Mission 24 takes place on February 28, 2162 and is part of the Final Battles campaign.
The time has finally come for the assault on the Coalition forward command station Intelligence has discovered that the command station is equipped with an ion weapon, similar to the one we encountered a few months ago that destroyed the Victorious. This makes a frontal assault by the Yamato suicidal.
We also believe that Admiral Kulov and Ivan Petrov are stationed on the base with the remnants of the Black Guard. We take them out and the Coalition is going to feel it throughout the whole sector.
This will be a two-pronged attack. The Yamato will launch the Tigers and Gamma wing, which will be joined by the Pirates from the ANS Intrepid. Using warp projectors, both squadrons will get in close to the station and begin the attack.
The Tigers' first objective is to take out the station's defensive fighters while the Pirates provide cover. Once the base's fighter defenses are clear, Gamma wing will move in and take out the station's power core and gravity drive, disabling the ion weapon. The Yamato and Intrepid will then move in and finish the job.
- Shroud is pretty much the only fighter capable of going through this mission without prompting you to tear out your hair, bash your head against the wall, and otherwise scream in frustration. The Borodin is armed with an ion cannon that loves locking on to your fighter - and unless you have good reflexes, play in external view to see the tracking laser, OR have the luck for Moose's warning to not get buried in other incoming reports, you are toast.
- If you are confident in your maneuvering skills, getting a gunboat with plenty of missiles - like the Reaper - and at least two afterburner cans to have fuel to spare can result in only moderately frustrating experiences. This will still require you to get up close and personal with the station, as the only way to prevent the ion cannon from turning you into scrap metal is to hug the surface of the Borodin to break its line of sight.
- This is either a long and arduous mission or quick and sweet, depending on your mastery of the game's flight model, combat, and the annoyingly useless radar. You start off among a fleet composed of the ANS Yamato, ANS Intrepid, and ANS Koenig, with Steiner joining you shortly.
- You're introduced to the Alliance's brilliant plan: Sneaking a pair of Hades bombers, cloaked, behind a captured Coalition supply ship, to torpedo the CS Borodin at close range and win big-time. You warp out to the station, seemingly in pursuit of the Sharov. As the bombers sneak their way, you are engaged by the station's fighter and corvette complement: Two Kurgens and a dozen fighters (a varied mix of Sabers, Laggs, and a couple Basilisks, flown by Ravens and remnants of the Black Guard). As you work your way through them, you'll eventually be treated to a cutscene: As expected, Borodin bridge sees through the ruse (guess you shouldn't have done the same thing to the Second Fleet) and destroys the Sherov and Gamma is caught in the blast, but not until they launch torpedoes.
- Some get through and damage the Borodin, exposing its core. Captain Mukai orders you to start shaving off turrets off the station, which is tougher than it looks: You need to take them out while staying away from the ion cannon, which loves targeting you. Either hug the face of the station to break LOS or use cloak to make it lose you as a target.
- Once you removed enough of them, you transition to the annoying escort part of the mission: A Mammoth jumps in above the station along with a fleet of Rippers under the command of Josef Stahl. Your mission is simple: Keep them alive while they lay charges in the breach left by Gamma's torpedoes. To make things interesting, another wing of Coalition fighters appears (Azans, Saracens, and survivors from the Borodin's garrison). This is a test of how much of an ace you are, as you need to ensure that at least six charges are set and that requires keeping a good number of the Rippers alive. They will fly between the Mammoth laden with explosives and the station, while the Coalition fighters will be swarming.
- If you manage to get at least six charges set, the station will break up once they are detonated... But you'll need to light the pods up with your lasers, since the station is jamming the detonation signal.
- Once that's done, you don't have to worry about the ion cannon, but on the other hand, you suddenly are on a timer: A section breaks away with Kulov onboard and attempts to jump out, opening a warp gate. The armored plate will be too tough to take out with regular means, but Steiner will crash his Wolverine into it, causing it to break off. You better be nearby when it happens, in order to take out the warp core and kill Kulov.
- Steiner is left floating in space in his escape pod afterwards. This is the final challenge of the mission, as a wing of six Basilisks with Ivan Petrov jumps in. Focus on Petrov and use afterburners to engage him away from Petrov. You only need to keep him away long enough for a Nanny ship to pick him up. Afterwards, the Yamato will decide to make a final torpedo run against the station, finally causing it to explode - and thus, the campaign finishes.
- CS Borodin is destroyed.
- Saving Steiner, as well as killing Kulov and Petrov are bonus objectives that will add a special segment in the final ACN report (Steiner joins the Tigers, while the Alliance celebrates the deaths of the admiral and Black Guard leader), but has no bearing on the mission's success otherwise.
- Fail plus kickout
- CS Borodin not destroyed.