Section 6: Enemy Headquarters
This is the final area of the game. Are you ready, Iron Tank?
As you enter this area, your radio will go off for the final time. Incoming transmission!
Hey, look who's come onto the wireless for a quick chin-wag!
As this is the last radio message, I'll just take a moment to talk about them- odd as it sounds they're one of my favourite parts of Iron Tank. They give a sense that it's not just you out there, that there's other soldiers fighting alongside you. It's a false sense, obviously, as aside from the P.O.W.s you pick up on the way there's no other allies actually on-screen, but it's still pretty effective in getting you to push on, especially in sections like the air base where the messages show you've actaully done something to help out. Of course, they're far more effective on your second play through, as the messages you receive on different routes shed light on some of the others (as people who've been to Section 3B are no doubt aware).
The first section is a foresty area, interrupted by the gates we saw in the Heart Base, that's clogged with both tanks and supplies, including no less than three Reserve icons! It goes without saying that you need to hoover up all the icons here, especially the weapon ones. Other than that, there's not much going on, just push ahead to get to the main event.
Once you get inside, the fun begins. First, in this open space, obliterate any tank that trundles along- you might think you can give them the slip, but it's better to be safe than sorry, and you don't want these guys tailing you. The tanks are more eager to fill you with bullets in this area, so trust me on this one.
The only way up now is the train tracks, and I hope you're OK with using walls as cover and inching your way across, because that's what you have to do. The railway has walls on each side, and tanks will approach from the top of the screen, including Becks Haus units that are far more aggressive than normal- they'll pump out cannon fire faster than you can dodge it. Careful use of your weapons will be needed here- in particular, you'll need to flick F on to blast at enemies through the walls, and be sparing with it, as there's less F icons about than your other armaments. Other things to be careful for are F-Types (they'll fire everywhere- whenever you scroll upwards, avoid doing so on the train tracks where possible, and also hug close to the wall so their bullets miss you), turrets on top of buildings (you need F shots to take them down) and land mines on the track (be very, very careful around them!).
At the end, there's a mini-boss version of the F-Type (this time without the gold trim).
Just flick on B and V and total it.
We're on the last stretch now.
The train tracks will stop, and the area opens up, but don't think it's going to get easier. This is the final checkpoint, so the enemy's going to do everything it can to stop you! For a start, the two trees above you as you enter have massive turrets in them- they can only be hit by F shots, but if you hug the buildings to the far side you can stay out of their range, just about) and, more alarmingly, the place is heaving with Becks Haus tanks, again more aggressive than any you've seen so far. Unfortunately, the turrets in the middle (there's a second set above the tree ones) basically pin you to the wall, and the Becks Haus just keep coming at you... Taking out the turrets at this point is ill-advised, however, as you need to hang on to your F shots, the next refill is just before the final battle. Just do your best to fend off the Becks Haus, slink past the turrets when you can, and...
OK, you've got to make a choice- do you want to sacrifice your Reserve fuel straight away or not?
If you're OK with just having one life bar to take on the final boss, take the upper-left route- you'll see four land mines. Making sure your reserve fuel is activated, run over the one to the far-right. Aside from losing your Reserve fuel, there's nothing down this road- just trundle forward until you reach an open space, then get back to us in a paragraph.
If you'd rather try to desperately cling on to that Reserve fuel, then take the upper-right path instead, and you're in for a treat- a brutal corridor of turrets and tanks. Again, these huge turrets that sit atop the buildings on either side can't be hit with anything other than F shots, and they're tightly packed in this area. Once the tanks behind you are cleared out, take out the first two turrets by staying as far away as possible and socking them with your F shots- use L as well if you need it, but be sparing. Take out the one on the right first, then the left, then creep your way upwards slowly, taking out any turrets that appear, never advancing too far ahead at once. The best way is to get outside their reach, then get closer when they stop firing, fling a cannon shot their way, then get back ASAP. If you want to save your precious F shots, then the final two turrets here, on the left-hand side, can be left alone- just move past the first when it stops firing, then wait for a gap to get past the next one.
