Part 56: Day 13: HorrorDay 13: Horror
What a lovely title for a mission.
More than a trifle cocky, although that's a very in-character mindset.
And we were having so much fun with the witty, sterile conjecture.
After 30 seconds. As ever some of it is hard to see. Main points though: the Liberation Ship starts in a fairly open area on the left. There are capsules up top, on the right, and lower-right. The top two are going to go fairly quickly due to the decayable terrain. Lower one is actually protected by gravity strangeness -- creeper quickly surrounds it as you can see but is concentrated in a ring that won't actually attack it.
Fourth and final one is down here. The tunnels will bring creeper to it but it will take a while. Once I saw the layout, I knew I wanted to restart with something resembling a plan.
Doom Timer: 3:02
In actuality, there is a 3-stage timer here. This is how fast the first capsule is lost. All that does is buy more time to get to the others. And by the by, the game says this is an 'Obliteration' level. It technically is ... but with extra failure conditions. A 'bait-and-switch' really. In a twisted sort of way, that ensures it isn't too much of a slog. If you win, it won't take that long to do it. But that's a big IF.
Three minutes till the first one goes boom. Tick-tock.
Building up some semblance of a base of operations is aided by the three artifacts; one for ore, one for tech, one for energy.
After getting something like 8-10 reactors up I try this. It is clear the two capsules on top that will get eaten first have to be the priority. So I'll send a couple blasters up there, with a maker in the snaking tunnels to the right to try and prepare the way to move to the second capsule when I've secured the first. Once I've saved the first pair, then we'll see what's what.
On the top layer you can see the first signs of damage in the terrain. 1 minute, 12 seconds has transpired since mission start. You do not want to twiddle your thumbs on this.
That ledge below ends up not being such a great place for unguarded reactors.
I rebuild some up higher. As we start rescuing the first capsule(not sure how energy packets actually do that, but whatever) you can see that the first column of terrain at the second one is gone, and another is also damaged. Once again, tick-tock.
Focus, Dax. Focus. Revenge comes after winning the battle at hand. As for me, I focused on building more reactors, then built a third blaster. One up top, two going through the tunnels below backed by a maker.
Two columns remain for that creeper to eat through, and I don't get a beacon built in time to extend range.
I've added a launcher which starts firing on that emitter ... but it's far too late as the second capsule goes kaput. Hey guess what -- I've failed again!! Timestamps are interesting in this kind of level to gauge progress(or lack thereof) in improving the strategy. In this case, we saved the first capsule at 2:16, and the second one went boom at 5:03. So I passed the 3-minute test, but not the second five-minute one.
Second attempt, and I place a few reactors on these 'shelves' to begin, avoiding any early attacks from below.
First capsule is mine in 1:24, almost a minute faster. Almost four to go after the second one, and I've got a couple of launchers getting built much more quickly. One blaster above two below as before.
I move the Maker over to the left to handle that lower emitter, and still wait too long to get the Beacon up but it wasn't as bad this time.
As you can see I'm now tearing into that creeper cavern fairly well ... but it's too late. 4:59, and four seconds later ...
It was better. It was not good enough.
The first capsule is very routine now; the question is how to get to the next one on time. I do things a bit more efficiently on the third attempt but also add this wrinkle. The point is to open up a larger field of fire and push into the emitter cavern sooner.
I've got just over a minute left.
We nearly get overwhelmed when the dam breaks ... it's even worse than I noticed. Some of the weapons are damaged and you can see we're partly cut off in the tunnel, but there's still enough room for packets to get through. 29 seconds left ...
With about 10 seconds to go I get the creeper down below the level of that capsule. Close, but we just made it over the second hurdle.
I take a look below and note that I have all kinds of time to get down there. The creeper will need to 'bubble up' to reach that last capsule, the narrow tunnel below the emitters is still filling up ... I'm confident I can do this.
Report from the second capsule.
Sounds like the Styglek were conducting advanced forms of interrogating human prisoners. I don't even want to contemplate the end results. And I don't have time to either.
Just as all that came up, I noticed something troubling which had not previously occurred to me.
Extends down and left also, but for our purposes the important point is that I have to go down through the area where the 'protected capsule' is in order to get to the fourth. This complicates things considerably. I'd much rather circumvent it but there's actually no way to do that. It's all blocked off by terrain that can't be excavated, except for that one narrow path that you can see at the bottom/bottom-right. 5:44 is our time on the second capsule by the way.
Clearly I'll need more firepower.
More energy, and a couple of TechDomes.
Then, now with 7 Blasters and a pair of Launchers, I breach the third cavern.
It's starting to fill up down at the bottom ... Eventually we pound our way through the dense sphere surrounding the third capsule ...
