Design by Marty Smith
If you need to be told what Halo is, well, welcome to the sunlit surface world; hopefully you will find it comfortable after living in a cave for the past few years. We call this land America. In it, we have video games, one of which is Halo. Released three years ago as a launch title for the Xbox, Halo told the story of the war between humanity and the Covenant, a collection of races bent on activating an ancient and powerful weapon, which came in the form of the massive ringworld called Halo, for the purpose of fulfilling a religious prophecy. Had they succeeded, they wouldve managed to end all life in the Milky Way, but it was Master Chief who managed to foil their plans, by destroying Halo.
As Halo 2 opens, a new battle erupts, this one beginning with the appearance of a Covenant fleet above Earth itself. Its up to the same cast of characters to repel the Covenant from the planets surface, and in the process discover why theyve come....
Anyone who played Halo 2 will likely be familiar with many of the returning features and vehicles, but dont fret if this is your first introduction to the universe of Halo, because weve got you covered. In this guide, youll find a complete bestiary of the enemies youll encounter, an armory readout on the various weapons in the game, a listing of the vehicles youll drive, and, of course, an exhaustive walk-through for the single-player campaign.
Table of ContentsWeapons
General Combat Tips
The Great Journey
Halo wouldnt be much of a game without some guns, now would it? As with most of the other features in Halo, many of the weapons in Halo 2 are direct repeats of the weapons in Halo, with a few new twists (no scope on the pistol!) and a few new additions.
The biggest new change here is the inclusion of dual-wielding. When you have a single weapon in your hand, you can pick up another and put it into your other hand, but only when both are capable of dual-wielding. You can mix and match weapons, as well; e.g. you can have a Plasma Rifle in one hand, and a Needler in the other. When you have a weapon in each hand, you can fire each individually with either of the trigger buttons, but youre rendered incapable of throwing grenades. Dual-wielding is thus a great method for taking down tough individual targets, like Elites, but when you have to take out large groups of easier foes, like Grunts or Jackals, youll probably be better off sticking with a one-handed weapon and grenades.
USMC (Human) Weaponry
The Battle Rifle is going to be one of your primary killing weapons in Halo 2. It fires a short, three-shot burst with almost no recoil and great accuracy, and has a 2x scope, making it well-suited for zoomed firing against targets at medium range. When you can fire at enemies who arent aware of your presence, headshots become almost trivial, and it can be something of a sniper weapon if you can line up an enemy with the relatively weak zoom. Although powerful, it wont be of much use against Elite shields, so keep another weapon handy to deal with those foes.
M6C Pistol (dual wield)
Halo players are probably going to be inconsolable when they hear this, but its our duty: theres no scope on the pistol. It didnt make a whole lot of sense to have one on the pistol in the first game, so this is an understandable move, but still, its something of a sea change. In the first Halo, the pistol was a fantastic weapon due to its preternatural accuracy, even at long range, making it a combination sniper rifle / close-range blaster, but in Halo 2, its exclusively a weapon of last resort. When dual-wielded, it can be useful against soft targets, like Grunts and Drones, but itll be difficult to even find two of them, let alone enough ammo to keep you topped out.
SMG (dual wield)
A single SMG isnt anything to write home about; although it can put a lot of lead in the air, youll burn through a clip with a few seconds of constant fire, and wont be able to hit anything except at close range due to the massive recoil. When you can pack a pair of SMGs, though, you should be able to take down pretty much anything in your way, up to and including Elites. You will have to get up close and personal, though; to counteract the recoil, slowly press forward on your right analog stick so that your reticule stays on the target.
You wont see the sniper rifle as often as you will the Covenant equivalent, because relatively little of the action takes place in human-controlled territory, but hey; its a sniper rifle! Use it, love it. When you do spot one of these, you can bet that youll have an opportunity to use it at some point in the immediate future, so theyre usually worth picking up.
Although possessed of both a 5x and 10x zoom, the sniper rifle will need to be reloaded after every fourth shot. This shouldnt often be a consideration - if you have to worry about being shot while reloading, you probably shouldnt be using a sniper rifle - but it does generally mean that the beam rifle gets the slight edge in usability, when you have access to both.
Sci-fi or no, Halo wouldnt really be an FPS without some kind of chemical explosive, and thats where the rocket launcher comes in. Its likely the rarest weapon in the game, but when you spot one, youll almost certainly want to pick one up, as its capable of laying waste to multiple enemies at a go, and is hands-down the best weapon to have at your disposal when you have to make a go at an enemy vehicle. (Its appearance in game levels will usually foreshadow the appearance of enemy vehicles, for precisely this reason.)
The main drawback to the RL is that it can only hold two rounds of ammo at a time, and will require a lengthy reloading animation sequence before its ready to fire again. In addition, it can only hold eight or ten rounds of ammo at most, making it something youll probably use in one particularly difficult fight before discarding it in favor of something less situational.
There are two things to always keep in mind when using the rocket launcher. The first is that you can lock on to some targets, including enemy turrets and vehicles. To do so, hover the reticule over your target; the launcher will automatically begin tracking it and fixing a lock. When you get the notification that a lock has been achieved, fire your missile and itll home in and connect automatically; if you fire too soon, youll get a dumb-fire rocket that will streak forward and likely miss, if what youre aiming at is moving. You cant lock on to most enemies, though.
The second thing to remember is that its devestatingly easy to blow yourself to pieces with the launcher, even when you seem to have a clear line of sight to the target. This is especially true when youre peeking out from behind cover; if the cover is on your right side, then youll want to be well clear of it before letting loose. Your teammates are particularly bad about this, especially when they have to duck and cover, but they do get infinite ammo, so you may want to risk trading out a rocket launcher with one shot left to a teammate if youre willing to balance the chance that they might kill themselves with the chance that theyll kill numerous enemies before they go.
The shotgun is another weapon that doesnt appear all that often, although it does crop up a bit more than the rocket launcher. Although the weapons are fairly dissimilar, the closest analogue the shotgun has on the Covenant side of things is the energy blade: both are intended solely for use against targets at melee range, and will be useless against anything at any kind of distance. The shotgun isnt, of course, a melee weapon, but it might as well be, as the spread will be wide enough to merely wing a target if it doesnt take up more than around a quarter of your screen.
It doesnt sound promising, but the shotguns drawbacks have to be weighed against the fact that it deals an insane amount of damage when most of its pellets connect. Most targets will drop after a single shell gets ejected, while Elites will take a pair; one to drop their shields, one to finish them off. (Brutes and Hunters will, of course, require a bit more work.) Still, though, of all the human weapons, this is the one wed like to have at our side if Elites were charging down the hallway at us, as it can quickly overwhelm them, and is thus a good bet in most interior levels. Just be sure to reload after each skirmish, as reloading from empty will take five or six seconds, which is essentially infinite if it takes place while enemies are in the area.
You wont get frag grenades in the same quantities as you will plasma grenades, but theres no need to cry about it; frags generally arent as useful as plasmas will be. Dont get us wrong, we like them, but they just arent as controllable as plasma grenades, and thus arent capable of dealing as much damage.
The basic use here is to throw them into concentrations of enemies; half a second after the grenade hits the ground or a wall, itll blow, sending shrapnel into all nearby enemies. Against soft targets, like Jackals, Grunts, and Drones, this will be instant death at close range, but tougher enemies will shrug off the damage unless the grenade detonates directly underneath them.
Plasma Pistol (dual wield)
Although marginally more useful than the human pistol (and vastly easier to find), you wont be using the plasma pistol very often. Its capable of rapid semi-automatic fire, or can be charged to deliver one massive blow. Even a fully-charged shot will rarely do more than drop an Elites shields, though, making this a weapon of last resort. Against most non-shielded targets, two simultaneous full-charge shots should be fatal, but non-shielded targets can be killed by pretty much any other weapon you come across, making any other weapon you come across preferable to these.
Plasma Rifle (dual wield)
Ye Olde Faithful Plasma Rifle returns from Halo, and is now much improved by the inclusion of dual-wielding. In point of fact, since you can dual-wield plasma rifles, you wont often want to use one by itself. Dual-wielded plasmas are capable of ripping through most enemies, and are often going to be your best chance to kill off Elites; just hold down both trigger buttons until your weapons are on the verge of overheating, let them cool down, then repeat the process. Since you dont have to reload plasma rifles, you can go for much longer in this vein than you can with most dual-wielded weapons, allowing you to overload Elite energy shields without giving them much of a chance to run and recharge.
The two drawbacks to the plasma rifle include its proneness to overheating when used for too long a time; four seconds or so of constant fire will cause them to shut down for two seconds, during which time you wont be able to fire them. Their level of heat is displayed on the ammo bar beneath the numerical ammo readout; when the red bar extends almost all the way to the right, stop firing for a bit to let them cool down manually, which takes less time than their automatic cooling process does. Secondly, plasma rifles lose accuracy when fired for more than a few seconds at a time, forcing you to tap the triggers to gain a bit of precision when your target is at medium range. This coincides with the previous weakness, though, so if you can manage to not jam down the triggers every time you see an enemy, you should be all right.
Needler (dual wield)
The needler fires a set of small explosive needles at its target; these needles have the ability to home in, but only over small angles of incidence. If an enemy runs at a right angle to the vector of the needles, then, as many of them will, theyll avoid most of the impacts. When needles do strike their targets, though, theyll deal a small amount of impact damage, then explode for extra pain.
Against soft targets, needlers are fairly effective, but dont offer many advantages over plasma rifles or carbines, due to the fact that youll usually have to wait for the needles to explode before your enemy dies. Due to the vague homing ability of the needles, its also difficult to switch between targets on the fly, and almost impossible to land headshots on an enemy that isnt below you. Needles will have a hard time dropping Elite shields, as well. Needlers are thus almost useless in most combat situations.
Note the qualifiers, though; there is one particular enemy against whom needlers will be your saving grace. Brutes, since they dont possess shields, will take full damage from needlers, and since theyre so resistant to most other forms of attack, youll find nothing so handy in a Brute fight than a pair of needlers. All it takes is 15-20 needles to kill a Brute, which equates to around one-quarter of a full clip of ammo from both needlers when youre dual-wielding. Youll have to have cover to needle a Brute to death, though, and youll also need to be fairly close to them, so get used to stealthing up to them before unloading on them while theyre unsuspecting.
The Covenant carbine is their analogue to the battle rifle, with only minor differences between the two. The most noticeable of these is the fact that the carbine sends out one round for each press of the trigger, rather than dispatching bursts like the battle rifle, but this doesnt have a huge impact on its efficacy in battle; you just have to click the trigger a few more times for each enemy. The carbine does share the battle rifles accuracy, though, making it a poor mans sniper rifle for enemies at medium ranges. Brutes are seemingly susceptible to headshots from carbines.
The beam rifle is the Covenants version of a sniper rifle. Although it doesnt use bullets, its particle beam gets the job done just as well, and without requiring you to reload, although it is prone to overheating, plasma rifle-style, when you fire too rapidly. Since this is a sniper weapon, though, this shouldnt be a problem unless you intend to drag the beam rifle into close-range fighting, for which its wholly unsuitable. Another problem is that you cant pick up ammo from other beam rifles, but you can switch out a partially-depleted beam rifle for one with more shots easily enough.
The Brute shot is the weapon of choice for the new Brute enemies in Halo 2. For a grenade launcher, though, its singularly unimpressive, as it features the limited ammo capacity of a rocket launcher/fuel rod gun-style weapon (four grenades per belt; 16 grenade total carrying capacity), but doesnt pack nearly the same level of fire power as those weapons, especially in terms of splash damage.
Since only Brutes drop these things, its worth discussing the Brute shot in terms of its effects on its namesakes. A Brute can take at least two direct grenade hits before dying (on Heroic difficulty, at least), and has an outside chance to withstand four splash damage blasts without keeling over. Since youll have to reload after every fourth round, then, youll usually be better off resorting to a weapon that packs a bit more ammo in it, and use grenades for your splash damage requirements. On lower difficulty levels, the Brute shot might be worth packing, but on higher difficulties, its best recommendation is that theres usually plenty of ammo to be found for it, even if each grenade doesnt do the kind of damage that youd like.
Lets not even talk about the bayonet attachment here; if you want to go melee on an enemy, youre going to be using an energy blade or nothing at all. Brutes, especially berserk Brutes, will smack you down with extreme prejudice if you get anywhere near them. If youre stealthed, and can sneak up onto a low-level enemy, you can probably use the bayonet for a quick kill, but this is a pretty limited application of the weapon.
Although you might not think it from your experiences in Halo, it can sometimes be beneficial to close to melee range in Halo 2, especially when you have an energy sword at your disposal. These things take a bit of getting used to, but when you learn the basics of shield management and taking cover, you can use a sword to get one-hit kills on almost anything you come across.
There are two basic ways to use the energy sword; you can walk up to something and use the right trigger to whack it, which will usually be fatal against Drones, Grunts, and the like, or you can wait for the blade to lock on to your target (the reticule will turn red), and then press the right trigger. At this point, youll cover any remaining ground between yourself and the target in the blink of an eye, and deliver a massive energy blade uppercut; the combination of the speed and pose makes us imagine that this would look a bit like the Heisman Trophy when viewed in third person. Regardless, the locked-on blow is mindlessly devestating, and will cut through almost anything in a single blow, save for shielded Elites or undamaged Brutes; these enemies will require a lock-on blow followed by a slash to kill.
Note that the energy sword will use up "ammo" as you slice and dice enemies. A lock-on slash will require around 10% of the swords energy supply against most targets; Flood zombies seem to require less energy to kill, though, making this a terrific weapon to use against them.
Plasma grenades are differentiated from their human counterparts by their ability to stick to surfaces and, much more usefully, to enemies themselves. If you manage to throw a plasma grenade so that it hits an enemy directly, it wont explode immediately, but will instead stick to them while the fuse burns down, after which point itll detonate and almost certainly kill whatever its attached to, as well as severely damage anyone nearby. This is your best bet for killing difficult targets like Elites and Brutes, but beware; sometimes enemies will run straight towards you when they have a grenade stuck to them, intent on taking you out at the same time.
Fuel Rod Gun
The Covenant rocket launcher is perhaps a bit less powerful than its human analogue, but it makes good the deficit by being able to fire more rounds without recharging (up to five), and by being able to hold more rounds in all (25 or more, although youll rarely have this many at once). It doesnt appear to be able to lock on to targets, though.
