Some of you might remember CrystAlien Conflict. It"s a neat RTS made in 2007 as part of Lego"s vast collection of Flash games for their products - this time to promote the theme Mars Mission. Kinda like LRR, the game always stuck with me, even though I found it often times easy and wished there was more to the game. Either way, it"s still a playably fun game with infinitely less jank than LRR. You send out miners onto the crystals to get money to build buildings, train vehicles, and bring scores of lasers to your enemy!

If you want to play it, it"s on BioMediaProject"s Lego archive.

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Anyway, the game has a set of story missions. Most of these are simple, some of them are cheesable, and a select few are very difficult. One of them is Alien Level 9, accessed with cheat code 5050. Your job is to get a Saboteur into the Satellite Uplink. But in order to do so, you have to get past the Astro defenses, and you only have a starting force (no base-building this time round!) to do it with. At first glance, this seems downright impossible and a recipe to pull out one of the cheat codes, as your starting units just can"t destroy even one of the turrets. You"re literally stuck, with no way off your little island home other than death.




Each unit in the game has a hidden "priority" number. This ranges from the lowest of the low (which is probably Drones, the basic, fodder, infantry unit) to the most threatening units (Recon Dropships and Astro Fighters). This determines in particular what the AI will choose to shoot at, and it"s a large part of what makes some of the other levels so challenging: you can"t just sit with a tanky unit and send in glass cannons to destroy or sneak past, as the AI will retarget those higher-priority glass cannon units and destroy them. However we can use this to our advantage. By sending the Hyper Carrier (a top-priority unit) along with the Drones, the Defense Turrets will target the Hyper Carrier, giving you just that extra tiny bit of time to destroy a single Defense Station!


What then? Well, it turns out this is nearly all you need. If you walk your Saboteurs down the dead center tile, they"ll get shot at, and some of them will be destroyed, but reliably at least one Saboteur always makes it out alive. Yippe-kai-yay, we"ve got everything we need to finish the level!


Well, not quite everything: there"s a single infantry unit (make sure at least 1, preferably 2, Drones survive the onslaught to deal with this) standing between you and a hidden (but incredibly obvious) Breeding Pit. You can use this, combined with the two cash crates around the map ($2000 near home and $8000 hidden just below the left of the defenses) to build another Drone army, along with some Viper Attacks to dispatch the jetpack unit. Just don"t make sure you accidentally aggro the Trikes at the wrong time (they have a pesky habit of sniping Saboteurs) and the level is straightforward!



Addendum: The strat used in the current WR sells its Experiment Lab for a Viper Attack which then kites and slowly destroys one of the Defense Turrets for much of the same result. However you now only have a single Viper to deal with the Jetpack at the end of the map, and it"s much slower, more tedious, and click-heavy.


Addendum 2: There"s a lot of RNG involved - in particular, whether the Hyper Carrier gets hit going diagonally, how many Saboteurs and Drones make it through, but I"ve found that the RNG is consistent enough for this to be a reliable strategy.

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Addendum 3: It"s also possible to use three Saboteurs to tank instead, leaving your Hyper Carrier alive. However this isn"t helpful, as the Hyper Carrier isn"t able to fly through the gap without being shot down, as its hitbox is larger than that of a Saboteur.


Addendum 4: Fun fact: If you don"t own the Breeding Pit, and you use your last Saboteur to capture the Uplink, you"ll lose the level. Despite fulfilling the win condition. But you lose.