Alien Colony Attack Mission

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A colony assault is a two part mission:

  • The first part takes place on the (dark) sea bed. The centre of the map contains the main colony building and there are several small outlying buildings, including four towers at each corner and a long structure along the west and east edges of the map.
  • The second part takes place in a labyrinthine four-level bunker beneath the sea bed.

Colony assaults are one of the few regular missions in which aquanauts are guaranteed to face the dreaded Tentaculat. This, and some other reasons, make Colony Assaults the regular mission type that is most likely to cause deaths among your aquanauts.

Part One (Sea Bed)

The aim of the first part of the mission is to get your team to the lift at the centre of the main building, so they can descend to the base below and complete the second part, or to defeat all aliens. Note that you will always fight in pitch darkness no matter what time of day you launch the mission, a big disadvantage against the aliens who see in the dark.

In Part One expect the following aliens:

The aliens do not skimp on weaponry in this phase—most of the Aquatoids and Tasoths have a possibility (or from September onward, a certainty) of carrying Disruptor Pulse Launchers. The only exceptions are the Tasoth Squad Leaders, who have Molecular Control capabilities.

Possible Tactics

  • Take along a SWS and use it for scouting (perhaps with some sniper support). Since it is quite resistant to Tentaculat and Hallucinoid attacks this can usefully reduce the threat to your aquanauts. Unfortunately, it is not resistant to DPL fire, so losing it is a real possibility.
  • The open terrain and long sightlines make the enemy DPLs extremely dangerous. You can minimise casualties by spreading your soldiers out vertically with Magnetic Ion Armour; explosions only affect one Z-level in TFTD.
  • If you're making a run for the lift rather than trying to kill all aliens, it's in the two-level dome in the centre of the map (yellow tiles with sparkles rising off them, on the ground floor). Enter via the doors in the various corridors running off it, or just make your own door with a DPL.
  • There are usually Tentaculats in the northern T-shaped structure.
  • If for whatever reason you have brought along a few Aquanauts that haven't been MC-screened, it may be best to leave them in the Triton during this phase—they'll be much more useful in the second phase where there are no MC-active aliens. Performing a Colony Attack without any MC-screened Aquanauts is not recommended.
  • On the other hand, if you have M.C. Disruptors of your own, it's entirely possible to kill over half the aliens on the first turn by leapfrogging MC across the long sightlines and then turning the aliens' own DPLs against them.

Alien Deployment

Alien Colony part 1
Rank Beg./Exp. Vet./Gen. Super.
Tasoth Soldiers7-128-139-14
Tasoth Squad Leaders3-53-54-6
Aquatoid Soldiers2-32-32-3
Aquatoid Squad Leaders2-32-33-4

*The game will stop spawning units if it would go over 79 entries in UNITPOS.DAT. As such, with a full Leviathan load of X-Com units on higher difficulties the game can run out of slots before spawning all the Hallucinoids (the last units to be spawned). A more normal quantity of Hallucinoids with 26 X-Com units on Superhuman is 4-6.

Equipment Recovery

Depending on what version your game has been patched to, equipment recovery will differ slightly.

TFTD v1.0

Only Equipment carried on your aquanauts will be carried over when you move to the second phase. Leaving the first mission by way of the submarine on the other hand will not result in equipment loss.

When you move to the 2nd part, all equipment that is left on the ground is lost. This includes what is on the floor in the troop-transport sub. Though not immediately apparent with alien harvested equipment, it is very noticeable with purchased equipment.


With the v2.0 patch, the item recovery bug is fixed. Now, as long as you clear the first map, all equipment on the ground will be recovered. This is true even if you abort the second half rather than complete it. This makes it a viable way to harvest equipment by clearing the first map and aborting the second.

Additionally, in all versions, live aliens that you may have picked up will only transfer the body across to the 2nd part, not the stats associated with it. In effect, the alien is killed when the 2nd level starts. If you need to capture any particular alien from the first stage, retreat to the sub and dust off to recover the specimen. You can always re-attempt the colony if you wish to destroy it.

Part Two (Beneath the Sea Bed)

Some aquanauts will start scattered deep into the colony at the start of the second phase. This is often deadly, since they can start off surrounded by several tentaculats or lobstermen, the only species which guard this stage. The stage is completely filled with winding corridors, doorways, nooks and crannies, and is pretty much super effective ambush territory for tentaculats. Unlike EU, where the exit areas were only accesible via a 4 tile grav lift, the exit areas here are completely open to incursion from alien forces.

