Part 20: The BlobThe Blob
Whos ready to find out what Oozium 238 is? I know what it is, ZeeToo knows what it is, Artix knows, mechanically, what it is. Are you ready to find out? Well, first, lets have some internal politics by Black Hole.
Well, look what the wind blew in--a little bird named Hawke. What are you doing here?
I wonder how the war against the allies fares. I trust you're fulfilling your duties. Did you know they've made it all the way here to the Red Rock Desert? You are aware of the orders not to let them near our base here, right? The orders which came from our new leader, Lord Von Bolt?
What are you scheming?
Scheming? Whatever do you mean?
Do not play coy with me. The three of you, the so-called Bolt Guard must know what Von Bolt's goal is. He's wielding Black Hole's army like it's his personal sledgehammer. What does Black Hole gain by turning this land into scorched earth? Answer me. What are you after? Where is your master? Where is Von Bolt?
This is sort of a weird line to me. Black Holes always been faceless, generic evil, now Hawke is acting like its unusual that the Bolt Guard suddenly is all acting all evil.
I think it's less of "Why the fuck are you raping and pillaging the planet?" and more "Why the fuck are you raping and pillaging the planet in such a stupid way?". Basically he's calling them out on being stupidly evil for the sake of evil, where as Hawke, and his former boss Sturm, were obviously out for world domination.
Aha ha ha! There's no reason for you to know that, my dour little bird. All you have to worry your head about is following the commander's orders. If you find yourself incapable of doing so, then you leave me no choice. I will go and crush those allied fools myself. I AM up for CO of the month, you know? Taa-taa, little birdie. Aha ha ha ha ha...
I have trouble coming up with someone Kindle would compare favorably to for CO of the month. Koal, maybe? Even Jugger got some accolades last map when he managed to actually do something against Grimm.
These are tight quarters. The visibility is poor, too. It looks like we're in for another tough Fog of War battle.
What's the holdup? We can see the road, can't we? Let's roll!
Something wrong, Sasha?
I...I have a bad feeling about this. Perhaps it's just a case of nerves, but.
Sasha's 'bad feelings' are generally followed by bad events. Once when I was little and fell down the stairs, she...
What are you babbling about?
Oh, sorry. It's just...
Im gonna say its My overbearing sisters psychic and it really doesnt help my inferiority complex... I really forgot how pathetic Colin became. In AW2 when he was just the new guy.
Whatever the case, we can't just sit here. I want everyone to stay alert and move forward.
Heres our map. To the left we have our forces, split up into Blue and Orange taskforces. Blue has more open terrain and most of our artillery division. Orange has woods to contend with, but they get a Megatank. No one has any production facilities, but theres an airfield and three missile silos in the bottom right that we really want.
Jess and Javier will be taking care of Taskforce Orange while Jake and Grimm will be taking care of Taskforce Blue. Either team could have worked with Orange, but the more open top means Jakes 10% bonus on plains and his bonus to artillery range is better suited to Blue. Anyways, lets begin.
I honestly intended for Jess and Jake to be on a team, since I like their Dual Strike, but that wasnt how I phrased it, I guess. None of these four are bad for the mission, though, so this isnt too bad. Anyway, this mission is basically just to introduce the Oozium in its best possible situation, so its really straightforward. All I can say is to be extra careful with Orange Stars units if you need to get a good rating.
I am Javier! Darkness, you are like nothing to me! Stay behind my shield, Jess!
I don't think so. Or have you forgotten sir knight--ladies first!
Taskforce Orange is up to bat first and WE WILL BE VERY CAREFULLY SCOUTING THE WOODS! For the love of all that is good, DO NOT GO INTO THE WOODS WITH YOUR BIG, HEAVY, EXPENSIVE ARMOR! That is a good way to lose your Neotank or Megatank.
The woods by the dividing mountains are clear, so no need to worry about them. The problem is in that big forest of DEATH. Anyways, its Taskforce Blues turn.
Four of us are taking the field, so we've got to stay tight and work together.
This darkness ain't for me! I've had enough of this hide-and-seek nonsense!
Not much to say really, Jake moves his troops forward and meets no opposition.
Aha ha ha... Here comes the stumbling band of hicks now. And it's about time for THAT to make an appearance... Those fools are going to be eaten for lunch. Aha aha ha ha. Oh dear. Is something amiss, kitten?
It's Lash! And don't forget, kittens may be cuddly, but they've still got claws! And that thing is SO not a weapon. Compared to my inventions, it's just hideous. It's not even fun to poke!
Hey, something of Black Holes that isnt Lashs creations. Also, Kindle doing what she does best: pissing off the competent characters.
Even Lash is disowning this new weapon. That should be all you need to know about it, even without having seen it.
