Silent Storm — Mission 18, Part 1: Never Trust Switzerland

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ss_portrait_zinaida

Let me get this straight. You couldn’t make it as the hero in dumb action movies, so you decided to be a dumb action hero in real life.

ss_portrait_bogey…more or less.

Uncle Petr, owing us a favor, lets us raid the building. Not only that, but he doesn’t even get upset when we start rifling through locked containers! And firing weapons inside! And breaking into the top secret documents in the basement!

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Boy are the Russians nice guys.

And in that very basement, we find a Thor’s Hammer communication that I guess the Russians intercepted and have been storing here. It doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know (and haven’t already dealt with), but if you want to read it, here it is:

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Once we’ve assimilated that underwhelming bit of information, our adventure in Russia comes to an end. Next stop: Switzerland — potentially home to the greatest threat the world has ever faced. I knew that neutrality thing was all a big ruse.

ss_portrait_bogeyCan we leave now?

ss_portrait_zinaidaYes. We have a lot to get ready for. This is the final stretch.

ss_portrait_viper

And we gotta finish up that research of yers, boss. Ye’ll be ready fer yer silver screen debut by t’ end’a this.

ss_portrait_bogeyYeah, yeah. Laugh it up.

In the hangar, we make our final preparations. The usual: ammo, grenades, medical supplies. And one more thing:

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ss_portrait_zinaida

I’m sorry to take our technician’s one true love away from him, but we’ll be bringing the third panzerklein this time. Bogey?

ss_portrait_bogeyWhat now?

ss_portrait_zinaidaYou’ll be piloting it.

ss_portrait_bogeyWait, really? Finally — my moment of glory!

ss_portrait_zinaidaNow, everyone pay attention…

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ss_portrait_zinaidaBerger’s factory looks something like this:

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ss_portrait_zinaida

However, the structure isn’t big enough for large-scale panzerklein production, so it must extend well underground. We’ll need to make it to the basement and continue down.

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ss_portrait_zinaidaFirst, of course, we need to make it inside.

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ss_portrait_zinaidaViper will immediately bring down the guards on the roof —

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ss_portrait_zinaida— while our PKs enter and clear the yard.

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ss_portrait_zinaidaBut be careful where you’re shooting. The building is bound to be full of volatile gasses and chemicals, and we don’t want to completely destroy the place just yet.

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ss_portrait_zinaidaOnce we’ve cleared the immediate area, we will form up in the yard.

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ss_portrait_zinaidaThen the dangerous part begins. There’s no telling what we’ll find inside — or how many panzerkleins they’ll have waiting. Until the interior is safe, those of you without PKs will stay outside. Bogey will remain with you just in case.

ss_portrait_bogeyOh, come on! You got my hopes up for that?

This is where the mission really begins. Zinaida enters through the half-destroyed reception area.

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In the basement below, we’re already up to our ears in contacts.

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On the enemy’s turn, they start moving to meet us.

ss_portrait_doughatI hear hydraulics. We’ve got PKs incoming.

We reach the stairs (you can’t see them, but the stairs leading to the basement are just under that light in the room to the right of the stairs going up)…

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But at least one of the enemy PKs is almost on us.

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When he’s almost reached the other side of the door, we give him a little surprise shell shock.

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No damage, but now he’s in our line of sight. And —

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Huh. That’s a different model.

No time to worry about that now, though.

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The pilot fries after a single volley. But then there’s the matter of the PK blocking the stairs.

ss_portrait_zinaidaOkay, slight change of plans — Lt. MacDougall, we could use you inside!

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ss_portrait_rowdyIt’d be me pleasure, ma’am.

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Rowdy hops into the new panzerklein lickety split and turns to fight, but it actually doesn’t sound like the other enemy PKs are coming any closer.

So the next move is ours.

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We start downward — though it did just occur to me that this is the only staircase into the basement. If we damage it in a firefight, we’ll have to climb down. Which means going on foot.

So we need to be extremely careful about how we play this.

ss_portrait_zinaidaDoug — stay behind us. We can’t afford to blow this staircase.

At the first landing, the next marked contact turns out to be a civilian cowering in the corner.

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ss_portrait_zinaidaKeep moving.

If we can meet the enemy PKs on the bottom floor, we’ll be able to let loose on them without worrying about stray shots hitting the stairs.

