Some "short and simple" tips to start me off. .


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#1 Stun Grenade

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 05:50 AM

These holidays I'm going to get back into X-COM and for once, try and finish UFO. When I played it last, I always got slaughted, and some times I didn't even set foot on ground...

I know people have released guides and walkthoughs but I know how to play this game, I just need some tips!

Like for example, posistioning troups, how to find the aliens, base locations, etc.

Help much appreciated people!

~SG
"The Stun Grenade can be used to stun targets within a small area for a brief time. Larger Aliens may need weakening before they can be stunned."

#2 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 06:30 AM

Don't use all your time units, always leave enough to be able to crouch your units and reaction fire during the alien's turn. Try spotting aliens with some units, and firing from furthar back, the aliens won't return fire on those far off units they can't see.
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#3 NKF

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 07:04 AM

Heh, wouldn't be much help here. I'm more of a 3-pager myself.. :P

Reactions * remaining TU percentage = current reaction score. If the enemy has the higher score, they get a much better chance of using reactions. Hence why reaction fire best done with a group of people with a lot of TUs to spare. See, even if the aliens have the better reactions, the more TUs they spend, the harder they get to react.  

Smoke grenades. Smoke screens provide the best protection within the first 2 - 3 turns of use. After that it spreads a bit but it's too thin to be of any use. Its best used when placed between your soldiers and the aliens. Not on your soldiers or on the aliens. Between.

Explosives and incendiaries. This is not Apocalypse - so feel free to go wild.

Before deploying, wait a turn or two. Use this time to prepare any grenades you want to use. Also, during this time use scanners to check around the LZ. Then use grenades or rockets to blast these suspicious blips. Be careful when doing this in terror sites - some of those blips could be civilians.

Bring some flares and/or incendiary rounds along just for those night missions. The aliens aren't affected by the darkness while you are. You're better off knowing what's ahead.  

Terror missions: Though it's nice to save as many civilians as you can - it's hard enough keeping your own troops alive. Yes, do try to save as many as you can, but don't let it put your troops into compromising positions.

High ground. Get some troops up high and let them provide long range fire support. They get a better view - and with rockets, this is a lethal combination. Farm houses or low ridges are good places. With flying suits, you can take the high ground anywhere.

Never bunch your soldiers together. The AI appears to be wired to make use of grenades against clusters of soldiers.

HWPs. They are your expensive but expendable armour for most of the game. Send them out before sending your own troopers. Do note that because of their horribly low reactions, they can attract a lot of reaction fire.

On maps with wide open fields, roads, etc, try creeping along the edges of the map instead of charging through the centre. This way you only have to worry about being attacked from one direction.

Take your time and use as much force as you want.

Blah blah blah, and so on.

- NKF
NKF, narrow minded fuddy duddy who refuses to let go of the past and will not accept anything newer than 1979.

#4 FullAuto

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 07:42 AM

Read the field manual.

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#5 Stun Grenade

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 09:11 AM

thanks for your responces! i hope it helps me!
"The Stun Grenade can be used to stun targets within a small area for a brief time. Larger Aliens may need weakening before they can be stunned."

#6 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 10:43 PM

Mind controlling civilians on terror missions is a good way to cheat.  :(

Not that I do that myself, of course...  :P
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#7 Zombie

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 04:28 AM

In my experience, here are a few tips that help:

Like it was mentioned before, aliens can see just as well in darkness and light. If you want any chance of success on a night mission, you really should bring your own light. There are two schools of thought here:
1) Use Electro-flares. They are cheap, produce a constant source of light, and you can throw them. (Good when a soldiers' FA sucks).
2) Use incendiary ammunition for light. While more expensive than the Electro-flare, incendiary rounds/rockets can also impart damage on most units. Incendiary rounds are fired/launched from a weapon, good if your soldier' TA sucks.

