Part 86: Advance Campaign Mission 17: The Final Battle! AC - Part 1Advance Campaign Mission 17: The Final Battle AC (or "cryingandy.gif") - Part 1
Youtube video (39m05s)
So, here we are. Note that this is a 39 minute video, and it's going to be part one of three. Yeah. Raw footage for this mission came out at two hours fifteen minutes, though that includes stuff like the credits roll. Part one will cover the first six days, as we (especially Andy) get battered by the brunt of Sturm's initial assault. Joining me are Fedule and Sylphid.
So, what extra stuff does Sturm get for Final Battle AC? Let's start with the obvious things: he gets forward groups of a medium tank and two infantry on each flank, and a medium tank and five mechs going down the middle. The left and right COs especially have to hurry to deal with those infantry before they can grab the bases and airports nearby. Sturm also starts with two extra bombers in the mountains, and two extra medium tanks in his HQ area. Painful, needless to say.
At least Our Heroes don't get any units taken away from them in the AC version. Then again, that would be fewer units for Meteor Strike to smash up...
Andy is, let's face it, going to take one hell of a beating. I've heard so many Final Battle AC tales of Andy's forces getting wiped out and the other two COs having to pull off victory without him that I was fully prepared for ending up in that sort of situation myself. Either way, the plan for Andy is simple: mechs mechs mechs. He has the funds and property to pump out three mechs a turn, most turns. It's going to be a case of whether that keeps up with Sturm's damage output, but we'll see. The plan is also for Andy to take the first Meteor Strike. In Normal Campaign that'd be absurd, because of the Power and Technique scores hinging on the guy, but this is AC: Power and Technique don't matter (Heck, Speed doesn't really matter, given it's not like I'm going for an S-Rank here). That which does not kill Andy will make him stronger. I mean, provided it doesn't kill him...
Max is, well, Max. You know Max by now, and we just got a pretty good reminder of the carnage he can unleash on Sturm. Controlling his third of the field will be easy enough, which means that a big part of his job will be to help Andy out - smash stuff up for him, yes, but also provide some decoys (especially in the form of good ol' ) and, should the worst come to the worst and Andy falls - be ready to capture his properties before Sturm can. An important thing for Max to do early on is stop those newly-deployed-for-AC infantry from grabbing the airport and/or base that I've circled - if Sturm got those, we'd be in for a world of hurt.
With Drake, as pretty much always, it's all about those Tsunamis. Every little helps in the battle to grind through Sturm, especially when it's sucking up his funds through repairs. Other than that, Drake's solid all-round ground troops are a welcome addition to the team, even if we won't be getting much out of that airport. Like always, he can provide support to Andy and take some of the heat off him, as well as building up some kind of force for the mid- and late-game. As with Max, those infantry by the circled airport and base are an early priority.
Andy's opening moves - capturing as usual, building some mechs to get the mech flood started early, and bunching everything together in preparation for that meteor strike on Sturm's Day 2. APC left where it is partly to cover that airport capping infantry, partly for a bit of I guess.
Max's opening moves - rushing up to deal with the incoming planes, middie and infantry. Off-screen, I build a light tank.
And Drake's opening moves - similar to Max, only a bit more slowly since while Max is full of light tanks and AAs, Drake gets two missile trucks to lug around .
Day 2, and the initial carnage begins - ultimately this stuff is all here to fuel an early Meteor Strike, but we've still gotta deal with it. Missiles take down one fighter, AA cripples another while the other AA nearly takes out a bomber. Thank goodness for Sturm's defence penalty.
B copters and medium tank work together to take down Sturm's middle middie (if you follow me). Those B copters are not going to be around very long at all with all these fighters hanging about the place, so may as well make use of them while they still exist.
Beyond that, it's mostly just Andy bunching up to take that meteor to the face, as you can see in the right half of this screenshot. In the left half, Max gets to work. One bomber down, and medium and light tanks combine to take down Sturm's left-hand middie.
Taking it out frees up the AAs to move forward and annihilate Sturm's other bomber and infantry on this flank. There's one other bomber to deal with over here, but once again Max is showing that as far as he's concerned, The Final Battle is still a cakewalk in the park. Or something.
Drake makes his own contribution to the war effort, and while he can't just OHKO everything like ol' Maxie over there, he's still doing good damage.
No-one saw this coming at all.
(I have no idea why I didn't think of doing adaptations of the crying APC for COs sooner. I've even had those little war room tiny-head sprites around for ages. I should totally have done one for Olaf during Operation Dunderhead. In fact, here's one, belatedly: ).
Well, at least we can do something about this. Let's make several people rise from the dead.
A bunch of unit joining later, things have improved a bit. Another nice thing about mech floods (and single-unit floods generally, I guess) is the ease of joining units.
Taking out Sturm's last eastern bomber (which took out one of Max's four starting AAs) and moving the rest up to intercept part Sturm's army before it can hit Andy.
