Take Cover!

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Battlescape Fighting Tactics - Using Terrain Features
X-Com agents on the battlescape can use the various objects scattered around the landscape to act as a barrier to:

  • hide behind to limit expose to enemy fire.
  • running between soft-cover in a weaving zig-zag to confuse homing projectiles by increasing the chance they hit something in the way.
  • running perpendicular to an incoming rocket may cause it to miss and fly past.


Anything on the battlescape can be used to shield your agent in a fire-fight. Some things are more effective than others.

Soft Cover

A terrain feature which is a weak barrier to incoming fire and explosives. Soft cover typically only survives one impact before being destroyed or losing its effectiveness as cover:

  • Trees alive and dead.
  • Building rubble.
  • Furniture.
  • Glass walls and windows.
  • Derelict old-style vehicles.
  • Down pipes (beware of sewer gases).
  • Support struts.
  • Alien devices within UFOs.
  • Unconscious (not dead) entities.

Some soft-cover features may not hide an agent very well (support struts), if at all (glass windows).

Hard Cover

A terrain feature which is a strong barrier to incoming fire and explosives. Hard cover typically survives multiple impacts before being destroyed or losing its effectiveness as cover:

  • Multi-layer thick walls.
  • UFO hulls.
  • Undulating landscapes.

Some hard cover features may be multiple sections of soft-cover features stacked together. eg: walls may contain multiple-tiles-thick sections, but each piece making up the wall could be destroyed with one strong impact.

Visual Cover

A type of temporary cover which only blocks line-of-sight. It does not absorb any impacts.

  • Grey smoke.
  • Stun gas.
  • Alien gas.

No Cover

A moving target or a smaller (crawling) target is harder to hit.

Do It Yourself

The base terrain is usually at Level 1. If not, it is possible to 'dig' a hole with explosives or a power sword to hide. Craters caused by explosives may have rubble piles against the edge of the hole, allowing an agent to 'climb' out easily, however if no rubble pile, the ground-based agent could be stuck in the hole. UFO hulls are slightly stronger versions of grassy terrain. Note: An agent cannot "Climb". A given destination away from the crater will allow the agent to find the best escape route out of the hole automatically.

  • Tunnels that are dug under hills two levels down or into any UFO hull do not collapse.
  • A Megaspawn is two-wide. A one-wide short tunnel with a bend is best to hide.

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