Six days ago I started a game of X-COM: Enemy Unknown. It’s an amazing game, and it comes at just the right time when my interest in turn-based combat is at an all-time peak. I chose to name all my soldiers after my friends, and I decided to play on Easy since this was my first time, and with self-imposed Iron Man rules (though not actually in Iron Man mode, since I don’t entirely trust the game not to break), ie. never load a savegame. Today I finished that campaign, something I’m convinced was only possible because I played on Easy. It’s a tough bastard of a game.
I’ve been chronicling my game on Facebook to the amusement and occasional horror of everyone “involved”, but since I like to keep my data somewhere I’m in a control, I’ve spent a little time cleaning all that up and reposting it here for everyone to enjoy (though it will be rather long and probably not very enjoyable to anybody other than me). I’m hoping nobody involved minds their names appearing here, but I may come back and edit them out later if I receive any objections.
This will contain narrative and mechanical spoilers for X-COM: Enemy Unknown.
(If you’re finding the first part boring, consider skipping down to “The Final Mission” – that was all written after the game ended, so it’s a bit more readable, and it describes a pretty cool sequence of events.)
Without further ado: my story of the first Great Invasion.
Getting started with the new X-Com. My first squad consists of Juan Ortega, Daniel Eskildsen, Amani Naseem, and Prakash Prasad. May the game have mercy on your souls.
Success, and no losses. Daniel is now a Sniper, Prakash is Support.
Agnieszka Loza made her first kill, and has been promoted. She is now Assault. Daniel sniped 3 aliens and made it back gravely wounded. Juan blew the shit out of a ridiculous 7 enemies, and has been promoted to Corporal. So far so good!
Deployed Hans Hvoslef for the first time, but I was too careful with him and he got no kills. I’ve given Daniel a skill that lets him shoot anybody that a team mate can see, now he’s ludicrously good. Juan has been promoted to Sergeant and earned the nickname “Kong”!
Nooooooo! RIP Daniel Eskildsen. Shot to death by a sectoid. I should have found better cover
Whew, no other casualties. Amani Naseem and Agnieszka Loza killed most enemies, and Casper Farsøe made it back from his first deployment with 1 kill and grave wounds. Hans Hvoslef scored a kill and didn’t take a single hit! Hans is now a Heavy, Casper is Assault, and Amani is my new Sniper.
God damnit Hans! Why?! Why did you have to panic and leave cover?! You didn’t stand a chance. You will be missed.
Well, Hans regrettably clocked out, but on the plus side, Agnieszka captured a live sectoid! Prakash is out for the count again, wounded for another 12 bloody days. Wuss!
Ooh, and France donates a Support Sergeant to X-Com. Welcome to the team, Xavier “Mr. X” Lafont!
Additionally, please welcome Søren Andersen to the team. May you fare better than your predecessor…
Tragedy strikes again! Juan “One” Ortega, my first combat veteran, was killed in heroic confrontation with 4 enemies at once. I had him in cover, they blew the cover away. RIP Juan, your demise is a substantial setback
On the plus side, Agnieszka Loza becomes my first lieutenant, with 9 kills on her record!
Just raided a crashed UFO. Casper Farsøe captured an energy alien and has been made Sergeant. Søren Andersen scored his first kill and is now a sniper. No one died
First terror mission was fun, but super bitch hard. Xavier Lafont stabilised Agnieszka Loza when she was munched by a zombie, and is promoted to Lieutenant. Amani is promoted to Lt. too, and Casper Farsøe and Prakash Prasad are both Sergeant. Casper has earned the nickname “Shabby”. Prakash earned a nickname too. He shall be “Ninja”.
Flawlessly executed mission with Lt. Amani “Stardust” Naseem, Lt. Xavier “Mr. X” Lafont, Lt. Agnieszka “Angel” Loza, Sgt. Casper “Shabby” Farsøe, and Sgt. Prakash “Ninja” Prasad. And they even brought home another live Sectoid
Xavier is now my first Captain, and Casper and Prakash are Lieutenants. Congratulations, sirs!
