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MissionForce - CyberStorm (e)

Andere Lösungen
MISSIONFORCE: CYBERSTORM FAQ AND GUIDE v1.1

By TheLastBrunnenG
(aka LETHE, I ran the now-dead Mecha Ware giant robot 
gaming website)

- INTRODUCTION
- BIODERMS
- WEAPONS 
- HERCS
- EQUIPMENT
- MISSIONS
- CHEATING
- FAQ HISTORY
- FAQ TO-DO LIST
- THANKS

INRODUCTION

The Earthsiege / Starsiege universe meets turn-based hex-
map tactical combat in this excellent title. It gave 
Earthsiege fans a taste of BattleTech-style combat instead 
of the first-person sims Sierra had focused the brand on.

Gamers almost universally preferred this to the sequel, 
Cyberstorm 2: Corporate Wars, which tried to introduce 
real-time combat rather unsuccessfully and lacked whatever 
plot focus the original had; it also eliminated the hex-
based map in favor of a more "open" RTS-like map.

Speaking of Cyberstorm's plot, on behalf of the Unitech 
Mining Corporation, it's your job to boot the Cybrids from 
a number of mineral-rich systems. There are monetary 
rewards for meeting objectives and killing Glitches 
(Cybrids, the soulless mechanical enemy, also known as 
'Brids). You do have to take occasional detours for routine 
mining duty to build up the credits to buy new HERCs (HERCs 
are your robots / mechs / etc., there are no tanks) and 
better weapons. Of course, nothing's routine when the 
Cybrids are involved...  The ultimate goal is weighty 
enough: assault a Cybrid homeworld. You do advance through 
the ranks and gain access to ever-better technologies, but 
your pilots aren't humans - they're Bioderms, pseudo-clones 
that die within a few years.  You'll get access to more 
skilled (and longer-lived) 'Derms as you advance in rank.

Graphics are excellent and the Zoom feature really shows 
off the terrain detail. Sound effects are adequate, and 
despite what some reviewers thought, there is music, both 
ambient background music (looped) and a handful of great 
redbook CD audio tracks - not as many as a MechWarrior 2 
game, so they do get repetitive, but they're good. [Since 
the entire game can be installed to and played from the 
hard drive, my suspicion is these reviewers played pirated 
or "borrowed" copies.]

Unit customization is excellent, very similar to 
Starsiege's limited weapon mounts and chassis 
specialization. Pilots can also be trained in various 
skills. The Instant Action mode works well. The Campaign 
isn't really a Campaign as such, since it's almost 
completely open-ended - the only scripted missions are the 
single "Elite Military" missions at the end of every 
System, but before fighting those you can choose from an 
unlimited number of unscripted missions of various types 
like Mine Ore, Defend an Installation, Reconnaissance, 
Secure the Area, and Quick Assault.

The game was released in patched and unpatched versions; 
there are no major bugs to speak of, but the patch does 
make the gameplay more challenging and more convenient at 
the same time. 

BIODERMS

HERCS are useless without pilots, but the pilots you have 
available are more like bipedal plasma-jelly AIs than 
anything human: you can train them, and they do gain 
experience in combat, but in an average game they will die 
of old age, not enemy fire. Useless Bioderms (there aren't 
many) can be "recycled" for credits, but their screams echo 
rather gruesomely.

Occasionally when you rise in rank you are given a special 
Bioderm. It counts toward your total allotment, but they're 
almost always better than anything you currently have. 
Guard these special pilots well; they tend to live longer 
than the base models and that's always your major concern. 
It's almost not worth training any of the basic ones (Model 
001 and Model 010) - just save your money and buy a better 
one when the current one "expires". Each of the special 
Bioderms tends to have an area of expertise – energy 
weapons, piloting, etc., so make sure you allocate them 
properly.

As special Bioderms you'll eventually get some real gems 
like Tola, Kaesar (cheat: rename any Bioderm "Kurosh" 
without the quotes, they turn into Kaesar!), Tarsus (put 
him in a Giant early on), and Ma Yuan, plus Maia the 
Missile Baby (Stick him/her in a Reaper with triple Hunter-
Killer Plus missile packs) and Mentor, The Brain In A Jar 
(don't ask).

