Part 21: The Blob 2: The BlobbeningThe Blob 2: The Blobbening
Last time we saw the Oozium and the damage it could cause and were left with a title screen that promised more Oozium mayhem. This here is a very special level, and one I was pretty sure happened later in the game. No matter, there is only one thing you need to know about this mission:
Aha ha ha ha ha ha! I look positively delicious--my eyes, my lips, my hair! Absolutely flawless! And look, it's time for me to visit you-know-who and give him an update.
... She's going underground.
Aha ha ha...everything is going just as planned. The black obelisk is steadily drinking all of Omega Land's energy. You may rest comfortably, Lord Von Bolt.
Meet Von Bolt, Black Holes new leader after Sturm was deposed. An old man with a fish tank over his head.
One other thing, my lord. As we are on schedule, perhaps the time has come to deal with those two. It would be best to dispose of them before they stumble upon our plan.
Wait... In the...hhhhh...shadows...behind the pillar... Who.. hhhh...lurks there?
What? Who's there?
Look at what the wind's blown in, a nosy little bird named Hawke. I must tell you I disapprove of sneaky eavesdroppers. Didn't your parents teach you any manners?
You must be Von Bolt. We've never met, but I've heard plenty about you.
You began as nothing more than an elderly CO from the countryside, but after Sturm died, you suddenly rose up and filled the vacuum of power. Where your resources and strength come from remains a complete mystery. You've been alive for an absurdly long time, and you're never seen in public. It's an honor to meet you.
So...hh...you've seen me. Hh... That means...hh...you must die...
I did not come here to listen to idle threats. I will have answers from you, Von Bolt. What are you scheming? What do you possibly hope to gain by leeching life force from the land?
Haven't we already covered this, love? The answer is not for your ears. This may be a bit premature, but... I think it's time for you and your little kitty-cat friend to disappear. Come to me, my precious oozium. Awww... Don't be shy. I've got a nice chewy snack for you!
What! So many... Nooo!
Theres disposing of a subordinate, and then theres shattering through about 5 different levels of overkill. This feels like the latter.
Aha ha ha! Fly away, little bird! My oozium will be right behind you! After him, my darlings! Find him and feast on his flesh! Aha ha ha ha haaaa!
They're still after me. There's just too many of them.
What's up, birdbrain You're looking way stressed.
Lash, we're leaving. NOW.
Leaving? What? OHMYGOSH! What's going on?!
If you don't want to wind up as lunch, you'll shut up and move!
Whew... This place just keeps piling on the hot!
This desert is too big. The enemy base has got to be here somewhere...
I'm tellin' you, this is awful! It's just sand, sand, and more sand! When do I get to crack some heads?!
Look! Enemy forces dead ahead! Is that... Ah! Nooo!
Wha-what is it?
Hey! What's going on here?!
Oozium...it's everywhere! Five...ten... How many of them are there?!
Hey, check it out! Isn't that...
Go away! Leave me alone!
Settle down, Lash. We must find a way to break through their ranks.
Wait a minute--that's Lash, isn't it? The Black Hole CO!
And that's Hawke! Are they the ones controlling these jigglefreaks?
I don't think so. There's something odd happening here.
The oozium... It's all hunting Lash and Hawke. But why?
Now I'm confused! who's hunting who? Or...is it whom? I can never remember.
Even Grimm can take the time to properly ponder his grammatical woes. A lesson we could all use at times, really.
Its whom if its an objective! So, yes, here whom is best, but depending on who you ask, the spoken word allows for substituting in who for whom. Written dialogue is sort of a fuzzier area Ive never actually been clear on.
This whole situation is whack, but we gotta go save 'em.
You're talking crazy, Jake! They're the enemy!
Yeah? Well, it's either save 'em or watch 'em get lunched on. Go ahead and do your own thing--I'm gonna go bail 'em out.
That's a bold and dangerous move. It could all be an elaborate trap.
It might be, and yet I must agree with Jake. Boldly aiding those in need is what I, Javier, have sworn to do!
Come on, we don't have time to argue about this. Prepare to attack! Those two aren't going anywhere--we'll interrogate them when this is finished!