The Sentinal Beam isnt technically a Covenant weapon; rather, its used by the mechanical defenders of the Halo rings interior to ward off the Flood infestation and other intruders. Anyone whos played Quake will recognize this as being technically similar to a lightning gun; when fired, it shoots out a solid beam of energy that will cook anyone in the path. It has a decent range, and is perfectly accurate, but cant penetrate Elite shields very well and will overheat if you fire it for too long. That said, though, its a perfect weapon to use against Sentinals themselves and Flood zombies, and you shouldnt have a problem finding them inside Halo, where all of the Sentinals drop them.
Youll have plenty of enemies to deal with in Halo 2. Almost all of these are repeats from the first game, though, so if you played the original Halo, you should be familiar with most of these. The new kids on the block are the Covenant Brutes and Drones.
Grunts are the most basic building block of the Covenant army. Theyre numerous, but extremely easy to kill, and have a habit of running for cover when their Elite commanders bite the dust. These guys usually pack plasma pistols, but will sometimes be found manning defensive turrets.
Jackals are a step up from Grunts. They arent any more difficult to kill than Grunts, when you can hit their meat, but they will almost always bring shields into battle which will deflect all small-arms fire, rendering them difficult to take down in straight-out combat. You have a few options here.
- Explosives: Rockets and grenades will do the job right fine.
- Turrets: You can overwhelm their shields by blasting them with turret fire, after which theyll fall quickly.
- Bypassing the Shield: If you can attack them from behind, or can snipe them through the small slot through which they fire, you can avoid hitting the shield and go straight for the body.
- Overwhelm Them: If you wail on a Jackal enough, its shields will drop, allowing you to blast it to pieces. Theyll also stagger when hit, so if you have a rapid-fire weapon, try aiming for the shield, then switching to the body when the view is clear.
Jackals will also usually bring plasma pistols to fights, although theyll be more likely to charge them up than Grunts will. Jackals are also the Covenants chosen snipers, though, so you can expect them to wield beam rifles on occasion, but any Jackals with beam rifles will be shieldless, making them easy kills.
Drones are apparently the Covenants fearsome janitor brigade; apparently they use their flight abilities mostly to maintain Covenant ships, but some have been retasked to combat with devestating results.
Drones are basically flying Grunts, in that theyre completely unprotected from fire, incapable of taking much damage, and will usually pack plasma pistols, but its the whole "flying" part of the equation that will make them a hassle. Since were talking about a console FPS, it should go without saying that precision firing is difficult enough to do when an enemy is strolling about on the ground; add a whole other dimension of movement to the equation, though, and were talking headachey badness. Luckily for you, you have a bit of auto-aim capability (assuming you didnt turn it off), which will help you direct your fire towards the targets. At close range, an SMG will chew through a Drone in a second or so; at long range, a battle rifle or carbine is a better choice. If you have a bit of patience, Drones will often attach themselves to walls or ceilings, making them much easier to hit.
For the most part, Covenants forces can be divided into two groups: Elites, and non-Elites. Youll be seeing a lot of Elites in the game, as theyre the games most distinctive enemies, and theyll almost always be a headache.
The most obvious distinction between the Elites and the other Covenant forces is the fact that they have personal shielding, much like Master Chief does. This lets them resist almost all of the damage from your attacks, at least until their shields fall. Also like Master Chief, though, if you dont press home your attack, their shields will eventually regenerate, meaning that youll have to deal all of the damage that you did again in order to actually kill them. This necessitates a kind of bumrush approach to attacking Elites, in which you absolutely have to deal X amount of damage within Y seconds, or else the Elite will run off and hide and regenerate, which will effectively make your entire first attack worthless and a waste of ammo. In other words, you have to deal all of your damage in a short period of time, meaning that you cant leisurely strafe in and out of cover, whittling away at an Elites health reserves.
In practice, there are relatively few weapons that are worthwhile against Elites. Dual plasma rifles will be your usual recipe for success, since theyre easy to find and deal a good amount of damage, and dont need to be reloaded, but youll need to be mindful of your surroundings when using them, as theyll take a few seconds to penetrate an Elites shields, during which your foe will have plenty of time to return fire. Rocket launchers, fuel rod guns, and turrets are also trusty standbys, when theyre accessible, but theyre often not. Shotguns and energy blades are similarly useful, if you happen to have one handy, but your best bet will usually be to charge in with a plasma grenade and attempt to land one directly on the Elites body; this almost always equates to a dead Elite.
We say "almost always" because there are a few different varieties of Elites, ranging from the run-of-the-mill blue variety, which have weak shields, to the Ultra-class grays, of which there are only a few in the entire game, but which will absolutely drive you crazy on higher levels of difficulty. These latter guys can survive a terrific amount of damage; we had to use almost three full clips of carbine ammo to take one down later in the game, and close-range grenade explosions arent likely to do much more than itch. If you can attach a plasma onto an Ultra, then good for you, but be prepared with an automatic-fire weapon in case the grenade doesnt kill the target. Were not even going to mention the flying Elites, which are pretty much frustration incarnate.
Hunters are the most physically imposing of all of the Covenant races, albeit also the rarest; there are probably less than a dozen of these baddies throughout the entire game. These guys always travel in pairs, and pack a modified fuel-rod weapon that acts somewhat like a Sentinal beam; the fire from these is relatively easy to avoid. What makes the Hunter unique isnt its weaponry, through. Rather, theyre notable for their intense melee power (one good swing of a Hunters arm is usually enough to kill you) and their nigh-impenetrable armor.
When fought head-on, youll find that Hunters are nearly impossible to kill. You can attach plasma grenades till the cows come home, hit them with carbine ammo, plasma rifle shots, etc., and theyll flinch it off without so much as a grunt of pain. In order to kill them, then, you have to get past their armor and aim at the portions of their bodies that are unprotected. The most accessible zone is on their back; if you can manage to shoot them in the back of the head, for example, you should find them as vulnerable to headshots as any other race. The other main zone to focus on is on their waist; this will usually be covered by their arm as they lope around, but when they roar, it will become uncovered momentarily, allowing you to blast away. (You can also wait for it to charge, then sidestep and shoot it in the back, but this is obviously somewhat dangerous.) You should see beige blood staining the floor whenever you successfully deal damage to a Hunter.
If you can take on Hunters by themselves, in a fairly open space, the battle usually devolves into a run-n-gun exercise, where you have to run around until you can get an open shot at an unprotected zone, take your shot, then continue running. Since you have to deal with these guys in pairs, try to focus on one at a time to cut their numbers in half. If possible, use a turret to deal with them, as turret fire seems to overwhelm their natural shielding and will take them down easily. Luckily, their weapon fire is easy to dodge, and they move slowly enough for you to keep out of range of their melee attacks.
Although Elites will be your primary nemeses for much of the game, youll have to start dealing with Brutes in large quantities towards the last third of the campaign. This is actually something of a downgrade in difficulty, in our opinion, but thats not to say that Brutes are easy to deal with; far from it.
The main reason that Brutes can be considered easier to deal with than Elites is that they dont pack energy shields. Thus, you can deal damage to them, duck under cover to let your shields recharge, then whip back out to finish the job, without having to worry about your enemys shields doing the same. This is a good thing, too, because Brutes have more health than any other enemy in the game, save Hunters and the massive Halo Guardians.
In a pinch, dual-wielded plasma rifles can do the job on a Brute, but will take quite a bit of time; Brutes seem to be specifically resistant to the fire from such weapons. The two most common options for killing off Brutes involve either dual-wielded needlers, which do the job quite nicely, or headshots from a carbine, which is your best bet when you spot a Brute at medium distance, but the old rocket launcher/turret/energy sword standbys are also appropriate, where applicable. If you happen to have a beam rifle, Brutes are perfectly susceptible to headshots, although you may require two headshots to kill them due to the fact that many of them wear helmets.
So far as offensive capabilities go, Brutes will usually pack either a carbine, a Brute plasma rifle (essentially an upgraded version of the blue plasma rifle that Elites wield), or a Brute shot weapon. Brute lieutenants (the ones with red flags on their backs) are most likely to pack a Brute shot, but normal soldiers will also carry them on occasion. Although theyre deadly with their weapons, Brutes are also a hairs breadth away from unleashing their berserk nature; if you manage to systematically kill a group of Brutes, then, the last member of the group will usually go insane, drop his weapon, and charge towards you and attempt to ram you with his shoulder. You can easily get killed with one or two blows from a berserk Brute, so do your best to finish them off quickly, or from a vantage point that prevents them from reaching you. These guys seem to be a bit more resistant to needler damage when theyre berserk, but we mightve just been imagining this.
Yes, the Floods back, and yes, therell be plenty of resuscitated corpses to deal with in Halo 2. They arent quite as annoying as they were in the first Halo, though, so dont start cursing at the night sky or anything.
At its most basic level, the Flood is represented by hordes of small parasites that will scatter the floors of each level and look for corpses. If they cant find an intact corpse, theyll attempt to run into you and explode, which will only marginally damage your shields, but if they can, theyll return that corpse back to life and will start attacking you with it. Such zombies can sometimes appear with the weapons that they used in their previous life (and Elite zombies will sometimes have energy shields), and some of them will be possessed of terrific combat reflexes, and will launch at you from a long way away with a slashing attack. These are easy enough to avoid, so long as you dont let them get too close to you.
Defensively speaking, Flood zombies are almost always weaker than they were in their previous incarnations, meaning that a human soldier zombie will take less damage to kill than a real human soldier (not that we ever shot at any of our teammates, not us, no sir). Two weapons are particularly useful against Flood zombies: Sentinal beams and energy blades. The former will be able to cut through groups of zombies without much effort, while the latter can explode enemies into mere puffs of grave dust with a single shot.
Within the musky interior of Halo (and parts of the exterior) ancient Forerunner machines still silently patrol the corridors, wary of interlopers. One of these is the Sentinal, a levitating pod equipped with a Sentinal beam. Sentinals are extremely easy to kill, at least when you first meet them, as they dont possess much in the way of defense, but you may find it profitable to leave them alive, as theyll focus their beams on Flood zombies when such enemies are afoot. Later on, youll come across upgraded Sentinals, with shielding and better lasers, but these are fairly rare.
The most sensitive portions of Halo are patrolled by the massive Guardians. These ageless monstrosities are somewhat of a combination of a Sentinal, in that they hover around in mid-air, and Jackals, in that they have front-mounted shields that are impervious to gunfire. The solution is fairly obvious: get behind them and fire at the portions of their bodies that arent shielded. These guys can take a lot of damage, though, so you can expect to do a lot of hiding behind pillars unless you have a vehicle handy.
One of the most remarkable things about the original Halo was its incorporation of vehicles, which were seamlessly integrated into the gameplay in ways that never forced you to make use of them, but rewarded you for recognizing when it was wise (or unwise) to do so.
All of the vehicles of Halo return in Halo 2, so you should be fairly familiar with those that you encounter in the game. For the neophytes, though, heres a list of the vehicles, along with some of their attributes.
Everyones favorite vehicle from Halo has returned in Halo 2, and its much the same as it was before. This rugged, four-wheel vehicle is great for speeding past trouble, and in a pinch, your passenger and turretteer can dish a beatdown on enemy forces. The Warthog isnt usually capable of taking down enemy vehicles very easily, though, unless youre manning the turret and can manage to keep a consistent aim on the target; if you have an AI soldier manning the turret, theyll usually shift targets too often to kill any vehicles that get in your way, unless its the only target around.
One of the new additions in Halo 2 is the inclusion of a gauss cannon-equipped Warthog. The gauss cannon replaces the turret, and is intended for use primarily against vehicles. Its much more powerful against armored targets than the turret, but will only fire once a second or so, making it less effective than the turret against infantry. There are only two or three of these gauss cannon Warthogs in the entire game, though, so its not something youll really have to worry about.
Although its ponderously slow, the Scorpion is bar none the most powerful vehicle in the game, capable of dishing out death to both enemy vehicles (with its main cannon) and enemy infantry (with its turret, fired with the left trigger). There isnt much else to say about it, really, as all of its uses are fairly straightforward; just roll on forward and blast until you can blast no more!
This latter circumstance will likely arrive more quickly than youd like, though, especially on the harder difficulty levels. In exchange for its power, the Scorpion sacrifices both speed and maneuverability, making it all but a sitting duck for enemy fire. When you spot one, use it as long as you possibly can, but be prepared to bail out as it starts to take damage. When the rear panel falls off, revealing a fire underneath, youre nearing the end of your vehicles lifespan.
One of the most consistently useful vehicles in the game, the Ghost is a single-pilot ground craft. Its essentially an extension of your normal battle capabilities, in that itll let you move a bit faster, do a bit more damage, and take a few more hits than you normally would while youre driving it. Its main armament is a pair of plasma cannons, slightly more powerful than dual-wielded plasma rifles, but which cannot overheat.
In combat, your best bet is to strafe side-to-side in the Ghost while using the cannons to blast whatevers in your path; if youre keeping a distant range between yourself and your target, this movement should be enough to avoid most of the incoming fire. When you have an infantry enemy in the clear, you can attempt to ram them by using the left trigger while moving forward; this will kill most enemies, but it may merely drop an Elites shields, thus necessitating a second pass before they die off.
Beware of hills, bumps, and dips when riding around in a Ghost, as theyre prone to tipping when they hit an irregularity in ground level at any kind of speed. When this occurs, youll be automatically ejected; youll have to flip the Ghost back over before you can get back in.
The Spectre is the Covenant analogue of the Warthog, with the similar driver + turret setup. Maneuverability is good, and although the Spectre is a tad slower than the Warthog, it has two slots for passengers, allowing you to load up with one more gunner than you would be able to with the human buggy. The left trigger will give you a speed burst.
The Covenants heavy tank is the Wraith. This is theoretically intended to be a counterpart to the Scorpion, but the vehicles are fairly dissimilar. Where the Scorpion packs a cannon and turret, the Wraith instead brings a large mortar to the table. This fires in an exaggerated arc, which makes it difficult to accurately land shots at long range; all we can say is that youll need a lot of practice to use this baby with any kind of ease. At close range, youll have a pair of plasma cannons that will automatically lock onto and fire at any enemies that come near you.
The one "good" thing about the Wraith, at least in the single-player campaign, is that it moves quite slowly. That doesnt sound like such a boon, but since the front side of the Wraith is so heavily shielded, its often easier to just run up to the damn things and hit the driver until he falls out than it is to actually destroy it with weapons fire. Since it moves only marginally faster than a Scorpion, this is easy enough to do, but be careful about standing in front of a Wraith, as their pilots will often try to run you down with the left-trigger boost of speed.