When he gets there, Rowdy finds some unexpected resistance.

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This new PK’s high-powered cannon sends the soldier ragdolling through the door — right to the feet of the incoming enemy armor.

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Next turn, it’s shows itself.

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Shots fired! They miss Rowdy and go right for the stairs.

Somehow, they’re still intact. It’s a Christmas miracle!

ss_portrait_zinaidaGet away from the stairs or he’ll trap you in there!

We’ve got two options. We can move Rowdy forward and draw the enemy’s fire away from our escape route (and maybe lose Rowdy in the next volley) — or stand and fight. Lose one man — or lose access to our panzerkleins.

ss_portrait_rowdyI kin ‘andle ‘im.

You’ve got two shots at this before you’re out of action points, Rowdy. Make ’em count.

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That’s one solid hit. It’s all riding on the second now —

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The second shot rips through the pilot and turns the panzerklein to a lifeless hunk of metal.

ss_portrait_rowdyI told ye.

ss_portrait_zinaidaAlright, alright. Now move over and let us off the stairs.

We move Rowdy out a bit to give Zinaida and Doug room to maneuver their PKs off the narrow staircase.

Then — shablams!

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More energy shots — right out of the open doorway. They melt straight through the PK we just finished off and hit Rowdy square in the cockpit.

As we pull Rowdy back again, we can hear the enemy armor advancing. We take a few blind shots…

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…and wait for the other shoe to drop.

But it doesn’t. Taking a couple steps forward, Zinaida takes a look through the hole we just blasted.

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That’s three down. And we’re not in bad shape. Doug, Zinaida, and Rowdy are all around 75% HP. Rowdy’s PK is hurting, but that’s okay. There’s plenty more where that one came from.

When he joins us at the bottom floor, Doug switches PKs himself. His old one was barely damaged, but the explosive cannons on it do lots of damage to the building but virtually none to panzerkleins. He hops in the one blocking the doorway and we press on with two beam PKs on our side.

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(Actually, we spend at least five minutes juggling PKs around just to get the ones we’re not using out of the way and the ones we are using through the door. The pathing is really weird, and even if it looks like there’s plenty of room to move a PK, the game will often tell you there’s no path found.)

In the meantime, we send Rowdy out of the fray in order to keep the fancy new panzerklein safe for now. Also, he’s out of ammo, so he’s not much use to us anyway.

When Doug and Zinaida peek through the next doorway, we find two more lying in wait for us. One opens fire with gatling gun arms.

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And the second one —

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Oh, radical. That dude’s already dead.

A few turns earlier, a very bored Viper put one of the beam guns we’re still lugging around to good use. A single (blind!) shot through the floor two stories above looks like all we needed to bring this guy down. How underwhelming.

Speaking of underwhelming — so is his buddy, who Zinaida kills in one blast.

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That’s the last of them. We advance and find the entrance to Berger’s lair unguarded.

This is it. We get every one of our squad members healed up and suited up. That’s right: six PKs. All of them marching on the doors of Berger’s hideout.

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Okay, well. It was slightly less dramatic in the moment. There was about an hour of faffing about — exploring the rest of the level — before I realized this door down here actually went somewhere. It seemed at first like a super disappointing dead end. Maybe nothing more than a monster closet for the enemy PK horde to come out of.

But that was until I realized you could click on the door and it led to the second half of the mission area.

And then when we got that all sorted out, well… we ran into another problem.

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B…but they are!

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I consulted the internet, and this is apparently a very common problem. I’m guessing a bug caused by the horrible PK pathing. If you have too many PKs when you try to go through a door like this, it just won’t let you.

We finally manage to get it to behave, but it takes us shedding a few panzerkleins. What we end up with is a… slightly less intimidating force…

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Dear Videogame — I know I’m utterly wrecking you, but you don’t have to resort to cheap bugs to level the playing field! Geez. I mean, look at all these perfectly good panzerkleins going to waste.

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ss_portrait_zinaidaAlright, everyone. This could be the end of our mission. The Thor’s Hammer base could very well be behind these doors. The world is depending on us. This is what we trained for. Are you all ready?

ss_portrait_bogeyHold on — there was training?

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On to the next episode!
or return to the Table of Contents

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