Part 34: Campaign Mission 16M: Naval Clash! as MaxMission 16M: Naval Clash! as Max (or "The fated northern shore")
Come on, Drake! We'll be beaten again if you don't get moving!
Quit your jabbering and look around, Eagle. Only fools sail onto uncharted waters blindfolded.
What are you talking ab...?
Orange Star did not attack Green Earth.
Huh. Okay. I think from context we have to assume "on a previous occasion which is the reason why Eagle has a beef with Andy".
But, we saw...
We saw what we were meant to see! And this goes beyond the battles in Green Earth. This entire conflict has been orchestrated from the beginning.
Oooh. Probably by "him", I guess. Unless it's Sonja somehow.
Quiet! Now, if I'm right, we'll have to turn the tides on our mystery foe. The best way to test my theory is to battle Orange Star again.
You know... if you don't think we attacked you, maybe you shouldn't keep attacking us? Just a thought. I mean, I'm all for the scientific method and backing theories up with evidence, but there are lives at stake here.
You mean... that wasn't Andy?
Well, no, it was Max. And looks like it's going to be Max again.
I wouldn't say there's a clash, but I do think he needs to get a bigger uniform. At the moment it's more of a Navel Clash (etc., etc.).
Oh, hey Nell. It's been a while.
A mission for me? You must need some serious smashin' done. Well, if that's the case, you know I'm ready to go!
It's not that simple, Max. There's a catch. The main body of the Green Earth Army is closing in on this position.
What? The entire army...?
Yikes. Given how bases work in this game, that could be an infinite number of units! Or... well, fifty anyway. Still a lot.
So, we need to eliminate the troops here ASAP, or else! Let's see... How much time...? Fifteen days! That's all you've got.
Fifteen? That's a tall order. Man, I hate time limites!
Have we even taken more than fifteen days to complete a mission yet? AW1 missions are pretty short.
All right, here we go! Hey, Paul! Who do we take down first?
So yeah, welcome to the first and indeed only mission in Advance Wars 1 with a "hard" time limit. We've had some soft time limits in the Yellow Comet missions where we had to beat Kanbei in a certain time frame to advance down the Sonja Bonus Missions path. There are also a few missions where time is on our side and we merely have to hold out (we've seen one so far - Max's Folly?). But this is the first mission where not winning in time spells defeat. There are a few more of these in AW2, most notably the lab missions where you've got to acquire the Neotank plans before Black Hole destroys them. Here though, we've just got this.
Again, this is a mission I've never played before so I'm likely to get a bit muddled here, especially with the fog closing in. I actually make a huge mistake in my strategy here by splitting my forces, with some taking the long road around the bottom of the map and others using the landers to cross the narrow strait north of my position. In hindsight, I'd definitely have been better off keeping my forces bunched together and sending everything on the long path. Still, let's see what happens with what I've got. I guess we'll head towards Drake's HQ? You never know, we might take everything out en route.
"Who do we take down first?" Well, this battleship sitting right out in the open seems like a good place to start.
Boom. The other sub follows up to finish the job. Arguably I should have dived them first, but with any luck it'll be at least a turn before a cruiser shows up to spoil my fun.
Battleship and cruiser move up into a kind of naval chokepoint (fun thing to do in multiplayer: find a narrow channel like this, and have a dived sub hold a chokepoint for a battleship. Watch as an unsuspect opponent runs into the sub's ambush. Sadly this doesn't really work on the AI, though).
Recon goes out spotting, and learns that that battleship wasn't the only one Drake has (wouldn't be much of a mission if it was, mind).
Moving the other units around, including loading up the APC with a mech. Rocket's on that city in case any land units come out of the darkness and try to attack my battleship. Hey, you never know.
A bit later and I could've greeted them with the whole Green Earth Army.
Hang on, hang on, if you don't think we're the bad guys here, then why...? :psy: Yeah, even the COs I like can be a bit trigger-happy at times.
But if I can keep 'em swimmin' in circles for a while, I'll still win. Prepare to be boarded, ye scurvy dogs!
Oh, I didn't realise he meant literally. At least, that's what these tanks seem to be trying to do.
Diving sub spotted.
First of all though we have to spot it "officially".
And now we can move in and take it out. There's something very "bug-eyed" about the Green Earth submarine's periscope.
I was in two minds about whether to take on this battleship without diving my other sub first, but I figured I didn't want the battleship terrorising my ground forces. I'd also assumed that my sub would be too far away from Drake's cruiser - but check out how many squares that cruiser is away from my sub. Yep, seven. Drake's +1 naval move range is going to strike again shortly.
Still, at least we can give this battleship something to think about.
And - luckily - even with Max's crippled rockets we can still hit that tank with them
Of course, then I move my battleship and lose visual on the tank. Whoops.
There we go.
I bunch my tanks and recon around the APC to keep it protected. Not going to help it against the battleship, but at least the battleship's taken a hit already.
And let's finish up with a bit of footsoldier moving.
Sea puns. Get used to seeing a lot of sea puns. But yeah, it's Tsunami time.
Yeah, that stings a bit.
At least that tank isn't having much effect against my lander.
Okay, this is rather more of an issue. That's my tank in the south taking a hit.
Max Force is charged up, but there isn't much point in it right now.
I mean, Max can deal with light tanks pretty easily with his regular damage boost.
Medium tank takes down tank, and my remaining submarine finishes off that battleship.
On to the indirects. Battleship attacks cruiser...
... and rocket finishes off light tank.
With nothing to do at the moment, my northern light tank goes and hides in a forest as my lander goes back to pick up some infantry. Can we establish a beachhead up there? Well, we'll see.
3HP tank retreats, and the recon moves up to take its place, revealing oh glod a medium tank.
Maybe it'll attack the cruiser instead of the recon?