The sole vehicle in the game capable of taking to the air, the Banshee is somewhat akin to a flying Ghost, in that it possesses the same dual plasma cannons, although it does possess a bit more armor (although still not enough armor) and a fuel rod cannon. When you first encounter one in the campaign, take a couple of seconds to get used to its controls; instead of using the left trigger to accelerate, youll need to use the left trigger to get around. Even when youre not depressing the trigger, though, youll constantly move forward, albeit slowly, making it difficult to strafe or hold your position.
On higher difficulties, enjoy the Banshees while it lasts, because its quite easy to get shot down while flying one, especially when youre exposed to hostile Banshees or enemy turret fire. If your Banshee starts looking like it was reclaimed from a junkyard, youll want to land and hop out before you take too much more damage.
General Combat Tips
Well be honest: a large part of learning to play Halo takes place as a kind of trial-by-fire, in which youll just have to play the game to get a handle for how things work. Hopefully these following tips will give you a bit of a head start, though!
Know When To Walk Away, Know When To Run
Arguably the most unique aspect of Halos gameplay, even including the two-gun inventory system, is the way that there isnt any health to monitor, nor medikits to pick up, or first aid stations to monitor; you dont actually have any health in Halo. Instead, what you have are shields.
Shields work as such: when you enter combat, your shields will likely be fully-charged. As you take damage, your shields will begin to drop; big sources of damage will cause your shields to drop more rapidly than less intimidating sources. After your shields drop almost to nothingness, youll hear a high-pitched beeping tone, warning you of impending doom; when theyre completely gone, the tone will hit a lower pitch. If you cant find immediate cover at this point, youre probably dead.
Luckily for you, you can take a few hits from most weapons while unshielded without dying. Some weapons, like beam rifles, will instantaneously kill you when youre unshielded, however, while others, such as rocket launchers or plasma grenades, will probably kill you no matter whether youre shielded or not. There isnt much you can do about these latter damage sources, save for trying to avoid them altogether.
Lowered shields dont mean that youll have to run through the rest of the level on eggshells, though; your shells will eventually recharge if you can take cover and dont get hit for a while. Itll take around five seconds for the recharging process to begin, though; if you get hit during these five seconds, youll have to wait another five seconds for recharging to commence, and so on. If you get hit while your shields are recharging, youll take normal damage, and theyll stop recharging. So, long story short: when you need your shields to recharge, run away from your enemies, find some cover, and wait around ten seconds for the recharging process to begin and for the shields to completely recharge before heading back into the fray.
Outfit Your Teammates
Every so often, youll find yourself strolling through a level with a bunch of AI-controlled teammates. These guys arent superpowered - theyll die eventually - but if you want to take full advantage of them, you should consider upgrading their weapons as you come across guns that are better than what theyre packing. This is easily enough accomplished by picking up the weapon you want to give your teammate (temporarily dropping whatever you yourself were using) and then standing in front of your ally and holding X to switch weapons. In particular, you should try to upgrade from SMGs to battle rifles and from plasma rifles to carbines, but your teammates can use any weapons that you give them, from sniper rifles to rocket launchers.
One note about the latter weapon, though; your teammates will sometimes destroy themselves by firing a rocket launcher or fuel rod gun when they fire after not completely getting out from under cover. Its incredibly annoying (especially when youre standing next to them), so be wary of giving such weapons to teammates when you know that youll have to duck and cover a lot, or when youre all going to be in tight quarters. In open spaces, though, your teammates can use these weapons to great effect, especially since they get infinite ammo for them. In point of fact, if you only have one round of ammo left in a launcher, it may be better to give it to a friend than to use it up yourself. (You cant give your teammates empty weapons, unfortunately.)
Halo: San Andreas
One of the new features in Halo 2 is your ability to take over enemy vehicles as they fly around. This is a lot more difficult to accomplish than in a Grand Theft Auto game, but the results are the same, in that you get to take control of the vehicle while simultaneously ridding yourself of at least one enemy (the driver).
To jack a vehicle, youll need to be standing almost directly next to its drivers seat (wherever you would be able to enter it from if it was at a standstill), then hold the X button to jump aboard. Youll then be able to use melee attacks against the driver of the vehicle with the B button; hit him enough and hell either fall out or be killed. On vehicles like the Wraith, youll also be able to eventually throw a grenade into the drivers seat, but you should only do this if you dont intend to drive the vehicle after killing the driver. When the drivers out of his seat, youll either automatically take control of the vehicle, or will have to jump off, then hit X again to get in and drive away.
Of course, there are a few complications to mention. One is that hopping aboard certain vehicles, especially Ghosts, can be really difficult to do, since you need to hold X for a moment. (With a Ghost, the place to jack is at a corner or turn; wait until the Ghost slows down, then hop aboard and kick the driver off.) The second is that youre not magically protected from enemy fire while you wail away on the driver. If you hop onto a Wraith, for instance, itll take you five or six seconds to bash through the drivers hatch and kill him, during which time youll be taking fire from any nearby enemies, which can easily kill you. Lastly, when jacking Ghosts, its possible for the driver that you just ejected from the seat to get back up and jack you, so be careful!
On higher difficulty levels, you wont be using vehicles for as long as you would on normal or easy difficulties, if only because they dont last as long, but you can still jack vehicles, especially Wraiths, to prevent enemies from using them.
Straight to the Dome
Like any good modern FPS game, its worth mentioning that Halo 2 has a damage model that includes increased damage for headshots, meaning that if you shoot something in the head, its unlikely to get back up any time soon. Many enemies, especially Brutes, are much easier to kill when you possess a decent ability to aim at their heads.
This is, of course, much easier to accomplish when you possess an accurate weapon, and when your enemy is standing still. Suitable weapons are usually limited to the carbine, the battle rifle, and the beam or sniper rifles; everything else either has too much spread or is simply too inaccurate to get consistent headshots. (Except at very close ranges, where anything can happen.) When you possess one of these, and are able to zoom in on your opponents head, all it should take are one or two shots to finish the beast off, with more perhaps required for Elites and other shielded enemies.
Two notes here. The first is that, so far as such a thing is possible, this is a spoiler-free walk-through; weve done our best to avoid discussion of cutscene events or plot details. Secondly, we based most of this on a playthrough of the game on the Heroic difficulty. Thus, if youre playing on Normal, youll probably find some of the gameplay tips a bit too cautious; feel free to blast through the game at full speed ahead. If youre having trouble with a specific part of the game, though, hopefully our techniques will get you through!
Before you can head into battle, youll need to get geared out. After you regain control of Master Chief, follow the soldiers down the stairs and step towards the gunracks on the wall to pick up an SMG and a Battle Rifle. Since you dont have any grenades, you might as well go ahead and dual-wield something; the only weapon that makes any sense to dual-wield here is the SMG, so flip over to it and grab another one from the rack by holding down the Y button when prompted.
Home Field Advantage
Repel the Covenant Boarders
Now that youre loaded out, youll have to head towards a nearby bulkhead, so follow Sarge; he knows where to go. The Covenant will begin to cut through the door, forcing you to repel a few waves of them, but with your dual-wielded SMGs, and the suppressing fire of your teammates, you shouldnt have any problem taking them out. If your shielding runs low, you can retreat behind the obstacles on either side of the door and wait for it to recharge.
When the Covenant retreats, or when you notice your fellow soldiers moving through the door, follow them and take a left. Your enemies are fortified to the right, but theyll have to split their attention between you and a soldier with a turret beyond their position, so switch over to your Battle Rifle, zoom in, and start plugging away at the Elites. When theyre dead, head past the turret gunner to reach a room with another turret in it; hop in and start blasting away at the aliens below. You dont have to do this, of course, but youll have an easier time of it later on if you take advantage of the fire superiority that the turret affords you.
After breaking off from the turret, head on to reach another set of steps. Theres another Elite here, and a tough bastard, at that. You can take him down with your dual SMGs at close range, but a better idea might be to try and flush him downstairs and out into the hallway at its bottom, where a soldier will likely plug him.
The corridor beyond here will be infiltrated by more Elites and Grunts as you walk down it; theyll come from doors on either side of the end of the corridor, so walk along until you trigger the influx, then take cover and switch over to your Battle Rifle to plug them from a distance while your teammates take the brunt of the fire.
The next room that youll encounter is a docking bay, which the Covenant have breached with one of their boarders. If you want to stay alive here, stay on the upper platform, ditch your dual-wielded weapon, if you have one, pick up as many grenades as you can carry, and start chucking them at the boarders. You should have a dozen or so plasma grenades at your disposal, so go crazy! Youll have to kill off two or three waves of baddies before you can move on, so if anyone starts hiding behind a crate, use your Battle Rifle to pick them off.
Eventually soldier nearby will start talking about the Malta; look out the window to witness that battle stations unfortunate fate. As soon as its destroyed, more Covenant will flood into the bay from an adjacent room; you can still take them down from above, so grab more grenades and use the wings of the Marine Corps landing craft as a perch from which to fire.
After proceeding through the doorway, youll come to another landing bay, but one in which the Covenant has heavily fortified themselves. You can take out the turret gunners with your Battle Rifle, but youll need to proceed with caution from there, as there are plenty more targets on the far side of the room. If you want to gain a little perspective on the situation, you can use the doorway on the right side of the room to reach the upper level; on harder difficulties, though, you might find it a bit easier to reach the recessed stairwell near the Covenant shift that heads downwards to a locked door, using it to as a redoubt from which to dart in and out of the battle. If you move in and out, the Covenant will have to continually refocus their efforts and shift from your teammates to you, letting you divide and conquer.
Find the Covenant Bomb
Now that you know why the Covenant was boarding your station, you have to locate and deactivate the bomb that theyve brought along with them. You can head out through the doors marked Mac Storage at the bottom of the stairs here, but before you do, pick off the enemies below with help from your soldier friends.
When you descend the stairs, you can pick up another dual-SMG combo from the weapons rack in the middle of the room, which will come in handy, because two more Elites will appear from either of the far doors as you approach them. One is stealthed, so watch for the telltale Predator-esque waviness and bust a cap. From there, head up the stairs and drop the two Elites after they kill your friend. You shouldnt have a problem with these guys, so long as you stay on the stairs and retreat belowdecks if you need to recharge your shields. Take the respite offered by this room to switch out your guns, if you wish; theres a Battle Rifle on one of the tables, and the soldier who was killed dropped a Shotgun.
In the Commons Blue, the next room over, youll have to maneuver your way through the field of fire of multiple turrets. If you can bust the Unggoys across the way, then dash across without getting killed, you should be able to eliminate the first two turret stations with a combination of Shotgun and Battle Rifle fire. This will let you fall back to the end of the long corridor and pick off the distant turret stations with the latter weapon, which should clear your approach. Youll then have to fight through a few more clusters of Covenant before you reach Tramstation B-01, where youll meet up with more soldiers, including the Sarge. Fight with them for a bit, then head through the pressure chamber at the end of the hall for a brief excursion into space.
Authorized Personnel Only
As soon as you hit the checkpoint here, youll have two Elites bust through the door, so use grenades or a weapon to bust them down. There are two more Elites waiting for you outside, but they can be really tough to hit due to the way they fly around, so you might want to just run for the far door and head through the airlock there, rather than bother to engage them.
Through said airlock, youll have to deal with an influx of Drones. These guys are supremely annoying, so youll want to grab as much cover as possible and use your Battle Rifle to take them down from a distance, if at all possible. Theres an SMG near the door, so if youre having trouble, grab that and try to lure them towards you; one of the good things about Drones is that they cant take a beating, so a second or so of concentrated SMG fire will usually drop them.
After all the Drones are dead, you wont have much time to recuperate, as the elevator down below will begin rising, and it brings with it a load of a couple of Elites and numerous Grunts. Do your best to pick them off as the elevator rises; when it stops, you should have plenty of room to maneuver. After that battles over, look around for extra ammo and grenades before descending on the elevator yourself.
When you reach the bottom of the elevator, use the Battle Rifle there to take down the flying Elites outside, then hop across the ever-shifting landscape until you reach another airlock.
Return to Sender
Now that youve located the bomb, youll have to kill off the Elites that guard it. There are three or four of them, though, so youll need to play it smooth. If you manage to get into the room without alerting the Elites, try to sneak up along the right-hand wall until youre within easy shot of the one closest to you, then stick an Energy Grenade onto it and watch the fun. The other three will, of course, be alerted to your presence, so retreat back to the far end of the room and outfit yourself with dual SMGs, and restock your Battle Rifle ammo. You should have plenty of places to hide in the room, so lure them out one by one and off them with your grenades and SMGs. After you kill all of them, the level ends.
Theyre Gonna Regret That, Too
Defend The Marines Until Help Arrives
Not much to say about the beginning of this level. Essentially, youre boxed into a small portion of the cityscape and beset on all sides by Covenant forces (as well as the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men, of course). Luckily for you, you have a bit of help along, in the form of Sarge and a sniper. The sniper is apparently unkillable, or perhaps he just avoids trouble by staying atop the building here, but shell be a big help to you, because there are quite a few enemy snipers in the surrounding buildings. These guys cant instakill you if youre at full shields, but they will instantly zap away your entire shield reservoir, forcing you to beat a hasty retreat to the interior of the building until it recharges.
After clearing the building, you should make your way to the turret on the second floor landing and use it as a base of operations. Theres a Battle Rifle nearby; if you already have a Battle Rifle, you can walk over this one for nearly unlimited ammo. The turrets going to be your primary form of communication with the Covenant forces, though. However, the first few waves (usually Grunts and Elites) will come from the left, where the turret cant fire, so use your SMGs or Battle Rifle to drop them before dealing with the waves from the right, of which there are more than a few. The most annoying will be the Drones, but your turret has enough spread to pick them out of the air. The turret will come in incredibly handy against the Jackals that occasionally walk into the courtyard, though, as it punches right through their shielding.
Eventually a Covenant dropship will appear and blast you from above; its goal isnt to kill you, though (although thats obviously a nice side effect for them), but rather to cover the descent of more troops into the courtyard. As soon as the dropship takes off, return to the turret and use it to blast the Grunts, if you can.
After all of the waves have come and gone, youll hear the Sarge requesting that someone place a satchel on a pair of reinforced doors in the courtyard. When you hear this, make a beeline for the turret, if youre not already there, as a pair of Hunters will come smashing through shortly, and you dont have anything in your arsenal that will let you easily kill them. The turret will make short work of them, though; just ignore their fire if at all feasible, and just blast away until they both fall down.