In early missions, I like the Electro-flare. It only costs $60, and can throw out just as much light as fire. Here is a real hint: if you pick up an Electro-flare before the end of the mission, you recover it as though it was never used! For missions later in the game, I use incendiary rounds almost exclusively for light.
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Tanks: I never use them. Pull a tank on to the landing ramp of the Skyranger in a hot landing zone with aliens carrying Heavy Plasmas, and watch what happens. One hit from a Plasma Rifle or Heavy Plasma is enough to destroy this land-based vehicle rather easily. Tanks are also wide targets and have terrible reactions, so you might as well paint a huge bulls-eye on the thing! They don't call tanks bullet-magnets for nothing you know! :( I'd much rather lose a $20,000 rookie than a $420,000 tank any day.
Hovertanks? Expensive, but they seem to pull their weight around ok.
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Explosives: Thrown (grenades), or fired, these are invaluable against tough aliens. The spillover or splash damage helps to eliminate multiple threats that are clustered together. I like the Proximity Grenade for setting up booby traps or pinning an alien to a spot. The Blaster Launcher is also a good can-opener on UFO hulls, which can catch aliens off-guard and give you a momentary advantage.
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Got a hot landing zone? One way to tell is to use a motion scanner first. The other method (which I do not recommend) is to take a peek. If you find many aliens around your ship, use explosives to clear a path, or use fire to create a "kill zone" in front of the ramp. Equip your first troops off a transport with the weapons that have the most damage. The second line of troops off should be the snipers to clean up whatever is left with rifles or pistols.
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Armor: Early in the game, you have nothing, so use the terrain to offset this penalty somewhat. Crouching behind trees, hills, fences, and even craft landing gear provide some level of protection. Use smoke grenades to conceal your troop's movement in large open areas.
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Terror Sites: Your priorities should be this:
1) Bring your troops back home safely.
2) Kill all the aliens.
3) Keep the civilians safe.
If you know what race of aliens are on a Terror Site, you know what kind of terrorist(s) are there also. Be prepared. Don't just jump into a Terror Site with pistols and a handful of troops and expect to win. Bring as many troops that you are comfortable with, and equip them with the best weapons possible.
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Play defensively in early missions. Keep your soldiers safe, and bring them back in one piece. That way they can live to fight another day. Play offensively later on. By this time you should have some armor to let you be more aggressive.
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Mission Strategies: Send your troops out in groups of three or so with about 4 tiles between them. This protects them from aliens using grenades or blaster bombs. Do not equip each soldier to handle every possible contingency.      

This brings me to another point: Never send the heavy weapon folk somewhere by themselves! One or two soldiers should be his backup in case things get sticky. These soldiers should carry the things that the heavy guy cannot (more ammo, grenades, medikits etc.) and have laser weapons (or plasmas) ready and drawn so they can shoot at a moments notice. Just because a soldier is carrying a weapon with the capability to inflict heavy damage, it does not mean that they can kill every alien that wanders into their line of sight. The soldier might only wound an alien, and everyone knows that a wounded alien is a dangerous animal!  :P

Thoroughly search each and every building you see. Aliens love to hide in buildings on the 2nd floor (that's the first floor for you crazy Brits :( ) and snipe from windows. To eliminate some of the search tedium, use explosives on the sides of a building to get a good look inside, which prevents a floor-by-floor search.
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Stunning: Use the Stun Rod early on. Your troops with the highest Time Units should get the prods because you have to get right up to an alien to use it, and this takes time. The best UFO for stunning is the Large Scout. The bridge is localized and small allowing you to bring multiple units from two directions. You will not get any leaders in a Large Scout, but you probably will get a Navigator on the bridge (research him for the Hyperwave Decoder), and an Engineer in the engine room.

Small Launchers are great for stunning the Leaders and Commanders which you need to finish the game. Your best bet at nabbing a Commander is an alien base. Don't storm the command room upstairs with Small Launchers. Stand below and fire some stun bombs at the floor above first. Now you can bring up another guy with a small launcher to mop up any aliens that are still kicking. In any case, use a Mind Probe to see what you are trying to stun.
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Searching for Aliens: Most can be found inside the craft itself. Like I said before, if there are buildings at a landing/crash site, aliens are probably hiding in them. A handful (or more depending on UFO size) are usually dispersed throughout the map on the ground. Try to secure the UFO as soon as possible, and then send the remainder of your troops to search out the alien scouts.
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Base Building: Build only one base per continent. One Hyperwave Decoder at each base can detect alien ships in a 2400 nautical mile diameter; that's about the size of an entire continent. Personally, I keep my bases off the Poles. It's expensive to build there, and you really don't get any funding from these areas, so why bother. Protect the counteries (and your funding) first, then protect the globe. If the countries are happy, then so should you!
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While these tips are not exactly short, they are simple. You could switch any of these strategies to fit your personal method of play quite easily. The best tip is to have fun and to learn something from every mission. Hope this helps!  :(

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JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#8 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 04:46 AM

I must comment...  :(

Zombie said:

Here is a real hint: if you pick up an Electro-flare before the end of the mission, you recover it as though it was never used!

I always get all my electroflares back anyway, regardless of whether they are used - so long as they don't get blown up by a grenade or something, of course.