Orestis Tsafarakis and Søren Graversen join X-Com! Welcome on board gentlemen, and good luck. You’ll need it.
Deploying to a UFO landing site. Taking a risk here and deploying rookies Alex Mintsioulis and Søren Graversen, to give them some experience.
Terrible news, Alex didn’t make it, an Outsider rushed around his cover and blasted his head off, causing Agnieszka to panic. Søren took on 4 enemies alone and barely survived, in critical condition. He killed no-one, and so remains a rookie. Agnieszka is now a Captain.
Agnieszka has 15 kills now. Sometimes I wonder why I bother deploying anyone else.
Søren Graversen got his first kill, he is now a Heavy, and thank fuck for that cause I’ve been missing a rocket launcher since Juan died. Amani has been promoted to Captain.
Gelo Fleisher made it back alive from his first deployment and with one kill to show for it. He is now Assault!
Ben “Maltesers” Cassar joins X-Com as a mission reward! He is a Support Lieutenant.
Agnieszka is up to 24 goddamn kills, Xavier is promoted to Major, and Marthe Aspelund has earned her first kill and become a Sniper
Ali Emek has joined the team! As a Lieutenant Heavy.
Søren Graversen is now a Sergeant, Prakash is a Captain, and Amani is a Major! Søren earned the nickname “Nachos”.
John Hildyard joins X-Com as a mission reward. He is an Assault Captain.
Here’s an overview of my entire team of soldiers at the moment:
Colonel Agnieszka “Angel” Loza, Assault, 40 kills, Active
Colonel Amani “Stardust” Naseem, Sniper, 25 kills, Gravely Wounded
Colonel Casper “Shabby” Farsøe, Assault, 22 kills, Wounded
Colonel Xavier “Mr. X” Lafont, Support, 13 kills, Active
Major Prakash “Ninja” Prasad, Support, 18 kills, Active
Captain Ali “Boss” Emek, Heavy, 7 kills, Active
Captain John “Lunatic” Hildyard, Assault, 3 kills, Active
Lieutenant Søren “Nachos” Graversen, Heavy, 7 kills, Active
Lieutenant Ben “Maltesers” Cassar, Heavy, 1 kill, Active
Squaddie Søren Andersen, Sniper, 2 kills, Active
Squaddie Gelo Fleisher, Assault, 1 kill, Active
Squaddie Marthe Aspelund, Sniper, 1 kill, Active
Squaddie Orestis Tsafarakis, Assault, 2 kills, Active
Mamlikat Pasha, Active
Fan Zhang, Active
Athena Dovell-Madison, Active
One mission later, Amani is back in action. I’m deploying Ben instead of Prakash on this next one so he can get some more kills. Assuming he survives…
Ben survived! With no more kills, sadly, and also Wounded. Søren Andersen is now Corporal with 3 kills and Gelo Fleisher is Sergeant with 4.
Nooooooooo! Søren Graversen is KIA. Blasted in the head by a Muton with a plasma rifle
That was a tough mission, but thanks to the heroic efforts of John Hildyard, who saved Xavier Lafont from alien mindcontrol, Søren Graversen was the only casualty. He was a good man, and he will be missed.
I’m running trials now to see if anyone has a talent for psionics. So far no one has.
Operation Rotting Empire was a success. However, on behalf of X-COM, I regret to inform you all that… Lt. Ben Cassar has fallen in the line of duty. He was slain in melee combat by a Berzerker. His name will join those of his felliw heroes on the memorial wall of the barracks. On a lighter note, Gelo “Moon” Fleisher has been promoted to Lieutenant. There was a… recent vacancy. Congratulations, Lieutenant!
Hahah! Second round of psionic testing is complete, and it appears that Cpt. John Hildyard is to be my first psionic soldier!
Tragedy strikes again, as Marthe Aspelund was caught in the blast of an exploding tank.
Please welcome Support Lieutenant Nicholas “Hacker” van Sickle to the team!
Hahahah holy shit! John Hildyard just mindblasted a sectoid psionically linked to another one, and they BOTH died from it!
