Alien Ship Combat (Apocalypse)

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Alien UFO and X-Com Vehicle Combat in Mega-Primus

In General

Important: Any road, road related infrastructure, or support columns are very weak and are easily damaged and destroyed, any vehicle using that road section will be destroyed also. All vehicles, road and air, are under robotic control. You do not need to have a 'pilot' (a single X-Com troop) on the craft just to drive/fly it. It is not necessary and a waste when the vehicle is destroyed.

Cityscape Vehicle Groups

  • Grouping cannot saved.
  • Maximum quantity that can be selected as one temporary group is 13.
  • Select multiple vehicles by holding down the CTRL button and either, LMB click on the icon in the bar displaying your craft, or click on the individual yellow icons on the cityscape portion.
  • The vehicles selected do not belong in a group anymore if you LMB click on an unhighlighted vehicle icon. To get those vehicles again, you must select them again via the tedious CTRL+LMB method.
  • The vehicle with the yellow border (the lead vehicle irrelevant who is grouped) is the one which has its weapon loadout displayed in the interface. Icons with an orange border denote the other selected vehicles within this temporary group.
  • To remove a vehicle from the grouping, RMB click on its icon.

Cityscape Placement

  • Dimension Gates move randomly about Mega-Primus at random times. Craft stationed at nearby buildings may having the shortest flight time before engaging the alien crafts but may be vunerable when exiting the launch tubes.
  • X-Com craft do not need to be at the base all the time. Spread your craft around the city to buildings which have multiple launch tubes when using multiple airbourne craft.
  • Don't try and crowd many craft into one-tube buildings that are closest to the dimension gates.
  • Choose buildings which, when collapsing, would not damage craft in the process of taking off.
  • Craft will launch from multiple tubes even if the yellow craft icon doesn't appear over all tubes.
  • After combat it is not necessary to return to base to refuel and rearm, or even to repair (it is tedious to Ctrl-LMB on many craft).
  • To enable/disable a weapon on a single craft so that missiles are not wasted on hostile company vehicles or trying not to destroy a UFO outright, LMB the relevant weapon on the weapons display. (see Attitude: Evasive below)
  • Transport versions of X-Com craft will be heavier due to modules. Any transport craft with agents on-board will die if the craft is shot down!

Vehicles

A vehicle purchased from a factory usually has a weak engine, weak weapons and does not come with any modules or devices (the only exception is the Wolfhound).

Air

Hoverbike

Hoverbikes are very weak with a weak gun. Use them as a swarm. They are very good at evasion, even better when upgraded with the best engines allowing higher speed and the best acceleration.
The best weapon available for the Hoverbike is the Plasma Cannon but regarding the low constitution of this vehicle, this may become expensive.

Hovercar

Hovercars can mount two weapons and have room for one small shield. They should be upgraded with the SD Turbo engine as they are underpowered from the factory. With two weapon slots, better constitution and the option of mounting a shield, Hovercars will survive longer in battle.
An optimal configuration (dual plasma cannons or plasma cannon and prophet) with a shield and the best engine wil usually be the main fighting force until better vehicles become available.

Valkyrie

Expensive but durable. Mounted with plasma cannons ensures this vehicle can knock them down whilst being knocked about. Even better with three small shields and the best engine. If funds and stock levels allow, this may be the better choice for a main fighting force if small shields can be maintained (and manufactured quickly).

Hawk

Expensive, durable, three weapon mounts. Heavy vehicle that can mount the alien Medium Disruptor Beam. Turns slowly which can be a liability. Will last long in battle when using small shields but can be overwhelmed due to its slow turning and weight.

Road

Road vehicles are not very useful because all roads are too weak. The vehicles are good, the roads aren't. It may end up being an expensive error.

Hybrid

X-Com craft powered by alien technology do not need to land. They can stay airbourne forever!

Airborne Combat Tactics

Note: Observe the acceleration change in the vehicle equip screen when mixing weapons, modules, and devices to have the best craft. Overloading a vehicle may make a nimble vehicle, sluggish. Top speed relevant for that engine will never decrease.

