The Let's Play Archive


by ManxomeBromide

Part 2: Distress Call

Part 2: Distress Call

Last time, we cleared out our first sector and refueled.

Sharp-eyed viewers will note that the score and hangar location are different, because I did a restart after last time. While I'm getting a handle on the game and introducing all the mechanics, I'll just be playing normally. We aren't trying to rip the game in half yet.

Anyway, with the threat to the Federation Planet in this sector dealt with, a path is now clear for us to go south:

Warping to empty space is a no-op, like we saw last time, but when we warp to a space that opens up on the edge, like this one, once we come out of warp we end up in the adjacent quadrant:

That's a lot of enemies. We've also got two new galactic features:

... Cobra Fleets, a new kind of enemy, and
... Zylon worlds, the counterpart to Federation worlds.

Notice that since we entered from the north, we can't actually reach the Zylon world. We'll have to fly around through some other sectors if we want to reach it.

In the meantime, let's go check out Blockaders. We saw some of those in the first sector, but didn't engage them.

Blockaders, as it turns out, are assholes. There's a huge swathe of fast-moving mines and they're like planets except they murder you if they hit you instead of costing a trivial amount of fuel.

My best strategy for this is to stay relatively still, open fire on anything that looks like it might be flying into my travel path, and hope for the best.

It turns out hope is not a strategy.

One interesting mechanic here is that if you take a glancing hit, then instead of dying you instead lose a bunch of fuel and your targeting computer goes on the fritz. I actually take two glancing hits in the image above, and you if you look closely can see my fuel plummet each time. The targeting computer doesn't get any more broken, though.

After awhile I make it through the minefield. I'm supposed to fight a flagship now, but I have no idea where it is. The arrows and numbers on my targeting computer in principle will still lead me to them or at least suggest a direction...

... but they're not particuarly helpful. The X means I'm aligned with it but there's nothing at all visible here.

There he is. And my scanner is telling me it's to my left when it's clearly to my right. What the Hell, targeting computer. Anyway, once we get a visual on him he's easily dispatched. Time to fly off to the Federation world in this sector and refuel and repair. Docking will restore our targeting computer as it restores our fuel.

But wait!

On the way to the Federation planet, an alarm rings and our score starts having SCANNER overlaid over it. That means the planet is under attack! To the rescue!

Rescuing worlds is the same as refueling in that we just fly to them as usual. But once we're there, instead of waving bystanders, we have waves of Raiders...

and Targeters.

We have to kill them all or we need to warp back here and try again. That's real bad because the 40-second time limit we're under is actually pretty tight, especially if the alarm came in while we were in mid-combat. If you have a second controller, that stick is for the navigator and they can abort combats and fly off to the rescue at any point... but this is super-glitchy and I'm not going to actually do that in the standard runs. We'll cover that when I start showing off glitches.

Also worth noting in these gifs is that the enemies and I are actually trading shots that will cancel each other out. Firing defensively is very important. You can also use up and down to alter your speed on planetary surfaces; I slow down to trade shots with those Targeters and make sure I don't miss any.

Once the enemies are all dead the citizens come back out and I can dock just like I would normally.

As long as we're weapons-free on Federation planets, be aware that if you blast the docking bay, this will destroy it and render the sector useless for repairs or refuels. So if you're going to shoot two shots at the last enemy, sooner or later the docking bay will turn out to spawn right behind that last enemy and get taken out by your extra shot.

Things are looking a bit rough for this world. Let's go clear out the immediate threats.



So, that happened. (Full video of this session here, though except for the planetary defence and the minefield it is more of the same.) That's also why when we start seriously trying to beat the game we'll be using savestates. You only have to go the tiniest bit on tilt for things to go terribly, terribly wrong.

NEXT TIME: We restart again, survive rather longer, cover the remaining mission types, and start seeing how big this Galaxy really is.