The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by Alkydere

Part 18: Spiral Power

Spiral Power

All right, let’s keep on trucking while I’m stuck sitting here and healing anyways. It’s time for us to grab Black Hole’s Piperunner plans for ourselves, and for some of the best writing in the game.

Infection detected! Intruder: Allied Nations. Target: Research lab.

Oh, dear... If they found us, it means that little Hawkie-poo has failed miserably! Well, what can one expect from a Macro Land CO? Such riffraff!

You speak wisely, Kindle. No singular CO can compare to the might and experience of the Bolt Guard.

Bolt Guard statistical assessment: Powerful. Smart. Handsome. Bolt Guard intent: Smack-laying in a downward direction.

Aha ha ha! Stand back, my vassals. I'll deal with this rabble by myself. I'll prove that you shouldn't send a Hawke to do a woman's job! Aha ha ha ha!

So, which one’s the powerful one, which one’s smart, and which one’s handsome? Better question, which one's Larry, Curly or Moe? Anyways, let’s see what the Allied Forces have to say.

I’ll take “None of the above” for $500, Alex.

Jugger’s all three. The other two just pull the averages down.

Whoa... That's the piperunner research lab, isn't it?

I think you're right, Jake... You know I just don't get Black Hole. How could anyone live in such an odd place?

Aha ha ha ha! Finally! I've been waiting so long I had to reapply my makeup.

Ho! This must be Kindle, the Black Hole's most witchiest of witches!

I cannot say it enough, I love Javier’s lines. How come he couldn’t be the main character?

Oh, it's Sir Javier! A middle-aged swordsman with a child's brain... Bonjour, friends! I'm sorry you came all this way for nothing! I will never surrender my piperunner! This new invention is my pride and joy!

What? I thought that was one of Lash's inventions!

Aha ha ha! You should let the Homo sapiens do the thinking, Cro-Magnon! Yes, Lash designed the piperunner, but I was the one who conceived the device! I told the girl to build me a magnificently powerful weapon...and she did! For all intents, that means full credit for the fabulous invention belongs to me! The real work happens in the idea phase... All that brat did was copy my ideas!

I suppose if nothing else, she could pass for a copyright lawyer.

Sometimes true wisdom must make itself known to those who cannot see. Your words and ideas, Kindle, are worth a king's ransom in gold!

Kindle processor power: 5Ghz and climbing. Lash processor power: 486 in molasses.

Aha ha ha! All true... But you both forgot to mention my beauty! Now, praise me some more! Revere me! Bask in the unholy glory of Kindle!

There are many things “unholy” about Kindle and her...”posse”...but glory is not one of them, to say nothing of the fact that they would have to have glory in the first place for it to be unholy.

...That is one strange group of people... They have such a... simple relationship.

..It's kinda like me and Sasha... In our house, if I ever speak out of turn, why, she gets all...

Zip it, Colin! Say one more word, and I'll have you on KP duty for a year!

I-I'm sorry! Forgive me!

Ah ha ha! Now that my ego has been sufficiently stroked, listen up! The properties on this snowy plain each have an independent energy source. You'll never maintain a large army without them...and the same applies to us. I propose that our battle ends when one army captures 15 properties! Only a person with ne sais quoi could possibly use the piperunners! Now I will show you the true horror of my invention!

Hawke gave us a tough time with his piperunners... Now these people have them, too! All right, troops! The battle ends when we capture 15 properties! Pay special attention to the movement of their infantry units!

It’s obvious where the map gets its name from. The entire map is double spiral of Black Pipes for the Piperunners to travel on. Meaning we not only have to deal with Kindle’s Urban Blight, but really fast super-Rockets zipping across the map. Both sides start with a cluster of 8 properties to capture with 7 spread out between them. Kindle has more forces, including a pair of Piperunners, but we start with 6 already captured to her 3.

This map is surprisingly straightforward, though it can be annoying. You have to blunt the piperunners’ threat and grab the useful center of the map to gain dominance. These play into each other pretty well, save for the southern piperunner not really passing by any handy seams. If you can get those done without Kindle getting ahead of you on territories, the rest is wearing her down to win.

I always had a devil of a time actually finishing her off; I don’t think I ever got a particularly good score on this map.

Since they won the vote we’ll be using Rachel and Sensei. Rachel for her ability to heal 3 HP/turn on a city and ICBM fire support and Sensei for strong Infantry and the ability to take full advantage of the central Airport.

