OK, the Mine Layer is the first weapon that’s completely new to UT2004. It’s a weird orange gun with a large, disk-shaped barrel. It launches spider mines that chase down and jump on, then blow up anyone foolish enough to trespass on your land, or whichever spot you choose to claim for your own.
The Mine Layer is primarily a defense weapon, what with using mines and all, but it can be used offensively with surprising success. It is best used against heavy vehicles, but it works well against players on foot, too. Also, the Secondary Fire Mode of this weapon is a special function, so it has no statistics of its own. For that same reason I will only give tactics when both modes are used together. Also for that reason, the tactics section will be longer than normal, since it incorporates both firing modes.
Mine Layer – Primary Fire Mode
If a lot of the special features seem incomprehensible, check the explanations at the beginning of this section. Primary fire launches a spider mine in a short flat arc. The mine will immediately detonate if it impacts an enemy or the side of a vehicle (including friendly vehicles) before it lands and activates. Once active, it will keep its current position until an enemy vehicle or foot soldier comes too close, at which point it will chase the soldier/vehicle, jump on him/it and explode. Up to 8 spider mines can be in the field at a time and the total number currently in the field is shown in the lower right corner.
Spider mines will detonate (but not deal any damage) if you are killed, or if you throw the Mine Layer. Also, spider mines can be destroyed by gunfire and will again deal no damage. Other than that, spider mines have no fuse, so they will live as long as you do, even if you switch away from the Mine Layer (but not throw it away). Also, although a spider mine is a homing projectile, it’s method of operation makes it impossible to apply a “turning curve” to it.
Damage vs. People: 50*
Damage vs. Vehicles: 140
Rate of Fire: 1/1s Ammo per Shot: 1
Max. Ammo: 25 in stock | 8 active
Charge Time: N/A
Special Features: projectile; knockback; homing; detonates against players and vehicles and upon operator death or weapon loss; unlimited fuse; can be shot down; affected by gravity; mobile; turning curve inapplicable; team-safe**; splash damage
*This is a splash damage estimate. I found no way to get positive results from play-testing the damage vs. people. If anyone has been able to measure it, please, drop me a line. **The mines will land safely on the roofs of vehicles, but if they hit the sides before they activate, they will explode. Also, mines exploding in general will hurt team mates.
Mine Layer – Secondary Fire Mode
This is not a Fire Mode at all, but rather a utility. It projects a visible red beam, highlighting a point on the map and ordering all of the spider mines you have on the field to move towards that point (thus “mobile”). While moving, spider mines will climb over hills and jump over low obstacles. While on the way, they can be given orders to move elsewhere and they will drop what they were doing and move to the new point. While moving, spider mines will not attack the enemy before they reach their destination. They will not detonate even if an enemy player or vehicle were to move directly over them.
Well, since they’re mines, their primary function is to defend an area. If you’re trying to defend a chokepoint, try to spread the mines evenly and avoid moving them unnecessarily, since they’ll bunch up. Alternatively, you can purposely bunch them up to aim for bigger targets if the space is not too wide – you don’t want to leave holes in your minefield, now do you? Always be alert and keep your Mine Layer out, since you need to replace exploded mines.
Faster vehicles may pass through the minefield with some damage and people on foot will waste a lot of mines (they’re not good against people), so keep that in mind. It’s sometimes better to switch to another weapon and kill attackers on foot, rather than waste the mines. If heavy vehicles with long-range weapons approach, send the mines towards the vehicles (in their path, not directly under them) and hide. Once your mines start blowing up (shows in the lower-right hand corner of the screen) lay more at your feet and send them out too. Don’t break cover until it’s safe or you’re forced to.
The same goes for defending your power core, since the enemy usually has to get through a chokepoint to reach it. If you’re defending a Power Node, then chances are you’ll be defending an open spot. Mines have a short range, so lay them beneath the Node and slightly in front. This time around, try to be away from the battle. Don’t even approach to lay your mines. Find a good place to hide with clear visibility of the Node, lay your mines there and send them. Concentrate on protecting the immediate vicinity of the Node leave your team-mates should do the rest. Finally, you can use the Mine Layer as a very potent attack weapon. However, you CANNOT do it alone. Lead a swarm of spider mines with, or a little in front of (depending on the situation) an attacking force. 2 guys in a vehicle will do. Try to keep your team-mates from being swarmed and concentrate on what’s attacking them, and they’ll handle the rest.
Another interesting thing you can do is cover a flat-topped vehicle with spider mines (launch them on top, not the sides) and drive it into the action. That way you have a vehicle that will defend itself at close range. All that aside, the most important thing is that you stay alive as long as possible, since the spider mines can’t work when you’re dead. Also, I found out that you can stick Grenades Launcher bombs on spider mines for extra kick. However, bombs slow down the mines by a percentage, so you could end up with a spider mine that is literally “crawling”.