Part 2: MISSION 2: Learning Curves Are For The WeakMISSION 2: Learning Curves Are For The Weak
On to mission 2! I must admit, I got pretty excited when I saw "create an outpost" and "establish our supply lines" nestled in there. Finally, some real gameplay!
...Let me go ahead and quote a description of the game's major selling point right from the horse's mouth:
No city-building and technology trees. You can buy reinforcements and offmap special abilities. But no "build the barracks > buy the troops > upgrade the town hall". The only resources you can find on the map are power-ups. They look like they should: like shiny rotating coins with bright colors.
That's right, fuckers! Years of advancement and refining in the RTS genre can suck it! We're going back to SHINY ROTATING COINS to fuel your war machine! They're SHINY!
Oh, and don't miss our first hint of humor to be found in a briefing. That wacky Stalin with his adorable signature~!
Really, game? I could Photoshop a better alien encounter with my dick. I feel no need to explain the mechanics of that.
Game time! Defend the village! Who wants to bet that-
Another battle won without touching a damn thing. Good work, self. You make THE MOTHERLAND proud.
I am now being sent...north? Up? Yonder? Not like there's any direction-finding element to the UI.
My favorite litigation magnets return, belching white blobs at my tanks. They function similarly to tanks, actually. Their range is about the same, their damage is comparable, speed is...
Wait...are they reskinned tanks??
I have no idea why I find that surprising.
My two tanks vs. their two guys ends in a draw...or it would have, if I hadn't shot first. Hypothesis proven.
I should probably replace those, so I crack open the Reinforcements menu for this mission. Two new items stand out, the ZSU-37 and the Soviet Anthem. The former is the new unit for this map that I started with three of and forgot to mention. It appears to be a slower tank with longer range. Exciting! The latter is used to maintain patriotic erections, I guess, because the game still doesn't feel like telling me shit.
I buy a small gaggle of tanks (the cheap ones) and proceed.
The enemy has the high ground! (This doesn't matter)
Here, have a close up on the sprinkles, and try to tell me they're not Pikmin. Go on.
This seems like the perfect time to test my boner power. Apparently, it grants a fuzzy halo to soldiers and war machines alike.
The sprinkles charge, and my troops make short work of them, sustaining only light losses. What did the Soviet Anthem do? No idea!
Oh, I was right...it made my tanks horny. THANKS, STALIN.
My ever-sharpening SvM instincts tell me this will be another sit-there-and-watch-Martians-charge-your-guys mission. It indicates both my current position and my starting position as objectives, so I buy up some more tanks and men.
Sure enough, sprinkles appear to catch all of these pesky bullets we keep dropping from our guns.
Here, the movement commands got a little funky on me. I wanted to move my column down the hill, past the ZSUs, but most of my units didn't feel like it. Maybe they're jealous of those big gun barrels on the new guys.
After the sprinkles come...uh...
Hey, do you remember the drug trip part in Dumbo?
A second column of hallucinations close in on my reinforcements.
They decide to play hide-and-seek around a farmhouse.
And then SET ALL MY SHIT ON FIRE. The elephant guys shoot fireballs that burn the hell out of anything nearby. Say good-bye to those tanks!
Anyway, VICTORY! Time to liberate the other side of the map.
I start rolling both units into the purple Dr. Seussy valley in the middle of the map. A significant force of sprinkles bars my path.
Spastics that they are, the sprinkles waste no time in mobbing my tanks.
At that moment, I notice my reinforcement blob is a LOT smaller than I remember it. By the time I arrive on the scene, we're down to one unit of soldiers vs a handful of candied invaders.
Fight on, brave Ivan! Fight for THE MOTHE-
Well, the OTHER guys are still alive, so I guess the reinforcements didn't believe in the proletariat hard enough. ONWARD!
Wait, what is...
This is all that managed to pull out of that hellhole. Wuh-oh.
Okay, new plan. Anyone seen Enemy at the Gates?
ONE OUT OF TWO GETS A RIFLE
WHEN THE ONE WITH THE RIFLE GETS KILLED
THE ONE WHO IS FOLLOWING PICKS UP THE RIFLE AND SHOOTS
NOT A STEP BACKWARDS, OR WE SHOOT!
Oops. The fire is an area-wide attack, and works reeeeeeally well on soldiers. Remember when I said there's no limit on the voiceovers? I nearly went deaf with the thunderous chorus of "I'M DYING" this produced.
...Come to think of it, the Soviets lost that battle in the movie, didn't they.
Not even the tanks are spared.
Okay, well, maybe there is some strategy to this. For example, I've noticed that my infantry does FUCK ALL through most of this battle, since they don't always auto-attack threats and the things I need them against (sprinkles) are too fast to click. Tanks do alright against sprinkles and are essential against the not-tanks and Blowbos.
So I try again, and blow my savings on tanks.
I press further into the lower (?) part of the map, and spy...whatever the fuck this is. No time to gawk, comrades! ONWARD!
NEXT TIME ON STALIN VS. MARTIANS:
I probably start cheating.