The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by Alkydere

Part 29: The not-so-Grand Bolt.

The not-so-Grand Bolt.

I hope you’re all eager for more talking, because this is the mission with ALL the talking.

Yo, Von Bolt!

There's nowhere to run!

Hhh... I'd come.

You've totally jacked up Omega Land. You killed the trees and dried up the lakes and turned everything into wasteland. How could you do that just to satisfy your own twisted ego?

Hehh hhh hhh... I find you...hhh....amusing. Everything...hhh...requires energy It is...hhh...the natural order...

Aha ha ha ha! Lord Von Bolt is quite right. We are simply doing what comes naturally--what any other living thing would do.

You're talkin' crazy!

Let me ask a question, dear one: what does it mean to live?


Hhh... All living things...hhh...take energy... Take it from...hhh...the outside world... It is how...hhh...all creatures are able to... live and to grow... Hhhhhh!

I’m just going to snipe some reader here and complain about this being almost exactly Fire Emblem’s Nergal’s last speech. Well, except for the creepy heavy breathing.

What the heck are you trying to say? Stop wheezing out this hogwash!

Nourishment. Eating. You consume something so that it may extend your life. That's what all living things do. Even plebeians such as yourselves breathe and eat and drink... Correct? We do the same. But our food is simply... Omega Land itself. Its energy.

Yeah? You a big fan of dirt sandwiches?

Aha ha ha! No. I need all of Omega Land's energy to preserve my allure. It takes a tremendous amount of power to seize and keep eternal beauty. If I absorb the life force of this pathetic land, I can stay young forever!

So you're trashing Omega Land just to preserve yourself?

We have...hhh...taken the trouble...hhh... to amass all this energy...hhh... And now you...hhh...leave choice. I will...hhh...use this energy...hhhh... Use it to...hhhhhh...annihilate you all! Hhhhhhhhh...Hhhhhhnnnnnggggggh!


Hey, what's going on? He's acting weird!

Hhhh...hhhhhhnnngggaaa! Whaaa haa! I've used the energy stored in the black obelisk to fuel my frail body! I feel like I have the strength of ten men... Each of whom possesses the strength of ten men! Whaaaa haa haaaa! Get them, my oozium! Feast on them! Consume the weak-minded fools! Devour all energy left on this planet! Leave nothing behind! Whaaa haa haa! Whaaaa haaaa haaa! Whaaaaaa haaaaa haaaaaa haaaaa!!!! Whaaaaaaaaa haaaa haaa haaaaaaa!!

So, among the myriad of things completely short-sighted, nonsensical, or just plain retarded about this plan of Von Bolt’s, let’s start with the obvious question. Eventually, you’ll have drained all the energy out of the world. Everyone and everything will be dead, except you and Kindle (which is punishment enough ), and there will be no more energy to sustain your life with. What then? You’re going to die anyway, and you’ll end up dying on a barren, deserted world with no one other than a self-righteous bitch to keep you company. How is this a positive in any way, shape, or form?

Also, seriously? The strength of 10 men? Who each fight like 10 more men? That’s like, 10 Devdans. Or maybe 10 Danveds. Shit, now I’m ruining the joke.

The camera moves up to show the giant Oozium that was just created.

That thing must have taken whole minutes to sprite up.



Look at the size of that thing!

Behold the sheer magnitude of it!

I call this massive oozium the Grand Bolt... And I will use it to swallow you whole! Once I do, I will suck Omega Land dry and take its energy for myself!

I know you’re all into the whole “Bolt” naming scheme as you’re Von Bolt with Kindle leading your Bolt Guard, but naming something “Bolt” generally means it can move fast, or at all. The Grand Bolt can’t really do much but sit there. This is worse than naming a tortoise “Speedy”.

Dude. You couldn't be more of a loser! You only care about yourself! You're not thinking about the land or anyone else. That kind of thing will only lead to your own destruction!

:"Whaaa haa haa haaa! Shut it, boy! Your inane hipster slang is an affront to my ears and a waste of my time. Slink home while you can still walk!

Thank you! Sweet Christ, at least someone says it.

Oooh, snap! You showed me, meat bag! Consider yourself served with a subpoena of pain! Yeah...that's lawyer style!

Make it stop, make it stop...

