Part 2: Campaign Mission 1: It's War!Mission 1: It's War! (or "An Arrowing Experience")
Okay, so I cheesed through the final mission of Field Training offscreen, like Nell suggested. So let's get going!
Any Campaign, so long as it's New.
Welcome to Cosmo Land, the setting for AW1. AW2 is Macro Land, AWDS is Omega Land. They're all meant to be separate continents on Wars World.
Wrong game, Andy. This is the one where you ask about airports.
Oh right, yeah, I forgot! Sorry.
Here so soon? But, wait... something's not right here. Nell wouldn't leave Orange Star's capital city unguarded. Which means... A new commanding officer? Ha, ha, ha! Excellent! I've lost a few battles lately, but no more! An Orange Star Army without Nell is no match for me! Time to teach this raw recruit what war's all about!
You know, this Olaf guy seems like a bit of a jerk. Well, we're here to deliver some comeuppance.
Hey there, Andy. I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Or at least, a bizarre one.
Meet Olaf's chair. Olaf really likes sitting down. I mean, okay, most people like sitting down. I'm a pretty big fan of sitting down myself. But that chair follows Olaf everywhere in this game.
Nell? Is that you? Is this a transceiver?
I have no idea what "this" is. A nearby flowerpot? Some earpiece that Andy got given without being told what it does? The GBA itself? Who knows. Either way, Andy seems pretty surprised by the concept of radio communication.
That's right, Andy. I'll be using it to contact you from here on out. As this is your first real command, I wanted to check up on you.
No worries here! This is going to be easy!
Oh, Andy! You're nothing if not enthusiastic. Let me give you a few words of advice. First, let's talk about your CO Power.
You can use your CO Power when the Power Meter is full. The meter fills up gradually over the course of battle. Once it's full, you... well, I'll cover that when the time comes. Oh, I also have to tell you about the Terms of Victory. The Terms of Victory explain what you need to accomplish to fulfill a mission. Do you see Intel on the Map Menu? Select it and you'll see three new menu items: Terms, Status, and CO. If you select Terms, I'll explain what you must do to win on that map. You should also take a look at the other two items when you have the time. There's a lot of useful intel in there.
Get used to Nell talking a lot. Especially when we go through Field Training. I did't mind it too much back in 2002, though. This game has a lot to take in, and Advance Wars provides an exhaustive crash course.
OK, Andy. You listen to Paul and do your best! Good luck, Paul! Take care of Andy!
Here's the situation. It's a pretty straightforward map, predeployed with neither side receiving bases. A river runs through the middle of it, splitting the map naturally into northern and southern fronts. Check against AW2 and you can see a few small graphical differences: the trees and cities seem more rounded, and the cities have a little perspective effect to them. I actually kind of prefer the AW1 style here, it's friendlier.
The plan is to send troops along each of these two fronts, converging at Olaf's HQ in a pincer strike. The major threats are Olaf's medium tank and two rocket launchers, circled in red (or should I say orange?).
Let's start off by attacking this tank that Olaf so obligingly left out in the open.
One thing this game undeniably does better than Advance Wars 2: the little animations of the COs being happy and sad depending on the outcome of a battle. They brought them back for Dual Strike, but even then it wasn't really the same. Olaf's terrified expression here is just priceless.
Arrows II: An Arrowing Experience. But yeah, loading a mechanised infantry unit into an APC and moving it up a bit. May well come in handy later.
Moving the rest of the units on the southern front up.
In the north, my tank attacks Olaf's tank and my AA chips in a couple of extra damage for good measure.
All the infantry shuffle upfield.
Olaf tried using his damaged tank to attack my AA. I guess it wasn't a terrible move exactly, but he certainly looks scared.
Tell you what was a terrible move, though: sending his artillery CHARGING up to my frontlines. Yeah. I uh...
I guess I believe in gifts?
Artillery assaults artillery, mech finishes off tank, and you get to see just how scared Olaf looks when you actually kill one of his units.
Tank finishes off arty, AA attacks infantry.
What's happening in the south?
