Part 81: Advance Campaign Mission 15: Andy Times Two! AC as AndyAdvance Campaign Mission 15: Andy Times Two! AC (or "Hallowe'en Horrorshow")
Youtube video (35m48s)
Appropriately enough for Hallowe'en (hey, a day and a half late ain't too bad), we have a tale of terror. A tale of weaponised human clones, a tale of horrifically imbalanced fighter battles, but most importantly, a tale of mediocre Advance Wars player so determined to win that he would sacrifice anything - anything - to see that victory screen. Joining me on this trip into the abyss are Sockerbagarn and Assoonasitis.
So, as noted at the end of the last update, there are some nasty changes here. Eagle's air force is nobbled, giving him pretty much zero chance of making it past Day 3, let alone actually beating Clone Andy's air force. Orange Star loses its APC, which as well as meaning that we lose a valuable decoy, means that we have no way to refuel our sub, or rearm both it and our battleship. By the end of the mission, both will have fired everything they've got.
Now, this is a controversial decision but I decided to turtle this one with Andy. I gave Sami one go, and realised that whatever mad strategy you need to pull off to get a quick win on this one is just outside my compass. In particular, with my forces split between a landing force and HQ defence I couldn't see a way to achieve anything (and, as discussed waaay back in the Max version of Naval Clash!, splitting forces up is rarely a good idea). So instead I decided to (yet again...) pick Andy, consolidate my forces and grind my way to victory. Once Eagle's down for the count, Andy's fighters become useless and will eventually run out of fuel, so it's just a case of taking down the land and naval forces.
At least it's thematically appropriate. Andy vs. Andy, and all that. But boy is it slow. Very, very slow. This update isn't called Hallowe'en Horrorshow for nothing, folks.
Eagle shows that his planes can still land a pretty strong punch.
But much of the extra damage his souped-up planes put out gets repaired by our cloned foe.
And ultimately, he just can't deal with the sheer numbers advantage that Black Hole has here.
Meanwhile, our own Andy's just getting set up ready for the inevitable wave of tanks.
Eagle, we need a futile gesture.
Well, there he goes. Nell seems oddly happy about this turn of events... but yeah, this is the generic message you get in, say, 3- or 4- player games when a side falls. Typically in multiplayer maps, and I believe also in The Final Battle. The good news is, at least Eagle was able to take down Clone Andy's bombers. If one of those had stuck around, we'd have been in real trouble. As it is, Clone Andy's fighters are now an irrelevance - they can't attack us (well, aside from the T copter that I'm mostly ignoring), we can't attack them, and they're going to fall out of the sky eventually anyway.
AI submarines, not understanding just how vulnerable they are when surfaced since 2001.
Allow me to demonstrate. I figure that the 3HP cruiser isn't likely to be too much of a threat here - I mean, it only has 3HP, right?
God dammit, Clone Andy.
I guess it could be worse. The sub's still at half health, and it'll get some fixing up once we get our own Hyper Repair.
Down goes the offending cruiser, as the sub continues to chip away at battleships. And with Clone Andy's main army coming in, it's time to get our chokepoint straight. Medium tank on the city makes for a defensive powerhouse.
Original and best. Accept no substitutes.
Looking good. Using the battleship to attack land targets is perhaps questionable given that I can't restock it with shells here, but we do need to keep those enemy middies under control.
I believe we're up to Day.... 6 now? Clone Andy's fighter is helpfully providing us with extra chokepoint support. AIs and chokepoints, seriously.
And that's his third Hyper Repair to our one. Cheap knock-offs...
All these Hyper Repairs are making taking down these battleships even harder. And with limited ammo to play with, we may hit trouble soon. That sub's already looking worse for wear...
... and there we go. It's out of ammo. At least by now we're down to 1.1 enemy battleships remaining.
I attempt to use the now useless sub as a decoy. Can you spot the problem here?
Yep, the problem is that it was in range of these rockets as well as the enemy battleship.
At least we get our second Hyper Repair now.
And now it's time to put that last battleship in a good ol' target saturation situation. I'm guessing it'll attack the rocket launcher because of its weaker defence, but either way it'll give us a good way to get an HP advantage on that battleship.
Like so. Thanks to the rocket being in a forest, it's survived long enough to provide a bit of extra chip damage on this turn.
And even with the clone getting off another Hyper Repair, we still have an HP advantage here.
Like so. Your sacrifice was not in vain, Mr. Rocket Launcher.
Skipping ahead a few turns, as the first two of Clone Andy's fighters fall from the sky.
Day 19. The rockets are down, and I make a pretty silly mistake here. I could move the infantry unit onto the HQ, begin capturing and be done by Day 20. There are no units that can possibly pose a threat to it - all the clone has now are a couple of fuel-depleted fighters, that missile launcher and a lander.
But nope, gotta keep bashing that missile launcher as though Rout's the only victory option here. Durrrrrrrrrrr.
By Day 21 I actually realise that HQ capture is an option...
... but by then, the final fighter is already falling out of the sky. Victory, but at what cost?
At quite a cost indeed. Wow. My first C-Rank in the entire LP, and a completely empty speed bar. Chances are, the extra turn that an HQ capture would have saved wouldn't really have helped avoid this, but it's still sobering. I guess this is the consequence of ignoring the whole Advance Campaign conceit of actually trying to win this stuff fast, and just grinding out a win. I'm kind of surprised that this is my first C-Rank, in some ways - consider the 33-day victory on Sami's Debut, which earned me far more Speed score than this - but I'm guessing the devs were expecting a much quicker win here. Oh well, now you get to see what colour the C-Rank symbol is. It wouldn't have been a complete LP without it. Doesn't that orange fill you with a warm glow?
Still, here's hoping we get a smoother ride with Enigma - although the first thing you'll notice is that once again, we've come across a map where the fog of war's rolled in for Advance Campaign. Our troop distribution from Normal Campaign hasn't changed - as per usual, the NC view is in the little picture-in-picture thing - but Sturm does have a bunch more stuff out there, including some extra medium tanks. His naval and air units are still the same, which means that a single Max (well of course I'll be playing as Max ) submarine should still be able to mess him up, but those reefs will gain an extra edge in the fog. As in Normal Campaign, one bit of good news is that we don't have to deal with Meteor Strike this mission. I guess we'll see how it goes - nearly there now!