You still have to pay for the repairs, which means Kindle's still annoying.

This is actually a very kind pairing, for exactly Alkydere’s reasons. I don’t think I ever noticed while playing how good of a counter Rachel’s healing is for Kindle’s powers.

We must figure out how to take advantage of these pipes!

There’s no need to fear, we won’t be stopped by a bunch of pipes!

Shame no one voted Jake/Rachel, because their starting lines are actually kind of interesting if they begin together.
Meanwhile, in an alternate universe:


Huh? What the heck?! Did you just sneeze? Hee hee! Hee hee hee hee! That's too much! You said fwachoo! Aha ha ha! You're killin' me!

Stop laughing. I think I'm sick...

Hee hee.. Oh, s-sorry... I hope... Hee! I hope it's not a cold. When we're done, I'll make you some chicken soup.

No, no, goddammit Rachel, don’t show him kindness. If the dumb fucker wants to be out in this weather in short-sleeves and get sick, you let him.

And now back to your regularly scheduled reality.

Our first priority is to break a hole in the seam so we can run north. I really want that airport and every break in the pipes reduces the mobility of the Piperunners while increasing the mobility of normal units.

Next we need to clear space so our foot soldiers can capture the two neutral cities at our starting area.

And, of course, the turn-one tradition of building more infantry and APCs.

One advantage we have over the AI is that Kindle won’t break pipe seams on her own. Meaning her Md Tank gets more and more out of position to guard that central airport every turn.

Turn 2 is spent sending infantry and Artillery through the break in the Pipe and sending our direct-combat forces to the left side of the Spiral. Since Kindle won’t break her pipes the only way she’ll be able to contest us on that half of the spiral will be to send forces through the breaks we make. Oh, and Piperunners, she’ll have those too.

Damnit Kindle, why do you actually have to be smart sometimes? The real annoying thing about Piperunners is that if they sit on a corner you can’t do anything to them.

And there is pretty much the only really viable use of a Piperunner. These things are just so nitch of weapons it’s hard to deploy them often, even on a pipe-heavy map. Look at the full map. If we could already build Piperunners, would you even want to? I wouldn’t; there’s enough roads that I’d rather use the cheaper rockets.

Well, there’s nothing to it besides get out of the Piperunner’s range and hope it, and the B-Copter, runs forward.

Property #9 captured.

And on day 4 the second seam is breached and there’s nothing Kindle’s Md Tank can do about the Mech right outside the airfield.

More falling back to lure the Piperunner and the B-Copter forward within range of our weapons.

And Kindle keeps building Infantry. She’s got to have enough to buy an APC or a Tank by now, but nope, more Infantry.

In her defense, this is a mission about capturing cities, which is quite difficult when you don’t have any infantry. Of course, she does seem to have gone a bit overboard, but that’s the AI for you.

Aw, how cute, she’s trying to be Sensei.

That’s the end of Kindle’s B-Copter.

And that’s the hurt put on one of her Piperunners.

Now Kindle normally goes for Urban Blight on this map, which is a royal pain in the ass. However, with her power meter so close to full, I wonder if the AI will try to save up for her Super Power (which is relatively worthless on this map) or if she’ll use the oh so annoying Urban Blight.

Oh so annoying Urban Blight it is! I’ll let you in on a secret: I got three-fourths of the way through this level and then accidentally closed DeSmuMe from a miss-click, so I’m especially fed up with Kindle’s Urban Blight. At least it didn’t start crashing on me this time.

Of course, Kindle’s left her remaining full health Piperunner in range of one of my tanks.

She also left an AA in range of both of my Artillery, letting me get the CO power for clearing it off the map while denying Kindle the power from losing it because she’s in the middle of using her power.

I’m so close to grabbing that airfield. Hopefully Kindle’s Md Tank won’t have the punch to take out my APC.

Luckily the Md Tank went after my tank, which has a bit more defense than an APC, so I don’t have to worry about that Black Hole Infantry hitting my capturing Mech. Which means...


Also, one less Piperunner to worry about.

I’ve also reached a Missile Silo. Man, Day 7 is just not Kindle’s day. Of course, she’s probably going to use Urban Blight, again, on her turn. Sadly that means I really can’t switch to Sensei and fill up his CO meter as I’m going to need Rachel’s fast repair.

