Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Jagged Alliance 2 Retrospective Walkthrough - Part IV

Continuing from Part III: Liberation of Drassen.

   L i b e r a t i o n  o f  A l m a   
   P a r t  I   

Three of Alma's four sectors are military facilities that may require close-quarters, interior combat; namely, the H.Q (top-left), the weapons plant (top-right) and the prison (bottom-left). There is only one town sector (bottom-right).

Lids on and off (If your add-on/extension does not block the script, clicking a pic will enter Light Box mode, allowing you to mouse-wheel for a clearer comparison):


Look at those maps! My god, they are a thing of beauty. Let no one be in doubt that isometric rules. Note how your movement is precise as you make your way around the maps. Can't say that about the Infinity Engine RPGs, ToEE or Fallout, whose movement systems are clunky and inaccurate by comparison. In fact, let's not beat around the bush: in this respect, they are clearly a joke.  

Taking Alma requires a lil' more thought put into squad-level tactics because we have to fight our way inside a few buildings in order to mop the place up. In addition to blackshirts there is some top-brass to deal with, too. Plus, alarms and explosions! This post covers the top two sectors, the next one will cover the bottom two, and the third will cover training, reprisals and the Tixa Prison and Bloodcat Lair, which are quests gained in Alma town. So yeah, this will be an extensive segment; might want to get yourself a cup of coffee.

   H 1 3 : A l m a — C o m m a n d   


Day 12: Our mercs enter the sector from the northwest extreme, as far from the perimeter as possible. The u-shaped H.Q is well defended by a treeline, a fenceline and hedgehogs; so, we make our way directly south and down to the driveway and checkpoint.


Here, we take out the checkpoint guards. A bit of aggro charged out from both buildings but we mowed them down in short order. We owned a redshirt on the roof, and one blackshirt crept up alongside the wall only to be shot up against it (see far right of below pic). Nine copped it on the approach. Barry took a hit but Dr.Q was there to treat him before he lost too much blood. Approach cleared!


Inside is a lil' less straightforward. You see, there is a Sergeant in his office who holds a secret weapon in a locked cabinet, but the cabinet is rigged with explosives and there is a red button mounted on the wall in the General's room that detonates them, setting off a sector-wide alarm and destroying the secret weapon (a Rocket Rifle). The explosion will also blow a gaping hole in the northern wall and badly injure the Sergeant hiding within the office.

Now, the redshirts will run for and attempt to press this button as soon as you storm the building so IF you want to gain possession of a Rocket Rifle at this early point in the proceedings, then you will need to stop them. However, the difficulty here can range from fairly EZ to extremely difficult or impossible (depending on your approach), so don't worry if you can't stop the explosion. Besides, Rocket Rifles are also found later in the campaign when they are more useful and ammo is less rare. 

So, the scenario turned out as follows: My psycho I.M.P stormed in, took out two redshirts, and made her way to the red button in the General's room - standing in front of it to guard it. Then, she got herself into pickle when multiple redshirts bore down on her in order to press the button. One guy rounded a corner from an adjacent room, took one in the guts, but then moved in and shot her from point blank. Then, another flanked from the corridor and shot her point-blank, too. Luckily they fired low calibre, non-AP ammo and my IMP was decked out in full kevlar. But the shots still stung.

On her turn my I.M.P shot them both between the eyes, causing them to flop to the floor like ragdolls. Barry and Dr.Q then crept up from the entry chamber, got a view of the corridor, and waited there for an interrupt. A second redshirt then rounded the corner - again, going for the button. Of course, he couldn't reach it but he also didn't have the left-over APs to fire the Colt Commando he was packing. So he just stood there, waiting to die on the I.M.P's next turn. Next, Dr. Q got his interrupt on a redshirt emerging into the corridor from yet another room, putting a few into him from the interrupt and follow-up turn.

Next, my I.M.P psycho-bursted the redshirt packing the Commando and got an interrupt psycho-burst on another redshirt running down the corridor towards Dr. Q's position. The redshirt's head was blown clean off and a fountain of blood rose up from the headless torso, which flopped to the floor. A third redshirt then rounded the corner - yet again, going for the button. YES, COME FOR THE BLOODY BUTTON, YOU PREDICTABLE BASTARDS!!! He got popped, and then his prone body was bursted as it gave out its last breath. The sneaky guy flanking the General then got filled full of lead as the squad moved in to take control of the interior, and, indeed, the sector in its entirety.


But we're not done yet! Speak with Sergeant Krott in his office. He will be unharmed if you managed to prevent the explosion. If not, you will have to heal him up before getting him to talk. He's obviously a good guy just following orders. Be direct in dialogue, listen to his proposition, and choose to spare him. He will walk over to the cabinet, grab the Rocket Rifle within, and leave it on the ground for you before going home to his family (Barry was also able to unlock the cabinet). A loyalty boost in Alma is your reward for letting him go. It's up to you. Bloodthirsty types can loot a G41 from his corpse.


Next, speak with the General. The line to use is direct. He will laugh at your threats and boast of the secret weapons plant in Orta, which updates your History log. Provocation or force-attack causes him to open fire or run for the red button and sound the alarm. Get the jump on him by throwing a grenade his way. With any luck, the force of it will knock him down or make him drop his G41; after which, he is burst-fodder.


