The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by Alkydere

Part 16: Tank it in stride

Tank it in stride

All right, time to continue on. Depending on how you do this mission it can actually be kind of frustrating. We're still not to the part where the missions are properly hard though.

Javier, I feel I should apologize for forcing you to be my guide. I don't have a good feel for the geography of this continent.

We have our first new CO today. Jess, Green Earth's armor specialist.

One you’re going to completely neglect showing off, no less.

Which is a pity, since she’s one of my favorites.

Please, think on it no more. You are from Macro Land--this is my homeland. Besides, escorting a beautiful lady such as yourself is a gentleman's duty and honor. Now then, I believe the Allied Nations have been fighting in this region. I've heard their company includes COs from several nations. I am curious to see if they are really as good as rumor has it.

And here we have Javier. I love Javier, I hate fighting against him and I'll explain why later. Until then, you can just hear the Forsooths rolling off of this Spanish gentleman's Ye Olde Tongue, can't you?

They certainly are. I fought alongside some of them in the last great war.

Ah, is that so? I would welcome the chance to witness their skills myself.

It smells like cordite. I think we're here!

I’m kinda surprised she can smell that over... well, her own forces. Cordite is a military propellant. So it’s a gunpowder analogue.

'Sup! You're from Green Earth, right? We've been waiting for you to show up.

And Javier's introduction to the Allied Forces is Jake. Gotta lead with your best and make a good impression after all.

My companion is Jess. I am called Javier. May I ask your name, young sir?

Word. I'm Jake. I'm psyched that you guys are joining our crew.

Ah, thank you. The people are talking about your valorous deeds. Yet egos feed on such talk and can grow quite overstuffed. I, Javier, would see if your abilities match the name you've built for yourself.

What? You wanna test my skills? You better check yourself!

Test battle? We got an audition for these two? The nerve of some people.

Oh, and thank you Shaezerus for giving Grimm a proper pair of shades. I will now be using this from now on for Grimm's portrait.

Yes, Grimm, the nerve of some people, just showing up and demanding a match before they join you. I can’t think of anyone in the troop that’s done that, no sir.

Keep your trap shut, Grimm!

Fine. If you want a taste of this, you're on!

You have my gratitude. Shall we, Jess?

His gratitude, everyone's soldiers' unending spite.

Sounds good to me. This is a good choice for us to get to know each other.

Haw haw! Youth's a beautiful thing. You've even got my old ticker pumping.

There's an ideal location nearby. We'll hold the trial there.

Thank fuck for Sasha, that’s all I’ll say. We’ll get to her pick in a minute here.

All right! It's go time!

We're taken to the mission and shown Green Earth's new toy: the Megatank. This mission is ALL about the Megatank and you have to defeat it (or capture the HQ) to win.

Dude! There's a crazy big tank parked at their HQ!

I think this is the only time we'll ever be able to accuse Jake of understatement. The Megatank is pretty much just a brick of armor and gun and big enough engine to call it a tank and not a mobile bunker.

It's freakin' huge!! Think it can actually move?

It's said to be the most heavily armored, hardest-hitting ground unit ever fielded. It looks pretty slow, though. I wonder if we can even scratch it...

Allow me to tip our hand. Tank units under Jess's command are poetry in motion. As for myself, I have modest skill with com towers--ignore them at your peril. I challenge you to defeat my troops and the megatank within 15 days! If you accomplish this mission, I will gladly bend the knee to your skill.

And with that we're off, but first a few references to bring up.

"And though I drive through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil because I'm driving a house-sized mass of 'Fuck You'."

Yea, this thing is just absurd. The Megatank is pretty much just as I described it earlier: a brick of armor and guns on wheels. You know how I was making Fire Emblem references with the other Tank units? Light Tanks are Cavaliers and they promote into Paladin like Neo Tanks. Well Md Tanks are Knights and now you've met their promoted big brother, the Advance Wars version of a General. They're slow, they're expensive, and they don't fucking die. Their Megacannon only has 3 shots before you need to reach a city or park an APC next to it, but it will one-shot most CO's Md Tanks. And their backup MG is powerful enough to still do some pretty nasty damage against armored vehicles and Copters, not to mention outright remove any infantry from the map.

It reminds me of an image someone made of their gun schematic for Resonance of Fate. Scopes attached to scopes attached to scopes and what-not. I’d imagine this is more or less their building philosophy here, except with guns and armor instead of scopes and grips.

