FAQ - Guide for Ring of Red
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Ring of Red FAQ v1.1 by Jon "Zandar" Mott email@example.com Welcome to my FAQ about Konami's amazing strategy mecha combat game/alternate history experiment, Ring of Red. In Ring of Red you are placed in the role of Masami von Weisegger, a young German/Japanese hot shot pilot. As Masami, you must lead your squad of towering Armored Fighting Walkers (AFWs) into combat to recover a stolen Advanced AFW prototype before an international incident can be triggered. Contents -------- 1) Version History 2) Game Overview and Story 3) The Camp Screen: Before You Fight 4) The Operation Screen: Moving Your Forces 5) The Combat Screen: To Battle! 6) The AFWs 7) Pilots and Maximum Attacks 8) Ground Forces and Abilities 9) Mission Strategy 10) Overall Tactics 11) Legal Info -------------------------------- 1)Version History ----------------- Version 1.0 -- 4/1/01 -- 48k First Version. Version 1.1 -- 4/2/01 -- 67k Added Pilots and Maximum Attacks Section. Added Soldier Stats to Ground Forces and Abilities section. Added Pros and Cons to Ground Forces and Abilities section. Added Camp Screen Section, Battle Screen Section, and Tactics. Cleaned up formatting. Version 1.2 -- 4/4/01 -- 80k Added Formations to Operation Screen section. Revised Overall Tactics section. Cleared a few typos. :) Current Version. -------------------------------- 2)Game Overview and Story ------------------------- Background: Ring of Red is a game that falls squarely into the alternate history genre, which explores the possibilities of Earth's history if other events were to have taken place. Ring of Red takes a look at the end of World War II, where the US did not drop the atomic bomb on the Japanese, rather the island was taken long after Germany and Italy's surrender in a daring amphibious landing by Allied troops. Instead of Germany being broken up into Communist East and Democratic West, it was Japan that was divided into North and South. This was known as the Great Asian War. North Japan became Communist, as it bordered Soviet Asia. South Japan was Democratic. As the Cold War centered on Japan, a new breed of weapon was invented to make war in Japan's mountainous terrain, a terrain where existing armored infantry was useless. Research in the 40's and 50's created the diesel powered Armored Fighting Walker, or AFW. The AFW was to ground forces what the carrier was to naval forces: a way of projecting overwhelming force over a wide area. The AFW itself is powered bipedal artillery, able to deliver a crushing blow from several miles off. It quickly became the pre-eminent combat platform in Japan's unique terrain. In the early 1950's both North and South Japan had AFW's, assisted by Soviet design in the North, and US design in the south, with German engineering helping both sides. The result was the Japan War of the 50's. North fought South to a standstill, and many thousands of Japanese on both sides were injured, displaced, and killed. The year is now 1964, and the spectre of the horror of the Japan War rises again... The Game: Ring of Red is at heart, a strategy game. You manuever your forces into battle and attack enemy AFWs that are trying to stop you. Placement of your AFWs, the troops that accompany them, and using them effectively in combat is the key to winning. Each Mission has objectives to complete, and you must use the forces at your disposal to complete them. Learning how to place, attack, defend, and recover your units' health and when the best times to do these actions are as much as part of the game as combat itself. As Masami, you lead "Streifen", an elite AFW unit with a mission. Yu Kaiho, a North Japanese collaborator, has stolen the highly valuable next-generation AFW codenamed "Type 3". Your job is to get Type 3 back by any means possible. As the game progresses you will meet additional AFW pilots willing to assist Masami and the Streifen team. You'll also meet hostile North Japan forces bent on stopping you cold, and learn more than a few secrets about your crew. And above all, the balance of power in a war-torn nation is hinging on you. -------------------------------- 3) The Camp Screen: Before You Fight ------------------------------------ After you recieve your mission instructions from Commander Shringen and his XO, Rodriguez, you'll go to the Camp Screen. Here you can select your Soldiers to assist your AFWs, view unit statistics, save and load the game, and read over intelligence reports from your crew. The old GI Joe cartoon said it best: "Knowing is half the battle." Your Camp Screen Options: Operation Room: Here you will get additional specific information about your upcoming mission, as well as advice from your team. If you are loading up a game at the beginning of a mission, it will replay the Mission Briefing first. Select this again to get the Mission specifics and advice. Formation Room: View AFW and Soldier stats, skills, and Maximum Attacks. Take a good look at this screen as you will spend some time here evaluating your team, checking skills and abilities, and looking over formations. Here you can choose which Soldiers to send out with which AFW. Adjust accordingly for the Mission! Information Room: Here you can get Unit Info (stats on your units), Soldier Info (stats on invidual Soldier squads), Memoirs (Kinosato's between-mission reports) and Combat Manual (info on characters, AFWs, Maximum attacks, Combat Terms, and more). Record Room: Here you can save and load your game. Do this before you go into battle. Sortie: Takes you into the Mission itself. Camp Screen advice: * After the mission briefing, check out the Operation Room. You'll get better information about the upcoming mission, including tips about abilities and Max Attacks, as well as what skills your Soldiers should have. * Use the information in the Formation Room! There's a lot of stuff there, so don't feel overwhelmed. You'll be able to see stats for new Soldiers you recruited at the end of the previous mission. See if some of them will upgrade your unit's overall ability. * SAVE BEFORE YOU ENTER A MISSION. Duh. * The Information Room has nice background information on the game and explains Soldier skills, Crew Ability Shells, and Maximum Attacks better than the manual does. -------------------------------- 4) The Operation Screen: Moving Your Forces ------------------------------------------- Here you'll see the Mission Map, be given specific Mission objectives, and can go at blowing up the bad guys. Your AFWs are in blue, the enemy is in brown. The map is set out in a grid, the size of which depends on the Mission. It consists of varied terrain, bridges and rivers, cities, woods, lookout towers, and roads. Each of your units (and each enemy unit) occupies one square on the grid. You can move your cursor around, the moving AFW is the one whose current turn it is. Selecting a unit will display its movement range (in blue) and attack range (in yellow). This will depend on the AFW's movement range and the terrain. Flat terrain with roads are easy to move over. High mountainous terrain that is heavily wooded takes a lot of time to move through. Squares your team can see are shown as lit, unseen squares are dark. All movement and combat takes Actions. An Action is defined as a 5 minute interval, there are 12 Actions in an hour, and 288 Actions in one day. A certain number of Actions need to pass before your AFW can have its next turn. You can see this in the Unit Info screen before combat. Your pilot, the pilot's level, and the troops your pilot commands all affect the Action number needed between turns, the lower the Action number, the faster the AFW unit gets its turn. For example, if your Action number is 36, it will take (36 x 5 = 180) or 3 hours until your next turn. Terrain adds to these numbers as well. Each square on the map has an Additional Action number and a Terrain Height number. These are shown as a two-digit number (Additional Action) a slash, and then the height. The Additional Action number affects combat defense as well, while the height affects Scouting range. The Additional Action number is a percentage, in the map screen, if you end your turn on a square with an AA number other than zero, it will add that percentage to your Action number. For instance if you have an Action number of 30 and you end your turn on a square that has an AA number of 20, it will add 20% to your action number of 30 for a total of 36. (Note, this stuff about actions is, at this time, a scientifically educated guess. I may be wrong, but AFAIK this seems to be the way Actions work.) The X button will open the movement menu. Here you can Move, Attack, Recover, or Standby. Standby will delay your turn until the action after the next AFW's turn (enemy or friend). It's good for buying a bit of time to let another AFW unit attack and then have your unit on standby finish the enemy off. Move will bring up your movement options located in blue. Yellow squares are squares in your attack range, but you cannot move there. You can Move and Attack in one turn, but you cannot Attack and then Move. Attacking or Recovery ends your turn. Attack brings up the Battle Screen. THE DISTANCE YOU ATTACK AT DETERMINES OPENING RANGE. This is very important. A front, side, or rear adjacent square is Short range. A diagnonal Adjacent square is Medium range. 