All right, now I think I'd better use Max Force.
Let's kick some rear tank armour.
91%. If it weren't for Tsunami, I'd be one-shotting that medium tank.
Oh well, taking off 9HP is a pretty good second. The 3HP light tank that I sent back for healing does an abrupt about turn and heads back to chip off that last hit point.
Looks like my sub can finish off that damaged cruiser, too (apologies for the info box covering a quarter of the screen there).
Job well done. My other ships get involved in naval manoeuvres, too.
Lander drops some infantry off on the fated northern shore.
And my rockets, mech and APC move up after the tanks in the south.
Pretty quiet day for Drake, and it's going to be a pretty quiet day for us, too.
About the most exciting thing that happens is that I spot a mech chilling on the bridge over here. Figures that it's outside the range of a Max battleship.
Everything else in the south moves up.
In the north, my infantry station themselves around the tank and the lander moves up to see if it can spot any remaining naval units up here.
Well, it can't see anything. But it seems that plenty of things can see it. Uh-oh, that's my forces up there stranded.
And there's a tank up there with them, too. Great.
Oh well, let's focus on happier things first. We've got an enemy infantry and mech hanging around here.
We've got an enemy infantry hanging around here.
While my medium tank's dealing with that, the light tank goes and scouts out the extreme south-east of the map. Looks like we've cleared out everything south of the bridge.
The sub could use some fuel, so I send the APC in to take care of that.
The rest of the southern crew move up, as my mech down there continues capturing.
Up in the north, I join the two infantry units together. I have a feeling this squad might be doomed: may as well only have two unit deaths on my hands rather than three.
Not much I could do about this really .
And there's a rocket launcher up there, too. Hmm... should I attack the tank, or the rocket?
Well, we'll get back to that shortly. What's going on in the south?
First up my sub moves north and finds a whole heap of nothing. I... guess that's good? Might be something in the forests, but I think it would have showed itself by now if there was.
Indirects take down the infantry unit...
... giving the medium tank and APC a clear path forward. My mech finishes capturing that city, and the tank heads back to heal.
All right, what about this northern front? Well, I can shoot the rocket or the tank. Whatever happens, the other unit's going to get a pretty nasty attack in next turn.
I decide I'm best off taking out the rocket. This way I actually eliminate a unit from the map, after all.
I make a big error with my positioning of that tank, though. Have a guess what's wrong.
Yeah. This just isn't my mission.
And Drake's tank takes out my infantry up there for good measure.
Not good. The worst bit, though?
If I'd attacked that rocket launcher from the south instead of the east, I'd've been out of battleship range. Oh well. At least the battleship's spotted now. My sub can start attacking it next turn.
My main force keeps moving up.
With the city captured, that tank can start healing up (and then I promptly forget about those two troops for the rest of the mission).
This 1HP tank is going to be dead next turn whatever happens, so I might as well get one last attack in and go down in a blaze of glory.
He chipped off a hitpoint. That's something.
And to cap it off, it's time for another Tsunami.
So we're down to 8HP now. Unless your name's Andy, your units tend to suffer after a while against Drake.
At least with Max this just means we're down to dealing fairly average damage. We can still take 5HP off this battleship even with the Tsunami damage and Drake's defence boost.
There's that 9HP tank. Looks like it's heading somewhere. Back to HQ?
Oh well, we should be able to deal with it shortly. Although what I was thinking leaving my medium tank in battleship range, I'm not sure.
At least it only takes 2HP of damage. And a Max medium tank is still a force to be reckoned with, even at 6HP.
So, we've got a battleship and a medium tank to take care of.
The submarine and medium tank are pretty much up the the task, although being on 6HP does mean that I can't quite finish off that light tank. Still a good deal of damage though.
Yep. I can't say for certain what other units Drake has, but I doubt it's much. If nothing else, we should have any problem hitting the 15-day deadline.
Other units move up.
So, that 1HP tank thinks it can run away, huh?
YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN'T oh there's another one. Not a big deal, but still mildly irritating.
There goes the 1HP tank. May as well take it out rather than the full health one - this way, Drake doesn't heal up 4HP worth of damage over his two units on his turn.
Moving stuff in for the kill.
Interesting fact: units inside transports are protected from Tsunami (although they do miss out on the benefits of Hyper Repair as well. But then, if you're running around with damaged units in your transports then there's something odd going on...)
That tank's parked itself on the HQ. Should get quite a bit of defence there.
Hopefully nothing that a bit of Max Force can't handle though.
Goodness only knows why Drake's smiling here. Okay, so both tanks are on 5HP. But he lost 5HP to my 1. Oh well.
Battleship finishes the job.
Time to hoist sail and flee!
Can't argue with that. Some shoddy technique cost me an S-Rank, although I'm kinda surprised that I apparently went fast enough for a perfect on Speed. In hindsight, I really should have kept my units together: those troops I sent to the northern shore became something of a suicide squad, although at least my tank there took down a rocket launcher. Still, we got through it.
Max moves on, and it turns out that his next mission (17M) is against Eagle, giving us the question of who actually has the better air force: Eagle, with his modest but all-round attack, defence and fuel economy boosts, or Max with that ridiculous 150% attack? It's also not a Fog of War mission, which would make a nice change. Alternatively, Andy and Sami are still back on Captain Drake! (Andy's is non-FoW, Sami's is FoW).
I'm going to run an experiment with the next vote, trying out a bit of Single Transferrable Vote/Alternative Vote/whatever stuff. So you're voting for Andy, Max or Sami as usual, but this time I also want a first preference and a second preference. Then when I count up the votes, the CO with the fewest first preference votes will be eliminated and their second preference votes shared between the other two COs. Maybe this is a silly idea, but it should be fun to experiment with at least once and if it's unworkable I'll go back to the old system.