The Megatank is far and away the hardest hitter in normal combat. The only normal ground unit it doesn’t have a 100%+ damage rating on is another megatank. Neotanks might survive with some defense stars, but anything less and the megatank has to be very hurt to not one-shot it. Downside is cost, low speed, low fuel, and low ammo. Generally you aren’t going to need to deploy them, since by the time you can you’re already dominant.

Yes, that man is wearing a steel cuirass on a modern battlefield. Javier is Green Earth's Don Quixote, only instead of making him charge windmills uselessly IntSys made him into the windill you're hopelessly charging. His main gimmick is that he absolutely breaks any map with Com Towers on them. While most COs only get a 10% attack bonus, Javier gets an additional 10% defense bonus. This applies to ALL of his units, air land and sea. So yes, get 3 Com Towers and in addition to hitting for 130% Javier's planes will be able to carry around a magical flying city for the sake of defensive bonuses. Even without the Com Towers he gets an automatic +20% defense against any and all ranged units just because.

Javier's Theme
Not really sure what to make of it really though, "frantic" is the best word I can use to describe it.

Javier's CO powers revolve around two things: Com Towers and mitigating indirect damage in addition to the free +10%/+10% for simply having a power active. Tower Shield gives an additional +20% defense from indirect attacks and Tower of Power gives +60%. With Tower of Power active and a single Com Tower Javier's troops have +120% minimum defense against artillery (+20% due to Javier + 60% Tower of Power +10% Generic Power Bonus + 30% Com Tower Bonus + any terrain bonuses). Due to the way the game mechanics work units become effectively immortal when you reach +100% defensive bonuses. Javier BREAKS the game's mechanics over his knee in one of the most frustrating ways possible, doubly so if there are actually Com Towers on the map.

And you said Com Towers weren’t gamebreaking.

Javier is tough like hell, but his big gimmick is unusually map-dependent. In the campaign it’s usually dead obvious where he’s the best option and where he simply isn’t.

Up top we have Orange Star's forces whose job will be to build the real Megatank Killers. On the left there's an airfield, on the right there's an extra factory. There's also two additional Com Towers on either side which will help. Down at the bottom we can see most of Green Earth's forces (we see 11 units when the game helpfully tells us they have 19). We also see Blue Moon's soldiers, mostly various infantry to sit on the mountains and sight for our indirect units.

And here’s the start Sasha found: they sit on the other side of mountains and we wail on them with rockets and artillery. The forest isn’t extensive enough to really tangle them up and keep them bottled up, so unless something dramatic happens Green Earth will break out and go on a rampage. The trick is to use Blue Moon to pick at them and slow them down until Orange Star can line up a killing blow.

I’d probably use Colin-Sensei for OS, too, but I’ve had good luck with Sasha on BM to try to keep them from getting their powers off. This mission is a great knock-down, drag-out fight with the enormously powerful megatank... if you approach it directly like that. There’s also the duller approach that doesn’t showcase what the megatank can do.

Up top we'll have Colin and Sensei as that airfield is our best access to stuff that can easily smash a Megatank. Mainly Copters and Bombers. Down bottom we'll send Grimm and Rachel because +30 attack on that artillery we've been given will be nice, and so will being able to call in ICBM fire support if Rachel's Super ever gets charged.

I bet I can take that tank on! I better give it the best I've got!

Bah hah ha! Bigger is definitely better. Think I can supersize my copters?

I wonder how many donuts that thing could haul? Too bad I gotta crush it!

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Let's pound that monstrosity.

Look at all of these naive children thinking that you’re going to do anything other than cheese the shit out of this mission.

The first several Orange Star turns involve building and moving about Infantry and maybe some Recons. The early Blue Moon turns are a lot more important as you chew up Green Earth's forces. The big targets at the start are honestly anything BUT the Megatank. The AAs will chew up your Mechs on the mountains, the armor will give Orange Star trouble, the Recons will let the AI actually see (since this game actually has non-cheating AI in Fog of War) and the Artillery will be able to strike back at your Artillery and Rockets if you're not careful. Also, note that Grimm's Artillery (130% attack) can only do about half damage to Javier's AA. Fuck Javier.

Of course, Grimm's Rockets can clean up just fine.

By the end of the first turn we've smashed one of Green Earth's Recons, AA and Artillery. Luckily Javier's at COP so he'll probably switch to Jess so I can do more damage next turn.

