Part 39: Mozambique
Thank you KAIN IX for finding NEO. Leave it to us to eliminate this scum.
Our base setup for this mission is very odd. We're in a very deep and narrow valley but we've got teleporters to the western and eastern ridges.
Additionally, the eastern ridge has our mineral deposits only a few steps from the teleport exit. For this reason, we'll focus development on our eastern side.
We can finally get the last Harvester upgrade. This will allow it mine as fast as our old Harvester III but also to fly.
Speaking of mining, it looks like we're halfway done with our evacuation ship. UCS News has more, although I think they're a bit behind on the times. We're 50% done, not 30%.
Our eastern mining base will be vulnerable due to its reliance on Energy Transmitters instead of a regular Power Plant. So I build some Large Towers right on the edge of the resource filed. This should hopefully fend off any attacks we encounter.
In a similar vein, I send the Mammoth to a natural choke point to create an even more impressive Large Tower matrix.
Mining operations have begun and as you can see the three towers have been upgraded to the heaviest weapon mounts. 2 are Heavy Plasma and one is Heavy Rockets. I think things are pretty secure here, no?
One of our scouts has found some ED Tunnel Entrances near the center of the map. If you recall from the LC version of this mission, the ED had an underground shortcut to our base. The UCS version is no different.
Unfortunately, on our way to scout out the tunnels one of the scouts runs into some very strange tanks. I've never seen ED units like this before.
Just like our defenses to the east, this barrier in the north should be able to fend off any ED units who get ideas about charging into our base. The tight arrangement should force them to slow down while allowing for good firing angles.
Another scout has found the main ED base. It doesn't look very well-defended though. I think we may be able to take it early and really put the pressure on NEO.
Our last living scout has made it into the ED tunnels but unfortunately he was pursued by the strange ED tanks we saw earlier.
The final Harvester upgrade is complete! From this angle it's tough to distinguish it from the Harvester III, but trust me it's different. This will revolutionize our mining processes. No longer do we have to worry about obstacles or set up our Refineries so close to the mineral fields.
With the Harvester done, it's time to research our ultimate land unit, the Jaguar. Just like the Crusher (and Ural) the Jaguar has two hard-points, one supporting all weapons and a second for non-heavy weapons. It's an extremely expensive walker but makes an excellent fortress buster.
Well look at that. Those strange tanks have found our mining operation, along with a Caspian L. These weird tanks are similar to the Grizzly in that they're not buildable but are very strong tanks for the ED. Unfortunately for the ED they're only very strong tanks in the early to mid game. Our advanced plasma weaponry should have no problem cutting them down.
It's very true, unfortunately the ED aren't complete idiots and know our weakness on the ridge is our reliance on Energy Transmitters. We'll need the Mammoth to rebuild or or economy is toast.
We've got our Spiders from the Main Base ready to go. Our first order of business before any base assaults will be to destroy the ED's tunnel shortcut.
Remember when we were worried about Grozny helicopters? Now they only last a few seconds when bombarded by our Heavy Rocket Launchers.
We've located the exit for the ED's secret tunnel. These Small Towers are a joke of a defense. This might work if it was the 6th mission, not the 16th.
Unique ED Heavy Tanks are also outclassed here.
Destroying the Tunnel Entrances is trivial at this point.
But wait! The ED have begun a counterattack. Now this is the sort of stuff we've waited the entire campaign to see from the ED. Aggressive attacks and counter-attacks with a focus on our weak points.
Too bad they still don't have shields.
I'm starting to think our defenses on the eastern ridge are not up to par. This is the second time the ED have threatened our power grid.
And now they're using our teleporters to get to the heart of our base. This will not stand. Thankfully they had their laser unit target a Small Tower, utterly squandering their penetration of our defenses.
To respond, we'll build a wall, and thus force the ED to pass our towers directly instead of driving around them like they just did.
The Jaguar is done and I've created a terrifying monstrosity of a unit here. It's a hP, hR, hR unit. It does 560 points of damage. It takes almost 5 minutes to build.
It's going to be amazing, I can't wait.
And to make matters worse, our army was in the heart of our base to reload and repair before the push on the western ED base.
At least NEO's gotten his kicks in and only taken the (comparatively) worthless Spiders.
They're no match for our new hP, P Panthers. Sadly, they did manage to take out the Aerial Supply Depot, so we'll need to build a new one. The Spiders fled for our western ridge as soon as they saw the Panthers emerge from the transport.
And the ED has sent in its air force. For once this is a pretty smart move. Our units at this point are only 3 hP, P Panthers and a single hR Spider. For once they may be able to do some damage before we can kill them.
To increase the pressure, NEO sends over the Spider Ps. Fortunately the Panthers can do more damage than the Spiders can. I bet NEO wishes he waited a few minutes so he could have these walking monstrosities.
We couldn't really defend our western ridge with all the traitor Spiders in our base so the ED makes sure to deny us that approach to their base. This would be a problem if we actually had planned to attack from the western ridge. Fortunately for us, the path from the valley is actually a better choice for this assault.
We've moved over all our other Panther and reserve Spider units so it's attacking time. We run into some mild resistance outside the base, but massed plasma is (surprise!) really, really effective against unshielded units.
Our assault force is only 8 units and a Repairer: 4 Panther hP, Ps, 3 Panther Rs and a Spider hR. Despite this being the smallest main assault force we've ever used it's undoubtedly the strongest.
Let's research the final Jaguar chassis. By the time we've burned the ED base to the ground it should be ready to go back at our base.
And our wall looks pretty damn good. There's still a small gap but that will be closed up very soon. The ED are about to be at a disadvantage and I don't think they have a clue.
This base has one of the worst defensive grids I've ever seen. And they only have unshielded Siberia Ls for base defense. Is this really meant to be the HQ of the great hacker NEO? This is a total and utter joke.
