The Let's Play Archive

Battlezone 98 Redux + The Red Odyssey

by Lunethex, Coolguye, TheLastRoboKy, Jade Star

Part 11: Black Dog #4 - Feint, Parry, Riposte!

I lost the first minute of my audio recording because I forgot to set my microphone in Audacity. I used an LP bot to fix it.
The Black Dogs make a bold move to infiltrate the main Chinese manufacturing facilities on Elysium comprised of the heaviest defenses seen in the campaign yet and six key structures that must fall to crush the Chinese war machine. The Lieutenant leads his men on a dangerous assignment, but Commander Harris nearly gets the entire force killed by trying to set up a base within the ruins.

Desperate to recapture their Recycler, the Black Dogs must now drag their ships into more aggressive skirmishes or suffer total defeat. Able to regain control of their only Recycler, they make their stand in the canyon against odds that the main NSDF force would have fled from. So great is their defense that the Chinese, bled to the bone, abandon Elysium...and trap the main Black Dog force in a dead paradise.

On Ganymede, the few remaining Black Dog units band together and work to get a new Pegasus Portal operational to rescue their comrades from the void. Leading a bloody, violent defense against the Chinese on Ganymede, a lone unnamed Sergeant succeeds in giving the American engineers enough time to bring the Elysium force home, ready to regroup one last time and defeat the CRA once and for all...

As was the case with Blitzkrieg, you are only allotted a specific set of units, and unlike Blitzkrieg, you are not going to get any reinforcements. I thought of counting just how many enemies I blew up in this mission but just summarizing it as a god damn lot works just fine. You are 9 Black Dogs against an entire regiment of Chinese death squads and fortified positions. Managing the ammo and hull of your Tanks and Scouts is vital across this very long mission. Where you start is up to you but you have to be attentive to the random waves that just spawn in when you get close to their spawn points. As you may be doing across the campaign up to this point, use the terrain to your advantage, get aggro, and let Avitus & Cyrus your guys do the damage. The waves that spawn in as you reach certain areas are this level's only gimmicks. Sniping helps but it takes so long that you're better off using tried and true methods like the Thumper and the Mortar for lack of more specialized methods.

BD-11 Stranded They just keep coming...
Stranded is Hell. There's no two ways about it. Attacking the base outright and not just sniping people is very possible and you can get away with doing it with careful preparation. The units across the base don't react to you until you shoot them so you're not going to have all of them attacking you at once when you launch the offensive. What will kill and perhaps piss you off is what happens after you get the Recycler back. 2 Walkers and 2 Light Tanks spawning in just on the spot and instantly attacking the Recycler is crap, but a single Comet missile would have deal with that...and maybe caused serious collateral damage at the same time. Equipping both Bombers differently may have been smarter too, at least adding the Rocket weapon. Another even bigger wave comes just as you're back at the canyon and getting ready to set up. I played the mission just after finishing Enemy Within and I was already tired of waiting on resupplying and I wasn't about to try and figure out the ideal loadouts for the opening shots. I promptly wasted a lot of time when I got back to base, too, I should have built way more gun towers than I initially had and maybe had the turrets with Bolt Buddies up sooner. Your available real estate is very limited and there are only two places to set up a viable defense, where you saw my Silo & 3 gun towers in the video, or where you saw me set up a Satellite Tower.

It is the most brutal defense of the game. No expense can be spared in making sure you get through this alive. The biggest wave includes five Heavy Tanks and many bombers. They will lay waste to all of your defenses which is why the Thumper is fantastic here. I recommend having at least 5 Gun Towers up ASAP and trying to get the defense centralized so that all of them can fire and they can't pick each tower off one by one. This is the one mission where turrets can be great because of all the scrap you get, provided you give them some powerful weapons. SP-Stabbers and Bolt Buddies are great, whatever gives them range and quick response.

BD-12 Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch... Thank God I can see the enemy with my Sniper Rifle when they're cloaked
I could have built the MAS Grenade in any of the previous missions but I chose not to as I didn't feel it as necessary as it was in this one. The MAS Grenade in The Enemy Within can let you take over Factories & Recyclers and build your own units from them...presuming you own the building as the unit emerges. I decided to err on keeping my posse alive and making it through that way. It could have been useful in Stranded, but I believed in the Thumper. With the similar loadout to Enemy Within here, the MAS Grenade shines. It lets me put the brakes on any extremely dangerous unit like the Heavy Tank and, and I say this tentatively, you do not always get control of the vehicle in a way that lets you eject them or recycle them. It's part of the weapon's bugginess that does that. What is intended to happen is that the unit is just put on your faction without being under your command, but some things break the scripting. I feel like it shouldn't be a bug though because it leads to some amazing moments as seen in the video.

A wave of Mongooses, another wave of Mongooses backed up by Heavy Tanks, bombers and tanks, then Walkers & Heavy Tanks...this mission will have you scrambling in every direction but it feels so good when you put down that last Walker. I only had to reload once because I died sniping in that second wave! Two interesting things: one, in the first two waves, stick close to the portal because there's always that one damn Mongoose who cloaks his way right up to a Shield and then starts firing on it, and two, if you start losing shield generators, that spawns more enemies. For some reason! Once your Recycler returns, you just build up a force and bulldoze the Chinese base.

There are only three missions left in the Black Dog campaign, which means that the Chinese missions are up next. These missions are pure, concentrated suffering at times. I'll be posting them as soon as I have something.