XANA's tactics and schemes on the virtual world
| ||III. XANA's tactics and schemes on the Virtual World|
We won't be treating towers as an element of an attack on this page. You can revisit the first page dealing with XANA's objectives or the second talking about its attacks on Earth. So I'll just quickly remind you that towers are data and energy banks that are connected to all the electrical networks on Earth and allow XANA to launch attacks on Earth, through spectres! I'll also note that sometimes, tower activations aren't done for the attack itself, but for other more petty goals, notably luring Aelita to Lyoko.
Here, we will explore all of XANA's activities and possibilities, as well as all the aspects and stakes of the battles on the virtual world that are at the heart of the series.
[Quick access] [Defending infected towers] [Defending Carthage] [From the Digital Sea to the Replikas: the network war] [Aggressive action on Lyoko] [Conclusion]
Defending infected towers
"Attack confirmed! XANA's activated a tower!"
#54 Lyoko Minus One
"XANA is sending you some monsters. How original can you get?"
#54 Lyoko Minus One
The foremost tactic XANA uses to protect towers it activates is the monsters it produces and sends in small or large numbers! As such, these monsters can be found close to the towers that dot Lyoko's landscape, preparing to hound Aelita or lying in wait for the heroes!
For more information, consult the “Monsters” section!
The monsters XANA uses on the Surface Sectors are Kankrelats, Hornets, Bloks, Krabs and Megatanks, as well as Tarantulas, which join the shock troops in episode 2 “New Order”. Of course, the Scyphozoa is never far behind!
Most of the time, XANA places its monsters around a tower, like a sort of barrage. Sometimes, they can be hiding behind the surrounding rocks (episode 5 “Big Bug”).
The faster monsters such as Krabs and especially Hornets have more of a tendency to charge forward to meet the heroes and harass them all along the route leading to the activated tower (episode 21 “Zero Gravity Zone”).
So, the monsters shoot at the heroes to devirtualise them, but they occasionally use other methods, such as freezing them in ice or crushing them (episode 63 “Triple Trouble”)! In season 1, Aelita was their primary target; in season 2, they leave her for the Scyphozoa!
Even in episodes when XANA only uses its monsters, it's not necessarily a good sign, because it can mobilise entire armies of them, like Hornets in episode 21 “Zero Gravity Zone”, Kankrelats in episode 59 “The Secret” and obviously Krabs in episode 35 “The Chips Are Down”.
Even though their absence of personalities doesn't make them characters per se, XANA's monsters are present in every episode of the series, and XANA couldn't conquer Lyoko without its armies of monsters!
From the moment when William is reduced to XANA's slave, he often takes his place at the head of the ground troops, organising the monsters, taking part in combat or supervising it like during episode 75 “Hot Shower”.
He's much more adept at defending the towers as he is the only member of XANA's armies that can enter them, as he showed us in episode 76 “The Lake”.
- Games with Lyoko's parameters
"It's XANA! He's changing the slope of the plateau. Better hang on tight!"
When the Lyoko Warriors are running wild and the monsters are exhausted, XANA must change the balance of power and to do that, the solution is simple: it must change the rules of combat through a variety of procedures unique to each Sector.
XANA excels in the art of manipulating Lyoko's parameters, and even though XANA isn't the one responsible every time, the heroes sometimes find themselves in a precarious position after one of the program's bluffs.
Take for example episode 4 “Log Book”. To complicate the heroes' task, XANA firstly begins a sandstorm in the Desert Sector. The situation becomes difficult: the heroes' visibility is hampered, and they must advance slowly and stick close together so they aren't separated. Worse still, the storm plays to the advantage of the monsters, who know the heroes' position while they can't see the enemy, and are at the mercy of its lasers! Aside from the threat of monsters, the Digital Void is also a deadly danger for those who can't see where they're going!
These tactics being insufficient and the heroes getting closer to the tower, XANA adds to the unusual phenomena by fracturing the entire platform the heroes are on into smaller pieces. They find themselves separated on minuscule platforms, and their room to dodge and move becomes limited. Luckily, Aelita gets them out using her Creativity, easily escaping isolation.
XANA reuses the idea of hindering the heroes' field of vision in the Mountain Sector, where it spreads a digital fog that prevents Yumi and Aelita from seeing what's in front of their noses! The situation is made tighter by the Hornets facing the heroines, which are already hard enough to see under normal conditions, and completely invisible in the fog.
Jeremy manages to guide Yumi and Aelita with difficulty using his screens; the situation remains tender because the slightest mistake spells a fall into the Digital Sea!
Here the fog is generated by a tower and is lifted when the tower is deactivated (episode 47 “Tip-Top Shape”).
Back to the Desert Sector, XANA prepares another surprise for our heroes in episode 11 “Plagued”. While the battle wages, the heroes notice, surprised, the Krabs digging their claws into the ground. Suddenly, XANA makes the whole plateau go vertical!