Easy mission ticked off, John is now a Colonel and Søren Andersen is a Sergeant and has earned a nickname, though I have yet to come up with one. May go with “Knitter”.
I can’t help but wonder at the chain of command when I send a team with 4 colonels on a mission…
Assaulted an overseer UFO with Colonels Loza, Farsøe, Naseem, Lafont, and Hildyard, as well as Lt. Fleisher who has become a Captain in the process. Sustained no casualties, and we even captured a live Ethereal!
Hahah John can mindcontrol the aliens now. This squad is getting ridiculous.
Turns out Ali Emek has psionic potential! My second psionic soldier is good to go, just as I’ve bought my first psionic armour. What convenient timing
Support Captain Lawrence “Trestkon” Laxdal joins X-Com!
Lawrence Laxdal is immediately sent to Psi Testing and turns out to have the talent. Fancy that.
After a completely FUBAR raid on a shot-down alien mothership, it is with great sorrow that I must report the deaths of Colonels Prakash “Ninja” Prasad and Ali “Boss” Emek. The squad was ambushed by two sectopods (big old alien robots) and four squads of mutons, including two berzerkers and several elites. Colonel Prasad was killed by sectopod laser fire whilst attempting to reinforce Colonel Agnieszka Loza’s position at the front. Colonel Emek was flanked and shot down by two muton elites. This is a great blow to the X-COM force. Our thought and prayers go out to the families of these two brave men in this difficult time.
In other words, everyone is dead or injured, and I am thoroughly fucked…
Great, an abduction mission when 80% of my remaining A-team is recovering from their wounds. I am forced to deploy Squaddies Orestis Tsafarakis and Mamlikat Pasha, Captains Nicholas Van Sickle and Gelo Fleisher, and Sergeant Søren Andersen. The mission is “Very Difficult”. Fuck.
HOLY SHIT YOU ALL SURVIVED. EVERYONE MADE IT. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!
Strangely and disappointingly, nobody was promoted. However, we have a new Heavy Captain to replace the late Colonel Emek. Please welcome Klaus Kristensen to X-COM.
Sent my B team led by Col. Xavier Lafont on an asset recovery mission – a listening post infiltrated by Thin Men. Everyone made it back alive and uninjured! Søren Andersen is now a lieutenant after he sniped 5 X-rays from an observatory tower. Captains Gelo Fleisher and Nicholas Van Sickle are both promoted to Major, and Orestis Tsafarakis has made Corporal after he got his third kill. Well done, gentlemen! Special mention goes to Cpt. Klaus “Gatling” Kristensen who killed three Thin Men with one rocket, ending the mission!
Final mission. I’m sending the elite team for this one. For assault: Colonels Agnieszka “Angel” Loza and Casper “Shabby” Farsøe. For Support: Colonel Xavier “Mr. X” Lafont. For sniper cover: Colonel Amani “Stardust” Naseem. For heavy weapons: Captain Klaus “Gatling” Kristensen. And of course Colonel John “Lunatic” Hildyard for psionics. Good luck.
The Final Mission
So I deploy my elite team to the final mission – the alien Temple Ship UFO. Huge floaty thing causing seismic disturbances in the Atlantic sea. My team is as follows:
Colonel Amani “Stardust” Naseem, Sniper
Colonel Agnieszka “Angel” Loza, Assault
Colonel Casper “Shabby” Friis Farsøe, Assault
Colonel Xavier “Mr. X” Lafont, Support (Medic)
Colonel John “Lunatic” Hildyard, Assault (Psionic)
Captain Klaus “Gatling” Kristensen, Heavy
The team is fighting its way through the ship, encountering increasingly challenging enemies. A fight with two sectopods takes half the health off of most team members, but by the time we reach the heart of the ship, we’re doing well.
We come face to face with three Ethereals, the super-psionic commanders of the alien forces. They blabber on about the future, experiments, and the role of humanity while the team gets into position.