Okay, now that the talking is done, for now, let’s get on to the actual LPing. We’ve got a super-sized Oozium map feature up north with three weak points that we need to destroy to win. Every sixth day those weak points will spawn a fresh Oozium, and since the Grand Bolt is in essence a giant Oozium those weak points have the same defensive qualities as an Oozium so indirect attacks will do next to nothing. Meanwhile, up top, there’s a matching Black Crystal for every weak point on the top map. In addition to its normal Crystal healing duties, the weak points are invulnerable until the matching crystals are destroyed. Which only makes this map mildly frustrating since you have to rely on the AI for the top battle. No option to simply turn it off.

This is simultaneously my favorite and least favorite of the cartoony AW last missions. I like it because it feels more cinematic than 1 & 2, and it doesn’t put up a bullshit wall of difficulty, but on the other hand I really dislike not having control of the second front and ooziums as an enemy. They’re simply not threatening enough, especially once you pull off a dual strike.

In terms of strategy, it’s fairly simple. There’s a very slow clump of Ooziums that move south at you, along with the occasional other unit. You need to get past them, but you also need to stop the AI from grabbing all those cities at the bottom, which don’t have many production facilities near them--just inconvenient airfields. It would be difficult if Ooziums were at all threatening, but in this case they aren’t going to get to you unless your second front gets seriously screwed up.

The thread loves Hawke and Lash so that’s exactly what I’m using. There’s really not much defensive terrain that’s really usable for Lash on the map so she’ll be sent up top she can deal with Kindle.

Anyways, with the setup out of the way, it’s on to the way too dramatic final CO comments for a map that really isn’t all that hard.

Jake and Rachel:
You know, none of these mission have been easy. Even the early ones. I've cheated death a thousand times, and sometimes I got so scared that I cried... But... You've always been with me. Whether we're on the battlefield or in some meeting... You play it cool, but you've always backed me up. know. I mean... I have to...uh...follow orders and...stuff.

You made me happy. I mean it! It was like...having a younger brother.

Wha? A younger brother...? ...Huh.

What, you're not happy with that?

No, dude, it's fine! Wait, I mean... I don't mean dude... I mean... Oh man, I'm screwing this up...

Hee hee! Well then... This will be my last order as your CO... You must make it out of this battle alive! And... Bring your report to my office when you're done... OK?

...Yeah! Let's do this thing and go home alive!

Jake, that was about as blatant as it gets. How do you fuck up getting hit on like that?

Sami and Eagle:
I want you to promise me something, Sami. Promise that if we both return from this battle alive...

Oh no you don't! Stop it right there! If two people make a promise like that, one of them is going to end up dead! You might as well tell me that you're two days away from retirement! Save the promises for later, OK? We'll talk when we get back in one piece.

Javier and Jess:
At last! This old knight is going to make one final, glorious charge! Fighting to defend a lady is the knight's greatest honor... I shall defend you, Dame Jess, even if it means my life is forfeit!

Hmmm.... Yes... Quite. Much appreciated, thanks. But since you're so excited, I'll leave the defending to you and focus on offense. Come on, Javier! Let's go for the jugular!

Grimm and Sensei:
Ah, Grimm, my old disciple. You've grown quite a bit during these battles... If you agree to train the rest of these rookies, I can finally die happy... If the battle ends poorly, you must escape! I can't outlive my finest student!

Escape? Gwar har har har har! Sensei, we still need you back home! If you die on us, we're in big trouble! You're going home if I have to pick you up and carry you!

Sonja and Lash:
Do you see that, Sonja? You're looking at the pinnacle of Black Hole technology. It's amazing what science can achieve if you ignore morality and all that noise... Tee hee hee! An unfettered scientific mind could turn men into gods!

That's why we must stop them. Black Hole has gone too far! If they win, there's no telling what horrors they will unleash!

Hawke and Lash:
Lash. I'm sorry. I have mistreated you. Had I not strong-armed you into this... you would not have been called a traitor. I made excuses. Used you to my own end, so that I could continue to live.

Aw, that's OK. Don't worry about it. I wouldn't be doing all this if I didn't like it, ya'know? I'm not an easy chick to push around... I only do what I want to do. And I'm here now because I want to fight with you... So let's fight!

