. So in one sense, she isn’t competent as a CO.

Oh, and I'll put some of those little tankies over here... Goodie! Oh, no! They used a dual strike! Raaaar! Boom! Crash! ...Tee hee hee!

Lash? ...Lash! Pay attention! Stop playing games on the battlefield! Carelessness leads to death.

Don't be silly. It's just a game! No, really... I'm playing a game, see? And let me tell you, this boss? Totally hard. Seriously.

Now is Lash breaking the fourth wall, or actually playing a game? I'll let the reader decide.

Get back to the lab. We've got company, and I've got another mission to attend to. You're on your own for this one. We can't afford to have anything happen to you.

Hawke is probably the only person who can actually keep Lash under control.

”Control” and “Lash” don’t belong in the same sentence together, unless they’re separated by “can’t.”

Yeah, yeah. Stop worrying about me! I DO have our brand-new weapon--you know, the black bomb? I'm more worried about this stupid boss battle than I am about... Uh-oh!

What now?

I think I dropped something when I was walking around earlier.

See? You are careless. What did you drop? Nothing vital, I hope.

Hmmm... I don't remember. Probably just bolts or lint or an egg or something... I dunno. Who cares? I don't want to look for it. Let's just go.

I'd be afraid of anything inside the pockets of Lash's massive coat. Who knows what's in there, eggs, explosive eggs, artillery shells, combustible lemons, remote controls for all locally Black Bombs, last week's egg. You never know.

Bolts of what? Cloth? Lightning?

According to intelligence, the black bomb research lab should be right here.

The black bomb? Hey, I remember that thing...

Yeah, that's the one that almost wasted us on Bearen Island.

That's the one. It has to be around here somewhere...

Oh! Commander Rachel! I found this in a bush over here!

Gwar! What are you doing?! You can't just walk around touching stuff! It could be a booby trap! And then you touch it and... KA-BOOOM!! OOOH, YEAH!!

Don't give the boy a heart attack Grimm.

It dropped out of Lash’s pocket. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t lethal.

Oh no! I-I'm s-sorry, sir!

I don't see a blasting cap or trigger mechanism. Actually, it looks like a remote control for a toy car or something...

The enemy is just ahead!

Tee hee! Hello again, sad sacks! No one can have my black bomb! The closest you'll come is when I use it to blow you all to smithereens!

Grrr! Back for more, huh, Lash?!

Tee hee hee! Heya, Max! You still cracking coconuts with that big head of yours? No one can defeat my scientific mind! All I have to do is press this button and... ...and... ...Huh?... Oh, nuts My remote's gone!


Hey, Lash? Could you possibly be talking about...this?

Case in point. I mean, fuck, imagine if Colin had actually used the remote before Lash told them what it was.

I almost admire her restraint in not making them actually manned.

Heeeey! Give that back! Thief! Thieeeef!

W-why should I give it back...?

I know your gimmick has always been an utter lack of spine Colin, but could you at least not stutter when taunting the enemy?

Hey! Are you losers asleep or something? The enemy took my black bombs Do you have any idea how long it took me to build all of those?

Um...w-what are we supposed to do about it?

Argh! Fine. Forget it. They probably won't be able to use them, anyway! It takes a special kind of genius to master black bomb deployment. OK, let's start the game!

Black Hole has a MASSIVE wall of units up by the Lab, it's actually pretty menacing. Both visually and in actual gameplay terms. This won't be like the last mission where the only requirement for winning was to have a pulse. We'll actually have to use strategery!

Down at the bottom we have our army. As you can see by comparing the two we're a bit out gunned, and the only production tile, an airfield, is midway between the two forces. Of course we do have a few advantages. Mainly those Black Bombs look rather orange, and there are two Com Towers hiding under the terrain display in the bottom left. We have control over those Black Orange Bombs from the start, all we have to do to use them is break them free of their Black Pipe pens by destroying the seams.

The actual general strategy is pretty clear again, but the black bombs are a little more difficult to use than they look. The AI doesn’t tend to leave holes in its formations, and you can’t move through them, so you tend to just be able to explode at the edges of the formation, instead of deep enough to really shred them.

Due to everyone's votes we'll be using Grimm and Colin for this map. Grimm's gonna be leading the charge with his 130% attack, 150% once we get those Com Towers.

We've got to beat the enemy to the center of the map! Let's go! Oooh, yeah!

I'm the one who found that remote! I want to use it!

You go Colin, you go!

The battle starts with me running for the Com Towers and grumbling about how Orange Star likes to deploy with their Artillery in front of their tanks.

Gotta start whittling away at the Black Pipe Seam to we can release the beasts. The game mostly gives you the Copter so you can blow open this one pen of bombs.

