BCM90 - Twin bridges megabattle

(6:44) Level 5 ('Assault on the Control Room') on Normal. This shows two plays of a twin bridges megabattle save featuring 57 covies, including 12 Elites and 4 Hunters. Both times I fight solo using the trough defence plan. In the first play I restrict myself to pistol and plasma rifle, which makes for an extremely hard challenge despite only using Normal. In the second I use rockets and needling for an easier time of things, though I adopt a fairly gung-ho approach for the sake of excitement.

Released January 15th 2014, gameplay recorded January 12th-15th 2014.

Commentary

00:02 (Play 1) After getting a plasma rifle I fly up and cruise low over the ledge to the right of the underpass, making the covies start to advance up the battlefield. I quite like this route, and it's nice to see the mob moving, plus it can make for a quicker start to the fighting. I fly an evasive cliff-hugging course and cruise in low to drop myself into the start of the trough, leaving the Banshee off to the side.

00:29 A Grunt to the right gets tagged right away, and I also throw a speculative plasma off to the left, though in retrospect I think I would've done better holding on to it. When I spot a first Elite I get busy with my plasma rifle, which I favour at the start. Actually though, it goes relatively badly on this occasion. I fail to put the Elite down, and soon I've got a bleeping shield as I back off. The start of the battle is very dangerous this way; you have to be pretty careful not to misjudge things and stay close for too long. As the initial Elites press forward with apparent confidence in numbers, I realize I need to slow them down quick or I'll be toast. A couple of frags do good damage, and three blues gets finished with pistol fire in quick succession. Another Elite goes down from pistol fire a moment later (though a frag is wasted just beforehand), and that leave me free to charge at the fifth with the plasma rifle. He's a red, and I enjoy finishing him with a whack to the head.

01:11 There are another two Elites coming up close behind though. I throw a plasma towards the rear one - a red - and back off while firing at the blue. After dodging an incoming Hunter shot, I put him down with a pistol round, and meanwhile the grenade has taken care of the red. After that, I use pistol fire to try and get as many minor enemies as I can, though a plasma grenade takes care of a few as well.

01:32 A blue Elite has got close, but with no other Elites nearby he's not much trouble, and soon I'm back to whittling down the Grunts and Jackals. However, there are also the Hunters to contend with of course. When it looks safe enough, I advance and tempt a Hunter up the slope, then shoot him as he swipes. Hunter two goes the same way after briefly acting as a shield, taking needles and plasma fire in the back.

02:12 By now there are a few more Elites arriving, and also a Jackal gets a bit aggressive. Using my plasma rifle I take the first blue down fast, and evade needles from the second while wearing him down, to finish him with a satisfying smack. As I continue to move evasively, I notice the third blue taking a plasma ball in the back, so I finish him with a headshot. Those Jackals are quite handy sometimes!

02:30 That gives me the upper hand again. The nearby Hunter turns and I take the opportunity to shoot him in the back. Just after that, I get a new plasma grenade and lob it into the midst of the minor enemies, which helps. When I kill another blue Elite, the minor enemies panic which gives me a bit of a breather, though I've still got Hunter fire to contend with. I soon manage to draw him up after me though, and kill him.

03:00 It's mopping up time now, with the Grunts and Jackals. I'm glad to finally get hold of some more grenades, and they help me take care of things. One yellow-shielded Jackal dives to avoid a grenade, and I get him with zoomed pistol fire, heh heh. I tag the final Jackal for fun, and then also a Grunt who's got a bit stuck on the edge of the trough (fairly common). He goes flying quite nicely.

03:53 (Play 2) I fly a different route this time, for variation. As I swerve around the underpass tower, the covies get triggered to advance up the battlefield as before, and I blast a Grunt as I cruise in. There's another lurking near the pipe structure and I blast him too - he flies up quite nicely - then I curve around through a gap to dismount near the start of the trough.

