Strike Suit Zero: Mission 9

By Shamus Posted Thursday Aug 1, 2013

Filed under: Game Design 40 comments

I mentioned in my review of Strike Suit Zero that I quit the game at mission 9. I want to look at this in more detail and see how it could go so wrong that it made me stop liking a game.

The mission is that our forces had to board an enemy craft, and I have to guard our ships until the raid is done. There are about fifteen minutes of dogfighting and waypoint-visiting to start off with, and then we get to the segment where everything went wrong. By that stage of the mission, the battlefield looked like this:

Note: Not to scale.
Note: Not to scale.

I was up against three corvettes and two squadrons of heavy fighters. I charged in like I usually do and got quickly annihilated by the enemy forces. The corvettes had instant-hit beam weapons that I couldn’t really avoid. They didn’t do a ton of damage, but their constant jabs prevented my shields from recharging. The heavy fighters shot slower projectiles that did severe damage if they connected. All of these weapons out-ranged my own by a massive amount. So basically this was like sending a single guy with a knife over an open field to assault an entrenched enemy armed with sniper rifles and bazookas.

Not sure what I was doing wrong (other than obviously serving in a military run by loonies) I decided to hang back and see how the battle played out. Maybe it would be easier to engage once the enemy got a little closer. But they didn’t. The battlefield was completely static. We were supposedly boarding and raiding the enemy installation, but the raid was scripted to advance as I completed my goals, so they never made any progress. The enemy was supposedly trying to wipe us out, but their ships never closed in to attack. There were other fighters in my squadron, but they just flew circles around the command ship, doing nothing. My one fighter was sent out, all alone, to kill two squadrons of heavy fighters and three ships way above my weight class. My guys wouldn’t even send one of their idle fighters with me to draw some fire. If I didn’t take part in the battle, nothing would happen.


I felt like a solder sent on a suicide charge against a strategically irrelevant bunker while everyone else played cards. I know these games are notorious for having the odds stacked against you, but come on. Those odds are preposterous. I was getting my shield blown off before I got close enough to shoot at the other ships. I’d resent my commanders if I hadn’t already stopped being immersed in the game and begun resenting the developers.

You might argue that this challenge made sense because I was the only one with the strike suit, but the strike suit craft was actually a massive liability here. Its special ability is that it STOPS MOVING so it can unleash massive damage. The air was a thick cloud of enemy projectiles. Every single fighter in both squadrons was shooting at me with pinpoint accuracy. They shot giant fluffy balls of energy with huge hitboxes, which meant I had to constantly juke and dodge just to avoid being shot by everyone at once. Transforming into strike mode was basically a suicide button. I would gladly have traded the useless gimmick for an interceptor that would let me do hit-and-run, or a bomber that would let me attack at a distance. The strike suit was the worst tool for the job.

The other thing that makes this challenge annoying instead of inspiring is that the game itself doesn’t acknowledge it. Nobody says, “I know this seems impossible, but it’s our only hope!” Nobody admits the task is challenging, and it doesn’t feel like everything is riding on my pulling it off. The dialog is structured as if I was just doing another dogfight. This wasn’t even a crescendo, from a story standpoint. This wasn’t a “boss fight” mission.


I was playing the mission on easy, by the way. The rest of the game had been a complete cakewalk up until this point.

This is your first contact with the Big Bad fleet, so maybe the designers intended to show how dangerous they were. But this is a completely backwards way to accomplish that. If I fail, it feels like it’s our fault for only sending a single ill-suited craft to face such ridiculous odds when other ships are available. And if I win it sort of makes the Big Bad look like losers to have all these ships killed by a lone fighter.

Freespace did this really well. Early into the game you meet the big bad, and they completely outclass you. Your attacks are only barely effective and it takes a squadron of you to bring down one fighter. The player gets to overcome a tough enemy, and the game establishes that the humans are completely outclassed by this foe. Note that this is the inverse of mission 9.


The mission is do-able. I’m not suggesting it’s impossible. Scott Manley did it, although it looks like his Strike Suit can take a lot more damage than mine. I assume he’s gotten more upgrades, which you can earn by re-playing previous missions. I watched the video and decided I really didn’t feel like grinding old missions for a couple of hours just so I could take another crack at this stupid, unbalanced, unfair, and ridiculous task.