Well, there's another rogue artillery to deal with. My own artillery leads the bombardment, and my recon cleans up.
The first of those "major threat" units I mentioned, the rocket launcher, takes a pounding. BOOM!
And after that I attack Olaf's AA with a small tank.
Moving people up and... yeah, that's basically it.
Here we go. First CO Power of the game. Time to talk about COs, then.
Paul.Power's CO Notes: Andy "Andy's Anthem" A pretty awesome guitar cover
Andy's stats are average, vanilla: he's essentially the benchmark all other COs are compared against. His CO Power, Hyper Repair, heals and repairs all your units by two hit points (assuming they're damaged, anyway) and makes them all a little more powerful.
Background/Personality: Cut Andy open and you'd see the word "PROTAGONIST" running through him like a stick of rock. He's also pretty derpy, and is the source of many of this game's more bizarre quotes. Despite this derpiness, he's an excellent mechanic and a solid all-around CO with no particular weaknesses (or strengths, but why focus on the negative?).
Paul.Power's CO Notes: Olaf Olaf's Theme
Like Andy, Olaf has vanilla stats, with one difference: his units are experts at moving through snow, and suffer no movement penalties from it. On the other hand, he suffers terribly in rain: most COs are only minorly inconvenienced by rain, but for Olaf it's as bad as snow is for most other COs. His CO Power, Blizzard... well, makes it snow. And again, makes his units a little more powerful.
Background/Personality: The commander in chief of Blue Moon. Orange Star and Blue Moon have never been on the best of terms, but one day Olaf just decided to up and invade Orange Star. Why? Damn good question. Maybe we'll find out at some point. In the meantime, it's enough to know that Olaf's pompous and boastful and something of a jerk, but not to be underestimated.
Kind of sucks to be on the receiving end of snow this time.
Olaf looks so happy that his crippled 4HP infantry is having a negligible effect on my artillery piece.
But now we've got to deal with a bunch of snow.
Not Olaf, though. As noted, he has no problems with snow, as the attack range on his medium tank demonstrates. Best stay away from that for now. Luckily there's a nice forest I can attack his mech from...
It may be a medium tank attacking a mech, but the +40% (four star) terrain bonus from the mountain and the +10% defence bonus from Olaf's CO power mean that I can only deal half damage. Better than nothing though.
After that, my small tank finishes off the rocket truck. The cloud of black smoke you see is the rocket truck exploding - normally I forget to screencap that.
Note how the snow would give my recon a hard time crossing it. It's fine on the roads, though: Wars World must have a very good gritting service.
So let's finish that mech off.
Moving the rest of my southern troops up. I've left my artillery very exposed here, but don't worry about that. I have a secret weapon. A secret weapon ringed in green.
So instead let's look at the north. A bit of cleanup left to do here.
Arty and tank tackle AA, AA kills 4HP infantry.
And my mech moves in to start working on the infantry up here.
Eesh. Snow really cripples infantry.
Yes, the secret weapon worked! Olaf sent those AAs to target my harmless APC instead of the artillery.
There's a reason for this: for some reason in Advance Wars 1, the AI has a serious APC fetish. Given the choice between attacking an APC and attacking practically anything else (I think it prioritises HQ-capturing infantry, but that's about it), it will go for the APC. I guess they really want to avoid HQ sneak attacks. This gives APCs a valuable third role beyond their intended roles of troop transport and supply truck: they're your decoys. Want to stop that rocket launcher crippling your medium tank? Give it an APC to fire at. It's like galvanisation, only for armies. I'll almost certainly be using it a lot in the coming conflict.
Artillery and tank take out the offending AAs while an infantry gets to work capturing.
Medium tank and recon take down a mech.
Forgot to screencap it, but there was an infantry there. You can at least see the explosion it left behind.
The rest of my northern units line up outside the range of Olaf's tank.
And my battered APC retreats a little and drops off its passenger, just in case it somehow got killed with the passenger on board and cost me two unit deaths.
Andy's CO Power meter is almost full. It's so almost full that my very next attack causes it to topple over the edge:
Nell? What is it?