Rendezvous With the Pelican
This is easily accomplished; just run through the doorway that the Hunters blasted, and the Pelican will appear. Sarge will hop aboard, leaving you with a few grunts as your only company. Before you hit this point, though, you might want to grab Sarges sniper rifle....
Find the Marines From the Second Downed Pelican
Around the corner from the first Pelican, youll come to a long corridor overwatched by multiple enemy snipers. If you grabbed a sniper rifle, you can use it to pick them off from long range; if all you have is a battle rifle, then youre probably going to have to run from cover to cover until you get into a position to return fire. (You might check to see if any of the Jackals near the Pelican dropped a Beam Rifle, which is basically a Covenant sniper weapon.) On Heroic or Legendary difficulty, this is going to be a happy fun death march for you, as a couple of stealthed Elites will also eventually appear. Your teammates are likely not long for this world, so let them go on ahead, and use whatever weapons you can to pick off the Elites and the snipers, but be watchful for Drones, wholl complicate matters by flying around overhead and zapping you while you try to zoom in your weapon. Fun!
At the very least, youll have a good idea how capable youre going to be of playing on your chosen difficulty when you hit this area. When youve cleared everything out, head down to the far end of the corridor to hit the checkpoint, then gradually peek into the corridor on your right to check for yet more snipers. There are at least three of them here, including one that may spawn in behind you, so if you dont have a beam or sniper rifle, check the burning crater nearby. A fallen soldier here has an almost-full sniper rifle for your distance-killing pleasure.
As you work your way through the buildings, youll have to deal with quite a few Grunts and Elites, including a sniper or two thatll appear on the rooftops. Deal with them as you see fit; the tight corridors lend themselves well to grenades or dual SMGs/Plasma Rifles, but your mileage may vary.
Depending on how thoroughly you killed off the baddies, you may have to deal with another firefight in front of the hotel. There may or may not be a gray Elite here; if there is, then you may be screwed, especially on higher levels. The gray varients seem to have a lot more shielding than any other color, but you may be able to take him on with an energy sword, if any of the earlier Elites dropped one. He can even survive a stickied plasma grenade! Regardless, youll have to do your best to take him out, if indeed he appears.
Inside the hotel, youll come across the survivors of the crashed Pelican, wholl want to escort you through the hotel itself. As per usual, your teammates are expendable, so run ahead into the hallway (dont forget you have a flashlight on your white button) to spawn the Covenant forces, then pull back a bit and let the troops do the heavy lifting.
A Day At The Beach
Destroy the Covenant on the Shoreline
After you clear the hotel, youll have to dispatch more Covenant that fall from a dropship, so clear them out. After you do so, a welcome gift arrives, in the form of a Warthog. Yay! Hop on into the drivers seat if you wish to drive; if not, you can hop into the turret position and blast away while one of your teammates drives. This latter option is probably preferable, as you can pick targets a bit better than your teammates will be able to, while they can drive passably well, with the exception of some annoying pauses.
You have two groups of Covenant to destroy here. The first consists of a couple of small encampments, each with Grunts and Elites, as well as a Ghost thatll zip around. The annoying part about this fight is the fact that an apparently indestructible Covenant dropship will appear as youre wrapping up your destruction of the ground forces and drop out two or three more Ghosts, while it itself lays down a base of turret fire on you. Whats even more annoying is that it just hovers off the shore and continues to blast away while you try to deal with the Ghosts, but after all the Ghosts are dead, itll back off a bit.
After penetrating the fortifications and making it to the second section of beach, hop into the drivers seat and blast towards the large tunnel behind the second set of Covenant fortifications. The dropship will assume a gunning position above the fortifications, which are well-manned by Covenant forces, so youll have a difficult time breaking through, but just keep in mind that your goal is to survive, not blast everything that moves. In point of fact, you shouldnt waste your time with pointless battles here; just drive the Warthog as close to the tunnel as you can get it, then jump out and head towards the Ghost thats parked inside.
Speed Zone Ahead
Take The Highway Tunnel To The Bridge
The Ghost here is a maneuverable, if somewhat slow vehicle, and it has rapid-fire lasers with infinite ammo, which should add up to a lot of fun for you. Whats better is that a Warthog with a turreteer will follow you into the tunnel, allowing you to hang back and fire at targets while the peons sacrifice their lives for you. This is precisely what you should do, in fact; let the Warthog go on ahead and take all the fire, while you sit back and blast anything that moves. The Ghost is fairly durable, but wont last forever, so if you can avoid fire now, youll be able to hold onto it a bit longer than normal.
Of course, the Warthog isnt exactly indestructible, either, so itll blow up eventually. Keep fighting on, though, and youll eventually see another one join the party; this is congruous to the appearance of large Covenant transports in the tunnel. The Warthog wont stick near you if you fall back; itll instead choose to move on down the tunnel, where itll engage the troop transports on its own. If you dont want to deal with any of these battles, or if your Ghost is on its last legs, just hang well back and watch the action as it unfolds.
Eventually, youll come to a staging area that the Covenant is using to push out onto the bridge beyond. Included here are three Ghosts, possibly more if the transports made it here alive. These guys have very predictable movement patterns, so theyre not difficult individually, but in groups they can be annoyingly tough to bring down. With any luck, youll still have your own Ghost at this point; if so, then killing them off should be a simple matter of sweeping from side to side while they charge in and blasting them as they approach. If one turns tail and runs, let it go and concentrate on another target, but try to keep them all on one side of you. If worst comes to worst, you can try to board one of their Ghosts while theyre in it, but its not quite as easy as certain gameplay movies mightve led you to believe. They really have to be either standing still or turning, as you have to hold down X for a second or so in order to pull it off.
If youre forced onto your feet, though, try to do your best with whatever weapons you have available to you. Dual-wielded plasma rifles are acceptable weapons to use against Ghosts, but youll have to let them get pretty close. If you want to run for it, you can try to break through and head for the ramp leading out of the tunnel; when you start moving up it, youll launch into the next chapter.
Ladies Like Grinding Treads
Crush Covenant Resistance on the Bridge
Ah, the Scorpion; theres nothing quite like a treaded tank when you just have to squash a few Covenant into the ground. Its a mighty beast, but quite easy to control, albeit a bit slower than the Warthog. You have unlimited turret and cannon shells, so hold down the turret as you proceed, but save the cannon until you line up your target. It takes a second to reload, so you dont want to fire unless youre relatively sure youre going to hit something. Luckily, there isnt much arc to the shell, so you wont have to adjust your aim upwards very much, even for very distant targets.
Most of your traverse across the bridge will see you dealing with Ghost after Ghost, but they shouldnt be too much of a problem for you; a single cannon shell will usually send them flying. Unfortunately, though, you cant just take your sweet time and let them come to you, as a Wraith near the top of the bridges arc (youd think theyd have learned how to make a bridge that runs straight in the year 24whatever) will launch mortar shells at you as you approach. Youll thus have to keep heading forward to avoid the significant splash damage of the mortars; try not to let any Ghosts get behind you, then.
The approach to the far side of the bridge is going to be a huge pain in the ass, especially on Heroic or Legendary difficulties. As you proceed past the wreck of the first Wraith, youll have a pair of Banshees appear behind you, as well as another of the apparently indestructible landing craft thatll take potshots at you as you roll on. In addition to these, more Ghosts will appear from the far side of the bridge and begin approaching you, while more Banshees and Wraiths will spawn in when you get to the toll counters on the far side of the bridge. If youre on normal difficulty or lower, the Scorpion you have be able to survive all of this and get you into the tunnel on the far side of the tolls, but on Heroic or higher, youre likely to get lambasted before you make it very far.
Thus, on the higher difficulties, youre best served by...turning around and running! Well, we jest, but you may have noticed a Warthog near where you picked up the Scorpion. If you return to the Warthog and use that, you should be able to speed past all of the enemy vehicles and get down into the tunnel beyond without dying. Sometimes discretion really is the better part of valor!
Make Your Way to the Surface
Inside the tunnel, youll meet up with more soldiers, and will have to bust your way through a few Covenant fortifications, made up of overturned cars and the like. One of the soldiers will offer you her shotgun, and youll probably want to take it; depending on the difficulty level, you can likely hop down into the maze of cars and start boomsticking the Elites there to bits. Since the shottie is so devestating at close range, you shouldnt take too much damage doing this. At the far end of the cars is another large barrier, with a few Elites on a ledge off to one side; encourage them to take a stroll by chucking grenades up there, then clean them out when they hit the ground, with the help of your friends. Afterwards, you can bypass the fortification to find a tunnel leading back up topside.
This Town Aint Big Enough For Both of Us
Regroup with Marine Forces in the City Center
Heres where things get a little complicated. When you get through the tunnel, youll be in a large park, in which numerous Elites and Grunts, including a few snipers, have made a little nest. Dont worry about the bigass Covenant wrecking machine thats slowly leaving the area; youre not going to be able to dent it. But so the ground troops have taken control over a loose network of platforms and will snipe away at you as you enter the park; they also have a couple of plasma turrets set up, but youre unlikely to get hit by these unless you bum rush the platforms, which is an unwise idea. On your side of the equation, you have a few troops that will attempt to assault the platforms on their own as soon as you arrive, as well as a Warthog thats running around on the surface of the park below.
You have two main options here: you can either attempt to hang back and use a sniper rifle (which you can steal from your sniper teammate) or a beam rifle (which you will probably be able to find in the fortifications you just bypassed in the tunnel, or on the first sniper you come across near the entrance to the park) to snipe away at the foot soldiers on the platforms; or you can hop down to the lower level of the park and wait for the Warthog to come around and man its turret. The former option is the safest, the latter the riskiest (albeit a bit more fun).
If you proceed on foot, go slowly and cautiously, switching out for a beam rifle when you run out of ammo. Your ultimate goal here is to get to the bottommost platform, which has the plasma turrets on it, as theyll be the easiest way for you to take out the enemy Ghosts that will be circling below you. Theyll likely harrass the Warthog as it passes, letting you fire away without taking much damage. If you mount the Warthog, though, youll find that it has a Gauss Cannon on its rear, which wont be very effective against the foot soldiers, but will help you bust through the Ghosts that will soon begin harrying your friends. Regardless, youll probably want to clear the entire room before moving on.
The next small chamber features a couple of snipers, a few more Ghosts, and a Wraith. Needless to say, this is going to be a hard nut to crack. If your Warthog is in any kind of condition to run, use its turret to blast at the Wraith first, as its the most annoying part of this equation. If you manage to bash up one of the Ghosts, you can try to mount it and blast through the corridor beyond the Wraith, as you dont really need to kill everything here, just move on. In exceedingly dire straights, you can try to jack the Wraith itself, and although these vehicles are much easier to take over than the Ghosts, youll have to deal with its turrets as you approach and the sniper fire as you bash open the pilots chamber. So thatll be tough, obviously!
Your best bet will usually be to just blast past all of the enemies towards the waterfall sculpture beyond, but be aware that any Ghosts left flying will pursue you. You may be able to take advantage of this by waiting until theyre forced to turn by the waterfall, then jacking them as they slow down. If you can grab control of a Ghost, itll be a big hand in the fight coming up....
After you clear the next street area of any Ghosts (with the help of a fully-manned Warthog, which you can commandeer if you wish), youll have to head up and around the corner to blast away at a few Wraiths and a couple of snipers. Now, if you can get close to a Wraith while the Warthog is distracting the others, you can fairly easily jack it by hitting X to jump aboard, then repeatedly using your melee attack until the driver is dead. After that, all you need to do is hop aboard, but be aware that the Wraith is not a very maneuverable vehicle. If you do get into one, you should probably retreat a ways and use the mortar at long distance, especially if both of the other Wraiths are still active. Youll also have to deal with a dropship that will deliver more Ghosts into the area, so be prepared!
After all of the enemies here are dead, more Marines drop in. They wouldve come in handy two minutes previously, but hey. Make your way up the steps of the building to meet up with Sergeant Banks. Note the panoply of weapons on display in the hands of the Marines; feel free to outfit yourself with whatever theyre carrying.
Nice Of You To Drop In
Board And Destroy The Scarab
After you meet up with the Marines, youll probably notice a Scarab coming your way. You cant hurt it - yet - but you can board it! Follow the set of stairways the lead up to a walkway overlooking a canal, then load up with as much ammo as you can fit, and switch out one of your weapons for a rocket launcher. Although there are plenty of walkways that will let you get above the Scarab, dont bother boarding it until it comes to a complete stop at the end of the walkway.
When that occurs, itll get hit with a few rockets from one of your dropships; take this opportunity to use a couple of rounds from your own rocket launcher, as well as a couple of grenades, to utterly destroy the Elites on the Scarabs bridge. When youve sufficiently weakened them up, use the turret to finish off any stragglers. Only when the coast is clear should you jump across to the Scarab; before you do, though, switch out one of your weapons for a shotgun, and make sure you get all of the frag grenades near the turret. Youll probably want to keep your rocket launcher, assuming you have at least a couple rounds left for it.
The one thing you have on your side as you descend into the belly of the Scarab is the element of surprise. After you head down the ramp, youre going to be in a small room with a Grunt and a few Elites, one of which is apparently ultra-class, according to Cortana. All we know is that the bastards tough, so if possible, hang a left at the bottom of the ramp and pop off two rockets into the room as quickly as possible. If you hit him dead on, he may die from this; if not, chuck in all of your grenades and then retreat up to the top of the ramp before switching over to your shotgun. When the ultra pursues you, blast him until he goes down.
After you kill off the remaining Elites, all you need to do to clear the level is walk towards the instrumentation panels nearby. Soon enough, the city will go Akira, and youll have to follow the Prophets ship into the aether.
A Whisper In The Storm
Locate the Heretic Leader
After making landfall, follow your squad down to the doorways leading into the Heretic base. Youll be sent in first, so activate your stealth ability with the white button before using the energy blade to off the Elite thats patrolling nearby; you should be able to kill him in two blows. Your stealth only lasts for a few seconds, though, so retreat back to the doorway before the Grunts here kill you, and let your squad move in and start working on the rest of the nearby enemies. One of the Elites on the platform above holds a Covenant carbine, which is somewhat analogous to a battle rifle, so youll probably want to switch your plasma rifle out for it.
The second half of the room features more Elites and Grunts; you can kill off the Grunts fairly easily, but you may want to use the stealth and energy blade combo to cut through the Elites. At the very least, theres plenty of cover afforded to you by all of the blocks and small structures between the conveyor belts.
