Part 76: Advance Campaign Mission 11A: Captain Drake! AC as AndyAdvance Campaign Mission 11A: Captain Drake! AC as Andy (or "Hope You Like Dissolve Cuts")
# I see tanks of green, battleships too... #
# I see them shooting, at me and you... #
# And I think to myself... #
# ... let's be Andy insteeeaaaad... #
Knew I was tempting fate with that April Fools' Day joke. After much battering, failed plans, staring at unfogged maps (I know, I know) going "HOW???" and so on, I give in on the Sami version of Captain Drake! AC. Ultimately, I've got to make a sacrifice here if I want to stand a chance of reaching The Final Battle! AC. I might come back to it later, or possibly someone else might like to show it off. So let's go follow Andy through Green Earth, with a view to getting an Andy/Max/Drake team for The Final Battle!
Youtube Video (34m32s)
As the alternate title for this update alludes, I hope you like dissolve cuts. There are, if I'm counting correctly, 43 of them in this video. There are two reasons for this: one, I've started actually trying to learn AviSynth and two, without them this video would have been nearly fifty minutes long - and even I'm not going to subject my co-commentators to that kind of length (speaking of co-commentators, joining me are Krysmphoenix and Sockerbagarn). Most of the cuts are fairly straightforward - cutting out me faffing about scrolling around the map for no good reason, as I try to decide what to do next. I actually keep most of the battle animations, and all of the AI's turns, in there. Incidentally, I've gone back to using the maps made by the fine folk of Wars World News for these full-map shots - fogged and unfogged.
The changes to the map are fairly minor. Andy is down a rocket launcher (which will certainly make the battle of attrition over the big ol' bridge chokepoints on this map more of a chore) while Drake picks up an extra battleship, and a second infantry unit on the central island. Other than that, it's pretty much the same: first side to twelve properties is the victor.
Much like the Normal Campaign version of this mission, it's pretty easy to not lose - take out those two central island infantry, and the AI's stupidity around landers will ensure that Drake will never mobilise another force to recapture that island. This makes a nice change from the pressures of Kanbei's Error? and the Sami version of Captain Drake! AC. The tricky part here is forcing out a quick win over those long, grindy bridges - and you won't be surprised to learn that I don't succeed there. But it doesn't take as long as the fifty-minute raw footage would have you believe.
Let's scroll on a bit to the big moves on Day 3, as my subs begin pounding on those battleships and my grip over the central island tightens. I'll be using that APC and lander to stop the battleships targetting my important tanks, artillery and infantry, naturally.
Day 4. I felt that this somewhat lucky shot on a 49% attack was worth a GIF. Granted Drake's 6HP was probably something more like 51 or 52HP on a hundred-point scale, but it's still nice to see (also, pretty snow effects).
Drake's other battleship also takes a pounding, from artillery and sub working in tandem. I'm going to lose that sub next turn to Drake's sub, but the battleship's a higher priority right now. Lander tries to get back to the home shore (and fails, thanks to the random weather on this mission. Goddamn snow), while the APC sets itself up once more as cannon fodder for Drake's rockets . On the island, Drake's second infantry unit falls and we can now take these four properties unopposed.
Come day four for Drake, it's time for the first Tsunami of Advance Campaign.
Which, naturally, gets countered immediately. Obviously Andy's the best CO to use against Drake, which is part of the reason why Nell hints as much when you lose as Sami. But on the other hand, if Andy had Sami's mission and Sami had Andy's, then I think the Sami (now Andy) mission would still be the harder one.
Skipping ahead a whole bunch to Day 8. By now, we have the central island and we can't lose. But we can't win yet, either: that western bridge is looking messy and choked up as hell. Time to start thinning it out.
Some of these moves aren't particularly sound tactically, but there is some strategic value to them. Attacking that light tank with my middie, reducing it to 1HP, will cause it to retreat and potentially open me up to more of Drake's middies - but he's got another light tank he can move up first (thanks to good ol' dumb AI design). And I really need to start working my way through this thicket of troops. Meanwhile in the north-east, I let one of my infantry get very heavily damaged to ensure that another one stays at full health - and thus in prime capturing condition.
The next day, I get a bit too cheeky and try it again. After all, surely the herp derp AI will move the AA up first before the medium tank (because it moves faster, right?)...
Nope. Once more, Drake outsmarts me by being slightly less dumb than I was expecting him to be. But it does leave his medium tank in range of all my arties...
Beautiful. Note that Drake's rocket launcher's out of ammo: we get a turn of respite on his next day.
# You say Tsunami, and I say Hyper Repair #
But Drake's not giving up without a fight. At least I only have to defend the eastern bridge - in the west, I have to try and grind a way through.
Drake manages to push me back a bit.
But that's okay. I can regroup.
And on Day 16 I do something a little unusual - launch Hyper Repair before Drake's next Tsunami.
My army was looking a little battered, and I wanted to steal some initiative and finally push up along this goddamn bridge. For the most part, it worked - that stubborn 1HP rocket launcher aside.
With a fresh tank in the north-east, things are looking pretty good.
Naturally, Drake wants to capitalise on getting to launch a Tsunami that isn't going to be immediately NOPE'd by Andy.
But it's too late. His defences are broken, and I've pushed through far enough that I'm in range to start taking the final city I need next turn.
And on Day 20, it's all over.
This mission was definitely a grind, but not too difficult on the whole - kind of a shame, given how much I chickened out of its Sami counterpart. The scoring - an A-Rank for 20 days - is fairly lenient too.
And I finally reach the heady height of the Cat ranks! Of course, Sockerbagarn's already there. Tune in next time as he continues to reach the parts of Advance Campaign that other LPers (i.e. me) can't reach. Also for a chance finally to hear Sami's theme in a video (sorry I couldn't deliver on that).