I've stopped playing Hostile Waters.
Part of me wants to keep playing it, to get to the later missions, to experience the unfolding plotlines.
However, part of me doesn't care anymore. Because I spoiled myself.
Mission 9 (I think it's 9) requires you to deliver some explosives to an enemy underground silo, via a trainline. Obviously, the enemy will attack the explosives enroute, so you have to do some destruction of the existing enemy defences first. There is no explicit requirement for you to wipe out all of the enemy forces.
Now, this map contains three enemy bases. The central one is clearly intended by the designers to be attacked - it is right next to the train line, the explosives, and the control station you need to send the train in the right direction. One of the two sets of derricks feeding energy to it (and thus enabling it to produce new forces) is handily pointed out to you in the briefing.
The north-western one is hidden right up in the corner of the map, and exists purely to generate aircraft to harass your carrier once you start progressing in the main objective. It isn't actually hard to destroy, but I suspect that you're not supposed to bother, as it's so out of the way.
The third base, however, is directly to the east. It's slightly out of the way, but it has no less than three sets of derricks, heavy protection from both land and air attacks, and sometimes generates land forces to sweep across the island to harass your attacks. I suspect that the developers never intended anyone to actually focus on wiping it off the map - it is supposed, I guess, to ensure that there is always a looming enemy presence to potentially assault your train once you set it off across the island.
I became somewhat... fixated... on destroying Base 3.
Now, this isn't the developers' fault. When playing Strategy games, my main flaw is my tendency to be overcautious and overcompletist in completing objectives - so, if the mission is an escort, I wipe out all the enemy forces first. Even if they're hugely defended bases with three sources of energy, and even if I have an (apparently deliberate) lack of starting energy to build my own forces.
I also became a little fixated, due to the aforementioned caution, with the Shiny New Weapon you get given in this mission. "Warhammer" is a long-ranged indirect fire weapon - a mortar that is supposed to be used to wipe out enemy forces from afar with the aid of a spotter. However, Base 3 is arranged nestled in the midst of mountains that block most of the potential indirect firing solutions from positions of safety... and when you do start attacking, it sends out fast moving air units to drive you off.
So, my assaults on Base 3 moved from long-duration "guerilla artillery" tactics, to doomed fast-assaults with defensive units around the artillery... and nothing worked.
At this point, a sensible person would have said "Oh, well, clearly I'm not supposed to destroy them, I'll just concentrated on Base 1 like I'm supposed to".
I'm not about to let Base 3 stand like that, posing a permanent threat. So I cheated.
There are only really two important cheats for Hostile Waters. One of them gives you effectively unlimited energy to build units. The other gives you access to the entire selection of units in the game, even ones that aren't unlocked yet. I used both of them.
I assaulted Base 3 with units that I shouldn't have had until Mission 20, in numbers I shouldn't have been capable of fielding without copious resource gathering. It gave way, eventually, doomed by technologies beyond its position in the narrative of its world.
And it didn't feel good.
So, after wiping out all the enemy on the entire map, I saved the game. And quit.
And I haven't played since. The joy has gone from it - I don't care anymore what plot elements give me the cool units in future missions, since I've already crushed Base 3 with them, anachronistically. And every time I see a challenge in the game, I know I'll be tempted to cheat again.
But at least I destroyed Base 3, eh, readers?
(Edit: There's probably another article in the fact that I actually cared here, about cheating, where cheating in something like Quake 10: Another Shooter doesn't matter to me at all.)