Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Jagged Alliance 2 Retrospective Walkthrough - Part III

Continuing from Part II: Liberation of Omerta.

   L i b e r a t i o n  o f  D r a s s e n   

Drassen consists of three sectors that must be liberated: airport, town and mines. On Novice, this involves taking out 15 of Deidranna's soldiers; five per sector. In this post we shall also take the SAM site in the east. So let's hop to it!

   B 1 3  :  D r a s s e n  A i r p o r t   

The squad arrives in Drassen at the crack of dawn on Day 2. Coming down from the north (A13) we position ourselves behind the perimeter and under the protective cover of trees, away from any instant aggro. In this way, we can take make any last minute preparations before engaging the enemy. 

Using our handy wire cutters, we cut through the northern fenceline and position ourselves on the safe side of the Shipments shelter. The aggro is hanging out around the light aircraft, at the checkpoint in the south, and near the office in the southeast. We face five enemy units, all told. Be sure to stay low and in cover at all times so that you don't get hit. Having access to a rifle of any kind is gonna be a huge advantage against the enemy, who wield only low-range pistols. However, they are crack shots.

You can see the sort of range my IMP gets out of Gus' G-41, here bursting involuntarily as a result of her Psycho attitude. Major overkill, right thar.

With the sector cleared I have Barry go around picking the locks in all the buildings. It's worth noting here that, with a few exceptions, as long as the loot has been spotted by one of your mercs in the game-world, it does not need to be manually picked up from corpses, receptacles etc. Instead, you can just go into Map View, right-click on the sector, and loot whatever you like from its inventory when you are done exploring. How convenient is that? Note also that loot does not decay if left in the game-world. We can always come back and pick it up later so there is no point burdening ourselves when we still have two sectors to take.

The best we come up with is a silencer, a medkit and one 5.56 mag. Still, not too shabby. The silencer is useful to stealth squads because it completely suppresses ALL sound from your pistol or SMG (assuming it's in perfect condition, which this one is). To fit it simply right-click your weapon and place it into one of the attachment slots. Hold onto all 7.62mm ammo for the M-14 and FN-FAL.

As usual, Ira will pipe up and give you the lowdown on this sector. The goon she's talking about is Pablo (center mugshot). You can find him in or around the shipments shelter. Now, with our liberation of this sector Bobby Ray's store is online and accessible through AIM-links (it was previously "under construction"). So, that means we can order stuff from there and Pablo will receive it for us in the shipments shelter. Well, sometimes. You see, there is a chance that he will sell your stuff and pocket the proceeds. You can either give him an incentive not to steal your stuff (I usually give him $20 "coffee money" per order, which is logged in History as "greasing Pablo's palms"), or just slap him around a bit when you find the crate empty. You get your stuff back the next day, so no biggie. Bobby Ray's inventory scales with your campaign progress so don't expect to find FN-FALs and 7.62mm ammo on offer until you've made some.

Anyway, I order two toolkits for my mechanics because neither Barry nor Dmitri come with one (though Steroid and Gasket do). This is so that they can repair the squad's equipment.

Ok, the other guy to talk to is Waldo (right mugshot). You can find him hanging out in the hangar. Waldo is important because he hints at the location of the chopper pilot, Skyrider. But more on that later.

I dismiss Gus from the squad because his contract is about to expire, anyway. Remember, I only hired him for a day to get his weapon, armor and ammo. Upon departure his medical deposit is refunded to me, in full ($5900).

Upon your arrival in Drassen you will receive an email from Speck who runs the budget recruiting agency, M.E.R.C. I've never really been attracted to the M.E.R.C roster, though that's not to say they're utterly useless. I think the pick of the bunch are Flo, Gumpy, Biff - and maybe Gasket, too. New members will be added to the roster as the campaign progresses.

   C 1 3 : D r a s s e n   

I received an email from Enrico at this point.

Again, there are only five of Deidranna's men to deal with in this sector. It was pretty funny because after nailing the first guy his mates just kept comin' to the same spot, so I left them in a neat pile for the crows.