Your target is the Synomium device in the command center on the lowest level. It will be guarded by Lobstermen, including at least one Commander. Bringing multiple thermal shok grenades is recommended for kidnapping one. Destroying the device can easily be accomplished by sending high explosives such as the Disrupter Pulse Launcher or Sonic Pulser through the one tile hole above the room containing the device.

Due to the size of the base, it may be more practical to pick up an unconscious Commander and carry him out of the base manually than to find and kill every alien. Keep in mind that corpses and unconscious aliens are quite heavy. Additionally, Stunned aliens can regain consciousness and unarmed Lobstermen can fight back with their powerful melee attacks.

Possible Tactics

Equip Screen Phase:

When the equipment screen appears between the two levels, it is a good idea to:

  • Bring out close combat weapons on all aquanauts that have them. This is because Lobstermen are all over the place in the lower level, and they are weak to both Thermal Tasers and Drills. Vibro Blades are best because they use very little T.U.s and can kill most Lobstermen in one hit.
  • Switch to smaller weapons. This is because there are lots of small rooms and narrow passages inside the base, and you will end up using most of your T.U.s just moving between them. Large weapons lose accuracy if you are holding a close combat weapon, use up a lot of T.U.s and leave you vulnerable if you find yourself up against multiple enemies in close quarters. Sonic Pistols are best because it is accurate, powerful, small and quick to use. Though not effective against Lobstermen, a few shots will kill a Tentaculat.
  • If you want to capture a Lobsterman Commander without clearing the entire base, assault the Control Centre with an aquanaut holding a Thermal Shok Launcher in one hand and a Sonic Pistol in the other. This is because a single Thermal Shok Bomb might not be enough to stun a healthy Commander, but a Sonic Pistol shot before or after it should guarantee a KO.
    • If unsure, you can always wait a turn and send a second shok bomb in before descending into the command centre.
  • Note that the Lobstermen in the Control Centre are always unarmed (except for their natural melee attacks, of course).

During the mission:

  • Focus your initial efforts on finding and destroying the synomium device, even if you intend to kill/capture all the aliens. This will render the mission successful even if things go pear shaped and you abort. Or worse lose all your troops.
    • Tip: Familiarize yourself with the layout of the rooms above the command room. The layout is best described as a theater, with the purple sphere variety of Ion Beam Accelerators filling in for the seat rows in front of a raised stage.
    • Tip: A single Magna-Blast Grenade is enough to destroy the Synomium Device. Shoot away part of the barrier around the observation port above it, have an Aquanaut with a primed grenade walk up and drop the grenade on top of the device, then have him walk away. On the Aliens' next turn: KABOOM. KABOOM. "Control Center Destroyed. Make your way to the exit and abort."
  • Use M.C. excessively. Lobstermen are usually found in small groups, wielding mostly Thermal Shok Launchers or Disruptor Pulse Launchers. Take control of them and watch the indoor fireworks display.
  • Leave your Molecular Controlers at the entrance. As they are your most precious aquanauts and they don't need line of sight to use M.C., it makes no sense to parade them in front of the enemy. This will also mean you can abort at any time without losing the Triton/Hammerhead/Leviathan.
  • Because of their effectiveness against Lobstermen, be careful not to stun your own Aquanauts with Thermal Shok Launchers when using them in close quarters. Either make sure you are wearing Ion Armor or better when operating them, or have alternative weaponry available. Reviving from a Shok bomb is often a tedious exercise, even with the assistance of medication.

After Disabling the Synomium Device:

When you've disabled the base and are evacuating your team, it is recommended that:

  • If you choose to escape rather than complete the map, gather up what equipment you can to make the trip financially worthwhile as you lose everything in the first part that you aren't carrying.
  • Haul an unconscious Lobsterman commander back to the exit, if you have not captured one. You need one to complete the game, and a second for convenience if a Navigator is not forthcoming.
    • You can use MC to persuade the Commander to the exit - but make sure that it is physically stunned before you abort. Otherwise you will only recover the equipment it was previously carrying.
  • Wake up any stunned Aquanauts. Even if in the exit area, they will be treated as MIA if they are still unconscious at the time you abort the mission.

Alien Deployment

Alien Colony part 2
Rank Beg./Exp. Vet./Gen. Super.
Lobster Man Soldiers345
Lobster Man Squad Leaders345
Lobster Man Technicians345
Lobster Man Navigators123
Lobster Man Commanders234

See Also

TFTD Badge Terror From The Deep : Mission Types
Mission TypesAlien Sub Crash RecoveryAlien Submarine AssaultBase DefensePort AttackIsland AttackShip Rescue MissionArtefact SiteColony Attack MissionT'leth
Information Terror MissionsTwo Part Missions