At the bottom of the conveyor belts, move gingerly across the small paths - a fall here means death - and clear out the small area beyond to reach an elevator. Youll see radar blips as you head down, so when youre free of the restrictive glass, immediately stealth, then walk behind the elevator pillar to trigger the checkpoint. At this point, youll have to deal with an Elite and a couple of what appear to be ship-building Sentinals. The Sentinals are easy enough to take out, but youll need to get the Elite first, so stealth out, then walk up to him and plant a grenade on his ass. He probably wont even know its on him until it explodes, which will leave you free to take out the Sentinals. Said Sentinals have powerful lasers, but can only take a few hits from a carbine; go into stealth mode if you want to target them safely.
When the Sentinals are dead, you can lift Sentinal beams from them, if you wish. Regardless of your weapon loadout, youll have to proceed to the far end of the hangar and open the hangar doors via one of the switches in order to let the other Covenant in. Unfortunately, theyll soon be blasted to smithereens by an influx of Heretic forces, but youll prevail, because its either that or death. Clear out everyone around the hangar before moving on through the doors thatve opened up underneath the docked ship. You can check around for more weapons; you may be able to find both a fuel rod gun and another energy sword.
If you do find the energy sword, youll find it useful against the elites in the hallway beneath the hangar. If you choose another array of weapons, you may have a harder time dealing with them, but deal you must. Down below, youll have another grouping of Grunts and Elites to blast through, with a few of them packing Sentinal beams. You may have an easier time getting through if you stick to the upper level of the room and throw grenades at the largest concentration of forces.
Another series of downward-leading corridors follows this battle, eventually leading to another door; go figure that one. Enemies tend to clump up behind this door, so use your stealth ability to attach grenades to them before ducking back behind cover. Fresh troops will arrive to accompany you, so, as usual, let them take the lead while you use your energy sword to get stealth kills on any Elites that pop up into your path.
Eventually, youll come to another hangar bay with a few Banshees in it. An Elite here will sic a number of Grunts on you while he motors off to protect the Oracle, whatever that is. (So long as Keanu Reeves doesnt make an appearance, well go with the flow here.) Kill off everything that moves (therell be a few waves), then make your way out to the Banshees and take off.
To The Hunt
Pursue the Heretic Leader
Not much to say here, except "Have fun!" Theres nothing in Halo quite as fun as flying a Banshee around, we find, especially when you have an indestructible dropship accompanying you and drawing almost all the enemy fire.
Follow the dropship along, taking out the turret stations and any airborne enemies that you encounter. Keep an eye out for grounded Banshees that you can switch to if yours becomes damaged. After five to ten minutes of aerial combat, youll eventually find the Heretic leaders Banshee parked at a ground station, so clear it of all enemies before dropping down to end the level.
Escape the Infested Labs
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...the Flood arrives. Everybodys least favorite FPS enemy is back, but for your first encounter, at least, you have the benefit of numerous teammates; let them handle the small bits of the Flood while you take out any reanimated corpses. Soon enough, though, youll be sent ahead to proceed, with two Elites by your side.
The same basic pattern of combat applies while youre on the elevator platform; let the Elites do the heavy lifting while you keep the Flood corpses off of them, preferably with Sentinal beams, which shouldnt be too hard to find due to all the Sentinals that will flit about. If your Elites happen to die, which they eventually will, you can hide underneath the walkways and let the Sentinals take out any Flood corpses which might be milling around. The Sentinals are hostile to you as well, of course, but hey, an enemy of my enemy is my friend, at least until I have to blast my friend into little itty-bitty pieces and take its weapon.
Eventually youll reach the bottom of the elevator; youll know youre there when you see the door. Said door leads to the labs, where youll have to survive through another gauntlet of Flood corpses and pods. After you break through the glass to drop into the lab, though, you can stealth yourself and make your way around to the turrets on the far end of the room. If you can stealth and grab one of these quickly, you should be able to kill off quite a few of the corpses before having to disengage; if you still have an energy blade, you can use it to make short work of any remaining corpses. (And if you dont have one, there should be a fully-charged sword on one of the small pedestals in the room.)
After a few waves of baddies, Heretic forces will burst through the doors near the turrets and start wasting the Flood, so hang back on the other end of the room and let them clear out what, from Master Chiefs point of view at least, are the enemy of your enemys enemies, then stealth and sword any Elites that remain standing before moving on.
Find the Heretic Leader
After heading through the airlock, youll be reinforced with more troops, and will have your mission reprioritized. The Flood has spread throughout the station, and your task - to find and kill the Heretic leader - has become more urgent. Why cant the Covenant just blow away the entire station, or pull their troops out and wait for the Flood to kill everything aboard, presumably including the Heretic leader? Its a mystery to us.
Regardless, your enemies are now exclusively Heretic, including numerous Elites and Grunts. Fight your way up the ramps to the door on the far side of the station (and watch for Sentinals). Inside the large room within, more Sentinals will be gutting Flood corpses; let them finish their work, then destroy the Sentinals themselves to trigger a cutscene.
Hey, Watch This!
Cut the Three Cables Holding Up the Station
Start walking up the ramps in the large room, ignoring the fighting betwixt Flood and Sentinals as best you can. Youll come to an elevator at the top; ride it up to the stations moorings. Youll need to use your energy sword to cut the three cables in this room. Theres another big fight between Sentinals and the Flood here, though, so when you reach the top of the elevator, immediately stealth yourself, and you should be able to get up one of the ramps without being detected. From there, you can get behind the first cable (they can be cut in any order) and slash at it until it detaches, then repeat the process on the other two cables. Just ignore any incoming fire; if a Flood corpse gets too close to you, just slash it to death and move on.
Pursue the Heretic Leader Back to the Hangar
After all three cables have been severed, wait a moment until the station goes into freefall, then walk back down to the elevator. Dont jump around, as the game may detect this as a falling-damage death, which is no fun! After you reach the large room at the bottom of the elevator, hop down to the bottom, again ignoring any combat thats going on, then stealth before entering the Heretic leaders little chamber. Two Elites and a pair of Grunts await you, so stick a grenade on one of the Elites, then back out of the chamber while they go crazy. If you want, you can melee your way through the remaining troops with your energy blade. (So, despite the fact that the Heretic leader had an impenetrable door between you and he, and an elevator to take him far away from the combat above, he decides to open said impenetrable door and let you follow him? Huh?)
Youll find what appears to be the stations energy reactor at the bottom of the elevator. You can refit your weaponry from that of the corpses near the door; afterward, do the familiar stealth-and-grenade bit on the Elites near the far exit before moving on to the Banshee platform outside and giving chase to the head Heretic. All you have to do in the Banshee segment of the level is fly to the checkpoint indicated on your HUD, so use the left trigger to blast your way over there, ignoring any other Heretic craft in the area.
Dead or Alive...Actually, Just Dead
In a gameplay trope that everyone will fondly remember from Halo, youre now going to have to backtrack from the hangar through numerous corridors that youve already fought through. As you might expect, theres more combat going on betwixt Flood and Covenant and Heretic, which you should be able to use to your advantage as you claw your way back to the Spectre-class ship that the Heretic leader is moving towards.
Kill the Heretic Leader
Eventually, youll catch up to him, and yeah, yeah, appearance by someone you thought was surely dead, etc. The Leader spawns in two holographic replicants of himself, which can deal full damage, so youre essentially dealing with three simultaneous flying Plasma Rifle dual-wielding Elites. Fun.
You stand zero chance of winning this battle if you attempt to fight straight on; youll get sliced to razor thin shreds before you can even return fire. What you have to do, then, is use the cover given to you. You remember all those meaningless crates that were being moved around pointlessly in rooms like this earlier? Well, the small corridors they were cycling into are still here, even though the crates themselves are no longer moving. These chambers are going to be your best friend, and your only real protection against the Ginsu Knife-like attacks of the Elites in the main room.
Your strategy? Well, itll take a whole lot of reloading to accomplish, but essentially what you want to do is hide in a corridor, wait for the radar blips to disappear, then stealth yourself and move outside to get a look around. If theres an Elite near your position, get close enough to peg him with a grenade, then simultaneously fire at him with whatever weapon you have (a Sentinal beam is ideal). When the grenade goes off, that should be one bogey down, and you can retreat back into the corridor to recharge your shields and wait for the enemies to stop moving again. If you hit a hologram, itll fritz out, but when you get the leader, hell fall to the floor. If you do happen to get a hologram first, and want to save your game, stealth and move towards the large hangar door; theres a checkpoint that youll hit as you move towards it, but make sure youre not getting fired on when you reach it. If you need more grenades, check near the ramps leading up to the second floor here.
Clear the Landing Zone for the Pelicans
Well, guess now we know why this game is called Halo 2.... As soon as you take control of Master Chief, flip yourself over to your rockets and start gunning for the three turrets higher up on the hill near your landing spot. All you need to do to get a lock on one of the turrets is zoom in on it with your right analog stick and hover your aiming reticule over it for a second; youll automatically lock on and can then fire with the right trigger. Each turret will take one rocket to destroy, and there should be three turrets total, so keep an eye out for them as you scale the hill.
Youll come to some ruins at the top of the hill; as soon as you see the checkpoint notification, some Elites will start appearing there, as well as a sniper on the upper floors. Your teammates will likely die off rather quickly, but if youre willing to put their sacrifice to good use, you can scale the ramp near the large wall and use their distraction to attack the Elites from behind with grenades or whatever other weapons you have at your disposal. Eventually, though, youll have to start taking down everyone by yourself, so use whatever natural cover you have at your disposal to do so. One of the landing pods near the cliff here has a battle rifle laying beside it, which youll probably want to use to clear out the sniper. You should also use whatever remaining rocket rounds you have on the Elites; aim at their feet to eliminate most of their shields, then switch over to another weapon and finish them off.
After Sarge radios in to let you know that hes starting his approach, youll have to fend off a few more waves of Covenant, presumably to prevent them from manning the artillery again. One of the turrets overlooking the ruins may be functional, but youll probably get killed by the dropships as they approach to offload their wares, so be cautious about manning it. Youll probably be able to outfit yourself with dual SMGs or dual plasma rifles from the corpses of your teammates and the Covenant, so do so, and use whatever armaments you require to kill off the Elites as they appear. A good plan of attack is to withdraw a bit from the dropzone, use your battle rifle to kill any Grunts or Jackals, then quickly switch over to dual-wielding to finish off the Elites.
Extend the Bridge, and Cross the Chasm
A Warthog will get dropped to you at this point, along with a couple of soldiers with which to man it. You wont have it for very long, though, as youll quickly come to a chasm with a retracted bridge. The building here houses controls for the bridge, so ignore all of the fighting outside and slam on the gas until you reach one of the entrances, then hop out of your ride and head inside. Your teammates are likely toast, but ignore them and kill off the buildings defenders before extending the bridge with the controls.
Push Through the Covenant-held Ruins
By the time you reach the exterior of the building, everyone should be dead, including the Covenant forces, which will allow another Pelican to drop a Scorpion for you. You should be able to make exceedingly short work of the Wraiths with it, so take them out. Dont go across the bridge just yet, though; the destruction of the Wraiths will trigger the appearance of a pair of Banshees from the direction of the huge enemy vessel in the matte-painting background; use your cannon to take them out from long range. If you cross the bridge immediately after destroying the Wraiths, the Banshees will get you from behind. Ghosts will also appear as you cross the bridge, so stay on your guard as you proceed through the ruins.
You Break It, You Buy It
As soon as you see this header pop up, stop your Scorpion and start shelling the far side of the little courtyard. There are numerous Jackals here, as well as an endless stream of Ghosts, so youll want to take out all of the turrets in the opposite building before you get into their range. After thats done, proceed through another interior section of the ruins before you come to a large, fortress-like building. The exterior walls here will be mounted with turrets, so be careful if you intend to make a lap around the central structure; if you still have a teammate on your Scorpion (and if you still have your Scorpion, of course), you may want to let her take over the driving while you proceed on foot, as AI drivers have perfectly good aim, and its obviously better for them to die than you if the vehicle explodes.
Your goal here is to penetrate into the central building; you can find a passageway to the left of the large concentration of forcefields near where you came into the courtyard, on the upper level. Heading towards it will spawn a force of something like half a dozen Elites and Grunts, however, so be cautious, and try to have a full load of plasma grenades before moving in, since youll likely be solo at this point. Fortunately, after you get through the first wave and make it to the garden at the center of the structure, more troops will arrive to back you up, so push on with them into the garden and clear it out; itll mostly be populated by Grunts and Jackals, so dual-wielded plasma rifles should be all you need.
Off the Rock, Through the Bush, Nothing But Jackal
When you reach the waterfall, kill off the Jackal sniper thats walking along the creek, then use his beam rifle to start picking off any more foes in the clearing below you. As you walk along, your movement will, of course, encourage more enemies to spawn in, so keep a beam rifle handy and try to snipe as many of them as possible when you spot them. Drones will eventually start appearing again, though, so youll want to have some kind of rapid-fire device at your disposal. Theres only one exit from the clearing, near the Covenant equipment pods across the way from the waterfall, so fight towards it.
Reach the Towers in the Lake
Youll eventually spot a series of huge structures built onto a lake. You should have plenty of sniper ammo or a fresh beam rifle from the pods near the exit from the clearing, so use your long-distance weapon to pick off any Jackals or Elites that you can spot from your little perch. Your shots will attract Drones, however, so be prepared with a short-range weapon. When you dont have any targets left, ditch your sniper rifle and load up with dual SMGs from the equipment pods nearby and either a carbine or a battle rifle.
When you reach the interior of the structure, youll have to deal with four honor guard Elites, packing plasma rifles and energy blades. As per usual, the best way to deal with these guys is by sticking a plasma grenade on their butt, but drop your second SMG somewhere nearby, as they wont be able to stand up to dual SMGs for long, either. After theyre all dead, youll get a new assignment.
Make Your Way Through the First Set of Towers.
After the initial firefight here (in which you should, as always, hang back while your teammates do the hard work), scavenge for equipment before heading up the ramps and to the right. Youll come out onto one of the exterior walkways, but dont get all snipe-happy just yet; a red Elite will soon come around the corner, so watch your radar and try to peg him with a plasma grenade when hes in sight. Thatll take care of him, but youll still have to deal with his little Grunt friends, so blast them all. After theyre dead, start pegging snipers - theres a beam rifle in the hallway - and moving around to the left, towards the sole bridge thats still intact. Use your teammates as human shields, as necessary.
