Part 50: Campaign Mission 21AGD: The Final Battle! as Andy, Grit and Drake - Part 1Mission 21AGD: The Final Battle! as Andy, Grit and Drake (or "Operation Nap Patrol Redux") - Part 1
Yeah, Part 1. Back in the AW2 LP I had to split a few missions into two-parters thanks to length, but up until now the AW1 missions have been short enough that this hasn't been necessary - until now. In fact, this is quite likely to be a three-parter. Yeah. The Final Battle! is quite a culture shock, so get ready.
Anyway, looks like Sonja's finally tracked our foe down:
Do you have a name, or should we just call you Disaster?
My name is... Sturm.
Yeah, I guess technically you don't find his name out until now. Oh well.
Well Sturm, we've finally hunted you down. Time to pay the piper, as they say.
Do they? I'm more familiar with the person paying the piper being the one who calls the tune, but I guess there could be another piper-paying proverb out there.
Hunted down? Me? You've done nothing but enter the door that I opened for you.
Did you think I didn't notice you, little girl? You and your pathetic strategy games! Is that all you're good for?
Hitting pretty close to home there, Sturm. Both for Sonja, and the player.
What? But... that's... you couldn't... Are you saying you've known all along?
I have to say, "the villain knew what the heroes were up to and were stringing them along" is a twist I'm pretty fond of.
You've made one stupid mistake after another... Did you imagine yourself a match for me? You conceited fool! It's time to put an end to this farce. Time to pay the piper, was it?
... I'm sorry, Father... I've broken my promise...
Anyway, we can only pick Andy for this mission. But that's okay, we're going to have some friends arriving shortly.
So yeah. Time to go and save Sonja. Although I'm sure a good number of the people reading this are going "Save Sonja? Why would we want to do that?". But here we are, the first of four Final Battles (well, if Square-Enix can get away with it, why can't I?) that I plan to show off. This one will feature two-thirds of the Wars World Nap Patrol that got us over the line in Advance Wars 2 HC. Sensei sadly did not exist in AW1, and even if he did we're forced to use Andy anyway, but Grit and Drake are along for the ride. And in case you doubt Andy's credentials for a spot in the Nap Patrol:
See, he likes a good snooze as much as anyone. Anyway, time to line up the music: Andy's Anthem, Grit's Theme, Drake's Theme, Sturm's Theme (couldn't find a decent cover of it. I'm as surprised as you are).
Day 1 - Andy
Grit? I'm so sorry. Take everyone and run...
Wait, isn't Sonja Sturm's prisoner now? How the heck are they communicati- you know what? It's Advance Wars. Never mind.
The enemy... Sturm... He's much more powerful than I'd imagined... Everyone's going to be...
... what? Sorry? Flattened? Train drivers? Actually, that would be pretty cool...
Andy, please... You've got to get away.
Who's running away? That guy's goin' down!
Well, I admire your spunky protagonist spirit, Andy, but we're a bit short-staffed...
There ain't too many people who get on my nerves like this bozo does. We can't let him go! Paul! I'll lend you a hand!
Oh, that certainly helps. But I still think we need a bit more firepower...
Well how about that. Fortune favours the good guys.
Green Earth is secure, so I came to join the fray! There's something else bothering me, too.
I get the feeling that Sturm has some power we haven't seen yet. Something big and powerful.
Hmm. Wonder what that could be. Kind of echoes Sami's comments from back in the Andy version of Captain Drake! about Drake having "something big" up his sleeve (i.e. Tsunami). Well, I guess we'll see.
Anyway, I figured the more firepower we had, the better. Let's send him packin', Paul!
Nice one. This is still going to be a tricky battle but... I think we've got a chance now.
All right, everybody! Let's move out!
