|Welcome to the Markovian Main Event!|
Congratulations! You have made your way to the final and most difficult mission of the Markovian Campaign. You have finally arrived at Port Crescent with your armada and are ready to invade and take back this port from the rebel forces. Z2Live has done a fine job on the design of this mission – it has multiple layers that you will have to work thru in a well designed port city complete with many detailed buildings, factories, bridges, sea walls, airport, tunnels and a town square that you will eventually have to take down if you are to succeed in this mission.
For this mission, it is a toss up as to which class of plane to use. It is a long mission with many adversaries, so a defense class plane comes in handy to stay alive to the end. The down side of using a defense class plane is that you may have trouble protecting your troops with less firepower. The Hawken or similar weapons class plane will give you the best chances of making it thru the mission with all bonuses but an Arbiter will definitely be an easier ride.
Phase 1: Sea Battle at the entrance of Port Crescent
You start this mission approaching the port with your fleet. You and the Helios squadron will face 2 destroyers, 6 ground artillery (3 on each side of the port opening), and a few planes. I usually focus on taking out the 6 ground units first. This allows me to avoid getting hit by side fire when attacking the destroyers. I usually don’t pay much attention to the enemy planes unless they happen to fall into my field of view then I will fire on them, but usually don’t pursue. The key in this phase of the mission is to avoid taking too much damage. If you get beat up here, you will have a hard time making it thru the next 5 phases!
|I chose an Arbiter this time - helped keep me alive during all the screen shots!|
|Usually try to clear out the sea wall first|
|After the sea wall support is gone, I focus on the destroyers|
Phase 2: Deployment of the Assault team
After you complete phase 1, your carrier will dock and an assault team of 5 tanks will be deployed. Your job is to protect this assault team as they advance thru the port to the town square. Try to keep all 5 alive thru the mission as this will give you some Meteor missiles as a bonus at the end.
Also, at this point, you will hear for the first time from the “Matron Mother”. This is an angry governess with a lot on her mind and is not happy with the legion! (see from the banter below). My only gripe here is that you cannot skip thru some of this dialog. If you like to play this mission often to get the credits, you will be forced to listen to the Matron Mothers diatribe over and over – come on Z2Live, what are you doing to us????
|If you play this a few times, you'll know this part by memory|
As for the mission, your first priority will be the airport to your right. Several planes will be taking off to fight against you. If you are quick, you will be able to take out at least one before it is in the air. You will then have to dogfight these planes. NEWS FLASH: Thanks to the commenters, if you blow up the airport BEFORE the carrier docks (phase 1), these planes will all be destroyed early and you will not have to fight them! After that, keep an eye on the assault team as they will run into a small force of ground units before the low bridge. Not too hard to deal with as long as long as you provide air support!
|Hit the planes at the airport first|
|First resistance for tanks - if you have an angle like this, you'll wipe them out quickly|
Phase 3: Engagement at the first factory
After your assault team crosses the first low bridge, you will encounter the first factory and face another series of ground units including a few tanks. With diligent air support, you should be able to take them out fairly easily.
|Resistance at 1st factory - not too bad if you don't stir up hornets nest by shooting at factory at this phase (do it later)|
After you take out the ground units, you will then proceed thru a dark tunnel up to the higher bridge. I’ve never tried flying a plane into the tunnel and am curious if anyone else has? I am guessing that you will blow up, but have never tried to find out! NEWS FLASH: Thanks to the commenters - if you fly in the tunnel, you will come out the others side! As for the village itself, I have tried exploring the other sides of the mountains around the port to see if there are any other hidden items, but have never found any. It seems that Z2 has not placed any surprises out there in these missions. If any readers know of any, please let us all know!
Phase 4: Crossing the high bridge
Once you move up to the top near the high bridge, the Matron Mother will again chime in and command a destroyer to take you on. The destroyer will emerge from around the corner of the back harbor and is easy pickings. A side note: you will get an easy badge if you fly under both the low bridge and the high bridge.
|Destroyer comin' round the bend folks|
|Floating units are easy pickins (if its a bug free run)|
After blowing up the destroyer, the assault team will begin to cross the high bridge. At this point a series of floating rafts appear with artillery on it. You should be able to quickly take them out, although I have run across a bug occasionally where these units don’t seem to want to die despite more than enough attacks against them. Curious if anyone else has run into this issue?
Phase 5: Engagement at the second factory
After the high bridge, you will approach the second factory. Just like the first factory, you will be met with a series of resistance. My recommendation is to take them out and avoid firing on the factory until your troops have passed by. You will have ample time to blow up the factories when your assault team is going thru the tunnels and up to the higher level (this strategy applies to both the first and second factory). Another side note – you can blow up the airport too if you’d like, but it doesn’t seem to give you any benefit. I have not found anything else in the port that can be blown up – have any of you? I’ve even tried to blow up the Legion carrier, but it appears to ignore friendly fire.
|Second factory (this time, destroyed it early while tanks were crossing low bridge to first factory)|
|Taking a few shots at the Legion carrier - that will really chap Durants hide|
Phase 6: Final Engagement at the central square.
After the long slog, you are almost done with this marathon mission. As you approach the square, you will face a few ground units and also 2 tanks that pop up on each side of the square as you get closer. Finish them all off as fast as possible as it sucks to lose a tank at this point in the mission after you’ve come this far! Once you take this last resistance out, congratulations, you have completed the last of the Markovian Campaign missions! There is some final chit chat between Durant and the Matron Mother and then it’s a wrap.
|Final phase - taking out resistance at the town square|
|Matron Mother chimes in one last time|
|Durants final remarks|
|Never quite clear what this means - is that Copperhead sighing because he is not going to get a promotion?|
Overall, the Markovian Campaign was a great first campaign. My recommendation would be to have the next campaign be more difficult and offer a variety of scenes. Perhaps have a mission in a dense city full of high rise buildings, or have a mission in a tall forest where you can fly below tree level. The canyon in mission 4 was interesting – that would be a great place to have versus matches. It is unclear when/if Z2 is going to have more campaigns but I sure hope so!
|Honest, I do get the tanks there safely usually when I'm not doing screen shots :-)|