As usual, Ira pipes up with a bit of flavor dialogue. In the bar, you will meet the first of the Santos Brothers, Herve. His brother Peter is in the next sector. You can purchase alcohol from them and give it to Father Walker to loosen his tongue.

Depending on the time of day Father Walker might be getting drunk in here, flabby gut hanging out. If not, he will be in the church of the next sector. Either way, you should have Ira speak with him. Click "Friendly" a few times and your History log should update, saying food is on its way to Omerta and should arrive by tomorrow.

In the factory to the west you will find Doreen Harrows enslaving the children of Drassen to make t-shirts and caps.

There are a few ways to handle this but I just popped her on the spot for a 15% loyalty boost and then looted her corpse for $20 and a key to her storage room, which was holding goodies including $450, Regen Boost, MP5K, Shaped Charge and Duct Tape (a crafting component for the Gun Barrel Extender).

Regen Boosts are powerful but rarely itemized. Also, don't OD on them.

Ok, let's push on and take D13 to complete our liberation of Drassen!

   D 1 3 : D r a s s e n  M i n e s   

Take out the trash and then pick the sector clean of loot. Father Walker can be found in the church if he wasn't in the bar of the previous sector (it depends on the time of day). Barry unlocked the door to his storage room and found a Remington M870 12 gauge in a locked chest.

There a lots of buildings to search in this sector. Again, Barry goes to work. We come up with a few bits and bobs. I  found a pack of gum in this sector; it's a crafting component for the X-Ray Device. Hold onto any TNT you find, as well. Buildings are destructible in Jagged Alliance 2. Great for when you can't find the front door.

   D r a s s e n  —  L i b e r a t e d   

Talk to head miner Fred in the office at the entrance to the mines. He will make it clear that the proceeds of the mines are now yours. This is important to funding your liberation of Arulco, as you will soon see.

   D 1 3-B 1  &  E 1 3-B 1 — S i l v e r  M i n e s   

Access the silver mines by the conspicuous entrance just south of Fred. There are just two sectors of subterrain to explore down here at this point. (Later, five more sectors will open up as a result of the queen unleashing her crepitus, which you need to exterminate. This is in sci-fi mode only.) So for now just loot the nuggets of silver laying about, and the crates for two each of TNT and Break Light. My squad then took their leave of the mines and deposited $1286 worth of silver into their account.

   C u t s c e n e   

A second cutscene will fire not long after taking Drassen in its entirety; from the throne room of the palace in Meduna...

   T r a i n i n g  M i l i t i a    P r o t e c t  D r a s s e n   

It's one thing to take Drassen; quite another to keep it. There is nothing worse than expending time, effort and money taking a sector, only to have it taken straight back. It's not if but when reprisals from Deidranna will come. For this reason, training militia to defend liberated sectors is paramount.

But how do we do that? Well, we have to assign our best teachers to the job. For me, that's Ira (Teacher) and Buns (Teacher: Expert). Now, you might notice that you can have two teachers per sector, which means a total of six training militia in Drassen simultaneously; however, in my experience that is not necessary. You see, Ira and Buns both have a low Leadership score (14, 24) BUT they both have a high Wisdom (83, 93). That means Leadership will go up quickly. That means these two are going to become elite militia trainers and end up getting militia up to speed very quickly as the campaign wears on. For me, it's just a preference of quality over quantity. I'd rather have a few good teachers over several average ones. It's also cheaper in the long run. So, the plan is to have Ira and Buns train militia as the rest of the squad seeks out Skyrider's location and prepares to take the SAM site subsequently revealed to us by him. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

To assign squad members to train you simply right-click on their "assign" and set them as trainer of militia. Simple. It doesn't matter which sector they are in, but they will train their sector first, followed by the others. Logic dictates that Deidranna would go for the airport and mines before the town itself, but from my experience she draws randomly.

