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General Strategies

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#1 Kikanaide


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Posted 04 April 2005 - 11:10 AM

So I've been playing interceptor for a couple weekends now, stumbled across a few things that seem to work reasonably well. One of them I classify as an almost-cheat, actually, due to its incredible effectiveness.

1) Damn near a cheat: Manufacturing profits...Remember how in UFO Defense you always had your workshops manufacture laser pistols (small workspace, good profit/return for no special materials and low tech) if they weren't doing anything useful? Turns out that, although they aren't your engineers per se, the same rule applies. You can actually sell many things that are manufactured for a profit. My personal favorite is tachyon pulsers...available pretty darn earlier, ~100k profit off of ~300k investment, and if the arms dealer sells them to aliens, you won't be crying. There are probably better pieces of equipment to use, but this one allows nearly infinite money...actually...scratch the "nearly." The only reason that I consider this "not a cheat" is because it does require a bit of work, isn't instant, and can tie up or be prevented by real manufacturing needs.

2) Firestars should comprise the bulk of your interceptor force. Consider super avengers to be base and outpost destroyers, and probably only keep them at the base closest to the aliens.

3) Build all three hangers at every base. They aren't expensive, and three ships is not enough in most cases. Usually an extra personnel module is nice...it just doesn't hurt.

4) Questionable - I like to keep a "training base," which exists for the sole purpose of training troops (commonly ten-fifteen at a time)...the main goal is to get that psionics stat maxxed. Even with it maxed, I've still got some messages indicating psionic attack...but I have yet to see them go crazy and start attacking people.

5) AFAIK, your pilot's stats (especially psionics) have no effect...therefore a crap pilot is fine, especially at the beginning when it's hard to get good pilots. This may not be entirely true, and I generally use a good pilot because I train them (see 4) and have them to spare.

6) It seems that turning speed is HIGHLY dependent on forward speed...some type of very basic inertia physics. If everything seems to be going to fast, consider that you might be. I usually stay about half throttle in most ships, and close to no throttle if I'm flying a lightning with graviton pulse (I didn't research gravity/induction...leave me alone). If folks have differing opinions on this, let me know.

7) Leapfrog your bases - build one at the limit of the blue circle that shows up when you build (I usually name it stepping stone so I don't get confused), then build another at the limit of stepping stone's range. Right after you build the second (meaning that it has just started construction and is a month or so from completion), you can dismantle the first. You only get eight bases, and depending on starting position this can let you cover some great systems AND get some good attack bases deep into alien territory.

8) Remember to always upgrade your tracking systems on bases - there is no downtime while it is building. So don't try to tear down the old one first.

9) No missile defenses, ever. They use missiles straight out of stores. Gatling lasers are pretty effective, and the strategy guide says that tracer cannons destroy anything...I imagine they would since bases have unlimited energy. Also it says that tracking tracer cannons are overkill...bases have perfect aim with normal tracers. The defense points on top of the hangers seem to be the first spots to fill - they are the only ones that can protect those prescious downlinks.

10) So you want to blow up...something? For non-ship targets (outposts, bases, etc), get fusion missiles. They are amazing. Get reasonably close (probably less than 2k) to prevent defenses and UFO's from shooting them out of flight, launch four (carry two pods of them) and watch base go bye-bye. Oh, don't be near it when they go off. Best performed from the cockpit of a firestar or avenger.

11) Weapons - use gatling lasers (first research adv lasers) and the occasional tachyon pulser (first capture and research a plasma pulse cannon) until you get phase cannons...always carry at least two of these on larger planes. Then make a run for tracking tracer cannons (AATS + heavy laser + tracer cannon). They don't work against accumulator shields (which are on shades), and they are energy hungry (turn weapon regen up to 100% (f9 or f10 I think).

12) Missiles - X-winders are fine for a while, but you'll eventually want Permeators. Fusion missiles = base busters. I don't know if anything else is exactly spectacular, but I do know that elerium missiles are quite a bit better than X-winders for a short-term upgrade.

