Tuesday, June 2, 2009
There is this game that I love to play a lot so it needs to be mentioned. It is called S.L.A.I. It is a robot mash. The funny thing is that I did not even know I would like a robot mash game. Before this game I did play a similar game called Ring of Red which also had giant robots fighting. I also loved that game and played it a lot but eventually I got tired of it. This game thought it seems like I am not going to get tired of so easily. I am at the moment as enthusiastic about it as I was at the beginning or even more.

I remember those early days when I first started to play it. I do not even know when that was because it was such a long time ago. I just believe that it must have been some time in the beginning of 2008. Any way I was not so sure that I would like it. It took me a while to learn how to play and by that I mean to use weapons, earn money and most importantly fight. It was not easy because I did not earn a lot of the virtual money to upgrade my SV. I have read from other reviews that this is one of the main issues that is touched upon.  For instance I wanted to upgrade my SV with better weapons but with no money I could not do that. The SV I chose to buy was the Carro. It seemed like a good choice because it was in between the heavy SV’s and the light weight SV’s. 

Any way like I have said I wanted to upgrade my SV. When I got it from the shop it really did not sport much weaponry. The weapons that I wanted though were not cheap and there were some other things that I had to purchase at the beginning like O.C generators for invisibility, paint kits,.... So those early days were not much fun. I was always short of virtual money and I was still getting to know the game.

However, things eventually improved. I managed to get enough money to buy myself another SV. I chose the one from the heavy weights-The Hartman. I fitted it with caterpillars and some powerful weapons. I was just one mean machine. It combat it was almost indestructible. Its only flaw was that it was slow. It also turned out that it was not so indestructible after all because it could not win against the boss. So my tactic at the beginning was to simply avoid him. When the boss arrived into the arena I exited the arena for fear of losing the fight. Eventually thought I realized that I was going to have to find a way to defeat him as opposed to always running away.  Was not I silly?!

It is actually more complicated because there was not just one of them bosses. At the beginning though I was still very much confused and I did not realize that but it turned out that there were multiple bosses. In fact each category had it is own boss or ranker. In addition to that each category was divided on day time and night time. Because there are four categories ranging from D-A that meant there were eight bosses to defeat. All of that thought did not come immediately into perspective so back than I was not very concerned about that. I was very much focused on defeating that nasty SV that had the red health bar and was extremely powerful.

I started experimenting with weapons on my Carro SV. It was clear to me already back than that I could only take my Carro SV to battle. It was light weight enough for me to be able to run if need be and strong enough to take a few hits. However, I was still in the dark about what kind of a weapon to use against the boss. I tried to find some elevated position upon which I would unload my weapons on the boss in hope of destroying it. That was not such a problem. There were many such places in the New York arena where I was more or less fighting in the beginning. That is where you start of course and even though you can move to other arenas I decided to stick there for a while until I figure stuff out.

Still I did not achieve any actual results. As soon as I fired a rocket at the boss an immediate response would follow and I had to retreat if that was possible at all. It was really incredible how fast those bosses reacted and fired upon me.

Back than I armed my self mainly with rockets launchers.  I would put two of those on my Carro SV shoulder positions.  I would go around blasting every ting in the arena.  My Carro SV was an awesome sight with those those two rocket launchers mounted in the shoulder positions.  The thing is that while rockets did work with the majority of foes that I encountered it did not seem to do the trick with the boss.  The problem was that they would give away my location to the boss even when I was using my O.C. The O.C. as I mentioned is a neat features of this game as it allow one to make their CV temporally invisible.

It took me a while to figure out that when firing machine guns and using optical camouflage the boss would not be able to locate me. It was one of those eureka moments for me in this game.  The irony of this was that I was using a weapon that I figured was the weakest one of all.  If you can chose from rocket launchers, shot guns, and other high tech weapons it is difficult to look at the machine gun without a slight prejudice.   After all rockets has a nice feature that once the target was marked it would follow it around corners if the foe tried to evade it and only in extreme circumstances the rockets would not hit the intended target.  Compared to that the machine gun was really low tech but in this game it worked for me from that moment onward.  In fact I soon realized that the machine gun had one key benefit over other weapons.  To fire rockets and other stuff you needed the foe to be a certain distance from you in order to get a lock-on because with out it you could not fire a rocket.  It was not the case with the machine guns.  I could destroy a foe way across the arena with my machine guns when I could in no way do so with rockets because the intended target was too far away.    