04:35 A blue Elite comes into view and I give him a full clip of needles. You might think that's overkill, but the secondary bang sets off his dropped grenades, resulting in an excellent chain reaction, killing two other Elites and a Grunt I think. Just before the bang I fire a rocket too. That was probably redundant, but I didn't know there would be such a good chain reaction. My second rocket kills a Hunter.

04:49 Backing off somewhat, I get the launcher reloaded and take out a blue Elite, then fire some needles while dodging some from another blue - who then gets my second rocket. My needles make a Grunt go bang, though there's no chain reaction this time. After reloading the launcher I throw a quick frag towards a Jackal. He dives clear but it kills one of his beaky buddies and shakes up an Elite. I fire a rocket and it finishes the Elite. But with shield now bleeping, there's a more pressing problem on the left, in the shape of a red Elite. He gets my second rocket, then I throw another quick frag towards some Grunts as I back off and use the tree for some shelter, hoping to recharge. The tree takes a few Hunter blasts. Those things can so easily be the death of you, so as usual I'm doing my best to avoid them.

05:13 I haven't recharged but I move out of cover anyway, feeling a degree of safety from my distance. There's an Elite coming up on the left and I give him a rocket, then send the second into a cluster of minor enemies. Nice! But as a Hunter shot sails dangerously close past me, there's another red on the left, and a blue on the right. My frag shakes them up, and a rocket finishes the blue while merely damaging the red further. My shield is bleeping again and I need to finish him off quick, but I pause momentarily because of a Grunt who gets in the way and who I don't fancy rocketing this close. I aim my shot beyond and it hits to the rear of the red, killing him. Good job too, because meanwhile I've taken a nasty Hunter blast and narrowly avoided a second, which would've killed me. Oh, and remember that frag? It also sent the spare rocket launcher back my way, giving me another eight rockets. Very handy!

05:30 Moving to the right to try and get clear of those infernal Hunter shots, I tag a panicking Grunt then send a frag to the left, then it's time to get rocketing the Hunters. My first target escapes a close blast, but dies from a loose plasma getting set off. My second rocket takes out a Hunter to the right, and also a Jackal behind him whose plasma ball I avoided. I lob a grenade as I briefly move behind the tree to reload.

05:40 A bold little Grunt is after me. I miss with an attempted tag but he catches a Hunter blast instead. I send a rocket towards the nearest Hunter but he survives (meanwhile I dodge a plasma ball), and it takes a second rocket to finish him. I get a few Grunts too, but more push forwards and I don't have time to reload the launcher. I use needles and grenades instead, and things get pretty hectic. Finally I back off a bit to reload the launcher. One rocket takes out a close-knit trio of Jackals who were really getting at me, and the other deals with two close Grunts.

06:12 There's still a Jackal firing at me as my shield bleeps, but he gets rocketed. Without waiting to recharge, I advance and send my last rocket towards a Jackal and a few Grunts. It takes them out and an Elite too, who I hadn't actually noticed. After that, a fleeing Grunt gets a nice clip of needles, and another gets the same.

Closing remarks The save I used for this movie was derived from the one I used for my earlier trough defence movie BCM36. To give me a more reasonable chance of being able to survive with pistol and plasma rifle, I reduced the number of Elites from 18 to 12, though it was still extremely hard - to the extent that my left thumb ended up sore from all the hectic joystick twiddling. The save has 4 reds, 8 blues, 11 Jackals, 30 Grunts, and 4 Hunters - whose bombarding is a major factor in making the battle so tough. The reduced enemy count seems to've reduced the amount of framerate slowdown too, which was welcome. The difference was noticeable when I was flying in.

Note: One of the Elites I eliminated from the original save was the blue from the territorial squad of five who hang back near the first Shade, and I also killed off two Grunts from that squad in order to make the remaining two squad members free-roaming like the other covies. The possibility of making any two members of that squad free-roaming is something I only realized while working on the movie. That was useful, and means that from here on, I'll be able to arrange for two extra free-roamers in my megabattle saves.