  • Don’t introduce massive difficulty spikes in sections of normal narrative intensity. Challenge should keep pace with the stakes and the pace of the story.
  • If the difficulty spike is intended, it should be telegraphed and acknowledged by the player’s allies. (Unless them being incompetent, stupid, or apathetic is what you intend.)
  • Don’t spend nine missions talking up what a big, spooky foe your enemy is, and then casually ask the player to slaughter huge numbers of them.
  • Don’t build a game around a gimmick or ability and then have that be a liability when the player is really in a tight spot. (Unless you’re trying to make a point that the special ability isn’t so special at all.) If the player is saying, “Curse Gordon Freeman’s stupid HEV suit and gravity gun! I would gladly trade them for a pair of swim trunks and an egg whisk!” then something has gone very wrong.
  • If you ARE making a point that their special ability is now a liability, it would really help for the story to talk about this or the player will just assume you messed up.


I think in the end what really killed my interest in the game wasn’t the difficulty of this mission, but the revelation of how much the game was made of simple triggers. I realized that I was with allies that weren’t doing anything against a foe that wasn’t really attacking in order to guard a boarding party that didn’t exist. The realization that the gameworld was just an area where I shot stuff kind of obliterated my sense of immersion and my investment in the proceedings. I know this was an indie game and I know it’s murder to set up genuinely dynamic gameplay. I’m not suggesting that the team should have fully scripted the events and written AI to fully perform the scenario as presented. I am suggesting that if they had hidden the smoke & mirrors I might have stuck with it.

If nothing else, that enemy force really should have been more deliberate about attacking.


From The Archives:

40 thoughts on “Strike Suit Zero: Mission 9

  1. ehlijen says:

    That actually sounds like they didn’t finish scripting the mission.

    Shame, might have been interested in trying it if not for that.

  2. Decius says:

    I have to ask: Did you try to kite the enemies into your allies, or at least away from each other?

    And well-handled dynamic gameplay can be brutal- look at TIE Fighter’s Battle 10, mission 1.

    1. Shamus says:

      As far as I can tell they stayed in their little deathball and never followed me.

    2. Lalaland says:

      TIE Fighter – Battle 10 – New Threats – Mission 1 – Ransom 1/2

      TIE Fighter – Battle 10 – New Threats – Mission 1 – Ransom 2/2

      Thanks for the memory :D Wow just pure nostalgia gold! I remember sweating over this mission, the player here has brought the right tools for the job (heavy rockets for the cruiser) thanks to foreknowledge of the cruiser showing up. I damn near lost it when that damned thing showed up to terrorise 14 year old me with my piddly Advanced Concussion Missiles :)

  3. Your initial schematic of the battle seems oddly reminiscent of the epic battle between the Vl’hurgs and the G’Gugvants.

    Did you encounter any small dogs?

  4. The Rocketeer says:

    This calls to mind 8492- with the huge difference, of course, that you aren’t actually supposed to stay and fight in that mission.

    In Ace Combat 5, there is a mission called 8492 in which you and your two wingmen are lead into a massive trap. Once it’s sprung, you are immediately surrounded by top-end planes with the most reactive and aggressive AI in the game, backed up with jamming support. The game makes it abundantly clear that trying to actually fight the enemy is suicide, and the real goal is to fly very low in the valleys of the mountainous terrain, where the enemy missiles can’t easily track you, and escape to the east after a short distance. It’s actually not difficult to complete the mission as intended.

    If you’re a total wuss, that is. Any true fan of the game knows that the only reasonable course of action is to turn into the enemy aggressors and instruct them in the ways of loss while your wingmen scream at you for acting like a complete lunatic. If you manage to score some kills, another jammer and a fresh enemy squadron (possibly with a unique enemy ace) spawns while the first is half remaining. On any difficulty higher than normal, it takes about 4 rounds of enemy cannon fire or one missile to bring you down.

    It always irked me that your wingman doesn’t acknowledge your winning the hard way. I guess the S-Rank is enough.

    1. Ryan says:

      I never played AC5, but this reminds me of AC04’s mission ‘Lifeline’. Yellow squadron shows up for the first time following a ground strike mission, with probably the most absurd AI in the game. You’re not supposed to be able to touch them, and I’m pretty sure they’re invincible, but it never felt right to RTB without landing at least a few hits.