Jesus, is everyone hooking up behind the scenes? I guess at least Sami/Eagle is an established romance.

As mentioned in the thread the top front is AI controlled. Meaning in addition to being a rather weak final level the game takes a good amount of control away from the player for the final battle. Lash has the advantage of production facilities, from both fronts really since we can send units to her, but right now Kindle has the advantage of units. So let’s set Lash’s AI to hold back for now.

Everyone knows exactly how AW matches start if you don’t have any pre-placed units. The pile of properties down south are a major point of contention for this battle so I build a T-Copter.

The game is really making this the obvious course of action. The huge mountain range and flanking Ooziums are just there to make sure you know it’s T Copter time, not APCs.

My lord, I have placed our remaining units near the crystals on the second front. Those crystals generate force fields that guard the Grand Bolt's weak points. Oh, and if those louts approach the weak points...they will be eaten by oozium! Little do they know, the substance spews from the Grand Bolt every few days! I can just imagine their panicked faces... Aha ha ha! Aha ha ha ha!"

Whaaa haa haa haaaa! Excellent! In 24 days, the Grand Bolt will be large enough to consume Omega Land! And when that happens, those miserable insects will be powerless to stop me! Even the combined might of the Black Hole and the allied forces would be nothing! On the 24th day, I shall become immortal! I will be the most powerful being ever! Whaaa haa haa haa haa haa!

And I will be the most lovely being in creation... Then again, I already am! Aha ha ha ha!

Here’s where game tells you all that stuff about having to destroy the crystals to damage the Grand Bolt, or that the weak points generate Oozium (one for each remaining point every six days). The time limit is sufficiently generous as Advance Wars levels really don’t take that long.

Anyways, Lash goes and advances cautiously forward to grab the com towers. If I didn’t have her set on Defensive she’d run forward and get half of her units killed on the first turn.

Kindle goes ahead and wastes her Black Bomb first turn, damaging a Mech, an AA and a Fighter. It stings, but the AI really doesn’t realize the value of saving such a bomb for a nastier blow.

Turn 2 for Hawke goes about the same as turn 1.

The only bit that might mess you up is going for the comm towers first. Remember that they don’t generate money, and the ooziums are a week or so away.

Lash one-shots some infantry and captures the com towers before starting work on capturing anything else her infantry can grab and smashing up the Black Hole Piperunner.

Sadly she fails to capture the third com tower due to Kindle’s Black Bomb.

A Bomber makes a great bait for an enemy Fighter, but a B-Copter, or even a T-Copter would have done the same thing and cost so much less. Watching the AI do stuff like this is painful...and since I’m not actually playing the top battle I think I’m going to just going to skip most of it. If you remember to reign in the friendly AI at the beginning the top battle is really just a timer until you can run up and crush the Grand Bolt. Just keep an eye on it and toss the AI a Bomber now and then and you’ll be fine, if frustrated for having to put up with it.

Oh, and a Bomber is expensive enough that it also helps Kindle get her CO power up sooner for her super-annoying ability. Good thing the AI is fighting it and not me.

Turn three and the first of the T-Copters unloads down south. Capturing these properties is very important since otherwise Von Bolt only has his two factories up by the Grand Bolt. Without them Von Bolt just has no money to build anything, which makes this level very, very easy as long as the top AI doesn’t screw up for you.

There’s more capturing up top and a B-Copter is built to clear out the infantry at the bottom of the map.

Hawke’s troops see their first combat on day four when they start fighting over the bottom territories.

And since most of the early property has been captured, it’s time to start ferrying more infantry down to the bottom.

That’s three infantry and a B-Copter to Von Bolt’s four infantry and Oozium. Not the best balance of power but we’re getting there.

Make that Von Bolt’s three infantry.

Von Bolt’s starting troops have finally started to reach the home base. Not a huge problem since all he could afford to build for the first few turns were infantry.

By the time you start seeing his first units getting close, you can have a neotank on the field. I think that says it all about how desperate your position feels, which is not very.

On turn five Lash reaches and removes the first of the crystals, making the right-side weak spot vulnerable. The friendly AI has a lot of trouble with the left side of the battle due to how heavily stacked the start is against it on the naval battle.

Commander! We have shattered one of the black crystals!