Make sure to read all the briefings and news reports when 
you attain a new rank. They do a good job of filling in the 
plot and they give great insights into Bioderms' 
personalities.

Yes, as a special Bioderm you'll also get Boto. Yes, Boto 
is a monkey. A genetically altered chimpanzee, actually. He 
has good piloting skills and learns quickly - train him 2-3 
times in Piloting then stick him in a stripped-down Shadow 
or an equipped-for-evasion Sensei; he makes a fair scout or 
raider, if you can stop laughing long enough to use him. 

How to make a Boto Bomb: stick Boto in a Sensei or Shadow 
with a self-destruct device or a HOG Missile and charge a 
line of Nihilus or Turrets. What a hideous sound... Want to 
hear it again? Add the "Boto Bombs Anyone?" cheat code to 
your CSTORM.INI file (without quotes, and add it under the 
[SometimesHandyOptions] section), and every Derm can be 
bought, including Boto. Over and over and over…

WEAPONS

There are two main factors you have to consider when 
equipping your HERCs with new weapons: balancing weapon 
energy requirements vs. reactor output, and balancing 
weapon effects vs. shields with weapon effects vs. armor.

  --Balance: Energy Use
Each weapon uses X amount of energy per shot. Your HERC's 
reactor stores some energy and generates a little more each 
round to replace used energy. If you use your stored energy 
for firing, you won't have any left over for shield 
regeneration or movement. Meaning, keep in mind that "most 
expensive weapon" doesn't always mean "best suited for this 
chassis". For example, the Giant is meant to be a 
ballistic-weapon support platform, firing cannons and other 
physical / kinetic guns with very low energy usage. A Giant 
packing 2 SHPGs, 2 MPGs, and 2 90mm ACs (great guns but 
total energy hogs) will only be able to fire a full 
broadside for one round; the next few rounds will be spent 
recharging, since its reactor can't keep up. Add up the 
Energy Cost to Fire listed for each weapon you mount, and 
make sure to double/triple/etc. that number for weapons 
with multiple shots. If the total Energy Cost to Fire for 
all weapons (fired the max number of times per round) is 
greater than your Reactor Rating, you've got a problem, or 
at least a one-shot wonder.

  --Balance: Shields vs Armor
The Earthsiege/Starsiege universe is almost unique in that 
its HERCs have not only armor but shields as well. Energy-
based weapons (lasers, plasma, beams) wreck shields while 
kinetic weapons (bullets, shells, explosives) chew through 
armor. Sometimes the AI will react to incoming fire (in the 
patched version, this takes place during any Opportunity 
Fire) by rotating its shields to face the incoming shots.

Luckily, every HERC in the game carries a balanced mix of 
energy and kinetic weapon hardpoints. The Reaper in 
particular has the loveable hardpoint #6, which can accept 
the best lasers or the best missiles in the game - I 
usually finish most of the game using a horde of Reapers 
mounting 3 HK+ missiles and 3 SP1200 Pulse lasers. The 
cardinal rule is the same as in any other Earthsiege 
Universe title: drop their shields first and only then fire 
armor-eating weapons, since even a tiny amount of shielding 
will protect the unit underneath from almost all physical 
damage.

Note that later in the game you'll get more and more 
weapons that do both - plasma guns, neutron weapons, 90mm 
Autocannons, particle guns, and more. Most of these are bad 
ideas, since 2 specialized weapons will usually outperform 
4 do-everything weapons. Example: Target A has 200 shields 
and 200 armor, so you'll need 400 total points of damage to 
kill it. Attacker One has two EMP Beamers (200+ shield 
damage each) and two HK Missiles (200+ armor damage each); 
Attacker Two has four Particle Beam Weapons (PBWs, 100 
shield/100 armor damage each). Attacker Two uses 2 PBWs to 
drop Target A's shields and the other 2 to destroy its 
armor. That assumes all 4 PBWs hit - if any of them miss, 
then Target A lives to fire back. Attacker One uses 1 EMP 
Beamer to drop Target A's shields and 1 HK Missile to kill 
it. It could actually kill a pair of Target A if all its 
weapons hit, and if one misses, it always has a backup.