13) At the start of combat (the initial closing phase) rotate your wings 90 degrees so that you are parallel with the oncoming UFO's - wraiths and spectre's almost always flip to be 90 degrees from your initial approach. This will help considerably when you are trying to get some initial damage inflicted.

14) It should be obvious, but watch your shields. The s key is your friend, toggling between front, rear, and balanced shielding in quick succession. Also, the ; key can regen shields very quickly, but at the cost of weapon charge.

Alright, I'm done for now. Really just wanted to see if people still read this, and give a sort of beginner's guide to this game (which is at least pretty fun, if not spectacular).

Oh, and become familiar with the zoom levels (you'll find them on the upper left of the screen). You have to zoom into (the third dot) a system to target anything in it.
Kikanaide - "What does it mean? Don't ask."

#2 dipstick



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Posted 04 April 2005 - 12:28 PM

Not that I have played it for a while, but this is an exceptional game :D

1) when you say 'cheat' aren't you just building and selling? I don't remember what sells best, but I am sure there is a table in the strategy guide which I have somewhere :D (big too!!)

2) I learnt this to my cost - again mentioned in strat guide. Although, I sometimes fly a SA. Keep in mind 5 SA are required for final mission (yes I said REQUIRED!)

3) I agree - personnel is a must - only 5 pilots per module isn't it? well, then, 2x5 = 10 :D 3x3=9 get my drift?

4) Never trained a pilot in my life. I have beaten the game too - on most levels IIRC. But then, I fly solo most of the time :)

5) True, no stats are used when you are flying, just make sure your health is high - you can still be KIA you know.... (been there done that...)

6) Unless you want to get shot to bits, I go 100% most of the time. And lightenings + graviton.... REALLY!

actually, just lightenings REALLY! LOL (except early game)

7) Mentioned in guide I believe. Good tactic, never used it though, as it is pretty obvious where the aliens come from, so a good line of bases direct to alien HQ is usually enough. That said, I occasionally decommission a useless base.

8) Damn, I usually do this :D

9) Meh, I know missiles can get chewed up pretty quickly, but I do occassionally use missiles (esp ones I use on ships too) particularly permeators :D :D And I KNOW the guide says not to! Gatlings are good, as are tracers, but I personally use phase cannons. Biggest range, and destroy most things in a few shots. Not to mention the enery cost is irrelevant. Please let me die and be a base!! LOL

10) There are two schools of thought on this one. The above mentioned fusion missile tactic, or blow everything to heck, and then move in. Guess which I do. In fact, on the easier levels, I tend to park up about .5k from the base and let lose with lasers. Usually phase cannons - have you SEEN the damage 4 linked PC can DO! I would not like to be on the receiving end. For alien bases, the tactic (esp on higher levels) is to run like a maniac. Take wingmen to distract fighter escorts, and home in on the weak points of the base (as described in guide) and shoot away. Fusion missiles would most likely be ineffective except at immediate range, as the bases tend to be reeeeeally good at shooting at stuff, including you. Imagine butter and a hot knife. You are the butter. Point taken?

11) Every time I start a new game, it takes me a while to get used to basic lasers - I mean these couldn't hit a barn door at 20 paces! Really though, the only weapon to be used throughout the game is gatlings. In fact, you could finish the game with these. And when linked 4x they can dish out some serious damage. After that, either phase cannons or trackers are worth the hassle. Tachyon pulsars are good for capturing stuff, which can be useful for money mid game. Just don't ONLY have them against probes, ok? It don't work! :D

12) Missiles. Permeators. Enough said. Parallax MIGHT be more effective against phantasms (which spin like a top). Basically, any missile fired against these guys is a wasted missile as they use a beam weapon exclusively for anti-missile patrol.

13) Never knew this - it isn't vital I would not have thought. Just be accurate.

