Part 8: Campaign Mission 4M: Max Strikes! as MaxMission 4M: Max Strikes! as Max (or "I have so much more power!")
Who are you?
Erm, Andy, why are you shaking your fist angrily at this apparently friendly person?
I'm Max, a CO in the Orange Star army. I was ordered to join you and Paul, so here I am.
A new CO, huh? What's so special about you?
Seriously, Andy, who taught you manners?
You get right to the point, don't you, pal? I'm the king of direct combat. Need someone to mix it up? I'm the best! When I really get rolling, Max Force boosts my firepower even higher.
I'm not saying I'm perfect, but why focus on the negative, right? Hey, Paul! It's time to choose a CO for the next battle. Use the + Control pad to make your selection.
All right, then. Well, the thread's decided that we're doing the Max route first, so let's get to that.
Don't bother to get up, Olaf.
How you doin', Nell? Now that I'm here, what's the kid gonna do?
Well, someone's gotta keep the tanks tuned up...
Oh, Max. You haven't changed a bit.
But I must tell you, Andy's quite a capable CO. If you're not careful, he may just pass you up. See you later. Good luck!
Last mission we met aircraft, now it's time to meet some ships:
Battleship (28000G). The most powerful long-range unit in the game, able to hit anything between 2 and 6 squares away from them. They provide great fire support, and - amazingly for a long-range unit - have good armour. But they're the most expensive unit in the game (you know you've made it if you've got the financial power to spam battleships), and are defenseless against air units and submarines, requiring cruisers to escort them. As naval units, they can only travel on sea or reef tiles.
Lander (12000G). Naval transports that can carry two of any ground unit: this includes vehicles as well as footsoldiers. This makes them a key part of any island-hopping assault. They can't resupply. They are the only ship in AW capable of travelling on shoals (the yellow-and-light blue beach areas around some coasts). Landers can pick up and drop off their passengers either in ports or on shoals. Landers carry no weapons, and are vulnerable to indirect fire (including battleships), air units and submarines.
Submarines or Subs (20000G). Subs have the ability to dive to hide themselves from view. While dived, submarines can only be seen by units in neighbouring squares, and can only be attacked by cruisers and other subs. However, when dived, subs use fuel a lot more quickly (and they don't carry much of it to begin with), so you'll need APCs on standby to stop them sinking. Subs prey on battleships and landers, but fall quickly to cruisers. They have no anti-air or ship-to-shore capabilities.
The overall strategy on land is pretty straightfoward: we move foward a bit, Olaf moves forwards a bit, and CRUNCH. On sea, it boils down to the fact that, although Olaf has a ridiculous number of battleships, he hasn't got anything deployed that can counter dived subs. Which means our own subs can just take him apart.
So okay then, what's so special about this Max character? Well let's send our medium tank to attack Olaf's and find out...
... aha. Ahahaha.
My tanks aren't doing quite as much damage as the medium tank did, but that's because Olaf actually has some defensive cover for his own tanks. 6HP damage is still pretty neat, though.
So that's the good of Max, what about the bad?
Paul.Power's CO Notes: Max Max's Theme
So: Max. Max gets a +50% attack boost to all of his non-infantry direct combat units. Tanks, planes, B copters, recons, AAs, submarines, cruisers... And that's +50%, which means they do half as much damage again. His CO Power, Max Force, boosts that damage again and gives his direct combat units +1 movement range. Max does have a big weakness, though: his long-range units are... well, not very long range. They take a -1 range penalty and a -10% firepower penalty. That can get pretty annoying, but the +50% firepower boost on over half the game's units compensates way more than enough.
Background/Personality: Graduating from Orange Star's CO academy around the same time as Nell and Grit, Max is Orange Star's powerhouse, a brawler who likes to get up close and personal. He's something of a showoff, but he's also a very loyal friend - although this in turn makes him rather overprotective of his fellow Orange Star COs. He's also got some insecurities about his failings with long range units. Still a good guy to have around, though.
Anyway, here we have a demonstration of why Max's range penalty can be a problem: his battleship can't hit Olaf's one, but Olaf can hit him. It's like playing against Grit all the time.
Luckily for Max, he has some other options here. Let's send in a submarine.
That's pretty painful for Olaf. Battleships are essentially the toughest unit in the game - even bombers only knock them down to half health, and normally a sub would only do about that much as well. But this is Max we're talking about.
Moving the battleship forward to a range it's more comfortable with, and moving my other sub too. Hmm... don't want it to get hit by those other battleships.
