Part 150: I feel crazyI feel crazy
Oh hey look - more digitalis. That's a real shocker there. That narrow ribbon of land in the south is covered by an AE Tower, so there's really no way to get through other than just fighting your way from one end. That siphon on the east edge is nice - but it turns out you can only reach it from the uneven terrain in the SE corner. So that's sort of fool's gold. I thought about different areas to begin, and due to not wanting to take the northeast answer I began aggressively in the northwest. There's more resources there ...
It only took one try to convince me that the Digitalis just spreads too fast. I could do a little better, but this shot is just 43 seconds in. There just isn't time. So the other side of the map it is.
Take 2 - 2:01 video
I go for the siphon, discovering that it just can't be reached from our NE plateau - which has no totems, no ore, no any extra resources to tap into.
Take 3 - 3:31
57 seconds in. We have a little more time before the digitalis reaches us here, but only a little. I'm trying to surround myself with defensive Digitalis Cannons to combat it.
I am forced to add more firepower to the south to hold the digitalis off there - and then a finger of it pushes up into my base from the west. I can't stop it in both directions, and the network collapses.
This is a tough map to begin, one of the most challenging I've played and definitely the roughest in a while. The balance of my starting attempts will center on how to deal with this conundrum and get enough defenses up fast enough to keep the digitalis at bay.
Take 4 - 5:30
I briefly consider starting somewhere else, but again can find nowhere else that's tenable.
I start with the Two Plus Four Plan - two reactors and four cannons, with the goal of ramping up ASAP. I then add two more of each, but it isn't enough and I lose one of the cannons ... and then that finger from the west comes in and wrecks everything again.
Take 5 - 7:32
The Three Before Six Plan, a trio of reactors and then a larger force of cannons, bites the dust as it is just too slow.
Take 6 - 8:19
I do it again, only not waiting as long before putting up the cannons.
This might have had a chance if I built the next pair of cannons, for defending against that western approach, a little further back so they had time to finish. As it is, that vector still wrecked me. I was getting close, but not there yet.
It was enough for me to soldier on for the moment, but then the Spores starting coming and I wasn't ready for them.
Take 7 - 10:59
Starting to work on timing things out optimally, I get the cannons up too late and an early fail.
Take 8 - 11:27
I go back to two reactors, it's just too tight with three.
I didn't get the memo, and once again put this cannon pair too far out. One gets blown up as it is finishing building.
Take 9 - 12:50
3:34 here. I get the cannon placement right ... but can't get the Beams up in time and the spores smash into my energy infrastructure. I'm still not getting enough done fast enough.
Take 10 - 15:05
Back to three reactors as a matter of necessity. That west approach kills me again, and I decide to try to skimp on one cannon. That would mean five instead of six defending the south, seven total with the pair handling the western approach.
Take 11 - 15:26
I build them too late trying to get every last drop out of the setup.
Take 12 - 15:48
This is the best I've been able to do with the Three Plus Five approach. Two more pairs of reactors have given me a total of seven at the 2:30 mark, and now I've got to get Beams going to try to save myself.
This was one of the most frustrating moments I've had in the game. I had enough of them up. Five Beams. I should be able to survive ... but they aren't quite spaced optimally, and only one can reach the far northern edge. Where a couple of damaged spores just make it through, smashing my reactors, and ruining the whole thing. I had enough, it just wasn't set up quite well enough ... and so it's another restart.
Take 13 - 17:58
Finally I get past the opening hurdle. Better spacing, a second beam guarding the north approach is enough, albeit not by much. Now I can get to work on boosting my energy and figuring out what I want to do with the rest of this map.
Runners begin coming at us. Big ones. So it's Sniper Time - but these do have a nice prize. Shoot them enough and they are the type that explode in a cloud of AC, providing a bit of relief.
Next up, I go grab a Totem so I can do some upgrades. This strange little spot along the northern edge allows me to place a single cannon to bottleneck approaching creeper, and a Guppy to power that and get me some aether as well.
This is the next place I decide to go, in the south of the map. The idea here is to cut off these fingers of digitalis eventually, get the Ore and whatever else, and then figure out which way is best to go from there. This map doesn't have any real good way to traditionally expand, and it kind of makes you think outside the box.
As I work on this area, I pack in the Reactors as much as possible at our main network to feed it, and also work on gradually getting upgrades to improve the situation.
It takes almost 15 minutes, but eventually this basin is cleared off to transfer in one of the Command Nodes to anchor a second network.
I hung out for a while, half-heartedly tried different things, and then decided this was the least painful direction - pushing west along one of the strips of land.
It still wasn't easy though. Once I got over here, I was obliged to fight uphill with cramped space and a bunch of nearby runners. There are easy things to accomplish.
I eventually went with the shield method, grabbing the two ore deposits to boost the effectiveness of the Sprayer, and then here started building a couple more snipers. Once I get those on that bit of ground that is even with the webbing, I can clear out some of those runners eventually and allow further progress.
With that accomplished, I was now in business. One of the Runner Nests went down, I finally had room to build whatever, and this whole western mess would soon fall to my assault. I'm almost an hour into the level, and comfortable for the first time.
After spending a few minutes clearing that flank, and putting up a couple of SuperBerthas just for the fun of it, it was time to push down that narrow ridge to the southeast.
It was difficult enough to get sufficient firepower in place that I employed a Terp to level things out and get more weapons in range. Soon I was able to to march through this area fairly quickly, and another Creeper-infested planet was cleansed of the taint.
Quite an interesting level with the rough beginning and a lot of hopping around. Worth a decent round of applause I do believe.