Jagged Alliance 2: science fiction double feature

, | Game diaries

Well now, that’s a little bit different, isn’t it? See, when I started this playthrough of Jagged Alliance 2, one of the options I left checked in the game settings was “Sci-Fi Mode.” This adds exactly one thing to the game: the Crepitus. They being giant, nasty bugs that feed on human flesh.

Fortunately, to fight them, I have a robot that was given to me by a mad scientist.

After the jump: Hey there, have you heard about my robot friend?

Back when I was hunting bloodcats, I ran into Dr. “Madlab” Kairns, a fugitive scientist who once worked for Queen Deidranna.

So while the Dispensables’ A Team is recuperating in Balime, Chopshop stops by the local electronics shop. In addition to buying Mantis a top-of-the-line set of Mark IV night vision goggles, he picks up a slightly used video camera. The team immediately ships it up to Madlab.

The rifle I choose is an HK G3A3 assault rifle, which uses 7.62x51mm ammunition. Since that’s the same kind of ammunition used by Raven, Scope, and Eagle, I’ve been stockpiling it, so I have plenty to go around.

The robot needs someone to operate it by remote control, but that’s not a problem. Chopshop’s never been much use in a fight anyway, so he takes the controller. With my new metal friend in tow, it’s time to let loose the bugs of war.

First, I have to return to Tixa. Remember the hole in the basement a few entries back, and how I said there was no way I was going down there? Yeah, I’m going down there.

I let the robot go first, and it works like a charm. The Crepitus are blind, you see, so they hunt by smell alone. However, the robot doesn’t have a scent! It can attack them all it wants, and they won’t attack back. The rest of my team are fair game, but the bugs have to get by the robot first.

Yeah, Buzz REALLY has issues with her ex.

The caverns below Tixa are only one level deep, with only a few Crepitus down there. Fighting the bugs is a lot like fighting bloodcats. Their armor is not strong, so everyone on the team is armed with glaser ammunition, which tears the bugs up from the inside out.

Once back outside, I get a message from the mine chief at Drassen.

The bugs always take over one of your mines as their “hive”; it’s supposedly random, but it ends up being the Drassen mine more often than not. Thanks to Skyrider, the Dispensables get to Drassen before the town is attacked by bugs, though they make one stop on the way.

A really talkative guy named Gabby lives in a little shack out in the desert, and makes Crepitus pheromone elixir from their parts. One jar of the stuff will last my entire team for a while, but I buy both jars he has in stock, as well as his entire supply of empties. I’ll need them soon.

For Operation Bug Hunt, Dynamo gets left behind in Cambria, and is replaced with Raven. A Team will need her gun on the front line.

Once back in Drassen, the team descends into the mines. The elixir works just as advertised, letting me walk right by most of the bugs and letting me access the lower levels of the mine without incident. Once we reach the lowest level, though, it’s time for some fighting.

There are five kinds of Crepitus: adult males, adult females, juveniles, larvae, and the queen. Larvae are harmless, and juveniles can usually be one-shotted with glaser ammunition. The green males are pretty tough, but it’s the brown females that are the real muscle. Whatever you do, though, don’t let them get close. Two melee attacks from a female are enough to kill any merc on your team.

Then, of course, there’s the queen. She’s the one you saw at the start of this entry, and she can wipe out your whole squad if you rush in blindly. Fortunately, she’s completely immobile.

I send the robot in to scout the royal chamber, and Eagle follows with a backpack of explosives. After flooding the chamber with mustard gas, he lobs frag grenades at her to finish the job. It doesn’t take long.

Once the queen is dead, her guts spill out, dropping six servings of royal jelly. Applying this stuff to armor hardens and strengthens it, making it a great boost for the entire team. I’m not content with just six servings, though. Now the milking begins.

This is why I brought the jars. Using them on the queen’s corpse fills them with jelly, and I’m only limited by the number of jars I have. I can even come back later with more jars if I’m quick, since the queen disappears after a day or so.

With the royal jelly applied to top-tier Spectra and Dyneema armor for the whole team, they should be well-equipped to move on to the capital, Meduna.

That is, if that’s what I want to do next. I still have the town of Grumm to take, not to mention the secret research laboratories at Orta. Or I could deal with the sacred chalice that Chitzena asked me to recover from the museum in Balime, or the family of rednecks that a shopkeeper in Cambria asked me to get rid of.

Even after 10 entries of this game diary, there’s still a ton left to do in this game. Though their time here is at an end, the Dispensables aren’t finished yet.

Click here for the previous Jagged Alliance 2 entry.

Dufresne, known to his friends as Sam, lives and works in the Boston area as a game designer. His hobbies besides gaming include the guitar, LEGO, and the occasional regime change.