Part 71: Advance Campaign Mission 7: Sami's Debut! AC as MaxAdvance Campaign Mission 7: Sami's Debut! AC as Max (or "Something, something, Sun Tzu")
YouTube Video (38m52s)
Yeah, this one's a bit of a slog. I considered doing some fancy fast-forward editing for it (read: getting SupSuper to do some fancy fast-forward editing for me) but you guys said you'd be happy with a 39 minute derpfest (and thinking about it, getting SupSuper to do it would be nigh-on impossible given that the pre-compression video is about 15 gigabytes) so here we go. Joining me for this marathon are Krysmphoenix, Sockerbagarn and Assoonasitis.
I'm using Max. Believe me, I tried using Sami. On that link is an uncommentaried trainwreck attempt at this mission using Sami, preserved for posterity because a) I wanted to show off how much trouble this one gave me, b) so you can see the Defeat Screen being animated and c) Sami's theme, dammit!
Picture-in-picture! Partly because I was getting fed up of the table-breaking, mostly because, thanks to the fog of war, there's nothing visible in the covered-up part of the map anyway. We're down a B copter, a T copter and an AA from Normal Campaign, and already it feels like it's going to get a lot messier with those units gone. What does Eagle have? Well...
... lots of stuff. In particular, he's got a crazy number of bombers. I think there's six in total out there. There's also a couple of fighters, a fair few B copters, and I think three medium tanks, including a nasty surprise one guarding the HQ. This is going to be a slog. We've got to make Eagle come to us a bit at time, then advance to tease out his defensive units. It's slow and complicated, but it's the only way to deal with such a massive force, especially with the imperfect intel that Fog of War gives us. Some units will be taking on slightly different roles here: while the missile launcher is handy for attacking aircraft (admittedly less so with Max in charge of it), in the absence of a recon it will come in extra handy for its large vision range. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near as fast as a recon, a factor which adds to the grindiness of this mission. The APC, meanwhile, will be vital not for its decoy work (though there'll still be a bit of this mission) or its ability to carry footsoldiers, but for its ability to resupply - this is a large map and a long mission, and keeping our fighter in the air and our heavy ground units stocked with ammo is vital.
Anyway, let's get this show on the road by doing the obvious thing and attacking the two B copters that we can see.
I send the B copter out to cripple one of the copters rather than finishing it off with the AA: this is so I can make sure that the AA is nicely hidden in a forest. With the biggest threat to us being Eagle's planes, it's more important that we keep the AA in good condition than the B copter. That and land units can hide in forests. Speaking of hiding things in forests, I find somewhere to hide every single one of our ground troops. Do I get a medal?
A couple of turns on. I dealt with the damaged B copter on Day 3, and here I took down a fighter (which had destroyed my T copter) using my missile launcher and my own fighter.
A riskier manoeuvre here, as three of my footsolders pile onto one of Eagle's capturing infantry (two of them are still in forests, right? They should be safe) while the fourth climbs a mountain to see what it can see.
Ah. Well then. So much for that.
Yeah, that's three of the four footsoldiers gone. I at least manage to take down one of the bombers after my AA boldly heads out to spot it. Meanwhile, the final mech stays perched on its mountain post, with the goal of drawing Eagle's bombers into the killzone.
We certainly aren't winning this one by HQ Capture. Those of you who wanted to see me win an AC map by Rout, you've got your wish.
So, here's something that's going to be a theme of this mission: the AI not really getting Lightning Strike. You can see the logic, sort of: the bombers don't have anything to shoot at (all the ground units are safely hidden in forests), so they don't move. But it means that the extra turn of Lightning Strike is completely wasted; furthermore, Eagle's units are now suffering from the attack and defence penalties that Lightning Strike gives units. If the AI had been a smidge smarter, it might have saved that Lightning Strike up for a time when it'd be more useful, the same way that AI Andy won't waste Hyper Repair when it has no injured units. Alternatively, it could have retreated, or have one bomber spot and the other attack. But I can't complain. On this mission, I'll take anything I can get.
The Lightning Strike defence penalty means that even Max's missile launcher can one-shot a bomber. Thanks, Eagle, you're a pal.
Bombers cleared out, fighter refuelled. So far, so good.
But we're not done with bombers just yet. This AA only just scraped through the latest barrage.
Taking out the light tank with B copter and our own tank reveals allows the AA to retreat... which, naturally, reveals a fifth bomber. Our fighter can take one of them out easily enough, but what about the other?
Well, it's time for some good ol' . APC heads to the HQ for maximum defensive cover (we want it to survive, after all), medium tank and artillery assure than the APC can't be attacked from inside the missile launcher's range shadow (and are in turn guaranteed safety by the power of ). Of course, Eagle does have some pretty powerful bombers...
... but not powerful enough.
Bomber down, AA continues its retreat, and the action is over for now.
So let's fast-forward a few turns to a bit of derpery on my part - I was all excited that Eagle had put his medium tank into artillery range in order to get a shot in on my B copter... but then the cold truth hit. I was playing as Max, and Max has terrible artillery.
