The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by Alkydere

Part 28: Oldman Man Attacks!

Oldman Man Attacks!

Any news from the intel team, Rachel?

Nothing yet. They're combing Omega Land, but there's no trace of the obelisk.

More and more areas of Omega Land are turning into wasteland. And we can't do anything about it!

Grrr! I hate this! There must be something we can do!

Wait a second. Let me see that map.

What is it, Sonja?

Last, you said the black obelisk turns the surrounding land into desert, right?

Yeppers! Pretty neato, huh?

Is the speed of desertification the same on any terrain?

Wow. Word of the day, eh? Nice one, nerd. Yeah, it's the same speed. Terrain doesn't matter at all. That's why the desert emanates out from the obelisk at a consistent rate. Oh hey, I get it! That means...

A scientific anti-intellectual? How does that work?

Yes. The obelisk is the exact center of the desertif--...the land that's turning into desert.

The deserts that we know of are here, here, here, and here, right?

And if you draw a circle on the perimeter and radiate inward, the center is...

Right here!

There? That can't be right. That's in the middle of the Crimson Sea.

I see. Omega Land is 70 percent water and has untapped resources on the ocean floor. So Black Hole built a base in the Crimson Sea and took advantage of that energy.

Dude, yeah! If all the cities turned into desert, everyone would be on to them! But you can do whatever on the ocean floor... No one would ever know!

You know, I was going to give the characters a hard time over taking so long to figure out “Look at the center of the desert!” but this is actually a legitimately clever trick that Black Hole used. Until now they couldn’t figure out where the damned thing was because almost all of the desertification was under water and no one realized they were looking at the edge of an expanding sphere of influence.

I’m still a little weirded out that Omega Land can be two-thirds water.

It means the black obelisk has transformed almost all of the Crimson Sea. With the sea nearly consumed, the process has now spread to Omega Land itself.

So this thing “steals the energy of the land” or some shit like that, right? How do you steal the energy from water? I can buy that the sea floor is all kinds of fucked up, but the ocean itself is still going to be full of life.

How terrible...

In retrospect, the black obelisk in Red Rock Desert may have been a decoy. The enemy diverted our attention to buy time for the real plan.

Oh, I'm so stupid! how could I have missed that?!

Don't blame yourself, Rachel. None of us imagined he'd do something so awful. Besides, we should still have time to stop it.

Yeah, right on, Sasha! We've got time! Let's split back to the Crimson Sea and take 'em out!

Radar is picking up incoming allied forces. Sir! They're approaching the base!

Aha ha! It looks like the great unwashed have finally taken up their pitchforks! But the hoi polloi far too late. We already have enough energy. Now all we have to do is sweep away these nuisances.

Hhh... Kindle...

Yes, my lord?

They are...hhh...coming?

Yes, my lord...but set your mind at ease. I shall stand in front of the black obelisk and deliver the coup de grace with plea...

No. Hhh... I it.

You, my lord? You want to address this issue...personally?

I dislike...hhh...battles. I get so...hhh...tired... But they...hhh... They have come too far... Hhhhhh... This Now.

There it is! The sea base!

Aw, possum spit! Look at all the troops! Looks like we found ourselves one humdinger of a termite nest, boys!

Hey, there's the black obelisk! Let's rush it!

Not...hhh...a chance.

What--? Who are you?

My name is...hhh...Von Bolt. I am...hhh...commander-in-chief of...hhh...Black Hole...hhhh...and its eternal master!

You! You're behind all this!

Hehhh hhh hhh! Already stolen...hhh...half of Omega Land's energy... Hhhhh... One go... I'll wring this a sponge. Nothing will...hhh...remain but...hhh...desert! The energy absorbed by... black obelisk...hhh..secures my future... Eternal life! Hhh... Absolute power! Hhh... The universe shall...hhhhh...bow to me!

This guy doesn’t exactly seem like he’s living out his Golden Years. Why would you want eternal life in this state?

You'd destroy Omega Land just for some ego trip?!

I am...hhh...human. Nothing is more...hhh...precious MY life... Who cares what insects? I care only...hhhhhh...for myself.

Oh, a Libertarian. That explains everything. I bet he’s a Captain of Industry™ who rebuilt Black Hole with his own two hands, too. Not that those plebeian working-class citizens would understand anyway.

You're a complete mentalist! How dare you?!

Hehh hhh hhh! Dare, you say? Hhh...dare... Hhhh... Oh, I dare... Ignorant...hhh...boy! I will...hhh...crush you... and drink...hhhhhh...drink your life!

