An Iron Knight Stands Tall Among a Steel Battalion

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For real?
Yes. Steel Battalion, the mecha game with its own custom 40+ button controller that cannot be played any other way. The mecha game that is so dedicated to being a simulation that it wipes your save file if you don't eject from the cockpit before it explodes.

We're playing that.

Bullshit, I don't believe you
The evidence says otherwise.



Anyway.

Explain Steel Battalion
Steel Battalion (Tekki in Japan, which translates to Iron Knight) is a mecha game developed by Nude Maker and Capcom for the original Xbox. Obviously I alluded it it in the earlier preamble, but this game is most notable for its controller, made of four different blocks containing various buttons, pedals, and sticks. Because of the size and nature of this controller, the game itself is considerably expensive and hard to find. Well, simply deciding to forgo getting the whole package at once and just tracking down the controller is a lot easier, and that is how I ended up with the idea of LPing this game. The basic synopsis of Steel Battalion is that it takes place in the year 2080, warfare is conducted with 24 meter tall mecha known as Vertical Tanks (VTs), and the main antagonist is the southeast asian territory of Hai Shi Dao, which withdraws from the Pacific Rim Forces to seek independence, only to use it as an excuse to aggressively reacquire all of its foreign assets. There's not a whole lot else to it, you're simply fighting as a member of the PRF pushing back against the Hai Shi Dao army's aggressive tactics. This game actually has two campaigns that take place one after the other, but as you'll find a lot of the content in the second campaign feels more like a remix of previous missions and events.

The game doesn't concern itself all that much with its story or characters (of which there are barely any), but it focuses all on its main priority of being the most indepth simulation of piloting a giant robot made by a Japanese dev. Obviously Battletech centers have existed in the past and Mechwarrior gives fans of BT its own brand of simulation to endulge in, but Steel Battalion's approach really takes the cake as far as home console games go. The game's controller has as many buttons as it does because they all have their uses for something. Even for things that would otherwise be automated in another game like windshield wipers or a fire extinguisher. Everything's arranged in a way that's initially overwhelming but makes enough sense that this could be conceived as a legitimate controlling method for what is essentially a tank on legs. With a variety of VT types and weapons, along with multiple difficulty levels, the game provides a lot of hours to get good with the controls and feel like an honest to god mecha pilot. It's something really special.

What is the format?
Single mission per video, as to be expected because of how involved these missions can get, but the presentation is gonna be something slightly difference. I know that the game can't really be played or emulated in a way that doesn't involve the Steel Battalion controller, so just raw footage captured by me would be more than enough proof that I actually have the hardware to use it. However, I still feel incentivized to show off the controller in action for each mission, so for each update of the LP I'll be posting two versions of the same video. If you want to see just the game footage on screen while Kaboom Dragoon and I do our usual shit, you may do so. But if you want all that, along with camera footage of me using the controller synced up with the gameplay, there's also that option as well. Along with the dual video format, as this is a mecha game with lots of units and weapons to use, each one will get a write up in that video's update in the thread. The game gives you plenty of options even out the gate for what stuff you want to bring into the field, so the write ups will be primarily for whatever gets used for the first time in a video.

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Controller Cam Playlist
Non Controller Cam Playlist
Personal Website
Last edited by ArclightBorealis on Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:54 pm, edited 19 times in total.

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Mission 0: PROLOGUE
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Our story begins with a conceit all too familiar for anyone who's seen a good number of mecha anime: getting in the goddamn robot for the first time while under attack. This prologue portion of the game is one of the very few times the game bothers to convey some type of story that isn't solely through mission briefing screens. It's a simple start, and it's just enough to let you get a taste for how amazing piloting a VT is, and that it's only scratching the surface of what you'll be able to do with it.

Also, while future updates will have the option to pick a version of the video that has controller cam or not, I've made it mandatory to see it for this prologue mission. Because between seeing it in action as well as demonstrating its features within the in-game calibration menu, there's a lot that still needs to be processed at a somewhat slow pace before Mission 1 onward has me going straight to top speed.

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Decider
The DECIDER is a first generation midsize VT. It's an excellent all-round VT that can handle just about any battlefield. Its balancer performance and easy handling makes it a well-balanced model.
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The starting Vertical Tank, and the one you'll likely want to stick with for the duration that you end up using 1st Generation VTs for. There are others, but the Decider is very well balanced for what it is, no doubt in part to the weapon selection it has by default covering all sorts of bases. Not to mention the ability to hold two extra fuel tanks which can be useful when on long missions.

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315mm Smooth-bore Gun (315-sb)
It fires low-trajectory APFSDS ammunition. It also has a longer range of fire, when compared to the rifle.
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A simple yet effective rifle that exemplifies the core difference between main arms and side arms. For the early game, you want this or any similar derivatives when dealing with another VT or mid size mecha enemies like the Giraffes. Using this on tanks or other small targets is overkill.

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120mm Heavy Machine Gun (120-MG)
This is a more destructive weaon than the Chain Gun. Although, it has a high rapid-fire capability, it does not fare well as an Anti-VT weapon. However, it's very effective against mobile support cannons.
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Not much more that needs to be said based on the description. If you're on a mission that has you dealing more with cannons or non mobile installations, it's good to have a heavy machine gun with you.

