Part 173: Megaland 2I figured that one would be a mess. Looks like they mostly work they way they are supposed to though. That's encouraging for this system.
And now ... the sequel. It has some surprises of its own, and had me scratching my head at times. Prepare, for example, for the mighty Thor even to be rendered nearly useless. I went from thinking this would be really hard, to thinking it would be easy, to eh this isn't bad, to how-the-heck-do-you-even-do-this, all on the same planet. The video is missing a fair amount of me staring dumbly at the screen babbling about how I had no clue what to even do.
Definitely another big map. This is too far out to really see much of anything, but basically there's not all that much there. No digitalis/runners, small amounts of towers/totems/ore/emitters for a map of this size.
There's a blatant hint here. I managed to screw it up anyway.
We get the usual level of sensible explanation from Lia, who doesn't explain how connecting all the Totems makes it possible all of a sudden to use nullifiers that 'don't work here'.
Ok so here's the gimmick; you're looking at a shot from 11 seconds in. There isn't much creeper on this map. If there was a lot of it, this would be impossible. It spreads very thinly and very quickly, which made it scary at first, triggering an 'oh crap this is gonna be really hard' reflex. There are only two emitters, but that's enough.
I begin in the south-central area, because it provides ore and elevated terrain.
The usual starting energy/Forge/air defense. Also, we get help from friendly AC Spores which is nice. One quickly notices that the anti-creeper spreads in the same jacked-up-on-steroids manner as the standard creeper does. And at this point I started relaxing. Piece of cake, the AC will protect me, I just need to build up, there's not that much creeper and now I'm in no immediate danger ...
I got this.
Oh my sweet summer child, you did not yet begin to know what you were in for.
We get more creeper from these little mini mobile-emitters that drift across the edge of the map because reasons. Meanwhile I sensibly focused on building up a reactor farm and getting what upgrades I could from a single Totem.
To increase my Aether income, I made a quick relay run to the other safe elevated area to grab the Totem there.
Upgrades with almost eight minutes gone by. I have a sprayer up at the secondary area, having realized that AC is going to be quite important. It's even more important than I thought it was, but upgrading ore income by any and every means possible, as quickly as possible, is crucial on this map.
Here's the first sign of real trouble. The connection between the two hills breaks. I had a Cannon over there. How'd it go down to such a small amount of creeper? Well, the stuff is downright incorrigible on this map.
No big deal, I'll just throw a bunch of Pulse Cann ... uh ... what the actual ...
Solar Wind had nothing on this. In fact, that planet made it very easy to beat back creeper with an epic crapton of cannons in comparison.
Deploying Mortars to encourage the creeper down into the lowlands helps some. Not nearly as much as it normally would, but some. I think there's something else going on here that helps the creeper flow uphill easier as well, but that'll have to wait for ScriptMasters (tm) Regallion/DmitriX to show up and pontificate upon. But they did eventually do enough to allow me to bridge the gap again with a relay connection. Lost quite a few cannons in the process though, thinking there was no way they'd let a tiny bit of creeper stop them. But it will. It really will. Anything beyond a couple hundredths of a unit of depth, as I would discover, easily spreads enough to be a royal PITA.
Also, in addition to being !Nullifier this level is also !Terp, and that limitation never goes away.
Next step was to build mortars along the coast, so as to get closer to and eventually bombard any available craters. It seemed the only way other than AC to kill a vaguely significant amount of creeper.
I hated this plain here. Oh, how I hated it. I am not a profane person but I came close to cursing as I lined up mortars and cannons along it. And added more. And upgrade fire rate. And it accomplished nothing, or as close to it as I could figure. Depth of creeper: 0.1-0.12. Depth of creeper after like 15 minutes or so of increased firing: unchanged.
I entered an unusual mental state; I had control of the heights. I was in no danger of losing them. Typically that means it's just a matter of more firepower and you advance and win. But Megaland 2 defies that convention. It laughs at your increased firepower and declares its firm intention to fight you forever. For quite a while I didn't see a way out.
Remembering Lia's words about pushing back the creeper, I figured a Shield was the right answer. So I tried it ... but quickly abandoned the idea as it didn't appear to be doing much. Ramping up my Pound The Craters strategy helped, as did continual ore increases, but only up to a point. I soon realized that both emitters were on high ground and I was never going to fill the map with enough AC to combat that advantage. There simply isn't enough ore to be had.
Here's my Thor! It'll really change the game by ... accomplishing nothing a mortar couldn't do. This creeper laughs at your impressive array of weapons until you question your sanity. 36 minutes on the video about. In retrospect I like how this planet lets you build it when it does almost no good at all and definitely isn't the most efficient use of your energy.
The MOAR MORTARS approach went into even fuller effect, even though I knew it would only get me so far. I just didn't know what else to do, and I started filling the lowest craters with AC.
Push back the creeper, Lia had said. I should have given these a more robust test, because after - having mentally exhausted any other option I could think of - building a collection of shields and waiting for them to get fullish on energy, progress began to be made. Advancing was still tricky. It seemed quirky and somewhat unpredictable when they'd push back a section of creeper and when they wouldn't do much to it. I found that combining shields, cannons, and mortars was almost necessary to predictably move it. But interspersing them, one of the trio would always achieve the desired objective.
Pushing eastward bit by annoying bit, I grabbed a precious ore deposit, then launched this Mass artifact - from the west side of the map - on one of the emitters. Once berthas were sighted in on this thing, I could keep most of the creeper on this area in the crater and keep it from rushing at me.
Some while later, I scaled the hill and secured the local totem. There were more to go, that would be acquired in much the same way. Slowly.
Eventually I got them all, and the nullifiers were magically enabled. I spent a stupid amount of time trying to make this work - guppies + cannons + shields + nullifiers on a small hill so I didn't have to do it the hard way. I think I turned the easy way into the hard way, but it eventually worked ... and Megaland 2 was conquered.
This planet does deserve to be appreciated. I appreciate it so much I'll leave it in peace. There are few Alpha Sector levels I have less interest in playing again. I think it scarred my soul just a bit.