Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Descent mission help and more WARNING: Spoilers inside!

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Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by engrossed82 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:59 am

I've recently gotten curious as to whether I'm missing very many smart and mega missiles as I work through the middle and late parts of the game. Beginning at level 17 I made a tally of all the missiles I found, and as of level 22 here's what I have:

SMART MISSILES
4 in level 17
3 in level 18
4 in level 19
1 in level 20
9 in level 21
4 in level 22

MEGA MISSILES
1 in level 17
1 in level 18
1 in level 19
0 in level 20
1 in level 21
1 in level 22

The numbers for smart missiles seem sensible. They're pretty powerful but not super-powerful, so it makes sense they would be only moderately scarce, as in 3-5 in an average level.

It makes sense that mega missiles are much more devastating and should be far less abundant. But even so, the mega is introduced back on level 10, and I find it interesting that in the second half of the game I played six consecutive levels yet never found more than one per level, and NONE in level 20!

Do you know if anyone's ever bothered to count the number of smarts and megas? Since no enemy drops them the quantity available should be fixed.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Alter-Fox » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:28 am

Would it be cheating if I just looked at the levels in the level editor and counted it that way? I'm gonna do it anyway. It's not like I need to decompile the levels or anything complicated :P.
Given that the mega is the second rarest powerup in the game I wouldn't be surprised if you're right and there's only zero to one per level on those later levels where you don't really need one.
Because level 27 definitely has more. I remember cold starting it on rookie and actually being able to finish :P.

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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Alter-Fox » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:33 am

And here's your solution. These numbers are from the level editor and so they're absolute.

Megas:
Level 10 - 1
Level 11 - 1
Level 12 - 3
Level 13 - 1
Level 14 - 2
Level 15 - 3
Level 16 - 1
Level 17 - 1
Level 18 - 1
Level 19 - 1
Level 20 - None
Level 21 - 1
Level 22 - 1
Level 23 - 4 (not surprising, if you think about what robot appears there)
Level 24 - 5 (consider the size of that mine)
Level 25 - 2 (now this is interesting...)
Level 26 - 6 (corroborated!)
Level 27 - 11
Level S1 - 1
Level S2 - 3
Level S3 - 3

Average megas per level in D1: 1.7333333...
Standard deviation: 3X / 5
What is the value of X?

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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by vision » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:36 pm

Aw man, I was just about to crack open the level editor. You beat me to it. Cool info!
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Alter-Fox » Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:35 pm

I noticed a general pattern that the number of megas on a level drastically increase in proportion to the number of fusion hulks on that level. Except secret levels.
Level 26 only has 2 fusion hulks in the mine (even less than level 23) but it does have that brutal matcen in the big catwalk room.

Generally it seems that with D1 Parallax tried to make each level possible enough to complete if you started the level from scratch... it's interesting because with D2 I don't see that so much - many of the levels are only possible on the higher skill levels (for me 'higher skill level' = hotshot) if you do them perfectly -- level 18 and level 24 (not to mention Vertigo Series 15, 16, and 18) are really good examples...
Though D2 Counterstrike level 22, with that brutal beginning, actually gives you everything you need (and extra) right at the start -- you just need to know how you're supposed to use the guided missiles and flash missiles (and then the smarts that the boarsheds usually drop). Interesting place for an exception, especially with the feel of that level.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Xfing » Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:50 am

You have to consider that in levels S1-S3 you also get three additional Megas from the Supervisory Robots that spring from the doors near the exit when you blow up the reactor.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Alter-Fox » Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:14 am

Yeah, well, I did make an exception for S1 S2 and S3.
Unless you're talking about my average (where I didn't include the secret levels at all, only the 27 regular ones).
Meaning that the average was divided by 27, not 30 :P.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by engrossed82 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:32 am

Alter-Fox wrote:And here's your solution. These numbers are from the level editor and so they're absolute.

Megas:
Level 10 - 1
Level 11 - 1
Level 12 - 3
........
Are you SURE about level 12? I've played it through and through and found only 4 Smarts and 2 Megas. One of the Megas is in the Yellow Key room, the other is accessed from a hidden door in the Red Key Room.

If there's a third Mega in the level, it's sure well-hidden. I've searched EVERYWHERE and fired at practically every square inch of wallspace, looking for a hidden door that might lead to the third Mega, and I haven't found it. So for now I'm going to assume that for all *practical* purposes, there are two Mega missiles in level 12.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by vision » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:43 am

engrossed82 wrote:One of the Megas is in the Yellow Key room, the other is accessed from a hidden door in the Red Key Room.

If there's a third Mega in the level, it's sure well-hidden. I've searched EVERYWHERE and fired at practically every square inch of wallspace, looking for a hidden door that might lead to the third Mega, and I haven't found it. So for now I'm going to assume that for all *practical* purposes, there are two Mega missiles in level 12.
It's hidden in the center "tower" in the main room, across from the red door, at the very top. I forget about it all the time, but it helps having an extra mega to take care of the two hulks in next to the reactor.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by engrossed82 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:35 am

Lo and behold - the ONE spot I didn't check to look! I'd assumed that the "main" hidden tower room was the only one. Thanks!
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by vision » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:53 pm

engrossed82 wrote:Lo and behold - the ONE spot I didn't check to look! I'd assumed that the "main" hidden tower room was the only one. Thanks!
That tower is full of stuff. There is the room you found, a mega, a plasma canon, and invulnerability.