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67mm Chain Gun (67-CG)
It has a very high rapid fire capability and shoots small ammo-piercing ammunition. Since its firepower is relatively small, it's an ineffective wewapon against VTs. However, it's very effective against AFVs and Assault Helicopters.
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A companion weapon to the 315 as it is more effective at dealing with the targets that are anything weaker than a VT or other mechanized weapons. Of course, since smaller targets do not get picked up by the lock on function, being frugal with this gun's ammo requires very accurate manual aiming.

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Alc205 Plasma Torch (205-PT)
Designed especially for close combat with VTs, this weapon is very destructive and has the advantage of being able to take down an enemy with a direct hit.
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A reliable melee weapon to use when it's just you and another VT. When active your VTs targeting and weapon functions are all disabled, save for the PT itself. While it's not a one hit kill weapon like the description suggests, it does knock down any VT target with 100% consistency. And because enemy VTs take a while to get back up again, that gives you plenty of time to switch back to other weapons and wail on them until they explode. It's also a really great speed running tool as it always pushes you forward at high speeds and can be used repeatedly. Just don't use it while you're about to tip over.

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HAI SHI DAO Amphibious Operation
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First proper mission of the game, beginning the fight back against the Hai Shi Dao. It's also the first mission you can access in the game's Free Mission mode, and for how simple it is, it's a really good one to mess around with new VT units when you obtain them. For now, using a lightweight 1st gen unit like the Falchion is more than fine. As long as you stick to a consistent route through the beach and destroy key targets, this mission is typically over in around 5 to 6 minutes.

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Falchion
The FALCHION is a first generation lightweight VT. It is an excellent model having superior mobility and also air-borne descent capability. Although it has its drawbacks on the defense side, pilots can expect high results depending on their skills.
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The first lightweight VT you gain access to, immediately after the prologue. In terms of stats it is slightly worse than the Decider aside from a higher top speed and better turning. Aside from lower weight limits and being only able to carry one extra fuel tank, it can accomplish a lot of these early missions with about as much efficiency as the Decider already does.

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200mm Assault Rifle (200-ar)
Although its range is limited, the rapid self-loading system promises the highest rapid-fire cabability.
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Honestly, the ammunition is a bigger limitation than the range considering 1.5K is the average for a lot of these rifles. With only two magazines of 20 bullets each, being able to fire 5 shots in rapid succession is great if you're reserving it for only VTs and other high priority targets. Still, its fire power combined with the quick firing rate really makes it worth using from time to time.

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270mm Rifle (270-ri)
It fires low-trajectory armor-piercing ammunition.
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I really don't know what else could be reasonably added to this beyond the already terse description. It's a lower caliber than something like the 315-sb, and that's because this rifle is meant more for the lightweight class of VTs which don't gain access to that gun. In short, treat it the same like you would the 315.

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Secure Beachhead
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Second mission is surprisingly tricky even when you know the intended path through it. You're expected to go around the south edge of the cliff until you find a slope that takes you up top to deal with the enemies, but that's not the issue. The bigger problem is that the VTs at the top like to overwhelm you with so many rockets and grenades that if they don't kill you in one hit, they'll definitely take off 3/4 of your health. It also doesn't help that I wanted to show off a unit you get this mission that I otherwise wouldn't use because of its particular downsides. It's because of this that I had to switch to recording these videos in Free Mission mode. This game does not take pity on you if you eject from the cockpit moments before death. You lose that VT, you gotta pay for a new one.

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Vitzh
The VITZH is a first generation lightweight VT. Its exceptional reliability and maintainability makes it a viable VT even today. However, when compared with other VTs of the same generation, it stands inferior in terms of armor and firepower.
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The VT model you spend a lot of the early game fighting against. Lightweight, not very durable, and most peculiar is that the in cockpit monitors are all in monochrome. Including the multi monitor where all your enemies and allies are color coded. Not my favorite unit to play as, but I tried to make due with it. Combined with its weapon selection being on the more limited side even compared to the last two units, this whole thing is like playing at a disadvantage.

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140mm Heavy Machine Gun (140-MG)
This is a more destructive weapon than the Chain Gun. Although, it has a high rapid-fire capability, it does not fare well as an Anti-VT weapon. However, it's very effective against mobile support cannons.
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Slightly more power than the 120-MG at the expense of one extra weight point. It's worth the trade off personally, even if it puts you over the suggested weight, and even then losing an extra fuel tank isn't that big a deal in these early missions. Also yes, that in game description is the same for both the 120 and 140, I wasn't lazy when copy pasting that shit.

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Ak19-77 Recoilless Gun (77-rec)
This is a gun that fires high-explosive shells loaded with contact fuses. For this reason, the ammunition will explode and inflict damage even if it is not a direct hit.
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One of two recoilless cannons the Vitzh can use. While the other has more attack power, this is the safer option to pick because of its ability to still hit targets via splash damage. The cannon weapons of this type all share the same disadvantage of being extremely slow and easy to dodge, so you either want to have splash damage to compensate for enemy mobility, or get really good with manual targetting without lock on.