2 squares or more is Long range. In the Battle Screen you can choose your Crew, and the defense value will be given. Defense value is always given to the defender, never the attacker. Defense value is the Additional Action number of the defender's square. This is expressed as a percentage and an arrow poiting to the defender. The Attacker's accuracy is lowered by this number. Going back to our example, attacking somebody on a square with an AA number of 20 would lower your attack accuracy by 20%. In other words, if your maximum base accuracy is 70%, 20% of 70 is 14%. Your accuracy would be lowered by 14%, so you maximum base accuracy would be 56%. The price of a good defensive position is the extra Action points needed to start your turn on that square, it's a tradeoff. Recovery will recover health points for your Soldiers and your AFW. The amount recovered is determined by the recovery factor your Soldiers have. There are different values for Soldier and AFW recovery. If you lose your Soldiers, your recovery falls dramatically. Likewise, if your enemy loses Soldiers, it can't recover nearly as well either. Recovery also takes extra Actions to complete. Recovery adds 50% to your action number. Cities, Towns, Villages, Lookouts, Bases, and other important structures are indicated by colored buildings on a square. These squares are either blue (ones you control) or brown (ones the enemy commands). If you see a blue star after the AA number and terrain height, it means a Soldier squad can be recruited there. Soldier squads in the field are as a rule better than those simply given to you at the end of each mission, you have to earn them. A large blue star indicates 2 squads there. Every time you or your enemy ends a turn on a building square with a squad, that side gets one squad. If you can capture an enemy buidling square and recruit the squad, you will get them at the end of the mission. If the enemy recruits the squad, it's lost to you. It's the old British SAS motto in action, "He who dares, wins." It up to you to determine if you have the firepower or the time to take a squad location from the enemy, but these Soldiers are worth it for the most part. You can never have enough soldiers. Finally, choosing OK from the screen will end your turn if you choose not to attack. Hitting START will bring up the Command Menu. Here you can choose Turn, Mission, Setup, or Stop. Turn will give you a list of the turn orders of the next 8 turns. Your units are shown in blue letters, enemy ones in brown. If you see a red "*Beyond Scouting*" that means an enemy not in your scouting range will move on that turn. Check this often to plan your strategy. Mission will show you the specific objectives you have to complete to win the Mission. It will also show you how to lose. Normally, you will win if you take a certain building square or defeat all enemy AFWs. You will lose if Masami's AFW is defeated in combat, or you take too much time to complete the mission. However, some missions have completely different objectives. Setup will bring up sound and gameplay options. Stop will save and then end the game. You can continue from this in-Mission save, but once you do, that save is lost. You must choose Stop again to resave your position, and again, this will save and end your game. The triangle button will bring up the stats window. Here you will see a run down of stats of the current unit, name, status, and health. Hitting it again will bring up Soldier health as well. The square button will cancel your current choice. You can move, then test your attack range. By hitting square, your movement will be taken back. You cannot cancel an Attack or Recovery order however! Formations: Here's a couple of basic formations that I use to deal with enemy groups. Remember, the basic idea is to concentrate your attacks on a few enemies, then regroup and recover. Thinking you are King Bad Ass of the field will get you overrun very quickly. There's a reason you have several other AFWs. Use them! The key in formations is to give yourself flexibility to play the "Range Game" with approaching enemies. Remember, Light and Anti-AFW units should attack at short range (front, side, or rear.) Standard AFWs should attack at Medium range (diagonally). 4-Leg AFWs should attack at long range (2 squares away, front, rear or side). You want to generally have Light/Anti-AFWs up front (since they attack at short range), Standard in the middle (to move up to attack/counterattack from the diagonal, ideally right beside your Light/Anti-AFW), and 4-Leg towards the rear of your group (to come in behind the Light/Anti and deliver long range power to crush the enemy). Keeping your team in groups where there's at least a couple other teammates in range helps tremendously. A) The Swarm: Open Field Formation I tend to build off of giving Weisegger and Ryoko AFW support. This means Anti-AFW/Light AFW in the front (front like a claymore mine folks, TOWARDS ENEMY) and 4-Leg to the side or rear. I use this in open area formations where cities aren't close by. .....E... E = Enemy AFW .....E... . = Empty Square ...L..... L = My Light AFW ...S.L... S = My Standard AFW ...4.S4.. 4 = My 4-Leg AFW ......... This "L" shaped squad is built well to deal with enemies as they stream in, as is the "line" formation next to it. Although the exact position doesn't matter as much (as terrain will prevent perfect placement) you get the general idea. Enemy AFWs tend to attack singly or in pairs to deal as much damage as possible. In this loose formation, forward attacks are handled by the Light AFWs at short range. This means getting your Light AFWs/Anti-AFWs in to attack at the front or side, since they are the fastest and tend to move first. .....E... E = Enemy AFW ....LE... . = Empty Square .....L... L = My Light AFW ...S..... S = My Standard AFW ...4.S4.. 4 = My 4-Leg AFW ......... At this point with the enemy damaged, I can finish the enemies off with Standard and 4-Leg AFW at proper ranges. PLAY THE "RANGE GAME". Attack enemy Light/Anti AFWs with long range strikes from your 4-Leg AFWs. Attack 4-Leg AFWs with short range Light/Anti-AFWs. .....E... E = Enemy AFW ...4LE... . = Empty Square ....SLS.. L = My Light AFW .....4... S = My Standard AFW ......... 4 = My 4-Leg AFW ......... This "swarm" technique is great for dealing with open ground combat. After close enemies are dispatched, you can recover and move on. The ability to bring all your forces to bear on a single enemy or a few enemies is how you will "bite off chunks" of the enemy army at a time. Move, attack, recover, regroup, repeat. The lower E suffers 6 attacks, and although he can return 6, he'll be dead long before AFW number 6 shows up. Usually 2 or 3 will finish an enemy off. I've seen John and Ayana slaughter a Light AFW in one combat round. While your enemy is busy with your Light and Standard AFWs, move your 4-Leg guys into position to deliver the fatal blow. If no enemies are in range, let the enemy move forward into position, fight a defensive battle, then counterattack. B) The Blitz: Taking An Enemy City A big part of the game involves taking what I call a "location" square. A "location" is an enemy city, town, village, base, or other building that you or the enemy can occupy. These are excellent defensive positions, and taking them requires a bit more work than the swarm. .....E..... C = Enemy occupied City ....C...... E = Enemy AFW ......LS... . = Empty Square ...L..4.... L = My Light AFW ...S4...... S = My Standard AFW ........... 4 = My 4-Leg AFW Getting the city and taking it before the enemy can claim the soldiers there is a bit of a problem. If the enemy ends their turn in the City square, you'll lose the soldier! You have to destroy them and get your AFW in before the enemy can. First of all, check your turn. (Start, then select trun from the menu.) You'll see a listing of enemies in scouting range and when they will go, as well as when your AFW's will get to move. Ideally, your guys will get to all go before the enemy will. If not, then you may lose before you can do anything about it. Enemies will RARELY come out of a city, they will standby or recover, making them hard to root out without a massive attack. You'll want to bring in your hard hitting 4-Leg AFW's to attack at long range if you can, the sooner the better. If you have a 4-Leg ready to go that can bring enough firepower to bear to destroy the enemy unit outright, go for it. Remember, locations are good defensively and you will incur an accuracy penalty fighting in a city. Whatever units are available before the enemy can move are what you have to work with, so hit hard! You'll need at least two to occupy a city, one to destroy the enemy AFW, one to take the city itself. .....E..... C = Enemy occupied City ...LC.4.... E = Enemy AFW ...SLS..... . = Empty Square ....4...... L = My Light AFW ........... S = My Standard AFW ........... 4 = My 4-Leg AFW You'll want to do what you have to do to destroy the enemy AFW and get in before any other enemies can move in to take the city. Your last unit to move before the enemy should be the unit that takes the city, so all the wetwork will need to be done before that unit goes! If you have to use Max Attacks or Crew Shells, do it. You want to hit as hard and fast as possible. With the 4-Leg hitting the City, use your Light/Standard AFWs to occupy the city and deal with nearby enemies. ....LE..... c = My occupied City (occupied by Standard AFW) ....cL4.... E = Enemy AFW ...S....... . = Empty Square ....4...... L = My Light AFW ........... S = My Standard AFW ........... 