Although Odd manages to do some acrobatics to make his way up the resulting cliff face, it's Aelita's Creativity that saves the heroes from plunging into the digital ocean by making an outgrowth of rocks for the heroes to land on.
The situation isn't won yet however, as the Krabs on the cliff can climb on it without difficulty, and machine-gun the heroes until they devirtualise. XANA once again places the odds in its beasts' favour!
A minor modification this time, still in the Desert, in episode 2 “Seeing is Believing” during which XANA camouflages the route from one plateau to another by covering it up with a surface of digital water. Odd sees through the deception by throwing a rock into the false oasis, and the heroes simply have to jump through the layer of water to reach the platform below, and land in front of the tower! Seemingly harmless, but this type of trickery is heavy with consequences when the heroes' time is ticking because a power plant is about to blow up!
The largest parameter modification that XANA has executed to this day (not counting the destruction of the Sectors, of course) takes place in episode 55 “Tidal Wave”, when XANA launches...a tidal wave!
The program launches a bug that quickly raises the level of the Digital Sea. With this done, the heroes are incapable of entering the tower XANA activated, as it is submerged in the Digital Sea. So they must head to Carthage to debug the sea. When you witness later parts of their adventure, this attack becomes more clear: XANA must have opened the airlock at Lyoko's exit (through which the Skid passes) and modified the parameters to allow more water to enter.
Although this doesn't come into the context of tower protection, we should emphasise that we realise that, when XANA takes control of the heroes (see the lower paragraph “Xanafication on Lyoko and code XANA”), it is clearly capable of boosting the potential of their respective weapons!
The heroes have loads of fun in episode 49 “Franz Hopper” during which a false Hopper sends them to Lyoko and gives them weapons that make them invincible: they hone in on enemies, destroy several of them in one shot, Ulrich's sabre can even throw energy waves! On the other hand, the heroes do not enjoy it when the false Hopper reveals its true identity (a XANA clone) and suppresses the heroes' weapons, forcing them to fight with their bare hands.
In episode 62 “Nobody in Particular”, XANA takes control of Ulrich's virtual envelope and gives his sabre the ability to fire a wave of green energy.
The worst example comes in episode 65 “Final Round” when, after taking control of William, XANA reinforces his weapon, allowing him to throw a kind of energy disc that devirtualises in a single hit. Aelita then Odd fall victim to it.
Still on the topic of controlling the heroes, when XANA takes control of Aelita, it proves to be adept at using her Creativity, for example to isolate herself and the Scyphozoa behind a wall of ice (episode 32 “Saint Valentine's Day”)...
I end this subsection by mentioning the effects of Supercomputer bugs on Lyoko combat. They occur when XANA damages the Supercomputer. The effects are rather funny: a vehicle may disappear, causing a hero to fall, or a whole part of a Sector can begin to blink and even disappear temporarily (episode 56 “False Lead”). During fights, many comical situations arise from bugs: sometimes, a hero is frozen in the middle of an action, other times, they disappear and reappear right in front of a monster! Our Lyoko Warriors can also find themselves in black and white, or their weapon going through monsters without damaging them, like in episode 61 “Sabotage”!
Let's not lose sight of the fact that these effects are independent of XANA's will, as it also affects its monsters (in episode 83 “Superstition”, the machine is affected by a Mandelbug that neither XANA nor Jeremy can ignore), nevertheless, the virus comes out on top, because the bugs hugely slow the heroes down, but XANA likes to play for time...
Again and always a BUT! There are times when XANA uses the computer to really create bugs. In episode 64 “Double Trouble”, Odd and Yumi receive a bug that makes them fizzle and stops them from hitting or being hit by monsters, making them absolutely useless on the ground. Jeremy repairs this bug from the computer terminal.
We conclude by remarking that XANA knows how to launch phenomena in the Digital Sea (firewall from episode 75 “Hot Shower”) or on its Replikas (crushing ring in episode 87 “A Space Oddity”). However, it doesn't do this very often.
- Concealing towers
"Look! It looks like the entrance to an ice cave!"
The basis of an attack is the activation of a tower, and the end of an attack is the deactivation of a tower! This principle is very simple to understand, but it implicates another: the more well hidden the towers are, the more likely the attack is to succeed!
XANA is aware of this and plays on it when it activates the most well-hidden towers on Lyoko! Of course, the fact that they're well-hidden doesn't depend on XANA, however, it largely knows how to exploit this advantage and defends this type of tower quite easily. The longer the heroes have to search, the more time XANA has to mobilise its monsters.
The Ice Sector is reigning champion of this type of tower. The vast expanse of ice is very rich in grottoes, secret passages and hidden areas.
The first example we have is in episode 9 “Satellite” where XANA activates a tower that is located inside a grotto, behind a waterfall! Aelita spots it just before Yumi is hit by a military satellite.