Lastly, speak with Lieutenant Conrad Gillitt. This arrogant asshole is normally getting around the mess hall and rooms adjacent to it. Don't bore him in dialogue or he will open fire, possibly bursting you to bits. Again, use the direct line and attempt to recruit him directly afterwards. In my game Buns managed to convince him to join with her solid leadership skills. You can haggle him down from $5,500 to $3,200 per day. This may seem expensive but it works out cheaper in the long-run. Conrad's 95 MRK, high Wisdom and Teaching/Auto Weapons dual-trait are nothing to scoff at.


Don't forget to loot the lockers and the trapped and locked chests in the u-shape grounds. I had to heal Barry up before he could deal with them. Note to self: keep Barry out of harm's way, ffs.


The chests held a few nice attachments for our assault rifles; namely, laser scope, sniper scope and underslung grenade launcher. We also got a hold of our first Spectra armor pieces. And that in addition to a Commando and two more G41s!


So yeah, now you know why I said the rewards of Alma are well worth the risk. We cleaned up here.

   H 1 4 : A l m a — W e a p o n s  P l a n t   

The morale-boosted squad heals up and heads east into the next sector.


This is easily the most difficult Alma sector to take.


(Unless you came in from the north you'll have to cut through the wire fenceline, being watchful of the eagle-eyed blackshirt sniper on the roof of the closest warehouse.)

First up, we took out the blackshirt snipers perched on the roofs of both warehouses, who were packing M24 sniper rifles. It's pretty scary when they fire them because you don't know who is gonna end up headless. Then, the blackshirt guarding the checkpoint in the north copped it. We got the drop on these three thanks to the stealth approach.

Now, there are a few ways to breach the warehouses and draw out the aggro stubbornly holed up inside. The first is to flick the switch in the small building to the south, thereby opening the metal door in the south of the northern warehouse. It cuts both ways but this IS dangerous due to the fuel barrels positioned between you and the enemy. The second is to hit the button in the north of the northern warehouse, thereby opening the roller doors along the length of the warehouse. You could also blow a hole in the wall using TNT but that's just a waste when you have a button and switch available. Either way, the aggro will be exposed in both warehouses and you will be in for a prolonged and potentially resource-draining battle.

I took the second option. But first, I had my snipers tucked around the corners of the northern walls of both warehouses (Barry and Dr. Q). Conrad and I.M.P were perched prone on the roofs, opposite one another. Then I had Dmitri and Ira sneak into the north of the northern warehouse, hit the button to open the roller doors, and close themselves inside the small room. It worked out well because they only drew a lil' heat and managed to defend themselves without sniper intervention (I.M.P had them covered from the roof as can be seen in the pic, below).


So yeah, some of the aggro came out and some stayed in. We got stung a few times due to the sheer hail of bullets but managed to take out several in the north warehouse before one of Barry's shots missed its mark and got lodged in a fuel barrel instead, setting off a chain reaction of explosions that incinerated some redshirts and left them as piles of ash on the floor. Fuck, yeah! Burn in hell, assholes!!! So satisfying...


You know, those explosions look and sound pretty damn good for 1999. Plus, destructible buildings and placeables... in 1999.

By rights, no one inside should have survived the fireballs, but several actually did. But to their dismay, Dr. Q, Barry and I.M.P were perfectly positioned to pop the stragglers as they emerged from the inferno (the trio hadn't moved from their starting position).

Aggro from the south warehouse then trained itself on Conrad, who climbed down from his rooftop vantage point to hide behind the north wall. In the below pic you can see how they're dug in.


One by one, Conrad's calculated retreat drew them out from the warehouse and brought them into the line of fire of Dr. Q, Barry and I.M.P.


As a result, we didn't actually need to enter the south warehouse during this combat scenario, though we looted it afterwards for all its worth.

Sector cleared on Day 13!


Those tanks of fuel will come in handy for when we find the hummer. As you can see, we netted yet another G41 and an M24 with laser scope and sniper scope already attached. Plus some more Spectra gear and ammo. Sweet.

Ok, we push on into the prison sector!

Next up: Part V: Liberation of Alma - Part II: Prison & Town/Mines. To be posted soon! ^_^


EoP

2 comments:

  1. Ow I remember this part...it was hard. Anyway the maps are not only good looking but also interactive: I don't know other games where you can climb on the roof, jump over obstacles or cut fences!

    I never recruited that guy, probably for lack of leadership. I'll try next time, later I had a lot of money and I remember I used two full squads of medium level mercenaries.

    Oh and Dmitri is quite good compared to Ira (excellent trainer but useless in combat. I also hate her voice).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lots of 3d games of that time didn't allow you to do things that JA2 lets you do. It's truly an amazing achievement for a 2d RPG made in 1999. 18 years on, and there hasn't been a better isometric game, imo.

      Ira has one kill with an 100% hit-rate; my I.M.P has 58 kills and 13 assists with an 85% hit-rate (4th level and +5 MRK already). Barry always turns out to be my most useful A.I.M recruits, followed by Buns. I'm sure MD and Dr.Q will turn out just fine, too.

      This is the first time ever that I was able to recruit Conrad. I've stopped the explosion before but I seem to recall it was much harder last time. I think I got lucky in this run.

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