To answer Rachels question from earlier, there are 17 Ooziums on this map, each worth 40 points. Theres also a stray Minicannon up top worth another 10 points. That means theres 690 bonus points available on this level if you clean up this level in addition to your score. Since experience earned is cartridge-wide as long as you save, theres a reason this mission is known as that grinding mission. If you know its coming ahead of time you save in slot two or three and then keep replaying this mission until youre satisfied with the experience everyone has.
Yes, I will be grinding on this mission behind the scenes.
That...is quite a lot of Oozium. If hard mode doesnt add Fog of War, Im going to be incredibly disappointed in IntSys.
That grinding mission indeed. Not sure when Hawke and Lash managed to swap out the Black Hole tech for Blue Moon, but theyre there. All I can really say here is: this is a mission thats all about the attack power. Defense is meaningless against oozium.
Oh, and I wonder how those two got themselves surrounded on all sides by the slowest unit in the series?
Well be taking Grimm and with us on this run because I didnt feel like cheesing this mission with Sensei. Yes, I said that in this predeployed map you only start with 1 B-Copter and 2 Mechs, but with Senseis power you can easily fill the map with Infantry after Infantry using the cities the map gives you. Its easy mode really. Team Blue has something special waiting for us. Theyre locked in place now, but yes Hawke and Lash are on our team, and after this map we can select to use at will. I suspect Artix will practically be jumping for joy, or at least voting Hawke/Lash from now on, after reading that last sentence. Did I not say this mission is awesome?
Youre goddamn right we are. If bringing Lash to the party is wrong, I dont ever want to be right. Lash goes on every map, no exceptions.
The only thing I like Jelly in is a donut!
It will be difficult to overcome their numbers. How can we turn the tables on them?
Speaking of food, lets get Grimms thoughts on the sandstorm (Grimm/Sensei start):
It's like a storm of a cinnamon sugar, except it tastes...gritty.
Heh. We're the ones that need to worry about being swallowed up.
Anyways, enough silliness, now to--
This sandstorm is just...awful. I haven't been in a fight like this for ages.
Take heed. Indirect-combat units function poorly when desert winds are blowing. Specifically, their maximum range will be reduced by one.
Hawke? We can't trust you!
Water is wet, the sky is blue, and the sun rises in the east.
Nice of the game to let you get used to the idea of the sandstorm range here, I guess, but we already know how well (or rather, not) ranged weapons work on ooze.
Word. Thanks for the hot tip, Hawke. Now that you've got my back, let's get out there and own some oozium!
Right, now that Hawke is done filling in for Rachel and telling us the obvious, lets begin.
The problem is we need to hit Oozium hard and fast, preferably with four units in a single turn, to destroy them, but most of our units are out of range so well only get one or two hits on an Oozium before it gets a turn. This mission is pretty much all about creeping towards an enemy that creeps towards you.
Also, this is how much damage a Grimm Rocket does to an Oozium. Better than nothing and we might as well use it.
Heres another problem. Hawke and Lash stole an APC, and of all units, a Rocket truck. A truck that can move only two spaces per turn due to its movement type. Thats better than the Ooziums one, but theres more than enough Oozium to swarm the duo on this map. Getting the Rocket nice and safe behind the Orange lines can be a delicate dance.
The APC, however, says Fuck you, Ive got treads!
Lash was more concerned with getting the fuck out of Dodge, Hawke thought to bring some firepower with him. Neither is wrong, really, but the APC is probably the better deal on this kind of map. Though, if they really wanted to fuck with Black Hole, they should have brought Neotanks.
Turn two and we manage to bag our first Oozium. Normally Id be mildly worried about filling up the enemy CO power (1 Oozium = 3 stars for the owner when lost), but Oozium arent affected by CO powers, positively or negatively. Partly this is because Oozium are automated and go before the CO that owns them can use their power.
The Blue APC is safe and the Rocket is mostly clear. We might even be able to use it to dent nearby Ooziums actually.
Oozium two goes down from lucky hits from a Mech and a Recon.
And thats number three.
The Rockets still out-crawling the Oozium.
The Oozium are starting to clump up now, but we bagged number four.
I want to take out this Oozium, but I just switched to Jess to fill her power meter, and her weaker air means the Neotank, Stealth and B-Copter trio no longer has the strength to one shot an Oozium.
And this Oozium cant be surrounded because its neighbor will then eat one of the surrounding units.
Also always check all your planned attacks against an oozium before you start the first one, or you risk getting an irreplaceable unit munched.
