青の6号: Antarctica (PS1) Game Guide – Part 1
Blue Submarine No. 6: Antarctica is on the whole an easy game that can be frustrating and annoying at times, owing to the ‘random enemy spawn’ system it employs. This multi-part guide will first focus on the combat mode aspect of the game, before finishing up with some minor discussions on the very linear interaction (cinema) mode.
Note: The information in this guide is based on my opinions and what worked for me. It may not be the absolute truth/best strategy.
Interface Commands, Movement & Combat
Combat is fought on a square shaped 3D map similar to the one seen in the OVA (EP3 – “Musuca heading on collision course!”), like a combination of Chess and Starcraft. The battle is fought in Real-time mode, pausing ONLY when you’re issuing commands or during ship vs ship combat. The great news is that you can stop the clock at any time with the push of a button, and issue/change as many commands as you like during this period i.e. think Starcraft with a pause button. Here are the details of each available command:
Quite self-explanatory. Choosing this will change the cursor into a cross-hair, which you can move around and then press X to confirm the destination. This can be any point on the map, and any ship (enemy or friendly). Ships in movement can attack any enemies that come into its weapon range.
Again quite self-explanatory. Like the move command, you will need to select a destination, in this case a target. Ships ordered to attack a target can still attack other targets that come into its weapon range, during its travel.
Think of this as a ‘hide’ option. Choosing this will cause your Grampus to deep dive to the bottom of the ocean and remain there until you cancel this option. While concealed, the Grampus cannot attack or be attacked, and will be regenerating both HP and concentration at a slow rate. It takes some time for the sub to ascend/descend, and honestly, given how easy and fast most missions are, you rarely need to use this.
A very useful command. This causes your Grampus to stay still, but increases its weapon range by about 25%. Can be thought of as a sentry/guard mode, and when toggled skillfully, can be used to initiate a first strike against an incoming enemy ship. Alert mode, as far as I can tell, does NOT affect concentration.
This option basically hands over control of that particular Grampus to the AI, until you manually turn it off, or when the sub is crippled. Put simply, the AI is pretty dumb, and even if you’re lazy, you shouldn’t choose this option. The AI has a strange habit of choosing the worst weapons to attack enemies.
Strange command name. This command can be thought of as a “mimic” option. Choose this option, and then select a friendly Grampus. The first Grampus will now follow and mimic all actions performed by the designated Grampus. Pretty interesting option, but I rarely find myself using it.
A useless option. Grampuses ordered to wait will not move. Worse, they will not even attack enemies that come into range. If you want your Grampuses to remain still, use Alert mode instead.
Combat is initiated when a sub enters the weapon range of another sub. Weapon ranges of course vary between sub types, but this can be checked by selecting the unit. Weapon ranges, as mentioned earlier, can be increased when the sub is in alert mode. Note also that subs have a 3-4 second ‘recharge’ time after performing an attack. During this period, it cannot attack any ship that is in range, and the recharge time appears to be consistent for all ships. Combat is one way i.e. there is no retaliation. So first-strikes are heavily favored.
Missions & Objectives
There are at least 25 combat mode missions in the game. All of them however can have only 1 out of the following 5 possible objectives:
Kill all enemies on the map
Stay alive for a specified amount of time
Protect a stationary Blue 6 for a specified amount of time
Protect and escort Blue 6 until it crosses the target line
Cross the target line (1 mission only)
In all missions, non-boss enemy ships will always be moving towards either your Grampuses or Blue 6. They will never stay still.
1. Kill all enemies on the map
This is the most common type of mission you’ll get. In most cases, the best option is to simply NOT to chase after each enemy (or worse, split up), but rather stack together on top of each other, go into alert mode and let the enemies come at you. If you want to be safe, park Rin and Moldova’s repair Grampus slightly behind the main attack ships, as it cannot repair itself if damaged, and its offensive capabilities are poor.
2. Stay alive for a specified amount of time
These missions can be a challenge if you’re trying to score kills. In fact, its quite pointless to go for kills in such missions, because enemies will respawn infinitely until the timer is reached (usually 1.5 to 2 minutes). Best strategy for me was to group the Grampuses together and move all over the map, trying to avoid the pursuing ships. Do not try to order all your subs to deep dive (conceal mode). The results will be bad 😛
3. Protect Blue 6 for a specified amount of time
Blue 6 CANNOT defend itself. Yes, its not a joke. In this game, Blue 6’s presence is actually a huge annoyance to you. But between this and mission type 4, protecting an immobile Blue 6 is considerably less difficult. The strategy is almost the same as type 1 – bunch your ships on top of Blue 6 and go into alert. Blue 6 has quite abit of health, so if you’re lucky, it can occasionally act as a meatshield while your subs finish off the approaching enemies (and remain undamaged).
