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The Towers, Man
Defense Grid: The Awakening is a solid tower defense game which stays firmly rooted in what tower defense games are traditionally about - building and upgrading really cool towers. Defense Grid has many cool towers to choose from. Obviously some work better in certain situations then others, and choosing the right tower for the job is the majority of the game's strategy. This tower guide describes all the towers and how to best use them.
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The basic gun tower is one of the first available and remains a solid tower throughout the game. It is average in almost every way, providing decent damage at a decent range. It is notable that the Gun tower fires very quickly, which maximizes damage, and that the gun tower is very effective against shielded opponents. It is also the cheapest tower to both build and upgrade. When spending the money to upgrade them, be sure to place a temporal tower nearby so that enemies stay in range for a long period of time.
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Basically a flamethrower mounted on a big metal stick, the Inferno tower does damage to any number of enemies in its firing line. According to the developer's blog of the game, it needs to be firing on at least three units before it does more damage than a gun tower. As such, it should only be positioned in prime firing spots such as on a corner. Inferno tower are very poor when not placed in a good position and its best not to build too many of them.
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The laser tower is, early on, an extremely good tower. Their effectiveness suddenly drops when shielding aliens begin to make their way onto the field. Even so, its wise to keep a few laser towers around because they are very effective against certain aliens and they place a damage-over-time effect on aliens they hit even briefly. This is great against faster alien types, as they will dash out of range but still be taking damage.
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The meteor tower does not do a ton of damage, but it has huge range and a large AOE. The meteor tower cannot fire on enemies when they are directly next to it, but this should never be a problem. Meteor towers should only be placed in the center of maps where aliens will be repeatedly moving into their range. Meteor towers are extremely expensive, and not worthwhile if their range cannot be taken advantage of.
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The cannon, like the gun, is a solid tower throughout the game. The cannon tower does a lot of damage on each hit, has a long range, and is effective against shields. It is the range that is ultimately its greatest asset. By placing cannons in areas over-looking multiple paths it is possible for a single cannon tower to have the opportunity to fire on aliens for most of the time they're on the map. This means that cannons are one of the best towers in the game on all but a few maps. The only problem with cannons is they have a slow rate of fire, so faster aliens will dash right past them.
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Built with AOE damage in mind, the concussion tower randomly flings explosives into its area of effect while enemies are in range. Its damage isn't exactly reliable, but it is quite effective against swarmers, which are quickly taken down by the small explosives. Concussion towers are expensive to upgrade and begin to become less useful as the approaching aliens become tougher, so they rarely are useful against any opponent except swarmers.
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The missile tower really has one purpose in life - killing air units. It cannot even fire on the ground-bound alien breeds. It is very good at what it does, and while a cannon battery is also an effective anti-air gun, the missile tower is slightly more effective. More importantly, missile towers keep cannon towers and gun towers from becoming distracted and firing on air units when they should be focusing on ground targets. Be sure to place missile towers as close as possible to where flying aliens enter the map so they are killed as quickly as possible.
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Meant to be a last-resort tower, the tesla tower's damage becomes greater the longer it goes without firing. Ideally, the tesla tower will be able to zap a big boss with a full charge when it comes by. Reality works out rather differently. Since the player has no control over when the tesla tower fires, it will often waste a good charge on some fast, pointless alien just before the big boss comes through. Worse, the damage is not that impressive even when fully charged.
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Every tower defense game seems to have some method of slowing the approaching hoards, and the temporal tower fills that role in Defense Grid. The temporal tower's range is very small at its first level, covering about two squares in any direction. The upgrades make this range much larger, however, and unlike other towers the upgrades do not become more expensive - it costs the same to upgrade a temporal tower as it does to build a new one. Temporal towers should always be placed in areas where the slowed enemies will have a lot of weapons firing at them. A battery of upgraded cannons and a fully upgraded temporal tower is a nasty combination.
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Command towers unveil cloaked units and provide a resource bonus for units killed in their range. The resource bonus is nice, but often harder to take advantage of then one would expect. Command towers may be entirely useless if a player's style focuses more on short-range weapons like gun towers or laser towers, as cloaked enemies are automatically revealed when they come in close contact with any tower. However, those who use cannon and meteor towers often will have to use command towers in order to keep their defense effective.
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Overall, gun and cannon towers are likely the best. They do excellent damage and they are effective against both shielded and unshielded opponents. Laser, inferno, concussion, and meteor towers can contribute greatly, but only in situations which are tailored to their specific strengths. Missile towers are a must have against air units, while tesla towers are never needed against anything. Temporal towers are extremely good but should only be built-in areas where the enemies they slow will be hit by a large number of offensive towers. Command towers are not that great, but will be needed if the player relies heavily on long-range firepower.
With these tips in mind, Defense Grid should not be difficult. These basics are all that are needed in order to defeat the game on its normal difficulty. Of course, those wanting to rank high in the top scores list will have to do some experimenting. Just remember. Friends don't let friends build tesla towers.