  5. Ringwraith says:

    Actually the Strike Suit can move, as it does it via movements which are more like dodges, shifting you rapidly in any cardinal direction. Not quite the same, but it’s there. Whether it would actually help or not, no idea.
    I have yet to play through the game myself though, got it installed, but been working through Dark Souls instead.

    1. False Prophet says:

      No, the dodging works. You basically have to master the tactic of:

      -engaging your target(s) in fighter mode
      -transform to strike suit
      -use the strafe-dodge while getting multiple lock-ons as you pass by
      -missile spam your targets (when you get good at this, your kill-streaks will sustain the suit energy bar)
      -transform back to fighter and get out of there, using afterburners if necessary
      -stay out of range of the enemy until your shield regenerates if necessary

      Basically, suit mode should be used only very briefly to missile spam a large number of targets, whether a squadron of fighters, or a bunch of turrets on a capital ship. You should avoid using it to just fly around picking off isolated targets.

      Once I got the hang of this, Mission 9 wasn’t too bad. Mission 10 I still find frickin’ impossible, because you need to destroy a wave of heavy fighters and corvettes, then two more waves of capital ships while your carrier is constantly bombarded by the former’s long-range weapons. It never lives long enough for me to take out the last squadron, and it’s destruction is instant mission failure.

      1. Irridium says:

        And after that you have to attack the enemy’s big carrier that’s full of loldeath guns and a crapton of fighters. Ugh.

  6. Cuthalion says:


    Really, this should logically be the easiest mission ever. The enemy fleet never advances, you’re able to guard the rest of the mission without firing another shot, and your boarding crew finishes and skeedaddles out of there!

    Or not. :/

  7. Stranger says:

    This reminds me of “The Redemption Scenario” from X-Wing many years ago and how that stopped my game so cold I put it aside for ages. For the uninitiated, the setup was simple:

    Protect the medical frigate “Redemption” as it takes on wounded from a corvette and three shuttles. Shortly into the mission, when the first docking procedure starts to unload the wounded, an enemy frigate jumps in a good distance out and starts sending out bombers and fighters before leaving.

    In the X-Wing universe, a Frigate is about the second-biggest capital ship available to both sides and is pretty solid. The enemy bombers are really missile/torpedo launchers with engines, and from 5 klicks (yes that’s the term they use) they can start launching on capital ships, on smaller ships at 2.5. So you need to get out there and engage before they start launching torpedoes at your ships because they will empty all their shots if you don’t interrupt it by forcing them into evasion.

    You might think the shuttles are the sticking point, and one torpedo will waste them. That’s not it, because you see . . . the enemy AI is being dickish. No, they’re gunning for that corvette. Now I said the frigate was the second toughest customer? Corvettes are the weakest, so weak it’s possible for a lone fighter without torpedoes to wreck one if you’re feeling up to it. It takes four to six torpedoes to kill one.

    The bombers target the corvette, and it is the last thing to dock. So you can ignore protecting those shuttles? Nope. That’s what the fighter escort will go for if you leave them alone. Also, that frigate comes back shortly to send out yet another handful of enemies . . . on the opposite side from where you were engaging the first wave.

    Now the real dickish part comes in. If your whole squadron engages the enemy fighter/bombers on the way, the frigate pops in closer and thus the bombers on the second wave can pretty much shred things with impunity. So what you had to do was go out . . . alone . . . to intercept the first wave of fighters and bombers. Oh, and those bombers had to die. Leave them to settle the fighter escort? You’ll turn around to see them blowing up the corvette.


    Don’t get me wrong, I loved this game way back in the day, and I feel a sense of accomplishment for not cheating through the mission. But DAMN was it hard.

    1. Daimbert says:

      The first X-wing novel references this as being an exceptionally difficult simulation mission for the Rogue Squadron candidates, says that it’s nicknamed “The Requiem Scenario”, and references this precise strategy in describing Corran Horn’s run. A really nice bonus for people who played the games when they picked up the books.

      Although the difference between the one in Strike Suit Zero and this one is that there is a strategy — although it may be a case of “Guide Dang It!” or “Do it again!” — while there doesn’t seem to be a strategy that you need to employ to get through Strike Suit Zero.