4. Protect and escort Blue 6 until it crosses the target line
By far the most annoying mission type, and unfortunately the second most frequent type of mission you will have to undertake. Blue 6 will usually be travelling from one end of the map to the other (West to East etc.), sometimes in a line parallel to the map axis, sometimes diagonal. Your job is to ensure that it crosses that line alive. You cannot simply order your Grampuses to follow Blue 6, as they will only end up tailing it, and allow enemies approaching from the front to strike first before they enter your weapon range. You’ll have to manually move each of your Grampuses constantly, keeping them on top of Blue 6, and do quick switches between move and alert mode when the enemies get near. Because enemies in such missions respawn constantly after being killed, there’s always the chance of a fresh enemy ship spawning right on top or very near Blue 6, giving it a free shot before you can do anything about it. Cheap and frustrating really.
5. Cross the target line
You’ll only get this objective once. Its basically a re-enactment of Kino and Hayami’s journey towards Antarctica at the start of EP4 in the OVA, except that you’ll have about 10 ships blocking your way to the finish line. Thankfully, you can easily dodge all of them and not fight a single time if you immediately head to North-most edge of the map and then move along it all the way to the East side till you cross the target line. Your Grampus is only slightly slower than the enemy ships. Easy.
Weaponry & Grampuses
Each of the 4 Grampuses available for your control are equipped with at least 2 out of 4 possible weapon types:
Needle Gun (NG): Low damage, High accuracy (50~150 damage)
Sound Weapon (SW): Medium-Low damage, High accuracy (75~200 damage)
Missile Pod (MP): Medium damage, Medium accuracy (150~300 damage)
Torpedo Launcher (TP): High damage, Medium accuracy (200~450 damage)
In general, you should only use the needle gun and sound blaster when finishing off weakened enemies (and to increase the odds of not missing). These weapons can also be used on a full-HP hammershark torpedo, which only has 100HP. Torpedoes can in most instances be spammed, as the damage they do is more than enough to offset their average accuracy. Its a matter of luck most of the time. I rarely use missiles.
The 4 Grampuses available for your control are:
Grampus/Seele – Piloted by Kino & Hayami (if he’s around). Weapons: NG, MP, TP
Prawn – Piloted by Rin & Moldova. Weapons: NG, MP. Can repair other subs
Orcea – Piloted by Estella & Zagalo. Weapons: SW, MP, TP
Cuttlefish – Piloted by Huang & Juju. Weapons: MP, TP
You won’t always have all 4 ships available for each missions, as it depends on the storyline at that time. In general, the Cuttlefish and Grampus are the most powerful and have the largest weapon range. The Orcea is somewhere in the middle, and the Prawn has weak offensive abilities. The differences are however really not that big to be concerned about. Their movement speed as far as I can tell are identical. The Cuttlefish and Prawn seem to be better at dodging though.
Concentration is an important variable to take note. It has a direct relationship with (1) firing accuracy, (2) evasive abilities and for the case of the repair Gampus: (3) amount of HP that it can replenish. Concentration decreases when:
Your Grampus takes damage. The more damaging the hit, the more concentration is lost
You miss your target. The decrease in such a case is however very small
When you perform repairs. Applies to the repair Grampus only
Concentration in turn can be increased via:
Going into conceal mode. You will regain a small % of concentration and HP for each second spent in conceal mode.
Killing targets. The increase is small, but multiple kills can quickly fill your bar. Adrenaline rush perhaps?
Getting HP replenished during conceal mode or by receiving repairs
For most missions, the concentration bar starts at around 80% of maximum, which is usually more than sufficient to give you a decent accuracy and dodge rate. Most missions are over within a matter of minutes, so there’s not much point in trying to get 100% concentration via deep diving, unless you’re waiting for the enemy to approach. But as we can see from above, combat performance has a spiraling effect on concentration – the more you miss and the more damage you take, the more concentration you will lose, and this in turn will worsen your subsequent hit and dodge rates. Fortunately, the reverse is also true, and in most cases, you can easily steamroll the opposition following a few quick kills.
The color of your Grampus on the map is an indication of its current status. You should be familiarized with their meanings after a few missions.
[GREEN] = Idle status
Green usually means good in most cases, but not here. Grampuses in idle status will not move nor attack enemies that come within their weapon range i.e. they’re useless. In under no circumstances should your Grampus ever be maintaining this status for more than a few seconds. If there’s nothing to do, either dive under to repair/recharge concentration, or go on alert mode. Ships will automatically go into idle status after destroying a target or reaching a set destination, so you will need to issue new commands.
[BLUE] = Queued action status
A Blue colored Grampus is one that has been issued an order, be it attack, guard or move. Ships in blue status will always attack enemies that come into weapon range. As far as possible, try to keep your ships in this status.
[DARK BLUE] = Concealed status
A Grampus that has been given the Conceal i.e. dive order would assume this color. Not much else needs to be said really.
[RED] = Break status i.e. crippled
This is the color that denotes a destroyed/crippled ship i.e. when its HP is reduced to zero. Crippled subs will descend to the bottom of the sea floor, similar to when it is in conceal mode, except that they can no longer participate in the remainder of the battle. With proper play and barring extreme bad luck, you should never see this.
Well…that concludes part 1 of the guide. This is really a simple game 🙂