So I begin operation Confuse the AI in a hope to make the Oozium spread out.
Not sure if I got what I wanted... Either way, Im going to grab the topmost Com Towers now that Ive pulled the Ooze down towards me, so hopefully that should make things easier. Sure, my T-Copter took a hit from the Minicannon, but who cares in a map where everything that would kill a T-Copter is a one-hit kill anyways?
Oozium just heads one space towards whatever is nearest. Actually getting clumps to pull apart is tough, and another oozium within two spaces fouls up most kill moves. Since this mission is really all about stacking enough attack bonuses, though, those com towers are much more important than normal. And ironically useless for Javier.
Just put my B-Copter where its a closer target for the one Ooze who could interrupt my capturing plans.
Meanwhile, still playing cat-and-mouse to try to get the Ooziums to spread out.
Another Ooze down.
One nice thing about Copter units is large movement ranges mixed with 99 fuel, so they can play tag all day with the Ooziums.
One Com Tower captured, that should make things easier.
Bah, was just a bit too late capturing this screen. Oozium number 6 goes down to the Md Tank and the Stealth.
The next turn Oozium 7 is popped. Thats 280 free points earned so far. Jesss CO meter is charged but Ill wait until next turn so I can go whole hog with the Dual Strike.
Get out the salt, Its Ooze melting time!
I dont think Ive ever actually managed to get here without losing a unit or two. Eventually either I dont get the chip bonus damage I expected or I decide its worth it to lose one to kill an ooze and deliberately sacrifice one. Your dual strike as a player is huge, though. Especially if you get one with good compatibility. Same stacking attack bonuses, with a side order of thumbing your noses at the oozium and not giving it a chance.
Of course, I capture Com Tower 2 first.
This is the most Ive ever seen an indirect unit hit an Oozium for. A sizable chunk, yes, but remember this is during a CO Power where Jess is swinging for a total of 190% due to her SCOP boost to vehicles with two Com Towers helping her.
Its just enough to let the Recon and the Mech take it out.
The Recon and Stealth take out another that Hawkes Rocket had been plinking away at earlier.
The Md Tank and Neotank alone are enough to pop Oozium 10 all by themselves.
Two strikes from a B-Copter lets Grimm overkill the eleventh with a Neotank.
Thats a full dozen.
Since Im all clear now, I load my second Mech up in the APC and run it towards the second set of Com Towers.
And that makes a bakers dozen.
Two Recons take down the fourteenth with some help of Grimms indirect units softening the blob up first.
Theres another diagonal pair making things difficult so I try to entice them to split.
Three out of four Com Towers are mine.
Now with the three Com Towers, and with his +5% to direct fire perk, Grimms Neotank is swinging hard enough to hit for half of an Oozes health. Still takes three units to bring the beast down though.
Time to move the Artillery up to beat up the Minicannon.
Both my Neotank and Md Tank get lucky shots which lets them destroy the second to last Ooze.
The last Com Tower captured, because why not?
What spectacular timing, considering theres all of a single Oozium left on the field.
With Four Com Towers it only takes one hit from a Mech and an Artillery for Grim to bring down a Minicannon.
The B-Copter and two Recons take down the last Oozium.
Which leaves the Stealth free to fly up and crush the Missile with excessive force.
Yes! We're finally safe from that disgusting sludge!
It appears you have rescued us.
We want answers, not your thanks. Why were those things chasing you? You're in the Black Hole Army.
We knew too much.
What do you mean?
Hmm...I suppose it would be in my best interest to tell you everything. I'm going to need your power if I'm ever going to escape from his grip.
That's an interesting thing to say considering the circumstances. But we'll come back to that later. For now, start talking.
Now, look at that score, LOOK AT IT! I was just one day away from getting the maximum 990 points I could get on this map. There is a reason this map is called that grinding map, and all COs get 982 experience each. That includes Hawke and Lash.
Well someones full of themselves. No limitations, Jess? Really?
Next time, are you ready for some Black Crystal madness? Also, I figured Id let you guys actually get a peek at what were fighting from now on instead of just hinting at it.
That is a ridiculous amount of 1HP units, and an awful lot of Black Crystals to heal them back up. Looks like fun.
This next map is one of my favorites. Hectic and stuffed full of interesting things to do. A nice change from the laid-back and pretty straightforward The Grinding Map.