My dear, jealousy is so unbecoming. Don't you know it'll give you wrinkles? Why aren't you dreaming up your next invention? Something that causes doom? An unproductive CO is nothing more than dead weight, after all.
Kindle, if jealousy gave you wrinkles, I think youd have gained at least a decade in premature aging by now.
Shut up, hag! I don't need you to tell me what kind of evil I should be brewing!
You would do well to remember you are speaking to your superior officer, child. A clever kitten obeys the masters that feed it. An alone and abandoned kitten would find life very difficult. Do you understand?
Im not sure why Kindle chose kitten as a demeaning nickname for Lash, especially considering that cats are infamous for not really giving a fuck what their masters want and just doing their own thing. Its pretty much the most appropriate name imaginable for Lash.
I understand we have to crush these allied geeks! That's all that matters.
Good kitten. Now then, shall we prepare to move out? You will be my partner. I expect nothing less than a complete and perfect victory.
A tag battle? With you?
Awww, such a sour face! You wound me. No matter. With THAT on my side, there's no way I can be defeated. Aha ha ha ha ha!
Weve heard that before. Anyways, we see nothing of Black Holes movements, though we do hear them. There was something moving that sounded...squishy.
No way to really demonstrate with screenshots, but the screen still centers on movement, so you can get a pretty fair fix on enemies--though not exact--just by paying attention and having a good memory. Most important when theres Oozium in the FoW.
Okay, I lied, we did see this Recon trying to hide up close in this woods.
Any further forward reconnaissance shall be discouraged enthusiastically.
Why am I being so careful? Youll see...
Its Blues turn and thats a lot of Black Hole forces there.
Luckily Jake and Grimm have a lot of artillery and a nice river to act as a defensive barrier.
Black Hole forces move forward and we finally see why Im so afraid of the woods here. Oh, sure, that looks like nothing more than a black jelly bean, but thats because youve never seen what an Oozium can do.
I've never encountered anything like it. It must be a new Black Hole weapon.
I get chills just looking at it. This is a bad omen.
Yes, Sasha, youre psychic. Please note that, to the best of my memory, this will NEVER come up again.
Important life lessons from AWDS: if you only make one prediction and its right, stop there! You have a 100% hit rate on your psychic powers. Dont screw it up.
Aha ha ha! Surprise! The look on your faces was just priceless! Behold Black Hole's ultimate weapon, the creeping death known as oozium 238! I'm pleased to report it's impervious to bombs, missiles, and even CO Powers. It's quite hungry, and it will feast on you and everything else in its path!
It looks slow to me, but...yeck. OK, people, we have no clue what that thing's capable of. Watch yourself!
And THIS is the Oozium 238. Its a big, slow, black blob that will outright gib any unit it touches. Its immune to on-map attacks (missiles, CO powers) and is more of a mobile piece of Black Hole tech than a unit really. Its also impressively resilient, especially to Artillery and Rockets, the strongest weapons to use against it are actually your machine guns. This is why you dont scout the forest with your Megatank or Neotank. Also, that tank is SO fucked.
Im kind of curious as to why its Oozium 238, considering that 238 is most famously an isotope of Uranium...but not the one thats actually usable for nuclear fission (thats U-235). Or maybe its not a reference to Uranium at all.
Its probably because its a sphenic number and an untouchable number and... yeah I got nothing. Yes I looked at Wikipedia to come up with that. Shut up, Im trying to be the knowledgeable one.
We took a few hits from the enemy this turn, but thats to be expected from this map. The important thing is we didnt find the Oozium by driving right into it. Now, how does one go about killing an Oozium?
Machine Guns. Seriously, the best counter for Oozium is Mechs, Infantry, AA and Recon, barring that one can use Tanks or B-Copters. Md, Neo and Mega tanks also work well, but do you really want to put those within range of an Oozium that you might not kill in one turn?
Its fitting in several ways that the best way to kill a blob that instantly gibs a unit is to throw your cheapest, most disposable units at it.
Oozium shrugs off indirect fire as well.
This isnt going to be pretty. Due to Fog I wasnt able to properly destroy the Oozium when a hidden Mech getting in my Neotank's path, nor was I able to get rid of Black Holes artillery divisions OR their Recon giving everything sight.
To be threatening, Oozium needs surprise or a lot of support; here it has both, which is the only reason it didnt get killed without showing off at all. Even a mech can move two spaces and move a third. Oozium can only threaten adjacent spaces. It even moves before Koals +2 move power gets activated, though I dont recall offhand if it can benefit from it as the second power in a tag.