Well done! Now we can strike one of the Grand Bolt's weak points! We have to hurry. Keep shattering those crystals!

Now, I could move forward and try to destroy the the weak spot on the right, but instead I have Hawke continue hanging back so I can focus on the southern battle. I have the advantage in terms of resources and production right now and I’d like to make sure it stays that way.

This is the way to do it. Of course, you can also just... walk around the Ooziums. Because they’re Ooziums. A few more Ooziums either way doesn’t amount to much, even if you stop to kill them.

The southern forces start capturing the available properties for the glory of Orange Star the real Black Hole while more and more reinforcements are brought to join the fight.

Day 6 finally arrives and the Grand Bolt spawns a fresh Oozium from each of its weak points. Since the weak points are, like Oozium, resistant to indirect attacks, that means attacking the weak points is a really risky proposition on every sixth day. Doubly so since the Oozium spawn before the Oozium movement phase, so they effectively move twice on their first turn.

I’m glad that I’m not paying for those ships because I think that’s the second Cruiser Kindle has destroyed. Even worse is that the expensive naval units being destroyed are super-charging Kindle’s power meter. At the end of this turn she pulls out her third Urban Blight, and it’s only the sixth turn!

I build a Piperunner to run along the conveniently placed pipe on the left in a hope that I can shut down the left side factory, or at least harass it.

You know, I’d forgotten about Piperunners by now. I guess they make this mission even more silly, because once they get onto the pipes, Oozium can’t get at them.

The Piperunner won’t be nearly as great of an investment as I hope, but the Neotank I build a couple of turns ago pays handsomely as it crushes Von Bolt’s early troops left and right.

I wasn’t quite fast enough and Von Bolt’s forces have captured one of the southern airfields. This cannot be allowed to stand.

Luckily two B-Copters are generally enough to make an infantry explode impressively energetically. I wonder what the Wars World COs feed their soldiers to make them do that.

Well, Von Bolt was going on about absorbing all that energy. Maybe he’s on to something, and it massively destabilizes the body?

I’d think food that makes you explode when eaten would be kind of incompatible with living forever.

Von Bolt’s been able to actually buy a few things more expensive than Infantry. Mainly AA, which he planned to use against my own capturing soldiers. Sadly for him, my Neotank has other plans.

I also have my own AA and it’s been busy chasing down a stray APC that the Neotank has been too busy to chase.

Meanwhile Lash is making progress up top. For one she can actually build things at her port and have them not be immediately destroyed.

At least my boneheaded AI is fighting another boneheaded AI. Apparently Kindle thought it was a good idea to hide her Sub right next to Lash’s port, which has a fresh Cruiser in it.

Hawke takes care of the second to last of Von Bolt’s infantry in the bottom of the map. Just one more to go.

And there’s the last infantry. I probably should have taken out the B-Copter that Von-Bolt built first and then taken out the infantry, but it will work out just fine either way. Besides, that B-Copter isn’t going to go anywhere.

Lash gets a fresh Bomber sent to her to help speed up her battle. The sooner the Crystals are destroyed, the sooner the Grand Bolt will fall.

With the bottom more or less secure, Von-Bolt’s resources will only start drying up from this point on. Meaning the most dangerous thing he’ll be able to send against me is more Oozium. It’s really down to building up enough big forces to just storm the Oozium and Grand Bolt once Lash destroys the crystals.

The Piperunner is in position. I put it a bit too close to the factory, but Piperunners have enough armor to shrug off small arms fire.

The troop build up begins, and will only get more excessive as time goes on.

Von Bolt’s turn and he demonstrates that the B-Copter on the airfield should really have been the priority.

Sadly, AA doesn’t have the armor to shrug off tank shells.

Here’s a purple-tinted update of the top on Day 9 as Kindle uses yet another Urban Blight.

Kindle, the city expert, gets no properties of her own during all this, though.

Now, let’s take care of that B-Copter. The full health B-Copter attacks the Von Bolt Copter and finishes charging Hawke’s meter.

Then I get distracted and take care of some territory capturing.

After that I get around to using Hawke’s power.

Before my damaged B-Copter was at 1 HP while Von Bolt’s was at 2. Now mine’s at 3 while Bolt’s is at 1. Gotta love Hawke’s power.