Zombie said:

I'd much rather lose a $20,000 rookie than a $420,000 tank any day.

You put a price on a human life?!  :P  I do use tanks, and I only tend to lose a couple of them per month (Superhuman mode). Besides which, they can carry more rockets then a human can, can spit more then one rocket per turn (providing they aren't moving much), and do tend to take more damage, 'specially from low power weapons such as plasma pistols. Each to their own, I guess, but I find them to be a great help. So much so that I use the tracked rocket tanks for the whole game. Of course, if you don't have the cash flow, keep in mind that you will be buying rockets and new tanks all the time...

Zombie said:

Incendiary rounds are fired/launched from a weapon, good if your soldier' TA sucks.

What do you mean TA?  :(

I will add another tip: Don't ignore the medkits, even when you don't have armor.
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#9 Zombie

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 05:38 AM

At least in the Playstation version, if you do not pick up an Electro-flare after it has been dropped/thrown, you cannot recover it. By picking it up, it saves the hassle of buying more. For the computer version, this probably does not apply - I'm just trying to cover all the possible bases to be safe.

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Geez! You're replacing one or two rocket tanks per month? Let's see... $480,000 each plus $24,000 in ammo per tank, that comes to $1,008,000! Seriously, for that lump of change I could hire 50 soldiers and still have $8,000 left over. When money is short at the beginning of a campaign, it's tough to justify a loss like that.

I am not disputing their functionality. You are absolutely correct that a tank can fire more rockets per round than an individual soldier carrying a Rocket Launcher can. It can also carry more.

But think of it this way: A tank occupies 4 tiles, carries 8 rockets, and can fire twice per round. This setup costs $504,000. Now take 4 soldiers, each carrying a rocket launcher and 2 large rockets. Each of those soldiers could pop off a rocket for a total of 4 in one round. This setup costs $103,200! That's 1/5 the cost of a tank. Even if one or two soldiers get killed, you can still recover his weapon and ammo to use again. With a tank, you lose everything! In addition, a soldier can improve his stats through kills while a tank cannot.

Like you said: to each their own. But I run X-COM like a business, big losses are not an option for me.

----------
How 'bout this:

Use Electro-flares when a soldier has bad FA (Firing Accuracy). This is because you throw this item.

Use Incendiary ammunition when a soldier has bad TA (Throwing Accuracy). This is because incendiary ammo relies on firing accuracy to use. :P

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JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#10 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 05:52 AM

I believe there is some sort of trick with ammo in guns, but I've never messed with it and I don't know the specifics.

Concerning tanks, I can AFFORD to replace tanks from beginning to end of the game. I can't be bothered messing around reloading rocket launchers and having such limited ammo per trooper, to the extent where I either use the tanks, or I don't use rockets at all. Each to their own, of course... But I probably wouldn't splurge if I didn't have such a huge cash surplus. They really do overload you with money.

Usually I send the tanks off as scouts. Anything they see, gets blown up. Usually they run out of ammo, and then I still send them hunting around. It is quite rare for them to be destroyed. Twice per month isn't bad considering the amount of missions they pull off, and I consider the convenience to be worth the money. Keep in mind I also fork out many $$$ for rockets, up to a full load per mission!  :P  

However, I do admit it might be easier to ignore tanks if you're a beginning player and low on cash (not talking about you, Zombie!  :( ). I still say they are more efficient then soldiers - in terms of functionality, as opposed to value for money - but if you're a beginner, odds are you'll lose many more then two per month!

Ah, TA is Throwing Accuracy. I forgot about that stat.
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#11 Stun Grenade

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 06:33 AM

THANKS HEAPS GUYS!!

i will be trying these 2night and this week.. i just re-partioned my HDD with WIN98 and WINXP. do u think UFO should go on 98 or XP since I have run UFO b4 on XP?

~SG
"The Stun Grenade can be used to stun targets within a small area for a brief time. Larger Aliens may need weakening before they can be stunned."

#12 Zombie

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 06:40 AM

Bomb Bloke, on Sep 22 2004, 12:52 AM, said:

I believe there is some sort of trick with ammo in guns, but I've never messed with it and I don't know the specifics.
Were you thinking of this:

If you use up some ammo from a clip during a mission, the game considers the clip fully spent. That's if you leave the clip in the weapon when you finish the mission. If you were to unload the clip from the weapon before the mission ends, you regain the clip as full, even though some were used up. You could go around and unload all the clips from the aliens' weapons too, increasing the amount you should get back.

