Gameplay Proposals/Bombing Crashed UFOs

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Bombing Crashed UFOs

Author: Ouroboros (talk, contrib)

One thing I find tiresome in every X-COM game so far is that when you reach the point far into the game where you have researched most of the technology, recovered all alien artifacts and are intercepting three dozen alien UFOs per day, you still have to go in and clean up every single crash site if you want to receive a decent montlhy score and prevent the aliens from infiltrating various countries. In latter stages, this is not only time-consuming but unrewarding as well (no new stuff to find!). I propose a simple way to solve that problem: BOMBS!


Imagine that your aircraft can be equipped not only with anti-aircraft weaponry but with bombs as well. After you have intercepted a UFO, a popup appears and you get the option to bomb the crash site or leave it as it is. The bombing run would destroy most of the artifacts in the UFO as well as kill a large portion of the crew. Sending in your troops to clean up the remaining aliens would take only a fraction of the time it normally does.

Bombing vs. Crash Recovery

The first obvious difference is that bombing a crashed UFO destroys most of the remains and artifacts: fewer artifacts recovered leads to a smaller score and lesser positive impact. Also, I believe that such bombing would be viewed by the world as a "necessary evil", i.e. an acceptable action in order to fight the alien invasion but probably not the best solution. In order to reflect this in the game, bombing would reduce the score of the recovery mission by some percentage, say 33% or 50%. A bombed but unrecovered crash site should have a more positive impact than a simple crash site, since fewer aliens survive to infiltrate the country that the crash took place in. If a UFO crashed in a populated area, then bombing would obviously be out of the question: the only acceptable solution would be to recover it the hard way.

Advanced Bombing Concepts

First off all there should be several different bomb technologies, say 3 or 4 (more technology to reasearch is always a plus in my opinion!). I imagine the ultimate bomb to be similar to the bunker-buster missiles that were used in recent years: it would penetrate the UFO's external armor and explode in or near the core of the UFO, adding the force of the core's chain reaction to the explosive force of the bomb. As bomb technology improves, they would become powerful enough to completely "sterilize" a crash site, destroying all remains of the UFO and killing all the aliens. This should be considered a minor success, yielding only a small percentage of the positive impact from a typical crash recovery (say 10%-25%). Still, it beats heaving to recover every single UFO crash site! The amount of damage done by the bombs should also be dependent on the size of the crashed UFO. For example, simple bombs should be enough to damage small UFOs like the Scout and the Fighter but fairly useless against the much larger Gunboat or Carrier. On the other hand, the best bomb should be able to "sterilize" every UFO class except -maybe- the largest, to which they would inflict a serious amount of damage.

A Simplistic Implementation

Create a single new aircraft tech, called for example "Sterilizer Bomb", which is available after the user has researched a large portion of the tech-tree and can be equipped only on advanced interceptors. Manufacture "Sterilizers" and equip them. After the Interceptors shoot down a UFO, the player is asked if he wants to bomb the remains. The "Sterilizer" competely obliterates the remains of the UFO and the player receives 15% of the typical positive impact from a crash recovery mission. The one or two largest types of UFO are impervious to the "Sterilizer" and have to be recovered the hard way.