    2. ThaneofFife says:

      There was a good non-cheat cheat for that mission: you could order the shuttles to head home without unloading (shift-H or cntrl-H, I think–it’s been a while). Then the corvette would have additional time to unload before the bombers could get to it. No cheat codes required! ;-)

      ETA: Why do I remember such specific details when I haven’t played X-Wing in 15 years?! I remember this, but can barely remember most of my family’s birthdays!

      Also: TIE Fighter was a far superior game. Wish they would make another one with new missions and updated graphics. No gameplay mechanics need to be changed. New or more customizeable fighters would be fun, though.

      1. SyrusRayne says:

        How often do you need to remember your family’s birthdays under stressful circumstances? Not often! But there were lives on the line! It’s no surprise you remember your dirty tricks even after such a long time.

    3. wererogue says:

      ‘Protect the medical frigate “Redemption”’

      You just unlocked a very unpleasant set of repressed memories in me. I’m hoping that this is like Torment, and I’ve just gained 5000xp.

      1. Anorak says:

        Yes, but did you learn the dead language? Otherwise your paranoid alternate self will beat you to death with your own arm.

    4. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

      Everyone talks about how hard this level is -I have not experienced it. The fighter escort flies in a straight line until hit, so if you quad-fire your lasers, you can kill all 3 TIEs from 1 klick out. At most you’ll have to make a deflection shot to nail TIE 3. The bombers, likewise, don’t dodge, so right after the TIEs are killed, you can torpedo the bombers and knock out 2 of them within 2 klicks -then it’s just whether you want to line up the torpedo shot for rest of them, or try for the deflection shot with the lasers. I learned these tricks on X-wing Historical Mission 5 or 6 (Escape of the Mon Calamari Prisoners).

      I’m usually on an inbound trajectory before Wasp even re-appears. As for the subsequent waves, Wasp can’t shoot to save it’s life, so I’m usually camping the hangar. 90%+ of the launching TIEs don’t even get off auto-pilot before they’re shot down.

      When I was a kid, and also couldn’t shoot to save my life, the level was hard, but once I learned to use the targeting computer, the level wasn’t that bad. What I think made it hard was -if you skipped the training missions -it was only the 2nd time you’d faced serious opposition.

      No, the hardest X-Wing level I played was in X-Wing Alliance: theft of the Shuttle Tydrion. The run to hyperspace in the shuttle is murder.

    5. guy says:

      Gah, medical frigates.

      Rogue Leader has Razor Rendezvous, in which you must protect a medical frigate from… an Imperial Star Destroyer. I have heard it referred to as “a two-minute mission that takes two weeks”. Personally, I don’t believe I ever beat it, and as I recall you do not have enough torpedoes to take down the shield generators and cripple the bridge without dying at least once.

  8. Big Steve says:

    On the one hand, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you know the suit mode has missiles, right? It can fire them in salvos of 40, and if you sweep your targeting across multiple targets (either fighters or capship components) the salvo will hit all those targets. Better yet, a fighter will be crippled or killed by only a tiny number of missile hits, so each 40-shot salvo is capable of wiping out whole squadrons of enemy fighters. Better YET, if you switch back to fighter mode before the missiles hit, the damage done will mostly refill the suit’s energy bar. Better even YET, you have an infinite number of these missiles, because they refill every time you switch between suit mode and fighter mode. In general, if you’re using the suit mode’s guns at all, you’ve probably made a mistake. Far from being badly damaged before you’re in range to engage the enemy, they should be on their last legs before they can engage you.

    On the other hand, I admit that I needed a friend to point this out to me, too, so we can still be mad at the devs. It’s just that we should be mad at them for not spelling out this non-obvious feature rather than for bad mission design.

    1. False Prophet says:

      Once I learned this tactic, every suit mission up to and including 9 became so much easier. It didn’t work on Mission 10 though, because it’s an escort mission where the capital ship you’re escorting never lives long enough for you to finish the job. I ragequit after several dozen attempts on that mission months ago and haven’t gone back since.

  9. Fiend of Dragons says:

    If you use the strike suit’s quick dash-move thing frequently (double-tap the direction you want it to move in), it actually moves about as fast as the fighter form (perhaps even faster if you’re using the boost as often as is possible). Doing so is actually a pretty essential part of using the thing properly, in my opinion, and it’s a shame that the game doesn’t really give you much help in figuring that out. And, as mentioned above, its missiles are your friend.