Your Power Meter is full! Andy's CO Power lets you repair all damaged units, right? Do you know when it's best to use it?
Um... No, I don't.
Well, I guess I'll have to tell you. Since you're able to repair all of your units, you should use your Power when you have damaged units. Oh, and one more thing. When you use your Power, all of your units will be a little stronger for that turn. Don't forget what I just told you, OK? Is that clear?
Not really. But that's OK. I'll just let Paul decide.
Ladies and gentlemen, Orange Star's bright new hope.
Oh, well... I guess that'll have to do. Paul, you're in command. Good luck!
I do have some damaged units right now, but I'm not going to use Hyper Repair just yet. I have a plan.
The plan is basically to put an infantry and mech into the range of Olaf's northern tank, in order to lure it forward. Means I have to deal with one less unit when I reach the HQ. Divide and conquer, as it were. I'll take some damage, sure, but that's what Hyper Repair's for.
Shuffling some stuff around.
And Olaf's taking the bait. He's smiling now, but the boot will be on the other foot soon.
Right then, let's rock.
As with Olaf and his chair, Andy is really attached to those wrenches. In this game he seems to like pretending to be a moose with them.
Much better. 2HP isn't a huge deal (and it's certainly a comedown after AW2 and Hyper Upgrade's 5HP) but every little helps.
Having fallen for the bait, the northern tank lands straight in the arty/mech combo trap.
In the south I'm killing the remaining infantry unit and moving my APC up a bit.
Hmm. Hmmmm... that medium tank...
Well, you know what? The bait trick worked once, maybe it'll work again. This time I'm using my own medium tank as bait (if nothing else, at least it can take some punishment from Olaf's middie).
General unit moving in the north.
Once again, Olaf takes the bait. I get a little lucky: his medium tank only chips 4HP off of mine.
Speaking of luck, I did pretty well there to take off 5HP with one artillery shot then.
My medium tank cleans up.
Man, this baiting trick's working out so well I'm going to use it again, this time to see if I can lure out Olaf's 7HP tank. Setting up so I'm in range of the tank, but not the rocket.
Hopefully it'll work.
But it seems Olaf is wise to my tricks this time. Bad time to hit a Blizzard.
Ugh. Would you look at all this snow, jamming up my units just when I want to move in for the kill. Also Olaf didn't take the bait this time. I think that's due to a quirk of the AI, actually - units that are being repaired on a city tend to stay put and not move off them until fully healed. In hindsight I should have anticipated that.
Oh well, all I can really do is move up a bit. A very small bit.
Sure, now Olaf attacks.
It's a bit messy.
But hey, I've seen a lot worse. Arty, tank and mech work together to clean up that tank.
I try my best to finish up this turn, but it's not happening. Oh well, hopefully it won't cost me too much.
Not much else to say really.
So let's finish this off.
Who in the world are you?
My name's Andy! I'm the CO. This is my advisor, Paul.
Advisor? We needed no advisors when I was in the Orange Star Army! Hrumph!
Olaf used to work for Orange Star, huh? That's interesting. Wonder what made him switch to Blue Moon?
Be that as it may. Paul! Andy! It takes a lot to best me. I'll remember your names. Mark my word!
Hey, grandpa. Who are you?
Who am I, you ask? Throughout Orange Star I was known as...
That's right, Nell's... What? No!
Well played, Andy. Well played.
That's what I get for being nice to children! No respect! Grrr... You just watch yourself, little boy!
I was a little bit slow on the speed front - could have been a bit more efficient at the end there - but still good enough for an S Rank. As before with Advance Wars 2, while I'll obviously look to do as well as I can, a perfect run's a bit beyond me. In Advance Wars 1 you get little bars to represent your scores, rather than Advance Wars 2's way of just straight-up giving you the numbers.
The better you rank, the more coins you get. Nell had a little spiel here about spending those coins in Battle Maps, the game's shop, but I think we've heard quite enough from her for now, and we'll be hearing plenty more from her soon enough. Tune in next time as...
... we go back to basics.