It costs $750 to begin training a sector to its first stage, which is 10 "greenshirts". Then you pay another $750 to train another 10. Repeat for three sectors. Then you need to upgrade the militia to blueshirts, which follows the same payment rule. Consider Drassen well-defended once you have 20 blueshirts in each sector. Note that militia can only be trained to veteran level (dark blue) by successfully defending sectors against Deidranna's forces (red and blackshirts). With decent loyalty the proceeds from your mines should easily offset the cost of training militia. Loyalty will climb from 70% to 100% by training so you will have a productive mine and easily be able to renew fortnight-length contracts with your mercs (providing they are the cheap kind that I recommended in Part I!)

By the morning of Day 8 Ira and Buns had trained 60 blueshirts, 20 in each sector. So yeah, this took them under one week. Ira's Leadership went from 15 to 30 and Buns' from 25 to 36. Sweet. Wait, why did Ira skill-up more than Buns despite Buns having the greater Wisdom? Answer: skills improve more slowly as they increase. From my limited testing - and to give an extreme example - it can take three or four times more effort to get from 98-99 as it does from 97-98. So yeah, don't expect to max your skills & attributes in this game unless you really try.

Don't leave your other mercs standing around twiddling their thumbs in the meantime. Get them healing the wounded, repairing equipment, practicing and sleeping to fully replenish their EP pools.

No reprisals came from Deidranna during the training process, though her troops were often spotted snooping around the sectors bordering the town. Go after them if you're keen.

   S k y r i d e r  &  D m i t r i   

During the downtime of training militia Dr. Q waded through the swamps in search of Skyrider, the chopper pilot (the clue to Skyrider's location was given to us by Waldo, remember?) I chose Dr. Q for this task because he is as fit as a fiddle (+EPs). Now, Skyrider is holed up in one of four swamp sectors, drawn randomly in each game (B15C16D12, and E14).

Head to his shack and be friendly to him in dialogue; then, escort him out of the swamp and back to the airport. You have to lead him right up to the chopper to satisfy this quest.

Return to Map View to have Skyrider mark the nearest SAM site on your map: D15: Woods. About a day later he'll recommend taking the SAM site out in F8: Cambria in order to get access to the hospital there.

Why did we bother with Skyrider? Well, the chopper is key to getting our squads around Arulco quickly and without risk of waylay by soldier or bloodcat. Without it we would be traveling on foot or by ground-based vehicles, such as the Hummer and Ice-cream truck (we'll be finding those two later). Why do we need to take out the SAM sites? Well, we don't want the chopper to get shot down, do we? Don't fly into red zones! Leave the chopper on the helipad for the time being.

Next, I have Dr. Q go and grab Dmitri from Omerta. Dmitri is only available after one full day has passed and the rebels have received their food from Father Walker. Miguel will thank you for making that happen and offer Dmitri to you. Simply click "recruit" and Dmitri will accept the offer without hesitation. Dmitri is similar to Ira in that he offers flavor comments. He is funny, but forgetful.

Ok, with all that out of the way it's time to take our first SAM site! This one is located in the woods just two sectors east of the Drassen mines. Therefore, we don't need to park ourselves in an adjacent sector to replenish our EP pool, as we did en route to Drassen.

   D 1 5 :  W o o d s — S A M  S i t e   

Dmitri or Ira will interject upon your arrival at the SAM site (if both are in your squad the game chooses randomly between them).

We arrive deep into the night and position ourselves in the western woods. For shits n gigs I decide to try to take the SAM site solo; i.e, just with my I.M.P. This is made possible with the G-41. Under cover of stealth I make my way east and then north towards the command & control building, flanking the rooftop sniper who is the biggest threat in the sector (he wields a Mini-14). With him popped in the back of the head the aggro holed up inside the building goes on alert and charges out to see what's going on. Utilizing the cover of hedgehogs my I.M.P. takes them out with a combo of interrupts and normal turns. After that, the trio guarding the SAMs were EZ pickings. Nine men ate lead, all told. This is on Day 9 of the campaign.

