Part 87: Advance Campaign Mission 17: The Final Battle! AC - Part 2Advance Campaign Mission 17: The Final Battle! AC (or "Fully Armed and Operational Mech Flood") - Part 2
Youtube video (35m35s)
Having weathered the Sturm (consider that your warm-up for the assault you'll be receiving in the video ), the middle leg of The Final Battle is mostly about consolidating, pushing Sturm back behind the river and gathering up a force that can smash him for good. Perhaps because there's a certain lack of drama, the video drifts more to discussion of Fire Emblem: Awakening, other Advance Wars games, media products featuring characters called Evil, and puns.
so many puns.
Joining me for it are Sylphid, Senerio and alcharagia.
something something in medias res something.
Andy and Max do some good ol' back-to-back fighting in the middle.
Look at me, I'm a distraction!
Some pussyfooting around in the north.
And a quiet turn for Drake too, as he continues stoically trying to capture that base.
Day 8. The AA's down - Andy has Hyper Repair charged, but nothing to use it on at the moment, so we'll hold on to it for a while. Shame about having an enemy medium tank parked on one of our bases, but even with that, Andy's numbers are starting to look healthier - although he's not out of hospital just yet.
Having been lured away by the siren's call of the APC, this medium tank is surrounded and chip damaged down to 4HP.
Said parked medium tank is gone - Max's own middie knocks it down to 3HP, and his light tank cleans up. Now Andy could build from there... if, you know, he hadn't already had his turn. Damn it, turn order!
Yet another bit of drew a B copter out of position, allowing it to be easily swatted by this AA.
More joining... and more bombers. Ugh. At least this new one should be distracted by Max's damaged APC in the north west, but I don't want to take any risks (as an aside, it figures that, having decided to colour-scheme my arrows as blue for load/drop and green for join so long ago, that I'd end up in a situation where blue keeps loading/dropping and green keeps joining...).
Don't worry boys, the cavalry's a-comin'!
Don't worry boys, the meteor's a-comin'!
In a weird way, this is one of the better possible outcomes.
Since Andy can shake off some of the meteor damage with Hyper Repair...
... and unit joining can take care of the rest. Good as new!
Man, it's just a big ol' chain of CO Powers right now.
The light tanks finish chipping that middie to death, and I finally get rid of that pesky HQ fighter that stalled Max's movement in the last update.
With that rocket launcher around though, Max still has to be kinda cautious. Hopefully will work its usual magic.
Over with Drake, this bomber finally dies.
And now, the next challenge - that B copter .
For now, we'll adopt a policy of containment.
Hmm. After Drake not having had any AAs when we needed them earlier, I think I may be overcompensating now.
Sturm's turn goes by, and we hit Day 10. Thanks to Max taking nearly all the hits that turn, Andy ends up in no worse a position than he was before Sturm's turn.
Consequently, Andy gets to end his turn in a much stronger position.
Especially with Max around to remove the biggest fly in the ointment.
An AA takes out a fighter that was sniffing around Max's new B copter division, and I pull back most of Max's troops in the north for now since they're looking a little beat-up right now. This may not have been the wisest move.
Things're still going okay around Andy's base, though. Those two light tanks that chipped that medium tank to death join together to give me a nice full-health light tank.
*"Ode to Joy" plays*
Time to use this AA surplus to clean up town.
Drake's developing a pretty strong position here. Helps that he's not in the middle of the fighting like Andy, or split between two fronts like Max.
Dislodged from that airport by an AA, and now there's another bomber to deal with. But Max has an AA ready for that.
Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational mech flood!
It can take down... uh... an AA and an empty APC.
But no doubt it'll have bigger adventures in future.
Max takes care of the bomber, and has his own go at taking the airport back. I know it's "technically" Andy's, but makes sense to give it to the guy with the strongest air units, right?
Speaking of air units, Max clear out another curious fighter in the west, while moving the B copters up to the edge of missile range. Plan is to strike at the missiles next turn and finally clear them from the map.
That's the plan, anyway. No prizes for guessing what actually happens.
A kamikaze move from Drake's 4HP medium tank. At least this way it gets a first strike so it can chip 2HP off Sturm's middie.