The activated tower in episode 41 “Ultimatum” is even more camouflaged, as it is situated inside an iceberg and is only accessible through a gap at the summit of this mini ice mountain. When three Tarantulas are guarding the entrance, getting through to the passage becomes an arduous task, even impossible without a vehicle.
In the Ice Sector, XANA has also created a false tower, beside the real one! Imagine Aelita's thoughts in episode 8 “End of Take” at the moment she finds herself faced with two identical towers and with the lives of her friends in danger! Luckily her female intuition, more developed than in episode 64 “Double Take”, allows her to choose the right tower.
In the Mountain Sector, we also find a tower hidden behind a labyrinth that's impossible to navigate in Jeremy's absence. In episode 15 “Laughing Fit”, Odd and Aelita wander the labyrinth before one of the catboy's visions allows them to discover the exit to the activated tower.
In the Mountains, the towers aren't too difficult to find, but they're hard to reach! They're often found on an isolated platform, only accessible by jumping on other platforms...that are moving! One small mistake and our heroes know the consequences: a fall into the Digital Sea.
XANA activates towers in this style in episodes 18 “Killer Music”, 20 “The Robots” and 23 “Rock Bottom?”. The arrival of the vehicles relieves the heroes of this type of danger.
Another of XANA's schemes, which can also be considered as playing with Lyoko's parameters, consists of rendering the tower and the environment surrounding it invisible. XANA does this in episode 40 “Attack of the Zombies”. Aelita manages to find the tower thanks to a sort of 6th sense and Yumi transports her to it with her telekinesis, before realising that XANA hadn't made the ground around the tower disappear, merely turn it invisible... Later, XANA reuses the phenomenon and accentuates it with Krabs stopping the heroes from finding the tower straight away. When one of Aelita's shots misses an enemy and hits the tower, covering it in her energy field's signature pink energy waves, it instantly becomes visible (episode 74 “I'd Rather Not Talk About It”).
The best-hidden tower and the hardest to access is the one in Carthage.
It's right to talk about this tower, because it remains standout among them all. You should consult the “Places” section for more information, but the undeniable advantage of this tower is that, not only did the heroes not know it existed until XANA used it during one of the most dangerous attacks it had ever launched, but even the Superscan couldn't pick up this 41st Lyoko tower! So it allowed XANA to launch surprise and invisible attacks (episode 49 “Franz Hopper”).
With Lyoko's destruction, it remains cloaked in mystery... We don't know if it's still present in the Sector 5 Aelita and Jeremy reprogrammed!
However, the best way to make a tower invisible to the heroes remains to attack the Superscan directly, so that the heroes can't use it to localise the activated tower and, like in episode 48 “Is Anybody Out There?” will be forced to search for the tower throughout the four Surface Sectors.
- Tower pressure, activations and non-deactivations
"Unbelievable! The tower just deactivated by itself! I don't get this at all!"
#45 Cold War
Season 2 and the seasons that followed clearly tore apart the daily grind of tower activations and deactivations, because XANA learns to use its toys in a more subtle fashion.
And so we'll continue to talk about special cases in this paragraph.
Let's start by discussing multiple tower activations. This phenomenon doesn't immediately occur in the series, because it took time for XANA to gain enough power to access this ability.
The first time it happens, it's during episode 47 “Tip-Top Shape”. For the first time, XANA activates a fist tower to Xanafy Yolanda. Jeremy then activates a tower of his own, but the genius's intervention turns into a fiasco when XANA infects the tower and takes control of it from the boy after a struggle! Aelita takes care of deactivating this tower first, but nevertheless, this episode marks the first time two towers shone with a red halo at the same time.
The series of multiple activations continues quickly as two episodes on (episode 49 “Franz Hopper”), Jeremy calls Yumi in a panic. Not two towers have been activated, but five! Arriving at the factory, the heroes discover the clone of Franz Hopper sent by XANA, which wins their trust and deactivates the towers from Jeremy's terminal.
Later, the group finds out that the man they thought was an ally is one of XANA's spectres, when they discover the tower in Sector 5.
So it wasn't five towers that XANA infected simultaneously, counting the one in Carthage, that makes six!
At the moment when XANA seizes the Keys to Lyoko, all the towers activate to allow the program to escape and infest the global information network! As Hopper saved Aelita using the towers, XANA quickly lost control...
After that, to this day XANA hasn't activated more than one tower at a time, but we still don't know if multiple activations would allow it to launch multiple attacks on Earth...
There have been three occasions on which the heroes haven't been able to deactivate a tower. Sometimes, there hasn't been any need to because the heroes were able to contain or overcome the attack XANA launched on Earth. As such, we've learned that XANA can generate new attacks from a tower.