Even more so than normal, nailing the enemy recons is very useful in this mission. Megatanks have a vision of only one, so if you can blind Javier and Jess, you’ll have a solid advantage.

Or he'll completely waste his power considering he hasn't even captured the one Com Tower that was given to him.

Ow... Grimm's defense comes to really bite me in the ass here. The Jackass doesn't even swap COs at the end to power up Jess so he's got +40% indirect defense too.

We plug the exit to the mountains with a Tank in the forest. It's not much but someone has to walk right up to even see it in the first place, which will give us an extra turn.

Wait...that doesn't make sense...

Oh for fuck's sake! I didn't realize that Javier actually gets two of the Com Towers from the start! Green Earth starts with the southern Com Towers on each side, and you don't realize it until too late because of the Fog of War. That means he's immune to all indirect fire AND he's hitting for 170% on that turn.

Even worse, the way the distances are arranged, it’s actually a turn longer to get to the bottom towers. With infantry moving three and the distance between them being two, that’s normal, I suppose, but it was definitely calculated here.

Javier, Jess, and two-three Com Towers teach you to respect the might of the megatank. You know, assuming you actually fight it.

What a beautiful dick move. IntSys are master trolls when they want to be.

More building up as Orange Star, and using our Tank in the woods to whack Javier's remaining Recon. Javier's captured the central Com Tower now, bringing him up to 130/130 when he's not using his powers.

Yea, this is Javier's Megatank being hit by Grimm's Rockets. There's a reason they give you 15 days to take this monster down.

Seriously, nary a scratch.

And after TWO Artillery strikes, both of which were rated for 7% damage meaning I got some luck damage added.

Without Grimm’s damage bonus? Yeah. I remember looking at damage numbers and deciding not to bother.

One of Javier's infantry squads gets a bit too curious about what's on the other side of the mountains, so I gently dissuade him. Hey, what's that one Blue Moon Mech doing so close to the Green Earth HQ...

This has tripped me up. I don’t know if I moved too fast, or if the AI played differently, but I recall trying to slip around like this before and running face-first into a couple of defensive units that beat me up.

Yea, Colin's not gonna be able to stem the tide for much longer. Might as well let that Tank sit there since it's gonna get creamed if it tries to attack.

Javier's moved his troops out of range of Blue's artillery fire so it's a mad dash to send everything North.

Or, since AIs are actually blinded by Fog in this game and all of Javier's troops are out of range, we could just send our Mech to stomp the HQ into rubble. The AI didn't actually see my Mech getting closer until I moved it right on top of the HQ tile.

Oh you cheating motherfucker. Man up and kill them for real.

Going ahead and trying to capture everything as Colin/Sensei just seems a bit silly at this point, but eh, habit.

Go fuck yourself Javier. I am not playing your stupid game. I will add you, Jess, and that gun-brick of yours to my forces though.

Not this particular gun-brick, though. It apparently gets disassembled immediately at the end of the mission if it survives it, and you start next mission without a megatank where it’d actually be really helpful.

Well done! Your reputation is well deserved. Young master, Javier willingly entrusts you with his life.

We finally have COs from all four nations. It's time to counterattack!

Here are the megatank schematics. Now you can build them for yourselves.

ROCK! I'm gonna roll in style now!

Jake, loud music, and a megatank? Black Hole should run far, far away!

Forget Black Hole, I’d be surprised if everyone didn’t run away from a monstrosity like that. Oh god, I can’t wait to see what OFS comes up with for this.

He’s gonna give it to Jake, isn’t he? Shame, damn thing would make an awesome donut-filled Land Yacht for Grimm Jimm

A perfect score because I really didn't want to play Javier's game. Taking the Megatank down in 15 days is quite possible, and it's also possible to do so and get a good score. The problem is that it's a long slog. I had only barely managed to whittle the thing down to 6 HP by day 5 and now it was going to be free to (slowly) run rampant.

Now that we've finally got an army with all four nations gathered it's time to take the fight to the enemy. Next time we'll be fighting Hawke and his piperunners in the snow.

So what is the whole deal with getting COs from every country anyway? Is there some sort of Affirmative Action thing going on, like “You need X more minorities non-Orange Star COs before you can save the world”?

Given that we’re trying to save the world from being sucked dry by evil life-sucking technology, I think it’s closer to getting all the Planeteers together.