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Advance Wars -- Campaign, Mission 8: Sami's Debut!

   
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Whew, that last run of scenarios was pretty taxing, because I came to the bizarre conclusion that I should tackle a branch in the road in a breadth-first fashion... but, guess what? That's in the past, and now we're back to some linear progression! I'm sure there will NEVER be anything as insane as that again! ...for awhile!...? ...oh no, what madness befell me when I started this project such that I'm still paying for it with my own variable sanity supply even this far "after" the fact?! (Don't worry, more horrifying stories await as we come upon the circumstances that enabled me to take leave of my senses and approach them in some similarly daft fashion!) Shut up about that for a second, though! Exciting times are upon us! We're getting a new playable CO! Rounding out the last of the cast of our Orange Star heroes (who will indiscriminately send little orange-clad chibi soldiers to fight and die in the name of slaughtering every other chibi who DARES wear a different hue! ...y'know, hero stuff!), Sami is an infantry specialist. It's an... interesting specialization, seeing as how there are only TWO varieties of foot soldiers at all, and our experience thus far would suggest that they're not the heavy lifters of our armed forces. That's not to say they're unimportant. Quite, the contrary. We've also seen that almost any and all troop movements are based around and designed to facilitate getting your foot soldiers from one point to another. Generally, this will revolve around their unique capacity to capture buildings, and THAT dictates the entirety of the forces you're allowed to deploy and becomes the ultimate source of being able to maintain our deployed military might, whether we're given the privilege of unit production or it's an entirely pre-deployed map. But forgive me, I've buried the lead for way too long here... in typical Advance Wars fashion Sami does have a rather specific, situationally game-bending specialty of her own. This one's not directly demonstrated on the battlefield when shots are being fired, but it IS quite a significant change that MUST be accounted for and ignored only at her enemies' peril. Sami's foot soldiers capture buildings 50% faster. That is, instead of subtracting the infantryman's current HP from the building's 20 "capture points" when you select the "Capt" command, you'll subtract 1.5 times that HP value. (The "Capt" command will even be marked with an asterisk, in case you forgot, you'll be wanting to exercise this ability a LOT.) I could go on easily for days on the intricacies of the game and Sami's role in it and how various basic high-level generalizations on the officer dossiers from the Intel screen all precipitate HUGE differences in the overall game structure... in fact, I have. And I will! You're so lucky! ...but a description can only hold so much, so it's the drip-feed for you all. (Lucky?) --- Mission 8: Sami's Debut! Yeah, that's right, in a mission called "Sami's Debut!"... you're not required to use Sami. That makes about as much sense as one that's called "Max Strikes!" which doesn't require you select Max! ...wait, bad example... Anyway, Max and especially Andy have had quite the head start on screentime, so of course I'll switch over and let her take command. (Her theme is way better than Andy's or Max's anyway.) Wait! This isn't the Blue Moon army? ...oh... it's HIM. Eagle really knows how to get in the way... and I don't think we ever established WHY he's marauding around this hotly-contested Orange Star and Blue Moon turf war... or why he seems to have it out for Andy specifically. But that's beside the point! This is a battlefield that doesn't exactly play to Sami's particular strengths, but that's only because it's purely set up to give Eagle some quick cheap shots at your units from cover of darkness, but once he's done that, there's really no exit strategy for him. That's kinda how he operates in general, though... you just can't see it coming until an airplane suddenly jumps out and bites you. In this regard, it wouldn't really matter which CO you picked. (The dialogue is moderately more interesting if you actually take the game's lure of a totally new CO and use her, though... that said... ... ...we'll get to that later, I guess.) I mean, I suppose it's not the WORST situation available... you can capture buildings as you're moving forward a bit more effectively, since it can be hard to move forward AND wait around for buildings to get captured, much less parking there to get a small HP boost... though Andy can get Hyper Repair charged up rather well with Eagle's expensive planes to shoot down and Max can blow them out of the skies before they do too much damage instead. I rather appreciate how they design these various free-choice CO maps to be more or less evenly open to different approaches, even ones that look like totally straightforward linear marches, where all you might see is a nail for whichever CO is your hammer.

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