This is it, the big battle against the leader of the Divine Crusaders, Bian Zoldark. The Hagane is still outside, and the pilots have entered the base's central area where he is waiting. Initially, all they can see is cannons, but he soon reveals himself with Shu Shirakawa by his side. Greetings are exchanged, and questions are asked about the villains' motivations. As expected, Masaki in particular has a lot of questions to ask Shu, who is finally willing to answer.
Despite what others may think of him, Shu wants to have none of this world-conquering business, he just wants to eliminate the aliens. The reason he allied himself with the DC to do this was because the EOT Council intended to unconditionally surrender the Earth to the aliens at the Antarctica meeting in exchange for their advanced alien technology. From his perspective, blowing up the Shirogane was necessary to send a message to the EOT Council that they won't be pawns of an organization that only intends to surrender — for personal profit, no less.
Aya notes that they could've just helped the EFA and achieved the same thing, to which Bian objects that he has been helping them all along by providing them with EOT-derived inventions such as the Tronium Engine and the Tesla Drive, along with various prototype mechs. Despite all the technological advantages the EFA had been offered by Bian, they still decided to surrender out of fear, but he wouldn't stand for this after creating weapons such as the Valsion and Granzon to fight the aliens. Would be a shame to build it and not use it, right? Thus, the logical conclusion was to start his own organization to get rid of all these factions that wouldn't make a stand.
BIAN: Aliens threaten the entire planet now. We must unite under the command of the Divine Crusaders. And all of you must die here to protect the Earth and realize my vision.
MASAKI: If you couldn't come up with a better plan than starting a war, then there's no way you can bring peace to the Earth!
BIAN: Then, defeat me and save the planet yourself!
The map this time is really just one long corridor towards the two bosses.
Other than that, there's a bunch of weak cannons that can easily be ignored, but it's better to defeat them anyway to boost my units' will. I''ll pretty much be using everything in my arsenal on Bian and Shu, since they're both rather tough bastards, although I'm somewhat better prepared for this than last time. In a sense, this level could actually be seen as a test to determine how well you know your gameplay mechanics. If you're clueless about things like force fields, status effects and resupplying, this is probably where the game will grind you into dust.
Also, wonderfully grand boss theme that is playing on this map.
The bosses' own themes (Valsion and Dark Prison) only play temporarily when you attack them or they attack you, and Shu doesn't even do the latter. Specifically, to my knowledge he won't spontaneously attack anyone since he claims to be just there to observe the battle, but he will perform counterattacks.
As expected, the cannons pose exactly zero threat to my frontline units and most of them go down in one or two hits. A slightly bigger challenge presents itself once I reach the top of the corridor, and the Last Battalion suddenly makes its reappearance. Still, they go down easily enough with some careful planning regarding which of my units is gonna attack who. My units are tightly packed together in that corridor, so they get loads of support attacks to use as well. All of this is really just grinding in preparation for what's about to come, though.
The cannons in the boss room are quickly taken care of by splitting the my group in two, sending approximately equally-matched units along the left and right sides of the room. I'll have to defeat Shu first for the Battle Mastery here, since as soon as I defeat Bian the level ends. Therefore, all units concentrate on Shu, but without hitting him at full force yet. Both the Valsion and Granzon have force fields that I'll have to drain to deal proper damage, and there's two methods I use to quicken this process: Latooni's Energy Taker missiles, and goading Shu into using his strongest energy-guzzling attacks against targets he has no chance of hitting. Masaki's a favorite as always for this, and he even has a bit of battle dialogue trying to convince Shu to join their side. Naturally, it doesn't work.
I'll leave my weaker units behind for now, letting Aya and Garnet provide mostly healing support. Even the ones that are fighting shouldn't get hit, though, since even a heavy mech can be brought to the brink of destruction by attacks like Valsion's Graviton Wave or Granzon's Black Hole Cluster. Thus, I spend a few turns draining his energy, and am finally able to unleash my strongest attacks against him once it is most definitely drained. It'll still regenerate rapidly, so I take every chance I can get to deal some serious damage. He's got a lot of HP to deplete and I repeatedly have to use Valor to deal significant damage, but eventually his HP drops so low that he decides to escape, leaving me with little more than the satisfaction of getting my BM.