These half-and-half weapons do come in handy if you need an 
extra armor-defeater or shield-dropper and don't have an 
appropriate weapon slot open, i.e., you have a Demon with 4 
energy hardpoints but only 2 missile hardpoints - you may 
need to do more armor damage than 2 missiles can provide, 
and a Demon has no cannon slots, so you might consider 
packing a PBW, Neutron Beam, Heavy Plasma, or the like for 
some extra anti-armor punch.  All this changes, of course, 
when Compression Blasters and Pulse Lasers appear - they 
perform all direct-fire roles exceptionally well, and can 
reliably kill unshielded opponents even without ballistic 
and missile support (though dedicated armor-defeaters come 
in handy against Cybrids with massive armor, like the 
Nihilus).

There are also two special weapon types you might like to 
know about:

  --Penetrating Damage
Penetrating damage skips the shield entirely and directly 
damages the HERC underneath. Most cannons and missiles do 
at least some penetrating damage (though not the half-and-
half versions), and there are weapons that are purely 
Penetrating, like the ELF series and the Thermal Needler.

The "pure" penetrators are great on their own. ELFs work 
best on fast movers - try an Ogre built for speed and 
mounting a rack of Chain ELFs and Auto ELFs. Needlers need 
large numbers of firing platforms, such as a squad of 
Juggernauts or Reapers, to be effective. ELFs can kill 
Cybrids that get too close to your lines, but needlers can 
take too long to kill a heavily-armored Cybrid at range.

Other weapons like Autocannons (ACs), Devastators, HEAPs, 
and most missiles do at least some damage to the armor even 
if shields are intact. They do enough Penetrating damage 
that a few shots can usually kill an opponent in the orange 
or red even if their shields are intact. Some tiny 
opponents like a fully-shielded Verminus or an early-
generation Specter can be killed outright by Penetrating 
damage.

Don't get carried away with penetrating damage; take the 
Giant as an example. Since it carries no true energy 
weapons, the Giant is almost helpless against shielded 
opponents without some kind of backup. The half-and-half 
weapons it can mount like 100mm Chain ACs, Electroflechette 
cannons, and Particle Guns do minimal shield damage and are 
meant to help out, not fight on their own. It can support 
other units and kill the occasional Verminus, but don't 
think for a second that it can take on a Hades or Nihilus 
by itself while counting on a lucky penetrating shot.

  --Area Effect
There are a number of area-effect weapons in Cyberstorm of 
two types, Mortars and Missiles. Energy Mortars are very 
useful little items, and the represent the only real reason 
to bring Giants into the later missions. A Giant mounting 4 
Fusion or Plasma mortars can take down the shields of a 
group of enemies from a considerable distance, and with the 
Patch can use them with wonderful effectiveness during 
Opportunity Fire. The Fusion and Plasma mortars are by far 
the most useful of the bunch, since the other mortars 
suffer the same problem as the area-effect missiles: damage 
isn't guaranteed to be applied to a dropped shield. ELF 
Mortars are an exception and are quite nice when combined 
with Thermal Needlers, but the units that can mount them 
would do better to mount Needlers instead.

As mentioned before, area-effect missiles like the 
Saturation and Katyusha are theoretically nice but they 
rely on having a large number of enemies grouped closely 
together, each with multiple shields down.  This happens so 
rarely that you're always much better off taking standard 
missiles like HKs, SGs, etc.

HERCS

Balance your force on each and every mission. The same 
force should suffice for every mission type (mining, 
defense, elite military, etc.) with only minor 
modifications. Remember that you are allowed a limited 
number of HERCs at any one time, so think carefully how you 
want to play.

I tend to keep a single dedicated scout of the best type 
available (Shadow or Sensei), fully upgraded and with an 
appropriate pilot. Once I'm allowed 15-20 units I may take 
two scouts. With EMP Beamers and good missiles, they can 
certainly contribute to a firefight while scouting.