4 = My 4-Leg AFW Then recover and regroup for the next objective. C) The Wall: Defending A Location Occasionally you'll be called upon to defend a location, rather than try to take it from the enemy. These missions call for a different mindset. Mission 8: "Defence Battle" is an example of these types of missions. Defending a location means that the Unit at the location basically can't move. That unit should be good at taking damage. I suggest a Light AFW, because they have good HPs and are good at close combat. To either side of your city, you're going to want your other forces, with your other light AFW and your Anti-AFWs and Standard AFWs ready to go, with 4-Leg AFWs behind them. ....EE..... ....EE..... c = My occupied City (occupied by a Light AFW) ....EE..... E = Enemy AFW ........... . = Empty Square E..A.SLS... L = My Light AFW E..4c4..... S = My Standard AFW ........... 4 = My 4-Leg AFW ........... A = My Anti-AFW Anything dense enough to approach the city is going to get smacked. Let them come to you in this type of situation. The key is hitting those that approach quickly and painfully, and recovering whenever you can. In missions like this you'll either have to destroy the enemy totally or last until the time limit expires. You have the time to recover if you do not have a safe and direct attack. It's important to NOT CROSS THE WALL. Any unit that does will get ganged up by enemy AFWs. The trick is to finish enemy units that draw close with multiple attacks. A wounded unit will simply limp off and recover, back for more. Spreading out like this in a wall prevents AFWs from hitting all at once, while keeping you in position to counterattack with several units. Damage done to you is spread out among several ouf your units, while your counterattack focuses on one or two enemies, destroying them. Recover and repeat! Remember this is turn-based combat. The enemy still can only move one AFW at a time, and make only one attack with that AFW. You can move a bit to get into a better defensive position, but for the most part the enemy is going to be dictating the range. Counter 4-Leg AFWs with close attacks from Light or Anti-AFWs...if it's safe to advance. Don't do it if it draws you closer in to the enemy group and away from the city. The trick is to form a defensive screen in front of the city so you have a fallback position (the city itself.) Eventually you are going to want to pull back a bit and switch out fresh units with damaged ones. Just make sure you have plenty of leeway (check the turn menu) before moving a unit out of the location and moving another one in. You will LOSE if you move a unit out only to have an enemy sneak in before you can secure the location with your own unit. Also, RECOVER RECOVER RECOVER in a situation like this. When in doubt, recover. If your enemy presses the attack, and you are recovering the damage you are recieving while dishing out your own, you'll win. Attacked units should recover, fresh units should counterattack and finish approaching units off. D) The Split: Attacked From Both Sides You'll use this formation occasionally. It usually occurs when enemy backup arrives in an area you have already cleared. You'll have enemies coming up from behind your force while facing a group of enemies directly in front of you will require some action. ............ E = Enemy AFW ............ C = Undefended location ............. . = Empty Square .....L...... A = My Anti-AFW .C...SSA..EE L = My Light AFW .....4.L.... S = My Standard AFW ......4..... 4 = My 4-Leg AFW ............ ............ Oh look, an undefended city with a Soldier unit in it. I think I'll check it out. I have more than enough guys to deal with these clowns. I'll send my Light AFW to check it out. ............ E = Enemy AFW ............ C = Undefended location ............ . = Empty Square E........... A = My Anti-AFW ECL..SSA..EE L = My Light AFW E....4.L.... S = My Standard AFW ......4..... 4 = My 4-Leg AFW ............ ............ "It's a trap!" Enemy AFWs can often appear like this after a certain amount of time has elapsed or you go poking around after soldiers. No sweat, you can take them. Just be aware that backup can arrive at any place or time, you are after all in hostile territory. ............ E = Enemy AFW ............ C = Undefended location ............ . = Empty Square E..S........ A = My Anti-AFW ECLS....4AEE L = My Light AFW E.4.......L S = My Standard AFW ............ 4 = My 4-Leg AFW ............ ............ Divide and conquer! If your scouting AFW is hurt, pull back and let your fresh troops eliminate them one by one. Focus your firepower and deal with close threats. Then regroup and continue. Remember, most enemy troops, partucularly lone troops defending locations like Lookout Towers, aren't going to throw themselves at you. They are going to stay right where they are and defend, and let the backup/reinforcement troops come after you. Deal with the backup, then eliminate the remaining forces. Remember as you clear out sections of the map of enemy forces, you'll tend to slip in your formations or let Recovery slip. "There's nobody around, I don't need to recover." Wrong. Never send a weakened unit to scout ahead, you might stumble into a trap that you won't be able to survive. Keep your HPs up at all times! Don't let that happen, you never know when backup might arrive! More tactics and strategy hints are listed in the Tactics Section near the end of this FAQ. -------------------------------- 5) The Battle Screen: To Arms! ------------------------------ After you choose your crew (and your opponent does the same) your AFW will enter combat, and this is where it all gets settled. You will see your AFW enter the field, and see an over the shoulder view of your AFW as they face your opponent. You'll see your Crew riding the back of the AFW, and your ground troops in the Rear Guard position behind the AFW. Along the top quarter of the screen is the Combat Info display. On the left side you will see your AFW's status, with your opponent on the right. The 'W' and 'L' lights represent AFW Weapon and Leg status. A Green indicator light is Normal. A Yellow indicator Light (for Legs only) is Damaged. Damaged Legs move at half speed. Red (for Weapons and Legs) is Destroyed. Destroyed Legs cannot move (the Forward and Reverse arrows are red and you won't be able to change direction or move) A Destroyed weapon can fire, but only at half accuracy. The bar and numbers are hit points of your AFW. Green is current health, Red is maximum. Yellow represents the remaining health of an AFW's subarmor shield. Only Standard and Anti-AFW units have subarmor shields. They cannot be repaired in a Mission. Eventually, they will get blown off and the AFW's body will take damage. Body damage is recovered normally outside combat by selecting Recover. The number in the top center is the Time. It starts at 90 seconds and counts down. After 90 seconds (or close combat maximum attacks) the battle ends. The battle also ends if one AFW reaches 0 body points and breaks down, This is known as AFW Break. Below that is the current range and range indicator. There are two dots, the red and blue dot. You are the blue dot, your opponent the red. If you move your dot all the way to the back of the battlefield, you can Escape combat. Your opponent can do the same. To the left and right of the range indicator is the Soldier status. Your soldiers and your enemy soldiers are shown as symbols. Left and right symbols are for your left and right ground troops. The center symbol inside the blue shell is your Crew. Below each ground troop is their current health bar. It starts at fully green, but the deeper into the red they are, the worse off they will be. At fully red, the troop's symbol disappears, as they are quite dead. A dead troop is lost for good! Vanguard and Rearguard are indicated by position. Troops in the Vanguard are on the same half as the pointed end of the 'shell' in the middle that represents your AFW. Troops at the Rear Guard are on the opposite side, on the back end of the 'shell'. This goes the same for your opponent. Note that since your opponent is facing you, the enemy AFW troop display is reversed, the lower half for your enemy represents Vanguard, where the upper half is Rear Guard. The opposite indication is made for your own forces! Troops with active Frontline abilities will have a flashing health bar. Troops in motion to or from the Vanguard will have flashing symbols. On the outside of the screen from the AFW troop indicator is the Load gauge and Load indicator. The gauge will increase from left to right in a clockwise fashion. When it reaches "full" the load indicator will change from Loading (unloaded shell outside tube) to Ready Fire (loaded shell in tube with check mark, flashing). You will also hear a "cash register cha-ching!" noise to indicate you are ready to fire! You can hit the X button to bring up the Attack Screen to fire. Under the Load Gauge you will see two numbers, one in front of a star, one in front of a shell. The Star number is the number of remaining Max Ataacks your pilot currently has. The Shell number is the number of Special Shells your Crew has remaining to fire. Next to this is your AFW's current base accuracy. When you fire, your accuracy on the Firing Screen will start from this number. Base accuracy is affected by range from the target, defensive number, combat conditions, and other factors. Finally, you'll see the Movement controls in white under the Max Attack indicator. Your current direction of movement (Forward, Stop, Backward) is indicated by the yellow symbol. The Attack and Firing Screens: Here you can execute your attacks. You can access the Attack screen at any time, and current options will be lit in white. your current selection is lit in yellow. Blacked out options cannot be used at this time. Your Attack Screen options are as follows: vs. AFW: Brings up the Firing Screen and aims an attack at the