  • X-Com craft spread around the city should have the best of anything.
  • A mixed force of hovercars and hoverbikes works quite well in the beginnings of the game until UFOs use missiles.
  • Fast (evasive attitude) hoverbikes can attract fire from enemy craft whilst less agile hovercars can destroy from a distance when set to cautious attitude.
  • Slow craft (purposely given weak engines) with missiles will launch them at the target directly if flying towards the enemy from long distance. This will allow the missile to fly straight at the target instead of turning constantly trying to hit.
  • Understand which craft are Primary (mission UFOs) and which are Escort (escort role).
  • Check the Hostile Vehicles display bar and double click LMB to swap between UFOs.
  • Using the Camera Mode will allow automatic visual tracking of the hostile vehicle highlighted in the Hostile Vehicles tab.
  • When UFOs start to spawn in, select all combat craft (spread around the city) and transport versions (at your strike base), launch all craft to attack that single alien craft (specific target selection will be later).

Note: When a UFO has an escort role and has spawned far others, they will fly at full speed to be near their Primary leader. Don't bother shooting them just yet (unless it is a target-of-opportunity and your craft is fast enough). Missiles will be wasted, shots usually miss etc.

  • Once all alien craft have spawned into Mega-Primus, attack the Primary mission UFO(s) with your closer groups of vehicles. Concentrate fire onto the alien craft which is closest to, or starting to hover, over a building to possibly prevent a successful Alien infestation.
  • If fighting near a building owned by an organisation which is hostile to aliens and X-Com, shoot the building until defence craft are launched (or the message: "...building under attack by..." appears) then briefly escape away. Any UFOs nearby will now be under attack by these building defenders! (Note: If no craft appear from the building, the company has no craft available. Choose another organisation!)
  • If a UFO has spawned in a remote area, it can be ignored briefly if other Primary UFOs are closer to the cityscape buildings.
  • Transport versions of X-Com craft with troops on board can assist in battle, however, their objective is to land at any building immediately and "Search" for an infestation. If no infestation attempts were made in the course of battle, a crash recovery team is on stand-by.
  • If X-Com is well equipped, three transport-type crafts each with a 'cleanup crew' could be assigned to each primary UFO (typically three Primary craft spawn in when Infiltration is scheduled).
  • Any X-Com vehicles too far away to quickly assist in battle can be returned to their parking building. Larger UFOs, however, may need all the firepower available.
  • If faced with multiple primary craft together, concentrate on one at a time until its disabled (crashing or destroyed). Trying to kill three at once may enable three damaged craft to escape. If a primary craft is escaping and downing it seems unlikely, let it go. Concentrate fire on these that have yet to perform their mission or attack the next most damaged UFO. Craft that returned to the alien dimension are repaired immediately.
  • Escort-role craft will attack anyone that attacked their primary leader. If needing to research a particular UFO, the best opportunity to down one is when they are next to their objective since their speed advantage becomes minor.
  • A primary craft that has accomplished its objective will proceed to the gates at a higher speed (since they are lighter?) and escape.
  • Any UFOs that return to the alien homeworld may be used again to fulfil a group requirement for later missions.
  • Shooting a building via manual control may cause the (overhanging) part to collapse onto an X-Com craft a UFO when it is trying to hide. This tactic can be used to destroy the UFO which is currently dropping aliens and is close to a side wall.
  • A manually targeted people tube structure collapsing directly above any vehicle will heavily damage or outright destroy it. This can be used to eliminate massive UFOs since they are big and slow. Cityscape damage will affect relations and score if this desperate method is used.
  • X-Com hybrid craft (all which never need to land unless reloading or repairing) hovering near a dimension gate anywhere in the city offer the best opportinity to quickly attack any UFO as soon as they appear. X-Com hybrid craft are better suited to small squads hunting single UFOs. They can be used in a swarm fashion but due to their physical size, friendly fire may become excessive. A few hybrid craft equipped with the best can fight against any massive UFO.
  • When craft shields were not available, the reason for X-Com craft to break off an attack was due to severe damage, low constitution and to prevent destruction of the vehicle. Once shields are used however, the new reason to break off an attack and escape is due to shields becoming low. If the shields are lost (blue bar disappears and replaced with yellow health bar) all the shield modules on the craft are destroyed (disappear) and must be replaced along with repairs of any damage to the craft. If an X-Com craft is able to escaspe an attack and avoid being shot at before the blue bar disappears, the shields will slowly regenerate their strength.
  • Once knowledge is acquired about certain UFOs which use Stasis bombs, these crafts should be targeted and disabled/destroyed first.
Note: an Escort UFO has no offensive weapons.
  • Using a single craft fighting against multiple UFOs when they use Stasis missiles may disable movement of your craft for long duration if being bombarded 'with Stasis' - essentially freezing your craft mid-air until the UFOs run out of stasis missiles. Your craft is usually destroyed if other weapons hit your 'sitting duck'.
  • Giving waypoints to vehicles en-route to battle may help in tactics.