During their very first mission in “XANA Awakens”, the Lyoko Warriors didn't know that the red tower was activated by XANA, and didn't try to get Aelita into it. On the other hand, they took care of the electrical cables that XANA took control of on Earth. We then find out that even though the attack was overcome, the tower still burns red, giving XANA the opportunity to launch another offensive: a huge ball of electricity that pursues the heroes!
This event alerts the 5 friends, who then make deactivating the towers their primary objective in the war. One time, a tower stayed activated all throughout an episode! It was in episode 30 “A Great Day”. XANA took control of the Return to the Past program and launched them over and over, hampering the heroes' actions. After launching the second Return to the Past, XANA uses its tower for a new offensive: xanafying Sissi! The student remains under the virus's control up until the tower is finally deactivated.
The only episode in which we don't see Aelita take back control of an infected tower is episode 24 “Ghost Channel”. The XANA attack in this episode takes place on Lyoko with the creation of a virtual bubble! As Aelita destroyed this evil concoction, deactivating the tower no longer held any interest.
We finally note that in another episode, XANA suffers from trying to use this cowardly technique. It's in episode 75 “Hot Shower”. XANA tries to hold the keep the heroes in the Skid on the network, and directs a meteorite towards the factory and Kadic. Managing to escape the traps in the Digital Sea, the 5 heroes must however fight the defence troops around the tower, composed of William and Tarantulas. Aelita then makes a master stroke! She orders the others to devirtualise her. This done, XANA finds itself trapped: needing the girl alive to lure out Franz Hopper, it can't allow the factory she's in to be destroyed. And so the program destroys the meteorite before devirtualising its monsters and relenting control of the tower it had infected.
"Why don't we explore the mysterious new Sector we discovered? (...) But what if there's something else there? Like information about XANA. We have to go back."
- Carthage's monsters
"Destroy it! That 'thing' is taking away Aelita's memory!"
#28 Unchartered Territory
Like how certain monsters defend the Surface Sectors, others, Creepers in particular, are the guardians of Sector 5, the key, the tunnels and the interface!
The heroes never make it to the interface without being harassed by monsters along the way, sometimes manifesting in real packs! Creepers are particularly comfortable in Carthage because they're adept at climbing on all surfaces and can come out of nowhere, which makes them unpredictable. Unlike the Surface Sectors, in Carthage, XANA always seems to have reserves.
Mantas as mainly in charge of guarding the Celestial Dome, but they can go outside Carthage or into the Core Chamber. To defend the interface, the very last attack two of them team up to use is very worrying indeed, because it makes Odd and Ulrich go completely crazy on Earth (episode 60 “Temporary Insanity”)! However we more often see the beautiful winged creatures defending the Carthage interface by coming out of the digital sky.
The Scyphozoa is also an omnipresent danger of Sector 5.
See the “Monsters” section for more details!
After XANA's escape onto the network, in episode 52 “The Key”, the monsters of Carthage only come out to launch attacks, either against the Core or the Skid.
- Defending the key
"Key in sight."
#53 Straight to Heart
Defending the key is imperative when XANA wants to stop the heroes from nosing about in its affairs. And for good reason: if the key isn't activated within the space of three minutes after the heroes leave the Arena, the entire topology of Sector 5 will change tremendously and the heroes are forced to flee without getting devirtualised by being crushed between two blue blocks. Yumi can testify what it's like to be devirtualised in such a way (episode 48 “Is Anybody Out There?”).
We don't know if XANA is responsible for the obstacles that the heroes meet, or if Carthage is simply a high-security zone of Lyoko! The multi-agent program probably still holds some control over everything that brews within the heart of the virtual world. In episode 28 “Unchartered Territory”, the countdown doesn't start when Aelita arrives in Carthage, but only when the Lyoko Warriors enter for the first time. Did the master of the world arrange this?
What's certain is that although defence is usually carried out by using monsters, XANA knows how to use good strategies to prevent activation.
One of the most efficient tactics remains hiding the key itself, so that the heroes have to find it among a labyrinth of rooms! In this case, Jeremy can give them a hand by guiding them from the computer.
The heroes are often confronted by a room that's in perpetual movement, which demands skill and speed to reach the key. Climbing and jumping abilities are on the menu! Large columns also sometimes fall on the heroes from the ceiling, forcing them to be quick in order to avoid going splat (episode 34 “Missing Link”)! Isn't that right, Odd?
The key is sometimes positioned so that only one member of the team can access it. It can be found up high, accessible only to a cat with sharp claws, or it can be at the end of a beam, in which case Yumi's tightrope walker talents are required.
XANA knows how to be original, and in episode 29 “Exploration”, it creates a room full of laser beams (taking away 10 life points per contact), forcing Yumi to play secret agent to dodge them all and get through before time runs out. In episode 42 “A Fine Mess”, XANA modifies the gravity in a room. The heroes must fight tooth and nail to reach a key by floating through the air! Once again, this strategy gives the Scyphozoa a clean advantage, as it floats.