opponent's AFW. Your accuracy will increase as you stay in this screen, but you cannot do anything else (move, change rank, use a max attack, etc) while in the Firing screen. The closer your accuracy gets to 99.99%, the slower the accuracy will increase. Your load gauge must be full to use this. vs. Soldier: This will target the nearest enemy Vanguard soldier. The Accuracy will determine relative damage, these attacks will pretty much always hit. The closer to 99.99% the accuracy goes, the more damage will be done. Maximum damage is determined by range as well. Your load gauge must be full to use this. Rank: Takes you to the Rank screen. On the Rank screen you can see your soldier's current Abilities and position. You can move or both of your Soldier's positions here. Once you begin a Rank change, you cannot change rank again until it is finished. Special Shell: If you have a full Load Gauge, you can choose to fire a Crew's Special Shell instead of a normal attack. This will fire and hit automatically, depending on the shell. Maximum Attack: This will bring up your pilot's Maximum attacks. Max Attacks your pilot can use are in white, grey ones are not available at that time. Some Max Attacks require a full load gauge, others can be used whenever. While you are in the Attack Screen, Rank Screen, or Max Attack screen, time on the Combat Screen pauses. If you have to go get a snack or use the bathroom, go then. :) For more Combat Tactics, check the Tactics Section near the end of the FAQ. -------------------------------- 6) The AFWs ----------- There are four basic types of AFWs. Each excels at a different range. Knowing what AFW to field against an opponent and what troops to field that unit with is just as important as the battle itself. Standard AFW These are powerful all-purpose AFWs with a good mix of range, speed, and firepower. You normally want to employ these as the backbone of your force, the guys who close in for the kill after you soften up an enemy with long range power or short range repeated attacks. Both Masami and Ryoko drive Standard AFWs. They are designed for medium range encounters, but are effective at short and even close combat (C.C.) range. They are the most versitile AFWs in your squad. Pros: * Wide range of effectiveness against AFWs and soldiers. * Decent reload speed. * Shields absorb early damage in a battle. Shield HP is designated as the yellow HPs above the AFW's green HP. Yellow HPs mean the shield is still intact, and the defense of the AFW is increased until the shield is destroyed. Note this is different from yellow HPs when your current HPs are less than 50% of your max. * Masami and Ryoko have C.C. Maximum Attacks. * Quick Fire is a GREAT Maximum Attack. * Decent movement range and speed on battle map. * Can use a variety of ground forces well. Cons: * Losing Masami means you lose the game, so protecting him is key. Putting Masami as point is usually a BAD idea, as the enemy AI will target his AFW whenever possible unless somebody else is critically injured. * After those shields go down, Standard AFWs have rather low HPs. This comes into play at the end of missions and can spell trouble if they are caught alone in enemy territory. * Constant battles with your Standard AFWs can take their toll, but it's needed because Masami and Ryoko start out at level 1 and need combat exp badly. Overall, these AFWs should be deployed in both offense and defense, but be aware of the fact that other AFW types have more HPs and can take more punishment. However they are useful against any AFW type. Light AFWs These are the speed demons of your squad. Use them at short range to deliver multiple fast attacks against soldiers and AFWs. Jun and Kinasato drive Light AFWs. Kinasato is armed with a machine gun, Jun has a large gun. Both are fast and extremely lethal at short and C.C. range. Pros: * Very fast reload times, especially with a good crew. * Since Soldiers are better at C.C. and short range in general, you'll find that ones grouped with Light AFWs are more effective. * Dodge Action is a beautiful thing. Know when to use it. * Excellent movement range and speed. * Light AFWs are deadly vs Soldiers at short/close range, don't forget this. * Decent HPs. Cons: * Weak against AFWs as a rule. Even at proper range Light AFWs do half the damage that 4-Leg AFWs do. * At close/short range your Soldiers are vulnerable to damage. Keep an eye on your Vanguard and be aware that some skills can hit rearguard too... * Very easy to get into C.C. range with a Light AFW. An enemy can end the combat with a C.C attack quickly. * Wildly ineffective at medium range and useless at long. Light AFWs excel at attacking, but are lousy at defending, especially from long range. * Get knocked back easily. This can put you into medium or even long range before you know it, especially if you are firing rapidly against an enemy AFW. Light AFWs should be used to attack. Complement them with Soldiers that have skills that damage other Soldiers at close range, such as Cooperation, Focus, and Rapid Fire, or Skills that slow down the enemy AFW (Wire, EWire, Smoke Shot). You want to be able to control the range. Have Cleanup and Repair/Fast Repair as rearguard skills, as well as Hyper Morale, as this goes a LONG way to reduce damage for your soldiers. 4-Leg AFWs: The heavy hitters of your team. These guys can deliver frightening damage from long range, but are useless at close and short ranges. Still, they hit harder than just about anyone (excluding close combat attacks). The advantage is they can hit multiple times. Even though Light AFWs may be twice as fast, 4-Leg AFW's hit twice as hard. John and Ayana drive 4-Leg AFWs. Pros: * Serious firepower at anything other than close combat. * Excellent accuracy at long range. * Great against anything as long as they attack at long range. * Two words: Emergency Load! * Superior hit points. Cons: * SLOOOOOOOOW load times. You are almost forced to have Supply Soldiers in Crew just to keep pace with faster AFWs. * SLOOOOOOOOW ground speed. Very bad at keeping range unless you have a way to slow the enemy down (Wire or Mine). The fact you have to backpedal most of the time to stay at long range doesn't help either. * They'll need the HPs if they get jumped by Light or ESPECIALLY Anti-AFW foes. You'll get clobbered by Soldiers at close range too. * Patience is required. You may get 3 shots off if you are lucky with a 4- Leg AFW, whereas a faster AFW gets 5 or even 6. You MUST make your shots count! * Zero close combat ability. If an enemy Anti-AFW attacks at short range and decides to pound your head in, you have little choice in the matter, and it's going to HURT. Anti-AFWs: These are close combat specialists, which carry large heavy shields and are built for quickly getting close to an enemy and crushing it with powerful close combat attacks (which end the combat.) These guys are lethal if used properly. Ippei drives an Anti-AFW. Pros: * Heavy shields. 120 points of shielding is great to withstand soldier attacks while you quickly get into C.C. range and knock your opponent's head off. * EXCELLENT ground speed. Very fast. * Close combat attacks are lethal. The more time left on the clock, the more damage the attack will do. I've seen Ippei do 150+ damage and walk away without a scratch, then repeat the move. * Decent guns, better than Light AFWs at all ranges. Cons: * No hit points once shields are down. This is a major problem with the Anti-AFW class as a whole. Once you get their shields down, they are sitting ducks. * Useless, utterly, at long range. Especially with no HPs, you'll want to Escape if attacked at long range. * REQUIRE someone with the Cleanup skill. If their mobility is lost, so is close combat attacking. Repair skill is nice too. * Slower reloads than Light AFWs. For more AFW vs AFW techniques, check the tactics section near the end of the FAQ. -------------------------------- 7) Pilots and Maximum Attacks ----------------------------- There are several pilots in Ring of Red. In the beginning you'll be able to field only a few, but more will join your unit as it becomes clear that your mission to recover the stolen Type 3 Prototype AFW is more than just a simple retrieval exercise -- the future of Japan and even the world is in your hands. Masami von Weisegger Age: 22 Born of a German father and Japanese mother, Masami prefers to be called Weisegger, as he has no love for Japan. But his skill as an AFW pilot has gotten him a stint with Komitsu Industries, the chief AFW manufacturer for South Japan. He's brash, hard-headed, and doesn't take crap from anyone. Given the provisional rank of Captain, he leads Streifen, the unit formed to recapture the stolen Type 3 AFW. Masami means "True Beauty". AFW: Byakko ("White Tiger"), Standard AFW Stats HP: 300 + 60 Subarmor Shield Range C.C Sho Med Long Load Time Move Range Scouting vs. AFW 55 75 75 40 120 30 15 30 vs. Sol 45 45 75 55 Ryoko Minakawa Age: 20 Born during the end of the Greater Asian War, her mother fled from the carnage and Ryoko was a refugee. Estranged from her father, Ryoko eventually ended up in South Japan, where she excelled as an AFW pilot. Like Masami, she too is a test pilot for Komitsu Industries. Later in the game, Ryoko reveals her father is General Minakawa of the North Japan Loyal Army, and that she blames him for the death of her mother. AFW: Suiko ("Elite Child"), Standard AFW Stats HP: 300 + 60 Subarmor Shield Range C.C Sho Med Long Load Time Move Range Scouting vs. AFW 75 60 60 35 110 30 15 30 vs. Sol 45 45 70 45 Kenichi Kinasawa Age: 32 A veteran AFW pilot of the Japan War, he is a Second Lieutenant of the South