Part 17: And were back!And were back!
All right, lets try to get this moving again after my accident. You may notice some different faces up on the scoreboard as this is a recovered save I started forever ago for my own amusement I dont think anyones gonna be too up in arms that I used Jake and Rachel a lot through the tutorial maps and theres plenty of time to put Javier and Grimm up top. Anyways, its time for Javier and Jess to take on Hawke in the snow.
That was time devoted to Jake that could have been devoted to Sasha, Colin, Grimm...anyone, really.
No argument there, but it saved time and thinking, which is good when your brain is fuzzy on painkillers.
Sure you want to go it alone, Hawke? Those allied geeks are gonna team up on you.
Their backs are to the wall, and I've got two piperunners ready for action. But I'm more curious about what you think of our new Black Hole Army, Lash.
It's as evil as ever, isn't it? World domination and all that.
Lash is as pointlessly evil as ever, and we love her for it.
We've drained so much of the planet's energy that it's turning into a wasteland. What's the point? Is this prize worth dying for? Is this a noble end?
What's the big deal? We can always just fix it later. Right?
I'm the one who disposed of Sturm, and this short leash is beginning to chafe. This is no way to use a trained army. Maybe it's not for me to say, but... If someone wants to use the army to pursue his own personal goals...
In case anyone was wondering what happened to Sturm after the protagonists captured a loudspeaker at the end of AW2, Hawke went up to him and instituted a change in management.
Wait, what? So he takes care of Sturm, so presumably hes in charge in some fashion. But hes complaining about a short leash, meaning he clearly doesnt have much authority. Black Hole politics.
New villains always are scarier than the last set, whether that means a higher power level number or just a promotion.
Shoosh! What are you whining about? This isn't like you at all, Hawke! The allies are gonna escape! I think you'll feel better after you crush 'em.
You may be right. I better deal with the problem at hand first.
Weak! We're trapped behind a bunch of pipes. Do we head for the sea or keep it on the ground?
That's a tough call. But if we take out the three minicannons on the left, we'll take the wind out of their sails. Let's head that direction. To check a minicannon's range of fire, touch and hold it for a few seconds. The highlighted area shows how far they can fire. Try to stay out of that range.
The weapons in the upper right are indirect-combat units called piperunners. If they get around to us, we're going to be in a lot of trouble.
They can only move on these pipes. If we can destroy the joints, they won't be able to get this far.
But if we create an opening in the pipe, the enemy forces will pour in.
We're in quite a pickle, eh?
Sitting here yapping ain't improving the situation! Let's get with the busting!
Forcing our way out as Jake and Grimm have suggested is definitely an option. And word is the enemy has a research lab near Cape Houdan. I think we might find a map leading to it in one of the cities on the coast here. We may not have the manpower to spare, but finding it would be a big bonus.
By this point, we just assume that theyll systemically make mistakes we need them to, even if they dont have any reason to now. Also we still stop looking around the very second the Black Hole forces stop fighting.
You got it. Let's roll. We've got three minicannons to level.
We start the map off penned in by some Black Pipes. I have no idea how this happened. Did the Allied Forces invade this one pocket of light resistance only to then realize it was penned in by Black Hole forces and Black Pipes? Or was everyone partying and no one could hear Hawke building all these pipes and minicannons over Jakes Phat Beats? Anyways, weve got minicannons to the left to destroy to win, Hawkes forces to the right, and pipes everywhere! Down south there are also two Com Towers, one on the left near a Port and on on the right near a City with a map in it. The main goals of this map are to prevent Hawke from getting a Factory, smash up his Pipe Runners, grab the map and then smash the minicannons.
I dont think our armys competence was ever really questioned. Perhaps we should have, if invading a frozen patch of land surrounded by pipelines was deemed a good decision.
This is a pretty interesting map, in that it gives you a bunch of things to do (grab bases, grab comm towers, break pipe seams, use port, destroy minicannons), and then leaves you be to pick which ones you go for and in which order. Its quite possible to focus just on Black Holes forces and never go to that peninsula and island in the south, or to not break the pipe seams at all and go down there full-force instead, since the AI never attacks seams. Personally, I like breaking the northern seam, sailing to the island, and ignoring the peninsula.
We saw Hawke before on the Black Bombs map but we didnt describe his powers. To start with, Hawke is another generalist CO and gains +10% attack to everything he owns with no real downside. Yes, the game says his stronger units are balanced out by having a large meter to fill, but in reality his large meter is to balance out how strong his powers are.
Hawkes powers not only repair all of his troops, but also do an equal amount of damage to all enemy units on the field. So whenever Hawke uses one of his powers he not only gets the +10/+10 bonus from using a power to his units hes guaranteed to be hitting damaged units. The only saving grace is that his first power takes 5 stars to power up, and the second takes another 4.
That seems surprising sane and balanced for this game. Hawke must have gotten lost on his way back to whatever game he actually belongs in.
Hawke is basically evil Andy (the main CO of AW1&2): equally good in all situations, and a handy baseline. When fighting against him, its surprisingly frustrating to have your units eroded by his powers and his healed back up, especially with his firepower boost on top of it. Still, hes never going to achieve the BS levels of a more specialized CO.
I really want to emphasize that fighting Hawke gets VERY frustrating. Its not hard, its just aggravating when every four or five turns every unit on the field loses a chunk of HP. Not enough to instantly win or lose the game, but its a constant attrition that becomes irritating and sucks up lots of funds, especially if youre playing as Kanbei.
Anyways, because everyone asked for it after the last mission well be using Jess and Javier for this mission.
This isnt going to be a walk in the park, but the situations not completely hopeless. If we think before we strike, Javier, I think we can come out on top.