I also keep one or two dedicated ballistic-support Giants 
around for the first half of the game. With HPG guns 
mounted, they can be effective longer in the game but their 
smaller reactors can't keep up with increasing energy 
requirements of non-ballistic weapons. By the time they can 
mount 120mm and 90mm ACs and Dragon guns, they can't keep 
up with the front-line Reapers and Demons in terms of speed 
or shielding. I know, I know, the argument goes "the Giant 
is a support unit, it should always be behind the front 
lines anyway". Unfortunately the Cybrids know tactics as 
well and they're happy to target weakly-shielded support 
units all day long. I might keep one around if Tarsus is 
still alive.

Remoras and Ogres are decent units before the first Elite 
Military mission, but they have limited upgrade options and 
are quickly outclassed by Demons and later, Reapers. The 
Ogre can be outfitted for ridiculous speed, and with a load 
of Chain ELF units it's a great melee fighter, but its 
shields are so weak that it can't stand even a round of 
fire later in the game. It's too expensive to be 
disposable.

Demons will form the core of your forces for much of the 
middle game. They're an all-around balanced unit with no 
glaring flaws. With only two missile slots you may want to 
vary their loadouts – some with 4 energy and 2 missile, 
some dropping a laser for an EMP Beamer, some dropping a 
laser for a Particle Beam or Neutron Beam for versatility. 
Otherwise you may end up with enemy units unshielded but 
otherwise relatively undamaged. Demons remain useful later 
in the game, as long as they let Reapers or Juggernauts 
lead the charge. 

Reapers will fill out your forces for the entire late game, 
unless you save up to buy 20-30 Juggernauts. Reapers are a 
blessed unit – they have 3 dedicated energy slots, 2 
dedicated missile slots, and one slot that can hold either. 
When HPGs are the mainstay energy weapon, Reapers generally 
mount 4/2 energy/missile. Once Pulse Lasers become 
available, half the Reapers can switch to 3/3 
energy/missile. Occasionally I still mount a few with an 
EMP Beamer or Fusion Annihilator for fun.

Juggernauts are in some ways inferior to Reapers, but they 
have three major bonuses. First, they can mount two ELFs on 
the shoulders. I never fire these, leaving them available 
to take out pesky Verminus units during Opportunity fire. 
Second, they're survivable. With the heaviest armor and 
shielding in the game, they can survive ludicrous amounts 
or punishment. They're not invincible, but with shield 
modulators and shield amps they're nearly so. Lastly, 
they're the only units that can carry super-weapons like 
the ATN Autocannon. Juggernauts are also slow, huge targets 
that draw fire like magnets.

For the record, all of the "special" HERCs that are 
available (Shadow Ghost, Annihilator Juggernaut, etc.) 
suck. Once they're available you can build a better machine 
yourself by refitting a stock unit.

EQUIPMENT

Since there's no weight limit in Cyberstorm, have fun here. 
I recommend 4 basic items in all HERCs: 1. the best 
available nanorepair; 2. the best available jammer; 3. an 
overdrive unit; and 4. either an antigravity unit or a 
shield amplifier. At least one HERC needs an extractor if 
it's a mining mission, of course  - usually a high-capacity 
one rather than a high-efficiency or low-energy one. See 
the CHEATS section below for some not-really-cheating 
options on not bothering with mining equipment. Note that 
planetary conditions may dictate what you can carry: on 
high-gravity (200%+) worlds, for instance, Antigravity and 
Overdrive are both requirements for Juggernauts and 
occasionally Reapers. I once took several stock 
Annihilators (off-the-shelf Juggernauts) to the Cybrid 
Homeworld just to fill up my ranks and was stunned to see 
them completely immobile, unable to move thanks to the high 
gravity. Nanorepair can keep your units active in the field 
long after they would otherwise have been rendered useless 
due to damage, and jammers reduce the enemy's chance to 
hit. Jammers can be stacked for additional protection, if 
you like.

MISSIONS

The missions in Cyberstorm are randomly generated so no 
real walkthroughs exist, just general strategies. Available 
missions in the HERC Command Center are split evenly 
between Mining and Military missions, though you'll have to 
defend yourself if you go prospecting and you can certainly 
mine any available ore while hunting Glitches. Keep in mind 
that you can continue on a map after the battle is done - 
kill all the Cybrids on any map and you can hang around to 
do some mining. In each system the final mission is a 
dreadfully hard one referred to as an Elite Military 
Mission, and completing it takes you to the next system. 
These tips, though, should make each basic type much 
simpler.

