Part 13: Campaign Mission 7M: History Lesson!Mission 7M: History Lesson! (or "Max vs. Grit: Round 2")
Grit... Is he the guy who keeps calling me junior?
Andy, Grit has called you "Junior" twice up to this point. In fact, I just looked through the game script and found six instances of the word, three of them said by Grit, and three by you. And we won't even see the third time Grit calls you "Junior" for many, many updates. I just... ugh...
Actually, thinking about it I kind of like the image of the COs having a conversation I can't see during the battle where they just constantly try to put each other down. And Grit keeps calling Andy "Junior".
Do you know him or something?
Yeah, you could say that. He, Nell and I used to be friends. He was always a tough one to figure out, but this Blue Moon stuff...
Nell knows him, too? Why is he working for Blue Moon?
That's something I'd like to ask him myself.
That's why you've got to let me face him, Andy!
All right, all right, jeez.
Don't know if you've noticed this or not, but the Campaign missions in AW1 love their exclamation marks. AW2 feels positively sober in comparison.
Man, this place was made for Grit and his indirect-combat units. I really just want to rush in and get to stompin', but... The smart thing to do is to use the terrain and creep up on 'em. Yep, that's the best plan. Let's move out!
So we've got a naval fog of war battle on our hands here. Max has got some pretty solid units on the field here - three submarines and two medium tanks, among others - but the key here is our landers. Without them we can't capture the HQ or have any chance of taking out Grit's eastern units (okay, we have a battleship that could theoretically take out all the land units... but it's a Max battleship. It's got a shorter range than Grit's rockets. Either way, the HQ capture is looking like a good option here: it's fairly exposed, and it beats going on a hunt to find every last one of Grit's units.
Maybe I should start only looking up the full maps for these once I've played through the mission, because damn are those no-fog versions tempting. I learned a few things beforehand from this one: there's a battleship protecting the HQ and a cruiser protecting the battleship. The middle island is pretty pointless though, given there's no indirects on it - and while the right-hand of the map is a bit more active with units, if you just gun for the HQ you'll avoid all that. There's some stuff coming down from the top left, but nothing our medium tanks can't handle. It's kind of weird that IntSys made a map that, as Max says, has so many boltholes for indirects to hide in, and then don't put indirects in them. Maybe they just want to make us paranoid.
One of our biggest assets this mission is our collection of submarines. Let's dive one.
Submarines have really good vision in fog of war: like recons, they can see up to five squares away from themselves. That's going to be essential here.
Sending the other two subs out. I know I'm pretty sure that nothing's going to come from the south here, but may as well make a token gesture in that direction.
Battleships and cruisers, of course, can't dive. So let's hide them in these reefs. Let's also capture some properties: okay, so there's no bases to use the funds at, but at least doing so tells us that the forests north of those cities are clear.
Meaning I can hide my medium tanks and recon in them.
Mechs and one of the landers move up a little.
This whole thing don't sit well with me, but I guess I gotta stop foolin' around. I figure the best way to stop these boys is to take out their lander. Yeah, that'll keep them from movin' those ground troops around. Reckon I'd best get started.
Grit giving us a nice big "protect your landers!" hint here.
A sub just dived in the "green circle" square. We've got a cruiser to deal with it, but the cruiser can't attack until it can see the sub.
But if I move one of my own subs next to it...
Well, then we have a viable target.
After that, another of my subs wipes out Grit's lander and my battleship takes of his infantry down to 1HP. Shame my battleship can't attack the artillery, but hey, it's Max, what're you gonna do.
Still, there's plenty of stuff Max is good at.
Tank down, arty crippled.
Loading up a lander with the other medium tank and a mech, and hiding it in a reef.
Can't be too careful with those landers, after all.
Especially given all that attacking has already charged up Snipe Attack...
... Jesus Christ! (pretty much my reaction when this happened)
... Well, let's hope Grit doesn't have any more submarines. Hmm... that artillery fired from a forest. There's a few options, but again I know from the unfogged map that it's not on the central island (sorry!). Which leaves those two forests in the north.
Sending the recon up reveals that it's not the southern forest. Must be the northern one, then.
And that's a fact we can use to our advantage. Even if we can't see the artillery, we know where it is and we know how far it can fire (Grit's just used Snipe Attack, so we know for certain he won't be using it next turn), so we can make sure our battleship and lander steer clear of it. More than that, we can set the battleship up to attack next turn (at least Max's battleship still outranges Grit's artillery. That's some small comfort, there. A quick note on the southern sub while I'm here: that cruiser I mentioned is hiding in the reef northeast of it. If I parked right next to the cruiser, it would be able to see me and it could get a hit in. So I've set up just southwest of it instead.
Tank finishes off arty, second lander loads with an infantry and a mech and my APC and other infantry move up too.
Well my ships are safe from that forest arty, but my recon isn't.
Still, it survived, and where there's life, there's hope.