If the heroes don't activate the key, escape seems to be their only solution, however the consequences can be even worse. Aelita for example can be caught alone at the mercy of the Scyphozoa. Interesting for XANA to know...
As for defence of Carthage's tower, monsters take care of that like they would in any other Sector.
We'll also note that although the key slows the heroes down during XANA's first attacks on the Core, after episode 65 “Final Round”, when Jeremy recreated Lyoko, the procedure was removed, sounding the end to XANA's stranglehold on Carthage.
On the other hand, on Replikas of Sector 5, the keys are still present and possess multiple functions, allowing the heroes to stop phenomena launched by XANA, such as the crushing ring around the Skid (episode 87 “A Space Oddity”).
- The missing link
"I thought that XANA had given Aelita a virus, so I've been looking for an antivirus. But thanks to Franz Hopper's diary, I finally understand: XANA didn't give her anything at all. In fact, he took something from her. It's a fragment that belongs to her. I've located it in Sector 5."
#52 The Key
Everyone has seen the famous season 2 finale episode: “The Key”? Yes?
In this episode, Carthage is once again the stage for important events in the series. Jeremy, brimming from his discovery that Aelita never had a virus, learns of the existence of Aelita's missing link; what is preventing her from being completely human.
He thinks he's located it in Carthage, in a room where XANA hid it. He doesn't even realise that he could be falling head first into a huge trap set by the virus!
After activating the key and going down into the bowels of Carthage, the heroes discover a large room, with a long bridge leading to the fake missing link. This room is actually the place where XANA intends to get rid of Ulrich, Odd and Yumi before taking Aelita's memory! And there we find XANA in greater form than ever!
In this episode, we discover XANA's ultimate mastery of Sector 5. Firstly, it sends out waves upon waves of Creepers, replacing each one lost with a new troop, riding over on blue blocks. Makes me think of the Battle of Verdun!
Finally, to get rid of the survivors and isolate Aelita, XANA launches a huge power grab: the whole room falls into disarray, demolishing the path, collapsing the ceiling, all creating a staggering rain of blue blocks. XANA achieves its goal, the Scyphozoa can make its entrance!
- The Celestial Dome
"What can Yumi be doing? We have to get some data out of Sector 5!"
#34 Missing Link
The Celestial Dome's defence is less elaborate than that of Carthage's interior, which is funny because the exterior is where the interface and the entrance to the Core Chamber are situated. But after all, to reach the exterior, you need to pass through the interior!
As previously stated, monsters account for most of the Celestial Dome's defences. At first, it's especially left up to Mantas, which are generated directly from the digital sky in trios.
Nevertheless, in episode 55 “Tidal Wave” we did see a Creeper come to attack Aelita; this is the one and only time we've seen this creature being born (and a rather pretty event, too!). Finally, although it doesn't really come as a surprise, the Scyphozoa has also been out there, once, to get Aelita while she was working on the interface (episode 46 “Déjà Vu”).
One of the more subtle tactics XANA has used to defend its beloved interface is the one used in episode 30 “A Great Day”. During this episode, XANA astutely placed booby-trapped data in the interface and through it, while the heroes were excited to have gathered data, XANA was able to hack into the Supercomputer and access programs that it was blocked from, such as...the Return to the Past!
Protecting the entrance to the Core Chamber is pretty useless, as the valve opens and closes nonstop, creating a fatal danger. A few Mantas to polish and there you have it!
In short, XANA doesn't like that Carthage can be considered a playground, and it lets this be known! Since its escape into the network, XANA is still more preoccupied with attacking Carthage, and since the recreation of Lyoko in episode 66 “William Returns”, XANA loses control of it to Jeremy's benefit.
However... XANA fights its last battle in the Celestial Dome. Aelita is brought there to use the vast capabilities offered by the interface in the Dome to launch Jeremy's program. So XANA deploys Mantas to itercept her. Franz Hopper joins the mêlée to transmit needed energy to the heroes. Although XANA had the joy of getting rid of its creator, it couldn't stop the program from being activated and exterminating the virus everywhere it was.
From the Digital Sea to the Replikas: the network war
"You guys are way low on energy. We're going to have to abort the mission now. (...) you still have too far to go. And with XANA harassing us all the time, it's way too dangerous."
#86 Canine Conundrum
- The Replikas
"I'm just worried about this Lyoko copy.
If there's one out there, it...means there's also another supercomputer infected with XANA somewhere else on Earth."
Replikas are bubbles containing Virtual Worlds, similar to Lyoko, but smaller, as they only contain one Sector. Created by XANA, they are entirely under its control, except for the towers, which can still be deactivated with the code LYOKO.