This is a 3 vs. 1 battle, and the first of many big setpiece 3 vs. 1 battles in the Advance Wars series. Since Grit and Drake were kind enough to address me when they said they'd help, that means I actually get to control them this time round rather than relying on derpy AI as I had to in Andy Times Two. Unlike the big set-piece 3 vs. 1 battles in later Advance Wars games, this isn't about taking out some weakpoint in the enemy's defence. This is a big, dirty rout-or-HQ capture battle against a powerful and well-funded enemy. The first few turns especially will be hell - but it will gradually get easier as the mission progresses. Saying that, the endgame will be the ultimate clusterscrew as the three allied armies keep getting in each other's way on the approach to Sturm's base.
The cheery arrows on here belie how much of a slog this is going to be. Before we can even think of going to Sturm, he's going to come to us. Andy's got to hold the line in the centre until Drake can build enough medium tanks to give him some solid support. As for Grit... well, we'll soon see what Grit's going to have to put up with in the early turns. Late game he'll be more useful once he gets his artillery and rockets set up behind and alongside Andy. One nasty thing about this team is that it features the two COs who are worst with air units, which is going to make the ground war even more messy. I should point out that the Power and Technique scores rely completely on Andy: good news is that this means Grit and Drake can lose as many units as they like, bad news is that Andy is actually under pressure to get plenty of kills for that power score. Saying all that, by this point I'm really not caring about score. We've just got to get this thing won.
Anyway, since the first thing that's going to hit us is Sturm's air force, let's prepare for it by shifting the AAs and missiles upfield.
The rest of the units scatter out as widely as possible. You'll see why soon enough.
Day 1 - Grit
Eh, she was itching for a chance to go off and do something reckless. At least you got us to come here.
It's no surprise what Grit's starting force is biased towards, but the range on these babies should help us deal with Sturm's air force.
Although unlike Andy, Grit's going to be bunching his units up.
Say, uh, Paul, I'm wond'rin' where you're goin' with this...
Day 1 - Drake
Too right, Drake.
So the infantry move up. Drake's got a pretty balanced army here, and even though there aren't any open seas for him to practice his craft in, his average-strength ground units will still be a valuable tool. As will Tsunami, once it arrives.
AAs and missiles also head upfield.
The medium tanks retreat, though. Like Andy (but unlike Grit), we want Drake's units nice and spread out.
Day 1 - Sturm
Their troops are all amassed right there... Bwah ha ha... They've played right into my hands! They'll rue the day they dreamed of opposing me!
They're really cranking up the portents here...
Day 2 - Andy
All right, Sturm's air force has arrived.
And, unfortunately, I've managed to set things up so that this AA can't actually hit anything. Whoops.
Andy's other two anti-aircraft units can get decent shots in, though.
That's one of Sturm's fighters out of the picture, and another one down to 2HP.
Last time, Sturm didn't get a power meter. This time it does and it's already nearly full. Like Eagle and Kanbei, Sturm's meter initially takes 50,000G to fill... but we just did 36,000G's worth of damage by taking on those two fighters. Still, better to get the damage in now. Probably.
It's not just Sturm's air force we've got to worry about, though. That huge army is closing in fast.
Better get the B copters to the back, I think. There's a lot of AAs out there.
Spreading everything out as much as possible - note the APC, though. Gotta distract those bombers from my AAs.
Day 2 - Grit
Right then, let's see what these missile launchers can do.
Blow fighters and bombers out of the sky, basically.
Question is, which unit do I attack with my AA? The bomber seems more obvious, but in the back of my mind I remember reading a walkthrough from back when I first played this mission. Something about attacking the fighters first.
Honestly I'm not sure if it's the best idea - bombers can hit more stuff than fighters, after all - but let's go ahead and do that. At least fighters can't do counterattack damage.
Then again, where Grit's armies are going, counterattack damage is the least of his worries.
Okay, now I'm really gettin' spooked.
Don't worry Grit, it'll all be over soon...
Day 2 - Drake
On Drake's side of the map we've got two bombers and a 2HP fighter to deal with.
Unfortunately, Drake isn't Grit (that would be a pretty scary face combo, though), so his missile launchers are kind of uselessly out of range. Between this and Andy's AA, my old derps with tactical positioning are flaring up again.