I do seem to be running low on ammo and spirit points now, though, and I've still got a boss to go. May have been a bit wasteful there. Oh well, I'll give it my best shot. The panels next to the bosses on the map are HP/EN regeneration panels, and I gladly position Irm on the one next to Bian. Fortunately, this seems to draw Bian's attention for a while, and he can fight the Grungust till the cows come home. Not that I don't need to worry about conserving its HP, since Graviton Wave makes even this juggernaut lose thousands of HP per shot. With a bit of healing, though, Irm should be able to survive.
Same tactics as with the Granzon, except that I can't use Latooni for now: she's out of Energy Takers, and needs to run back to Aya to resupply. In the meantime, I have the other units get started on making him waste as much EN as possible while hoping I can keep this up long enough with the limited SP I have left. Three people (Ryusei, Masaki, Ryoto) have unique boss dialogue for Bian, but there's not that much of interest beyond the usual trash-talking. Ryoto gets a bit of an awkward moment as he has to fight his former commander, though, even bothering to introduce himself before fighting. Bian knows who he is, but it doesn't matter — as Ryoto won't rejoin the DC, they'll have to fight each other anyway.
Eventually my units gain the upper hand as he runs low on giant lasers to shoot, made possible by diligent energy draining. Luck is not on everyone's side, however, as Giado is instantly obliterated
and Rai follows soon after. And even though most of my other units are running low on HP and SP, they never quite succumb until the last of Bian's HP is gone. Finally able to celebrate, I decided to finish him off the same way the show did it.
Bian now gets to do his final speech, talking about how the future of the Earth is now in their hands and how it's time for an old man like him to retire. Well, seems more like dying than retiring, but whatever floats his boat. He also says some other things about having the courage to protect what you must, and so on. I really like the tune that's playing during this scene, but I've been unable to find it on any of the Super Robot Wars OSTs so far.
BIAN: My dearest, Lune...I wish I could say goodbye.
BIAN: *cough* It's only natural for a parent to die first...forgive me...
Now that Bian has drawn his last breath, the focus shifts back to the Hagane, which is still holding off the remaining DC troops but nearly at the end of its strength. Suddenly a huge explosion erupts from the base as the Valsion explodes, signaling Elzam to fulfill his final order and have everyone retreat. Adler is predictably furious that they're leaving while they're about to claim victory, since he still thinks the DC's objective is to conquer the world. He has no intentions of giving up this plan as long as he's alive, anyway
, but for now he agrees to follow Elzam's order and retreat.
The Hagane crew is surprised as well when all enemies suddenly leave instead of dealing the finishing blow: they saw the explosion, but they didn't figure the troops would flee just because the commander was defeated.
Daitetsu can only guess this is what Bian wanted all along, and that this plan is why they've managed to survive this long on their own. They send a message to Sakae and Laker that they've succeeded in their mission, much to their disbelief. Especially to the disbelief of one person...
HANS: (They took out Aidoneus Island? ...Impossible! What was Adler doing all this time...!?)
The people of the EOT Council, in particular Albert Grey and Karl Schtleseman, now also receive word that Bian Zoldark has been defeated and DC units everywhere are retreating. The UCC's commander, Maier von Branstein, has also been defeated by the Hiryu crew. This is the end result of the boss battle on the other route I talked about last time, and as NPCs they naturally pulled off a perfect victory. The fact that these occur at the same time is even commented upon to some degree:
KARL: (They both died at the same time...that can't just be a coincidence. Perhaps they tried to raise an army to fight the aliens. They schemed up until the moment of their deaths.)
That is some serious dedication to scheming if you even manage to synchronize your deaths. Oh well, hope they're both happy in Valhalla. All obstacles to the EFA and EOT Council are now out of the way, but this is where the main conflict (and the second half of the game) starts. The aliens are still out there, and of course the task of protecting the Earth now falls on the remaining forces that survived the DC War. Nevertheless, the EFA's still gonna hunt down the remaining DC and UCC forces, while the EOT Council is once again going to try negotiating with the aliens. They never learn, do they?
Got some extra parts this time: a Dual Sensor, a Bio Sensor and a Chobham Armor. Rai's getting the extra armor, and Masaki gets his mobility cranked up even further with that Bio Sensor. Not really anyone in need of a Dual Sensor, so I'll just give it to Ryoto. About 84k in funds, but I'm not gonna spend it right now. Gonna get some new units soon that can use the money.