Well, let's deal with one problem at a time. First let's get rid of this infantry, so we don't have to worry about sneaky HQ captures (you laugh, but on a previous attempt at this I had to scramble a defence with the missile launcher sitting on the HQ soaking and healing up infantry chip damage while an artillery rushed back to finish the infantry off). The B copter's vulnerable to that medium tank, sure, but it's better than our middie taking the hit.
And of course, this could always happen. Once again, Eagle completely wastes his second turn following a Lightning Strike. The medium tank just sits there, neither attacking nor retreating. I'm guessing it was planning to attack the B copter, but then decided that it didn't like the odds (as far as I can tell, one bit of AI cheating is that it knows how lucky an attack will be before it attempts it - which can make fighting, say, AI Flak a little awkward at times). Either way, once more Eagle has turned what is supposed to be an advantage into a disadvantage by giving his units a nasty defence penalty.
One I take full advantage of (though I think Max could have done this, defence penalty or no).
Fast-forwarding several more turns of painstaking healing and creeping forward through forests, to the death of my B copter as one of Eagle's choppers emerges from the fog. It goes down to the array of anti-aircraft units I have at my disposal, but it's always a shame to lose a unit.
And yet more fast-forwarding, skipping over a bunch of turns of me shuffling the agonisingly slow missile launcher around in an attempt to use its large vision range to spot the other B copter that I know is lurking out there. The light tank is a gamble here, leaving it out in the open to see if it attracts that B copter...
... but it has other ideas, working together with Eagle's second fighter to cripple two of my anti-aircraft units.
But then, maybe they aren't so crippled.
The fighter falls easily to my AA, and my 4HP fighter and medium tank combine to knock the B copter down to 1 health - it'll get finished off soon enough.
Let's fast-foward again, to the point where a medium tank and a B copter gang up on my light tank, taking it down (I didn't picture the light tank dying because I wanted to use its vision range to show you the B copter).
I reckon my best option here is to attack the medium tank head on, then stop the B copter going for my own middie with a bit more .
Next turn, the AA takes out the B copter and the fighter and medium tank hunt down Eagle's retreating middie.
We've already seem Eagle mess up Lightning Strike twice this mission. But he's saved the best for last:
That's right, he did nothing on his first turn, activated Lightning Strike, then did nothing on his second turn. I think this might just go down as the creme de la creme of Advance Wars artificial stupidity. Thing is, by this point he's down to two units - a medium tank and a bomber - both set to defensive AI. Come hell or high water, those two units aren't moving unless we enter their attack range.
Another fast-forward. After worrying so much about keeping the APC alive so that my units didn't run out of supplies, naturally the first thing to run out of fuel is... the APC itself. Oh well, we shall just have to press on without it. At least it's far enough away from the action that it shouldn't get hurt.
After a few more turns, finally I spot Eagle's last two units: a medium tank and a bomber, standing guard over the HQ.
Getting rid of the bomber is easy enough. The middie proves to be more stubborn.
A lot more stubborn. Dammit, just die!
There we go. Victory is ours!
Here's a bit of dialogue we didn't get to see in Normal Campaign, thanks to me playing as Sami in this mission in all three legs of the Trousers of Time. Basically, this is what you get when you play this mission as Max.
Yeah, it sure looks like it!
You're the Orange Star CO? Where's Andy?
Andy? Listen up, pal. I'm Max. The best Orange Star has to offer!
Big-headed it may be, but let's face it, in Advance Wars 1 it's entirely accurate.
I'd heard of a CO who was as strong as a bull but a bit one-dimensional. Who could have forseen that I could lose to him?
What? What did you say?
I don't think you're ready for war!
Who... Who are you?
The name's Sami. I'm an Orange Star CO too! This is Paul, our advisor and strategist.
Max may be one-dimensional, but that's no problem.
Hold it! What about me is one-dimensional?
You stink at indirect combat.
Hey, at least your missile launcher had some fun this mission.
Failing to consider Paul was your downfall. You need to go back to basic training and try again!
This is pretty funny given I spent most of the mission derping around a bit while relying on Max's crazy direct firepower to pull me through.
An advisor? Is that someone who gives orders to officers in the field?
Can't help but read that line in Solid Snake's voice. "Watch out Eagle, they're using an advisor." "An advisor?"
In any case, Sami, Paul...
I would like to apologize for my behaviour. It was inappropriate.
I vow by my lucky goggles that the next time we meet, I will do better.
Lucky goggles. Still makes me smile.
Now I will take my leave. Farewell
Wait! Wait a minute! No-one said you could leave. Come...
But Sami, if the enemy COs didn't keep mysteriously escaping every time we captured them, how would we ever have a plot?
He seems like a pretty decent guy after all.
B-Rank, no big surprise there for a mission that took me 33 days to complete. At times I was overly cautious, it's true, but I had some real trouble beating this mission so by this point I wasn't taking any chances. Hey, at least it was a Rout this time .
On to Yellow Comet, and after the mess of Sami's Debut, this doesn't actually look too bad. OS has had a rocket launcher downgraded to an artillery, Kanbei's got two more artillery and two more light tanks. With no fog of war to make life awkward, this could be a lot worse. Still though, I'm thinking of using Max again, simply because of how effective he is. See you next time!