If we don't hold the line here, any hope we had of stopping the alien invasion will be lost. The future of XCOM literally depends on this mission.
In the original X-Com games, base defence missions were much more common. This is the only instance in Enemy Within.
This level is probably my favourite in the game. It's just got so much character. There are multiple sections here, like many other areas; a rear guard post (as seen below), this main control room, a mech bay beyond where cargo is moved and a loading bay out back.
There are plenty of areas that require defending, meaning that being flanked is a massive danger.
The primary issue is the insertion of aliens straight into the centre. These tend to be the shock troops; Berserkers, Chryssalids and the like.
The troops we receive are the top handful of soldiers in our barracks and a couple of XCOM base security personnel. These are expendable rookies whose main job is to supply grenades and act as cannon fodder while our soldiers pick off the tougher foes. Losing them has no consequence in the strategic game; they don't appear on soldier memorials and their survival isn't associated with any achievement. They still cause a decrease in will when they're killed, though, so there's still a potential for panic.
We have control of Alex, Garo and Pure at the moment as well as two security soldiers, one Jalani Mazibuko and Mina Visser. I don't expect them to survive the first wave, especially since we're lacking Dabir or Flan; MECs would be highly useful, especially with Flan's proximity mines.
Our first course of action is to put Alex on a platform overseeing the area; we need the height advantage badly.
These spots of dirt are where aliens will drop in from vents in the ceiling. Having them covered is a large part of fending off the assault.
Garo's Close Combat Specialist ability is going to be a lifesaver here. The ability to drop melee troops is important in the first stage of this defence.
Let's get started. Deep breaths.
Chryssalid drops in and is the target of most Overwatches.
Two Sectoids drop down on the top balcony but one was taken down by Jalani. The second is about to get it, too.
This Mechtoid could be trouble.
This Commander will be even more trouble.
A berserker wil likely cause some strife in a turn or two's time.
This Mechtoid could have used a shot in the face instead of the whole squad gangbanging the Chryssalid.
Bollocks to this Commander.
At least we have Flan ready to aid us, as well as two more security personnel. That's four more grenades at our disposal.
I've peeled off Garo to take down the Commander; neglecting the centre Mechtoid should indicate to you how important taking down this alien is. He can also be the first line of defence against the flying troops.
Thankfully, Mina's got eyes on the Mechtoid that was near Garo; it's also in Alex's sights.
And it's down! Courtesy of Alex's splendid shots.
This Mechtoid's a real problem."J'ai fini et vous avez fini."
A moment's breathing space; the Berserker destroys some cover and the Commander moves up.
Okay. This is how it's gonna work. Pure attacks the Berserker and moves it towards him.
Base security soldier Zahara Kotsi grenades both enemies.
TAKE IT, FUCKNUTS!
Cataval Diope seals the deal with a grenade. This side of the control room is secure.
Garo makes a move to the roof of the station and reloads, ready for plenty of shooting.
Two security personnel in support. Let's go.
Okay... no activity. One more turn's space. I'm leaving Alex in here to clear house when needed.
Pure heads up top to deal with the situation that's developing there.
Putting both of the soldiers that came in with Flan to look out into the mech bay for anything that comes through.
Another pile of dirt, another problem. Flan's on it.
Here's a view of the mech bay. It's got some interesting platform cover and a lot of... crates
A Chryssalid takes it up the ass while a Sectoid gets the drop behind Flan.
Another bug to hunt.
Pure and Zahara squash it."J'avance, vous retraitez."
The base security take their posts.
Garo watches all.
And Alex watches for good measure. Incoming!
The other Floater survives.
... never mind.
The first Cyberdisc manages to evade Garo's wrath, the second doesn't.
A Drone bites the dust.
Two Seekers turn up, one survives.
A Heavy Floater joins the team, leaving us in a sticky position, but with a little less to worry about. Great work, Garo. I'm pulling him back to command where Alex can watch him for a turn.
Base security do their job; Jalani's grenade damages three in one.
Moved Alex to a better spot.
Pure and Flan need a resupply. Their base security will Overwatch this round.
Mina throws a grenade, hitting the same three Jalani managed. This reduces the enemies on that side to two Cyberdiscs and a Heavy Floater; much better than having to contend with so many different targets.
One Cyberdisc makes a move with murderous intent; Alex's pistol shots don't dissuade it.
Farewell, Jalani. You did good, son.
Mina just about makes it through without dying! She's truly a survivalist.
The death of Jalani invokes more reinforcements; the game won't let me have more than about eight soldiers at any one time, so hopefully we'll be getting a second MEC trooper through next turn. If Mina doesn't make it, which, let's be fair, is pretty likely, we might get a second soldier.
But let's eke out her game as long as possible. Alex takes down the flanking Cyberdisc.
This isn't a good enough shot for me, so I'll use the last grenade.
Oh wow, Jalani's stuck in the wall. Anyway, that's Mina's turn done. Hopefully she'll make it through, but she's used both of her grenades now, so that's about as guaranteed as her contributions will get.
Pure and Cataval make a stand in the mech bay; Flan and Zahara back them up on the right flank.
Garo reloads, ready to take down the fliers if they come through.
Mina... somehow defies the odds and survives. The Floater wastes its turn by merely moving up to flank her.
She's alive and well, and I have no idea how.
But Alex has no shots; short of lucking out against the Heavy Floater, Mina is unlikely to make it to the next turn.
I'm thinking about retreating Garo... but I've grown quite attached to Mina. There must be something we can do...
I think I have a solution.
Oh my God. This might actually work.
YES! Garo can get them! Fantastic, Mina will live!
Since the kill is guaranteed, I must give this a try before I do it; Mina takes a pistol shot against the Heavy Floater.
Mina, you wonderful, wonderful woman.