  --Training
This is a simple exercise in using sensors, using cover, 
and coordinating shield-damaging weapons vs. armor-damaging 
weapons. Any HERC should do, though first-timers may want 
to take a Remora instead of a Shadow just in case. 
Somewhere on the battlefield is a single Mark 1 Cybrid 
Light Turret. Sweep the area looking for it; when you find 
it, duck for high cover or at least crouch and focus your 
shields. Then rush in, fire energy weapons first, and 
finish it off with cannons or missiles. Note that if you 
use a cheat code to randomize the available missions, you 
could end up with Training being an option even late in the 
game, which makes for some quick and easy money. If you 
know what you're doing, though, don't take this one; your 
Bioderms only last a few years, and the month this takes 
won't net any real useful money.

  --Mine Ore
Mining is an unfortunately necessary chore, so be prepared 
to do plenty of it. If you're in a hurry, bring at least 
enough Extractor capacity to meet mission objectives and 
let Unitech automine the rest (they'll keep a hefty 
percentage). Late in the game, if you don't want to bother 
with constant mining missions, you may consider adding the 
$100000 cheat code or the Mine All Ore code - with the 
latter, at least you have to fight your way through. Since 
mining missions don't help advance your rank and the time 
they take can leave Bioderms dead of old age, try to take 
mining missions that provide the most money in the least 
time: 1 month / 15000 credits is a better deal than 2 
months / 20000 credits. If you kill all the Cybrids on a 
mining map, Unitech will offer to automine the ore for you. 
This is the only way to complete a mining mission without 
packing any Extractors, and actually is an option if you're 
the non-cheating type later on.

  --Defend an Installation
You'll be given 1-3 installations (well shielded) to guard 
against waves of incoming Cybrids. You can either eliminate 
all the attackers or defend the buildings for a set number 
of turns, usually 10-20. 'Brids will approach along a front 
of roughly 60-90 degrees, so on Turn 1 just sit still, 
Crouch if you want, and wait. When the attackers start 
approaching you can mass your forces in that direction, and 
you can even go scouting for them to take them out before 
they get in firing range of the facilities. Leave 1 or 2 
units on the opposite corners of the structures in case the 
Glitches try an end run. Defend missions are much, much 
easier earlier in the game, since weapon ranges are 
shorter. Later on, when long-range Heavy Compression 
Blasters and much-improved sensors are the rule, your 
facilities are in almost immediate danger, and you may not 
be able to kill the Brids in time.

  --Reconnaissance
Here you must simply approach within a set distance (1-3 
hexes) of a Cybrid installation and escape. You can of 
course take a massive force and wipe out everything but 
your target then just waltz up to it, but you can get some 
easy promotions early on with a Shadow equipped for speed 
and survival - dash up to the target then haul HERC in the 
other direction before the defenders can organize. The 
greatest threat here is usually the inconveniently placed 
turrets, so make sure your fast mover loads enough shields 
to survive 1-2 rounds of fire. If you try this mission 
later in the campaigns, treat it like a base assault and 
kill everything except the non-turret structures.

  --Secure the Area
This is a simple seek-and-destroy mission. Sweep the area, 
wiping out Cybrids as you go. They tend to cluster, so 
don't advance beyond your support line and don't spread 
your forces out too thinly - keep your scouts scouting. 
These missions almost always end up in an exchange of 
firing lines, a brutal melee.

  --Quick Assault
Oh, these are fun! In an unpatched game, the Quick Assault 
is a slaughter - you're dropped with no escape in the 
middle of a horde of Cybrids, with every unit facing a 
different direction. By "slaughter" I mean "you'll 
slaughter the Brids", since only the patched version has 
true Opportunity Fire. Typically every unit will be within 
1-2 hexes of every other. Try to fire on units that are 
facing the attacker so that all the fire can be 
concentrated on a single shield - otherwise the defender 
may turn to face you after a few shots, presenting an 
untouched shield arc. Make sure to kill the Cybrids that 
are in your midst before targeting those away from the main 
formation. In the patched version, this mission is much 
different - attacked Cybrids will quickly fire back on any 
attacker, and even worse, any moving unit will be pounded 
from all sides by Opportunity Fire. Just sit where you are 
and kill what you can without moving.