I cannot verify if this trick works in all computer versions. I have heard reports that it does and does not. For the PSX version, this trick does not work.
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Tank useage is like parties in politics. You got the Democrats liking one thing, and the Republicans liking just the opposite. Same thing for tanks. If you like them you use them, while if you do not like them you don't use them. If you lose a tank on a mission, and you are still able to recover and purchase a replacement from the sale of weapons and bodies, fine. More power to ya.

For beginners, I usually recommend honing their soldier strategies first. Once you are comfortable with your play, and you are down to losing maybe 1 or two soldiers every month or so, then you can buy tanks and use them indiscriminately. If you are a rookie playing X-COM, it is possible to get caught up in a real pickle. Every mission you lose a tank, and every time you get back to the Geoscape, you purchase another one. It just gets to be an expensive habit in the long run.
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I would also recommend this tip: Research laser weapons ASAP. Fighting with normal rifles and pistols is tough. The heavy weapons offer more versatility, but weigh a lot. Lasers are light, have no ammo restrictions, and deal more damage than the normal counterparts.
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Medikits before armor? Well, not many soldiers will survive a plasma burst to begin with. Then again, a soldier might get lucky and just have a fatal wound. If you do not have a Medikit, the soldier dies unless you can end the mission fast. The most useful part of the Medikit for me is the stimulant. Soldiers standing in smoke, or exhausted from walking too much can be whipped into shape with a couple of stim injections. It is a lot better than having him pass out during the mission from too much smoke.

Don't need that alien soldier you accidentally stunned? Move the alien one tile away, then pump it full of stimulant. When it's awake, shoot to kill!  :P
----------

Stun Grenade:

I'd put X-COM on the XP partition. Win 98 is good and all but I found that XP is more stable and easier to use than any other version. If X-COM ran fine under XP for you before, stick with the same set-up.

Edited by Zombie, 22 September 2004 - 06:49 AM.

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JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#13 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 07:22 AM

Can you destroy unconcious aliens with weapons fire? If not, what about corpses?
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#14 Stun Grenade

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 07:37 AM

i just tried it then in xp... CPUKILL!!!!! plus there were so many bugs, I couldn't even build a base!

i just have a question, on my first mission, should i have a tank, how many soldiers should there be and what facilities should i build at the base? oh and also, what weapons?

~SG
"The Stun Grenade can be used to stun targets within a small area for a brief time. Larger Aliens may need weakening before they can be stunned."

#15 NKF

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 08:03 AM

The very first mission eh? Well, you have so many ways you can go about it. The default setup is more than enough.

What weapons? Again, any setup will do fine. You're only fighting sectoids or floaters for the first few weeks, and they'll go down to practically anything. It's when you go on your first terror mission (or base defence mission), that's when you really need to decide what to bring. I say this mainly because of the cyberdiscs. On harder difficulty levels, pistols and rifles take forever just to kill them. Sure-kill weapons that you can get right from the start are high explosives, and large rockets. Soldiers with 40 or more strength give you the best results with these weapons. Lasers are a better long-term alternative.

Getting tank on the first mission? Perhaps not unless you've got the cash to spare.

What facilities to build? Hmm, I'd say the first thing to build is an alien containment as that's the only service you lack right from the start.

I usually construct the containment, stores and living quarters right away. Then, depending on whether I want to be research intensive or production intensive, I decide between a workshop or a lab. Or I build a large radar so that it can stack detection abilities with my small radar. Or I build a hangar in an effort to reposition one of my existing hangars. Or I just build nothing and use the money to buy a tank.

There's no right or wrong way to go about it - as long as you don't overspend.

- NKF
NKF, narrow minded fuddy duddy who refuses to let go of the past and will not accept anything newer than 1979.

#16 Zombie

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 10:57 PM

BombBloke: You cannot destroy unconscious or dead aliens by firing at the body with a gun. The only exception is the heavy weapons. Anything explosive will obliterate stunned or dead aliens. This includes AC-HE, HC-HE, Small or Large rockets for the Rocket Launcher, Blaster Bombs and the grenades.

