The Let's Play Archive

Stalin vs. Martians

by Zombie Samurai & Paingod556

Part 10: MISSION 9: Walls Do Not Work That Way

I was a bit worried this was going to be a boring update given how lame this mission is, but the developers out-stupided me at the last moment.

MISSION 9: Walls Do Not Work That Way

Ah yes, the good old days of purging the educated for the good of the nation. If only Uncle Joe had considered the effect this would have through the ages...perhaps he executed a bright young teacher who would have gone on to be a programming savant, and pass his inspired techniques on to some clever game developers so that they could make a game about Soviets fighting aliens that wasn't an appalling, shameful disgrace to everyone involved.

See, this whole thing IS Stalin's fault.

Anyway, we're escorting some made-up scientist (Wikipedia turns up zilch) to open up a gate so we can get to a portal. I don't suppose we could just chuck a few Tsar Bombas through the portal and call it a day, eh?

Oh, and if you're gonna be god now, Uncle Joe, GET THE FUCKING PRICE OF YOUR SUPERPOWER RIGHT.

If the average Russian only knew that their bodies were stuffed full of gold, this would be less invasion and more hunting season. Though I suppose in Russia, every season is hunting season.

Game, no one involved in any of this shit is going to win the Nobel Prize, unless they introduced a new one for eroding the human spirit.

I do note that we have an awful lot of supertanks, which gives me some small glimmer of hope. But what's that funky-ass glow in the corner?

It's our boy Sakharov, of course! They decided to mark our VID (Very Important Douchebag (because his VO is a total douchemonger)) with a psychedelic flickering cloud of atomic warning particle effects. Which are floating quite a ways over his head, so if you're still not sure who we're escorting, that's normal.

You may have noticed in our close-up of bombuddy that we were under attack. Zooming out, I spy a flurry of sprinkles humping our infantry to death. Nothing wrong here.

Y'know, I was starting to miss battles I win without doing anything. They're probably the most gratifying.

No new toys for this mission. Bleh. Guess we'll have to get by with out 8 supertanks.

Marshaling my armor and rolling down the hill, I encounter another pack of sugar bits and sporendiary explosives. I was a little worried, because I over-extended pretty badly here.

No need to fear, it seems. With this many tanks in tow, those 'shrooms got shredded before popping their tops.

Oh boy, a bridge! And a bunch of suicidal toppings to pave our crossing with bodies. Wonder how many precious tanks I'll lose to a bullshit ambush this time.

Wait, that's it? One eyeball-barfing meatball?

Ohh right, the devs actually thought their Smurfiphants DID stuff. I suppose if they did, or if they were just a few yards closer to the bridge, they might be right.

Hang on, do you smell that?

Yep, it's bullshit! Bulbous mutant ripoffs form the last line of alien defense, vomiting inconsistently visible sparkles at my poor tanks.

My poor, poor tanks, which are now grinding their emerald bodies beneath their triumphant treads. The armor on these tanks is really starting to seem overpowered, especially coupled with the generous helpings of Full Health tokens I get from the sprinkles. Those Dippin Dots really are the best thing that happened to the Red Army since frostbite.

Rolling on, we complete the alien roundup with a swarm of sickly spacemen and their pet trippytoads. Realistically I should hate those funky frogs more than the oooOOOooohs, since they have the same attack and are more mobile. However, I've had to suffer through way, WAY more instances of three-eyed dickshits blowing up my tanks from off-fucking-screen, so they can fuck all the way off.

I've pretty much thrown strategy to the wind at this point. I roll right into the thick of things and open up with everything I've got...or more accurately, let my tanks do whatever the fuck they feel like, since I have almost no control over their attacks.

Time for another bridge crossing, and man, they're not even trying this time! If you want to piss of your player effectively, you have to hide your close combat units right next to the mouth of the bridge, guys. I'm almost not completely hating my life right now!

Really, in this situation, the Blowbos are about as threatening as cows. Which leaves me the battle of tank vs. cow, how much usable beef is left?

Blowin' up trees, because hey, why not? I'm sure one of these days it's going to cause some random disaster to befall me, but you guys will get a kick out of it. I'll cry and gnash my teeth, and you'll laugh and laugh...

Seriously, why the fuck are these things in the game at all?

The last town before the wall (you can see it there in the upper left) is infested with Cacoderps, whose combined ocular force STILL can't take down my tanks. You're giving meatballs a bad name, fuckwads.

I roll down through town, past the John Rhys-Davies Memorial, and spy another tri-balled shitchamp. It's a bad day to be you, buddy.

Heading back across town, a few more oooOOOooohs are cowering in the treeline. No mercy, pigfuckers. I'll never forgive you for Mission 2.

