Part 27: Javier's Lightning Strike.Javier's Lightning Strike.
Omega Land is being turned into a desert even faster than before! The wasteland has already swallowed up all the towns along the coast... Wh-what are we going to do?
The rejuvenation of Black Hole's army... Clone COs, requiring massive amounts of energy... The creeping desert... I hate to think of it, but there's really only one explanation...
Aw, man, no... Not the black obelisk! Dude, super weak.
I'm afraid so.
Dude... We smashed the black obelisk! I watched it happen!
Who's to say there's only one? Black Hole is extremely crafty. They may well have another one somewhere.
Hey look Artix, Rachels finally figured out what every single player ever realized probably before they smashed the first Obelisk.
The problem with dragging out plot points like this is that the player figures things out much, much faster than the characters do. It could be so much worse, though. Looking squarely at you, Tales of Graces F.
Fine! Let's smash that one, too!
B-but...unless we know where it is...
Colin's right. We just gotta sit tight 'til we find that obelisk thingamajig.
But...Omega Land is enormous! I wouldn't know where to start looking.
I'd start in the desert... The obelisk we destroyed was in the middle of Red Rock Desert. You'd never notice the country turning into a wasteland if it started out as one.
First a revelation on Black Obelisks, now a logical assertion about its location? This isnt the Advance Wars I was promised. This makes sense.
Oh, not so much. The Black Obelisk feeds on the lands energy. You cant eat whats not there. No one would expect you to drill for oil where theres never been any.
Yeah, I getcher point. If ya want to hide a tree, stick 'er in a forest, right?
I'll deploy our intelligence team and have them track the obelisk down. In the meantime, we'll head for the final battlefield and..."
C-Commander Rachel! We've got a situation! The enemy is deploying some kind of weapon in the Central Plains!
Roger that. Let's hightail it back there and teach Black Hole a lesson!
Whoa! Are those missile silos?
They're enormous... And there are two of them...
I... I've seen those silos before! Those are Black Hole mega missiles! They're strong enough to wipe out an entire continent! During the last war, we captured the surrounding buildings and cut the power. At least...I think that's the way it happened.
The way I remember it they got fired off a lot and we just kept fighting to save the rest of the world.
Aha ha ha ha! The brave little schoolboy remembers his lessons! And since you're such a clever little boy, I'll let you in on a little secret... Unless you capture all four com towers on this map, both missiles will fire! Oh, and did I mention that these missiles...these...Black Armageddons...are aimed directly at your homelands!? Yes, they will fly off to your countries and redecorate every last city. Talk about an extreme makeover! Aha! Aha ha ha ha ha!
We'll stop you in your tracks!
Aha! Ha ha ha! It's far too late now! Oh...I see despair in your eyes... How lovely! Where is your esprit de corps now? And I have another treat for you... Oh, clone! Are you ready to crush these insects?
Bring it on. I am ready.
That's Andy! No, wait... That's a clone... Isn't it?
Aw, nuts! You gotta be kidding me!
Dude, that's Commander Andy from Cosmo Land! He's a legend!
You have 24 days until the missiles fire... Until then... I will keep you company.
All right, with the plot out of the way lets look at what weve got. The map is divided into two halves by a diagonal pipeline, with those halves being further divided by mountains. Each quadrant has one factory owned by Black Hole and one com tower on opposite sides, making you split your attention between stopping the factories and grabbing the com towers. Kindle and Andy with four towers hurt. Theres also a pair silos on the eastern quadrant that are little more than idiot bait. Its really tempting to run for them, but as a player you can tank the hits and running for them will just throw you out of position.
West, Alky. The silos are in the west.
This map is pretty neat. You start in the center, and need to handle every quadrant within a time limit. Even if you dont grab the skills Alkydere will, though, its easy enough to defeat the enemy in detail by overwhelming one side at a time. Game gets interesting if you try to go after everything at once, though; I like to get at least one of the silos because getting your units struck twice is a pain, but this takes an APC and infantry unit that could be capturing elsewhere, so its probably a wash and going for both is much harder.. I seem to recall B copter and tank spam being how I approached winning this; you really want to focus your building around rough terrain-friendly units with good move. Unless youre cheesing it like Alkydere demonstrates.