After crossing the bridge, you may want to switch out whatever long-range weapon you have for your teammates shotgun, as the rooms beyond tend to be a bit on the cramped side. You can use it on the Grunts and the Jackals that appear; you wont have to deal with more Elites until you come out on the far side. The large land bridge here, though, is the scene of a Hunter ambush; when you clear out the snipers, they get unloaded by dropships. If you still have any teammates here, you can use them to help you kill off the Hunters, but only if you manage to kill keep the Hunters focused on you. This can be accomplished by staying fairly close to them and strafing around them. Obviously enough, this is easier if you focus on one of the Hunters and kill it with plasma grenades and beam rifle fire, then deal with the other one.
When everythings dead, youll get resupplied by a Pelican, but you wont have a whole lot of time to examine the weaponry before a gondola approaches with more Covenant on it. Youll need to kill as many of them as time allows before the gondola arrives, so whip out a beam or sniper rifle and go to town, focusing especially on any Elites that pop their heads out. When everythings cleared out, you can use the gondola to take you to the far tower.
Ride the Gondola to the Far Towers
Predictably enough, your ride to the tower isnt going to be uneventful; youll have to deal both with Drones and with a small combat party on the other gondola as it passes by. As you approach the tower, a predictable ambush will appear. Dont worry too much about the turrets above you, though; concentrate on clearing out the enemies in the hallway, then head in there to get out of the turrets fire.
Pass Through the Submerged Structures
Head on into the rooms nearby and kill everything that moves before walking up the ramp. The Grunt outside will pack a fuel rod gun, though, so proceed with caution, lest you get blasted. You have to kill him in order to trigger the appearance of an elevator in the room through which you just passed, so wait for it to arrive, then kill the Jackals within. Before you head down, though, a Pelican may appear to refresh your teammate loadout, so wait for that to occur before hitting the button. A long elevator ride ensues.
When you arrive at your destination, youll have to blast your way through a corridor full of Grunts, and then enter another large, enclosed room with a hologram of the Prophet inside. There are two entrances here: one on the ground level, one at the top of the nearby ramps. Whichever way you proceed, youll have to deal with numerous Jackals and Elites, including some honor guards, so hopefully both of your teammates will help out. You may want to give one of them the fuel rod gun, if you still possess it, as they have the small benefit of unlimited ammo.
Your goal isnt to kill everything in the Prophet-room, though, and the appearance of a pair of Hunters, in addition to the numerous other enemies, will likely make that impossible. Rather, all you have to do is escape, so proceed to the far end, head down to the bottom of the ramps, and exit through the door beneath them.
The watery room beyond has a number of stealthed enemies, including a pair of Elites, with another one waiting at the door beyond. You should be able to find a pair of plasma rifles underneath the ramp heading down, though, along with a couple of plasma grenades, so clean out the room with those.
Reach the Main Temple
After another submerged elevator ride, youll come out in a small building. Kill off the Elites and Grunts, then head out to the doorway leading outside. Your path here is going to be blocked by Drones, which are easily dispatched as they cluster around the doorway, and Elites, which will be a bit more problematic due to their position. They have a height advantage on you, and will be difficult to take down with any of your short range weapons, but you should be able to find a carbine in the hallway before the Prophets hologram; use it to bust a move on at least one of the Elites before heading out and killing off any other enemies.
At this point, youll get an ammo and personnel refresh, which is good, because a dropship in the next area will drop numerous Jackals, Elites, and Grunts into a small, walled-off area. If your teammates are exposed while the dropship comes overhead, theyll probably be toasted by its turrets, so try to hit behind the large rock across from the entrance until it passes on, then use them to assault the Covenant and rout them.
Next up you have another gondola ride, so re-equip from the pods before heading aboard. There are two rocket launchers here, so if you have any teammates, youll probably want to make sure that at least one of them is packing one, while the other guy might be best suited with a sniper rifle. Keep the other rocket launcher for yourself.
After you hit the first checkpoint on the gondola, get to the rear of your ship and start locking on to the Banshees that will approach. They each require two rocket shots to take out, so hopefully your teammate will give you a hand here. If you cant take them down quickly, youll have to deal with them and a pair of flying Elites on the other gondola simultaneously, which is essentially suicide. The flying Elites alone will be a pain in the butt, since there arent many places to hide from their fire aboard the gondola. If worst comes to worst, crouch below one of the low walls on the lower portion of the float and hope they miss you until your shields recharge. If you still have a sniper along, try to coordinate your fire with his so that you hit the Elite just after he does; this will let you drop their shields much more quickly.
When you make landfall on the shores of the temple (a teammate with a rocket launcher will be helpful in killing off the defenders), youll have your mission reiterated to you once more.
Sorry, Were You in the Middle of Something?
Kill the Prophet of Regret, and Escape
Fight your way into the temple here, being mindful of the presence of energy blade-wielding honor guards, who can kill you with a single blow if they get close. Theres no easy weapon loadout here, but focus on the close-range stuff, as quarters are tight.
The Prophet of Regret is situated in the main temple room; youll know youre in it when you see him floating around over the dais on the side of the room opposite from the entrance. This is essentially an arcade-style fight, where you have to find his weakness before the never-ending floor of honor guards and Grunts kills you; the Prophet is immune to all forms of ranged attacks, and plasma grenades just bounce off of his energy shield. The solution? Youre going melee.
Not that its as cut and dried as going up and whacking him with an energy blade, of course; his honor guards will be relentlessly firing at you as you attempt to close in on the Prophet, and will pelt you with more rounds from their plasma rifles after you disengage. The Prophet himself has an extremely powerful laser, which stings horribly when it connects, but which shouldnt be too difficult to dodge.
The basic string of actions here, then, involve starting out from one of the upper platforms on either side of the room. The Prophet will usually be down near the platform below, allowing you to jump off of the platform and get a good idea for where youll be landing. If you did get an energy blade, equip it before you charge in, and click the right trigger as soon as your reticule changes red to get off a powerful melee attack. (This can be performed even when youre in midair.) When you get the prompt to jump on his vehicle, though, hold X to do so, then start wailing on him with your fist.
Any enemies in the area will fire away at you while you do so, but youll be protected by the Prophets energy shield, so just keep wailing until he teleports away. When he does teleport out (as presaged by a large golden glow), youll probably be surrounded by furious Elites, so this is when youll usually wind up dying, but if you can make it to one of the many small side passages, you should be able to recharge your shields. Just keep an eye on your radar as you proceed in the fight, as the honor guards have a habit of coming up behind you and getting cheap one-hit kills by slashing you in the back. (The "OMG LOLZ NEWB!!!!" taunts dont help much, either.)
Youll require three or four runs of melee attacks on the Prophet before he goes kaplooie, after which time the level ends automatically.
Lower the Containment-Shield
There isnt much you can do in the beginning room here. Although the small wisps moving out spec as enemies on your radar, they wont hurt you, so just ignore them and head towards the large white pillarish-looking thing in the rear of the room. If you walk around it and point your gun at the white spots on any of its four faces, you should notice your targeting reticule turn from white to red over one of them. Shoot it to reveal a passageway leading down. (If you dont want to waste ammo, you can use kinetic energy - i.e. your melee attack - to do the job.) Youll have to repeat the process again until you reach a room with Sentinal beam-wielding Sentinals. You can kill these guys as much as you want, but more spawn after a short time. If you want, you can use a Sentinal beam yourself to destroy the Sentinal generators, but they arent much of a threat if you just pass them by.
Down one more level, youll find that more Covenant troops have magically appeared, but theyre in a room with half a dozen or so Sentinal generators. Since you have an endless supply of Sentinal beams (from killing Sentinals), feel free to use them to destroy the generators.
Eventually, the Covenant equivalent of Sarge will let you know that youre close to a shield generator, so keep fighting through the power couplinks until you can reach the main reactor to shut down the dilithium crystals. Or something like that.
Power Up the Four Absorbers to Lower the Containment-Shield
Long story short, youll come to the generator room, which is guarded by a massive mechanical beast. Essentially, its a bigger version of the Sentinals youve been laying waste to, save with rocket barrages and what sound like rapid-fire needlers. We dont know for sure; we were hiding. Its not too difficult to kill, though, so long as you avoid staying out in the open. After it kills off any of your followers, drop down into its lair and use the walls and small bunkers to hide, then dart out into the open while stealthed and fire away at it from behind its shields. You should notice parts of it falling away as you do so. After you dish out a beating, retreat back into cover and wait for your stealth to recharge before repeating the process, and the guardian will eventually fall to the floor with a clatter.
Now that thats out of the way, you have to charge up the four absorbers. Whack them with your fists until they start to charge up, but keep an ear out for the Sentinal generators, as theyll start popping in after the second or third absorber has been activated. When theyre all good, the entire generator room reveals itself to be a gigantic movable platform, which will take you to the Library.
Make Your Way Through the Flood-infested Wall
The best laid plans often go awry, and Sarges intention to pick you up on the far side of the chasm isnt implemented due to the appearance of another Guardian and more Sentinals. These are actually super-Sentinals, in fact, with shields and upgraded weaponry; they act much the same as their predecessors did, though, so theyre not difficult to kill off. While the Guardian is dealing with the Flood zombies, shell it with whatever weapons you can find on the ground until it pops, then make your way through the Sentinals and zombies by jumping into the next corridor. Said corridor has another energy-absorbant elevator thingy in it, so whack it a few times to unlock the passage downwards.
Keep moving onwards (ever onwards) until you hear a human voice in your headset. This is when you should take stock of your ammo and weapons, and get ready for the first really difficult Flood battle thus far. Theyll come at you with human zombies, and thus, human weapons, so youll want to be able to deal with them from a distance. Sentinals will also spawn in this area; not in infinite numbers, but enough to let you use Sentinal beams without hesitation. Make your way through the masses to another elevator. This will lead to an exterior walkway where more Guardians are fighting off Flood zombies; ignore the combat and hang a left until you reach another elevator. It may look like youve doubled back onto the scene you left before, but apparently there are two Guardians here, so just keep moving in a straight line until you hit the elevator, then take another step towards the bottom of wherever you are.
Wow, spooky dust-filled rooms! Anyway, more Flood zombies appear. Feel free to chuck any frag grenades you have at them as they approach, since theyll drop more. This leads to another set of generator rooms, similar in fashion to the ones you fought through earlier in the level, before you defeated the first Guardian, save for the fact that theyre poorly-lit and are populated by more zombies than Sentinals. Regardless, youll have to fight your way through, or just run, until you reach another elevator. This one will lead to yet another elevator, which leads to...the beginning of the level! Congratulations, you get to do it all over again! Well, its actually just a spitting-image of the beginning of the level, but its hard not to imagine this as a wink-wink in-joke about Halos repetitive use of similar-looking rooms and hallways.
Regardless, fall into the passage until you come to another landing bay, where Flood zombies are fighting off a Covenant dropship. Although the zombies are your kinsmen, give them no quarter, and slay as many as you need to get to the elevator, which leads to - you guessed it - another ventilation shaft-esque passageway down.
100,000 Years War
Rendezvous With Your Allies in the Covenant Camp
Finally, some solid ground underneath you. Youll also obtain a few Elite helpers here, so bust through the Flood on the far side of the chasm, then stroll through the small rock corridor nearby, which leads to the Covenant camp.
After your arrival, youll be forced to defend the camp, with your allies, against a few waves of zombies. If you picked up a rocket launcher earlier, give it to one of your friends to let them better blast away at the enemies, but dont hesitate to take it away if they exhibit poor target selection. The one item of note here is that the zombies will mount the plasma turrets if theres no one in them, so if you dont intend to use one, destroy it with whatever weapons you have before they arrive. After you fend off the horde, the chapter ends.
Objects in Mirror are Larger Than They Appear
Push Through the Quarantine-Zone Toward the Library
Youll have a really fun time getting through the first part of this mission, as you and a few Elites will have to man various vehicles and fight your way past Guardians. Your best bet is to hop into the Spectre, which is essentially the Covenant version of the Warthog. You can choose to be either the driver or gunner here, but youll probably want to drive, if only because the Guardians have shielding that youll need to bypass.
Speaking of which, as soon as the mission begins, a Guardian will pop out of the doorway leading into the Library. The safest place to be with these guys is underneath them, as they dont appear to be able to fire at you while youre down there, and your gunner will be able to pound away on their undersides until theyre destroyed. You have two Ghosts along with you as well, which should distract the Guardians while you pound away at it. If you want, you can run past the Guardians, but youll probably have to leave behind your Ghost accompaniment if you wish to do so, which can turn the entire level into something of a sprint.
Inside the next room, though, youll have a more troublesome set of foes, in the form of a few Guardians, respawning Sentinals, and a few other mechanical threats. The Guardians, of course, should be your priority here, so repeat the process of killing them before taking on the Sentinals. There are also Flood zombies here, driving human vehicles, such as a Warthog and Scorpion. If your Spectre is hurting, you can keep an eye out for other vehicles to jack, but be sure the area is relatively clear before you do so.. Also, watch your radar to detect any enemies; there are Heretic forces in the room, some of which will drive Ghosts, so it can be a bit confusing to discern between friendly Ghosts and enemy Ghosts.
As you come out into an exterior portion of the level, youll have to deal with more Flood and Heretic forces. Be mindful of the fact that any vehicles you left behind in the Guardian room will pursue you to here; the Warthog or Ghosts will be an especially cumbersome load to shake. Rather than kill every single thing that moves, your best bet is to charge to the bottom of the ramp and proceed on to the next area, where multiple Heretic Wraiths will be contending with Guardians. None of your previous foes are likely to follow you through here.
Although you dont have any friends here, you should do your best to keep the Guardians alive as long as possible, if only because theyll help wipe out the Wraiths. To begin with, distract the first Wraith near the entrance and try to get it to swing around; this will let the Guardians blow it without taking much damage. After they refocus themselves on other targets, start making your way across the makeshift paths to the right. As you cross a chasm, more Ghosts and Flood forces will spawn in. Youll need to be particularly careful about any rocket-launcher wielding Flood; these guys will tend to hold off atop the ledge here and shell you from above, so watch for the smoke trails and be prepared to floor it underneath the overhang when you spot them.
Further on, youll come to a large cave entrance. As you approach, prepare for two scripted events: the spawning of pairs of Ghosts from the cave, and the appearance of four Sentinals and a Guardian from without. If you can, maneuver through the cacophony and make your way through the cave, preferably on a Ghost yourself, if you can find a relatively undamaged one. Inside the cave, youll be forced to ditch your ride and maneuver into a rocky passageway, but getting there will be the trick, as more Sentinals and a Scorpion will be fighting it out.