And heeeeeeere's the gate, with what I guess is supposed to be a low-budget portal beyond. We made it!

Hey, did you notice I haven't been mentioning our escort buddy?

Well, that's because he's back with the infantry, of course. Now you know the great secret of what makes this mission so dumb.

The escortee is a unit I control.

See, the great and terrible problem with escort missions is always that your escortee is suicidally stupid. They scamper off into the middle of an abattoir, or open the door to the rabid zombie wombat cages, or decide to eschew the safe upper path for the scenic lower path through the 50-foot dildo monster village. The SvM developers, for whatever hash-and-vodka-fuelled reason, decided to "fix" this by letting YOU control the escortee.

If you don't see the new problem with this approach...well, I've pretty much just illustrated it for you. I've killed everything on the path between bomberman and the gate. Assuming he doesn't trip any alien-reinforcement-spawning triggers, we cannot lose. And we all know how lazy/stupid/useless/impotent these developers are.

I mean, they can't even bother with a collision box for their scenery. I think my quantum-tunnelling troops have nothing to worry about.

Here's probably the best shot of our VID. He's the back right-most human-looking thing there.

A scenic view of where we are and where we're going. I wonder whose bright idea it was to put those obnoxiously blue crystals in the game. It's not like they have anything to do with anything, or even look good. They clash against every single terrain they're placed on.

Hurry the fuck up, guy! This dude is, hands-down, the slowest unit in the game. I wish I had some of that gimpy artillery in this mission so we could have a race. As much as I can appreciate having a no-stress escort mission, this guy's pace is raising my blood pressure. Maybe it's a holdover from a previous plan to have him on a set path. Who cares?

...Now what? I ordered all my ground-pounders to assemble with the tanks, and Mr. Special Shits here decides to take a constitutional down to the crystal farm. I don't think so, fucko!

I like this shot, because it manages to be scenic and hideous at the same time. Oh, and for reference, Prof. Pants-On-Head clipped through that left-hand tree and the farm fence on his merry way.

I finally got an iPhone today after a decade of using basic featureless phones. It gave me something to do while waiting for this GERIATRIC ASS-DRAGGING FUCK to drag said ass across the map. I hope he still has it in him to blow two gates...not sure where that second one came from.

With one hard gaze, the massive gates burst into poorly-rendered flames. I guess Comrade Chucklefuck is selectively pyrokinetic.

Christ, you guys can't even display a two-line objective right? I suppose it's not much further down the spiral from "fail to render enemy attacks" and "miscode essential attack cost".

Anyway, we have to approach the portal? I'm not letting anything get the jump on me after watching that doddery little fuck hobble his way across the goddamned map.

Tank, get in there.

What, are we TMXing now? (Tank Multi-Cross, of course.) Quit humping that wall and get to it.

Not a single enemy in sight. Guess we just walk Doctor Zhifucko over and win the battle.

But why leave just yet? We've seen some pretty fucked up hit detection and pathing in this game, especially in this mission. I'm curious about this wall...

Oh yes. That's what I'm talking about.

Ooh, even better! Hey, doesn't it look angled up a bit...?


And away we go! I mean, this is essentially pointless, even if you can do this before blowing the gates. The only unit that needs to get to the other side is the one that can open it up anyway. Still, this is about as lazy and stupid as it gets. This isn't an attention to detail thing...they put something that's supposed to be an imposing, impenetrable barrier, essentially the silent antagonist of the mission, and let the player climb all over it like a damn jungle gym. If I gave even the smallest shit about the narrative in this game...

Wait, what's that noise?


They must have been hiding in the woods next to the wall! My senseless joyride has cost us...

...Nothing, because the Intelligentsia are not as wafer-thin as Stalin suggests. Since this came up, I should mention that I did a second run to make sure you fail the mission if Sakharov dies. Right at the beginning, I sent him charging into the enemy lines.

They gave not a single fuck. It appears that once the Martians aggress a particular unit, they will NOT peel away from it until one of them is dead. Since all of these attackers were baying for the blood of my frontline infantry, the good doctor could simply mosey through the carnage.

He fared less well on his own. It's worth noting that he is significantly beefier than infantry, though. It took two 'shroom bursts and a mess of sprinkles to stop him. Maybe Uncle Joe should have fielded scientists at Kiev.


Can't forget the Black Screen of Heroes.

I you think this was an escort mission? Technically, there WAS a unit I had to protect. It's just that I had the option of wiping the map clean before moving it out of its safe little hidey-hole. Regardless of the "escort" aspect, the unit balance in this mission was straight fucked. I started with 8 supertanks, and ended with 8 supertanks. I don't even think any of them were in real danger at any point. Hell, I probably could have done this mission with half as many, and actually have had to use reinforcements.

You think the devs are going soft on us?