In this paragraph, we are just going to establish the outline of the Replikas' functionality, explaining their creation and the rules that govern them, and finally the actions that take place there when the heroes come to play.
A Replika possesses several towers, just like a Sector of Lyoko. Nevertheless, there are three types of tower that enter the game when the heroes are exploring and attacking a Replika. Contrary to what you would logically think, XANA has never used a Replika tower to launch an attack on Kadic or its surrounds. It only uses Replikas to defend the supercomputers it possesses around the world, or take control of things to help create an army (machines, scientists, etc.).
Indeed, the primary role of Replikas is to allow XANA to create an army from different points on the globe. To read more about this role and the reasons behind it, revisit the previous page. Let's move on to the three types of towers.
The Lyoko Warriors only deactivate towers of the 3rd category. In this case, XANA will obviously protect the tower in question, but this is done in the same way it protects towers on Lyoko, so there's no need to discuss it, it was already detailed in the first part!
- The tower to which the Skid anchors and will be linked to the vessel's role (details lower down).
- The activated tower that allows armies to be created on Earth (this can range from controlling an assembly line in New Mexico (episode 83 “Hard Luck”) to xanafying scientists in the Amazon (episode 78 “Lab Rat”).
- A tower that XANA eventually activates to threaten the Lyoko Warriors trying to reach and destroy the supercomputer.
When it comes to using Replikas themselves, at the peak of the series, whenever it needs to, XANA uses all the energy from its Replikas to create its most powerful monster: the Kolossus.
The birth of this creature is clearly linked to the Replikas. Although it's not clearly signified, its goal is to stop the heroes from setting foot on the Replikas and having the time to Teleport and destroy the supercomputer generating the Replika. Its advantage? It's almost indestructible, devirtualises the heroes in a single move, covers long distances quickly. However, its striking force is what makes it a formidable monster: it can destroy the Skidbladnir in a single hit, putting an end to a Teleportation and the vessel's life, whose stakes are explained below.
- The Skidbladnir's stakes
"For you, Daddy..."
#71 Maiden Voyage
The Skidbladnir has two main stakes:
This machine is therefore the heart of the network war and the heroes' main trump card.
- It allows the heroes to reach Replikas by traversing the network (symbolised by the Digital Sea).
- It is the door to Teleportation and destroying supercomputers infected by XANA.
XANA begins by trying to destroy the Skid on Lyoko. Quite simply, if it's destroyed on Lyoko, the heroes no longer have access to the network and will take months to get their ship back, as Jeremy stipulates in episode 70 “Skidbladnir”.
When Aelita and Jeremy baptise the Skidbladnir, in episode 70 of the same name, they also code it a hangar situated in the north of Sector 5, with an exit into the Celestial Dome. Even though it no longer lives on Lyoko, XANA doesn't let this new threat come without a fight, and tries to put an end to the tiresome virtual submarine.
To do this, it makes two attempts.
The first time, it sends its elite squadron: William, Creepers and Mantas, Oddly named XANA's Air Force! During this offensive, the Skidbladnir was only in the construction phase and would have easily succumbed to repeated attacks from the monsters and William's heavy sword. Luckily, Aelita saved it with a well-aimed energy field.
The second time, while the heroes were dealing with an attack to trap them on an island, XANA once again calls on its masterpiece of a monstrosity: the Scyphozoa. The ingenious program has it drain the vessel's energy through its tentacles, and so the Scyphozoa sets to work vampirising the Skid until it's destroyed. This time, a program made by Aelita and Jeremy saves the vessel by rerouting energy from the 4 Way Towers into the ship's shields, boosting them and carbonising the Scyphozoa's tentacles.
These two attempts therefore ended in failure.
The second place XANA tries to take care of the vessel is within the Digital Sea. For this, it firstly uses its aquatic monsters: Kongres and Sharks. By firing at the submarine, the monsters hope to destroy the vessel, and in doing so, put an end to its occupants. Nonetheless, the monsters prove too weak faced with the heroes' Navskid torpedoes!
XANA still doesn't give up; it creates a monster specialised in submarine destruction, a dangerous Kraken named Kalamar (translation: Squid). This monster, visible in action in episode 88 “Cousins Once Removed”, is armed with a powerful drill, which can perforate the Skidbladnir's windscreen. The monster also falls to the heroes' torpedoes and fails in its attempt. (See the “Monsters” section for more details.) However, we can still highlight the fact that destroying the Skid in the middle of the Digital Sea is a sensible idea, because it would force Franz Hopper to show himself to desperately try and save his daughter.
Finally, also within the Digital Sea, XANA places William on board a vessel named the Rorkal (translation: Whale), discovered in episode 77 “Lost at Sea”. Let's be honest, William doesn't really excel the most at the commands of this machine, and the results of fights in the Digital Sea remain in the Lyoko Warriors' corner.
