The Let's Play Archive

Battlezone 98 Redux + The Red Odyssey

by Lunethex, Coolguye, TheLastRoboKy, Jade Star

Part 15: CRA #3 - China Wins Again

The definition of winning is really skewed here.


A truly frustrating and unfair mission, more so than the next one. For one mission out of so many this is the one that not only forces you to go on foot, beholden to the elements, to walking slower than an APC, and having to know everything beforehand, it also disables jumping. It's not impossible to do it the way it's intended but even if we weren't using the grunting mod I'm not walking the Europan mountainside waiting to get jumped by no less than 4 rows of dudes complemented by a sniper in each one who all know where I'm at at all times and are zeroing in on me as soon as I break their indeterminate field of meditation, having turrets pop into existence spawning in certain locations and having to watch my back the whole time because people from across the map made the pilgrimage to smear my ass all over the ice. The only defense you have against enemy troops is by going into sniper stance every so often and just scanning the walls in front of you because you can see the light that denotes their instant kill spot through terrain, otherwise the default footstep sound is impossible to ever hear coming, especially when this rockin' soundtrack is playing.

After you do the deed and go either East or North to stop the APC, you then have to walk back to the central hilltop and deal with a spawned wave of some dudes and a sniper who is planted who will no doubt kill your ass if you were expecting a fade-to-end screen. I can imagine this mission taking no less than at least an hour if you were desperately trying to do it without using a turret to cross the map. In all the sped up footage, I was actually being sniped a couple times as I flew over the hills.

CRA-08 Light Up and Let Go There can be no healing from this ordeal

All of my decries about the Chinese campaign and its capstone mission are in the video, but suffice it to say this is the most fake and ridiculous thing that Battlezone can officially offer even in its own universe. The Russians have meticulously sculpted a massive base out of a volcano or the Ganymede equivalent to Mount Everest and are hiding there, waiting for you to come and explode them. It's a multi-tiered almost entirely uniformly designed fortress that requires a methodical approach at the beginning but can be rolled over past the 2nd floor provided you prepare properly for the random spawns it throws at you. If this mission had infinite waves of giant doomstacks like before it'd be really bad but that's the only breath of fresh air. The Gun Towers are mostly equipped with twin-linked SP-Stabbers and some have Rockets, the Bomber's default weapon, because that's challenge I guess. All Gun Towers also have local power supplies because they must have realized you could bomb the ultra power tower in their square fucking hole with your armory. Although they have turrets & snipers around that chimney's top and they won't get at you, your own units will try to keep fighting enemies they can never reach and ramming their faces into the damn wall on the first floor until you move on.

As you get to the 2nd floor, you have more snipers & towers in the blind spots around sheer corners that you have to deal with. The Rocket Tank is a poor choice for this mission but it gave me some utility in having the Comets for power supplies, walkers, and thumper for giant doomwaves. Build silos, supply depots, and hangars along the way because it sure as hell beats waiting on the armory to launch it from across the map. You can't set up the armory close to the base because it will hit the walls trying to get to you. If you have the armory in the base, sure, it'd be easier & faster but I just didn't have the patience to bring it over. The right side of the base is heavier on gun towers than the left so once you conquer that area it's kind of unnecessary anyway. Keeping your constructor alive is important.

When you're beginning your final approach you of course watch for more snipers and drop bombs on the firing squads to the comm towers. I don't know how you're supposed to 'take command of the Howitzer and destroy the Russian power station' but you can launch mortars over the MITS mine forcefield that blocks your progress. Maybe you were supposed to pack it up and move it out to the area opposite the power station or get one of your own pilots to do it? This is beside the point that we could very well easily build our own howitzers, but that function is disabled because while that's a thing the factions can do in-universe it would break all the carefully planned bullshit the designers of these maps implemented. You could probably run up the side of the wall around the mines but if you screw it up you'd get trapped and have to save reload, but I didn't try. I am not entirely sure if dropping bombs on the comm towers at any point will win you the mission outright but it would be smart. You most likely have to get to this point to trigger the objective. After both towers are destroyed you just have to be out of the base at a certain distance and the suffering ends.

This mission is terrible. This whole campaign has been irrationally and illogically designed. It's a slog to play through and I definitely had stars in my eyes about when I thought of LPing the game and this campaign in particular just so we'd all have fun complaining about the awful things it does but there's not much overall to make fun of. It's not challenging, there's no skill involved with any of this, it's an agitating series of dick moves ranging from nutcrushing to despair inducing, and it encourages or practically requires 'cheese' tactics. I can recommend the Black Dog campaign but I can't really recommend TRO overall for the inclusion of this campaign because it makes up half the thing you buy and I doubt anybody's going to have a lick of fun with any of this. What really hurts the campaign more than anything else is the lack of dialogue, conversation, interesting events, and fanfare. Throughout NSDF and CCA missions there's an actual cast of characters. In the Black Dog campaign there's great atmosphere and you still get the background chatter.

But this campaign is an abyssal anguish I would never wish upon someone else.