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Air-Timed Grenades (GND)
Grenades designed especially for close combat. Because of the contact fuses inside, the grenades will detonate and inflict damage even without direct contact with the target.
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An interesting side weapon, these grenades have a very specific range they must be launched at to be effective (less than 500 but more than 100). That said, compared to the 67-CG, this has some practical use in combat against a VT, as long as you are close enough and keeping the pressure with your main weapon of choice.

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JIAN TA City Penetration
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Jian Ta is the first proper urban environment you go through in the game, and I like it a lot in terms of how to approach your goal. The briefing obviously makes mention of taking either the bridge or the shallow waters of the river, but the street intersections and buildings give you good reason to either circumvent enemy ambush points or whittle them down with Howitzer shots. Compared to last mission where I tried to make it work with the Vitzh, the Vortex is definitely a good candidate for Mission 3. That said, I didn't really get to show off supply choppers this mission as I focused more on rushing to the end, but next video will let you see their usefulness in action.

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Vortex
The VORTEX is a first generation midsize support VT. As a support VT it has sufficient firepower but because of its insufficient defense, it should not be considered for front line battle.
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The Vortex's role in combat based on the in game description is backed up by its choice of weaponry. That said, the really good ones require some hard sacrifices due to the machine's weight limits. Fitting the rocket cannon and howitzer both doesn't leave you room to bring a machine gun or even an extra fuel tank, unless you're willing to go over the suggested limit. Still, for this mission, and even the next one, it's a good choice for safely dealing damage to enemies while taking advantage of the urban cover that's present.

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Mk21 Anti-Land Rocket Cannon (Mk21-R)
It's able to fire six mid-sized Anti-Land Rockets simultaneously.
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This is one of those weapons where the ammo amount feels like a lot less due to each button press always launching a set amount of rockets, which is six. Not to mention it has a very specific range that must be adhered to for the rockets to deal damage, which is more important than whether or not all six connect on the target. But if you're rushing past a VT, shoving six rockets in their face is a good source of damage, and a nice compliment to the side weapon used in this mission.

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370mm Howitzer (370-Hw)
It fires grenade shells in a high-arc trajectory. It is capable inflicting damage to a fixed area of land upon impact. Therefore, depending on its usage, it can do a lot of damage.
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This howitzer is heavy, but is very powerful and very safe if you're in an environment that isn't obstructing the vertical arc. As you'd expect, because of the travel time, it's useless as a practical weapon if the target is on the move, but that can be mitigated if the player is good with navigating the cursor on the Multi Monitor's map to hit them well in advance. Still, for stationary targets, or ones that aren't able to get to you because of obstacles, it's a valuable tool for the Vortex and other VTs with access to a howitzer.

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Conquer Naval Port of JIAN TA
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This is another early mission that's surprisingly tough due to what it asks of you and how little punishment you're able to take. On top of the hazard of possibly walking into the water and losing your VT, the Zhen Yan has so many guns firing off at all times that even running a circuit in front of the damn thing is risky. It's a long mission compared to the last few, with a gauntlet of Vitzh and Scare faces to fight through, holding off missiles with Chaff, and even getting a bit of support from Wagonmaster to stay in the fight a bit longer. This is the last mission before the game gives us a legitimate upgrade in VT specs and firepower, so if anyone gets through this mission during their first playthroughs, the payoff during the next one is so worth it.

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Scare face
The SCARE FACE is a first generation midsize VT. Although it has some issues in terms of maintainability and cockpit space, in general it's well balanced and it has enough potential even as the force's primary strength.
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Of the 1st Gen VTs we've used thus far, this is up there with the Decider as one of the best to use if you're sticking to this specific generation. Its weapon selection is comparable to the Decider with the biggest difference being no plasma torch, but with grenades, a higher grade chain gun, and the option for a longer range 320mm rifle, the game is not lying when it says it has potential to be a force's primary strength. It even bests the Decider in terms of durability, but considering the amount of high damage attacks the game throws, it's kind of an academic point.

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320mm Sniper Rifle (320-sr)
It's designed to take out targets from a great distance. It has a greater range of fire than a normal rifle.
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Aside from the only negative being one extra weight point, this gun is a straight upgrade from the 315-SB in terms of firepower and range. Extra range is always nice to have in big open skirmishes, and when combined smartly with certain side weapons it makes quick work of VTs and knocking them down fairly consistently.

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80mm Chain Gun (80-CG)
It has a very high rapid-fire capability and shoots small armor-piercing ammunition. Since its firepower is relatively small, it's an ineffective weapon against VTs. However, it's very effective against AFVs and Assault Helicopters.
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A straight upgrade from the 67mm variant, of which isn't even available in the Scare face's weapon selection. You still have to accept that the range is short, but there's nothing more reliable when it comes to sweeping across groups of small vehicles and other obstacles.

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Three-Round Capacity Air-Timed Grenades (T-GND)
Grenades designed especially for close combat. Because of the contact fuses inside, the grenades will detonate and inflict damage even without direct contact with the target.
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Similar to the regular grenade weapon, except the 3 per shot in a spread formation helps alleviate issues with accuracy just slightly. But still, as far as supporting the player's main attack power, this is a good one to have alongside something like the 320-sr where you can alternate between the two for close range pressure on another VT. It does its job very well.