And now it’s dead so an Infantry can move in and capture it, meaning that the southern battle is completely won. All that’s left to do is clean up territory.

Von Bolt’s budget army is given a beating as Hawke’s income just continues to grow.

Von Bolt’s army will continue to get more pathetic again as he’s reduced only to the pair of factories up top.

Since Lash has the upper hand I decide I’m tired of waiting and change the AI’s orders from Defend. I’m tired of waiting around for her to destroy those crystals.

I realize that it’s part of Von Bolt’s life-sucking nature but he just comes off as creepy. Pathetically creepy at that considering how mediocre of a CO he is.

Bolt uses the powers of his magic life-support chair to zap my capturing forces in the bottom right. Sure, it will slow down the capturing of the airport, but it’s not like he’ll be able to pry my infantry off and build something.

This is the only sort-of scary thing he’s got in this battle: a don’t-move button. You just need to be aware that you might need two spaces from Ooziums for your expensive units instead of just one, though.

Lash destroys the second Crystal and she’s got a fresh Battleship ready to smash the last one as soon as it gets in position. Shame we’re not running by Days of Ruin rules were Battleships can move and shoot in the same turn.

Since there’s nothing really to do while waiting for Lash, building up forces and capturing the rest of Von Bolt’s properties, Hawke starts smashing Oozium.

Lash wastes her turn on sinking the relatively worthless Carrier instead of taking out the Crystal.

I keep myself occupied by hunting more Oozium and buying expensive toys for Hawke.

It won’t be long before I decide to throw subtlety to the winds and start buying Megatanks every turn. Right now though I’m prioritizing the range Neotanks provide.

Who needs subtlety when you can drop a tank made of guns on someone? I only question why you weren’t doing it sooner.

The front line is finally being pushed back after I let it slowly ooze forward for so long.

On day 12 a fresh batch of Oozium appears, ready to begin it’s slow crawl to towards my rapidly growing wall of armor and cannons.

And on Day 12 Lash finally destroys the last Crystal. Which means Kindle is kicked out of the battle and Lash returns to the front lines with a fully charged Rebel Yell.

Notice that, for some reason, the AI decided to build a Black Bomb here. I guess Lash just likes to use her own toys.

For obvious reasons this turn is a bit rough on Von Bolt.

Two moves, two attacks, and a damage boost? Yeah, against Oozium movement and attack, that’s crushing. Not much von Bolt can do against that sort of thing.

With a Dual Strike it becomes trivially easy to start cleaning up Ooziums.

Even giant Ooziums.

Not even the small fries escape the rampage.

On Lash’s turn the first of the Grand Bolt’s weak points is destroyed. Not only am I closer to victory but that spot will no longer drop fresh Ooziums every 6 days.

Yeah, look at how much damage we did by blowing up the center ooze...hole...thing. Can’t you tell that we’ve destroyed an entire third of this monstrosity?

Of course, it really won’t matter that much which how fast I’m cleaning up Ooze now.

That’s three Ooze this day falling to the Rebel Yell, and Von Bolt has effectively lost his eastern factory with my Bomber parked on top.

Remember, the Grand Bolt is just as resistant to indirect fire as normal Oozium. This is during a CO power turn with one of the hardest hitting indirect units in the game and four CO towers.

More Ooze clearing, still the same day. As I said, this day tends to be a bit rough on Oldman Man.

Not only is he creepy but he immobilizes my units that are the farthest away from the front. If he’d zapped the ones next to the Oozium, then I might actually be worried.

Of course, since he didn’t the Oozium are splattered quite easily.

The time for subtlety is over now. The Megatank production line has started because I simply have that much money. When life gives you lemons, buy a steamroller.

This is just in ‘winmore’ by this point. Neotank movement is much more useful, and the damage difference isn’t important by here.

The right weakspot is next up on the smashing list.

More Megatanks.

And that’s the last of the Oozium up north.

The left factory is cleared and an Infantry put on top of it to block and hopefully begin capturing. Von Bolt has so little money that he doesn’t even try to clear the factory.

And now the final weak point is under proper attack.

Boom and Boom.

No really guys, we swear, this is going to destroy this entire space blob monster. Those three, tiny, specific weak points will make this entire thing explode.

See the ending in part 2! It's only a centimeter or so down!