Part 182: Super Tower 2Super Tower 2
A similar mission thematically to the original though with some new wrinkles to be sure, and definitely a significant challenge but it doesn't require nearly the precision of the first one.
Once again just the lone core as the enemy. Some Ore, and even a couple of Totems this time, with a central crater dominating the landscape and sporting a Power Zone. But first, we must consider words ...
Of course it did. The story is always ... ALWAYS ... the same.
As such things go, this is a very good explanation of what needs to be done. Kill the Children of the Core.
At first, all that the Core does is emit small amounts of creeper. Meanwhile I get energy going and put up a SuperBeam on our gifted PZ. We are pretty much required to start in the crater but even if we weren't, it's going to become even more apparent soon that we need to use it for defensive purposes.
At about a minute and a half in we get our first child core out, coming down the left side of the map. Meanwhile, I want to grab the Ore mostly here so I'm beelining Relays for the corners. This is a bad idea, but it was a solid initial try I think.
As soon as the child reaches the southwest corner, it disappears and returns the gathered energy to Parent Core, making it stronger as we were told. While it was too late for the first set, my idea here is to defend the corner with beams - the first child sent out two spores while along its path - gather the ore, and have a nullifier in place so I can prevent further strengthening of the parent by killing the offspring.
This is worse. This is a LOT worse. Mission timer is 2:23 so not much has happened here, but now we are getting two children on each of all four sides of the map. Situation problematic.
I do have one success here, but most of them are getting through and in my attempts to defend the corners, I'm not having the resources to build up my own energy reserves. I wanted that Terp to get flatter terrain so I can do more things with it, but I just couldn't afford it.
I do get Mortars up and Sprayers, one on each corner by the ore mines, and spent a significant amount of time trying to figure out how to secure the northeast corner while slowly building reactors as well.
Oh. Here's six spores at once. And I still have but a couple of beams. PZs don't help that much when you are out of energy. Yeah, this is a problem. I destroy one, the rest impact, I try to retreat within the crater, but shortly later ...
Yeah, this isn't happening. The Parent Core is now strong enough that it can conjure up lots of Spores that start at random locations and target whatevertheheckitwants. I'm kind of curious to see the scripts and see if there is an upper limit on how bad this can get.
Thematically, we've got the whole gradually-getting-harder progression as you can theoretically do whatever you want when the level starts ... but practically speaking there aren't a lot of good options that actually get you to a winnable position.
Take 2 - 10 minutes
So I lasted about eight minutes the first time until my goose was well and truly cooked.
My second try was to fill much of the crater with Reactors for a much more robust economy, defend like crazy, then work my way towards the corners again both to claim the ore and knock out the child-cores. The first two of those three were worth doing.
Just after nine minutes, as I get my comeuppance. This really shows everything that's wrong with my idea here. It just takes too long, the spores are coming from everywhere, you can see the child cores have become even more numerous with now four to six I think coming down each side. The cores themselves just pass right through my weapons, but all this terraforming to get to the corner doesn't happen in time and there's a limit to how much space you have for reactors and beams to guard against all the attacks.
Basically, if your screen ever looks like this, you're probably in trouble because you've taken too long to get into action.
Take 3 - 13:34
A couple of improvements here. SuperReactor in the middle for faster energy buildup, beams towards the perimeter, mortars on the ridges extended out a bit further than before so they have improved reach.
I set up a 'nullifier row' in the south, terraforming some to expand the ridge to fit more. The concept in this case is that I'm not going to waste time getting to the corners, just find a spot with easier access where I can knock out more cores coming by. This is better, but not good enough as I'm smashed by spores shortly after this.
Take 4 - 17:55ish
I try to push the early energy buildup too far, and get smashed by the first spore before I have any beams ready. But I do learn exactly how long it is. The other point is, the first child and spore always come from the west, so that's the way the first beam needs to be on.
Take 5 - 19:50
The key question here is how much energy do you need/can you afford to take the time to build at the start. About five minutes in, I'm starting my first nullifier in the south with beams and mortars up and 20 income. Meanwhile a four-pack of child cores steam their way down each of the four sides of the map. That's a lot of energy fueling their prissy Parent.
After barely having enough defenses to fight off a serious wave of attacks, I'm in place on the northeast corner and trying to put up nullifiers there. I still haven't quite settled on the best way to do this yet and am experimenting. I'm able to keep a decent amount, though not constant, of nullifiers here and in the south, and it has an effect. For a while I'm not sure if I'm winning or losing.
Welp, that was fun while it lasted. But I don't actually restart here. After each Spore Spasm the parent core weakens noticeably for the next run.
With most of my weapons still up, I have the affrontery to not give up, but rather keep on fighting. I'm spreading out my nullifiers in the south here, and I've also added one on the northern crater rim. Hitting the cores in as many different spots along the perimeter is a wise plan. I'm starting to figure out how this works.
East as well, and you can see the creeper is cleared out here. I'm even working on getting a Forge up. Only the west is totally unguarded. Remembering to constantly check on all the nullifier locations and rebuild them is a persistent issue, and I often forget - which I pay for in more incoming sooner or later. Still I'm in the fight - and it feels like on a significant part of the map I'm getting the better of the exchange.
A few upgrades in hand, I terraform the western ridge and set up operations there as well.
I never noticed the 'explosive trigger' or whatever mentioned in the briefing indicating the parent core had been weakened enough. I just noticed, almost by accident, that it was now nullifiable even though I was not yet taking out all of its creations. Clearly at that point, it was just time to be done with this. There's a lot to keep up with in this level. After every child-core run the nullifier spam is an absolute must, and you need enough energy to keep up with that, refilling the beams, and a few mortars while you're at it. Getting a couple of energy efficiency upgrades towards the end sure helps, but I don't think there's time to do that early on. The Super Tower struck back, but we were eventually able to fight it off once more.