Part 121: OverextendedOverextended
I anticipated another epic here, but in actuality what I got was completion in well under an hour and a half despite some mistakes, and I didn't even have to restart once. Go figure.
I never did figure out what the title refers to. The central islands looked like they would be interesting to get to, which was partially true. The southwest corner seemed an obvious starting point by the lone Totem. A little bit of everything here, but an AC Emitter to help us out. And there's no escaping the Digitalis anywhere.
We get all of the command nodes here, and I wanted plenty of Digitalis Pulse Cannons in both directions and then set to work on energy. 1:12 in, and the Spore Towers are at 60%.
Four Beams and the Forge followed, and I notice the AC was winning the battle in the north so I extended our network that way - first big mistake here though in not protecting them with beams, and an aerial attack cut that off real quick.
I threw some cannons and beams out that way to fix the problem, along with a Node for local supply.
The runners were starting to cause problems, so I went with Snipers next. Check out the SuperRunner here. That thing is just ridiculous. Pretty slow, but I think that's the biggest health bar I've seen on a runner. Looks even significantly larger than the ones on Oblivion.
Then I got a little over-anxious, wanting to keep this party going. Problem is I'd stopped building reactors, so putting up this many weapons for expansion purposes is overkill. This map definitely rewards staggered beams/snipers around the perimeter, but you need the energy for them.
Soon the deficit spiked to -17. With a 9.5 income, that's just dumb. So I deactivated some of the new weapons and started building more Reactors. I also started investing in Range at the forge - I didn't want to waste the limited Aether on energy efficiency.
While that situation was being handled, I noticed something else here - the runners were stunning the AC Emitter! I didn't know they could do that, but it was another reason to really hit the sniper coverage ASAP.
I reached energy income in the upper teens at the 20-minute mark, and things seemed adequate there. I kept increasing the supply, but also started ramping up and moving along the northern 'shore' again.
Leaving a couple cannons to guard against any digitalis incursion in the middle, I pushed towards those enticing ore deposits along the eastern boundary, continuing to stagger beams & snipers. Space was sometimes hard to come by. At this point I was starting to wonder when/how the other shoe was going to drop a la Solar Winds, since things seemed to be going pretty smooth. This time, it never really did.
Working my way around the bend was easier than expected, and as soon as space was cleared for an Ore Mine I set this Sprayer on the northern coast and had it shoot at the Digitalis Moat.
Taking out the two Emitters on the eastern end thusly was the beginning of really turning things more in my favor. There aren't that many on the map, and all of them are weak - the AC doesn't need all THAT much help.
Getting this SuperSprayer running and adding more ore supply would eventually really put the enemy in a bind. I screwed it up briefly by forgetting that it couldn't defend this area by itself, as the anti-creeper doesn't attack digitalis - but that was quickly rectified as I caught it before too much damage was done.
Soon afterwards, the majority of the moat was under our control between the AC and the various weapons on the perimeter pounding away. Runners now had a very short-lived and unproductive lifespan. Once we extended to the southeast corner and grabbed the rest of the ore deposits, the situation was firmly under our control.
How to clear out those two interior islands, though?
Starting with the eastern one which was the easiest as due to the boundaries of its AE coverage, I put a few Berthas on the northern shore to pound that end. This precipitated another mini-energy crisis, but that was soon dealt with.
Then it was time for one of the stars of several recent levels; the anti-creeper and berthas combined to keep just enough area clear for a Guppy-Nullifier combo.
The AE Towers' reach can be seen here, and also the fact that with that emitter down, we quickly gained a larger foothold. A splendid SuperRelay with many connections on the newly created PZ allowed us to support some cannons, and it wasn't long before we rolled up resistance in the east.
Now we're in a weird situation where we dominate the map - but there's really no great way to finish it. We can't get a connection to the shown nullifier, and there's nowhere on the coasts that a sprayer can reach the western island. That PZ in the middle doesn't have any land under it so we can't put anything there, and as shown previously, only the very west end - right by the emitter- is available for guppy use.
I tried a big landing similar to the last mission, but couldn't find a combination that allowed me to keep the nullifier alive long enough to do anything. The only other improvement I've made is throwing a sprayer by the AC emitter to collect from there and help fire at this island, which helps a bit.
After a few similar failed attempts, I throw up a couple of SuperMortars in the east to help pound part of the western island. I still fail again.
I ended up just brute-forcing it by building more guppies on the shore and rotating them in so that we didn't run out of ammo. It took several trips and the nullifier built slowly, but it worked.
I tried to find a spot where I could get the Spore Tower but not the AC Emitter, just to see if the mission would still end ... but I couldn't make that happen, so this here was the final blow.
It's probably colored by the long struggles in the last two outings, but I had a very 'meh' or 'was that it?' feeling after this one. Which is weird, because I was also partly glad for a less stressful/frustrating change-of-pace. It's like I was so emotionally invested in being ready for another one that I was almost semi-annoyed in spite of myself. Or maybe I'm just weird.
In any case, we have yet one 2-planet system to visit; it's time to see what Nemoricus has in store.