Anyways, lets take a look at who else were facing:
Were fighting a clone of Andy which means, well, this is going to be a rather average fight with no real nasty CO power surprises besides what Kindle brings. Andy is the definition of of an inoffensive allrounder. He has no advantages or disadvantages, his only abilities are that he heals his troops from time to time with a minor movement and attack boost. Hes not weak by any means, but he really cant do anything especially annoying. Or in other words, you cant do wrong with Andy, but you cant do better than average.
Andy is a decent CO to use, since the player usually is better at not getting units obliterated than the AI is, but hes pretty weak in the hands of the AI, because... well, because it doesnt know how to save its units from going from 10 HP to 0 in one round. Theres few less scary opponents in the AIs hands.
This mission can either be a challenging, or even nigh-impossible slog. Or, well, you could tell me to make sure someone on OS has both Pathfinder and Prairie Dog to humiliate the AI. Which I did, and which gave us the run that youre about to see. After the starting lines of interest of course.
Sami and Eagle:
I bet you have mixed feelings, eh, Eagle? Facing the clone of your biggest rival...
No. There is only one man whom I accept as my rival. Some cheap copy with the same face is nothing but another enemy.
Javier and Jess:
Look, Dame Jess! Com towers!
Yes, if we get those under our control, we can take advantage of our abilities. I don't know if we can win otherwise...
They're like candy to him!
Sonja and Lash:
It seems that the Andy clone even has a rudimentary personality. Men should not meddle so with the natural order... How can such a thing be allowed?
Hey, it's not like I made the thing! Sheesh! Gimme a break! Besides, Black Hole doesn't give a fig if technology is good or evil. That's why the bad guys always advance science... Because they're fearless!
Now Im imagining what Evil TechnologyTM would actually be. Maybe it runs on orphans souls or something?
Hawke and Lash:
Let's go, Lash! Hurry up!
Wow, Hawke's all angry today! Maybe he's fired up because he gets to face his main rival, Andy. Or maybe he's just a big jerkface... Men are so hard to figure out!
We're gonna be busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kickin' contest.
Foul wretches! I'll not sit idly by and watch our countries be put to the sword!
Black Arma-huh? Hey, I invented that missile! I should be the one to name it!
Contrast this to her and Sonja.
Anyways back to the mission. As I said this mission could be hard, or...
Or, yeah. On one turn we can simply win the eastern quadrant. The factory cant be used by Black Hole because Javiers Recon is sitting on it and next turn well start capturing it.
I hadnt realized this was possible, but even if you dont do this, dragging Orange Stars forces this way will let you shut this base down quickly for a solid victory. The only thing is that this is a bit of a dead end; theres no way around that pipeline without traversing half the map. This saves you rather a lot of time, then, so its even more useful than it looks at first glance.
Just gotta clean up and capture property for money now.
Blue starts off with building an infantry up north in this little cluster of buildings thats easy to forget about.
The rest of Blues turn is spent huddling up to lure Black Hole into killing range.
Aha ha ha ha! Go ahead! Panic! Run screaming like dogs with your tails on fire! The missiles will fire in 24 days, and there's no way you can stop them. You have to capture all four com towers? Aha ha ha! Incroyable! Soon you will see my beautiful fireworks light up the night sky! You there! Clone! I expect victory! Do not disappoint...
I do not need reminding. That is my only purpose...
Gratuitous French. In a game that does not contain a not-France. Goddammit Kindle.
Forget that. An Andy who doesnt need reminding on basic facts?
Oh by the way, Javier you do realize that you parked that Neotank right where the the Rocket can hit?
Ha! No need to fear! My natural resistance to indirects shall protect me!
You forgot that the enemy starts with four com towers in addition to Kindles bonus for sitting on a city, didnt you?