And that takes care of her meddling Md Tank.

Might as well use this Missile Silo and thin out the front ranks of Kindle’s infantry rush.

Now let’s bring Sensei out so he can finish charging that meter.

Finally, the Piperunner threat is no more. I’m pretty sure the AI can build more, but it’s doubtful if Kindle will ever get enough funds together to do so.

Say hello to our first Sensei Copter, the first of many.

Followed up by a lovely Dual Strike that causes Mechs to pour out of our cities. We don’t need that many Infantry, so I join them back together for the free 2800 money.

This is pretty much where clean-up begins. I kept getting bogged down about here when playing myself, though the outcome was definitely foreordained.

Apparently Allied Forces HQ is as tired of Kindle’s Urban Blight bullshit as we are as they provide some free ICBM fire support.

There’s no stopping the murder train now.

Though one can annoy it and slow it down.

And there was my issue in a nutshell. Ugh. Property capture with property damage?

If you’ll notice up top we have 14 out of the 15 properties we need. The only property left that I need to take is the factory in the top right.

And thanks to Sensei we have a fresh Mech to drop on that factory, AND Kindle recently burned her Urban Blight so I feel save actually dropping it on top of the factory. Which is good considering how cramped that corner is getting.

In fact, I think I’ll use that crowding to my advantage. Why attack and risk giving Kindle too much power for her meter when I can create a wall of tank armor, APCs and B-Copters? It’s a bitch tactic but I’m tired of dealing with Urban Blight.

Fuck you Kindle! Fuck you and your Black Pipes and your Piperunners that you stole from Lash! But especially FUCK YOU!

We lost... How could this be? It happened so fast!

It’s called a Dual Strike, bitch.

Looks like your precious piperunners fell flat! Now surrender...or run scared!

Aha ha ha...ahem. Such a ridiculous invention... This is all Lash's fault!


My original idea was much better. It would have been a truly grand weapon! But then that girl took it on all by herself see the results! No wonder we lost!

I’m guessing Lash removed the bells and whistles and lace, replacing all that with more explosives and making it a weapon that is actually economically feasible at times.

You've got to be kidding me!

Spoken like a true seer, Kindle! Everything is the fault of Lash... You are blameless in all things!

Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!

Aha ha ha... Aren't I though? Yes, Lash's fault. Never trust a child with a lady's job... What a useless weapon...

I just...I don’t even have anything else to say. I mean, I get that we’re not supposed to like Kindle, what with her massive ego and all, but shitting on one of the precious few good characters in the game for the sake of a terrible one isn’t funny at all. Fuck Kindle.

Really? Because this sort of scene is exactly why I’m pretty okay with the Bolt Guard.

This lady's psycho...

Aha ha ha! Shut it, lowlife! I don't need such a weak weapon. Keep it or destroy it or...whatever you like. I care not. Aha ha ha ha!

Amen, Kindle

Heh heh heh... Until we meet again!

Retreat! Retreat! Retreat!

Grrr! Those three stooges really tick me off!

It seems that the Black Hole COs aren't as united as we thought. Blaming each other... Squabbling... I'm so glad we're not like that.

Good. I hope they bust a cap in each other! Now we have to find those blueprints.


Y-yes, Sis! Coming... Yes, I have the blueprint right here... Hold on, where is it... Um... Found it! Here it is! The blueprint!


Hey, sweet. Now we can totally bust out our own piperunners.

It's such a large-scale weapon... How can we best take advantage of it?"

A wise lesson for us all! We must never underestimate the science of Black Hole!

See, Javier understands what’s up.

You got that right! Those fellas just keep crankin' out the weird weapons.

We're in good shape now! All units, move out! We'll unleash this new weapon the next time we face Black Hole!

A little weak on Power, but then again it’s often a good idea on this mission to pull your punches a bit or else Kindle will keep throwing Urban Blight after Urban Blight at you.

Tune in next time when we introduce two new units, TWO! One’s a new air unit and one’s a new naval unit. It’s also a two front battle with another aerial fortress so keep that in mind when voting.

And another round of “how incompetent were we for us to have started here”, too!

Eh, I like to think that Black Hole captured the area when no one was looking. However, there are four very specific deployed in a way beyond incompetence. I’m talking about something akin to “car hanging from a powerline”, only with a naval unit.