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This looks pretty fun so far. I love the 'flip switches' start-up sequence.

What is the damage model like in-game? If you take hits to certain parts does it affect you differently, based on the VT? Do the lights work on a 'hit point' style or is it based more on hits to certain important areas?

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Wakkerdis wrote:
Fri Feb 12, 2021 2:55 am
This looks pretty fun so far. I love the 'flip switches' start-up sequence.

What is the damage model like in-game? If you take hits to certain parts does it affect you differently, based on the VT? Do the lights work on a 'hit point' style or is it based more on hits to certain important areas?
Yeah, the damage lamps just refer to regular hit points as there is no location based damage system.

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QIN LIN TUN Clean-Sweep Operation
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This is a fun one. After playing through the first roughly half of the campaign, the game gives you your choice of two different 2nd Gen VTs. There's pretty much no reason to go back to the 1st Gen models from here on, and even when the game gives you access to 3rd Gen VTs, the rest of the game is clearly balanced around these new units. And what better way to test them than by raiding a guerrilla village where things are significantly less threatening than what we've had to face up to this point.

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Prominence M1
The PROMINENCE M1 is a second generation VT. As the successor of the DECIDER, this well-balanced model is now the primary strength of the force. Numerous considerations have been made to ensure its equipment expandability making this model very versatile in various types of operations.
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The defacto VT you'll stick with for most of a campaign playthrough (not counting some of the special 3rd Gen VTs that are worth using), it doesn't even have its full arsenal yet at this point in the plot. It boasts the largest selection of weaponry to choose from, like different rifles, lock on missiles, a howitzer, and even an upgraded plasma torch. And that's not counting that it's one of three units that are able to use a Railgun, and the only unit in the game that gets a special optional armor component. Both of those, you will not be seeing until Mission 8 as that's when you'd normally get to go crazy with those toys. Yes, for as powerful as this VT is, it isn't even playing its full hand once you get access to it for the first time. It's a beautiful machine.

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315mm Rapid-fire Rifle (315-rf)
With its three-round burst capability, it has a higher rapid-fire efficience than a normal rifle.
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Between the different type of rifles of similar calibur (either higher or lower), I specifically love the 315-rf as the 3 shot burst makes for a nice middle ground between the other single shot rifles and the 200-ar which fires five before reloads. And now that we got it on a VT that can enable FSS to lead targets, it is especially useful in VT combat at this stage of the game.

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225mm Howitzer (225-Hw)
It fires grenade shells in a high-arc trajectory. Although not too destructive, it's capable inflicting damage to a fixed area of land upon impact. It is very effective against populated areas of AFVs.
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Not as powerful or heavy as the one available on the Vortex, this howitzer is also assigned to the Main weapon slot. Works just as well be it through lock on or manual aim, but the reduced power means it's really only more useful when dealing with smaller infantry and artillery. At best in VT combat it should be used in a situation where the enemy is knocked flat on their ass and they won't have as much time to get away from the blast radius.

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ASLAM - Anti-VT Guided Missile (As-mis)
A fire-and-forget infrared guided missile. Depending on the programming of the VT's movement patterns, its target acquisition accuracy improves which translates to an extremely high number of direct hits.
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If the plasma torch was the ideal close range tool for ensure consistent knockdown of enemy VTs, this missile launcher is the ideal long range tool for that job. The minimum range ensures you can't be less than 1km away, but that extra distance gives you enough time after firing to que up your next weapon of choice to deal additional damage to the target after they get knocked down.

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Alc22b Plasma Torch (22b-PT)
Designed especially for close combat with VTs, this weapon is very destructive and has the advantage of being able to take down an enemy with a direct hit.
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Identical to the original 205-PT in every way except double the damage, but still the same when it comes down to knocking down a VT. Not much else that really needs to be said, as it being one of the few melee weapons available only to a select few VTs, ramming another mech for high damage at high speeds never fails to be an enjoyable sensation.

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Smoke Discharger (Smoke)
This weapon fires four rounds of smoke grenades. Its sole purpose is to create dense smoke that blinds the enemy's visibility, disabling the enemy from attacking.
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It won't throw off missiles the way Chaff does, but for dealing with VT combat where regular ballistics are involved, this is a good tool for giving you some breathing room. That said, its number of uses is even more limited than what Chaff allows, as each trigger pull uses a set amount of Smoke from the ammo counter, giving you really only 4 times to deploy it effectively. That said, your mileage with this may very depending on how good you are at being aggressive in taking down the enemy while swiftly avoiding any significant damage.

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Reconnaissance Mission
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This mission is one of those that can go horribly wrong at the tail end due to it being one of those moments where your mission objective changes partway through. Obviously, the whole point is to do recon of this particular area, but it likes to make you run for your life the moment you are done with the recon and trigger a bunch of powerful VTs to spawn. At this point, if you're not good at retracing steps, being quick on the draw with chaff, or realizing how important Override is for getting to top speed very quickly (and even recovering from falls), you won't make it out of this canyon alive. Fortunately, next mission we'll be able to return here and won't have to run at the sight of danger.