That is profound and noteworthy. I actually like the fact that not everything has an earth-shattering revelation though. Time is 11:59 now.
A couple of matters complicate further progression. One, we're out of ore and that Remnants was the only source on the map. That emitter on the far left is going to threaten the ship now, so I have to build platforms there to defend it. I've also added launchers on the right with our main cluster, to help beat back the tendrils of creeper so that we can push downwards. I also need more reactors to fuel all of that ... there's a lot going on.
We don't have a lot of tech, but here's the few upgrades I have acquired.
Excavation does eventually get us into the lowest network ... but if you look at that final cavern, it's pretty obvious we aren't going to get there in time. A little over half a minute later we lose it, at 17:17. Three out of four is a good success rate in a lot of things. Here, it just means a longer time taken before having to hit 'Restart'.
Last time I edited out a couple minutes of the start of the attempt; this time we rejoin seven minutes in(30:54 timestamp on the video). Here I'm setting up reactor shelves in the chamber where the second capsule used to be. I now know I need more massed firepower below and I'm preparing for that eventuality.
This time I breach the third section with six launchers, not two, and soon add another pair to the equation. Rescue comes at 11:17, less than a minute faster which is not great.
I decide I want to knock out the emitter here so I am not troubled by it, so I excavate this entire block.
Almost three minutes to go and that diversion is gone with the pathway further down dug out. This is definitely going better, the only question is whether it is going well enough or not.
It's soon clear the answer is no. Almost all of the that time is required to penetrate that narrow tunnel. We do get through it, but it's still far too late.
When at fourth you don't succeed ... go do something else and try again a couple days later. I'm not ashamed to admit I did precisely that. The capsule dies once again at 17:17.
This attempt picks up at 12:22 on the clock, so just under five minutes to doomsday(just about exactly 42 minutes video timestamp). I'm going after that emitter in the third cavern here but I built enough weaponry to also push through the lower tunnel at the same time. In other words, massed firepower and lots of it.
Three minutes left and I'm almost as far as last time. This is better, but ...
Two minutes left. I'm feeling quite good about the fact that I have cut off one of the emitters from overflowing into the bottom tunnel. That should, at the very least, buy me some time.
One minute. As I put it: "There we go, it's cut off. It shouldn't rise any more, it should just be declining now." No more creeper is being supplied to that bottom tunnel, so it should just all be over but the mop-up.
Only that's not what happened. This is 17:10, almost to doomsday, and the level is still rising in the chamber with the capsule. Frantically I throw everything I can around that bend. The problem is that the pressure is still pushing upwards. It's a slow expansion, but one I have not yet stopped.
At 17:19, the capsule explodes. I prolonged it's life by two seconds. Two. I was not amused. This is my first point of true frustration with Creeper World 2.
Take 6(sigh) starts a little earlier, 8:28 on the timer(48:10 video). I streamlined some build orders to accelerate the early conquests. Right after this I marked out that entire left block for excavation and the lower tunnel -- I want to get down there as soon as possible and I mean not a second later. Second capsule rescue is at 9:08, about a two-minute gain. That should really be more than enough.
Here's another look at the 3-minute progress. Last time I was just emerging from the tunnel, here I've got one emitter under control and starting to encroach on the second. Looking good.
One minute. I've never been this far before. As an aside, I only have weapon range upgraded, and only once. I really should be slapped for that. Going through these narrow passageways, firing rate is enormous. But I was not yet aware of that. If anyone's playing along, don't make that mistake. You can't afford to set up a big tech dome farm, but at least get a couple firing rate increases to reduce your margin of error.
17:29. 12 seconds past as I push along the bottom tunnel. I declare victory(literally "I've done it!!"), certain that the chamber creeper levels will soon decline.
I realize in, well, horror, that the creeper is not going down yet. I've lowered the pressure but not quite equalized it. It's just going up slower. Four seconds after this, at 17:43, the capsule is destroyed. I have failed.
Round of applause for this level, I have to say -- it really tore my gaming self a new one here. I was fully confident of winning ... until I didn't.
Attempt #7 starts at 16:02 with me in the final push, 58:13 timestamp. I did pretty much the same thing, just a little better.
Which isn't to say it was a resounding success. Here, at the expected moment of doomsday, I nervously proclaimed 'it can stop dropping anytime ... '. The creeper needs only to lip up over that edge again, and another attempt will go begging.
10 seconds later. In the middle, you can see the density dropping as the enemy sags back downwards in defeat. I've finally given the creeper an outlet in the lower tunnel. Soon the whole formation collapses.
You knew there had to be something simple here. The rest of the mission still must be dealt with, but it's simply the deployment of nullifiers at three emitters. That's a piece of cake. Getting this capsule was the key point.
Let's hope seven attempts and an hour(more like 2+ unedited) is not the new normal.