All that remains is taking down the Cyberdisc. Amazing work, guys.
We got Dabir out at the start of the round. He brings no new security because he's all the security we'll need.
We have new mounds of dirt forming in mech bay, so that's where we'll deploy him.
Flan is guaranteed a hit against whatever it is that drops in there.
We do what we can to ensure the base security soldiers we have are useful to us.
Pure's going over here to provide a different viewpoint.
I'll engage Dabir's boots to give him a little elevation this round.
This means he can take care of whatever it is that drops onto that pile there. Okay, that's everything. Let's get to work.
Mutons! Shitloads of them!
Happily, we can now retrieve the soldiers we left in command, a sharp burst of reinforcements for the vanguard.
... there's just too many of them. Someone is going to take a hit before we can deck everyone.
Let's try what we can. Flan prepares to punch a Muton.
Cataval grenades another.
Pure's aim is true.
A second grenade from Zahara weakens but doesn't kill another Muton. I fear we may lose her."I bay for your blood.""Muton est muet."
Garo and Mina move up.
I'm really proud of Mina. I wish she could join the team. I feel she's worthy of being an honorary UFF member thanks to her incredible survival so far.
Enemy turn... oh dear.
I'm sorry, Zahara.
Rest in peace, Cataval.
We'll get 'em. Run and gun, Garo.
This Berserker didn't know what hit him.
But he'll know what's gonna kill him.
Sit down, you fat shit.
Pure softens the Berserker up for a robot to cop.
Oh, man, this is beautiful. Imagine this Berserker, raging at Pure when suddenly PINK
PUNCH"Thought I'd drop in."
With that out of the way, we move Flan up and reload her to maximum capacity.
This round is another cooldown round; I intend to reload and move everyone up.
Unless they don't need to, in which case, I'm dashing them to forward positions.
There are still some enemies dropping in, which is why we need to be sharp, but we can afford this turn to rest.
Pure moves up to support Dabir.
Garo can't make it all the way to the other dirt pile this turn, but he can get pretty close.
Flan can get even closer, though.
Mina's the last to move; her range is pretty poor.
A clutch of Chryssalids emerges from the vents. Flan takes one down, but there are still some to go.
Haaaaa, Alex killsteals from under Flan's nose."Squish."
Pure takes up a really forwards position.
A furious Flan takes up Overwatch.
Mina runs, but still doesn't get far enough.
Garo rearms, ready to unload his entire clip again.
The mech bay is secure. The forward security checkpoint is next in line for attack, and we have reinforcements inbound next turn.
Mina finally makes it to the front line.
Pure and Garo take point.
Alex brings up the rear.
Flan mines the way in as preparation for the wave.
And I take a pretty risky decision to put Dabir right up at the front to be a vanguard. Let's see if it pays off.
MMX! A welcome addition to the group.
No new contacts this turn, so we make some housekeeping changes. Garo moves up to perform the same task as he did with the flying troops.
Mina takes a nearby spot.
Dabir goes into Overwatch.
Pure does, too.
Base security Aya Mufaddal makes her way to basically where Pure was before. She brings two fresh grenades with her, so that's useful.
Alex makes his way up top.
MMX takes a position from which he can move swiftly to either tunnel.
Flan completes the circuit with an Overwatch. Here we go; good luck, everyone.
A drone perishes in the blast of the mine and its comrade makes its way forwards...
... only to be met by Dabir and Flan dicking it from range.
A Sectoid Commander turns up and Pure misses his shot against it...
... as well as missing a shot against a Cyberdisc.
... that's a bit useless. I'm not sure whether this is the last wave or not. We've had no Sectopods and I don't know whether that should be the case this late in the game.
Putting MMX on the roof to make sure, just in case he's needed.
Dabir explodes safely.
A disabled Cyberdisc is not bad news.
Aya's shot isn't terrible, to be fair; it deals two damage.
Mina kills the Sectoid. She has been an absolute star this game.
Garo runs to gun again and by Jove, I think he can kill the Commander.
Walloped. All that leaves is the Cyberdisc.
As we could assume that Flan's being trolly as usual, I make him leave a mine on the Cyberdisc; Dabir's currently in the blast radius. He can move out, but he can't take a melee kill from this because that'll activate the mine.
Pure reloads. Here comes the very last wave of ene-
Garo fucks up a Mechtoid.
... what's this?
This is the Ethereal. The top ranking alien in the hierarchy, its psychic powers are beyond compare. Able to use mind control on pretty much anything and able to use unique psychic attacks that can blast entire areas like rockets, Ethereals are some of the most dangerous aliens in the game.
And this one's brought its dog.
I'm actually quite excited about this; I've read about this happenstance but this is the first time it's happened in my time playing Enemy Within. Usually I get Sectopods at this stage and those NEVER die. Ethereals are still very, very dangerous, though, but they're the top gun the aliens have, so it actually feels really fitting that it turned up in this mission for XCOM's future.
We need to kill that Ethereal as fast as we can, before it starts to wreak havoc; anything and everything changes with that fucker on the loo-
This is why snipers are incredible at the highest levels. Genuinely fantastic.
Ethereals have interesting death sequences. Mina deals with the Sectoid, leaving us to deal with the rest of the problems.
So-called problems."Command this."
So, we have a Mechtoid who is chronically
fucked and a cyberdisc waiting to get punched...
... but let's switch it up."Detruisez tous; c'est une obligation."
And let's deprive MMX of any action whatsoever.
. We lost three good soldiers, Jalani, Zahara and Cataval, but their sacrifice made our job defending the base that much easier. Wow.
Completing this mission gives us a unique medal; the Star of Terra, soon to be renamed. We only ever get one of these medals.
Fuck. I'm out.
Loads of corpses from this mission, somewhat unsurprisingly.
Fuck. I'm out. Peace.