Japanese Army. He is cool and reserved, scientific and methodical. His diaries are used to reconstruct Streifen's mission after the time period that Ring of Red takes place (Winter 1964). He is friends with John Caster. (Note: Kenichi is a rather odd name, as Ryoko points out early on. It can mean several things, but one of them is "exact one". And that's a pretty good definition of Kenichi as a person.) AFW: Kuki ("Ravine", but I like "Nine Devils" better), Light AFW Stats HP: 360 Range C.C Sho Med Long Load Time Move Range Scouting vs. AFW 45 40 30 20 90 35 10 35 vs. Sol 85 80 50 25 John Caster Age: 31 A brash and loud American AFW pilot, he takes pride in his country and his abilities. A good guy to have in a barfight, or an AFW fight for that matter. Knows Kinasawa and is one of his true friends. John respects Masami, but isn't above teaching the "rookies" a thing or two. AFW: Lt. John (I guess he named it after himself), 4-Leg AFW Stats HP: 420 Range C.C Sho Med Long Load Time Move Range Scouting vs. AFW 35 85 85 85 180 35 20 20 vs. Sol 35 35 85 85 Ayana Kirino Age: 18 A Russian refugee girl, Ayana is the adopted daughter of Ippei. Ayana considers Ippei to be her father, and she has become an AFW out of respect for her dad. She's a member of the North Japan Liberation Front "Karma." AFW: Ohbu (literally "at odds"), 4-Leg AFW Stats HP: 400 Range C.C Sho Med Long Load Time Move Range Scouting vs. AFW 30 75 75 75 150 35 20 20 vs. Sol 45 45 80 80 Jun Age: 15 Jun is a little kid (there's always one!) with a lot to prove as an AFW pilot. Actually he's pretty good, a street refugee who joined "Karma" at a young age and is itching for a fight. He looks like a girl however (and it doesn't help he has a female name) and he's pretty prickly about being called a girl. AFW: Nue ("Swamp Creek"), Light AFW Stats HP: 340 Range C.C Sho Med Long Load Time Move Range Scouting vs. AFW 40 45 40 25 95 35 10 35 vs. Sol 75 70 60 35 Ippei Kirino Age: 70 An old veteran of several wars, Ippei is the leader of "Karma". A retired AFW pilot from the Greater Asian and Japan Wars, Ippei longs to reunify Japan under a peaceful banner. He loves his adoptive daughter Ayana dearly. A master pilot, he was known by the handle "Witch Wolf" for his fighting style. He's taken up the fight one last time to help all Japan... AFW: Kamui ("Soul's Majesty"), Anti-AFW Stats HP: 240 + 120 Subarmor Shield Range C.C Sho Med Long Load Time Move Range Scouting vs. AFW 95 50 45 30 110 30 10 20 vs. Sol 40 40 30 25 Yu Kaiho Age: 25 The main bad guy in the story, Yu has grabbed the Type 3 Prototype out from under our heroes' noses and is making his escape to North Japan. Your mission is to bring him back, but he's not coming back without a hard fight. He is known as the Crimson Phantom from his stint as a Soviet advisor during the Vietnam War (which I guessed happened much earlier in this reality than the 60's and early 70' of ours). AFW: Stolen Type 3 Prototype "Phoenix", Advanced AFW Stats: Unknown. Maximum Attacks Maximum Attacks are special abilities that each of the AFW pilots possess. This abilities are often very powerful, and knowing when to use them can make the difference between winning and losing the game. As pilots advance in level, they will gain additional Max Attacks, each pilot starts with one. As the pilot's level increases, the number of times a Max Attack can be used per mission also increases. Max Attacks do not regenerate during a mission, nor do they carry over to the next mission, so use them or lose them. Pilots gain a second Max Attack at level 5, and another at level 12. Max attack usage numbers are roughly one for every two pilot levels or so. Dodge Action (Jun, Kinasato, Kaiho) Evades the next enemy vs. AFW attack. Can be used at any time, but the effectiveness of it is reduced or negated if your legs are damaged or destroyed or you are tied up by Wire/EWire. Spray Fire (Kinasato) Blasts both Vanguard units with a nasty spray of machine gun fire. Does some pretty substantial damage, especially at close range. Check Fire (Jun) Fires at the legs of the enemy AFW. Does regular damage and always hits, but the current accuracy determines whether or not the enemy's legs are destroyed. This is GREAT for preventing Anti-AFW attacks. Quick Fire (Masami, Ryoko) This can be used at anytime. This loads and fires a quick shell at an enemy AFW. It isn't 100% accurate by any means, but your current accuracy does affect the shot. Good when you need just a bit more damage to finish off the opponent. Strait Punch (and it's spelled wrong in the game) (Masami, Ryoko) A close combat attack. This will always hit and will destroy the enemy AFW's weapon. Does pretty good damage. If your enemy insists on getting close, make them pay. Emergency Load (John, Ayana) This immediately loads a shell into the AFW. You can then fire a normal shell at an enemy AFW or Soldier, use another Max Attack that requires a ready shell (like Bombard) or fire a Crew Special Shell. It's pretty nice when you NEED to get a shot off before the enemy does. I'll go through all my Max Attacks with John and Ayana by the end of a mission just using Emergency Load. Bombard (John, Ayana) This fires shells at the enemy Vanguard. Like Kinasato's Spray Fire, this will heavily damage enemy Soldiers, depending on your range. In addition, the fire will force Vanguard Soldiers to retreat to the Rear Guard for a while. Quick Move (Ippei) Allows an AFW to move much faster to cover the ground to an enemy, or to use as an escape. Strait Strike (Ippei) A powerful body blow Close Combat attack. Similar to Strait Punch, it destroys the enemy's weapon. Suppressive Fire Like Spray Fire, only this "pins down" enemy soldiers and prevents rank adjustments for several seconds. Accurate Fire 100% accurate and does 25% more damage than normal. Aim Weapon (Kaiho) This ranged vs AFW attack always hits, the current accuracy determines the chance of enemy weapon destruction. Getting hit by this sucks. Rapid Punch Does MASSIVE close combat damage if you can get in range. Rapid Strike Similar to Rapid Punch, this flurry of body blows does almost debilitating amounts of damage. Creeping Fire All enemy Soldiers, regardless of Vanguard or Rear Guard rank take damage from this vs. Soldier attack. -------------------------------- 8) Ground Forces and Abilities ------------------------------ Your Soldiers are just as important as your AFW. They are not expendable by any means. A Soldier unit with the proper skills and abilities can turn a tough battle into a rout, and the lack of them can turn an easy victory into having to reload your mission after losing the objective 2 hours in. Each AFW group is assigned three groups of Soliders, one as Crew (that loads shells into the AFW and the other two as ground troops. You can choose which group is your crew before a battle, your crew as a rule doesn't take damage, but your ground forces will (and your AFW definately will.) Your Soldiers can be placed in front of the AFW (Vanguard) or behind it (Rear Guard). It takes about 5 seconds or so for the soldiers to switch. Only in the Vanguard can your soldiers attack, but in the Rear Guard they will be safe, however the enemy soldiers will target your AFW instead. Over the course of a battle this damage can add up, and over the course of a mission it can take a heavy toll. Protect your Soldiers! Injured Soldiers should normally be used as crew to protect them from damage, but if your AFW is defeated, the crew is lost! Each Soldier unit has up to three abilities that they can have. First, they can have a Frontline ability. These abilities are offensive in nature, and require a certain amount of time (from 5-10 seconds) to "charge" before you can use this ability. You will see the unit inform you that the ability is ready, and the health bar of the unit will flash white. You can then move the unit forward by selecting Vanguard in the Attack screen. You can move either unit forward into the vanguard or back into the rear guard in this screen. Rear Guard abilities are defensive in nature. They repair, recover and prevent damage to the AFW or Soldiers. Important note: REAR GUARD ABILITIES ARE CHARGED AND USED FIRST. Since Soldiers start in the Rear Guard anyway, the Rear Guard ability is charged and then used, then the Frontline skill is charged and then must be used in the Vanguard position. Finally, Soldiers can have a Crew ability as well. This is indicated by a number of special AFW shells that the Soldier can fire while used as the Crew. You can select that Soldier's shell in the Attack screen. The AFW must be ready to fire, and the shell is fired automatically (and is 100% successful barring a Dodge Action) However the crew has limited shells (usually 2-4) and these do not recharge over the mission, once you fire all the shells a Soldier has, they're gone until the next mission. Soldiers CAN have all three abilities at once. The best Soldiers will, and any Soldiers with three impressive abilities should be treated as precious gold, DON'T LOSE THEM. Soldier Types: There are six types of Soldiers, some are better at attacking AFWs, some are better at attacking other Soldiers. They are: Infantry (green, white helmet symbol) These Soldiers specialize in attacking other Soldiers. They are not equipped to attack AFWs very well. However because they are armed with rifles, they are effective against Soldiers at just about any range. At long range, they are very nasty against other Soldiers especially if they aren't Infantry. They possess nasty anti-Soldier skills such as Focus, Co-op, and Rapid Fire. Class Ability: Rifles (good vs Soldier numbers at