Part 40: Andes
We're in the final stretch of the campaign. Just like the LC, the UCS campaign has 3 "mine all you can" missions so you can finish your evacuation ship. Since we only need 250,000 this time things should be easier than in the LC missions.
Oh and the Earth is getting all lava-y thanks to the tectonic plates.
We start in another valley, this time with a Power Plant and 2 Large Towers next to our LZ.
This should be sufficient to get our economy going. There aren't enough minerals at our LZ so we will need to create another mining base somewhere else on the map.
Unlike the LC, the UCS don't get access to their superweapon until the final 3 missions of the game. Bit of a shame since the Offensive Plasma Cannon is the best of the lot. It can't be shot down by SDI and it's useful on all maps unlike the LC's who can only use the best function on late-game maps.
NOAH I, we've been tasked with getting you 100,000 CR this mission. I think we can get 10,000 CR.
And would you look at that, our Spider P scouts have found ED Small Towers protecting a very large deposit. I think we all know what needs to happen now.
A Gruz has come to rebuild. We won't let him do that.
Okay, these might be more of an issue. Wherever the ED are, they're way too close to our base. We need to find them and destroy them.
Well look at that. Turns out they're right over the ridge next to the mining field. Why do they get the best spawn location on this map? It's not very fair!
With our Offensive Plasma Cannon done we can work on our heavy bomber, the Dragon. While the Bat can carry the Bomb Bay, it's unlikely it'll be able to drop its payload before being shot down. The Dragon gives us the chance to get all our bombs delivered.
Following the ED's recapture of the central resource field, I sent up my cloaked army.
Results were as you'd expect.
And it's a good thing we counter-attacked when we did. The ED had already started building more significant defenses in the area.
Our Offensive Plasma Cannon is ready. The actual launch center costs 1,500 CR and you can build up to 4 cannons at 1,000 CR each. They require a few minutes to charge, so we'll be back here shortly.
In the interim, the LC bring a very effective air force right into the heart of my base. I immediately regret that I didn't put shields on my buildings as the Thunderer hS can take out an Energy Transmitter in only a second or two.
Fortunately the semi-retired Night Barons were around in their defensive role. The LC only managed to knock our Aerial Supply Depot out of the power grid. That's a simple 100 CR fix.
And now the LC try to send a piddly little Moon into our base. It's annoying but I think at this point we need to wipe out both the LC and ED bases to avoid annoyances like this.
And our forces at the central mineral field are ready to go.
Once again, the ED completely panics in the wake of a stealth UCS attack. Their Grozny and Cossack helicopters are firing randomly into the area where they think we're coming from. They don't even notice that a few units have moved outside the stealth bubble.
An even greater surprise is brewing though.
Offensive Plasma Cannon target: acquired.
One blast destroyed all the Small Towers and did extensive damage to the Mines. It's great to have some artillery support now.
Our stealth forces have no problem clearing out the rest of the base.
Since we don't need the Dragon right now, I'll get the chassis upgrade before building.
Looks like one Small Tower survived the Plasma Cannon blast. Curses!
No worries now, everything in the ED base is gone. With the base destroyed I finally feel comfortable setting up my mining operation in the center.
Even with the ED eliminated, attacks from the LC have become relentless. I really appreciate the Night Barons still performing albeit in a much more limited role. I need someone to find the LC base so we can eliminate it as well.
I call on the Night Barons one last time (despite their supposed retirement last mission). They're robots, I'm sure they won't mind.
The Bomb Bay is how our Dragon is going to drop bombs on our enemies' heads. It's going to be fun, just you wait.
Looks like we've found something to the northwest of the mining base. A Plasma strike is the best option here. I don't want to risk my army against those tough LC defenses.
Oh. Right. The LC shields all their structures. While we took out some Solar Cells we'll never manage to destroy the LC base without an actual attack.
I order our forces defending the LZ to march north to the mining base. They'll link up with the robots who attacked the ED base and we'll be rid of both the ED and LC on this map, making mining a breeze.
The LC had other ideas though. They didn't take too kindly to our bombardment of their base so now they're sending some Moons through the same mountain pass we're using.
And some Thunderers.
And Craters. What was supposed to be a redeployment has turned into an all-out battle. Fortunately everyone moved in something resembling a pack or this may have turned out quite differently.
The LC must have mined out their ore field, as they keep trying to build mines on our center field. Good thing the Harvesters weren't under that mine
More towers should make it harder for them to build on our resources.
With the Bomb Bay done, I can finally show off the Dragon II B. 400 damage per bomb is pretty damn good. Having only 3 bombs is a bit of a bummer though.
So let's get that damage up.
Our army has resupplied after the mountain pass attack and we know the LC is hurting for credits right now. The time is right for a strike.
With the LC bank account depleted, they do not have enough money to shield their unshielded buildings. This power station falls in seconds to our massed plasma.
And now we can watch all the Solar Cells auto-destruct since there's no Solar Power Plant connected to them.
That's a pretty tough approach the LC have concocted here. More concerning is their Weather Control Center. We can't let them meteor us to death.
Nothing an attack from the Grizzlies can't take care of. The superior range of the Heavy Rocket Launcher is coming in handy here. If we wait at the edge of our range we can hit the LC Defenders without putting our units at risk. Should've invested in more upgrades Sombra
A solid diet of rockets mixed with another Offensive Plasma barrage take out the Main Bases and last Solar Power Plant. It's clean-up time, my robot minions!
Let's get more than 3 bombs in our Dragon. Unlike all the other weapon upgrades, the Bomb Bay upgrade doesn't increase damage, just the number of bombs your Dragons can carry. The ammo upgrades are the only way to increase the Bomb Bay's damage.
A bunch of unpowered Mines and Guardians? This is a joke.
And with that I've wiped out the LC army. So I'm going to turn the game speed up a bit so things don't take so long.
This is most notable on the research screen. The next Plasma Bomb isn't any faster than the others, it would take about 5 minutes playing at the speed I usually play at.
With the upgrades we've got now the Dragon does 600 damage and carries 5 bombs. Let's start building some.
Here's our first bomber. I'm not sure how useful they're going to be in defensive missions, but we've got a great air-to-ground weapon now.
The final Plasma Bomb looks huge and costs a lot more than any other ammo upgrade we've seen.
If we're already at 800 damage per bomb, what the hell is this next one going to do?
Our Dragons will need escorts and nothing fits the bill quite like the Bat hR.
Note though that the Bat hR is only a little better than our maximum veterancy Gargoyle. The Bat has 30 more HP, does 28 more damage, has 10 more rockets and 2 more range. This is why I've waited so long to build an upgraded air force. If you manage things well, Gargoyles can last you all the way to the late game.
Looks like we've got our minerals. At this point I had an inner debate. If I stuck around in the Andes I could finish the campaign without the last two missions. But I decided that would be a bit cheap so I decided to only mine until I finished building my new air force.
1200 damage per bomb. That's incredible. Our Dragon B can now destroy most (unshielded) structures and units in one hit. And it can drop 5 bombs before reloading.
We need 130,000 more credits to complete the campaign. I think it's very likely we'll finish the UCS campaign one mission early.
Beating the AI by 1000 points is kind of boring at this point.
Columbia and Achimania are both open to us at this point. I'll be playing Columbia next mission and hopefully we'll finish Project MARS next update.