Don't worry, Andy, Max is on his way! (what no of course that infantry and APC aren't there to start capturing your stuff if you get routed)
Drake gets busy. Sturm's three 1HP bombers from last turn all merged together, letting Drake's damaged missile launcher take them out in one hit (I think that's the only action those missiles see this mission. Aside from being decoys, anyway). 8HP middie finishes off 4HP middie, one AA helps Andy out a little by taking out a B copter for him. And AA and medium tank work together to remove Sturm's capturing infantry from that base.
Now here's a decision that causes pretty big amounts of frustration: I decide to try capturing this base here. Could have gone for the airport first, but no, gotta be the base. I mean, strategically it makes sense given Drake's acrophobia, but check out where Sturm's b copter is. Yeah, anything that tries capturing that base is in for some pain. At least it'll take a little more pressure of Andy, I guess.
Day 4, and Andy continues to take a pounding. But he's doing what he can: AA stalls Sturm's airport capture (shame it couldn't do one more HP of damage, but there y'go) while two mechs work together to put down one of Sturm's own AAs.
Max does his bit to help out too, taking down another AA with the first light tank to arrive at Andy's base. Sturm's fighter that's been chilling on Andy's HQ the last few turns may not be a threat in terms of killing my stuff any more, but damn is it a pain to navigate around. Hope that doesn't come back to haunt me.
To borrow a phrase from the Definitive X-Com Commanders Guide LP, BOOSH!
Okay, I was telling the truth when I said that infantry and APC weren't there to start capturing Andy's stuff. The first inf/APC pair weren't. This second pair, however... let's just say that at this point I was seriously worried about how long Andy was going to last.
Finishing off Max's turn with a bit of wanton violence against an APC. Plan is to draw that northern medium tank out a bit so that Max can repeat the middie-bashing dose next turn. And hey, damage is damage, even if it's just damaging an APC.
Tsunami time for Captain Drake.
Every little helps. As much as Max has been tearing things up, grinding attritional chip damage is the cornerstone of AW, and that's never more true than in this mission. Also, that B copter goes down as punishment for attacking that base-capturing infantry. At 3HP and with no other infantry in joining range this turn, it's going to take a while to finish capturing. If it finishes capturing.
Amid the capturing infantry, that 9HP tank goes down.
Drake's looking in a pretty strong position now. But I can't help but feel like I'm forgetting something...
... oh wait yeah that.
Um... er... yeah, . Andy was a couple of AI decisions away from being routed here. And that airport is pretty much unavoidably in Sturm's hands now.
YOU. SHALL NOT. PASS!!!
Welp, fingers crossed!
At least Max can lend a hand.
... well, sort of. Even with the extra movement point of Max Force, a lot of Sturm's key units are just out of range. Remember when I said that I hoped that that HQ fighter wouldn't come back to haunt me? Well, here you go: can't attack that airport-capturing mech, it's just out of range.
I get some stuff done down here, but not as much as I'd've liked. At least Sturm has plenty of stuff to aim at to distract him from Andy.
In the north, Max's campaign of interdiction continues. Backed up by Max Force, his medium tank defeats Sturm's middie, and his light tank defeats an infantry unit. The AA backs off a little, hoping to strike that bomber if it comes in to take a shot.
Although saying that... I have a feeling that that bomber might be heading somewhere else. Dammit, am I ever going to capture that base?
As Fedule points out in the video, I really should have built an AA (perhaps even two) rather than a medium tank this turn. I'm doing okay for middies, but Drake's only anti-air defence right now is a 2HP AA, and there's a bomber that's likely going to head in his direction on Sturm's next turn. I dunno, I guess I just went "aha, I have enough money for a medium tank, therefore I must build one!"
Yeah... all that capture progress and unit joining, gone to waste . I wasn't even expecting a one-shot, for some reason - Sturm's a powerful attacker, but I thought that the base defence would maybe counter that. I suppose not.
On the bright side, Andy begins Day 6 with twice as many units on the field as he began Day 5! Perhaps things are looking up for him. Hope springs eternal, and all that.
Just do what you can, Andy. Taking a break from mechs to deploy an AA: there's a B copter hanging around Andy's base, and since no-one else thought to bring any AA to this party I reckoned Andy should.
Max thumps another couple of juicy hits in, and I notice something very interesting about this APC down here.
Let's drag one of Sturm's middies away from where it's supposed to be (in hindsight, and as Sylphid pointed out, should have moved the APC one square north so that it gets city defence bonus... and, more importantly, so the medium tank doesn't get city defence bonus. All true. I still think this was a cool plan, though).
Yes! Suicide on the bomber for great justice! (oh dear, I'm encouraging kamikaze tactics now)
The plan here, for a given value of plan, is that by scratch damaging that bomber I can stop it from one-shotting capturing infantry - and thus, finally acquire that base. War is hell.
And I still don't build an AA. Granted, this time it's because I can't afford it.
Start of Day 7 and maybe, just maybe, Sturm is starting to crack. He's dumped a medium tank on top of his newly-captured airport, Andy has the luxury of having three units survive until the start of his turn this time, and even Drake's managed to hang grimly on to capture progress. Maybe we're getting somewhere. Maybe.
Either way, time to end this update on a cheesy cliffhanger! Tune in next time indeed for the exciting concl- err, middle part...