any range) Medic (blue, white cross symbol) These guys excel at defensive abilities. They are also pretty decent guys up on the frontline at close/short range. At medium/long range they are pretty bad however, and lack the firepower of other classes. To offset this, they have good Rearguard abilities, and some interesting support abilities on the frontlines. Forget using them against AFWs though, they are only armed with pistols. Class Ability: Healing (increases unit healing amount in the field during Recover) Recon (black, white targetting sight symbol) What would any ground forces be without scouts and snipers? Recon does all that and they excel at it. An interesting close range alternative to the Infantry, Recon likes close/short range combat, and has the Snipe skill, which can hit a Rear Guard unit for heavy damage. These guys are lethal at short range, even more so than Infantry. But long range or against AFWs, they lack firepower. Class Ability: Scouting (start at the max % AFW accuracy range when attacking another AFW. For instance if you attack at short range, Scouting will put your AFW at the maximum accuracy % position inside that range.) Shooter (dark brown, white grenade symbol) These Soldiers are anti-AFW through and through. Armed with rocket launchers they can deliver heavy damage to an AFW from any range. They also have Anti-AFW attack abilities like Charge Shot, Homing Shot, and Grenade. When you need to down a tough enemy AFW, use these Soldiers. Note that they are ineffective against other Soldiers at any range...be careful they don't get shredded by Infantry or even Medics. Class Ability: Rocket Launcher (good versus AFW numbers at any range) Supply (tan, white gasoline can symbol) These guys are multi purpose. For the most part they make excellent crew, but they can fight with light rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, making them useful against both Soldiers and AFWs, at least at closer ranges. Where these guys really shine is in Crew mode, they are the fastest loaders of any Soldier type. They offer a mixed bag of skills, but tend to have ones that disable enemy AFWs, such as Mine, Adhes. Mine, and Wire, and Cleanup on the Rear Guard side. Class Ability: Fast Load (load faster than other Soldier types when selected as crew) Mechanic (grey, white wrench symbol) These guys can fix anything. Armed similary to Supply troops, they are good fighters at close range and have skills that can disable enemy AFWs as well as the Repair/Fast Repair abilities to quickly make field repairs. They help keep your AFW running well. Trust me, the first time some bozo AFW pilot blows your legs up or destroys your weapon, you'll be glad you have a Mechanic around. Class Ability: AFW Movement (the only class that increases AFW movement distance) So, the question is "Well, what troops should I include in my AFW squad?" It's a tough question. It's not a simple as that. It depends on the mission and the AFW type, as well as the Skills the Soldier possesses. Here's how I generally deploy them. Infantry -- Best at medium/long range for anti-Soldier warfare, but work in closer ranges too. When in doubt (and especially if it has nice skills) deploy Infantry, ESPECIALLY if it's the only anti-Soldier unit you have. Good with any AFW, but especially Standard and 4-Leg. Pros * Best vs. Soldier Frontline Skills. * Best vs. Soldier at Medium and Long range. * Decent vs. Soldier at C.C and Short range. * Good armor. Cons * Lousy at vs. AFW combat. * Terrible in Crew. Shooter -- Again, best at medium/long range, especially if your opponent is lacking in Infantry. You'll be surprised how much damage piles up on an enemy AFW if you have a Shooter around. Team them up with Soldiers with good Soldier damage skills to make up the difference and they are very nice to have. Good with Standard/4-Leg. Using them with Light or Anti-AFW is asking them to take a beating from enemy Soldiers. Pros * Good vs AFW at C.C. and Short range. * Best vs AFW at Medium and Long range. * Good in Crew. Cons * Fairly bad at all ranges vs Soldiers, particularly C.C. range. * LOUSY ARMOR. These guys get hosed at Short range or closer. Recon -- Close range these guys are lethal. Use them to get the Scouting drop on an enemy, then fire away. If one has the Snipe skill, use it to finish off a Soldier unit pulled into Rearguard. Scouting is best used with an accurate AFW to make the most of it, complement this with skills to keep the ememy from moving and blast away. Best with Light/Anti-AFW, but work with 4-Leg too for Scouting (try an attack with Recon/Emergency Load/FIRE!) Pros * DEVASTATING vs. Soldier at Short and especially C.C. Range. * Provide AFW Action, Scouting and Range numbers as part of a squad. * Decent Armor. * Make decent Crew. * Scouting ability on attack is NICE. Cons * Absolute worst vs. AFW, especially at long range. * Infantry are better at Medium/Long range vs. Soldiers. Medic -- They work with any AFW frankly, it depends on your Soldiers. These have good defense skills like Hyper Morale and Gasmask which you will need if you like to fight with your Soldiers like I do. They aren't too shabby in Crew either. They lack offensive skills, but they make a difference when you have to recover Soldier health FAST. Useful with any AFW, but if they are on a 4-Leg at long range and they are the only anti-Soldier guys you have, you're going to need that healing. :) Pros * Best Soldier Recovery ability (Duh, they are medics.) * Suprisingly enough, the best Armor(!) * Great support abilities in Front and Rear. * Decent close/short range vs. Soldiers. Cons * Worst vs AFW numbers. * Actually, worst all around combat numbers. * No AFW stat increases for having them. * Lousy as Crew. Supply -- These are best used in crew, to be honest. Outside of crew they are decent fighters, but it depends on the skills. You won't use these guys very often, but they can be nice to have in a pinch, especially if they have nice Special Shells as a crew ability. Where load times are key, have a Supply guy standing by. On top of that, these guys are great for recovering AFW body points during Recovery. Just about required issue for 4-Leg AFWs. Pros * THE best Crew load numbers, period. * Add Action points to your AFW stats. * Superior AFW Recovery numbers. * Decent vs AFW numbers at close/short range. * Fast Repair/Repair is worth having them on the ground at times. Cons * Only slightly better than Medics in combat. * Terrible at medium and worthless at long, keep them in crew! Mechanic -- The more combat your AFW is in, the more you should consider a Mechanic in your unit, especially one with Fast Repair or Cleanup. If your AFW is going to see a lot of combat action (Light, and ESPECIALLY Masami's AFW) you should put a Mechanic in to prevent Mines/Wires with Cleanup. A must have for Standard AFWs, and to a lesser degree, Light and Anti-AFW units. Pros * Have Cleanup, a NICE skill. * The best vs. AFW numbers at close/short range * Add +5 to AFW movement * Decent vs. Soldier numbers * Good Crew numbers Cons * Low Armor (not as bad as Shooters, but still low) * Worst recovery numbers * Lousy at medium/long range vs everything Soldier Stats: -------------- All Solider units have 120 health. Numbers given in ranges mean that certain soldiers of that type vary slightly from individual squad to individual squad. In other words, I don't have the patience to list every single squad in the game. :) Infantry: Ability: +5 to AFW Scouting distance Range C.C Short Med Long vs. AFW 30 20 10 8 vs. Sol 45-50 45-50 45-50 40-45 Armor Load Rcv(AFW) Rcv(Sol) 35-45 2-6 20-25 20-25 Shooter: Ability: -1 to AFW Action Range C.C Short Med Long vs. AFW 30 35-40 35-40 35-40 vs. Sol 15 20 20 20 Armor Load Rcv(AFW) Rcv(Sol) 5-15 6-8 20-25 25-30 Mechanic: Ability: +5 Movement Range C.C Short Med Long vs. AFW 50-55 45-50 25 15 vs. Sol 30 25 20 15 Recon: Ability: +10 Scouting, + 1-2 Action, +5 Range Range C.C Short Med Long vs. AFW 25 20 10 5 vs. Sol 60-65 55-60 35 25 Supply: Ability: +2-3 Action Range C.C Short Med Long vs. AFW 35-40 25-30 20 10 vs. Sol 25 20 15 10 Medic: Ability: None Range C.C Short Med Long vs. AFW 20 15 10 8 vs. Sol 35-40 35-40 20 15 Soldier Skills: --------------- Here's a rundown of available skills, who has them, and what these skills are best used with. Note that the Soldier type associated with the skill is not neccessarily the ONLY Soldier type that can get this skill. Frontline Skills ---------------- Focus (Infantry) The Soldier unit focuses their fire on a single person in an enemy Soldier unit in the Vanguard. Does moderate damage (20-40) based on range, the closer the better. Since Infantry are good at any range, use at will. Co-op (Infantry) The unit will "team up" with the neighboring unit. Both of your units must be in the Vanguard and there must be at least one enemy Soldier unit in the Vanguard. Both units will fire repeatedly on one enemy unit, doing heavy damage (40-60). If the unit is anti-Soldier (such as another Infantry or a Recon or Medic unit) the damage will increase. If both of your units are in optimal vs. Soldier range, damage will also increase. Rapid Fire (Infantry) The unit will fire on all enemy units in the Vanguard. Save this one for times where the enemy has brought both units up. Does light damage to both units (15-30). However, I have seen this miss both units if the enemy is in the process of moving Soldier units (and will only hit one.) Use with any AFW unit to damage both enemy Vanguard units. Grenade (Infantry) The unit runs up to the enemy AFW and lobs a grenade, doing light damage to the AFW (15-30). Can be used at any range, but the