CO powers do not affect it positively or negatively. It literally follows all the stationary Black Hole equipment rules except it has unit-like HP and it moves, which unlike cannons/lasers/crystals, lets it act twice during a Dual Strike since it's movement is restored. Really, I have to give Kindle some credit for managing to combine the most annoying features of units and structures in one unit. Now, let's compare that to what Lash has gifted us with: Black Pipe, Black Factories, Neotanks, Black Cannons, Minicannons, Black Fortresses, the Black Arc/Flying Fortress, Black Lasers, Piperunners, Black Boats, Black Bombs, and I'm sure there's a dozen other things like better weapons for the clone troopers or something.
Javier! Save me! Blunt the artillery offensive!
But first, its Blues turn, and here WE have the artillery advantage.
One less Recon to deal with, meaning Blue can breathe easier.
Now that Jakes blinded the enemy up top, Blue can take care of Oranges little Recon problem as well.
Running Jakes Recon back and letting his AA take its place removes a B-Copter problem from the map as well.
That helps clears things up...sadly the next turn is going to hurt.
On the first turn (in a screenshot I could have sworn I took), the Oozium eats the Md Tank above it before Lash and Kindle summon a Dual Strike. The Oozium then gibs Oranges Neo Tank after the swap. Please note that this is a two-health Oozium were dealing with. With Ooziums, health is only a measure of how close you are to killing the thing.
Oh hey, Black Hole displaying some tactical sense. Theres something you dont see every day.
Then Kindle lays the smack in the downwards direction on Jakes Rockets.
Ding, dong, the Ooziums dead! Hmm...that really doesnt flow well...
Lets neuter Oranges Rocket problems real quick.
Next lets take care of this Kindles got her Super Power active while her tank sits on a city problem with indirect fire.
The tops clear so its time to take Kindle and Lash down a notch by stealing a Com Tower.
Orange is kind of hurting so I prepare to see if I can make a mad dash to that airfield and start procuring reinforcements.
Skipping ahead a few turns of inaction (Black Hole's heavy armor by their HQ can't see either of my forces and can't move) Blue captures a random city for front line resupplies and one of the enemy Com Towers, while Orange's dash for the airfield is uneventful.
A single Black Hole trooper runs within Oranges range and I pounce. Its just enough to give Jess the power needed for a Dual Strike.
Dual Strikes are great for handling Ooziums, of course. You can either strike and then get away before it can move again, or else you get two shots and kill the Oozium instead of it getting to kill your expensive units while sitting at 1-3 health.
Which means I can capture our airfield in one turn!
Now lets explore and...oh fuck is that another Oozium!?
Well, since Orange probably alerted the HQ guards by getting so close, Blue might as well run forward as well.
I take a blind guess at where Black Holes forces are based on their last reported positions. Im sure Ill hit a few this way.
I also start building B-Copters. Yes, I could afford to build a Bomber, or even a Stealth, but I think having more units would be better than having more powerful units in this situation.
Grimms in control of the artillery brigade this turn and he does a number on Black Holes forces. Between the APC I catch and the Md Tank, its just barely enough to fill his meter. Meaning next turns pain time.
That APCs not doing so good so I rethink that strategy of not taking the Com Towers. Besides, Im limited with what I can do with the silos anyways due to not being able to see through the fog.
Time to recklessly charge forward with artillery! I like to imagine Grimm just grabbing and chucking Jake down range here.
Thanks to Grimm, Jakes indirect fire units are within range of the enemy defense forces.
Black Holes Neo Tanks are trashed, and will most likely be forced to merge next turn. I probably should have dropped another missile on them, but no one can be perfect.
AND we swarm the last Oozium, bagging it, and the bonus experience its worth.
Its all over but the cleanup now.
Orange moves forward with super-heavy armor and close air support.
Jake finishes off the Neotank.
Eh, might as well grab this one by HQ capture since we can.
And the battle ends on day 11.
That was a bit of a disappointment. Our dear oozium was supposed to be, well, all-consuming.
It ate my Md Tank AND my Neo Tank thanks to that Dual Strike of yours.
You know what its missing to be all-consuming? Some ability to actually split and replicate like an amoeba. Just saying.
Those things are disgusting. There's no way we're losing to something so...nasty.
Your slimy nugget things are history! Now you're gonna pay!
Aha ha ha...you think that's all there is to our adorable little oozium? I am SO looking forward to the next battle. Ahaha ha ha!
Arg! How do they escape every single time? It's craziness!
So they whipped out their new weapon. But why here? Does that mean--
Yep. There's something in this desert they desperately want to protect. All the more reason for us to keep pressing forward!
Oof, that Oozium Rampage at the beginning cost me in Technique, but I still barely squeaked past the 280 score for an S-Rank (bonus points from Ooziums or cannons or other stuff destroyed doesnt count). As you see, Ooziums are worth an extra 40 points each for store credit and for experience.
Next time, a very special mission in terms of gameplay AND story.
With a name like that, Im expecting every enemy to be Oozium or something like that, but surely IntSys wouldnt be that cruel. ...right?