Attitude

There are four settings:
Agressive = shoot shoot shoot!!! don't care about health or who is in the way.
Standard = shoot shoot!! make those shots count, and dodge others.
Cautious = shoot! make sure to get the best shot but don't scratch my paintwork.
Evasive = don't shoot but dodge dodge dodge.

  • Attitude (evasive to aggressive) influences your craft's disengagement from battle when damaged.
  • An aggressive setting will make your aircraft get very close to the target. This will affect enemy missiles since they must turn constantly, but it also limits your craft's airspace for evasive maneuvers. If you have many craft swarming an enemy, the hostile cannot move freely. Aggressive craft will often fire at the target disregarding any friendly craft in the way.
  • A Cautious setting enables weapon use at a distance (typically maximum range of the selected weapon to target). Weapons may miss if the target is nimble. Overshoot into buildings may be a problem.
  • Evasive setting will prevent your craft from using weapons. This is best when flying long distance to a target so that your craft do not fire on hostile company vehicles.
  • Changing a craft's attitude as an air battle progresses may prevent UFOs from being destroyed outright. Switch to Evasive just before the UFO is destroyed. Missiles still inflight will be cause for guesswork!
  • If your craft has sustained damage, depending on the attitude (note: not altitude), it will immediately try to return to base. It will fly a straight line and does not avoid any threats. To stop this action, changing the attitude to a more aggressive setting will regain control (from forced "Returning to Base" messages) of the damaged craft. You can then choose a direction to fly away from the air-battle or to force that craft back into the fight. The more 'mild' the attitude, the earlier that craft will break-off when sustaining damage.

Height

  • The highest setting enables the best unobstructed flight path.
  • The lowest setting is just above road level.
  • Using the highest setting allows room for missile flight but forces your craft to shoot downwards at a hostile (if at a lower height). If your weapons miss, they may impact a building.
  • Using a lower (but not lowest) height setting can make air combat more difficult due to a building blocking shots and close proximity to sections of building collapsing, damaging your craft; but it allows shooting up at the target. If the shots miss, they fly off into the sky and not into a building.
  • Large X-Com craft have weak Top Armor. Higher altitudes will limit exposure and damage to this area if shields are not available.
  • Over unowned land or outside citywalls, medium-high altitude is best since it allows your craft maximum available airspace for evasive maneuvers.
  • Inside the city, lower height setting is prefered since the enemy may miss and hit a building (to your Relations advantage). Enemy missiles will be flying downwards also. If they miss they often impact the ground which reduces the overall threat.

Manual Control

A single X-Com air or road vehicle may be controlled directly by the player. Certain controls are specific to road or flying vehicles. Manual control allows unconventional targeting of weapons, to choose the best firing positioning and to do so when stationary.