----------

Stun Grenade:

For your first question "Should you have a tank"? It's really not necessary. First, find out if you are comfortable playing with a tank. Go on a few preliminary missions with and without a HWP to see which scenario you prefer. If you like having a HWP around, then by all means pick one up. If you do not feel the tank helps out much, then use the money for something else.
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Your second question is "How many soldiers should you have"? You start out with 8 soldiers having random stats. The Skyranger holds 14. I usually hire 6 more soldiers to fill up the 'ranger. For smaller UFO's, 8 soldiers is plenty. Keep the other 6 at your base to defend it against an unlikely attack. If the next UFO you come across is small, swap off 7 of the original 8 and put in the 6 new recruits. This way, everyone gets a chance to improve. When you start to get to the larger UFO's, load everyone on your transport ship. You will probably need most of them, especially at Terror Sites.
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The third question is "What facilities should you build at the base"? Hmmm... Even though you have one General Store at your first base, it is already 72% full. I usually build an additional General Store to house the artifacts recovered from missions as well as any new purchases. An Alien Containment module is also a must, just remember to buy (and use) some stun rods. A Large Radar system when used in conjunction with the existing Small Radar, helps to detect UFO's further out. I skip the extra Living Quarters until I am able to sell some stuff gathered from missions. It starts at 56% full, and if you hire 6 more soldiers it rises to 68%. The leftover 16 spaces should be used for extra scientists when you get some $$$. After that, it's up to you. Labs or Workshops are good though.
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The final question you ask is "What weapons should you have". If some of your soldiers are strong enough (between 35 and 40) give them the extra heavy weapons (Auto Cannon and Rocket Launcher) which are sitting idle in the stores. If you like to use incendiary and explosive ammunition for these weapons, you probably need to buy some clips and/or rockets to fill in the blanks.

If you like to use grenades, your stores only have 5 normal grenades. That's enough for maybe one or two missions, but that's it. I usually buy some more traditional grenades as well as some High Explosives and Proxy mines. Electro-flares and Stun-Rods are also good to have. As soon as you can, research the laser weapons. Once you research and build some Laser Pistols you can sell off some of those rifles and pistols. When you get the Laser Rifles, they are good to the end of the game. I like to keep some normal pistols around for reactions training.
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That's about it. Just watch your spending. Things really start to add up fast!  :P

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JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#17 Stun Grenade

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 01:40 AM

Hey guys!

I won my first mission just then all thanks to you guys!! I had those aliens right from the start!

I'm so proud since I used this tactic where I had a man in front of the door (with spacing of 1 square), a man to the right and left of the door aswell. Soon as the little critter came out, the guns went off straight away and he was doomed...

I just need help with terror sites. I'm in my first one atm, and I got ripped.. These huge guys started a couple of meters away from my ship and ripped apart anyone who walked out onto the platform.. So i need desperate help with the Terror Sites...

I also have a Q about equiping soldiers... Is there a way to do it before your in a mission? I said to put all these kinds of weapons on the aircraft but only half of it is there... so if there is a way to equip men b4hand...

~SG
"The Stun Grenade can be used to stun targets within a small area for a brief time. Larger Aliens may need weakening before they can be stunned."

#18 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 02:54 AM

You should be given a solider equip screen just before the mission begins.

Other then that, you can't assign specific items to a unit. You can only give them itmes in the area. There is a limit to the max amount of items you can have available to equip, but I think that only becomes a problem on base defence missions. I doubt you can cram that much stuff into a craft.
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#19 Zombie

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 07:48 PM

Standing guys to the side and in front of the door(s) of a UFO with full time units is always fun. Camping the doors is a relatively safe way to increase the reaction stat of your soldiers. I use it all the time!  :(

Like Bomb Bloke said, you cannot pre-equip your soldiers before combat. A screen comes up just before the mission starts to equip soldiers. There is an 80 item limit to the amount of weapons and equipment you can cram on the transport, or have on any mission. Confusing why half of what you put on only showed up. Perhaps you got the left and right side of the equip craft screen mixed up. The left side shows what items are in your general stores that could be added to your ship. The right side shows what is on the craft at the moment. Make sure you click the right arrow to add things to the craft.

Having a problem with Terror Sites? He, He! Yep, they are tough alright. Please describe the aliens at the terror site to us. Different aliens require different strategies to kill. Their terrorist friends also require different tactics. Enlighten us, Stun Grenade!  :P

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JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#20 Bomb Bloke

Bomb Bloke

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Posted 24 September 2004 - 01:05 AM

Sectoids/Cyberdisks - Kill them all.

Floaters/Reapers - Kill them all.

Snakemen/Chysallids - Kill nearby Chysallids first.

Mutons/Celatids/Silacoids - Ignore the ground based potatoes unless nothing else alive is in sight.

Etherals/Sectopods - Kill them all, but very quickly. Grenades, rockets, rambo rushes, anything, bring them down!

Etherals are the only things that make me nervous.  :P
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