Finally, the talking is done. You can tell the game is nearing the end with how wordy it’s getting all of a sudden. Also, I should have named Von Bolt “Ellipsis Man” because dayum...I am so glad I’m not transcribing this and am just using a convenient script.

You know nothing of ellipses, Alky. Nothing.

Anyways, today we have a tall map, a long slog from the bottom through the enemy’s forces. Or at least, that’s what the game wants you to think.

This can actually be pretty fun as a pitched battle, if you don’t just completely neuter Black Hole. Alkydere at least noticed that he’s deployed the CO in Orange Star which, if you manipulate Von Bolt’s CO meter use, can utterly smash Black Hole and get you an S-rank in six or seven days.

If you don’t do that, there’s a one-tile-wide corridor between the side minicannons, plus a little range shadow between them near the pipe, some crystals to be smashed, and Black Hole to pummel. The patchy terrain is probably a net benefit, and starting out with a megatank is great fun, since Black Hole doesn’t have anything in its weight class.

In the center we have Javier and Sasha. Javier’s job will be beefy Com Tower defense bullshit and taking punches like a man and Sasha’s job will be preventing Von Bolt from shooting lightning bolts at us. One of these COs will succeed wonderfully at their job, the other will fail miserably.

On the left our Black Hole buddies are back and angry. Since there’s a lack of defensive terrain Hawke will take the lead with the navy and will be abusing CO skills because why wouldn’t you use the skill that gives +10% attack while sitting on an ocean tile when using a navy?

On the right we have Eagle and Punchy McFists, I mean Max. Eagle will be doing airforce stuff, and so will Max with his Direct Fire boost. Then Max will manage to accidentally win the level for us, snapping it like a twig with his beefy steroid-fueled muscles.

Meanwhile we haven’t fought Oldman Man yet so let’s take a look at what he has to offer. Remember Sturm from the previous Advance Wars games? Unfair passive advantages mixed with the power to call down a giant fuck-off meteor from space? Von Bolt is an older, weaker version of Sturm. Passively his forces get nothing more to a +10% bonus to both attack and defense. It’s not bad, especially with the defense bonus, but it’s really not all that good either. His power is the real death knell for his usefulness. Von Bolt only has one CO power, one with a power meter 10 stars long. Sturm could make the massive power meter work for him in AW2 because he’d drop a MASSIVE meteor on the field, doing 5 damage to everything in a diamond 7 tiles wide. Von Bolt’s version of the power? He does the exact same damage as a single silo missile in an area the same area as said missile. Don’t get me wrong, the whole turn-skip is nasty and frustrating, but the player doesn’t get to direct the attack so you have to pray the game hits a unit you want paralyzed. It’s not easy to see why Von Bolt is a bad CO, just compare his 10 stars for a single (but paralyzing) missile strike with Rachel’s 6 star Covering Fire that gives her three missiles.

Von Bolt isn’t particularly scary as a foe. His big trick is really just the paralyzing. This can complicate oozium fights, slow down your advance... eh. It’s a ten-star power. Sure, it can feel impressive on a map as confined as this one, with no elbow room and pipelines to boot, but as far as scary COs go he’s down the totem pole.

Anyways, enough ranting, let’s begin!

Let my sword and shield save the day from villainy most...villainous! Huzzah!

Everyone, move out!

God you’re boring Sasha.

Man, I can't believe what a mess it is out there. And those are all my inventions!

Hey, you made them. Can't you destroy them, too?

Look at all those targets just begging to get shot down!

I'm gonna blow them away!

Other lines of interest:

That black obelisk is just sitting there! Let's rush it!

Whoa there! Hold yer horses. Why don't we lay low and attack from long range?

One of these two gets their wish in this run.

That's the ringleader, huh? He seems different from Sturm.

See what happens when you cling to life? Hope I'm not like that when I'm old.

By “different” Sami do you mean “pathetic”? I almost feel sorry for him.

Do not charge, Commander Javier. We must keep pace with the other teams.

But glory tugs at my sense like a branch of honor snagged on the hem of my ego!

“Don’t rush! Don’t rush!” I wonder if Intsys was worried about players realizing how rushable this map is.

When was the last time an “advisor” character was right about a plan like this? I’d have ignored them too.

It's an old-fashioned showdown! The soldier in me is going wild!

Watch out! Sensei and Von Bolt are going to get it on during BINGO night!

They got an old man on a respirator. We got an old man who is apparently still a paratrooper. Advantage: allied nations.

Paratrooper and former volcanologist!

Watch those minicannons! They're nasty! Did I mention I invented those? Tee hee!

And Lash will always be Lash.

Anyways, onto the gameplay. Orange starts hemmed in by the canons so they can’t really move up anyways. There’s just a single line between the minicannons, perfect for reaching that central crystal and removing it.