After proceeding through the passageway, youll come to some sort of reactor room, where a Guardian and Sentinals are fighting with forces unseen. Theres another passageway in the far corner of the room, so reequip yourself if necessary, then run across the floor to safety.
Another exterior canyon follows where (guess what!) the Flood will be battling Sentinals and Guardians. As ever, do your best to avoid any enemies you come across, and make your way across the canyon floor to another cave towards the northwest. A half-dozen Flood will come pouring out as you approach, and therell likely be more behind you, so stealth yourself as you round the bend and try to get behind them. If they spot you, start chucking grenades; if not, just leave them be and move on.
Youll find yourself in another reactor room here, this time populated solely by Flood zombies. One of them, a converted human soldier, packs an energy blade, so try to stealth your way across the floor towards the upper platform on the other side to find him. When you have the energy blade, you should be able to clear out the rest of the Flood easily, then turn your attention to the Sentinals in the passage beyond. Load up with a rocket launcher before heading out, though.
In the next room, you have respawning Ghosts, a Wraith, and a Warthog to deal with, as well as miscellaneous Flood zombies walking around on the floor. Your tools here include whatever weapons youre packing, an empty Ghost (found by dropping off the ledge and following the wall to the left) and an empty Scorpion. The Scorp is obviously the biggest prize here, but getting to it in one piece can be difficult. If youre handy with the stealth, you can activate that and make your way to it undetected, but actually using it for more than a second before dying will be tough. One of the zombies appears to have a rocket launcher, so youll want to kill him before you mount up; you might also just want to use your own rocket launcher to kill off the Ghosts and Warthogs, and even perhaps the Wraith, if possible, from the ledge overlooking this room before you waltz in.
Link Up with the Spec-Ops Leader, and Break Through the Flood Barricade
After moving on, youll be greeted by a Covenant dropship thatll offload a Spectre and more troops. If you still have the Scorpion, this is obviously a downgrade, but the Spectre will remain here, if you want to return to it as the Scorpion runs low on health. Now, as you move on, more enemies, both Flood and mechanical, will spawn in, so do your best to take it slow. You might want to avoid the tunnel across the chasm at first, and instead roll up further along the near side of the canyon, blasting away at the Flood vehicles as they arrive.
Next up is another big melee between Flood vehicles and mechanicals. The Flood seems to have taken over the large building here, so youll need to proceed in, blast any of the defenders (while watching for the turrets on the platform), then exit your vehicle and head through the small doorway through which the enemies are coming. Youll find a gondola-like transport here.
Retrieve the Sacred Icon Before the Humans
There isnt much to do here save survive, as wave after wave of Flood zombies assault the gondola. You have plenty of teammates at the beginning, but theyll quickly succumb to the hordes. Due to the movement of the platform, you wont be able to rely on rockets to clear out concentrations of enemies, so instead, use your plasma grenades as often as you like; the zombies will drop plenty of them. Beyond that, an energy blade/shotgun combo will serve you well, as the zombies will tend to get up close and personal.
That Old, Familiar Feeling
You dont actually have to retrieve the icon here; there isnt, in fact, much you can do beyond watch a succession of cutscenes. After the bizarre congress with Audrey II, youll take over as Master Chief.
Locate the Prophet of Truth and the Index
Ugh, this is a tough fight! Or, rather, a tough series of fights, as youll have to face down multiple waves of Grunts and Brutes. These latter enemies have apparently taken the place of Elites as the right-hand men of the Prophets, and although they dont pack an energy shield, they can take a huge amount of damage amd will occasionally go berserk and attempt to ram you with their heads. Your best bet when attempting to take them down? We never thought wed say this, but: dual-wielded needlers. The Brutes appear to be exceptionally weak to the explosive effects of needler ammo, and rather resistant to most other forms of damage, so these are really your only option, unless you want to get close enough to plant a plasma grenade on their hides.
The fighting itself is rather quotidian, if rather more difficult than most other encounters. Use the pillars near the door on the end of the room opposite from where the Prophet descended to hide from enemy fire while killing off your enemies. Watch out for carbine-wielding Brutes that will descend from the grandstands and fire at you as you engage the enemies below. After three to four waves of enemies, Cortana will unlock the doorway, letting you move on.
After killing off the Grunts and Brutes, move on into what is rather evidently an important room, filled with glowing white light and more honor guards. After you dispatch the honor guards, more Brutes will start popping out from the platform on the far side of the room, leaving you to contend with half a dozen or so in all, including a lieutenant with a Brute shot weapon, which is essentially a cleaver/grenade launcher. You can distinguish the lieutenant from the others by the red flag on his back.
Due to the number of Brutes and open design of the room, its going to be next to impossible to use your needlers to kill them off. Now that you have access to Covenant carbines, though (check the corpses), you can use those to off the Brutes and the other forces in the room from a distance. The sequence is simple: pop out of the door, zoom out on a likely target, blast away until your shields fall, then retreat behind the doors until you can recharge. Since the Brutes dont have shield generators, you dont have to deal all of your damage at once; you can wear them down over time.
After dispatching all of the Brutes, descend to the bottom of the gravlift and start making your way into the lower levels of the temple facility. If you see a beam rifle, you might want to pick it up, as the Brutes are just as susceptible to headshots as the lesser foes youll be facing. You can also find ammo pods for needlers and the carbine in the first Brute-infested hallway you pass through.
Rescue the Marines Being Held in the Detention-Block
Continue moving along until Cortana points you towards a room with another lift. Dispatch the Brute guardians with needlers or carbine, then head down into a longish lift that leads to another abattoir...of doom!
Your arrival wont alert the guards here, but you wont be able to escape their detention for long. Your best bet here is to kill the Brute near the lift by attaching a plasma grenade to his back, then fighting your way through the Grunts on either side of the lift until you can hide behind the small curved window. From there, you should be able to use your carbine and grenades (and perhaps the Brute shot, if you picked it up from the display near the lift) to repel your attackers.
There are three levels to the detention block, connected by a series of elevator pads at the rear of the room. Take advantage of the good sightlines to snipe out any enemies on lower levels with your carbine, then meet up with Cortana on the third level down to access the brig where the Marines are being held. Killing all of the guards in the brig will free three Marines, whom youll have to bring back up to the middle level in the face of some more Grunt and Brute opposition. Another group of Marines awaits on the second level, so free everyone before exiting the Detention Block. Unfortunately, you cant rearm these Marines, so youll have to let them choose their own weapons. No Brute shotting teammates, in other words.
After you assemble your team, youll have to fight your way back up to the main lift. If you can rush there after Cortana tells you that enemies are coming down, you can pop them off as they arrive with a Brute shot, as theyre mainly Grunts and Jackals, with a pair of Brutes coming down last. When Cortana announces that the lift is clear, head on up and start tracking down the Prophet.
Follow the Prophet of Truth to the Far Tower
More corridor-crawling soon commences. Luck is on your side, though, as it appears that the Elites are rebelling against the new order, so you should have some chaos to take advantage of. If you want your teammates to survive, focus on the Brutes before they can close in on you, as theyll quickly make corpses of your friends with their melee attacks. Theyre unlikely to live long anyway, but its worth a shot! Beware the door at the end of the first corridor, as the ominous sound of distant doors opening portends the arrival of half a dozen or so Drones. You should be able to pick them off from one of the small hiding spots on either side of the main corridor.
Further on, youll encounter a pair of Hunters. If you absolutely must kill them, try backtracking and picking up a pair of Brute plasma rifles, then firing away at their unprotected bits. Brute shots may also work. Your best bet, though, is to time their paths and make a break for the far door. If youre lucky, you might be able to avoid getting their attention, thus bypassing the threat altogether.
More chaos is breaking out in the exterior area beyond the Hunters, as the Elites fight their little insurgence. As you exit the door, take a right and clear out any resistance near the snipers platform here, then rise up to the top and use a beam rifle to kill off any enemies below you. Another Hunter will be pacing around, but if you wait until it turns its back, you should be able to kill it with a single sniper shot to the back of the head.
Make your way across the clearing, but beware of the Brute shot-wielding Brute wholl appear from behind the door there. After you take the long floating walkway, and see the ship pass overhead, youll have to deal with another exterior walkway where Brutes and Elites are partaking in combat. These guys arent too much of a hassle to deal with from a distance, thanks to your carbine, but as you near the exit from the path, two flying Elites will pop up overhead, and they can be a terrific pain to kill, thanks to their shields and the fact that you dont have any real cover. If youre feeling lucky, you might want to try walking around the platform to the right and seeing if you cant shift their attention to the participants in the battle there, but this is risky due to the fact that theres a checkpoint position in the middle of the path. If you happen to save in a bad spot, you might have to start the level over again, so your best bet is to get dual Brute plasma rifles, hide underneath one of the arches, and wait for them to get close before blasting one of them, and then repeating the process. You can also try attaching a plasma grenade to them, if you wish.
Beyond the flying Elites, therell be another set of enemies, so smash your way through them to the levitation plate. Youll come out to an interior room where Drones are fighting against yet more flying Elites. Do your best to hang back near the doorway and kill off the Elites from there; you dont want to get too close to them, lest you get singed by their dual plasma rifles. There should be two elites at first, with two arriving after a moment from the doorway on the far side of the room, Brutes hot on their tail. The Brutes and other enemies are easy to kill, so take down the Elites first.
After another levitation pad, youll come to what appears to be the last redoubt before the far tower, with energy shields scattered about and a great many weapons pods there for the looting. A pair of Brutes will be systematically destroying a gaggle of Grunts, so wait for them to finish their handiwork before killing them, reequipping yourself, and moving through another levitation pad.
Stop the Prophet of Truth From Boarding His Phantom
Three Brutes with Brute shots will stand in your path after you exit the platform, but if you retreat back to the doorway through which you came, you may be able to take advantage of their AI and snipe them with a carbine without taking any return fire. In the next area, youll have to deal with some Elites at close range, so you might want to avoid picking up a Brute shot; elites can take up to three direct hits from the grenades, making it less than stellar when used against them.
After you do clear out the Elites and Brutes, though, head up the ramp and be ready for a pair of energy blade-wielding invisible Elites. Kill them and the Grunts to gain access to the tower.
When youre inside the tower, youll have to cut a swath through the foyer to a room with numerous Grunts and Elites. It appears the battle lines have been drawn, with Grunts and Elites on one side and Jackals and Brutes on the other, but unfortunately, there arent any of the latter enemies around. If you can clear out some of the Elites, though, passing through to the rear of the room will trigger a Brute and a pair of Jackals to enter from the rear door, which should give you a bit of combat to take advantage of. In the hallway before this room, you can find a fully-loaded fuel rod gun, which should come in handy in the fight. Youll want to save at least five rounds for it, though, as you may need them soon.
It only gets tougher from there, though, as the next open corridor features a full-on assault between forces of Brutes, Jackals, Grunts, and Elites. Youll enter this fight from the rear of the Brutes; if you can slip in while theyre distracted, you should be able to knife the Jackal on the right side of the walkway and grab his beam rifle, which you can use to snipe away at the Elites on the far side while theyre busy firing away at the Brutes or the Drones which follow them. Even after youve cleaned out the bridge, though, youll have to deal with a pair of Hunters that spawn in from the far door as you approach it. If you still have any ammo for your fuel rod gun, use it on the Hunters, as they seem to be weak to that type of fire; if not, youre going to be in deep doo-doo, as the Hunters will be flanked by numerous Grunts and Elites. If youre desperate, you may be able to split the force into two groups by creeping forward until you see the first enemies coming out of the door, then retreating back all the way to the opposite side of the bridge. It worked once for us, but no guarantees!
The next room is even more fun, as multiple Hunters, Brutes, and Elites all get into one big mosh pit for a fracas. Although Cortana recommends sitting the fight out, you should actually wrap around the right side of the pit and kill off any Elites that you can; if both the Elites and the Hunters work on the Brutes, they wont last long, and youll have more enemies to kill. After the Elites are dead, let the Brutes and Hunters dish out as much damage as they can to each other, then take out the last man standing. Cortana will let you know that the Sarge and Miranda are following Truth, and that you have to help them.
ARGH, this next fight is tough, especially on higher difficulties. Youre going to be facing off against four or five Elites at once, including a couple of stealthed individuals, and what appears to be an ultra-class baddie. Depending on your armament, you could have serious problems getting past this fight. We finally managed to kill them all with an energy blade, a fully-loaded carbine, and three plasma grenades.
Unfortunately for you, the enemies wont wait for you to approach the door after the fight between the Brutes and Hunters is over; theyll eventually burst through of their own accord shortly after Cortana tells you about Miranda and Sarge. If you want, you can try to hang back and blast them with your carbine from a distance, but itll be incredibly difficult to drop their shields and kill them before getting wasted yourself. Our tactic was to wait just in front of the door leading out of the arena, wait for them to open it up, then chuck our grenades at likely targets before dropping down into the pit and retreating underneath the overhang. With any luck, you should be able to get two of them with grenades; the rest will have to be taken out individually.
When youre underneath the overhang, you can try to lure more Elites down to you with your carbine. If you get a chance to tag them a few times as they descend, then you should be able to cut them down with a single lock-on slash from your energy blade, but you should just keep tapping the right trigger in the hopes that they dont live long enough to slash you back. The ultra-class Elite will, of course, be the toughest of the bunch. If you can isolate him, you may be able to kill him at a distance with your carbine, but itll probably take at least two reloads to wear down his shields and then deal the finishing blow. When he runs away to hide, find him and destroy him!
Luckily, this is the last fight of the level, so kill everything that moves and get the heck out of here.
Oh, So Thats How It Is
Defend Yourself From the Brutes
All you initially have to use against the Brutes in the clearing is a plasma rifle, but youll find an energy sword soon enough, and thats going to be your most useful tool agains the beasts. Make your way down the path, using your stealth ability to get behind the Brutes for a quick kill, or to get close enough to attach plasma grenades to them, which will prove similarly fatal. Youll have five or so to kill in all before you finally reach a clearing, but dont head in immediately; move in slowly to provoke the Brutes on the ledge nearby to reveal themselves, then fall back. Theyll start coming towards you, but slowly, and one by one, which should allow you to kill them easily.
Repeat the process of stealthing before killing until you reach the ledge, wherein more Elites will drop in and join you.
Extract Vengeance on the Brute Traitors
Technically speaking, its the Elites that are the traitors here, at least so far as were keeping score, but history being written by the victors, perhaps its a good idea to keep a positive twist on things. Regardless, youll need to use the Elites to blast through a succession of Brutes and Drone enemies until you reach the far door in the large room here. Just stay back and use your energy sword to lock onto and destroy any Brutes that get involved in melee with your friends, then dual-wield plasma rifles to cut a swatch through the Drones that guard the door itself.
