Part 186: Aigues-MortesAigues-Mortes
The testers for Creeper World 3 must all be French or something. Aigues-Mortes, I discovered upon looking it up after completing the planet, is a city near the southern, Meditteranean coast. It has a storied history apparently, and I'm not sure which aspect if any is intended here to be referenced. Various towers and fortifications were built there mostly in medieval times - but the map doesn't really seem to fit the 'fortress' theme at all.
Stepping a back a bit from that first, this is the Grauniad system. We're headed to the larger of the two planets, and also because I once stumbled upon a youtube video of the other planet, Waternaris. The LPer in that case claimed it was arguably the hardest level in the entirety of the Alpha Sector. I didn't watch it because spoilers, blind approach, etc. but it sort of the stuck in the memory. And I can definitely vouch for the idea that it's very difficult now that I've just recently been through it myself - suffice to say that it gets an asterisk and I'll be very impressed if anyone can say they've beaten in without pausing.
This though is our adventure for today. An Inhibitor in the northwest and all manner of Creeper opposition covers most of the map, while our territory is clearly to be found behind the ridgeline in the east. The most interesting part of this to me is the lowered section where the digitalis largely comes through, which I've unoriginally named Digitalis Pass.
We have a full set of Command Nodes, allowing me to build out fairly quickly. I took too much time here though boosting the energy before starting to blockade the pass, and began to be swamped by the fast-approaching digitalis. 1:41 mission time at this stage.
Some stuff I saved, others blew up, and I managed to hold off most of the approach vectors after a bit ... but not all of them. The southern tendril got away from me, knocking out collectors and cannons before I could get them finished building. I might have been able to save this, but I decided to start again.
Went a bit too far the opposite direction on the restart, building more weapons than I had energy for after going with a more modest Collector array before shifting into Reactors and Digitalis Cannons. Still, I was able to cut off all of the digitalis, grab some of the ore on the south end of the ridgeline to assist, and start ramping up.
My next aim, while building a reactor pair at a time to supply the energy, was to form a defensive position cutting off the digitalis from ascending the ridge.
I did so, then started adding Mortars to further secure the situation. But I had neglected the northern end for too long, and it overflowed a little before eight minutes into the mission. This took a bite out of my ore income and any such breach of course required my immediate attention. I'd really neglected this area in favor of securing the Pass, getting the economy and upgrades moving, but now I had no choice.
The flow wasn't nearly strong enough to present a permanent threat. Once it was dealt with and weapons posted at intervals along the ridgeline, I started a massed reactor buildup. This is one of those missions where I resisted the temptation to just go for energy efficiency upgrades, since I owned a secure position with plenty of space to just carpet it purple.
Next, I wanted plenty of weaponry. Four Berthas were aimed at whatever on auto-target, with my traditional three more dedicated to clearing a path to wherever I wanted to go. Conventional mobile platforms were also built up as I prepared to go on the attack.
I aimed to push west as much as possible along the northern edge, making straight for the inhibitor. At first this worked quite well.
Around here, as the terrain bottomed out and I began trying to fight uphill against the digitalis, momentum stalled out and I made some poor decisions for a while in dealing with it. Runners stunned the weapons from higher terrain where I couldn't reach them, the digitalis always needed attention, and only the regular bertha fire kept me from greater disasters than I actually endured.
Eventually I acquiesced to the need for engaging the grey matter in my cranium, using shields and attacking between digitalis paths. It wasn't long until I also terped up a platform for a SuperSniper to help clear out the considerable riff-raff.
Once I got a foothold a little higher, I just went for the kill ignoring pretty much the rest of the map. Soon the satisfying chain-reaction explosion engulfed the map, and another planet was cleansed of the taint.
The next adventure would not prove to be nearly as forgiving.