Javier moves up to secure the com towers as his power demands.

Blue moves up, putting Hawke’s Battleship in range of the minicanon with the rest of his navy providing cover for now. That Carrier is absolutely worthless since Blue has no aircraft to resupply nor does Von Bolt have an air force on this side of the map.

It seems to exist to be a meatshield. A very, very expensive meatshield.

Green’s turn is about the same as Blue’s.

Von Bolt moves forward, his big army of doom is slowed down by the forests, which gives Javier plenty of time. He also diverts his Bomber to the center battle which means less forces for Eagle to clean up.

I’d love to bring Javier’s Megatank up to crush that crystal, but it doesn’t have the range. So I decide to throw my Neotank at it. Von Bolt already has the numbers advantage, there’s no reason to let him keep free repairs as well.

As the thread requested, I build a Piperunner for Orange. Normally Piperunners are worthless, but every now and then you get a map like this one where having one is really damned useful.

More shuffling around on Orange. The inability to guard the capturing Infantry without taking a whack from the minicannons on this level is something I found far more annoying than I really should have.

Hawke starts working on the left side canons. Sadly even with his +10% attack bonus just for sailing the ocean blue red, his Battleships still take two hits to clear out a cannon or crystal.

On Eagle’s side the Black Hole airforce is about to reach Eagle’s airforce. The Fighter is the only real threat to Eagle though, so the standard procedure is to lure it into an attack with something expendable. Luckily the game gave Green a B-Copter at the start which will fill that role: cheap, easily replaced, and honestly not all that powerful.

In fact, the B-Copter’s replacement has already been built.

It’s Black’s second turn and our first engagement of the game. As always, you gotta love how beefy Javier’s units are, especially against ranged attacks.

Sadly he doesn’t fare nearly as well with direct fire attacks before he grabs any com-towers.

Over on the right side on the map Von Bolt’s fighter predictably comes and swats the B-Copter out of the air. Of course that means it’s now within the range of Eagle’s own Fighter and Stealth.

Javier starts out by capturing two of the three Com Towers, weakening Von Bolt’s forces and greatly strengthening his.

And the Neotank valiantly sacrifices itself to remove the central Crystal.

Javier’s Piperunner moves out. Sure they can only move over pipes, but they make up for it by being able to cruise. The real problem with the Piperunners is that they’re limited to pipes, meaning that if you build them at a factory without a nearby pipe than they’re little more than a stationary gun. This is very rarely worth it since to be of use the factory the ‘runner is sitting on has to be near the front lines, which means it would be better off building anything else that could move.

Javier cleans up the problematic Neotank, taking out one of Von Bolt’s big heavy hitters.

The end of Javier’s turn and while Von Bolt has a pile of units bearing down on Javier, Javier has his com towers and Von Bolt’s stronger units are being cleared out. In hindsight really wish I had moved the Artillery and Missile up to cover for the capturing Infantry.

And Hawke cleans up the first minicannon, which means I wouldn’t have had to deal with the damned thing attacking my sacrifice units either if I had used them to cover the capturing Infantry.

Meanwhile Von Bolt’s navy has arrived and I’m trying to find his sub. I think it submerged a couple of tiles below the enemy Cruiser but sadly I miss it. Meaning it gets another turn at large.

Meanwhile I build a second Battleship and move my Cruiser to cover my existing one. The last thing I want is that sub getting a hit in on Hawke’s Battleship, those things are expensive.

On Eagle’s side his Fighter and Stealth clean up Von Bolt’s fighter.

Which leaves his Bomber free to roam the skies and do whatever it wants.

Javier spends a lot of the next round not giving any fucks about incoming fire.

Direct fire is a bit more problematic. And here’s why I really wish I had covered the capturing Infantry. Stupid AAs.

I didn’t bring Sonja for Dual Strikes so I might as well use Javier’s Super Power to turn 2 towers into 6.


I mean Sasha. She’s so damned forgettable I forget her name for a better, more interesting CO.

One wonderful thing about Piperunners is that they can hit everything. Meaning this Bomber is now no longer a problem.

The offending AA from earlier gets a face full of Angry Javier Artillery.

Javier’s cleaned up most of the nasty stuff in the center and he just has to deal with the horde of relatively weak stuff now. And he’s sitting there with a +90% defense bonus (2 com towers x 1.5 from skill x 3 from super CO) so he’ll be a right brick.

No! Past self what are you doing! Von Bolt’s CO meter is already charged! You’re giving up Javier’s massive defense boost for Sonja!

Wow, Sasha must really be a fuckup if we’re changing her for someone not even deployed.