Of course I realized that bullets are too small to see but a rocket is easy to spot and follow the smoke trail that it leaves behind back to my location. After that things went smoothly. I managed to defeat boss by boss by finding an elevated position, using optical camouflage and firing only machine guns to defeat the rankers. Eventually I equipped my Carro SV with only machine guns. One machine gun in particular that is only available for the Carro model to equip the arms looks like the one used in the Predator movie with the rotating barrels. It is extremely powerful and I used that in addition with other machine guns to fire upon the bosses.

After I was finished with the bosses in New York arena I decided to move to another arena to take my destruction there too. There were another six arenas or hubs for me to move on and each of them had eight rankers for me to defeat. It was about that time when it downed on me that I would have to defeat another 46 rankers and another 7 class rankers plus the three top rankers. I was not too happy. It seemed like a lot of work. I had to defeat another 56 rankers. At least I had the technique to do this now and some extra money to buy new weapons. Still the following few months of playing proved to be stressful as further I moved towards the top the stronger and more powerful the rankers got. Some were not difficult to defeat at all thanks to the technique that I developed but that technique came into question when I went up against the second world ranker called Luke. His SV was a Hartman. I have seen better SV’s than his but it was his massive shoulder weapon that proved extremely dangerous. At the time I have not seen anything like that. The shock wave of that shell which he fired was so enormous that I had to run on the other side of the arena to escape it. The shock wave was also very damaging if you got caught in it. Without a full health bar you were soon a goner and the shell did not even have to land close to you and no wall protected you from it. My usually way of defeating bosses by looking for some elevated position upon which I would fire seemed implausible in this situation. I had to devise something different all together. I was not prepared to give up after coming so far.

After being defeated by the second ranker many times I eventually realized that he does not have many shells to fire. There was a way for me to provoke him to fire and get out of the blast zone before too much damage was sustained. After that I would replenish my health while he was trying to locate me. Eventually he ran out of those shells and the rest of his weapons were not so destructive. All I had to do now was to get a clear sight of vision and fire my machine guns on him. I do not remember now exactly how that happened but I saw him somewhere in the arena and under camouflage I fired upon him. He did not know where the bullets where coming from and was turning in all the wrong directions while his health bar was speedily decreasing. It was a tense few moments but it was worth it I think. I was like, yeah! Finally I defeated you and just one more ranker stood in my way until my complete victory. It turned out that the number one ranker was not that difficult to defeat at all. I just took my usual technique and before I knew it I won. I was number one ranker. OMG, I finally came to the end of the game.

So that was the end of it…or was it. I am still playing the game and getting better at it. One of the great things about this game is that even after you have defeated all the bosses and you are now the number one ranker in H.A.V.E.N. the virtual world where all this takes place you can still play the game, earn the virtual money and upgrade your SV. In fact I do not believe that it is quite over. Under the status it says that I have completed 70% of the game. Where is the rest of the 30%? I have yet no idea. All of the internet sites that I have gone to in order to find more information about this do not say much. I also have not yet been able to get access to the other three SVs and the weapons they come with. I have fought many a ranker with such a SV. They sport some exotic weapons like laser cannons which I have not seen anywhere else. They are also less bulky and better designed than the regular SVs.

In the last few months I have also become better at fighting. For instance I have now become better at avoiding rockets that are fired at me. In S.L.A.I. it is possible to do so. For instance when you see a SV firing a rocket at you there is a second or so before it hits you depending on the distance of the enemy SV. So when you become good you can actually avoid the rocket. In any case it is good to jump from right to left to avoid being a sitting target. That is how it is in any such game.

Recently I have also sold all the SV’s that I have bought over time and kept just two. Both of them are zwergs. After I have equipped them and configured them to my desires the zwerg SV has become my favorite SV. I have now fought with the zwerg for so long and I have not gotten tired of it. I have used others as well. Through most of the game I used the KHT SV. I am not really sure why I chose this one. I guess it just worked well for me. I equipped it with four machine guns and I went out to destroy one boss after another. It was great for any kind of fight. It was light weight so I could position it on some elevated ground from which I would fight but now after killing all the bosses I just felt like I do not need it any more. I bought all kinds of SV’s just for fighting the bosses. I even got the ultra light weight SV called the proton and equipped it with machine guns. I fought with it too for some time. It came very handy.

