The Let's Play Archive

Battlezone 98 Redux + The Red Odyssey

by Lunethex, Coolguye, TheLastRoboKy, Jade Star

Part 8: Black Dog #1 - The Ganymede Crisis

As the battle for the Fury Technology rages between the CCA and the NSDF, a Black Dog Squadron is dropped on Ganymede from the battleship Freedom. Under Commander Harris, the malcontent squad is assigned dull work that frays their sense of unity and purpose. But then a platoon is lost on routine duty. The Black Dogs anxiously investigate the site of lost contact, but come under heavy fire from a new enemy: The Chinese Red Army.

Even after regrouping and trying to stand against this new foe, the Chinese demonstrate their superiority in numbers and technology very clearly. A Recycler is lost, and Black Dog units all over Ganymede come under fire in a single morning. It was a lightning strike executed with near perfect precision that would have ended the American resistance on the same day if not for the skill and tenacity of the Lieutenant and his men.

It's made very clear from the get go that every fight, every engagement is their last. They can expect no backup from the main American forces. The Black Dogs are then forced to unite and regroup to take on this powerful hidden enemy in the Biometal War's best kept secret on Ganymede.....

I love the Black Dogs. They are literal space desperadoes, like Alamo defenders. I hope you will all see exactly why I say that in these videos to come!

BD-01 Close Target Wrecky This looks great!
The Red Odyssey, before Rebellion's updates, made it very clear that it was hardly play tested and that it was designed to kill you right out of the gate. Although from my perspective it may not seem it, every engagement is life or death. It's always critical, and everything needs to happen to plan. You have got to understand the controls, you have to know the AI's tricks, and you need a squad. You will not last long on your own. They removed the ability to use your sniper rifle in the first two levels for a reason. You can actually still snipe Chinese pilots while they're cloaked, the light still shows up. You are only required to destroy six Mongoose fighters to finish the mission, but as you can see they make a fool of you on first contact. They can arrive at any time, appear anywhere, at will. Making groups of two and giving quick orders to have those groups team up on single enemies is the most efficient way to fight against the Chinese, it helps way more in this expansion than the original which just threw big powerful units at you constantly. You have to be on point with your orders, and you are forced to die and fail several times to understand the flow of a mission. Remember, I am playing on Very Hard, this only exacerbates issues, but that's my fault

BD-02 Hidden Enemy Gonna take these guys out!
This mission was the one that I was waiting for, but then Rebellion's patches made it fair and doable. You would start with very little scrap and you only have a pittance of time to raise a scout or two before the real mission kicks in and steals control of the Recycler from you to head it towards the Nav to finish the mission. I did not demonstrate it, but you can pack up the Recycler immediately and take it to that area, and as soon as you fend off the first 4 Mongoose fighters, the mission triggers will all go at once and you'll win right away. Before the update, this mission was a pure nightmare. All the enemies remained unchanged, so imagine going at that with only 2 light tanks and 2 scouts, or god help you, trying to make use of Turrets. It only gets worse when you have to face off against their own Tanks, which prioritize the first target they see. Usually the Recycler.

This mission. This. Fucking. Mission. Even though it was changed, even though it was made a bit more fair, it is the mission of this expansion that comes so early and demands you bend over and take it. It is the mission that decides whether or not you're going to keep playing this game, it will decide if you can handle Battlezone pushed to its proper limits. I have played this mission so much (I re-recorded actually when I decided to tone down the sound mods and added Cyrus!) that I have gotten it down to a science, but prepare for some fucking on Spilt Milk.

Just getting to the Recycler to actually resupply, to be able to do anything meaningful, you have to run the gauntlet of 9 Mongoose Fighters, 4 Adder Turrets, and 1 Yeti Tank. All this only backed up by two Light Tanks (equipped with the inferior AT Stabber...) and two Scouts (equipped decently with the Shadower rocket, but they have very little ammo and run out fast), plus your Grizzly with only 100 SP-Stabber shots at best and some splinters to open up every engagement with. YOU WILL NOT SURVIVE THIS MISSION IF YOU LOSE MORE THAN TWO VEHICLES, IF YOU LOSE YOUR VEHICLE, OR YOU TAKE TOO LONG. You have to game the AI at every avenue on your way to the rendezvous, and also handle building forces and resource collection from the distance to protect it from an attack that is launched halfway through the gauntlet. Making sure the AI targets you while you hide is paramount to getting through. You can snipe vehicles. I tried, but it wastes too much time to even take one out this way, and the only vehicle worth sniping is the tank. This action was omitted for optimizing.

The turrets and checkpoints up to the base have to be eliminated. You cannot just fly around them, though it is possible, because you are going to be going back this way two more times afterwards and they'll have the support of new forces attacking the next objective! If you take too long getting to the base, the trigger for the APC spawning (and by proxy THE NEXT ATTACK ON YOUR RECYCLER) will trigger before you've even hit the rendezvous. Losing my scavengers was bad. Make no mistake, this would have been more bearable had I not made the mistake of letting them run out on their own, but to be fair, they are stupid

After weathering the second attack on the Recycler, the hard choice comes up: Who stays behind for defense, and who comes with you for escort duty? I prefer the scouts. They attack fast and have rockets, they do serious burst damage but it won't last long. The Red Devils are armed with Tag Cannons and Sandbags...which they don't use and don't help anyway. Tag cannons are neat but having your own side use it is detrimental, it's just something that only works best against the player because the enemy doesn't have to worry about resupplying and will die, so doing as much annoying-usually unavoidable damage is great for them. I think the enemies that attack the APC are randomized, but I guarantee you if they weren't prioritizing the APC, you would not make it. This is a point where sniping can be effective but you have to be in the right places at the right time. You can see by the end of the mission, during the escort back, the next attack on the base happened but went off very well, a miracle of luck. After that, you can merge your forces to carry the APC the rest of the way and the storm is passing, but the rain is still pouring.

The attack on the APC intensifies in the canyon, and as you can see, everyone was running very low on ammo (unavoidable) and my whole force was on the verge of being lost. I had to resort to jumping out on foot to save the mission at the last second. That tank would have been the end of the force. The foot battle with the ballsy Chinese commando was incidental and awesome, and potentially not very awesome. I don't feel bad about vaporizing that little punk because he has a target lead indicator and I don't because pilots aren't targetable

And thus, Spilt Milk is fucking passed, the first of several major league hurdles in this expansion. Although it was tuned, not much! Hope you enjoy

Commander Harris
Commander Harris of The Black Dogs squadron.

On 100x more stimulants than Collins!

Commander Harris is a huge prick in charge of the platoon on Ganymede. He is an incompetent malcontent who cracks under pressure, but his complaints at least spur the others to do better than him.

Black Dog Lieutenant

Someone said 'Biometal Pilot' and it just showed up

The unnamed Black Dog lieutenant does have a voice. Rarely does he report to command, but he's in it to win it. No matter what.