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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Naphtha » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:17 pm

I knew about the other items, but I actually never knew about that third Mega either. :0 I guess they had to do a lot more with the tower to solidify the level theme, but all this really tells me is just how once again, those trapdoor-style secrets can be either the easiest or the hardest to find.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Enzo-03 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:08 pm

I thought the smart missile surprisingly did more total damage than the mega when combined with its smart blobs... But the mega is much much more dangerous because of its splash damage radius where the smart missile can only damage what it directly hits with its blobs, which may or may not all go into one target.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Sirius » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:22 pm

I believe you're right, but yeah, smart missiles are easier to get to not hit at all. Or the new "in" thing, the missile hits but the trackers don't.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Xfing » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:16 am

Sirius wrote:I believe you're right, but yeah, smart missiles are easier to get to not hit at all. Or the new "in" thing, the missile hits but the trackers don't.
But that only happens when you facesmart a cloaked robot. Otherwise it's pretty powerful :mrgreen:
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Enzo-03 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:09 am

Or if you..

..you know..

..play multiplayer.

Guaranteed to happen in 80 to 90% of games with smarts.

It's like playing Mario Kart nowadays. As a kid the red and blue shells seemed to be awesome in every way. Now? Half the time I fire a blue shell, it takes a 90-degree turn into the wall on a straight-stretch. (That said, I almost never get a blue shell because ~*I'm not in last*~)
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Alter-Fox » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:32 am

I should play Lego Racers again and see if I get the same nostalgia backlash :P.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Sirius » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:12 am

Even in single-player, there seems to be this thing in Rebirth where a smart missile can actually hit you, but - if you're backing away - the trackers aren't automatically caught up to you. Most pilots are probably going to suck them up anyway, but if you're chording backwards you can actually break away and escape.

I don't know whether it was possible before Rebirth - I can't remember observing it in the legacy versions, but that doesn't mean it wasn't there.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Xfing » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:42 pm

Daamn... nowadays I'm totally incapable of being hit with a smart in the level 7 boss room. A shame, since it significantly reduces the momentousness of finally beating level 7. The first time I did it was like a freakin miracle.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Krom » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:46 pm

Xfing wrote:Daamn... nowadays I'm totally incapable of being hit with a smart in the level 7 boss room. A shame, since it significantly reduces the momentousness of finally beating level 7. The first time I did it was like a freakin miracle.
I have a harder time with the super hulks and drillers in that room than I do against the boss. Once I clear them out the boss itself is barely above the threat level of a standard reactor, and that is only because it moves.

Actually that would make the game a bit more fun, make the reactors shoot smart missiles, then they would would actually be somewhat difficult to approach in some levels. :P
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Alter-Fox » Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:01 am

:lol:
I don't even bother with the drillers and the hulks now, because I'm cloaked or invulnerable for the entire fight there isn't much they can do to me. Even on insane I don't die in the boss room anymore (it's good, dying when invulnerable would be a BUG!) I beat the boss, arrive in level 8, and then lose all my lives (usually before the blue key).
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Xfing » Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:04 am

Haha true that! Level 8 is a nasty spike in difficulty.

Descent overall is much harder than D2. Check out Level 16 for example. The reactor room is a death trap, with a cloaked hulk (or two) and two missile platformers. You can't even fire a smart into it, as it won't home on the cloaked hulk.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Naphtha » Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:18 pm

On the flip side, in Descent 1, Parallax was pretty generous with powerups, giving you everything you need and then some. Level 16 does have a nice cloaking device, Mega Missile and invulnerability close to the reactor, so I thought the biggest issue was clearing out both the matcens just past the red door and taking care of any other robots that might unexpectedly wander into the two pits.

Descent 2 can still be much harder, because of the big gameplay difference where you're more inclined to stockpile the bigger missiles for the bosses. I usually don't end up using any Megas before encountering the Fire and Ice Bosses, and creative drop-and-pickup strategies with the Shaker Missiles become a necessity for the last few levels on Ace or higher. Smart Missiles still get used occasionally, but generally I can't find as much use for Megas outside of the bosses in D2, since the Gauss, Helix and Phoenix can usually do enough damage as needed. In D1, it's easier to use the Megas as you come to them since you can't carry a lot of them anyway without D2's Ammo Rack, and they're not so rare that you'll have trouble finding extras to take down the final boss.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Xfing » Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:43 am

True... I didn't take that into consideration. On the other hand, I never go Mega-crazy on bosses in Descent 2. Helix seems to do the job just fine, that cannon's overpowered as hell.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Alter-Fox » Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:38 am