Even the firewall phenomenon that XANA used to block the Skid is no match for the pugnacious machine and its genius designers.
But in the end, it's on the Replikas themselves that XANA threatens the Skid the most. It set the tone since the heroes' arrival on a Forest Replika (episode 73 “Replika”) by welcoming the machine with a Megatank laser. From then on, the heroes anchor directly to a tower and several options become open to XANA.
And so the Skid was at the heart of all the stakes of the network war. Its destruction spelt the end of it, and the multi-agent program destroyed the Replikas created by XANA once and for all.
- The usual monsters that can fire at the Skid. Damaging it can impair the link the Skid holds with the anchor tower and cancel the Teleportation. If the vessel is destroyed and the heroes are still Teleported, they risk disappearing altogether. For this reason, some heroes always stay to bodyguard their vessel.
- William is also available. The XANA Warrior can obviously attack the vessel. Nevertheless, in an emergency, XANA has left him a very useful function: he can enter the towers on a Replika, and, like Aelita, enter the code XANA. This has the effect of placing the tower activated by Jeremy under XANA's control and immediately disrupting the link between it and the Skid, stopping the Teleportation at a crucial moment (episode 78 “Lab Rat”). (Note: code XANA has some other uses explained in the last part)
- The Kolossus is the monster created to remedy the Skid problem. It does it with verve, reducing the machine to scrap in episode 93 “Down to Earth”.
- But like on Lyoko, XANA has the possibility of creating phenomena to destroy the Skid. In episode 87 “A Space Oddity”, it encloses the Skid in a constricting ring that would have crushed the Skid after surpassing its shields. Thus Ulrich had to traverse the Replika of Carthage and activate a key to abort the procedure.
Aggressive action on Lyoko
|"It's a very dangerous procedure, with serious side-effects... Cellular degeneration..."|
#49 Franz Hopper
- Attacks against the group and Aelita on Lyoko
"XANA's monsters can prove fatal to you! You can't be devirtualised or you'll disappear forever! Oh no, Odd's lost fifty life points already!"
In theory, a virtualisation can only be dangerous if it's directly above the Digital Sea or the scanners are disconnected mid-transfer... However...
XANA has managed to harm the heroes while they're on Lyoko, in virtual form! So begins the interrogation: how did it do this?
XANA is always clever at inventing evil procedures, however we can easily see that messing with Lyoko's parameters is difficult for XANA. To harm the heroes on the virtual world, it doesn't have a lot of options available.
Firstly it can turn to its monsters, and one in particular: the Scyphozoa. We especially know it for the way it comes after Aelita, in order to steal her memory and bring about her death. Even though her body remains intact, rematerialisation would only bring Aelita back as an empty shell. It's very hard to escape the horrible monster on your own, especially when XANA is determined. In episodes 28 “Unchartered Territory” and 46 “Déjà Vu”, it sends the Transporter to Aelita so that the girl will be isolated within Carthage, whether she likes it or not.
However, the Scyphozoa is a very multi-purpose monster, as Yumi discovers firsthand in episode 34 “Missing Link”. During this episode, the monster steals a DNA sequence code from Yumi, transmitting it directly to the interface in Carthage. This done, the geisha becomes as vulnerable as Aelita because she can't be rematerialised! A devirtualisation would be fatal. Luckily for our Yumi, her missing link is returned to her following a trip to Sector 5.
The Scyphozoa can also xanafy people on Lyoko, as explained below.
Another monster who can get to the heroes on Lyoko, but this time it's more of a surprise: the Manta! More precisely, two Mantas!
During episode 60 “Temporary Insanity”, two of these flying monsters stick stomach-to-stomach to fire a sinister red laser at Odd and Ulrich! The heroes are astounded as a red aura envelops them, and the two are soon brutally devirtualised! The effects don't manifest immediately, however we won't drag it out: the roommates find themselves with a serious case of temporary insanity!
They go completely crazy and believe they're on Lyoko when they're on Earth, mistaking a nurse for a Blok and Jim for a Krab! And vice versa, back on Lyoko, they believe they're on Earth and try to chat with a Tarantula. The monster not being much for conversation, Aelita arduously guides the two friends to a Way Tower in order to “debug” them.
XANA can also use Jeremy's computer to remove the safety nets surrounding virtualisation. It's a very sadistic action but in episode 35 “The Chips Are Down”, Nicolas is xanafied and steals Jeremy's place at the terminal. The student not only uses the terminal to suppress the heroes' powers (such as Yumi's gymnastic abilities), but he also modifies certain parameters so that the heroes feel real pain from the impacts they receive, exactly as if they were in the real world... Not a simple thing when you need to confront an army of Krabs!
In episode 22 “Routine”, it's even worse because XANA infects the Supercomputer itself to prevent all possibility of the heroes rematerialising (see the XANA on Earth page for more details).