  --Destroy a Cybrid Base
Consider this practice for the Elite missions, and the same 
advice applies: Scouts are an absolute necessity here, 
since the enemy will almost always fire everything at max 
range; if you can't see them, be prepared to sustain heavy 
losses while charging into the dark. Always lead with your 
heaviest units, keep the scouts close, crouch when you 
stop, focus your shields whenever possible, and combine 
fire to take down as many enemies as possible as quickly as 
possible. Stay in a tight formation and don't spread into 
more than 2 groups. Be aware that Cybrid buildings affect 
Cybrid forces on the map! Command Centers increase Cybrid 
hit probabilities, Manufacturing centers can build 
additional Verminus units each round, etc. Do yourself a 
favor, destroy them all, and fast.

  --Elite Military
These missions are semi-scripted; the starting positions 
are fixed and the enemy forces are predetermined, though 
their responses aren't and the viewing angle can change 
between replays (just rotate the viewing field). The 1.1 
Patch makes the first Elite Military Mission a little 
easier but makes the others harder. Scouts are again an 
absolute necessity here, since the enemy will almost always 
fire everything at max range; if you can't see them, be 
prepared to sustain heavy losses while charging into the 
dark. Always lead with your heaviest units (Demons or 
Reapers early on, Juggernauts later), keep the scouts 
close, crouch when you stop, focus your shields whenever 
possible, and combine fire to take down as many enemies as 
possible as quickly as possible. Essentially, you're using 
all the skills you've perfected in all the other missions.

CHEATING

There are no built-in cheat codes, but the Patch actually 
supplies several very useful options - after applying it, 
check your new /DOC/ folder for CHEAT.TXT.  Open up the 
file CSTORM.INI (in your base Cyberstorm directory) with 
Notepad, then cut-and-paste your choice of phrases from 
CHEAT.TXT into CSTORM.INI  at the bottom underneath 
[SometimesHandyOptions]. Now restart the game and you'll 
have several new menu options in combat and/or at the HERC 
Base.

The game can be made tons and tons more convenient by 
adding in all the non-cheat options. I personally get tired 
of fighting mining mission after mining mission late in the 
game, when my force is so overwhelming that the pathetic 
Cybrid presence at the mining sites just can't reasonably 
oppose me even on high difficulty. Plus, there's the bother 
of refitting 15 or 20 HERCs with extractors, then undoing 
it all over again when I need a combat mission. Once I 
reach that point, I add in the "I Need More Wheat" code 
just to save tedium, frustration, and time by getting free 
the 100000 credits a mining mission with tons of Brids 
would provide. That, or add the Mine All Ore cheat code 
("Mine Your Own Business") and fight the mission like 
normal; that way you still have to kill Brids but don't 
have to refit 20 HERCs with 3-4 extractors each and then 
back again every time. 

Also, the "I Don't Like Those" code is nice when you've 
fought 6 Secure the Area missions in a row and all the HERC 
Command Center lists is 4 more - you legitimately want to 
fight a mission, just not the same one over and over, and 
this code randomizes the available missions for you.

FAQ HISTORY

V1.2 - 27 April 2005 – Removed Sierra's technical FAQ.

V1.1 - 22 March 2005 – Minor editing after I rescued this 
from my original website's Fortunecity graveyard. I don't 
update much, do I? Also, I just discovered that Cyberstorm 
does not work under Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Bummer!

V1.0 - 27 February 2002 - The first version. This is the 
second FAQ I've written entirely on my own (though I 
rewrote a few for the early BattleTech and MechWarrior 
games), and it's the first in a series I plan for Mecha / 
Giant Robot games that never got their own guides and FAQs 
- the first was for Starsiege.

FAQ TO-DO LIST

- Find out how high rank-wise you can rise in each system 
without fighting the Elite Military mission.

THANKS

-Paul "Rot, you spoo-slurping fanhead!" Petersen for loving 
giant robots almost as much as I do.