Her line works great if you assume she’s talking to Alkydere instead of Von Bolt.

Well, no use crying over stupid fuckups, onwards to Blue!

Oh, well hello there! Deploying the Mech onto the factory revealed the enemy Sub, meaning I don’t have to hunt it down.

If you don’t get lucky or track its movements, the carrier is good sub bait.

This tileset just confuses me really. On the map the ocean is red, but when you zoom in it looks green. Anyways, no more Subs for Von Bolt so we can relax on the left side.

I like the effect of the mirrored Von Bolt there. Really reveals him to be a proper dickhead.

No more cruisers for him either.

On the other side of the map, Eagle’s Bomber moves up and starts one-shotting everything.

The sweet scent...hhh...of destruction... It makes me...hhhh...feel young!

Damnit me/Sasha. This is going to hurt.

The worst part really is that the attack hit the capturing infantry and the Megatank, paralyzing them.

Well, the megatank wasn’t so bad, I didn’t get a chance to move it anyways.

Didn’t get a chance to finish capturing with the infantry either, so I guess it’s not so bad. Still frustrating.

Well, Orange’s army has been gutted, leaving me with damn near nothing, and most of my surviving units of value are paralyzed and helpless. At least I still have the Piperunner.

The alternate universe where you have a supered-up Javier with two or three comm towers looks a lot nicer, and is the key to a fast win. Sure, you take some damage and can’t move. Javier’s defense bonus is so incredible that you just laugh anyway.

I believe you can also manipulate Von Bolt into having nearly only artillery in range, and weathering that is Javier’s specialty.

Might as well use waste Sasha’s useless Super Power before I switch her out for a competent CO.

I realize he’s got bonus defense from being Von Bolt and having his CO power active, but you can’t even kill a Tank with a Piperunner with two com towers on your side?

At least Orange has money, plenty of money.

Over on Blue, Hawke’s Sub does what Subs do best: hunt Battleships.

Not much more to see on Blue so we skip to Eagle’s Bomber one-shotting yet another Black Hole building.

Due to Von Bolt’s defensive buff, the Stealth and damaged Fighter can’t quite finish off the Black Hole fighter.

Luckily, there’s a solution: Eagle’s CO power. It takes forever to fill his super power, but if you just want a second turn at half-power, using his standard power only takes three stars.

And half-power is more than enough to finish off a nearly dead Fighter.

The Stealth is parked on the enemy airfield to deny it to the enemy while the T-Copter uses its second turn to drop a soldier to start capturing next turn. The Bomber also has enough movement to move within range of the Crystal.

One big problem of using Eagle’s normal CO power is that it leaves him countering with half-strength attacks. Though, that’s not really a problem in Dual Strike where you can switch to another CO, like Max, for full strength attacks.

Javier’s in charge on Orange again and he starts pushing back. Of course his job is made easier by the fact that Black Hole really is down to mostly infantry and Artillery, with a smattering of Tanks and AA.

If you weathered him right, this is where you make your power score, off of the little stuff now that his neotank and healing crystals are gone.

Hawke’s Battleships start work on cleaning up the remaining Black Hole assets on the left.

And on the right, Max accidentally wins the map. For some reason I thought I’d have to still clean up the rest of the map, giving me time to make up for the absolute mess I made on Orange by switching to Sasha.

Huh. That was rather anti-climactic for the penultimate battle.

But nope, destroy the Obelisk, the undefended Obelisk, and win. If I had known that, I could have won this battle even quicker than on Day 6. I’m pretty sure Intsys realized this, which is why they did everything they could to make the player think they had to take their time and win this the hard way.


The black obelisk has been destroyed! My eternal beauty... It's fading!

I really like this line. Kindle pops out of the wings just to chew on the scenery a bit.

Retreat...hhh...for now...

Hey! Those rats are tryin' to run!

They're not going anywhere! We're going to end this right now!

OK! Let's go!

Is everyone ready? It's time for the final showdown!

Since I wasn’t paying attention and won the battle early I didn’t give myself time to clean up Von Bolt’s army, meaning I got wrecked on Power. Despite Orange being crushed, I really didn’t lose that many points on Technique. I'm guessing IntSys kind of expected the player to take a beating in the center.

Next time, the final battle!

Huh. That sure is a giant space blob. I can’t wait to hear the logic behind this thing.

It’s a two-front battle so we only get two people to use as we fight against Von Bolt, Kindle, and a slime mold visible from outer space. So be prepared for stupidity, fun, and a LOT of text. Neither Jake nor Von Bolt see any reason to just stop talking.

Mostly stupidity. I’m not too jazzed about the final map in this game.