|The following information has not been confirmed by Volition |
and is therefore not canon for the FreeSpace universe. Also, it may contain spoilers regarding Series Resurrecta campaigns.
|Campaign Walkthrough||Next Mission
Player squadron: 144th Ghost Dolphins
System: Delta Serpentis
Description: In the effort to retake Delta Serpentis from the Shivans, a Cain class cruiser designated Megalodon appears to be posing a considerable threat...
Created: August 28th, 2010
Released: October 16th, 2020
- Fiction: July 10th, 2359 - Speech to new Modern History graduates at Polaris Public University I
- Preload quote: "Through me, the way is to the city dolent"
The destruction of the Lucifer may have marked the beginning of the end for the Shivans in the Great War, but the Alliance's efforts to rid its systems of the remaining Shivan armadas have begun to face new obstacles. One such obstacle is the SC Megalodon, a mere Cain-class cruiser operating in Delta Serpentis which has inflicted many casualties on the GTA and PVN alike, in scenarios where its destruction would normally have occured in minutes. News from all fronts are encouraging, yet this particular obstacle may result in Allied advances coming to a stall, if not handled properly. Some strategists believe that the Megalodon is not actually a Cain, and is instead an offshoot similar to the Lilith, but far more deadly. Another assault force is sent to deal with the cruiser, and that's where the 144th Ghost Dolphins come in.
Our designation in this mission will be Gamma 1. Take that into account, as changing designations frequently is a common feature in SerRes campaigns. After the intro cutscene, we'll have to form up with two wings from the 151st Outlaws and approach the Megalodon slowly. The Outlaws will be tasked with scanning the warship, so we don't have to worry about it - sticking with Alpha 1 will ensure that the first stage of the mission proceeds smoothly (getting too far will cause the Shivans to leave the area, and the mission to fail). At some point, the Shivans will gradually begin to build up a cargo depot a few clicks away, and Command will ask us to ignore it. We'll also detect a couple of crippled Allied bombers in the distance, which we are asked to ignore too. Stick to the orders you're given and keep advancing in a tight formation. Things will get serious when two escort wings nanojump and come in to attack you and your wingmen - these Dragons are agile and the nanojump tactic will not give you the chance to rely on secondaries before they get too close. Once the Dragons are cleared, head to the Megalodon and destroy the Manticores guarding it; the cruiser will then withdraw.
With the cruiser out of the area, Command will redirect our attention to the Shivan cargo depot, which at that point will be already sustaining fire from two Allied cruisers. The Veritas will jump in too, and before you wonder, yes, this is a bad strategic move. As we clear the depot, not only does the Megalodon jump in again to strike the Orion from its port flank, but several Seraphims will also make the jump, destroying the cruisers worryingly swiftly, then jump out. This Shivan heavy assault unit, designated Malebranche, will jump in several times, each time deploying Mandragora subspace torpedoes, then jumping out again. The pattern will be repeated, and our job is to keep damage on the Veritas to a minimum, or the mission will fail. Due to their unpredictability, Mandragora torps will pop out from literally anywhere, and sticking with the Veritas is the best way to clear them before they cause too much damage. The last Malebranche wave will be extremely vulnerable to attack, so you can order your wingmen to go weapons hot against them, and leave only a few fighters back to intercept incoming torpedoes.
Clearing the area of all Seraphims with the Veritas' hull integrity above 30% will result in the mission being accomplished. You'll then be able to safely land on the destroyer.
Notable ships present
The success of the operation gets the Alliance closer to securing Delta Serpentis, but also warns of how overconfidence over the Shivans may lead to heavy and unnecessary casualties. In fact, a total of five Allied cruisers have been lost in engagements where the Megalodon was involved: it turns out that the cruiser, as well as the makeshift cargo depot, were nothing but baits for the Malebranche assault wing. The Seraphim itself is a recently encountered bomber, however the Mandragora torpedo was not reported before. Strategists now link several Allied losses at the beginning of the conflict to the deployment of this advanced weapon. The subspace fluctuations caused by these torpedoes will be monitored carefully in future engagements.
The title of this mission, as well as the cruiser it's centered on, is meant as a tribute to Sea Monsters from the Walking with Dinosaurs trilogy, where the attempt to get in close contact with a now-extinct colossal shark, the Megalodon, is oftentimes referred to as "Chasing Megalodon". It's worth noting that Malebranche's original name was Belial, and combined with Tammuz, Angel of Lihr and Anu, all of which are cruisers seen in the first two missions of the campaign, served as a tribute to the four most powerful deity units in the strategy game Total Annihilation: Kingdoms.
Even though this is the first mission of Gehenna's Gate, it was not the first mission to be designed. A Renewed Threat, which is the second mission, was designed precisely one year before Chasing Megalodon, and was once supposed to be the first mission of this campaign.
This mission served as a proving ground to balance the Mandragora torpedo, whose first versions were far deadlier and more effective than the final version seen in SerRes. Overall, the Mandragora used to be faster, more powerful, more frequently launched and even harder to shoot down, and missing only a few torpedoes would have resulted in certain mission failure. The old versions of this weapon behaved in a way that allowed many torps to pass through most kinds of defensive screens, as the AI did not have enough time to react to Mandragoras coming from multiple directions, all at once.