  10. Irridium says:

    If this was Freespace 2, you would have at least been given a team of fighters and/or bombers to command to help make things a bit easier.

    Freespace 2 is great. You should really play it.

    And yeah, this mission is weak. But not as bad as mission 10. Good lord that was one hell of a gauntlet… Mission 11 was fine. Mission 12 was a “last stand” type deal which is also a pain in the ass, though at least the game acknowledges it’s a pain in the ass.

    1. Phantom Renegade says:

      Mission 12 is even worse than mission 9 in terms of logic

      Spoilers for mission 12 so in mission 12 your fleet and the enemy fleet are separated by a minefield you put down, eventually the enemy sacrifices enough ships to create a corridor through the minefield, what do your genious commanders do?

      Oh no lets not put our ships in an array at the mouth of the minefield so they pummel the enemy ships as they try to get through, lets send in the strike suit and one of your capital ships at a time so they can get torn appart by the at one point two cruisers and two Frigates that got through.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Maybe sol:exodus would appeal to you more.

    1. Hydralysk says:

      I’ll admit I never finished sol:exodus, got to mission 6 I think, but unless you’re going for a shooting gallery I’d give it a pass. For me, the problem with exodus is the amount of fighters you are constant killing. You end pretty much any given mission with 40+ fighter or bomber kills, and since you only have one ship with 3 linear upgrade paths you don’t have the option of experimenting.

      Dogfights are great, but if you just keep sending waves and waves of enemies it gets tiresome. The pinnacle of it was when I played Wing Commander Saga and finished the last mission after 40 minutes and around 160 kills. The ship you’re given for that mission auto-aims, and you have no direct impact on the completion of the objective since you’re just covering the important assets. No real challenge, no agency, just blowing up one ship after another for the better part of an hour waiting for the mission to end. Plus, the first time I completed the mission I was killed right at the end by a shockwave from an explosion, flushing 40 minutes down the drain, so I’ve got a bit of a grudge against it too.

  12. Vect says:

    On the whole “Hyping up the villain” thing, Zone of the Enders had a final boss that was undefeatable, requiring you to survive until the plot progresses. The same villain appears in Zone of the Enders II and is still undefeatable until the very end, where your mecha suit gets upgraded to be able to match the Anubis in speed.

    1. Lovecrafter says:

      After which you fight him almost three times in a row, and he (much like every boss in ZotE) falls straight in the Darth Malak school of boss design.

  13. Mark says:

    Some games’ difficulty levels are badly designed, in that on easier difficulties, you can win early levels using the most naive tactic available, with the result that you never practice, or even learn about, the more powerful and difficult moves that are necessary in a later level.

    I don’t know if that’s the case in Strike Suit Zero, as I’ve never played it, but it is a phenomenon I’ve encountered before.

    1. DerekTheViking says:

      Sounds like a First Order Optimal Strategy problem.

    2. Khizan says:

      This is a fairly common problem in gaming, especially in multiplayer gaming that automatically sorts by skill levels.

      It’s very possible to win lowbie/newbie games in something like League of Legends while using an awful strategy, because everybody else is just bad as you are. When your win rate pulls you up to face some more competent opponents, they can often counter your “awesome” strategy with seemingly ludicrous ease, but since you basically started out by learning the game ‘wrong’, it feels like you’re just running into an unbeatable brick wall.

  14. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

    Sounds vaguely similar to some levels in Project Sylpheed. I really liked the blasting around in a dense furball, but then I realized that, like, 90% of the game was for show and the real trick was the time-limit. That felt more like fake difficulty than really hard levels.

  15. You pretty much nailed it Shamus.
    I tried the game as well and did not get much farther than you (I used Cheat Engine so I did hold out a few more fights before I tossed the towel).

    This would have been awesome as a Japanese Mecha Anime.
    But for some reason it seems like it kind of remain as that instead of taking advantage of player interactivity.

    I’m of the mind set that. if all the player has to do is “Simon Says” stuff, then you might as well have it as a cut scene instead.

  16. The Nick says:

    Wing Commander.