14) Shields, shields, shields. Put it this way, if they go down, they can be damaged. Damaged shields + aliens = boom if you are not careful. If you run out of energy, see if you can drop ALL weapon charge to engines and shields, and change regen rate to max shields. Cloak if possible, or if not, max speed in a straight(ish!!) line out of there. If you are quick enough you should be able to repair and be able to take on the remaining ships. Of course, you may not have this option due to damage or time restrictions....

15) My cheat is to reverse. Get the graviton, use a firestar and go in reverse. Get phase cannons, and shoot. The aliens cannot tell which end of your ship is the front, so reverse, and they will chase. You should be able to keep up sufficient speed in reverse to pick them off at your leisure. This works against ALL fighters. Then, for offensive missions, all you have to do is go back to the target and blast it.

For a variation on the theme, occassionally speed past all the aliens (ie go forwards) and blast a few on the way through. Just be prepared to take a hammering on the old shields.

This can be a good way to capture ships if you have no tachyons. Just hammer an alien ship that you wish to capture, and keep hammering through shields, armour, and half the hull. Then unlink weapons, and keep hull at around 10%. This will injure the pilot, and hope he dies :D

Alternatively, concentrate on one UFO, and blast it down to 10%, then move onto the next and do the same etc etc, and when you get back to the first UFO, it should have regenerated enough for a further hammering. Enjoy.
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#3 Kikanaide


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Posted 04 April 2005 - 06:52 PM

So, yes, as you've guessed Dipstick, a good chunk of that comes from the strategy guide. Most of them, though, I've playtested or slightly adapted...

So I did a quick look-see in terms of profit/manufacturing time (the ratio that matters in terms of manufacturing and then selling). The winner was the nova bomb...by a lot. Add that to the fact that they aliens will never fire it back at you and you've got a winner.

What? You say it takes for freaking ever to get the nova bomb? Well, then, for you, my good sir, I present to you the psi blaster and phase cannon - almost exactly tied with the psi cannon coming out a bit on top. And, personally, I'd rather have that shooting at me... :) A reasonably close fourth actually turns out to be the tachyon pulser.

Now, it is possible that a better ratio escaped my notice, as I restricted my search to >100k profit items...to save my sanity but also because I figured no one would be all that keen to click that many times. Oh, and does anyone know how to advance the buy counter more quickly than one-at-a-time?

4) I'm not real sure about my advice on this one (hence the questionable). It's just something I do b/c I still live in fear of psi attacks from xcom 1. I'm currently only playing on experienced, so I'll certainly get more knowledge and ability as time goes on...

6) I'll defer to you in terms of experience right now, but intuitively 100% speed is not necessarily the way to go. If the AI is decent (which, I'll grant you, is a stretch) then it should be just as good at hitting its "yellow circle" if it is 100m or 1km ahead of you. What would matter in a space battle (if we could ever get that inertia thing under control and if space battles were actually possible) would be CHANGE in course - making any in-flight shots useless. If this were real life, give me vector thrusters and adjusting throttle anyday over the other...but you might note there are several "should" and "in real life" statements in there...the main reason I don't peg the thing is because I can't seem to turn fast enough to keep an alien even in my front arc...

11) You know, I haven't noticed a dramatic improvement in my performance since I upgraded to PC's from GL's...perhaps you are correct. Two considerations though - 1) don't carry GL's against a shade assuming the guide is correct and the accumulator shields work properly and 2) you'll probably want PC's or something similar when you are flying against stationary targets (just for the range, mainly).

While I'm at it, if you're reading 11) and think (how does he know he's flying against a shade) - double-click on squadrons on the map...you get a list of UFO's. I would think this would be obvious...but I was halfway through the game on beginner before I caught on. Man, I feel silly...
Kikanaide - "What does it mean? Don't ask."

#4 dipstick



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Posted 06 April 2005 - 02:12 PM

Shall I tell you the worst shade encounter I can remember? Two shades, full shields, full armour. Not good. Considering it was in a minefield, with plenty of phantasm backup. Oh, and I was alone too.....
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