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Blade
The BLADE is a second generation lightweight VT. As a FALCHION's successor, it has evolved its earlier concept to a new level. Its substantial increase in defensive powers has made it an excellent model.
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Very much the Falchion successor in every way. Higher grade weapons, though lacking in certain tools that the Prominence get like the As-mis and 22b-PT. But for a mission like this where the goal is to go from point A to B and back, it's an ideal unit for the job. And even when it gets involved in skirmishes, the Gen 2 benefits like FSS and Override help out a lot for making sure your shots count and damage is kept to a minimum.

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270mm Assault Rifle (270-ar)
With a maximum of five-round rapid-fire action, this weapon has plenty of destructive power to serve as the main Anti-VT weapon. However, compared with other models of the same generation, its range is relatively short
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Just like the 200mm variant but more powerful, and sporting the same limitation on ammo. Still, considering the lack of an rf model for other rifles on the Blade, this is as good of a substitute. And with supply choppers at your disposal, even the ammo limit may be less of a concern.

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Dual-Load Compact Guided Missile (DL-GM)
This is a compact two-guided-missile launcher that fits under the VT's body unit. Although its performance is not high, it's equipped with a homing system.
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While it is a homing weapon, this won't be able to do the same job as something like the As-mis. Not to mention its position as a side arm makes it clear it's there to supplement your main weapon fire. Best used in situations where a VT has been knocked down and you want an easy two shots to go alongside those rifle bullets.

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NAN JIANG Military Factory Assault
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Another lengthy mission, this one isn't two bad outside of the new enemy type you face a minimum of three times. The Jaralaccs were briefly shown at the end of the last mission as we ran like hell, and even in a straight fight they're worth taking seriously. Very quick to dodge your attacks and respond in kind with their own. Many of my recording attempts ended in failure because of underestimating just how damaging these bastards could be. That and having a brief lapse in remembering what the effective ranges on all my weapons were. All I'll say is, I may be showing off all the VTs with different loadouts, but I never promised they'd all be super efficient and well thought out. Still beat it, though.

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Jaralaccs N
The JARALACCS N is a second generation heavyweight VT. The heavyweight model possesses high mobility and defensive performance, making it an excellent VT. It's also capable of equipping many different arsenals to suit various battlefields.
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The first heavyweight VT of the game, and for this point in the game it's a nice alternative to the Prominence just for being able to take so much damage from anything, save for another Jaralaccs. That said, because of its size and heft, it guzzles fuel pretty hard compared to the other VTs we've used thus far. And when you realize how much slide stepping and override uses more than just walking forward normally, it can be dangerous to go too long without a supply run.

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HVM Launcher (HVM-la)
It fires jet propelled armor-piercing ammunition. Although its range and firepower is of the highest class, it's not equipped with a homing system.
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Rather than a missile launcher that 100% knocks down any VT it hits, the Jaralacc gets this bad boy instead. It does more damage, has slightly more ammo, but as the description says, it's a cannon with no homing capabilities. It's great to use in open areas where you can account for VT movement with the FCS, but because of the speed and limited ammo, you can't get trigger happy with this one.

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Flame Thrower (FMTHR)
This is a close combat weapon that attaches beneath the VT's body unit. A direct hit with this weapon will cause a VT to go up in flames.
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One of two flame weapons that are mostly unique to the Jaralaccs models. For the N version specifically, this is the best you get in terms of having a close range/almost melee weapon because of its extremely limited effective range. But when you're in the right spot, holding down the button while firing your main weapon keeps a steady DPS for the whole fight. Also fun (and sadistic) to use against small infantry and artillery that try to run past you.

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Dual-Pod Compact Missile Launcher (DP-mis)
This is a compact two-missile launcher that fits under the VT's body unit.
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A side arm that's akin to the DL-GM, with the main difference being that there's no homing capabilities. You get double the ammo at least, but combined with its specific effective range it's only good in close quarter scenario where you can just spam the fire button indescriminately. Your main weapon's gonna do more targetted damage anyway, so if you have this active you can hope that the missiles will connect and keep adding to the damage.

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Encounter
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Welcome to quite possibly the shortest mission in all of the Hai Shi Dao 2080 campaign in Steel Battalion. So short in fact that I opt to fill time by demonstrating this game's replay mode so we can watch the action from different angles. That said, as short as this is, it really is an awesome moment in the game simply because it finally gives you access to the Prominence's two biggest tools. Just using both of them at once really only leaves room for the As-mis and no extra fuel tanks, but it's not like running the tank empty was ever a risk.

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Railgun (Rail-G)
This is the newest weapon developed by the PRF. With the use of an electro-magnetic pulse, this weapon fires its ammo at hypervelocity speeds. It has an unparalleled long attack range and firepower.
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One of the best weapons in the game, and one of two version if you can believe it. The maximum possible effective range for 2000 points of damage. Heavy as hell though and only holding 10 shots, if you know how to aim and fire this thing without the enemy dodging, you can clean up missions very quickly. Just don't expect to carry many other weapons with you when you do so.