   D 1 5 :  S A M  S i t e — T a k e n   

It's possible to climb onto the roof of this building, but I didn't need to this time. To do that, simply stand against the wall, hold down the left mouse button, and push the mouse away from you. Rooftops give you an excellent vantage point and a bonus to to-hit. Great for snipers. But stay prone at all times or you will be a sitting duck.

Skyrider radios in to congratulate you on taking control of the SAMs. Time to loot the place! Unable to pick the lock to the sideroom Barry instead employed a shape charge to blow it off. Then, he pried the metal door open with a crowbar. One could also employ TNT to blow the door out - and half the wall! - but such destructive power is best saved for tactical purposes. The three chests inside are locked and trapped with an electrical charge. Again, Barry deftly deals with them and finds an assortment of grenades and ammo within. 

Next, Skyrider pipes up on Map View to give you the heads up on SAM sites, Arulco-wide. Good to know. Note the green zone in the east as a result of taking out the SAM. It's of course safe to fly in this region now.

The third cutscene fires from Meduna.

   T r a i n i n g  M i l i t i a — P r o t e c t  S A M  S i t e   

It took two days for Ira and Buns to train up militia here, bringing us to Day 11. But the evil queen was true to her word: During that time Deidranna invaded C13: Drassen and the SAM site itself, before we had trained it up! There were no allied casualties in the auto-resolved Drassen reprisal but two greenshirts kicked it at the SAM site when four of the queen's elites dropped in, firing M-870s and lobbing smoke and frag grenades at our scrubby militia! My I.M.P. - who can be seen below in the thick of it - came out unscathed. Miraculous.

A fourth cutscene fires from Meduna, this one concerning your acquisition of the chopper:

Alma is the town I choose to liberate next. We jump in the chopper and have Skyrider land us at G14: Plains, Road, one sector from town (The cost to have him pick us up and fly there was $800).

Update: Actually G14 was occupied by the queen's roaming redshirts. Instead, we landed at the adjacent G13 and hiked into the G14 to take 'em out. Nine in all copped it. We came up with a second Mini-14. We then returned to G13 and rested up before entering H13: Alma.

Alma is one of the harder towns to liberate and gain loyalty in, but the rewards for taking its military installations are well worth the risk! (For an easier time you could try liberating Cambria or San Mona, first.)

Continued in Part IV: Liberation of Alma, Pt. I!

   E o P   


  1. Yeah, mr. Speck mercenaries are rather useless (like him in JA1), but maybe a couple of them are decent.
    While maybe not the best, I still prefer the ones I used in JA1: Fox, Ivan, Wolf and Lynx-eye. Maybe also Static (pity that Snake is available only in JA1)

    1. Meltdown is hilarious. I'll be getting her soon. And Steroid is like Minsc. Even mercs that seem a lil' dull can come out with some great lines in extreme situations, or in interplay with mercs they like (chemistry) or don't like. The game has a lot of depth and replayability just in its merc interplay/lore interjections.

    2. Well Steroid has problems with Ivan, and aldo isn't liked a all by both Fox and Lynx. Meltdown was great fun for sure! I remember I only used Tim "Numb" Sutton from the M.E.R.C. roster, but I can't remember how he was!

      I remember having great fun in JA1 with the Roachburn family (ok, they were bad but still not the worst choice, and rather cheap), pity that only Larry is available in JA2

    3. I've just recruited Lt. Conrad for my Alma write-up. Never taken him before. He's in the HQ sector of Alma. Really arrogant and expensive (haggled him down from $5500 to $3300 per day!), but probably worth it with Auto weapons/teacher traits and 95 MRK. Comes with a H&K G41, too. Guy is a badass. He opens fire if you bore him in the initial dialogue. It will be interesting to have him onboard, I think.

    4. Whoa that's a lot of money! But seems a useful addition.. I usually prefer having few expensive mercenaries to a lot of cheap ones.
      There's a limit of 20 soldiers, correct?

    5. Limit is 18, which is pretty cool since they can all be on the same map in three squads of six.


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