Ah well, let's focus on what we can deal with. One of the bombers is down to 1HP, and the 2HP fighter is eliminated.
So in terms of planes, Sturm's still got two full health bombers, a 1HP bomber and a 4HP fighter. Not good, but I suppose it could be worse. Somehow.
Infantry capturing shenanigans as we head towards a base (and an airport we're likely to see little use from, thanks to Drake).
And yeah, everyone spread out. Spread out far and wide.
Because Sturm's CO Power is coming.
Day 2 - Sturm
... it's this.
So, Meteor Strike. Meteor Strike picks out the highest-value cluster of opposing units, and smashes them with a meteor (meteorite or meteoroid, surely?) that does 8HP of damage in a radius-2 diamond area. It's nasty. If I recall correctly, it also sends Sturm's attack and defence power through the roof (certainly does in AW2. Maybe not the defence here, given Sturm's flaw).
Here comes a lot of damage. The T copter gets off relatively lightly in some ways, at least it lives to soak damage another day.
Other units aren't so lucky.
They aren't so lucky at all.
Day 3 - Andy
Andy's got Hyper Repair ready after all that, but with only one 4HP T copter needing repairs, it isn't worth it. Shame we can't pass the Hyper Repair on to Grit .
Let's start this turn off by taking out two of Sturm's B copters with AA.
You might think it a bit odd to be prioritising the B copters over the bomber, but Drake can take care of the bomber easily enough, leaving Andy to focus on the mass invasion at his doorstep.
Speaking of mass invasions, time to get a couple of shots in with these medium tanks. Hmm. I kind of feel like I should be doing more damage here, given Sturm's issues with defence. Maybe Meteor Strike does give him a defence boost.
It helps, although those middies are now looking rather vulnerable up there. I guess we'll see what happens.
Before that, I get a bit cheeky and knock another HP off a tank with an infantry unit.
With my medium tanks looking vulnerable and cash to spend, I decide my best policy is to get another one on the field.
One of my B copters hides in the range shadow of Sturm's choppers.
And the T copter sets itself up as bait, encouraging Sturm's fighter to venture into range of Drake's missiles.
Day 3 - Grit
I got just one question, Paul: why me?
Sorry, Grit. I guess the simple answer is: because someone has to. And since it's Andy who governs our Power and Technique scores, it had better not be him. As for Drake... well, Drake's simply more useful on this map than Grit, even without any botes to work with. They're both terrible with planes, and at least Drake starts with a pair of medium tanks that he can use to aid Andy. Grit also gets relatively little aggro from Sturm early game, so he can afford to take the hit. Later on he'll prove more useful, and Drake will be sharing the pain, but early in the mission he's missile fodder.
In fact, most good "taking on Sturm" teams need someone to field the Meteor Strikes. In my run of AW2, it was Drake who took the punishment. When Operation Dunderhead and Operation Orange Star go ahead, it'll be Olaf and Sami respectively who'll have to take the flak (this is one problem with the team for Operation Golden Ending: how do you choose between Max and Eagle for who takes the hit? Oh well, we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it).
Anyway Grit, it's time to start rebuilding. We've got units to join up. First of all, three 2HP infantry get together to make a 6HP one.
I've still got a full health AA here, thank goodness, which means I've got something to engage that bomber with
Meanwhile the artillery and missiles also join together.
Luckily I can finish that bomber off with my freshly-built AA.
And speaking of freshly built, what game as Grit would be complete without an artillery spam? Let's start getting to work on that.
Day 3 - Drake
Over to Drake, now. I promised on Andy's turn that Drake'd be taking care of that bomber...
... and I'd hate to disappoint.
Infantry continue to move upfield while this is happening.
And like Andy, Drake gets a third medium tank onto the field.
