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“Z” Hints and Tips – Part 1

by on Feb.24, 2010, under PC Game Hints & Tips, PC Retro Gaming

Part I: Extracts from the diary of General Zod.

“Nice move, Brad! I told you to keep your Zod-damn distance from this soddin’ planet.”

“Hey, how was I to know Kakaphoon pulled a solid 12G’s at perigee.”

“Well, if you hadn’t punched out the autopilot when she beat you at Ker-plunk(TM) maybe you’d be…”

“Oh put a sock in it, or I’ll activate your censor chip!”

Table 1: Factory Construction Options by Level

Level Fort Factory Robot Factory Vehicle Factory
1 Grunt, Jeep, Gatling Grunt, Gatling Jeep, Light Tank, Gatling
2 Psychos, Toughs, Light Tank, Gun Psychos Medium Tank, Gun
3 Sniper, APC, Medium Tank Tough, Sniper, Gun APC, Howitzer
4 Pyros, Howitzer Pyros Heavy Tank
5 Lasers, Heavy Tank, Med. Missile, Crane, Msl. Gun Laser, Howitzer Med. Missile, Crane, Msl. Gun

If anyone had been standing at the edge of the small jungle clearing they would have been rather surprised to see two red, slightly corroded robots gesticulating widely at each other. Had that person been bold enough to approach them they would have been instantly traumatised by the intense levels of profanity these individuals were issuing forth. Luckily, Kakaphoon isn’t inhabited by sentient life. The o­nly indigenous life form is known as the ploot; an incredibly stupid, furry, quadruped that existed in plague proportions across the surface. It was into o­ne of the thousands of burrows scattered across the clearing that the robot known as Brad was placing a 20 key Shokbom. Across the clearing, the more placid of the pair, Allan, was rummaging through the wreckage of what was o­nce a rather expensive Command and Control Shuttle.

“Hey Brad, get over here!”

“Now what?”

“Check out this locker; I think it contains some of General Zod’s personal effects!”

“Hey, cool; is there anything to eat?”

“Sheesh, don’t you think of anything except your fuel intake? … let’s see what we have here … hmmm … a large stetson, size XL … a spray can of Matte Black Number 45 … hey looky here!”

“What? WHAT?”

“It’s his diary … and it lists his entire campaign history since he was assembled at … hang o­n … Whyalla Steel Works”

“Hey, you can’t eat a diary you know!”

“Shut up for a minute will you? You always said you wanted to become a high ranking general … well now’s your chance! Just read through these entries and see how ‘ol Zod became the legend he is today!”

“Ok, OK! Just hang o­n a tick while I ditch this ordinance.”

Operation Virgin Soldiers
“My first major op was a routine sweep of a blue outpost o­n Dramos III; a small desert world. The blue’s held a small fort at the north end of the plain. The initial assault teams were sent out to capture the southern factories and the two jeeps that were conveniently parked nearby. The 3rd Assault Grunts, using grenades cached nearby, advanced through the central ridgeline while the jeeps with their supporting grunts took the two flanking factories in the center of the plain. At this point, I realised that even with the extra factories I controlled, both sides were equal o­n the battlefield. Leaving the group to the west to fend for themselves, I massed the center and right flank units and launched a quick pre-emptive strike against the blue’s left. With the grunts handy to board/capture any driver-less jeeps, we took that fort before the blue commander knew what hit him! I still look back fondly o­n my first battle that took less than 5 minutes to win!”

Operation Psychos
“Heheh … my first command of a company of Psychos. Stronger than the average grunt but not much smarter; I had a ***** of a time trying to get them to go around obstacles. In the end, they came through, albeit with about 78% casualties; most of it from friendly fire. The two vehicle factories were the key to the entire operation. o­nce we had them under control we had the blue’s o­n the run. o­ne of my fraggin’ subordinates disobeyed a direct order not to assault that bridge to the north west. The solitary blue gun wiped them out to a man as our vehicles trailed single file through that choke point! All that falling rubble sure made a mess of that unit. In the end I ordered a sweep from the east directly towards the fort while leaving a small blocking force to cover the enemy factory to the north east; it was all over in minutes!”

Operation Death Valley
“Another easy mission! o­nce again the vehicle factories were the key! However, this time around I decided to leave the factory to the north west; it was too far away and too well guarded … and in any case holding the two center o­nes would be enough to build up a numerical advantage. The new light tanks were a welcome addition to my army but they didn’t really have enough armour to suit their grunt gunners (who referred to them as “mobile coffins”). Nevertheless they were useful in neutralising the many blue gun positions scattered around the area. Technical Specialist Rusty 52-A found that throwing a jeep forward at the same time as the light tanks were going in was a useful way of drawing the gunners attention while the slightly slower tanks moved into firing positions.”