OK, now there's just this wide-open space to get past- a smattering of tanks will try and get in your way, specifically Becks Haus and Waltar tanks. You can mostly zip past them if you get out of the way of their shots, but before you make it to the final enemy stronghold, do your best to take out any stragglers. You don't want any of these guys hassling you while fighting the enemy base, especially since even the Waltar are hyper-aggressive here. They'll really do a number on your energy bar if you're not careful!
Here we are, then, enemy headquarters- it's armed with four massive turrets.
I'm not 100% on what building this is based on (the Reichstag, sort-of?) but those eagle statues definitely put us in World War II.
In case it had slipped your mind.
In any case, as long as you've got some B shots left (and you should, as there's an icon for them when you respawn in this area) this is pretty easy. Starting from the centre of the building, edge your way along so you're just out of range of a turret's fire, and shoot at it with a B-powered shot. You'll know you've got it when the shot doesn't explode upon impact, but just disppears. About three to four shots per turret should do it- if you want to speed it up, then getting in close when a turret stops firing and landing a direct hit will deal more damage, but you'll have to move quick as you don't get much time before they start pummeling you again.
Once all four turrets are destroyed, blow up the doors if you haven't...
... To be treated to a massive explosion, leaving behind one of every weapon icon.
Pick them up and the final battle begins.
This is it. The final boss is Think Tank's main body, and the two that came before it as well.
Unlike the other Think Tank battles where it'll wait before starting up, the Main Body begins attacking straight away- it has one of those twin-cannons seen on the boat boss as its main form of attack, launching cannon shots at you. Initially, it won't move about much, but once it starts, it'll mostly move towards you diagonally like the C-Type, with that cannon always fixed on you. By this point you should be pretty good at these boss fights, so while you might find it tempting to flick on every available weapon and go to town on the main body... Resist the urge. There's more than just the main body to fight. Instead, I recommend just flicking V on for now, being sure to keep your fire trained on the big cannon and move out of its way when it tries to ram you. It might take a little longer, but soon it'll explode...
... Revealing, Russian doll-style, the F-Type Think Tank! Now, if you like, you can switch on another weapon- I'd pick whichever out of F and B you've got the most remaining ammo for- and pelt it until it falls! It doesn't act any differently from the first time you fought it, although it seems to have a bit more health. Avoid its flamethrower and its attempts to run you over, and it too will eventually explode, revealing the final piece, the C-Type Think Tank. Again, it acts the same, but this one seems to have way more health than the last one... This is why I told you to hang on to your special weapons, because if you blow them all on the first two bosses, you might not survive this final fight, and then we'd have problems. If you're confident you can take it down, flick any remaining weapons on, and make relatively short work of this contraption. Those cannon shells really pack a punch, so you really need to be careful when crossing to the other side of the machine. Additionally, if you have anything left in your ? meter, you may wish to use it on this final form, but it won't destroy it straight away- it'll just damage it. As long as you stay alive and keep pounding it, eventually it will fall.
What if you fail, though?
If you use all your special weapons trying to kill the final boss, only to die, you're sent back to the open area with just a Reserve fuel tank to your name. As you need F shots to destroy the turrets- and trying to rush through that section will rip your energy bar to shreds, Reserve fuel tank or not- your options are a bit limited. If you really wanted to, when you respawn you could grab the V and B icons in the open area, go through the land mine route, grab the four icons left by the enemy HQ, then let yourself die on the boss and repeat until your meters are back up to snuff... That's quite boring, though. Personally, I'd recommend using the password at the top of this page to restart at the beginning of the entire section. I know that's a long way back, but the supply dump you drive through on the way in will beef your special weapon bars up enough to get you through the area and back in fighting form for the boss.
At this point, you might wonder why I don't suggest you just put in the password for the open area nearer the boss- passwords are given at checkpoints, after all. The problem with that is the problem with the password system in general, and why I suggested you play the game in one sitting: using a password starts you off with no items. No matter where you are in the game, you start any password-loaded game with no weapons, no ? icons and, critically, no Reserve fuel tank! It's especially important in this area if you want to reach the boss with a decent amount of energy left.
However you decide to do it, it can be done! C'mon, Iron Tank, fight on!!
Anyway, upon the final Think Tank's destruction, a little victory tune plays, and we've won.
On the next page, watch how SNK's alternate history plays out...