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Additional Armor (MM)
These additional armors allow for increased durability of the VT. It also grants the pilot the ability to use the guided missiles loaded inside the armor pod. Press F1 during combat to release them.
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This weapon is unique in that it is tied to the optional armor component that only the Prominence gains access to. The extra armor it adds to your VT is 1000 points, and any damage you take goes directly to this armor and not the VT itself (the supply chopper will not repair it however). In addition, the missile pods that it has are pretty great, and goes quite a way to give me slight Macross vibes. Note that if the description was a bit unclear, F1 is used to drop the missile pods and armor. To fire them, you still have to cue them up as your current side weapon.

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XIN FENG TIAN Campaign
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It's the final stretch of the first campaign, and we're gonna head towards the finish line in a brand new 3rd Gen VT. This mission for as simple as it is really has a lot going for it, fighting against all previous VT types (Jaralaccs excluded) along with the new Regal Dress models. They're 3rd Gen like our new Quasar is, but still extremely devastating. I normally try not to go for more than one supply run in a mission if I can help it, but with the 3rd Gen models' particular limitations, and me being especially impatient charging through the whole map, it ended up turning out the way that it did. Still, it's a fine mission and the first one you have the most likely chance of getting a Decoration on Normal because of the points you earn.

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Quasar
The QUASAR is a third generation midsize VT. It was originally an enemy's prototype model, which was captured from their factory and then later modified. It's the most powerful classed VT. However due to the incomplete analysis of the operating system, its response is a bit unstable.
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The second best VT of the gamge in my opinion, the Quasar is pretty great 3rd Gen VT. Its loadout is fairly similar to the Prominence, though it somehow gets access to both Plasma Torch variants. However, it gets an even better railgun, and more high calibur rifles. Unfortunately, this demonstrates a downside that is prevalent among all the other 3rd Gen models, and that is the inability to equip additional fuel tanks. The main fuel tank uses that energy more efficiently than previous gens, so it feels more like a main tank + sub combined, but that doesn't stop slide stepping and override from guzzling it pretty hard. Either have lots of supply chopper or be extra deliberate in your movements.

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355mm Smooth-bore Gun (355-sb)
It fires low-trajectory APFSDS ammunition. Compared to the rifle, it has a longer range of fire.
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It's a smooth bore rifle, but with higher caliber shots, and the same goddamn in game description. Need I say more?

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Railgun (Rail-G HSD)
A railgun developed by the HAI SHI DAO side. With the use of an electro-magnetic pulse, this weapon fires its ammo at hypervelocity speeds. It has an unparalleled long attack range and firepower.
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Despite the part name being the exact same, this railgun is not the same as what's available for the Prominence. This and another unit get the Hai Shi Dao variant which boasts 500 more points of attack power at the expense of a fifth of the ammo. It also has a considerably longer charge time, though this leads to a nice trick if you're good enough to bypass a check the AI does to see if it will dodge your next attack. Put simply, there's nothing to stop you from locking onto an enemy even after you pressed the fire button.

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Capital Shoot-Out
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The final mission of the campaign, where peaceful surrender is no longer on the table so we have to invade the capital by force. This map is fucking huge, and I like while the objective can be accomplished in just a few minutes, you get plenty of time to sweep through the area and clear it of enemies as long as you got enough supplies. For my style though, the preferred route is one that goes along the edge of the map so that I only have to deal with some Vitzh and Giraffes and maybe a Scare face or two on the way. Regal Dresses are still tough, and they're all over the building, so the final minute or two of the mission has to be done quite decisively and with very little risk.

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355mm Rapid-fire Rifle
With its three-round burst capability, it has a higher rapid-fire efficiency than a normal rifle.
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The best version of the rapid fire rifle you can get, even if it is quite hefty to carry around. In any other mission just sticking with the Railgun and As-mis would be enough, but since Regal Dresses like to drop chaff of their own, there's no harm in bringing an efficient, high caliber rifle to fall back on.

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Iron Knight War
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Steel Battalion is an insanely niche game due to its concept. From the heavy simulation aspect to the controller, all of it amounts to a product that no sane publisher would ever want to greenlight a sequel to. Well despite that, Capcom decided to let Nude Maker do another game, but this time go even more crazy limited in its appeal by creating a multiplayer focused sequel that can only be accessed through OG Xbox Live or System Link play. Yes, as if spending 200 dollars on the game back then wasn't enough, here's another game that required spending about 50 bucks a year just to access its content through Microsoft's online service. The former may be dead as of the time of this update, but through tunneling software like Xlink Kai, the latter is absolutely possible, and in the year 2021 there are people out there that still engage in Steel Battalion Line of Contact (Tekki Taisen in Japan). And for this update, I'm showing you what that is all like, via recorded matches against the wonderful folks at the Steel Battalion Xlink Kai Discord.

This took quite a while to get to something that I thought was presentable, and even then I feel I'm still missing plenty of info by virtue of not spending as much time with this game compared to its predecessor. Not to mention my skill level is still pretty low as a lot of tech in the original Steel Battalion is just not as applicable. Still, it's interesting to see the differences, and I hope the highlights from the recorded matches I could get in between network disconnects are entertaining enough. Leaving some of these uncut would've ended up with a very long video and feeling more like a stream archive, which doesn't really suit this for LP purposes.

