Ultimate Weapons in Supreme Commander
Supreme Commander is one of those games that has lots and lots of units, about a third of which are actually worth using in most games. There are four tiers of units available - first, second, third, and ultimate. Each tier involves more powerful units that also cost more in terms of resources and the time invested in their construction. Due to SupCom’s powerful base defenses even at the earliest points in the game first tier units are rapidly superceded by second tier and higher, and within an hour or so ultimate units usually arrive on scene.
So if a game hasn’t ended in victory for whichever player rushed the other and got lucky, or caught an opponent’s ACU alone and far from home, ultimate units are certain to put in an appearance in a typical game of Supreme Commander. Galactic Colossus is perhaps the most feared of these ultimates - and for good reason: no other ground unit in SupCom can hold a candle to the Colossus, and once one is deployed on the battlefield it is guaranteed to become the focus of battle mighty quick.
Aeon’s Galactic Colossus: Ground Pounder Incarnate
The Galactic Colossus is one of the Aeon’s super weapons in Supreme Commander, and true to the Aeon tendency to double down on a particular unit in terms of its firepower and ability to dominate a particular section of the battlespace the Colossus can annihilate any other ground unit - even an ultimate. It is armed with a sweeping laser of massive power and decent range. It is also equipped with an omni sensor, meaning that you can’t stealth a unit or three and hope to catch it in ambush. It is also provided with a tractor beam which can pull an individual unit under its massive feet - and these feet can simply walk over anything smaller than an ACU. And to top it all off it is incredibly long lived - a Galactic Colossus has nearly 100,000 hit points. Add to that the fact that the Aeon ultimate is fully amphibious and you’ve a potent platform for leading an assault on the most heavily defended base.
The Aeon design their weaponry to do one thing and do it very, very well and the mission of the Colossus is to lead ground attacks agains ground units. It has no anti-aircraft weaponry, no anti-ship weaponry (save against surface vessels close inshore) and no self-defense weapons. It is effectively a giant tank with a big huge laser attached to its head. Of course, this degree of specialization has its downsides: if an opponent detects the Colossus in time, or catches it alone, it can be neutralized.
Taking on the Galactic Colossus
Possibly the most powerful ground unit in Supreme Commander, Galactic Colossus is also incredibly vulnerable if employed incorrectly. Many novice players expend the resources to build an ultimate unit and blithely send it at their opponent unsupported. Nothing could be a bigger mistake. Just as with the Aeon ACU, the Aeon Galactic Colossus can be taken out by a savvy opponent who has a little time to press home an attack.
The Colossus lacks anti-aircraft or anti-submarine weaponry. This means that, if on its own, its a big sitting duck to subs and aircraft. Especially aircraft. A single gunship can dance around a Colossus' head and poke at it, theoretically until it explodes. Now there’s a humiliating end to a Colossus attack - poked to death by a single aircraft. But it can happen, and if there’s a pack of gunships or perhaps a strategic bomber waiting in the wings the Colossus is a helpless hunk of metal destined for the recycling center. The Colossus is not a Monkeylord: it cannot sustain an attack all by itself. It has to be escorted.
Fortunately for Aeon players the simple act of sending half a dozen tier three interceptors along with a Colossus multiplies the danger it poses to an opponent. Because so long as the Colossus has some time to close the gap between itself and its targets, it will do tremendous damage with its laser and even with its feet. Even better, a Colossus wandering towards an enemy base will have a profound psychological effect - few opponents will ignore it, and fewer will waste time in building forces specifically to attack it.
Fighting With and Against the Colossus
In Supreme Commander, Galactic Colossus is most effective at the head of an assault force. Its incredible hit point allocation and tremendous power means that most opponents will focus on destroying it with all means at their disposal. Accompanying one with a combined arms force of artillery, tanks, gunships, fighters, and air defenses often means that one of two outcomes is likely: the opponent will focus defeating the Colossus and allow the accompanying force time to close and destroy base defenses unhindered, or the opponent’s forces will get so caught up fighting the assault force that the Colossus itself closes the gap and begins eviscerating units and structures. One way or the other it is not uncommon to see a Colossus-led attack force expose the location of an opposing ACU, allowing for forces to strike at the heart of the enemy’s power.
Because most enemies will be exceptionally distracted by the appearance of a Colossus on the battlefield merely sending one with an accompanying assault force can provide a player with sufficient breathing room to attack peripheral expansions or embark on a major construction project unmolested by an opponent. Doubling the size of the home base or building a second base while your opponent is rushing to fight off a Colossus is most gratifying.
Fighting the Colossus is actually a simple matter: Lure it into a trap where it is surrounded by units and those behind it will be able to attack with impunity. Gauge where a nuke strike will catch the Colossus and annihilate its supporting units if possible. Keep some strategic bombers in reserve throughout the game and unleash them on the Colossus (preceded by interceptors to draw fire). Above all, try to hit it when it is far from your base and far from your ACU, and hit it from the air or underwater if at all possible.
A Colossus attack cannot be ignored, and if one is built the owner of the beast will retain the initiative for as long as it lives. Probably the greatest weakness of the Colossus is its build time and the amount of resources needed to get it operational. In truth, the best defense against the Colossus is good reconaissance: see it when its under construction, or watch it as it begins lumbering towards friendly forces, and there will be time enough to build an effective counter.