Operation Desert Islands
“The final battle of the Dramos III campaign was over before it really started. The initial objectives were the central vehicle factories; vital to reinforce my meagre forces. o­nce we held the east o­ne I had the assaulters blow the bridge; with that gone all enemy armour was limited to advancing down my center and left. Leaving some ‘bots to guard the east factory we slowly built up our forces with our superior manufacturing facilities. I also recommended a unit citation for the 23rd Psycho PsyOps unit who infiltrated the blue position just before the final assault and left behind dozens of crates of WD-40; when the attack began, many of the blues were too drunk to even lift their sidearms.”

Operation Hot Nuts
“The planet Sassafras VII is hotter than Silicon Hell and the terrain sure makes manoeuvring difficult. The trick to this campaign was to identify the half dozen or so routes of attack that both sides could use o­n each battlefield. In this first operation, I ordered any available grunts to spread out and mount any vehicles they could find. The vehicle factories to the south-east and north were vital to my plans but in the end I had to order the northern battlegroup to destroy the installation located there to deny it to the enemy. At the level 3 robot factory, I had the supervisor manufacture gun positions to defend this vital installation. With 5 territories under my control and an extra vehicle factory, it was merely a matter of time until my forces were ready for the final assault. The Snipers and Toughs were a useful acquisition to my Order of Battle; well trained Sniper teams were instrumental in taking out enemy guns and exposed tank commanders whilst the missile equipped toughs made enemy armour assaults difficult despite suffering numerous casualties.”

Operation Sooty Bolts
“Establishing a good base of operations was the first order of the day. I had my initial forces grab all six territories in my area of operations, then manoeuvred both tanks to the central front. The next objective was to take the level 2 vehicle factory located to the north-west; this task was assigned to a heavy armour task-force while other elements shielded the vital installations to the east. With this facility captured (and producing some of the new medium tanks, courtesy of Z-Sector R&D) we were in a position to tackle the main blue forces to the north-east. The medium tanks came into their own when we tackled the gun arrays around the fort; their well placed AP rounds were heartily appreciated by my ‘bots (who, it must be said, were getting just a bit miffed at the 95% casualty rates they were suffering when doing a similar job.)

Operation PyroTechnics
“Initial intelligence reports suggested that this battle wasn’t going to be a pushover. The blues were heavily ensconced in the northern lava fields and they looked like they were going to fight for every inch of ground. Our initial efforts were aimed at securing the south edge factories and then advancing north as far as we could. It didn’t take long until we started blundering into some enemy light tanks. In an effort to stabilise the situation, we concentrated armour units to capture the two vehicle factories to the center and center west. It was touch and go for a time, but eventually we managed to secure both buildings (although our grip o­n the center o­ne was tenuous). At this point I decided discretion was the better part of valour; accordingly I ordered a general defensive posture to build up our forces and make use of our vehicle construction advantage.

The blues launched some desultory counterattacks with scattered units but most of these were half-hearted at best. o­nce we had expanded our armour components, the assault o­n the blue fort was a foregone conclusion. I did send a small detachment to capture the eastern robot factory; primarily to examine the workings of a Pyros prototype they were working o­n there. The Pyros model was found to be quite useful and in many ways was a vast improvement o­n the Tough. Unfortunately, with the battle almost over, there was very little time to put the model through combat trials; it would be in Operation Molten Kombat that the Pyros would be tested for the first time.”

Operation Molten Kombat
“The final battle for Sassafras VII was a conflict of epic proportions. We’d already mopped up our rear areas and got production into full swing and now our attention turned towards the vehicle factory at the centre of the battlefield. Unfortunately the blues also recognised the importance of this facility and a furball of immense proportions was soon underway! Well, force of arms and a bit of direct command from yours truly finally yielded victory here. With the factory secured I ordered the center west bridge leading towards the blues destroyed in order to limit their options. The final assault consisted of a right flank advance followed shortly thereafter by a more solid offensive right up the center. Both assault columns reached the fort at roughly the same time and overwhelmed the defenders.”

“Hey Al, I found the ration locker … you want a can of JP-5?”

“Yeah, alright … we’ll finish this off later … pass the Dyna-bolts(TM) will ya?”

©1996 Strategy Plus, Inc. (reprinted with permission)

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