Part 220: Fountains of BetelgeuseFountains of Betelgeuse (44:43)
Back to Inception we go.
We start at the bottom on this vertical map. Once again there is a generous plasma barrier, though as will be seen it's not as useful as they usually are. It looks good for us initially - we have more territory than the Particulate does to occupy.
It only looks that way though.
Note the strange structure in the bottom middle. It offers a dozen amp gems, so we'll have plenty of those to play with. As it turns out, you slowly harvest them from there at the cost of energy. It's an interesting way of gradually giving more of them over time to the player.
45 seconds in. If you're more observant than I, or perhaps less preoccupied with building up, you can already guess the gimmick of this level. We've seen it before in CW3.
Another minute, and I figured it out. Initially I deployed the Grabbers - and you get a full dozen of them in this mission - for the purpose of pushing the particulate up towards the enemy and not wasting it. As you can see here, this ... doesn't work very well. Hence the 'fountain show', there is a downward force be it wind, gravity, handwavium, whatever at work on this map. Which doesn't make a ton of sense since we are in space and there is no 'down', but this being CW it isn't expected to make sense.
Meanwhile, hostile Lathe ships are patrolling the lower edge of the plasma barrier not far above.
Soon, the tide broke loose and it got worse. A lot worse. Within seconds I had almost nothing left but the grabbers at the bottom. I thought about restarting, but tried to salvage it. As demonstrated it's not difficult to get off to a bad start here.
So this looks bad. I need to warp the HQ back in, but actually as positioned the grabbers are producing a fairly safe zone with those streams aimed towards the middle of the map. Meanwhile the initial rush has largely been absorbed. This is actually surprisingly and satisfyingly salvageable ... it's just going to take some time.
Grabber Leapfrog is the name of the game here. After getting a few combat ships to aid in the defense, I start adding more grabbers to move some forward and push our particulate higher as can be seen on the left here. Off-screen to the right, a Marauder and Destroyer protect that flank. I'm also making sure to keep that exit at the bottom-middle of the map blocked with plenty of grabbers, so that any blue friendlies that float down that way get recycled upwards again.
In this manner I'm able to gradually move the front lines of this battle upwards, and start deploying more firepower. The big guns in this case are the C-Class, Wolf, and later Big Nose.
After a slow, gradual push we seize the next row of energy sources - I found Mine Cannons to be quite useful as a tech option here. Now it was time to work on reconstituting the plasma field. As you can see at the top here, it has long since been eradicated.
If I had it to do over, I'd definitely form a custom fleet for this with more particle weapons for this purpose. As it is, I spread out the cruiser, C-class, and marauder along the front as they are the ships I have armed with such capabilities.
At first I didn't get far, but as the plasma coherence improved the fountains effect was slowed down dramatically. Hostile particulate began to stack up on it instead of crashing down into my fleet, making things a great deal easier.
Then I started running out of grabbers, even with twelve of them. I'm not sure how much good it does, but I even started giving amp gems to some of them. At this point I began experimenting with reorganizing them. There's a certain art to placing them in reasonably optimal positions to get the most particulate up the map with the fewest ships you can, so that there are enough to push it along the front and support the continued snail-crawl advance of the fleet.
Half an hour into the struggle. One of the things about this map is there's no low-hanging fruit. We now have control of over half of it, but no production structures of the enemy have been yet taken. We have to pass this barricade for that to happen - there is still constantly about 1200 hostile particulate, not counting their ships and doppels. Energy sources are the only things we've yet reached.
Eventually reaching the top of the plasma field, I began placing Omnis on liberated sections of the land barricade. Inch by painful inch, we continued to push despite the particulate's stringent objections. Finally, things started turning harder in our direction, the doppel structure and then others falling. There was still plenty of particulate at the top of the map, so ...
I decided to deploy the SuperCarrier. Here's how it looks compared to some of the other ships. Only half of its runways are operational at this point ...
But that's more than enough to put some serious hurt on the enemy masses. By the time it was done building, this battle was all but over.
Because reasons, this level decided to start a trend of not actually recording my victory time. It's as if I never played Fountains, even though I did. PF doesn't like me. Anyway, Daisy Chain is up next and there appears to be a least one ship I haven't seen before in the graphic here. And it's got a different author as well! We'll see what 'planetfall' has to offer next time.