closer the range, the more damage is delivered. Homing Shot (Shooter) Shooter crew locks onto the AFW and fires a homing missile. The longer the range, the more damage it does. Inflicts moderate (20-40) damage to enemy AFW. Use this with your 4-Leg AFW pilots (Lt. John and Ayana, as Homing Shot does significantly more damage at longer ranges.) Charge Shot (Shooter) The Soldier unit charges the AFW and fires a rocket at point blank range. Does light damage to the enemy AFW (15-25). Similar to Grenade. Useful for any Unit. Flash Shot (Medic) Unit loads flare pistols and fires a blinding shot that disorients AFW and Vanguard units, lowering accuracy for about 20 seconds. If avoiding damage is your aim (and you don't have Dodge Action) this is nice for your basic Standard AFW types. Lowers base Accuracy by 1/2 for 15 seconds, and sets the load gauge to zero. Smoke Shot (Medic) Like Flash shot, except it only affects the enemy AFW. The unit rushes the enemy AFW and throws a smoke grenade, lowering accuracy to half. It's nice because in a night fight, it negates Illuminated Shot and drops the enemy back to half accuracy. Again, nice for any Standard AFW. WP (White Phosphorous) Shot (Medic) Like Flash and Smoke Shot, only it targets enemy Soldiers in the Vanguard. This skill makes a nasty cloud of smoke that chokes enemy Soldiers and makes them retreat to the Rear Guard. Note that the cloud can be dissipated by the Gas Neutralization skill and totally negated by the Gasmask skill. No damage, but great for taking Vanguard Soldiers out of the way. Good for any AFW, especially if your other ground unit has Snipe. Use this repeatedly to totally take your enemy's Vanguard out and giving you free attacks on the enemy AFW. Snipe (Recon) This is a nice skill. At close range, this does heavy damage (25-50) and it can hit enemies in the Rear Guard too! Use this to finish off an unit that the enemy has moved to rear guard when they are badly hurt. Very nice. Great for Light/Anti-AFW units, but the Rear Guard hitting ability of Snipe makes it nice for any AFW squad. Illumination Shot (Recon) Like the shell, this fires only at night, making accuracy normal. It lasts only about 45 seconds, so you'll need to charge it up and use it again. If you expect to see a lot of night combat, get somebody with this skill. Mine (Supply) Places a series of mines in front of you. Good to discourage close combat. Does moderate damage (20-40) to enemy AFWs. For the most part, unless you are specifically fighting an Anti-AFW, you don't need Mines. Best for Light and Anti-AFW units against Anti-AFW units. This will damage AFW legs. Negated totally by Cleanup. Adhesion Mines (Supply) These magnetic mines attach themselves to the Enemy AFW's legs, destroying them in the process as well as doing heavy damage (40-60). Better than your standard Mines, upgrade to these for your anti-Anti-AFW units. :) Again, Cleanup will remove these immediately. Chain Mines (Supply) Wow, these hurt. These do damage to both the AFW as well as any Vanguard soldier units, doing moderate damage (30-40) to all three. This is the ultimate anti-Anti-AFW defense and a total unit killer on top of damaging the legs of the AFW...very nasty. A good enough reason to have Cleanup to take care of it. Wire (Mechanic) Launches a RPG that splits into a metal chain that wraps an enemy AFW up and keeps them from moving for several seconds. A nice thing to have, but it's negated by the Cleanup skill. Great for 4-Leg AFWs, Light and even Anti-AFW units you have (if the enemy can't move, they can't run out of optimal range.) Negates Dodge Action or any close combat Maximum attack. Electric Wire (Mechanic) Like Wire, but it electifies and destroys the enemy legs in addition to stopping movement. Negated by Repair/Fast Repair but the AFW will still be immobilized unless the Wire is removed by Cleanup as well. This stops Dodge Action and close combat attacks. Rear Guard Skills ----------------- Because they are so few, just about any type of Soldier can have just about any type of Rear Guard Skill. Hyper Morale I love this skill, personally. It raises soldier defense in both units by about 25%. Use this skill, then send em in. Vital in Light/Anti-AFW units where Soldier combat is generally more effective at short range, but nice for any unit to have. It's used automatically on the Rear Guard. Cleanup Another vital skill to have. Removes all types of Mines and Wire. If your enemy has these, make sure you can counter with Cleanup, especially against Wire. Mines at least you can avoid, unless you are planning to do close combat, in which case I will say YOUR ANTI-AFW UNIT HAS AT LEAST ONE PERSON IF NOT TWO WITH THIS SKILL. Repeat that. Live it. Otherwise, Mines will destroy you every time. An Anti-AFW unit that's lost its mobility is not worth much. Repair All units need to be shipped with at least one person with this skill. It's vital to fix damage to your weapon and legs. Without it, you will get stomped in later missions, believe me. Enemy units in Chapter 2 and beyond seem to all have this skill. Fast Repair Like Repair, only it will only fix one damage level (from destroyed to damaged or from damaged to normal) on legs. Weapons will be repaired to normal. You will need these skills later on in the game, trust me. Make sure later on that you have somebody with one of these two abilities in each unit. Gas Neutralization This skill will dissipate a WP cloud quickly, allowing your Soldiers to return to the Vanguard and fight. Gasmask Superior to Gas Neut. this skill will automatically charge and work in the Rear Guard if your enemy has WP Shot capability, either from Frontline attack skills or Crew loaded shells. If you see your guys using this, your enemy has WP Shot. If not, it won't activate. This will cover both of your ground units, so it's GREAT to have, especially in Mission 8, where it seems everybody has friggin WP Shot. Not as vital as Fast Repair or Cleanup, but if you don't have it, it hurts when your enemy gleefully unloads WP Shot on your soldiers time and time again. Crew Shell Abilities -------------------- These are limited abilities that only can be used A) when your AFW is ready to fire and B) a limited number of times per mission. They vary widely in effectiveness and power, but where there is a Crew Shell similar to an existing crew skill, the shell version is more powerful. Also, these shells tend to hit always, being skills. (Well, unless you have Dodge Action...) APC (Armor Piercing Cannon) Shell This does a bit more damage than your ordinary shell, and hits at about 25% more damage then you would score at the range you are at. APCR (Armor Piercing Cannon - Ranged) Shell Like APC Shell, only does more additional damage the farther you are from the target. I've seen this do 120+ damage when fired from a 4-Leg AFW... HEAT (High Explosive Anti Tank) Shell This does flame damage to the AFW. The closer the target, the greater the damage. Does moderate damage, good for Light/Anti-AFW units, but a waste on long range attacks. WP (White Phosphorous) Shell Like the skill, this does a gas attack on the enemy's Vanguard units, preventing them from attacking. Lasts significantly longer than the skill, but still negated by Gasmask and Gas Neutralization. It can be a nice ace up your sleeve if used correctly, allowing your anti-AFW Soldiers to carve a big hole in an enemy AFW. Illumination Shell Lights up the enemy in a night fight, eliminating the 1/2 accuracy penalty to night combat. Lasts the entire combat, as opposed to the shorter time of the Frontline Illumination Shot skill. Smoke Shell Like the skill Smoke Shot, but lasts longer. Reduces accuracy of enemy AFW by 1/2 for about 20 seconds. Shrapnel Shell Explodes over the enemy Vanguard, doing moderate damage (20-40) to both of the enemy's Vanguard units. A nice thing to have later in the game. Incendiary Shell Burns a single Vanguard unit for heavy damage (40-60). Very good for a quick kill on a wounded Soldier unit. Incendiary Shrapnel Shell Burns all Vanguard units for heavy damage (40-60). This is NASTY to both use and be hit by, as there's really no defense except for being in the Rear Guard. If you see the enemy is packing these shells, think VERY carefully about sending your units into the Vanguard, as a pair of these will pretty much kill both Vanguard units you are fielding, and your enemy has no problem firing Crew Shells whenever possible. If your Vanguard units are both injured, this will kill them outright, and you are at the enemy's mercy. Whew! That's a lot of info on Soldiers and what they can do for you. For more tips, check the Tactics section near the end of the FAQ. --------------------- 9) Mission Strategy ------------------- Individual Mission walkthroughs are coming later. --------------------- 10) Overall Tactics ------------------- To review, here's a final rundown of tactics and strategy I use. Basic Operation Map Screen Strategy * Pay attention to the placement of your units at the beginning of the mission. Look for towns/villages/cities with soldiers (look for the blue star) that you can take. Getting soldiers from towns is vital to the later stages of the game, as you will get more and better soldiers than you will be given at the end of the mission if you recruit them by capturing locations. * Note nearby enemy lookouts. Just because you can't see the enemy in that area doesn't mean they aren't hiding. If you walk into an area you could find a nasty surprise waiting for you in the form of reinforcements. * Enemy backup will arrive from time to time throughout certain missions or when one of your units reaches a certain