It's really tempting to run forward and get that airfield, but you really don't want to do that. At least not until your bombs have had a chance to really soften up Lash's forces.

Boom! Our first pen is open and we have two bombs for Colin to control from the background while Grimm does all the brawling.

So that's the black bomb, eh? Pretty sweet.

You say it like you haven't seen it before when you and Max first fought Lash in this game.

That thing has bomb written all over it! It's essentially a simple air unit without a main cannon or secondary guns...

I think it's an unmanned weapon. We can control it from here with the remote. The controls are simple, so we should be able to move it like any other unit.

Hey, let's try blowing one up!

Max, the one person here (aside from Jake, who I’m pretty sure no one takes seriously) who actually knows what the bomb does, is the one to suggest blowing it up. Great job guys.

Umm...isn't that dangerous?

Dangerous or not, I don't think you're gonna get that remote out of Colin's hands any time soon.

Maybe not. This is a new kind of weapon, and I'm not familiar with it. Blowing one up is a good way to see how it performs.

Since we've got the range, I toss this bomb at these units here. We'll save the rest for the bigger, more expensive stuff.

I knew it! This is the same thing that destroyed our copters on Bearen Island!

The bombs take five HP from any unit within a three-square radius. Ok... Now we know what these black bombs can do!

Since the bombs are an "On-map" effect and not a unit actually attacking they can't actually kill and will only reduce enemies to 1 HP.

And map-attack effects like this don’t hurt pipelines, Black Crystals, or any other HP-based installation Black Hole fields. Kind of an issue given how they started this map.

I’m torn between calling Lash a true humanitarian for building a bomb that can’t actually kill anything, and questioning why anyone would ever build a bomb that can’t actually kill anyone, let alone why Lash would. Maybe she tested it on her own people, that seems like a Lash-esque thing to do.

This, however, would mean that we’re stealing the defective model that can’t kill anything.

Oh look, we've got some more bombs for Colin to play with! Quick, Grimm, put him on your shoulders so he can get a better view of the enemy!

And then ALL difficulty flew out the window. Still, better than the last mission, at least you need a fraction of a brain to win, the last one was just checking if you had a pulse.

Worth noting that blowing up your own Black Bombs doesn’t count against your Technique score. Only actual enemy kills does.

The biggest problem with the Bombs is that they only have 45 fuel. That may sound like a lot but air units eat 5 units of fuel every time you end a turn. That means even if you don't move the Bombs around inside their Pens (which you can do, you have control of the bombs from the start since Advance Wars doesn't do that "units changing faction mid-mission" madness), they'll be running about half-empty.

We're running out of worthwhile targets faster than we're running out of Bombs here.

The game does expect that you’re going to waste one or two ‘getting the hang of it’, I think.

The only real juicy targets remaining are those full health Rockets in the top left. And at this point I'm really not worried about the Bombs being shot down as a 5 or 1 HP AA isn't going to knock a full health one out of the sky, even with Grimm's defense. Besides, a Bomb explodes for full damage at any health.

Why the fuck is the suicide bomber smiley named "happyelf"?

Now-permabanned former poster. Apparently held Views on Israel/Palestine issues.

And that's the last one. It's all down to cleanup now.

Not even Prime Bullshit's gonna help you now Lash.

I feel betrayed, Alky. Prime Bullshit not working in this game is a violation of everything I’ve learned up until this point.

And now we can pump out enough cheap Copters to cover the sky and make sure none of Lash's units escape by running away.

Or we could if Lash's forces actually lasted long enough for me to start using said airfield.

Oh man, this is so annoying! Now I have to make another remote!

Hey! We found a blueprint for the black bomb!

Colin: a fan of cheap but powerful munitions. Honestly, if there's one CO I would use Black Bombs with it's Colin just because he gets everything for so cheap. I just never really think of using them is all.

They’re still ruinously expensive and only good for one shot. Still not a fan.

Nice work! Now we can develop our own black bombs.

Works for me! Those bombs are stylish!

Gwar har har! It's like a huge fireworks show...and everyone's invited!

Yes, I suppose. But you can only use them once. Isn't that a waste?

It's like you scratch that one phat beat that you'll never find again. I like it! I've got to master these things!

And here's the points tally. Yes, breaking Black Pipe Seams actually does net you 5 points each. Not really worth going out of your way for to be honest.

Next time we'll be doing a mission that I have mixed feelings about. On one hand it will be an introduction to Green Earth and two of their COs, Jess and the new guy, and brand new unit designed by Green Earth. On the other hand, HOW they introduce said unit, WHAT unit they introduce, and the fucker who will be driving it with his defensive powers combine in a way to make me froth at the mouth.

Oh IntSys, never change.

Fog of War was too easy before!