Day 3 - Sturm
So what's Sturm got in store for us? Well, the T copter got downed by the 4HP fighter, we planned for that so it's not so ba-
Day 4 - Andy
So yeah, Andy took an absolutely huge pounding that turn. We lost one medium tank to Sturm's newly-built bomber and another one got knocked down to 3HP: it's a good job we built a third one last turn. A B copter and countless infantry also perished in his remorseless assault. It's going to take a hell of a lot to regroup from here.
But regroup we shall.
Time to show Sturm we mean business. Medium tank removes AA, AA destroys bomber.
You may be wondering - after I said last turn that a 4HP T copter didn't merit using it - why I bothered to use Hyper Repair for a 3HP medium tank this turn. Well, aside from a medium tank being rather more useful than a T copter in this situation, the little power boost that Hyper Repair gives helped those two shots be one-hit-kills. Important, given that I couldn't reach the bomber without taking the AA out first.
Movin' on: AA downs B copter, and that 5HP (formerly 3HP) medium tank destroys a 4HP tank of Sturm's.
Now on most AW1 missions, taking out four units in one turn would be a recipe for a good power score. Here? Ahahaha. Ahahahahaha.
Anyway, enough maniacal laughter. Let's just spam some infantry and make sure my B copter's safely out of AA range. And pass the baton on to Grit.
Day 4 - Grit
Not that Grit has much to do.
Except get ready to take another pounding from Sturm because yeah it's coming up to that time again (note though that I could have used the 2HP rocket launcher to do some scratch damage to this AA. Kind of annoyed I missed that, even though it wouldn't have amounted to much in the grand scheme of things. Oh well.
Day 4 - Drake
Back with Drake again, and we've got a 4HP fighter to shoot out of the sky.
Poof! Although doing so has charged up... yeah, Meteor Strike. Well, Grit's prepared for it.
And we aren't going to let this stop us targeting Sturm's stuff (if anything, it's the best possible time to get some attacks in because the damage costs will be "wasted").
Capture capture capture.
And all the medium tanks spread out to ensure it's Grit taking the hit.
But before we're done here, I may as well get an attack in on one of Sturm's AAs. Even though Drake's AA takes a lot of damage in the counterattack.
Day 4 - Sturm
All right, here we go.
Okay, once I can understand, but twice? C'mon now.
Well, that's the last one. For now. Certainly Drake'll be able to bear the brunt of the next one.
Meanwhile the damage reel of doom continues. I'm not even going to bother captioning these, just watch the carnage for yourself:
Day 5 - Andy
Yeah, we've got a bit of a problem here. Sturm's pretty much on our doorstep, and we need to hold out.
We can at least start dealing with one of these medium tanks. B Copter softens up, my own middie lands the crippling blow.
All right, that's one part of the assault dealt with. Now what can my 4HP medium tank do?
I decide it's best off taking on this 6HP AA, which one of my infantry manages to finish off.
Okay, well I guess that's something.
When you're trapped in a corner and fighting off superior firepower, an artillery is a great friend to have. Time to get one out of the doors, with more to follow hopefully.
'Course, we're going to need some meatshielding for that arty. This ought to do for now.
Day 5 - Grit
Grit continues to stare accusingly at me from the power bar area.
Once more it's time to join up the remnants of his troops.
The Magnificent Grit and His Amazing Collapsible Army.
Anyway, more arties. Maybe I'll send them round the back of Andy using this road here, to give him a backstop.
Day 5 - Drake
Not too much for Drake to do today. His middie's just out of range of that AA, so we can't damage Sturm there.
Oh well, just going to have to hold the line and try and capture stuff this turn. And start moving up these medium tanks.
Lots and lots of medium tanks.
Day 5 - Sturm
Sturm's wanton devastation continues.
Only five attacks that turn? Frankly I feel like I got lucky.
Day 6 - Andy
Maybe we're finally starting to wear down his huge predeployed force. Then again, there's still two medium tanks hanging around, plus a bunch of capturing infantry.
Our new arty's only got one tank to aim at, so it gets on with that.