The AI hits for massive damage at the start, which makes running for the com towers even more important. It's tempting to run for the towers before grabbing the factories just to make the AI not hit as hard but down that path lies pain and frustration.
Of course, Javier gets his revenge next turn. No one but him gets the defensive bonus from com towers, so he can roll right over the enemy on his turn.
End of Turn 2 on Orange, and further evidence of how easy Plainswalker and Pathfinder together make this mission.
Blues turn begins with Eagle smashing the two B-Copters before they really have a chance to do anything.
The end of the Turn 2 on Blue and I already pretty much control the southeast half of the map. The AI only has a handful of units and a single factory to build from.
Its the AIs turn and they desperately try to stop me from grabbing an airport for blue up north. Luckily, the Md Tank cant quite get around the random Mech I built to reach the infantry in the middle of capturing.
Of course, the Md Tank damn near goes through the Mech in a single shot despite a 3-star defensive bonus. I cant stress how hard the AI hits at the beginning of this mission enough. Between the hard hitting enemy and having to split the battle between four fronts its easy to see how this mission can spiral out of control real fast.
On the other hand, if you abuse CO skills like you guys told me to do so it can spiral out of control in a good way.
Anyways Jess takes control of the Green Earth forces and finishes off the Black Hole remnants in the east in some redhead on redhead violence.
On Blues turn, Eagle gets an airport!
Then runs away...not sure what I was doing in hindsight. Probably making sure the AI doesnt run rampage with that AA gun during the upcoming enemy Dual Strike.
Then Eagle gets a second airport!
And here is that Dual Strike I was mentioning
I honestly really dont pay enough attention to the AI movement to notice foibles, but it is interesting to see stuff like this where the AI will focus on grabbing cities before getting those silos. It makes them easier for the player to grab, but really on this mission its best to just let the AI have them, or else youll be abandoning the eastern or southern quadrants to the AI depending on what team you throw at them. Considering those quadrants have your HQs, thats probably not a good idea.
The AI has enough firepower over there to make firing a silo to be a suicide mission: you can do it, but the turn after the infantry will die. Getting one is nice, although Black Hole is spread around too much to get a good target for it, but getting both is a serious waste of resources unless the south-east side is really going swimmingly.
And Kindle gets to show us her smarts. Is it just me or does the CO most likely to show us real boneheaded moves, like losing a Megatank to defending infantry, seem to be Kindle?
Its kind of hard to see in the bottom right, but Andys super power just fixes the busted AA right up. On one hand, it almost seems like the AI knew it could repair the hit for free, on the other hand, that would mean Id have to assume Kindle, and therefore the AI isnt just making stupid moves.
Sadly, Kindle at least moved everything in position to let Andy really smash Orange around. Of course losing my Rocket was my fault not realizing the Md Tank could approach it from the north. On the plus side, Jess and Javier have a fully charged Dual Strike now.
And by golly, Im going to use it.
Jess hits the ground running.
And then builds a Neotank for Javier to have fun with on his turn.
Javier starts by capturing a com tower. One down, three to go, and you all know how Javier gets along with com towers.
He gets along swimmingly.
And since Blue cant get to the factory in time due to my paranoia, I park my abused 1 HP Neotank on it to prevent it from spawning new forces.
On Blues turn I give Eagle a Bomber on the northern airfield.
And then I park Eagles Rocket to cover the western factory to harass anything built there.
The AI reaches the first of the silos.
Javiers Neo Tank and barely alive Tank try and fail to take out the remaining offending Neotank. Can the infantry finish it off with a lucky bullet?
Thats not even a Neotank, youre as bad as Kindle this map, Alky.
Got a Mech on the southern Black Hole factory to capture it, meaning the southern front is as good as won.
Black Hole has an AA and Eagles bomber cant reach it this turn so more pussyfooting around with Blue.
And there goes the second silo., nearly in the same spot because I didnt move all that much last round, not sure why but it did keep the silo missiles off of any of the action in the north. The silos are annoying, but theyre survivable and theres only two.