Run back to your 20th century movies NEO. A real commander is coming for you. Just sit there quietly and wait for your doom, it won't be long now.
With the mobile defenders gone, we'll focus on the Repairers next. Why the ED are keeping all them out front with no defenses is a question that will be asked in war colleges for the rest of the Earth's short lifespan.
Our wall seems to be working to keep the 2nd ED faction's army from sneaking around our defenses.
Leveling the base should be trivial at this point. Go to town my robots!
Proverbs 16:18: Pride goeth before destruction...
...and a haughty spirit before a fall.
All war is deception.
We have fallen right into NEO's trap. And as Sun Tzu also said: "He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious." We have been imprudent. And we have paid for it with our entire army for a second time.
NEO now controls the strongest fighting force the UCS has ever constructed. True, his base is in ruin but there are two ED factions on this map. We've only managed to neuter the first.
But we have a few aces in the hole: The Jaguar II hP, hR, hR.
And finally the Jaguar II hP, P, P. With these forces we will defeat NEO once and for all!
Oh and one last thing. We've also got something called a "Shadow Generator." Wonder what that does?
Rebuilding will be long, but we've got our first piece of the puzzle.
The Night Barons are still around and I've ordered them to work on softening up the approach to NEO's HQ. They perform as the Night Barons always do.
Meanwhile, NEO continues to send more attacks at our eastern flank. They're not getting through any more though.
Our second piece of the puzzle is ready. We just need to send him to the battlefield.
15,000 CR makes advanced shadow research the most expensive research in the game. It's very, very worth it though.
We need the Night Barons to take out as much of NEO's Radar as they can. I misjudged NEO earlier, almost to my doom. He knows exactly what we're planning here. He may be one of the most competent commanders the Eurasian Dynasty has in their employ. I will not doubt his prowess again.
What's this strange new tower I've built? And why am I ordering my units to lights off?
The battle for the skies is extremely fierce outside NEO's base. I think he's figured it out. NEO must destroy the Night Barons here or face utter annihilation.
Our forces are arranged. This is an even more impressive attack group than the one I lead into the western ED base.
It's going to be extremely close, but I think the Night Barons will have the Radars cleared out in time.
So right now you might be asking why the hell do I care so much about Radars? I've never given them any consideration. Well it's time to take you out of the dark. So to speak.
This is the Spider SHADOW.
What can the Spider SHADOW do?
Why it's simple: the Spider SHADOW brings the same benefits of a Shadow Tower to the front. That is, so long as our units have their lights off and are near the Spider SHADOW they are completely invisible to enemy units.
Not invisible on the minimap, not invisible to auto-targeting. Literally invisible.
Our heritage with stealth tactics have allowed us to merge our earlier sneaking with the new, modern UCS army.
And why did I worry so much about Radar? Simple, Radar is the only thing that disrupts the Spider SHADOW's cloaking power. To take NEO completely by surprise we couldn't have him detecting our units and shooting them now could we?
In a bit of a setback, it looks like we'll need to install plasma cannons on the space ship to destroy any errant asteroids. But I'm sure things will still be fine.
With the majority of NEO's base in shambles it's okay to send a few units out of the cloaking field to clear out the unpowered base defenses.
There it is. There's NEO's HQ.
We've got footage of the final assault on the HQ:
His tomb. We let him see our mighty Jaguars just before his HQ collapses. He'll know forever that he failed to plan for our resourcefulness and cutting edge walkers.
NEO IS DEAD! But there's a 3.2% chance he survived. There's no way though, right? The building collapsed in mere seconds once our Jaguar hPs began firing.
Unfortunately there's still those pesky traitor units to deal with. Once we've wiped them out we'll finally be free of NEO.
I order the Night Barons to work on softening up the traitors while our stealth army is en route.
It is an utter disaster. The strength of the new heavy rockets and the sheer firepower of the Panther R chew through the Night Barons. They scatter after the death of half of their strength.
We must invest in the Bat for future air operations.
Battered and utterly humiliated, the Night Barons retreat back to base. For the remainder of the campaign they will be nothing more than a local guard force. They've completely lost the ability to project power. Still, they had an incredible run. If you recall, the very first mission where we used stealth tactics involved the Gargoyles that would become the Night Barons. How fitting that their last mission involved the final evolution of our stealth strategy.
Night Barons, as President of the United Civilized States, I hereby award you the Distinguished Flying Cross. I know you're robots so I doubt you care but your service in this war has been of the utmost caliber. We appreciate it.
We'll upgrade the Bat's weapons as well as its chassis.
Our stealth army has finally made it to the traitor's location. Once again, we've got video of the confrontation:
Unfortunately during the fight, some of our units get out of the Spider SHADOW's range. They only take minor damage, but it stresses how carefully you need to manage a stealth army.
Fortunately it doesn't change the outcome.
NEO's traitor army is dead. NEO is dead. We can finally pull out and focus on the final stages of Project MARS.
NEO's probably a plasma-charred corpse. I wouldn't be surprised if we never find his remains. Let's not worry about it now. There's less than a 4% chance he's alive according to ARES XV. He won't be bothering us anymore.
We're 75% done with the spaceship. Now I agree with GOLAN IV: we need to focus on these last 250,000 CR. Worrying about NEO at this point is pointless.
The Bat is ready for the battlefield. They'll be replacing the Gargoyle as the standard UCS air unit from here out.
Another 30,000 for Project MARS? Sounds good to me.
2258 to 978 with 160 kills . We more than doubled the ED's score in this mission. Good job robots.
Earth looks pretty bad. That must mean we're in the final batch of missions. From here on out we'll only be mining for minerals. First stop: The Andes mountains.