Actually, this is a good moment to take an aside and talk about the differences between Advance Wars and Fire Emblem. As I mention in the video, I've been playing a good deal of Fire Emblem Awakening lately - and on Newcomer Mode, so that losing a unit during a mission doesn't leave them out of commission permanently. I tried Classic mode once, and got far too paranoid about it - Newcomer's been much more enjoyable.
Of course, in Advance Wars losing a single unit is rarely a deal breaker. And on a mission like this one, you lose dozens and dozens of units, and just keep pushing out new ones. It's the nature of total war: consider how many soldiers died in, say, World War One or Two. That's fair enough, but some might argue "if you can just bludgeon your way through it without major consequence, where's the challenge?"
One important factor is that in Fire Emblem, by the end of the game, you're fielding a team of super units. In Awakening, you end up with the likes of Donnel* and Morgan rolling around crushing everything, regardless of enemy numbers: like Kanbei on steroids, so to speak. It's the same weird quirk as XCOM Enemy Unknown/Within and, to a lesser extent, original X-COM: the game gets easier the further you go into it, because although your guys start poorly, they ultimately develop crazy tricks that the aliens can only dream of.
Advance Wars is different: for the most part (certain exceptions like Max aside) you're on a level playing field. An infantry unit is an infantry unit, a medium tank is a medium tank. An infantry unit attacking a medium tank isn't going to go well**, even if that infantry unit has survived an entire battle, captured ten cities and taken out five other infantry units along the way. Because this relationship stays pretty much the same, the enemy getting more and more medium tanks now actually becomes a serious threat. Sometimes you can be smart about the medium tanks and deal with them using indirect fire and air power. Sometimes you can be Max and obliterate them with your own middies. But sometimes all you can really do about them is hurl weak units at them until they eventually go down.
Hopefully that explains why Advance Wars isn't Fire Emblem, and why it still presents a challenge despite this. You probably already knew most of this, but I think it's just been something buzzing round my head for a while that I needed to type out. Okay, enough lecturing, back to the update.
* Granted, Donnel starts terrible and you have to keep him alive (or play on Newcomer!) through the terrible part until he can hold his own, at which point he rapidly becomes godlike.
** Unless you're Nell and get lucky. But that's an edge case.
With that base finally secured, Drake can make a break for it, across the river and over the mountains.
This is really quite a serious army now.
Of course, that's the problem with this mission. Every time you think you're on top, Sturm has a little surprise for you...
Like I said earlier, no prizes for guessing what disrupts Max's missile-conquering plans.
And to make matters worse, Sturm's punched quite a few holes in Andy's lines.
But not enough holes. Andy's mechs have reached critical mass, and they're out for revenge.
Okay, this didn't go so well. But it's all about that chip damage.
Keep on mechin' (er, plus one rogue infantry).
Even Max's meteor-struck B copters get in on the chip damage game, finishing off that rocket launcher. Light tank finishes off AA, and the APC traps that medium tank in, so it keeps blocking the airport... as well as making a very tempting target for the middie to waste its shot on (, etc, etc).
The rest of Max's units just have to move on from the Meteor Strike. We have the economy to cope by this point, at least.
And it's Drake's turn to interdict Sturm's forces as he crashes in from the east.
This is actually starting to turn into something of a doom army.
More damaged medium tanks, but nothing that proves a true threat to Andy's mechs.
That's the missiles pretty much gone.
A little conga line of joins, attacks and retreats.
But now the question is, are you ready for one of the worst uses of Max Force ever?
9% damage to a medium tank...
... and, uh, that's it. I really should have saved that up for a more opportune moment... at least I continued to weaken that medium tank, I guess?
Man, Drake's having all the fun.
Especially now, with Tsunami finally charging up again.
In case you were wondering, this is what Sturm's HQ area looks like right now.
With Drake done for Day 13, this seems like a good place to stop before heading into the last stretch. Not so much of a cliffhanger this time, but there are a few questions to be asked. Can Max regain his poise? Will Andy's mechs be able to stay relevant in the endgame? Does Sturm have any more tricks inside his teapot? Or will Drake wash away all resistance?
Tune in next time for... The final Final Battle finale. Er, so to speak.