    Kurasawa 2.

    “The Ralari Mission.”

    Very similar, although this one is nice because you can actually fail this mission but survive and while it sends you off to do some extra missions, you can still get back on the winning path later on.

    In this mission, you and your wingman are tasked with rendezvousing with a captured Ralari, a Destroyer class ship that outclassed all allied ships of similar size. You’re supposed to meet up with it and escort it home to be studied.

    Unfortunately, this mission is easily the hardest mission in the entire franchise. When you arrive, it’s being vectored in on by four Grathas (heavy fighters that combine heavy armor, shields, and a legitimate offensive weapon loadout). A single friendly ship is in the area. You have (at best) 20 seconds to respond to to stop the Ralari from being destroyed. It’s not unusual for it to be exploded even faster.

    This mission is absolutely not fair.

    The only way to beat it is to inflict as much damage as possible as fast as possible and hope you get lucky. The four Grathas come in from two different angles. Ideally, you want to force your wingman to engage one, hope and pray another one is distracted by the random unnamed escort fighter, and angle in as fast as possible to stop the others. I never managed to do it for years, just assuming it was intended to be impossible.

    Finally beating it required an insanely offensive strategy that utilized one or both of the following tactics:

    * Ramming.

    Ramming was very dangerous for enemy ships and could destroy them outright. At maximum non-afterburner speeds, you would take some damage and make yourself vulnerable to other enemies. Tapping your afterburner and performing a ram at the perfect speed required some precision: too fast and you’d instantly die, but just right and you’d take off chunks of your ship, but destroy or spin out a healthy enemy ship.

    * Missiles

    Missiles were sort of sucky. They did decent damage when they hit but your guns were the real meat of the game. In this mission, rather than saving your missile for a strategic moment, it’s worth it to drop all five on the first ship and try to destroy it in one pass and immediately angle in towards the next ship.

    Basically, an unattended enemy fighter would destroy the Ralari so fast. It’s like the Ralari had no shields or something.

    If any of the other fighters peeled off from dogfighting to attack the Ralari, you were in trouble. If any of your allies switched targets and left a Gratha unattended, you were in trouble. Sometimes, a Gratha dogfighting you would turn to engage the Ralari, despite you pounding it with weapons. You had to stop this.

    It’s insanely hard.

    Sometimes, just afterburning in and having the enemies on approach angles from the opposite side of the ship would give them a few extra moments to hurt your Ralari. Other times, the trick was to engage a target and then LET IT GO EVEN WHEN YOU COULD DESTROY IT and change to a different target to keep it from shooting the Ralari.

    Crazy, just crazy. I felt like this is the same sort of issue, except it didn’t fall into the ‘win or die’ scenario here.

    Ask any Wing Commander fan about ‘the Ralari mission’ and you’ll get lots of conversation, guaranteed.

  17. guy says:

    I didn’t remember this mission as being exceptionally difficult compared to the others, although every mission where you have to protect warships against attack teams gave me trouble. My main tactic was to switch into strike mode, hold down the missile key and flail over the enemy forces with my mouse until my shields collapse, fire the missiles, switch back to pursuit mode, and hold down the afterburners to make a high-speed run past the enemy forces. At maximum thrust you’re nearly impossible to hit, so you can disengage and come back for another volley.

    The thing that ticked me off was how they refused to send in bombers against ships that hadn’t had their point defense stripped, even though you allied ships happily demonstrate that point defense is absolutely useless against torpedoes; even the carrier can’t reliably intercept a single volley from one corvette.

  18. I’m going to be “that guy” and say that transforming vehicles really bug me in sci-fi and video games. Giant robots I can sometimes hand-wave with Mechwarrior “we made this amazing artificial muscle stuff” or whatever, but the idea that a fighter craft can bring along with it all of the needed devices to change into a humanoid robot and then is somehow more effective in battle just makes my head spin. Yes, it’s “the rule of cool,” but you’ve just made your already complicated space vehicle several orders of magnitude MORE complicated when you just could’ve added the weapons the mobile suit has to a plain ol’ fighter craft.

    Not to mention what should happen when you get damaged. If you think opening a car door after an accident is a royal pain, imagine trying to get your legs out of your fuselage after you get a ding in a particularly close-fitting piece of nearby metal.

