Friday, 18 January 2013

X-COM: Alien Base Assault

I guess I couldn't wait any longer. They had been taunting me for months, knowing I was scared to send my squad into their South American base. Their secret pact caused Brazil to withdraw funding for the X-COM project, and since I wasn't feeling a huge amount of threat from them I decided to leave it until I was more prepared.

I still don't feel prepared, but I'm going for it anyway! Alien base assaults are a tricky proposition, full of dark forbidding rooms and awkward corridors. It can be too easy for them to overwhelm you, especially if you are ill-equipped. There's also a slight chance that I might walk into a Sectoid base, in which case there would be psionic aliens present. Psi-attacks can cripple any force, and I have yet to do the appropriate research in order to find out which of my soldiers are vulnerable.

The rewards are potentially high though, with plenty of recoverable alien technology available. I'll need all that salvage in order to fund my expansions, I need to boost my research and gain access to the hyper-wave decoder. This device will allow me to detect far more UFO activity, allowing me to react faster to any threats. It should also assist in my attempts to attack more intact UFOs, rather than the crashed ones. Crashed UFOs have a nasty tendency to have exploded power cores, meaning you recover no Elerium. With no Elerium, my ability to craft powerful weapons and armour is severely limited, and my advanced fighters are grounded.

As it turned out, it was a Snakeman base. While this was possibly the best of all possible outcomes, it still meant that I would have Chryssalids to deal with. I began by carefully sweeping the areas where my soldiers entered the base. Once those were clear, I moved further towards the command centre. This was the point where everything started to go quite wrong.

At this stage, I have been keeping my soldiers in rather tight formations. This allows me to concentrate fire on targets, hopefully killing them before they have a chance to react. Unfortunately, this has the downside of making them big targets for explosives. The regular alien grenades are bad enough, but in this dark and horrific alien structure, the Snakemen had managed to get their hands on a couple of Blaster launchers. Able to deliver a massive explosive charge, the Blaster launcher can also guide the missile through various waypoints. This makes it an amazing weapon, but deadly in the wrong hands.

With two of these missiles, they cut down two-thirds of my soldiers. The remainder almost all panicked, which made them easy pickings for the aliens. I tried in vain to complete the mission with my remaining troops, but it was too difficult. The mission was a complete failure, but thankfully I had a save game just before. Time for a second attempt!

Of course as with many things, the second time was far easier. The base layout was different, and I managed to neutralise the Blaster Launcher carrying Snakemen before they could cause havoc. I even managed to stun three Snakemen, which included a Snakeman Leader and Snakeman Commander! Interrogating these two will allow me to move closer to completing the game, and should provide valuable insight into the alien plan.


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