Thursday, 27 December 2012

X-COM: Terrorized

My first terror mission, something I was not looking forward to. Most missions you have a certain advantage, even when you are using inferior equipment. On a terror mission, everything changes. They have a massive effect on how the X-COM project is viewed by funding nations, and it's a very bad idea to ignore them. On the other hand, a successful mission can give you a vital boost when you receive your monthly funding.

My first problem was the time of day, it was midnight in Russia, and that's generally a very bad thing when you are considering a mission. The aliens have far better night vision, which puts your soldiers at an even greater disadvantage. I attempted the mission three times at night, but found my squad getting annihilated within a few turns. I decided to reload, and wait until daylight. Terror missions are time limited, so you have to gauge this accurately, but I did manage to get my Skyranger and fourteen soldiers to land during the day. This time, I would succeed!

Squad: fan out and engage hostiles!
Leaving the Skyranger, I immediately had to kill a Sectoid, but he went down with ease. This revealed my second problem: Cyberdisks. Anyone who has played either this game or the recent reboot will tell you of the challenge that they provide. Ruthless killing robots, able to fire with great accuracy, float above the ground and absorb large amounts of damage. With my rather pitiful rifles, it took quite a lot of time to destroy them. This had been my downfall in the night missions, as they are able to pick off my soldiers with little chance for retaliation.

The hated and feared Cyberdisc
A few well placed grenades and a barrage of rifle fire later, and I was beginning to make headway. It had not come without cost though, and I had lost three good soldiers. The progress was slow, as I made my soldiers fan out and hunt down the alien menace. It seemed like I had been given the runt of the litter for personnel, as they struggled to hit their targets even on multiple attempts. Clearly their nerves were getting the better of them, and two men did panic, dropping their weapons. I also sensed a strange presence, as if there was a sinister reason behind my (otherwise battle-ready) soldiers suddenly becoming so fearful, but I will have to investigate that later.

When a Cyberdisc is killed, it explodes with great force
I heard the screams of dying civilians in the distance. I wouldn't be able to save them all, I knew that was beyond my means. Their deaths would be avenged, and with great force. I progressed further, perhaps too quickly, and as my men cornered a panicked Sectoid, a grenade exploded at their feet. Two more good soldiers down, and I still had aliens to kill.

Surveying the damage
My soldiers regrouped, and advanced on the remaining aliens. Their rifles blazed in the morning sun, bullets tearing through a partially destroyed house. The wooden walls became splintered and broken, and the aliens had nowhere to run. Unceremoniously, the final shots rang out and it was all over. Corpses, both alien and human, littered the town. Smoke billowed in the wind. The mission was over, but it was very clear that the war had only just begun.

A "good" rating, but a high cost

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