Attention all forces! We attack! Follow me!
Damnit Javier, werent you listening to Jess at all?
First of all I take the Lander and put the nearby Mech on it. We want that bottom right island, but our Lander will be spending the next few turns out in the reef for the Piperunners to pass us.
Next I load an Infantry into an APC and send him down to the bottom left. That missile silo will take a bite out of Hawkes troops and we want the Com Tower and Port as well.
Of course, Hawkes air force, a Bomber and to Copters, are sitting around by those cannons and will waste no time charging for us around the edge of the Black Pipe, so I bring some AA escorts.
Finally I move my main forces around. The AI will go around the pipe so I have to create a break of my own. Im going to create one at the top to funnel Hawkes troops into a nice kill-zone. Meanwhile, my Artillery will make sure his Infantry dont capture the right Factory, and Ill be holding my Tanks back to smash the Piperunners when they come around the corner.
It doesnt happen very often, but its always delightful when enemy aircraft stumbles within range of your Missiles.
That silo, and everything below it, is as good as mine.
And weve got our breech up top that will make a perfect kill zone.
And Hawke does it again! Its rare for a Missile to get a kill on a non-Fog map. Having one destroy two thirds of the AIs air force is practically unheard of.
Seriously, what the hell happened here? This time the derp is the computer.
And boom goes the dynamite! Anything that takes a bite out of those Neotanks is a good thing in my book.
Oh, and Hawkes Infantry tries to close in on the factory up top, which just ends poorly when facing Jesss Rockets. Im only mentioning this because this is Hawkes last foot soldier on the map, meaning Im uncontested when it comes to grabbing property.
Well, so much for any sort of challenge this map.
This is expected. The mission gets much more hectic if you dont manage to smash his infantry before he grabs a base, but it gives you all the tools to make sure that doesnt happen.
Of course, Hawke isnt exactly pleased by that.
And heres the end result of Hawkes attack. Everything I have that wasnt sitting on a city is nicked, and everything of Hawkes is healthier.
For some reason Hawke has a bad habit of running right into the kill zones of my ranged units. Not that I'm complaining or anything.
Of course, youre right in his, too. Just the piperunner is so much more expensive that youre getting the best of this one.
And there goes the last of Hawkes air farce.
With any luck the Neotanks will burn a turn merging, and the piperunners will beat up one of the Tanks and leave the other Tank, and the Artillery, to continue smashing them up.
Or the full health Piperunner will smash my artillery...
Oh, hey, the AIs not completely brain-dead this mission.
That Infantry will get there, eventually! Actually, Im bringing down my spare Mech in my APC because I dont have time to wait seven turns for this little fellow to capture the port.
And my AAs start picking away at the minicannons since they have nothing better to do.
Were in a good position right now. Hawkes big units are all torn up from a constant barrage of Artillery and Rocket fire and Ive got a nice fat wall of metal sitting on the neutral Factory for further defense.
I want to keep Jess on the front lines since Javier is really lacking anything to provide at this point. But Im so close to that Dual Strike that I might as well let our armor clad buddy take the lead.
It takes nearly most of Javiers turn handing out some extra punishment but I manage to get that Dual Strike I was looking for.
Now those are the numbers I like seeing.
And this is whats left of Hawkes military.
Of course this pounding means he gets to annoy me by using his SCOP and taking 2 HP off of all of my foot soldiers, which will make further capturing take longer.
Oh no, not Red Lightning! Thats even worse than that Black Lightning from before! Talk about too little, too late.
Now we can buy a Battleship to take care of those cannons.
I would transcribe this but I wasnt sure you would believe I wasnt making stuff up without a screen shot. I love Javiers lines.
Thats that for Hawkes military forces. All hes got left are some Black Boats and APCs.
How could you not prioritize the APCs?
And finally we capture the map city.
Hrrm. The research lab location has been discovered, has it?
Our AAs finally destroy the first minicannon through sheer bullet erosion.
The addition to Battleship and a Md Tank causes the second minicannon to fall that much faster.
And the final cannon falls the very next day.
So, COs from Macro Land have become involved? That explains this outcome.
Hawke! You! You're still with Black Hole?
You're not seriously going to fight us again, are you?
I have no desire to trade blows with you. I'm going to bow out for the time being. There are some things I must investigate before I commit myself to this.
There he goes. What is it with that guy? Even when he loses, he acts like he won.
His bearing speaks of an unusually strong character.
I didn't know Black Hole had COs as bad as that dude. What do they need black crystals for when they've got him?
I wonder if there's some kind of rift within Black Hole itself. He said there was something he wanted to investigate, didn't he?
Either way, we need to get going. Where's the next stop on our little road trip?
Way out west. We've got reports of a big desert and a massive energy spike. From the way the enemy troops keep getting stronger, I'm guessing it's the enemy HQ. I'm curious about what Hawke's up to. We'll have to check that out sooner or later.
So Hawke is a good guy? Or was, at any rate, given that he doesnt really want to fight us? That just seems like a poor hiring decision.
Strongly a villain last we saw him in AW2. Who knows what hes up to this time?
A day too slow for a perfect score, but its still a nice, fat S rank.
You had all those indirects just hanging around the center for the last few days, too...
Most were dinged up in some way, and it's a pain in the ass to move Rockets over plains.
Ah, Javier. I cant take him seriously at all, and yet I cant get enough of his lines.
Next time well take on Kindle as she fails to defend the Piperunner lab from us.
The most versatile unit in the game, ours at last!
See you all in another month!
Ha ha ha. Lets see what happens to your productivity when you break your ankle in two places and drop your desktop at the same time. The next update should be faster, unless I manage to break my other leg.