area of the map. Keep your units that are out of current combat range in shape by recovering them in a nearby location (or even out on the open map.) You never know when backup might jump out at you from the flank or even behind. * Keep important units alive. If Masami's Byaako AFW goes down, or any other vital unit falls (like Ayana's truck in Mission 5) you lose the game right away. Keep them guarded, and get them exp by having them finish the kill. Don't worrk about being short experience, enemies will come find Masami, trust me. This works for Ryoko too. Pull them back if they get below half and recover in a location. * In general, you should be able to get through each mission without losing any AFWs. Time limits are for the most part not going to play much of a factor unless you screw around and take bad shots or get very unlucky. If your strategy is solid, you'll have the time you need to recover. * Recover between enemy "waves". If you defeat all enemies that are close to your position, recover before moving out after remaining units. Keep fresh units up front, especially your fast Light AFWs and Anti-AFWs, which can move quickly to deal with range. * Travel in packs. Sure, you might want to split off your faster Light AFWs to capture a city, but don't send them alone. Have any wounded units close by to recover to provide backup in case you wander into a trap. * When attacking, pick your range. If you can hit somebody within reason that's at your optimal range, hit them. Hitting a Light AFW at long range with your 4-Leg is always a good tactic, as is hitting an enemy 4-Leg with your Anti-AFW at short. Play the "Range Game" well, and you will prevail. * When defending, choose a good location with a decent defense value (the two digit number before the slash). Open plains and bridges and roads are good for traveling on, but lousy defense positions. Woods and river squares are the best for defense. Plan accordingly. * Remember that if your Soldiers are injured, go to a city/village/town location. If you start your turn there, your Soldiers will be at full health. You still have to use recover to repair your AFW however. * You can "take back" your movement with the square button if you can't make the attack you want from the position you move to. * For the most part, you have plenty of time to complete your mission. Take the extra time, especially in the first couple of chapters, to gain extra Soldier squads from enemy controlled building locations. * Learn to recognize AFW types by sight. On the stat screens, Light AFWs are blue background, Standard is red, Anti-AFWs are green, and 4-Leg AFWs are brown. They also look different on the map and make different movement sounds. AFW Combat and Piloting Tactics: * Take a good shot. Sometimes it pays to take a 50% shot, but only about, well, 50% of the time. If you take the time to fire a 70-80% shot and your enemy if popping off 50% shots, you will win every time. Remember that hitting an enemy that's aiming at you will seriously disrupt the aim, and vice versa. Don't spend too long on getting a 99.99% shot, you'll only get one off. * If you need to take a quick shot, use a Maximum Attack or a Crew Shell. Of course if your current base accuracy is 70%, that only helps your case. * Remember in the course of the battle you'll get knocked back as will your opponent. Adjust your range accordingly to stay at optimal accuracy if you can. While you are shooting keep an eye on the range indicator to see which way your opponent is moving. * Use your ground forces wisely. See what your opponent has for Soldiers on the combat start screen. Adjust your crew accordingly. Since the attacker has to commit to a crew first, take stock of your Soldier's health, abilities, and Crew Shells, and choose your crew wisely. NEVER "just hit the button." * You should have time to use your Frontline abilities twice in a combat. The best time to change soldier positions is just before firing, when you are stationary anyway. If you are immobilized by a leg shot or Wire or Mine, well, that's a good time too. Remember that changing Soldier positions means you can't move for a bit. * Be aware of trees in wooded locations. They will stop shots. * For the most part you should concentrate your fire on the enemy AFW. Taking shots at soldiers will hit of course, but killing the Soldiers won't end the battle. Use your Soldiers to deal with enemy Soldiers, when the enemy pulls them into the Rear Guard, you can ignore them for the most part. The AI doesn't like to fight with badly wounded soldiers. * The "buzzer beater" technique works great. If your enemy isn't taking the shot and the enemy's readout isn't flashing red, you can take your time and squeeze off your last shot at '01' on the timer to get maximum accuracy. * If you want to know what types of Soldiers you have and that you face in combat, memorize the symbols for each Soldier type. Helmet is Infantry, grenade is Shooter, cross is Medic, scope sight is Recon, wrench is mechanic, gas can is Supply. Soldier Tactics: * For Anti-AFW and Light AFW teams, I generally deploy Mechanic and Recon Soldiers, and whatever else I need to round out needed Skills (usually Medic for Hyper Morale or Supply for fast loading). Mechanic and Recon are powerful at the short/C.C ranges these AFWs fight at. * For Standard AFW teams you can use anyone, just as long as you have at least one anti-Soldier squad and one anti-AFW. Usually I choose teams for these AFWs based on Squads with the most Skills and Crew Shells for flexibility. I make sure each Standard AFW has Illuminated Shot, Cleanup, Fast/Repair or Repair, and Hyper Morale. * For 4-Leg AFWs, I invariably go with Infantry, Shooter, and Supply, especially if the Shooter or Supply has a Repair skill and somebody has Illuminated Shot. Shooter/Infantry are the best at Long range, and Supply is needed to cut down on long load times without having to use Emergency Load all the time. * Medics are usually a good choice for rounding out any AFW team. They tend to have a wide range of Skills and Shells. * There's a reason why your starting troop formations are three different troop types. You want to mix them up, and use the advantages those three different types have to cover the disadvantages they possess. The all Infantry show is nice, but you'll have problems taking down AFWs later on. Likewise, the all Shooter team will get shredded by enemy Soldiers. * Before I move my Soldiers up into Vanguard, I take the extra few seconds to make sure their skills (both Rear and Frontline) are ready to go. Remember that the Rank Change screen will show you the skills your two ground forces have. Skills and Crew Tactics * Match the right skills with the right AFW. A Light AFW/Anti-AFW isn't going to need Mine, Homing Shot, etc. Look for guys with Grenade, Charge Fire, Wire, etc. On the flip side, Grenade's pretty lousy for a 4-Leg team, but Homing Shot is wonderful. * Every AFW unit you field needs to have at least one person with Illumination Shot. Not everybody on the enemy's squad will have this. You WILL be fighting night battles, and having full accuracy while the enemy is at half...well, you do the math. * Cleanup and Fast Repair/Repair are close seconds to Illumination Shot as a required Soldier ability. As the game progresses, make sure at least one Soldier in each unit has these skills! * Don't forget that Frontline ability versions of Crew Special Shells don't last nearly as long. This includes Illum. Shot! * I love Wire as a skill. It's very useful. Not only does it prevent enemies from moving, it stops Dodge Action too. You'll want to use Wire to prevent a certain Type 3 Prototype thief from evading your fire... * I also suggest Hyper Morale for any unit. A higher Soldier defense value means they will take less damage and last longer. Excellent for your close/short range AFW units. * Don't forget you have Crew Shells to use! You'll want to have HEAT shells for your short range guys, and APCR Shells for the 4-Legs. These do damage well beyond a normal shot. Use them when you need to finish an enemy NOW. ------------------------------- 11) Legal Info Well, that's more or less a wrap for my FAQ. My translation ability is rusty at best, if you have better translations for the names of the AFWs, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Credits: Konami (www.konami.com) for making this game and bringing it to the States. GameFAQs (www.gamefaqs.com) To the hardest working guys in the business, this FAQ's for you. Sony (www.scea.com) for the PlayStation 2. Greg The Luckiest Dice On Earth, Dramatic Otaku Jay, Aleta The Naughty Schoolteacher, William Aircraft Carrier Haircut, Mike Old Man Gamer, Chuck Ya Got Any Candy, Post Office Silent Redhead Mike, Yoda With The Beetle, Yoda's Girl With The Hello!, Bob The Russian Sniper Chick and The Two Big Guys Somebody My Size Still Has To Call Big Man for being the best gaming crew I ever had the pleasure to run with. I miss y'all. Minnesota is cold. If you would like to send any corrections, information, or tips please e-mail them to me at email@example.com. I give credit where credit is due. Ring Of Red (C) and Konami (C) are copyright 2000, 2001 Konami Corporation. PlayStation 2 (C) is copyright 2000, 2001 Sony Computer Entertainment of America. This FAQ is copyright 2001 by Jon Mott (firstname.lastname@example.org) This FAQ may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express permission of the author, the author's mom and dad, Major League Baseball, Inc, The A-Team, and Dr. Miller, my 11th Grade English teacher. For the latest updates to this FAQ, check www.gamefaqs.com.