And the first thing that happens is that one of the ethereals creates a psionic maelstrom that OUTRIGHT KILLS Amani, Agniezka, Klaus, and Xavier D:
The team is now down to John and Casper. John runs up the right to get an overview and to get closer to one of the ethereals. Casper fires and injures another one substantially. Then, that ethereal mind-controls Casper. My team is now two mortally wounded assaulters, one of whom is on the aliens’ side.
But as soon as it’s my turn, Casper immediately dies – he’s still in the maelstrom. There are three aliens left, and my forces are now reduced to John, and he has three hitpoints left.
John decides enough is enough. He charges the nearest ethereal, which puts him into good cover from the others. He blasts it with his plasma rifle. The ethereal mindflays him, taking two of his three remaining hitpoints. John fires again, at point blank, and the ethereal dies.
The other two ethereals are on the other side of the room – John has elevation on them and decent cover. They attack him, but they miss. He shoots one of them, injuring it substantially. It tries to mindcontrol John, but John is a powerful psiotic by now, he will not bend to its will. The other alien tries mindflay, but misses.
John, still down to ONE hitpoint, uses mindflay on the weakest alien… and kills it. They are mindmelded, the other one dies as well! THE MISSION IS A FUCKING SUCCESS.
And then John, being psychic now apparently, realises that the ship is about to blow and has visions of the entire Earth engulfed in flames. The last man alive of his team, he sacrifices himself to save the Earth, using his psiotic powers to raise the ship far out of the Earth’s atmosphere before it explodes.
The Earth is safe. Every member of my best team is dead.
- Major Gelo “Moon” Fleisher, Assault – 9 missions, 14 kills
- Major Nicholas “Hacker” Van Sickle, Sniper – 3 missions, 4 kills
- Captain Lawrence “Trestkon” Laxdal, Support – 1 mission, 1 kill
- Lieutenant Søren “Knitter” Andersen, Sniper – 5 missions, 10 kills
- Corporal Orestis Tsafarakis, Assault – 3 missions, 3 kills
- Squaddie Mamlikat Pasha, Assault – 1 mission, 1 kill
- Squaddie Fan Zhang, Support – 0 missions, 0 kills
- Squaddie Athena Dovell-Madison, Sniper – 0 missions, 0 kills
- Squaddie Dana Popa, Heavy – 0 missions, 0 kills
- Squaddie Sidsel Hermansen, Heavy – 0 missions, 0 kills
- Squaddie Tammy Chong, Heavy – 0 missions, 0 kills
The Memorial Wall (kill and mission counts exclude the final mission):
- Colonel Amani “Stardust” Naseem, Operation Avenger – 28 missions, 57 kills
- Colonel Casper “Shabby” Friis Farsøe, Operation Avenger – 27 missions, 47 kills
- Colonel Agnieszka “Angel” Loza, Operation Avenger – 28 missions, 65 kills
- Colonel Xavier “Mr. X” Lafont, Operation Avenger – 27 missions, 43 kills
- Colonel John “Lunatic” Hildyard, Operation Avenger – 11 missions, 27 kills
- Captain Klaus “Gatling” Kristensen, Operation Avenger – 1 mission, 3 kills
- Colonel Prakash “Ninja” Prasad, Operation Brutal Rain – 18 missions, 27 kills
- Colonel Ali “Boss” Emek, Operation Brutal Rain – 14 missions, 25 kills
- Captain Ruben “Bury” van der Leun, Operation Severed Flame – 1 mission, 0 kills
- Lieutenant Søren “Nachos” Graversen, Operation Devil’s Dawn – 7 missions, 7 kills
- Lieutenant Ben “Maltesers” Cassar, Operation Rotting Empire – 4 missions, 1 kill
- Sergeant Juan “One” Ortega, Empty Fall – 6 missions, 11 kills
- Corporal Daniel Eskildsen, Operation Bloody Sentinel – 4 missions, 5 kills
- Squaddie Hans Hvoslef, Operation Sacred Rain – 3 missions, 1 kill
- Squaddie Marthe Aspelund, Operation Severed Heart – 2 missions, 2 kills
- Rookie Alex Mintsioulis, Operation Purple Star – 1 mission, 0 kills
Thank you for reading (assuming you have).