Hope in this case manifests as the ability to act as a spotter for my battleship.
Submarines move up and oh hey, there's Grit's battleship. Curiously he didn't decide to hide in in a reef. I guess I shouldn't complain, though.
That battleship has most of the HQ area locked down. I could land this turn, but I think prudence dictates I wait until the battleship's taken care of.
So instead let's get my landers up next to the beaches, ready to land next turn. Hopefully this won't cost me.
Infantry attacks infantry, with mixed results. Really I should have used my medium tank tank to attack that infantry. I'm not really sure what I thought I was doing with that medium tank this turn.
You might have noticed that we've had Max Force charged up for the last couple of days.
May as well get some use out of it.
One-shotting battleships: pretty darn handy. Granted it's not like we don't have enough subs around to two-shot the battleship anyway, but it's still good to have around.
Medium tank and battleship finish off Grit's troops in the starting area...
... and it's time to start landing troops. You may be surprised that I'm unloading the inf/mech lander first, rather than the one with the medium tank. Well, my reasoning here was that that tank would probably attack a footsoldier rather than the medium tank - and I need those footsoldiers to capture the HQ. So I decided to give the tank a choice of two - and whichever footsoldier it attacks, the other can get to capturing next turn (In hindsight, there's a bit of a flaw in this plan, but fortunately it doesn't come back to bite me).
Meanwhile, my subs are looking low on fuel, so I'm sending them back to my APCs for supplies. Wouldn't want my technique score getting messed with by something as stupid as subs running out of fuel.
Grit gets a Snipe Attack...
I'm sure you don't need me to tell you this, Grit, but tanks are not indirect units (in other words, once more he doesn't actually attack with any indirects this turn. Looks likes I've steered clear of them. Good-oh).
So that flaw in the plan I mentioned earlier. Say Grit's tank had decided to attack my mech from that square instead. My infantry would be at full health, but the tank would be blocking it from reaching the HQ this turn. Fortunately it looked like the AI decided to prioritise maximising damage output and minmising counterattack damage over, y'know, not losing. Oh well, that's the AI for you.
Let's get capturing. Meanwhile my APC does the rounds keeping those subs afloat (er... in a manner of speaking). The third sub is pretty low on fuel, so I surface it to save a bit on that.
Anyway, let's clear some space for my other lander.
That done, I can bring in the medium tank and the other mech. I also bring my battleship up to lend the HQ units some fire support.
There's a chance that the cruiser might go gunning for my raised sub, so let's use the dived subs to block it in. The dashed line is where a medium tank ends up after I took this screenshot: forgot to screenshot after the middie had moved, sorry.
Grit attacks my HQ mech. It's going to set me back a little, but not too much.
Yeah, Grit's cruiser went HOLY SHIT A SURFACED SUB and charged towards it, but my dived subs have trapped it in. Also, another tank appeared.
Battleship takes down one tank.
Medium tank takes down the other.
And I get my third sub fuelled up. Let's dive it again for good measure.
HQ capturing continues as my subs do their best to get the heck away from that cruiser.
To ensure there are no more mishaps, I join my healthy mech on to the damaged capturing mech. Arguably a waste of good hit points, but at least it strengthens the HQ capture. I also send the other medium tank across the sea because, you never know, we might need it.
Why in blazes did you go over to Blue Moon?
Yeah, come on Grit. We need some kind of closure on this.
Orrr maybe not.
Nell? What are you doing here?
Hey there, Nell. It's been a long time.
Max. Would you please leave us alone for a minute?
Oh, come on. We aren't doing this, are we? Hey, guys, as your advisor I advise you to all sit round a table and discuss this like rational adults (and Andy).
You look well. I was worried.
Yeah, I'm doin' all right. How about you? You and Max getting along all right?
So that's the reason you left Orange Star. You sensed Max's feelings, and because he's your friend, you...
Noble sacrifice to solve a love triangle, huh? I guess that makes as much sense as anything.
Whoa! Hold on, now. Let me set you straight. I did what I did 'cause that's who I am, darlin'. I go where I want to go, and stay where I want to stay. That's it.
Or maybe not. Maybe Grit just likes being a lone ranger. Or maybe Grit's just saying this to spare Nell's feelings. Or ugh why do I care about this?
See you later, Nell. Take care.
And yeah, that's basically all that gets said on the matter, apart from one or two minor references in things like the AW2 Hard Campaign ending dialogue and one of Max and Grit's after-victory quotes when they tag-team in Dual Strike. It's a bit annoying, but in hindsight maybe cutting out all this was a good thing...
On the bright side, perfect score! Good to get back to S-Ranking ways after those two A-Ranks.
Now at this point, the paths join back together and we meet our third playable CO, Sami (well... fourth if you count Nell in Field Training). But we aren't going to be chatting with her just yet. Kind of a shame, because her theme tune's my favourite music in the game, but that's how it goes.
After all, we've got a whole other leg of the Trousers of Time to explore first...