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I heard that the Interceptor/UFO sequence is a minigame yet there was no tutorial. Is it a minigame? What are the controls and rules...?!

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I don't think it's a minigame so much as "Hope you kill them before they kill you." –  Frank Oct 10 '12 at 20:12
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Well, I guess it qualifies as a minigame, but there's not really much to it until research + engineering opens up more options. As it stands, you close in on the enemy and automatically start attacking it. If you think your interceptor is going to get destroyed you can order it to withdraw, and that's it.

Via research, you can unlock one-time use power-ups that give you what are basically different options during the fight. They must still be constructed. These alter your ship's offense and defense in effect, and do who knows what else. I've never actually used any though I have unlocked one or two.

And as of now I have 3 power-ups, two of which Shykin mentioned in the comments:

  1. Accuracy - next two shots hit
  2. Dodge - next two enemy shots miss
  3. Boost - speeds up the intercepter while in pursuit (5 more seconds to shoot down the UFO before it escapes).
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The accuracy one make the next two shots a guarenteed hit and the defense one makes the next two shots from the enemy miss. –  Shykin Oct 10 '12 at 20:32
    
Those boosts can make a huge difference, too. With one of each (Aim, Dodge) my otherwise vanilla interceptor was (barely) able to take down a large UFO. They require alien corpses, though, and while Aim is cheap money-wise, the other two are not. –  gkimsey Oct 11 '12 at 15:18
    
The "boost" boost gives you five more seconds to shoot down the UFO before it escapes...it's useful if you don't have the firepower to take down the UFO before the timer runs out, but do have enough durability in your interceptor to survive that long...which is a fairly rare situation. –  Theodore Murdock Nov 25 '13 at 20:42
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