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HAI SHI DAO Amphibious Operation (2)
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Welcome to the start of the Hai Shi Dao 2082 campaign, where we must storm the beaches of the island and destroy 70% of the enemy forces. Yes, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you, this campaign has us going through the exact same mission but with slightly different enemies (m-Vitzh instead of Vitzh in some places). That is one of the bigger downsides of this game, for as much as I adore it, the second campaign feels more like an arranged mode that reuses all the old environments, has a mix of old and new objectives, and lastly the ability to command a small squad of two other VTs. Who absolutely do jack shit in following orders so outside of demonstrating that the feature exists you're barely gonna see it again. Just how it is.

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m-Vitzh
The M-VITZH is a first generation lightweight VT. It's an improved version of the Vitzh with modifications in the body armor and the cockpit.
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Same old weapons, slightly higher weight limit, and most importantly it is not burdened by a monochrome display. Yes, now the monitors in the cockpit display in full color like every other VT in the game. Cool. Except this is still more or less the same as the worst unit in the game, and serves as a pretty good reminder of how far apart the VT generations feel like at times. Already I miss my Quasar.

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Ak19-4A Recoilless Gun (4A-rec)
This is a gun that fires high-explosive shells. It's lightweight and has approximately the same firepower as the rifle. However, due to the ammunition's slow rate of velocity, it is relatively easy for the enemy to evade it.
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The other recoilless gun I opted not to demonstrate in the first campaign, this mission felt like the best possible place to demonstrate its value. It's got double the attack power compared to the 77-rec, and as noted in the description it lacks the contact fuses that let it indirectly damage targets. But for something like this where we're destroying a lot of stationary targets, its power and ammunition more than suffices.

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Air Cavalry Assault
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This mission went so poorly for me that I was tempted to do one more take before settling on this one. The reason is only because of some weirdly timed events right at the end that coincides with me finally hitting the win condition. This mission I'm generally not fond of because the whole point is to kill a bunch of attack choppers until they back off, but there are still VTs to deal with since they're part of the offense, and it's difficult to keep track of how many enemies it actually wants you to take down. A good run of this mission would only take a couple minutes, but that also would've meant I'd take the Prominence's multi missiles and called it a fucking day.

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Scare face A1
The SCARE FACE A1 is a first generation lightweight VT. This model is the modified version of the midsize class VT, SCARE FACE. This model weights lighter for increased mobility.
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Much like the m-Vitzh, this version of the Scare face is still has all the same weapons and slightly tweaked stats. There's not much else to say in that regard, but this is the last 1st gen VT we're showing off, and there is actually another Scare face model we've yet to see that wipes the floor with the original and A1 variants.

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Surrounding JIAN TA
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Finally back in a 2nd Gen VT cockpit, as well as back in Jian Ta city. We don't have to reach the opposite end of the map but we do have to take out some ECM jammers as the gimmick for this mission is that our radar starts out unable to pick up nearby targets. We've already dealt with enemy VTs that have stealth coating and what not, but now we got a mission that pretty much relies on you paying more attention to your main monitor to pick out targets. Also a preview of a new enemy VT I decided NOT to kill because the risk of dying at the last second and needing to redo the mission was something I didn't feel like doing.

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Rapier
The RAPIER is a second generation VT. This model was designed only for the officers of the Instructor Division. In all of the existing VTs this model has the highest mobility performance. To handle this model one must be an experienced pilot.
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This VT is interesting less for its features and more how you have to unlock it. In the campaign, beating a mission with 12000 or more combat points gets you a decoration. Acquiring 10 of these decorations unlocks the Rapier. And honestly, if you want a solid light weight VT I guess this is fine, but for how it's locked behind a set of requirements more specific than all of the 3rd gen units, it feels like kind of a waste in that slot. Still, far from terrible in practice. The two weapons unique to it have solid applications.

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SQUALL - Anti-VT Guided Mortar (AVTGM)
This is the only high-angle fire Anti-VT weapon that has homing capability.
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The description is short, but very accurate. Because it's a homing weapon it makes for a great supplement to whatever main weapon you're firing at another VT during an engagement. And of course, still useful when fired at a very long range with suitable cover between you and the target. Not a ton of ammo, but not too heavy either.

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Stun Rod (Stun-R)
Designed especially for close combat with VTs, a direct hit with this wewapon will cause massive volts of electricity that will incapacitate the enemy VT temporarily.
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A very interesting melee weapon among the small list of them in this game, because it's less about the damage and more that it is designed to literally stun a target. Specifically, it performs an attack on an enemy that can actually happen to you during the final mission (and a lot in Line of Contact), where your VTs systems get electrically overloaded and shutdown, requiring a quick reboot. That means an enemy that gets hit with this is basically forced to do the pre flight check all over again while they're a sitting duck. Definitely the most unique tool in the Rapier's arsenal.

