Tim McDonald and Andy Alderson have had the good fortune to get their hands on code of Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, and are working their way through in cooperative play. What follows is the first in a series of war diaries of their experiences, this time going through the first half of the game’s opening mission: an assault on an outpost near the embattled Skira Island.Dear diary,Andy Alderson cannot drive. At the time I had no idea and I can only assume that the rest of the squad were likewise unaware that he drives as though he has no hands and is wearing rollerskates. I’m getting ahead of myself.It had started out as such a lovely day. We’d been on standby for a while because of the recent tensions on Skira Island, and we were just settling down to some tea and crumpets when our orders came in. We were to assault a small outpost island containing an early-warning radar system and a variety of anti-air defences in preparation for the main attack on the now PLA-controlled Skira.We – Morales, Winters, myself, and of course Andy – were dropped off at a fairly central location on the small island just before dusk. As it was, we were fairly close to the radar tower, and so once we’d made sure the surrounding area was secure our first order of business was to knock that out, although not before I “accidentally” unloaded 60 rounds from my SAW into Andy. Well, I say Andy. After the first five it was really his twitching corpse that took the rest. He wasn’t best pleased when he respawned a minute later, but I figured that’d teach him to impugn the integrity of my mother.Our initial encounter with the PLA took place a few minutes prior to hitting the radar, which was simple enough – a small building at the top of the hill housed two PLA soldiers. I suppressed them with the SAW while the other three flanked them. Easy. From our vantage point on top of the now-cleared hill we could see the radar and its accompanying contingent of Chinese soldiers. Again, this wasn’t an encounter that gave us any hassle, barring Andy’s ordering Morales and Winters to charge the sandbags. I will never understand why this man is in command, but at least he managed to place C4 and knock out the radar without incident.The next issue was a nearby village, occupied by far, far too many PLA soldiers. Fortunately, taking out the radar had afforded us a little fire support – Howitzer-style support from a nearby destroyer, as I understand it. Unfortunately, Andy was still in charge of the squad. He took careful aim at the village, noted down the map co-ordinates, and then ordered the Howitzers to bombard the sea about three miles away from anything remotely hostile, barring maybe one or two whales with sympathy for the Chinese. They’ll never trouble this waters again.This had two effects: first, everyone was still alive, which I suppose isn’t an effect but I want to reiterate that everyone was still alive. Second, I can only assume that the combined noise of a C4 explosion and a Howitzer strike had put them on high alert, because for some reason they started shooting at us. I’d estimate that there were somewhere in the region of 20 PLA soldiers in the village, and that’s a lot of automatic fire. It always seems like more when it’s aimed in your direction, too. We couldn’t stay where we were. Again, I laid down suppressing fire while the others moved to find cover a little closer to the village. Firing from my cover kept the PLA largely pinned and even took a few of them out – until I needed to reload. They’re not stupid, you know. The instant I had to change the belt in the SAW, two charged my position and rather uncomfortably executed me.Which, God save us, meant it was up to Andy to stay alive for the minute I needed to respawn. Despite a few close calls, he managed it; he sent Morales and Winters to flank around to the side of the village. Exposed soldiers naturally drew fire from the PLA, which allowed Andy to kill a few of them from the rocky outcrop that served as his cover. On my reappearance, things were still hairy – reinforcements had seemingly come from either the other end of the village or from patrols just past it, which again had us pinned, but somehow we survived.We decided we’d go for extra brownie points with the top brass and knock out the SAM sites, so Andy hopped into the driver’s seat of a nearby jeep and I took the mounted gun. This was all well and good until we encountered resistance in the form of two enemy jeeps; we parked up near to the side of the road where Andy could take cover behind a wall, I could shoot from the mounted gun, and Morales and Winter could easily find us when they caught up. You see, this was where we discovered he’d forgotten to tell them to get in the bloody jeep.Once the others caught up, it was on to the SAMs, but Andy somehow convinced us that the roads weren’t a good idea and it was all about driving along the cliffs which, as you can imagine, didn’t end spectacularly. To elaborate, I’m writing this while Andy’s trying to move the jeep off a pile of rocks he’s managed to install it on near the bottom of a cliff. It looks like a sodding modern art masterpiece.By the sounds of the swearing it’s going to remain the newest tourist attraction, as it seems Andy’s given up. Looks like a long stroll along the cliffs awaits.Check back tomorrow for the second part of our ongoing series of Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising war diaries, in which Andy Alderson will wrap up the game’s first mission.Other War Diary Entries|
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