  • When selecting multiple craft, the vehicle with the yellow border is the "Leader". When under manual control other vehicles within this temporary group will all fire on the target that the lead vehicle fires upon.
  • If multiple airbourne craft are selected, height is only changed for the Leader. The others in the group do not change.
  • A vehicle stuck in stasis cannot move but can still shoot when manually controlled.
  • The 'go to location' button when used in overhead cityscape view will allow exact positioning of your airbourne craft just before you choose to manual control it in isometric view.
  • Airbourne craft automatically avoid obstacles. When choosing a new direction to fly, the craft must be moving to make the turn. Aircraft do not turn on the spot.
  • A weapon's Firing Arc will determine if a shot can be made from the side or rear of a vehicle.
  • Negative points from cityscape building damage are 'awarded' for each shot that hits. The type of building piece damaged/destroyed influences the score. The weapon used is irrelevant.
  • If an unstable building collaspes from one shot (typically Thomas More Tower - Superhuman Cityscape) then only one shot is recorded for Cityscape Damage.
  • Road vehicles will travel at maximum speed unless slowed on purpose. It is possible to slam into the back of a slower or stopped vehicle and both will be destroyed if you are not careful. A head-on collison is also possible if you swap lanes and head into oncoming traffic. A U-turn may be performed anywhere.
  • Attack buildings by utilising a weapon with far overshoot (best air: Heavy Disruptor Beam or best ground: Rumble Cannon), at an extreme range as to not allow the defense craft of that organisation to get close your own craft when they launch to defend the structure.
  • When planning to manually destroy a building it is best to destroy it 'from bottom to top'. Position a vehicle in the south-east somewhere (isometric view), far away from a building you want to target. To optimally shoot, place your mouse cursor over the closest and lowest section of building you can see and LMB. The shot may (should) destroy the single section near the ground. The top part will collapse. One hit = one negative score.
  • Manual shooting in overhead cityscape view is possible. The targeted building will be shot from 'top to bottom' instead. Vehicles and crashed UFOs can be targeted in the same fashion.
  • Use a vehicle to destroy a crashed UFO if you don't want to perform a crash recovery (although not strictly necessary since crashed craft will disappear eventually).

Advanced Tactics

Your craft can block Dimension Gates!

  • Place many air vehicles in a diamond like pattern around the 3D space of a gate!!

Using Hoverbikes, set all to evasive attitude to prevent friendly fire and to force them to be evasive (even though they do not move when in position). Place one air vehicle using "Go to location" at each compass point next to the gate. Change altitude for each of the four vehicles until it is as close as possible to the same level as the gate. To place a craft above or below the dimension gate, change to overhead cityscape, switch to manual control for that vehicle and right click on the gate (Note: the first RMB click will go near the gate, the second RMB will be on the gate icon). Switch back to isometric view then change the altitide for this craft until it stays as close to under (or over) the dimension gate, then switch off manual control. Alien craft do not ram your craft but they will shoot at it and launch missiles. The strange effect is that the guns and missiles rarely hit a stationary Hoverbike. To block the gate so nothing can escape, six Hoverbikes (four around, one each above and below) set to the matching altitude of the dimension gate will prevent small alien craft from escaping. When large alien craft need blocking, four in a diamond at the same level as the gate is sufficient. The dimension gate can appear so that it is between the altitude settings of your airbourne craft. If you cannot match the same height as the gate, place four more around the gate at a different level to the four already there. Use other craft to knock down the (trying to) escaping UFO quickly since hoverbikes will still get damaged or destroyed. The Fast Attack UFO loses its advantage of high speed when using this unconventional tactic.
Note: This tactic is used when there are UFOs already inside Mega-Primus executing their mission. It does not work when there are no alien craft present since the Dimension Gates will move about randomly. It is used to block a gate to stop escape of an alien craft, not to block them teleporting into Mega-Primus in the first place.


Your craft can block infiltration attempts!

  • Hover above the home-cell!!

Any air vehicle placed directly above a home-cell of any building will block the UFO from being able to hover above it. Use a vehicle that is strong. The height needed may need to be determined by testing particular altitudes above the home-cell for particular buildings. One vehicle is all that is needed if it is at the correct height, otherwise stack X-Com craft vertically above the home-cell if not sure.