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Conquer Naval Port of JIAN TA (2)
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Another mission with the exact same name. And for most of it, it's pretty much the exact same objective. Obviously the big change is the presence of another ship that needs to be destroyed, and is patrolling the surrounding waters. All I can really say is I'm glad the devs had the foresight to have this one ship only fire missile weapons, because the corner I sat in really is the best place you have to fight it and you don't get much wiggle room if someone's firing ballistics at you.

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Scare face II
The SCARE FACE II is a second generation midsize VT. This model is the successor of the SCARE FACE that had exceptional defensive powers. Although having maintainability and cockpit space issues, it still is an outstanding model.
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The best Scare face model, easy. On top of looking way more beefy, it has the 2nd Gen benefits of Override and FSS, making those sniper shots more manageable. In addition, it gets some heavier artillerly, including a guided missile that is similar to the As-mis and just as good in its own right. Much like how the original Scare face was a solid alternative to the Decider, this is a good alternative to the Prominence if you're wanting to limit yourself to only 2nd Gen VTs on a mission.

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POZIT - Anti-VT Guided Missile (Pz-mis)
A fire-and-forget infrared guided missile. Although inferior when compared with the ASLAM, it is still an accurate and destructive missile.
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It's interesting to note with this missle launcher that it technically has more fire power, yet is generally considered not as all powerful like the As-mis. That's because while this is good for dealing damage to VTs at long range, it doesn't have as much consistency with knocking down targets when struck. Still, it's because of a weapon like this that the Scare face II has the means to stand toe to toe with the usual go-to 2nd Gen units like the Prominence.

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100mm Chain Gun (100-CG)
It has a very high rapid-fire capability and shoots small armor-piercing ammunition. Since its firepower is relatively small, it's an ineffective weapon against VTs. However, it's very effective against AFVs and Assault Helicopters.
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The final chaingun, the highest calibur possible since I guess the devs felt anything higher would make it qualify more as a VT machine gun and has to be moved to the main arm. As always, great for the small stuff. Especially those missile patrol boats in the harbor.

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Counter Offensive
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Up until now, the missions in this campaign had us going through the exact same environments in the same order. This time however, we're not going to the guerrila village and instead partaking in the same objective we had in mission 8: kill all retreating enemies. And this time, since I'm not using the Prominence with its railgun and multi missiles, this is going to be slightly more of a challenge as I have to book it to every single cluster of enemies and use all of my tools effectively whilst remaining in Overdrive. There's a lot of close calls when it comes to toppling over, but I managed it.

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Jaralaccs C
The JARALACCS C is a second generation heavyweight VT. It has been especially designed for VT-to-VT close combat and it possesses superb mobility performance and defensive powers. Equipped as its sub arsenal is a Cutter Boom. However very destructive, it cannot be removed.
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Of the two Jaralaccs models in this game, this one might possibly be the better, or at least more destructive of the two. The description mentions the Cutter Boom which is the only instance in the game where a VT and a specific weapon cannot be separated, but with the various rockets and explosive weapons available to it (plus the already established flame weaponry shared with the N model), this thing's power at close range is not to be trifled with.

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Mk34 Anti-Land Rocket Cannon (Mk34-R)
It's able to fire four mid-sized Anti-Land Rockets simultaneously, which is a lethal threat to any VT.
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Take the Mk21-R, reduce the ammo count to three fourths and increasing the attack power of each rocket. It's not six rockets at once though, but its effectiveness is still based on firing at the right range so that they all line up well.

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Cutter Boom (Cut-B)
This is a large cutter boom retrofitted for a VT for close combat. It's the most destructive close-combat weapon.
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The Jaralaccs-C's signature weapon, and the only one in the game that is permanently fixed to the unit it belongs to. As far as melee weapons go, this thing is a beast. The amount of damage this thing causes and the duration is stays out for makes it worth using at least once during any mission you bring the Jaralaccs-C into.

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Projectile Anti-VT Mines (AVTM)
It's capable of discharging three forward-projecting Anti-VT mines simultaneously.
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An interesting weapon that leads you to thinking they're only good for setting traps, when in reality they're just as useful as a direct combat tool. The range means you gotta get real close for the mines getting tossed out to make contact, but luckily your splash damage from your own weapons never damage you if you're super close.

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NAPALM (NPM)
Napalm rounds can be loaded into any of the compact launchers that fit underneath the VT body unit. Napalm is very effective in sweeping out ground enemies because of its natural ability to set ablaze a fixed area of land upon impact. Also, a direct hit on a VT with napalm will set it on fire.
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The other flame based weapon available to both Jaralaccs models. Not a close range tool like the flame thrower, and with considerably higher damage output. Even so, both of these are still supplementary to your main weapon fire for a reason, since overheating a VT's cockpit can only do so much damage in a span of time.

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NAN JIANG Infiltration
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The first route split in the game has going back to Nan Jiang to do, once again, roughly the same exact missions we did in the first campaign. The main difference with this one at least is that it's a night operation, we have to plant explosive charges on the facility entrance, and we have to prevent any patrolling VTs from blowing our cover. This is technically a "stealth" mission, but it adheres to the idea of it being stealth if there are no witnesses. As long as you have a solid route and quickly kill each enemy (who are isolated in their placements) before they can escape or radio in to their buddies, it's not that big of an issue.

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