And our medium tank divisions continue their stirling work - unsurprisingly, the full health one is rather more effective than the damaged one.
It's still rather a mess here, but we've got a couple of things up our sleeve.
Like this B copter. Hey, now both sides have got an 8HP middie and a 3HP middie! Sturm's still looking rather better on the AA fornt... why does he even have this much AA? (Probably from all the infantry I've spammed).
Cranking out a second arty to support the first, and then trying to give both arties some cover.
Day 6 - Grit
Back with Grit, we're starting to repair some of the meteor damage on cities, and capturing more of them to help with that.
With Andy's position still looking pretty perilous, I want to send some of Grit's souped-up artillery along to help him.
And I build an APC, the idea being to use it to help ferry some of Grit's troops up to that base and airport in the north. That's about it, let's see what Drake's up to.
Day 6 - Drake
Well, Drake is busy giving Sturm's AA a battering.
One hell of a battering.
These medium tanks are going to be nice little equalisers once they reach the main battlefront.
With Grit fielding the meteors and Andy suffering most of the attack damage, Drake's been able to build a sizaeable force.
Annoyingly we don't have quite enough juice for a Tsunami just yet. Next time, Sturm - neeeext tiiiime...
Day 6 - Sturm
Sturm's pain train continues.
At least Andy gets a bit of a smile from this one.
Day 7 - Andy
Andy's back's really up against the wall now - but at least his power meter's full.
Should come in handy though, it'll get our damaged middie and arty back to full health.
Goddamn infantry, get off my airport!
The airport infantry gets knocked down to 2HP, and I take out Sturm's 3HP middie while I'm at it.
But ideally I'd like to get rid of that infantry completely. Gotta clear a path.
So I knock Sturm's 8HP medium tank down to 1HP, and clear out that last hitpoint with a cheeky infantry shot.
Now I've got a route.
And that's the airport cleared. Not that it's worth building anything there this turn, what with a whole bunch of AA surrounding it. But at least we've stopped Sturm's conquest for now.
Taking on more infantry. Nice solid damage, given Sturm's standing on a road with his terrible defence.
Does mean all our bases are blocked, though. Andy's going to have to sit tight before he can build again.
Knocking a hitpoint off this tank, and Andy's done for this turn.
Day 7 - Grit
So, a bit of a recap: Grit's got two things to be doing.
Thing one is continuing to grab properties over here, helping to heal up his meteor-stricken units and eventually grabbing the base and airport here.
Thing two is sending a bunch of artillery behind Andy to back him up. Eventually the two forces'll meet up, but for now Grit's split in two.
Day 7 - Drake
Drake's so close to Tsunami.
Smashing up a B copter will get us over the line.
Hyper Repair and Tsunami in one turn. Nice going.
Lots of nice damage. Even the stuff that'll repair next turn will go into draining Sturm's coffers, so we don't have to face as much nonsense from him.
And there go two of Sturm's AAs.
Hey there, Andy. We're here to help out.
Although looks like Andy and Drake aren't the only ones getting powers today. At least it took three days to charge this time, rather than two. Not sure if I've mentioned this before, but the cost to fill the power bar goes up by 10% each time you use a CO power. So for Sturm that goes 50,000G... 55,000G... 60,500G... 66,550G... bottom line is, every time it gets a little easier to deal with.
We've still gotta deal with it, though. As I said before, this time Drake's the sacrficial lamb. We've got enough materiel now that we can distract Sturm's meteor and still have a decent fighting force.
Well, some medium tanks, infantry and a missile launcher, at least.
Day 7 - Sturm
Sturm's gonna be losing a lot of money here.
He gets some revenge on Drake with a meteor, though.
Attacks attacks attacks.
But only five of them this time. We're definitely getting the hang of this.
Day 8 - Andy
But I think I'd better stop there for now. There are already over 200 screenshots in this update, in just seven days of play so far. Next time I'll pick up where we left off, and start taking the fight back to Sturm. See you then.
To be continued...