Now after selling all of these SV’s that I purchased and equipped I have about 15 million virtual money. Now that is a lot. I could buy just about anything that I need. For me money is no longer an issue. In SLAI terms I am now rich. In fact in all I have earned 30 million. So during the course I have squandered half. OMG! Where did all that money go? Well I am sure quite a lot of that I lost because of the SV’s that I bought and then sold them again. You lose money like that because you can never get as much money back as much as you have given when purchasing a certain weapon or SV. I have made several outright mistakes when purchasing stuff but that again I was new to all this and I had to buy certain weapons in order to test them out.

There are loads of weapons in SLAI. That is exactly why I like it so much. One really has a lot of options on how to approach the game by choosing the weapons and the style of fighting. One of my favorite weapons if not the most favorite weapon was the anti-SV gun for the Hartman SV with 100mm ammo. There is just nothing else that compares to it. It does not fire rockets but grenades and one of the benefits of that is that it leaves no smoke trail like rockets. Like the bullets that are fired there is no limit to how far they can be fired. So you can fire that grenade to the other side of the arena which is something that you cannot do with rockets since they self detonate in the air. The rockets only work when you lock on the target and you can lock on the target from a certain distance. If the target is too far you cannot lock on it and therefore you cannot fire rockets at it. The anti-sv with 100 mm ammo though can hit the target even when it is beyond your ability to lock onto it. It is the same with machine guns but bullets do not explode. The 100mm grenade thought is going to damage a SV even if it does not directly hit it. Of course the amount of damage that is going to be caused to the SV is going to be minimal but sometimes that does not even matter. Sometimes all I want to do is say, “hey be careful, I am here and you better start running now if you do not want to get a 100mm grenade in your head.” So I would give it 10 out of 10.

None of the other SV’s has a weapon like that. They have rockets, machine guns or lasers. The Hartman is the only one with such a weapon. I used Harman a lot during the early days. I have spent a lot of virtual money on it but I also earned a lot with it. I remember one particular time when I was fighting with it in the London arena. I earned 160,000 virtual money that time. I equipped it with a plasma cannon which is incredibly powerful and almost any SV would get severely damaged after firing at it. Sometimes I would after coming out of the gate find several enemy SVs and I would just fire all four weapons at them destroying them within a few seconds. It felt good.

For all the benefits of the Hartman with its massive and bulky hull that is hard to penetrate and its amazing array of weapons it had one huge down side. It was slow and most of the time I could not use it on A and B class which is where the harder fighting went on. Just because the SVs there were better equipped and possessed sometimes very powerful weapons. That is why I used the light weight SV’s like the KHT that I equipped with machine guns and fired upon them under OC (optical camouflage) possibly from some elevated positions with the ability for a fast escape if need be.

The massive grenade launcher with the 380mm ammo for the zwerg for the arms changed all that. I knew about the existence of this weapon way before I ever got to use it. It was used against me at least two times before I got to buy it. It is a difficult weapon to come by and most of the time it is not available. When I saw it in action in the Cairo arena by one of the bosses I knew that I had to have it. It was simply put nothing like I have seen before. The grenade could be launched from any area in the arena and it would hit the other side of the arena. The blast from it was just amazing. I talked previously about my once favorite weapon the anti-SV grenade launcher with 100mm ammo. Now imagine a grenade almost 4 times stronger. In addition to that the zwerg was a level lighter than its big brother the Hartman. After I equipped it with machine guns I saw no need for the KHT, Hartman, or any other SV that I ever had. It simply replaced all of them. Its weapons meant that it could do the job of the light weight KHT as well as the job of the heavy weight Hartman. In essence I got both of them in one single package.

I have equipped my zwer with two of those weapons on the arms.  I made both of them light 99 which cost a lot but with 51 greandes I can take on any foe that comes my way.  I use it now as my only SV not just because it is my favorite set up but because I also get sponsorship from the zwerg company that sells them for some kind of advertisement for using the zwerg.  The percentage from the money I earn by fighting in the arena is a good sum of money that makes it a bit more fun.  Of course I have now enough money to purchase any thing I want.  In fact the game tells me that I have completed some where around 71% of the game.  So I still have to buy all three secret SV's, paint kits, and other accessories to complete the game.  So it is not over yet. ;)