    I’m not just picking on anime, here (though if I were in charge of Voltron, you’d never separate into lions, not even for air shows) as the episode of Star Trek Voyager with the ship that breaks into three pieces (oh, so sloowwwwly) and then somehow becomes more kickass as a result… GAH!

  19. kdansky says:

    Reminds me of the mission that made me put Homeworld (2?) down: You had to fly your whole fleet through an asteroid field, while the enemy sent capture frigates at you. Those dock at your ships, and convert them to their own faction. Those frigates exist in the normal game play too. They have low health, don’t move fast, and can be shot down with relative ease.

    Except in this case, they each had more HP than my mothership, and my whole force could barely kill one in the time it took them to capture one of my cruisers. It was like fighting against a cheating opponent with invulnerable units.

  20. Phasma Felis says:

    I just picked up SSZ in the recent Humble Bundle, and I was vaguely dreading mission 9 after reading this column.

    Now…I’m kind of baffled. I beat it the first time through, on Normal difficulty. My armor was pretty low by the end, but I didn’t have too much trouble. I’m hardly an expert gamer, and I wasn’t doing anything particularly intricate strategy-wise.

    My best guess is that you…somehow missed the part of the tutorial where they tell you that your suit has hellacious godhammer missile swarms? You said that corvettes keeping ripping your shields off before you get in range, which suggests that you’re trying to close to gun range and plink at them. What you need to do is lock on, afterburn straight in until your range crosses 3000 (the maximum range of the Strike mode’s missiles) then transform, lock on 15 or so missiles (this takes about a second), transform back, and watch the fireworks. Corvettes are meat to a Strike Suit with even half-full flux, and when you pop one you get more than enough flux to hit the next one.

    1. Phasma Felis says:

      Not really sure why it decided not to close my italics, there. Oh well.

    2. Arven says:

      I picked up this game last week when it was on sale. And were it not for the comments in this post, I’m sure I’d hit the same wall as you did. I suspect the problem with mission 9 is not really mission 9. Rather, it’s mission 4. During strike suit tutorial in mission 3, I’m pretty sure I figured out that your missile in strike mode refills every time you transform. Yet I need it pointed out again to me when I reached later mission because directly after the tutorial is a nebula zone, where it disables missiles which proves crucial during later missions. For what it’s worth, from my limited gaming experience this has happened in quite a few games so it’s not alone in that regards.

      Regarding the game asking you to casually slaughter the big bad guy, it doesn’t do that. If I’m understanding things correctly, you’re stealing intel about the ultimate alien ship that your enemy use to obliterate your friends. And what you’re slaughtering is basically the same enemy you’ve been slaughtering since the beginning of the game. Well, there’s black fleet, but it’s basically just another version of the enemy that bowman is obsessed with. Spoiler for mission 10, you’ll wipe out that black fleet.

      Now that I finished defending the game, allow me to rant about the horrible last mission. In mission 11 and 12, the enemy is going to unleash the ultimate alien ship upon earth and your group is going to be the last hope. There was huge epic battle against the enemy, it’s just good fun overall. Until mission 13 come. In that mission you’re tasked with destroying the ultimate alien ship. You grab your AI buddy to give you exposition and you go inside the alien ship to destroy its core. There was no enemy shooting at me inside the ultimate alien ship, yet I failed that level more than I failed in other level combined. Most of my death was from me hitting the wall and the rest is because I failed to do my objective within the time limit. You see, most of the mission is spent flying in a dark, foggy and tight corridor while your buddy give the exposition. It’s very difficult to see where you’re heading and if you bumped into a wall then unless you have super fast reflex, you’re going to be bouncing around. You cannot go slow either since the time limit would run out. So it requires a very precise high speed flying, a skill which has never been touched since the start of the game. Add in the fact that there’s no checkpoint in this mission and you have the perfect recipe for madness.

      So yeah, now that you know about the missiles, you should go back because you’re missing out the big battle in mission 11-12. Just remember to watch last mission in youtube instead of doing the extremely DIAS mission.

      Edit: This is not supposed to be a reply, must’ve misclicked.

      Edit 2: Just finished watching the ending on youtube and I’m glad I quit the mission instead of sticking through it. Because apparently if you didn’t do previous missions well enough you will get a bad ending.

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *