The Let's Play Archive

Battlezone 98 Redux + The Red Odyssey

by Lunethex, Coolguye, TheLastRoboKy, Jade Star

Part 13: CRA #1 - Uhh Sorry Charrie!

At the onset of the Biometal War, the Chinese Red Army arrives on Ganymede unbeknownst to the American and Russian factions in space. They come across some intelligence suggesting the Russians have found an interesting alien relic. The CRA decides to take this technology for themselves, nuking the Russian research outpost to cover their tracks, however their base is later found.

The Chinese Major leads a well-executed and skillful defense of the hangar where the Chinese engineers work dutifully on the Pegasus Relic, seeing the safe passage of a Russian asylum seeker and the CRA's leader, General Fu, in a surprise inspection of the base.

However, the unthinkable happens as General Fu is captured by the CCA in an unknown fashion, forcing the Major to lead a covert rescue operation with the newly developed cloaking technology, which he pulls off despite serious aggravations.

The Chinese Campaign. This was a matter of serious contention when the LP was conceptualized. Among what is listed in the OP, these missions gave me a real conniption fit. They're bad, yet their bad design is their charm. There are certainly quite a few ways they could be improved, and playing on Very Hard makes them rough sure, but I wonder if I can really recommend The Red Odyssey because of them even on an easier difficulty. But, we'll take this one step at a time as usual. The true pain of these missions cannot be demonstrated sufficiently in the heavily edited and directed videos I make, but they are very fucking long and they lack any charm present in the other three. You will never have an idea of when something should progress, when something is going to end, when something is going to fuck you over without you knowing it will (and this will happen several times) and you will struggle to understand the design ethos that went into the levels you are about to watch.

CRA-01 New Kids on the Block After the Black Dog campaign, I've got TRO on the run and this is gonna be a cinch

You begin the mission on foot and with a lot more ammo than you normally would have on foot. You are told to proceed, on foot, to the Russian base to the northwest and to inspect their hangar, and to make your way past a few grunts and snipers in the field, who, thanks to their armor and tiny size, blend in quite well to the environment and will never show up on the radar outside of cheating. That's bullshit beyond belief fair

I have to stress that the mod I'm using, Pilots, which I thought of not using because it gives me way more sniper ammo (You get 3 originally, this gives you 10) makes this mission more...convenient I guess is the word. See, you can barely run faster than the APC (as you'll see in that video) without the mod, but you can at least bunny hop. The mission intends and expects you to either take a year long Sunday stroll or face flume through the Ganymede equivalent of Olympus Mons, somehow deal with snipers you will never see or hear just planted around the place, and have to put up with the fact that the other random soldiers know where you are 100% of the time and are coming for your ass. You have no access to health or ammo pickups and are told to deal. Therefore, the first order of business is to secure a Russian tank or fighter ASAP.

Once you inspect the hangar, you are given 99 scrap (why) to drop a Day Wrecker on their communications tower while you, at least if you did not have this vehicle, hoof it back to base the same way you came in with all the problems therein

After you get back to base, you must immediately construct gun towers at the entrance to your base. Don't go too far out because the enemies actually spawn in a stone's throw away, they do not actually approach from the Russian base outside of the final wave. With Chinese towers you have to upgrade them with Blast Cannons as they're equipped with the very inferior AT-Stabber. As long as you lock it down early you are safe...and that's essentially the whole mission. It's a 20 minute snooze fest until the Tug enters the AO. After which, take a couple wingmen to smash the escort and snipe him, bringing it back to your Recycler. Then, fend off the final wave and very patiently try to get to the Russian base and back to finish it up!

CRA-02 Protection Ok what the fuck game give me a break

So began the long day of trials and tribulations in finishing Battlezone's recordings. From New Kids on the Block to the final Black Dog mission I played, recorded, edited, and uploaded the final 4 videos in just under 24 hours. It was great. But this is where I started getting frustrated and you might think it's crazy to be getting agitated this early but I get things done when I complain!

So, protect the hangar where your engineers are. Simple, right? You do get ample space for lining the perimeter with Gun Towers, but that's the limit of your available building space. The enormous pain in the ass that is this mission is in the wave composition and how god damn often they are spawned and sometimes where they are spawned. Light Tanks are truly the bane of your existence and I will never stop complaining about the TAG Cannon. As you've seen, rockets and missiles that lock on home in perfectly and, terrain willing, will be able to wheel around and keep coming. For Horners and Shadowers, there is a special weapon called the RED Field that, when activated, drains ammo constantly but prevents enemies from locking on to you. Unlike the lock on rockets, there is no defense against the TAG Cannon, which can hit anything and this smug ass tank can just fire out his volley of 10 rockets and shave, at most, a little over half the hull off any vehicle you can build and do substantial damage to structures. It's just one of those annoying game things where it's worthless in the player's hands because its use in any real stand up fight is barely laughable because it fires too slow to keep up with ever increasing waves of enemies who don't obey the rules the player is forced to adhere to but it's great when the enemy gets it because the player losing their vehicle in a significant number of situations is game ending or having their wingmen (possessed of seemingly worse AI than enemy AI) be damaged to the point that resupplying becomes necessary

You get the idea. Protection is a fight of attrition. No other mission in the game requires you to be this fast. If you aren't trying to force the game to play like Starcraft, then you're going to fail fast. What's more is, whenever I started recording, the satellite view glitched out and the mouse cursor sensitivity shot up a hundred fold, making using it all the more frustrating. Crank out as many tanks as you can and as the economy allows, keep your scavengers in their own group and as far away from every single enemy as possible at all times, you have to keep scanning for this every 30 seconds, and get the row of gun towers up ASAP. You may wish to throw some turrets out on the western side of the base where I let the silo get barraged by a howitzer. Don't forget if the Hangar takes some damage to launch repairs from the armory on it, and maybe consider not letting your armory get destroyed by guys you would never have known could just fly right up your taint out of the map boundary. The Russians are, admittedly, at some disadvantage for lack of SP-Stabbers, but their tanks are no less capable of dishing out equal damage and their fighters are equipped with the Chaingun which kicks more ass than the Minigun, and we're not even getting into the Light Tanks. Fortunately, the bombers seem most preoccupied with buildings and hardly attack vehicles.

When the Walker comes in that you have to escort, beeline for it and ram it all the way back to base. When General Fu shows up, make sure to have a squad of 3-4 tanks ready to help escort. He has a sizeable escort but it gets whittled down whilst in the canyon. After that, breathe, and get a beer for the next in terrible missions.

CRA-03 Rescue Me FUCK

I can't really understand this one. This map was actually patched, but not in the way it should have been. I dared not ask why the thing that happens at the end happens because there was a solution to it. A stupid solution but one that makes asking pointless. So, what was changed between this map from the original version is that there was this encapsulating layer of instant kill proximity mines surrounding the caldera of your starting position to keep you from flying up the side of the hills immediately, forcing you to waste about 3 minutes of your time just head into the canyon proper before the game arbitrarily allowed you to go up a mountain. But there are still a shitload of mines out on the hilltops in the middle vicinity of the map for some reason that I can't comprehend. You have zero reason to go up there

The howitzers being an objective is just insulting. They contribute nothing to the goal of this mission. As soon as they start firing, the APC turns and flees from the direction its getting shot. A couple of the runs I did the most damage I saw was an APC and its escort only taking a middling 10-15% damage across the group. It is a series of trial and error to find the right APC, and what would have been a decent mission to show off using your cloaking to take a small squad in, find the right APC and quickly take it over is by far one of the most frustrating and painful missions to have to play because of how long it is. There are about 5 or 6 APC groups on the map and some of them can be together. The APC containing General Fu is of course randomized, but as long as you've got the Thumper and were maybe diligent about planting Ammo & Health on your way back you can safely handle the APC groups and the roaming patrols of bombers & tanks out there.

Once you find the right APC whether by inspecting or destroying it then reloading after the commander guy yells at you, you would ordinarily think the only way to get the APC back is to jump in and sloooowwwwlllyyyyyy drive it all the way back to your starting position, dealing with any radiant encounters along the way. Until you see that fucking end. The campaign has barely begun and they're throwing that kind of a 'fuck you' at the player, I can't begin to understand or figure out why that is the way it is, and I am not sure if I want to know. It's a trivial mission if not for the soul crushing travel times involved. Save often.

But it gets worse. Hopefully we can finish the LP before Christmas

Unnamed Major

His Silent Protagonist technique is shooting the mic out
The unnamed Chinese Major stars as the protagonist of the Red Storm campaign. Little is known about him except he's expected to do every thing around Ganymede with little backup...


General Fu is the leader of the CRA and a man known across the Solar System as a man guilty of many crimes.