Better dive it, then. As Olaf has no cruisers or subs of his own here, that sub is now basically invulnerable - at least, until it runs out of fuel. And hopefully we'll be done long before that.
Moving the rest of my dudes up. Not really going to bother with the lander though: again, this is something you can win with faster with rout than HQ capture.
Orange Star may match me in numbers, but I have so much more power!
Power? Olaf, you're fighting Max.
But you're not very well balanced... What if the enemy send its subs under? That'll stop you cold.
Battleships at sea! Md Tanks on land! Is there anything more I need? No! Nothing at all! Attack! Attack! Attack!
Well, as long as you're happy, Boss.
I think Grit's just resigned to a situation where he's considerably smarter than his boss.
We blasted Olaf with enough damage on Day 1 that he's got Blizzard already.
His crippled battleship isn't going to achieve much, though.
And so, we return to snow.
We'll be wanting to stay outside the range of this rocket launcher for now.
If you thought Max's medium tank attacking a medium tank was bad, here's Max's medium tank attacking an artillery.
Let's repeat that 141% dose on this infantry.
Meanwhile my light tanks clean up Olaf's ones.
My battleship makes itself useful and finishes off Olaf's battleship, while my dived sub continues its rampage.
And I get the other sub dived as well. Can't dive/surface and attack on the same turn, sadly. The question of diving or attacking is a tricky one sometimes.
Everyone (except the lander) moves up.
Aaand in hindsight maybe I should have retreated my battleship rather than attacking.
Yeah . Oh well, at least it was only a Max battleship.
A tank taking damage like this is more of an issue in many ways.
Owch. But on the plus side, losing that battleship has got my power meter nicely charged up.
Let's see what happens.
Light tank attacking infantry on road: 125%.
Medium tank attacking medium tank in forest: 81% (might've been a one-shot on the road).
Medium tank attacking rocket on road: 195%. Yes, okay, so 95% of that is wasted. Still cool.
Submarine attacking battleship in open sea: 102%.
Well, that's the battleship problem mostly solved.
My 3HP tank finishes off Olaf's 2HP tank, and my other units form a wall around it. The APC ought to work its usual magic.
Moving other units up.
Yet more snow.
And yeah, I left a medium tank in artillery range. I can weather that, but I'll admit it's not brilliant.
The AI targetting APCs as usual.
You know, it'd really help if we got lucky here and did enough damage to destroy that medium tank. Would let my 5HP medium tank through to attack the arty.
But alas, no. For all his strengths, Max doesn't get Nell's luck.
Oh well. Let's attack Olaf's light tank instead. My own light tanks work together to get it down to 2HP. Meanwhile in the south, my sub finishes off the last battleship with an arrow heading outside the screenshot.
Oh well, may as well finish off that medium tank. And move my rocket launcher up. Not that it's likely to see any acton, but you never know.
May as well see if I can knock another hit point off this tank...
General unit moving. Two main things to note: first, I surfaced one of my subs. No battleships left, so may as well let it save on fuel. I also moved my artillery up, as a decoy: indirects often like to target other indirects, and if my arty gets hit that'll save my 5HP medium tank.
Yup, that was my arty getting hit. The city's defences saved it from too much damage.
Olaf tried attacking my infantry with his tank. Without much success.
Okay, let's finish this off.
Full health middie takes down the arty, 5HP middie tanks down the 1HP tank.
Cool! There's no way I could do that much damage.
Yeah! That's right!
As long as I didn't use my indirect combat units, that is.
Owch. Think you've touched a nerve there, Andy.
That's exactly right. Max doesn't use indirect combat units because he's clumsy.
And your range of fire is small, too. That's life threatening, isn't it?
Cheer up, Max. It's what you do with them that counts.
Ha! I'll do just fine without relying on those units.
I wonder about that. Anyway, excellent work, Max! Now you two work together and try to get along.
You heard the lady. Let's stop fighting and do this, Andy.
I think she was talking to you, Max.
This pair are a hell of a double act.
Another S-Rank, and a perfect score to boot. And a rank-up to the heady heights of, er, Jade Rat. Well, it's something.
Anyway, I'd actually completely forgotten this, but the next mission also gives you a choice of CO, although no branching paths this time. It's a fight against Grit, and the map looks like this:
... that is to say, it's a Fog of War mission (which, going up against Grit, could be kind of nasty).
I'm fairly easy as to which CO you guys pick for this one: like I say, I'd even forgotten that you get a CO choice here. So yeah, Andy or Max?
Anyway, while that's going on we've got some more Field Training to do. So tune in next time for...
... payback time.