Now a little mention of the fabled episode 24 “Ghost Channel”. Everything takes place on Lyoko in this episode of season 1, where XANA launches its most twisted and thought-out plot!
At the moment of a Return to the Past, XANA creates a virtual bubble to imprison Odd, Yumi and Ulrich. In this bubble the program simulates a world which perfectly imitates the one in which the heroes exist! Thus they are held prisoner at XANA's mercy, and don't even know it!
What's more, within the bubble, all the characters are at XANA's orders and keep an eye on the three captives, while XANA itself incarnates the Jeremy of the false world. It tries to send the heroes into the scanners of the parallel world in order to erase them definitively.
Jeremy virtualises in the catastrophic bubble to stop XANA from reaching its goal, and Aelita destroys the false world thanks to her Creativity, sending Jeremy back into the scanners and bringing the Lyoko Warriors back to Lyoko.
And XANA gave us a nice surprise when it reused this scheme in episode 82 “Distant Memory”. It created a virtual bubble, once again on the Ice Sector. It then sent Aelita a message, signed Franz Hopper, asking her to come to Lyoko, all in order to throw her into the Digital Sea (see below).
Let's hope that XANA doesn't have such great ideas every day!
The last target XANA really tries to eliminate on Lyoko, as he resides there, is Franz Hopper. Prisoner on Lyoko for reasons unknown to us, the scholar has been in hiding since the start of the adventure. When Lyoko disappeared (episode 65 “Final Round”), we learned that he could hide himself in the Network.
Having destroyed Lyoko, incessantly fighting the Lyoko Warriors and preparing its army of robots for world domination, Franz Hopper is XANA's last major priority. Its creator is the only thing that can rival it on Lyoko in terms of power. As he can't rematerialise, XANA just has to damage his virtual envelope enough to blow him into oblivion, and the program even tries to kill Hopper using the Kolossus in episode 94 “Fight to the Finish”.
It's for this reason that as soon as Lyoko is recreated (episode 66 “William Returns”), XANA once again comes after Aelita and tries to throw her into the Digital Sea. Indeed, the series villain couldn't get rid of Franz Hopper while he was in hiding. And it predicted that the only reason he would appear was to save his daughter's life. As such, by throwing her into the Digital Sea, Franz Hopper would be forced to come get her and place her on solid ground, as he did in episode 82 “Distant Memory”. After that, all that's left is to shoot at him until he dies.
And so Aelita is still harassed by XANA and especially William, trying to make her take the big plunge. With Supersmoke, William can move Aelita easily, which makes him a formidable adversary. We note that William always remains on his guard. In episode 84 “Guided Missile”, he comes up behind Aelita and takes her while the monsters are defending the tower and distracting the other Lyoko Warriors. In episode 85 “Kadic Bombshell”, Aelita only goes to Lyoko to do surveillance until Jeremy can repair the damage caused by Odd and his girl of the day, and yet, as soon as she set virtual foot on Lyoko, monsters were all over her, quickly joined by the XANA Warrior.
XANA overcomes Franz Hopper while the man was out of his hiding place, come to help the heroes by giving energy and allowing them to launch a multi-agent program to kill XANA. Neither survived...
"XANA's trying to gain control of the tower. Abort the mission! Stop decoding and come back to Earth!"
Although in season 1 the heroes could only deal with XANA's attacks, they later start launching their own offensives, often by going to dig through the interface in Sector 5, but also by activating towers, etc...
Defending Carthage is already described above, however we're going to see that XANA possesses other means of bothering the heroes in their undertakings on the virtual world.
Firstly, towers. Although they're activated by XANA most of the time, Jeremy discovered that he, too, could activate them. Once the activation is in effect, multiple more interesting possibilities become available to the genius, such as decrypting Franz Hopper's journal, jeremifying Odd, or even creating a polymorphic clone to hide William's absence at Kadic! None of that is good news for XANA!
To remedy this, it's a sort of arm wrestle between Jeremy and the program: XANA tries to wrestle control of the green-haloed tower back to itself. It's undeniable that XANA benefits from an uncontested superiority over Jeremy in this respect:
The four times the student has risked activating a tower, XANA has managed to take back control of it.
When he recreated Lyoko, Jeremy was able to access Carthage's data and defend towers by rerouting energy [bit missing here ha] XANA was able to xanafy him on Earth one last time in episode 94 “Fight to the Finish” although he had already been virtualised.
So all the rules can be contradicted in terms of xanafication...
|In season 4, XANA's action methods all tally together, so it's not evident that you'll find all the information in certain points, because they're scattered throughout the page.|
Also for more synthesised information
Of course, if certain points seem to merit a case-by-case examination, the episode references will quickly tell you where to look in our guide!
- On William, a page is entirely dedicated to XANA-possessed William
- On the Scyphozoa and the Kolossus, you can already consult their complete profiles in the Monsters section!