Speaking of annoying but survivable, well closer to hilarious and makes my job easier, Kindle keeps suiciding stuff against me. It really must be some quirk in her AI that makes her have a higher chance of throwing weak units against an enemy instead of trying to retreat/heal them.
I think it might be her attack bonus, though Im not sure. Oh, I can do enough damage to make this attack worth it!
And heres the situation now. Weve got a whole bunch of troops at the center just needing to be healed/joined while Black Hole only has a small pittance left as each turn the amount of cash they have available slowly dwindles.
Not letting Black Hole use that north-east base means you need to commit less forces there, means that Black Hole gets to deploy less infantry, means that Black Hole cant capture the neutral cities around there... it really spells Kindles doom in short order.
While Orange spends its time and funds on repairs, Eagle doesnt have the time or spare airfields for such niceties and shoves his two B-Copters together. His AAs get the same treatment.
And then he grabs the northern com tower. 2 down, 2 to go.
One nice thing about Eagle is that his air units hurt. Eagles bombers will almost always destroy an AA in one hit as long as the bomber is the attacker.
While Eagle cleans up the northern front Javiers heavy armor advances on the western front.
Ive got Neotanks, Md Tanks and fresh Tanks coming through, theres not much Kindle can build that will stop me.
And of course Javier can and will help the best he can up north.
On blues turn the southern factory is captured. I then have a brainfart and forget to go ahead and capture the southern tower for a few turns.
An entirely absorbable error, since as mentioned hes way ahead of schedule by now.
Part of the reason resistance in the west is so anemic is because Eagles Rocket has been pounding the western factory. The other reason is because the AIs been building nothing but infantry and Recons.
The last AA was destroyed by a single hit from the Bomber, but that was due to luck. This AA has an extra star of defense so we soften it up first with our wounded Tank THEN hit it with the Bomber.
Of course after the lucky shot of killing an AA with a single hit from a Bomber, Eagles B-Copter fails to clear the path for the infantry to clog up the factory.
Its really just cleanup at this stage. Black Hole cant produce anything big or enough chaff to slow my advance.
And that clears up the last of Black Holes forces in the north.
Which means Eagles 3 HP infantry can now clog up the factory.
So Eagle can come down and help in the trouncing of the western factory.
This is all that remains of Black Holes forces in the area.
And this is all that remains after Javiers turn.
It also took me until now to realize I had neglected to actually capture the southern com tower and I started to actually do so.
Andy and Kindle in desperation pull out a Dual Strike, of course even then they cant really do much when starting with a 2-HP recon.
Javier starts capturing the western tower.
And then he destroys the lone Recon unit. Black Hole has been routed, but theres no rout victory on this map.
And Blue finally gets their act together and reaches the com tower on the same turn. Since Black Hole has been removed from the map lets just skip ahead a few turns and...
There we go, the last of the towers captured.
What?! No! Impossible! You stupid, stupid clone! I will leave you here to die!
Hey, uh... Andy clone? Kindle just split. Aren't you going to take off, too?
It makes no difference. I do not have long... My life will soon fade... like all the clones...
What the... What do you mean? Can't you do something?
No need for tears. I am...false... Oh, look My time...has come...
Your body! It's... Oh, no... Look at it...
...Yes. I know... Can I...ask you something? What kind of man is Commander Andy? My...original. Does he have friends? Do people...like him?
Yeah, he has friends. Tons of 'em. I'm one of his best.
Andy is a fine CO. Everyone loves him.
Whats he like? Oh, hes, uh... nice. People like him. Interesting what they omit mentioning.
I see... Interesting... I am not Andy... I am just a clone...but... you made me...happy... .....
This is... Oh, man, this is terrible... Black Hole! I'll never forgive you! You're going down!
I am suddenly attached to these things weve spent the last four or five chapters murdering the shit out of.
Anyways, after the saturday morning drama, lets take a look at the score. Thanks to the thread voting No quarter I absolutely humiliated the game.
Next time on Advance Wars:
I am Oldman Man and I will be your opponent!
Oh look they had another crystal all along, who could have possibly foreseen that?