Well, except Fire and Ice which are immune to energy...
I normally don't start using megas "normally" until after level 16 of D2. I might use a couple shakers before level 24 (like in the red key room on level 18, or the start room on level 21 after... stuff... happens) but I mostly save them for that boss.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Xfing » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:21 pm

Alter-Fox wrote:Well, except Fire and Ice which are immune to energy...
I normally don't start using megas "normally" until after level 16 of D2. I might use a couple shakers before level 24 (like in the red key room on level 18, or the start room on level 21 after... stuff... happens) but I mostly save them for that boss.
Yeah.. the shakers' scarcity and the necessity to have them for the final boss drastically cuts the fun of collecting them.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Alter-Fox » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:14 pm

Sometimes I love using "honestbob" and "almighty" and just running through any mine and constantly spamming shakers. So fun, when I'm whimsical and bored and I don't feel like playing properly.

Someone should make a singleplayer mission where you can do that without cheating or screwing yourself over.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Xfing » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:32 am

Alter-Fox wrote:Sometimes I love using "honestbob" and "almighty" and just running through any mine and constantly spamming shakers. So fun, when I'm whimsical and bored and I don't feel like playing properly.

Someone should make a singleplayer mission where you can do that without cheating or screwing yourself over.
Well, that's definitely something to consider for D1,5. Plenty of levels, 5 secret levels, 10 bosses... Descent 2 brought Megas terribly early making them feel not special at all. Shakers are indeed special, but it would be nice to make them feel a casually usable weapon and not just something you save for a boss you can't damage otherwise.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Alter-Fox » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:21 am

It does kind of feel nice, when I get to Baloris Prime and I'm like "Megas won't work on anymore bosses. IT'S MEGA FEVER TIME!!!" Or at least a time when I can use megas if I actually need them.

Even in D1 I don't tend to use megas that much unless I have a big group of superhulks or fusion hulks or a huge group of drillers or something where I can really use the whole blast. Most of the time in D1 situations, smarts work so much better because I don't need to actually enter the room and get killed to use them.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Naphtha » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:14 pm

Xfing wrote:
Alter-Fox wrote:Sometimes I love using "honestbob" and "almighty" and just running through any mine and constantly spamming shakers. So fun, when I'm whimsical and bored and I don't feel like playing properly.

Someone should make a singleplayer mission where you can do that without cheating or screwing yourself over.
Well, that's definitely something to consider for D1,5. Plenty of levels, 5 secret levels, 10 bosses... Descent 2 brought Megas terribly early making them feel not special at all. Shakers are indeed special, but it would be nice to make them feel a casually usable weapon and not just something you save for a boss you can't damage otherwise.
The best solution I can think of is to drop three or four Shakers in each of the last few boss lairs and make sure there's at least one per level for each of those chapters. Depending on how you distribute them, the Shakers in the non-boss levels can feel more like bonuses and less like something you have to stockpile for the endgame. The boss distribution for Descent 1.5 can also help, since having the Alien 2 Boss and Red Guard in adjacent chapters would be near impossible to prepare for on Ace or higher without a bit of a breather. So I still suggest D1 Final Boss, Alien 2 Boss, Ice Boss and Red Guard as the last four to pace things. ;)
Alter-Fox wrote:It does kind of feel nice, when I get to Baloris Prime and I'm like "Megas won't work on anymore bosses. IT'S MEGA FEVER TIME!!!" Or at least a time when I can use megas if I actually need them.

Even in D1 I don't tend to use megas that much unless I have a big group of superhulks or fusion hulks or a huge group of drillers or something where I can really use the whole blast. Most of the time in D1 situations, smarts work so much better because I don't need to actually enter the room and get killed to use them.
I honestly used to keep forgetting about the Megas after those bosses, sadly enough. :lol: But now with the promod I've been using for Descent 2, I also get that feeling with the Gauss. It exhausts ammo much faster than normal, so you'll run out fast if you use it a lot and stockpiling for the Fire and Ice Bosses becomes a necessity. It's how I feel the Gauss should've been and also gives the Vulcan its own place even later in the game (that is, other than to get rid of a Diamond Claw or Fiddler that's already on top of you).

You're welcome to use the promod if you want, Xfing. Just make sure to credit Blarget and Jihnsius, since I'd asked them to make it for me.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Alter-Fox » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:01 pm

I'd be interested in giving it a try too, and maybe even building some maps for it. A 5-level singleplayer set wouldn't be hard to do once finals are done, if I put a good chunk of my free time into it I could probably have it done in a month. Of course there's the issue of whether I will put a chunk of my free time into it :P.
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Re: Finding all the smart and mega missiles in D1

Post by Sirius » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:01 am

On shaker spamming: D2X-XL made an art out of this with minemine/wildfire. The first makes sure you never run out of earthshakers (and can't kill yourself with them, which will soon become a concern); the second makes them fire incredibly fast. Combine the two and you have much lag. And also anything hittable will be vaporized in milliseconds, as a convenient side-effect.
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