The next room is simple enough to clear, if you have a few plasma grenades. Although the Jackals and Brutes are well-defended, you can throw down your stash of grenades onto their heads to destroy most of them, then just strafe any survivors with your plasma rifles to finish them off. If you kill one of the Brutes, the other is likely to go berserk, so watch for it as it comes up the ramp.
The room beyond will see you descending downwards across four tiers. The first tier below the entrance is populated by Jackals, which are easy enough to kill. Theyre not alerted to your presence until they spot you; you can take advantage of this by stealthing and standing on the edge of the tier to scout around below you. As a note, though, the room becomes all but impossible if you happen to shoot the weapon pod holding the needlers off of the second tier. If you manage to keep it in place, though, you can use it to clear out the third and the bottom tier by stealthing up to the edge, shooting off around a quarter bars worth of ammo from each needler onto one of the Brutes heads, then retreating. Your friendly Elites will be a big help in drawing the third tiers Brutes out of their hiding spots.
The next room over will be similar to the one in which you used up your grenades earlier, save that therell be more Brutes, including a wave that exits from the door at the rear after the fight begins, as well as a turret. Luckily, theres a fuel rod gun with 20 rounds in it near the door through which you enter, making it easy to cut down all of the Brutes. Before you head on, itd be wise to switch out one of your weapons for the carbines at the bottom of the room, but keep the fuel rod gun. Youll find eight more rounds of ammo for it before you reach the surface of Halo again.
Step Aside, Let the Man Go ThroughAfter you do step outside, kill off the Brutes and Jackals, then make your way to the right and do the same. You can conserve ammo for the fuel rod gun by picking off the Brutes with carbine shots to the head.
Youll come to some Ghosts eventually, so head round the bend, but before you ride in to kill off the Brutes around the rock, use your carbine to snipe out the Jackal sniper on top of the wall to the left, far ahead of you. When thats done, you can use the Ghost to strafe-and-kill every single Jackal and Brute around the side of the rock, using the rock itself as cover. You should have plenty of Ghosts in working condition, so try to eject yourself before one explodes and get another.
Around the bend past the Brutes, youll need to kill the Jackal on the rise to the left, but leave the Grunt there. As you proceed and kill the Brutes and Jackals further into the clearing, a Spectre will appear; the Grunt will man the turret near him, which will hopefully distract the Spectre until you destroy it. When the enemy tank is dead, move back towards where it came from before more enemies can spawn, and switch out for a new Ghost, if need be.
Fight Your Way to the Canyon Floor Now that youve gotten a bit of momentum, itll be ground to a halt, as youll come to a Brute roadblock. You can dismantle the guards piece by piece from long range, but you might have to blind-fire at the snipers above the roadblock, unless you brought along a carbine or beam rifle. Regardless, once the snipers are gone, just fire away at anything that moves from long range; you should be able to kill them without having them return fire. Before heading through the road block, stop and grab one of the beam rifles that the snipers dropped.
Raze the Brute Encampment
When you see the Fight Club pronouncement on your screen, hop off of your Ghost and start walking slowly down the stream. Youll see a quasi-arena at the bottom of the waterfall; your goal now is to kill off as many of its defenders as possible with your rifle before you have to head down there. There are two more snipers here, so be watchful for Jackals. There should also be a set of three Brutes, so headshot two of them, or three if you can; the last is likely to go berserk, though. If it does, let it run around; dont waste ammo trying to bring it down.
After everyone you see is either dead or berserk, walk down to the very edge of the waterfall and look to your left. You should see another group of Brutes appear from the gap in the wall there; you can imagine the kind of trouble youd have been in had you just brought your Ghost down here all willy-nilly. Anyway, you can repeat the process on these Brutes, strafing back and forth from behind the wall to give you protection from their shots. If youre low on ammo, check around for another beam rifle on the floor; one of the snipers was right here near the end of the waterfall. If there isnt one, get as many shots in as you can before returning to the Ghost and bringing it over the falls. Use its cannons to destroy any stragglers.
Now the hard part begins. Inside the encampments first section, youll have to deal with an influx of Brutes, a Jackal sniper on a ledge in the second section, as well as a Wraith that will almost surely come from the second section back towards you when it spots you. Your best bet is to go up the ramp near the waterfall and duck into the small armory behind the first set of pillars; you can find a carbine there which should help you clear out the Brutes as they come in. Dont forget to stealth when its charged up; theres no easier kill on a Brute than attaching a grenade to its back, but if youre not stealthed, theyre likely to run right toward you and take you with them. You can also find a shotgun in the armory, which is decent for taking out any berserking Brutes that you have to deal with. Youll have to take down a few waves of these guys before they let up, so prepare for a long haul.
The Wraith will be a trickier fish. If you still have any fuel rod ammo, this would be an obvious time to use your gun to blow the thing to smithereens. If not, you can attempt to jack it, but you dont want to do this until youre sure that no Brutes will be pounding away at you as you do. Otherwise, small arms fire and grenades will have to do the trick.
After youve cleaned out the first section of the encampment, you can start worrying about the second section. If you move along the upper side of the ramp, youll eventually trigger a pair of personnel pods, which will bring in a couple of Elites to back you up. This will also prompt a pair of Jackal snipers to replace the one you (hopefully) took out earlier, and will also likely get the attention of the other Wraith in the second area. Your teammates are probably going to die right quick if the Wraith attacks them (hopefully it wont!), but use the distraction they afford you to eliminate any remaining threats. The two snipers are going to be the worst of it; they take up positions directly on top of one another, so its nearly impossible to strafe out so that only one of them is in your line of fire. On the bright side, a shot that hits the one in front should hit the one in back as well, so as long as they dont both peg you as soon as you step out of cover, you should be able to take them out. After theyre both dead, regroup with any teammates you have left and head through the door that the Brutes were coming out of. If you wish to take out the second Wraith, jack it, kill the driver, then return back to the door and head through.
Inside, youll find an armory, filled with glorious weapons. It doesnt pay to get too tricksterish with your allies weapons; theyll do fine with the plasma rifles they have. If you want to risk giving one the rocket launcher and the other the fuel rod gun, be our guest, but dont be surprised when they blow themselves to bits. These guys will last a while if you take care of them, but you should have a checkpoint just before this, so feel free to try out different things. As for yourself, youll need a beam rifle and some form of close-range power weapon; a Brute shot might be a good choice.
As you exit the next door, youll have to deal with the immediate threat of Brutes on your left, so take them out with rockets, fuel rods, grenades, or whatever. After things settle down a bit, retreat back to the door and locate the two snipers off to the right and snipe them back, using the door for cover. You can then push through the remainder of the Brutes and Jackals to the cave beyond. All that stands between you and the levels end is a single group of Brutes and Jackals.
Fight Your Way Back Inside the Mausoleum-Tower
The Flood is coming, including a few Elite zombies. You wont have much time to kill them from a distance, though, and you wont have a good weapons loadout. Our opinion? Run like hell. If you start running back into the building, jumping like a madman to evade fire, youll eventually come to a squad of Brutes. Theyll gun for you, sure, but if you can evade their fire (again, jumping helps) and get past them, youll come to a lift that Cortana locks behind you, meaning that you just saved yourself from having to fight through like a bazillion enemies. Or maybe ten, but the point is that you survived!
Now that youre up the lift, walk out to a series of platforms and watch Drones kill off the Flood over there. Eventually, Drones will appear and try to take you out, but you have plenty of carbine ammo with which to kill them. Warp over to the second platform, and from there make your way to the opposite side of the room via another warp. Head into the white door here, blasting down any zombies that get in your way, before more Drones arrive to take you out.
Please, Make Yourself At Home
Stay Ahead of the Wave of Flood Sweeping Through High Charity
Some dark passages await, so be sure to flip on your flashlight. Its no substitute for the stealthing ability of the Arbiter, but it does serve some purpose at times. In the first hallway you come to, you can grab an energy blade; as usual, its quite useful against the Flood zombies youll encounter.
Keep fighting until you reach a room with Brutes and Jackals; youll have to dispatch all of them amidst what sounds like a chorus made entirely of insane people, a la the moon monolith in 2001. Get out of the room before you go berserk. Another one lies beyond, with a melee twixt Drones and zombies. Push on until you reach an elevator, then head up. Be sure you have an energy blade before you do; you can find one in the Drone/zombie room if you need one.
This large chamber is the scene of a pitched battle between Flood and Covenant, and the Floods going to win. After the elevator reaches its destination, back up against the wall and wait for the fun to begin. Eventually, the zombies will overrun the Covenant forces, then start tracking you down, but if you have an energy sword, you should be able to run right through them towards the door on the far side of the room. A lift here will take you further up.
Once More, With Feeling
Find a Way Onto the Forerunner Ship
Although the title of this subchapter would seem to be the perfect opportunity to have Master Chief burst out in song, he regretfully declines the invitation. There isnt much to say about the final room of the level; cut your way through the Flood and Covenant forces to the panel at the end of the room to get onto the Forerunner ship.
The Great Journey
Your A**, My Size-24 Hoof
Crush Any Brutes in Your Path
This one can be rather tough, so dont feel too frustrated if things dont go as planned. At the outset of the mission, youll probably want to man the Spectres turret and fight alongside the Wraith that your friend is manning. Your goal here is to fight until you reach the end of the beach, at which point youll come to a passage, but getting there is the hard part, as numerous Ghosts and Wraiths stand in your way.
Your best bet will probably be to fight until you come to the first enemy Wraith, then jack that. Doing so will give you two Wraiths, one of which you can use to distract the enemy dropship that comes along to strafe the beach while you concentrate your fire on the Brutes and other Wraiths that guard the doorway. When you think youve cleared enough of a passage, burst through and get ready for some intense fights.
Commandeer the Scarab
As soon as you pass through the doors, youll find yourself in the possession of the meanest teammates a guy could ever have: a pair of Hunters. Of course, the fact that you have Hunters on your side presages some fierce opposition, and indeed it will appear in the first room you come to, where a horde of Brutes will use turrets to blast away at your friends. What you need to do is run up the ramp on the side of the room and distract the Brutes for as long as it takes for your Hunters to follow you. When they do, they should slice through any opposition without much trouble, but if they have to stand up to turret fire for any length of time, the results wont be pretty.
In the second room, try to maneuver yourself around the pathway to get the attention of the Brutes before they start shelling your Hunters with rounds from their Brute shots. Once the Hunters close in, theyll make quick work of the enemies. The next room is a bridge, and your Hunters arent likely to survive, as a dropship will come along and pelt you and your friends. If youre solo by this point, just grab a beam rifle and start sniping away at the enemies on the far side of the bridge; the ship will eventually retreat, letting you pass on.
The next room youll come to features a Brute fortification. Before you take them on, though, dispatch the Jackals with the energy sword; this will free up the upper level of the room, letting you dart from side to side, flinging dual-wielded needler ammo all over the place. If you wish, you can set free the various prisoners in the room by shooting at the small energy-field generators on the outside of their cells; the two Hunters on the lower level will obviously be useful. Dont worry about keeping them fresh for any upcoming threats; youre almost to the Scarab.
Escort Johnsons Scarab to the Control Room
In fact, the next hallway will lead to the Scarab, which has already been commandeered by Sarge. The real Sarge, that is; the human one. Your goals are congruous, for the moment, so hop into a Banshee and cover him as he heads to the Control Room.
This little segment is broken in two. The first segment pits the Scarab and yourself against three Wraiths; youll have to destroy the Wraiths, as it appears that Sergeant is completely incapable of actually aiming his Death Star beam. (Although he seems to be a pro at piloting the Scarab; obviously a skill taught in basic training.) So, youll have to take out the Wraiths yourself. We found it easiest to just land the Banshee and jack the Wraiths one by one, but your mileage may vary.
After the Wraiths are dead, the Scarab will take a long trip through a narrow canyon, being fired upon all the while by Banshees and turrets. If youre playing on a level of difficulty above Normal, then youre probably going to die here. A lot. The Scarab itself is indestructible, though, so hey - land your Banshee on it and hide in the small passageway leading down to the controls. This will protect you from all incoming fire, and Sarge can get through the canyon just fine without you.
When the Scarab comes to a standstill, though, youll need to clear out any remaining enemies so that Sarge can fire the main cannon at the Control Room. Your Banshee will have long since slid off the top of the Scarab, so youll have to hop down one of the tanks leg, jack a Wraith (or both of them), then use the Wraiths to shoot down the Banshees. You can try to use the Banshee on the beach, as well, but be sure to keep it in good condition, as youll need to use it to reach the Control Room.
Delusions and Grandeur
Enter the Control Room, and Deal with Tartarus
After Sarge blows away the door, fly over to the control room and stroll in. Your first major challenge will be dealing with a half-dozen or so Brutes. The trick here is to fall underneath the glass portion of the flooring; the tight corridors below the room will let you deal with the Brutes one-on-one, and let you use their Brute shots against them when they drop down. For any stragglers above, the old stealth+grenade trick should finish the job.
Your duel with Tartarus proves that hes worthy of his namesake - in Greek myth, it was the place where deposed gods were imprisoned. In theory, hes not difficult; Sarge will stand back and use his beam rifle on the baddie to drop his shields, at which point you and your Elite buddies will wail away on him, then repeat the process until hes dead. In practice...not so easy. Hes quick, for such a big guy, and will track you relentlessly while you jump around the three platforms thatve been set up. If he catches up to you, youre dead, as his hammer deals one-hit kills almost without fail.
There isnt much advice to give except to jump around a lot to avoid his melee attacks. Press home your attack on him while you have other Elites around to give him multiple targets, and use the small barriers scattered around the central area to block him from having an easy path to you. The saving grace here is that he pauses after Sarge drops his shields, giving you a couple of seconds in which to unload all you have on him; you should be able to find plenty of plasma rifles and ammo for your carbine on the upper and lower levels, either of which will do the job eventually. He will occasionally be joined by more Brutes; when this occurs, just run away; Sarge will eventually take care of the Brutes, and youll have more Elites coming in every once in a while as well to give them multiple targets. In the end, though, all it comes down to is listening for Sarges beam rifles shots, then turning and blasting at Tartarus until his shields come back up. Lather, rinse, repeat, and youll be done.
And by done, we mean done. Thats the end of the game. Yeah, we were surprised, too.... Oh well, heres to waiting for Halo 3!
There are seven main gametypes in Halo 2 MP, along with many sub-types and variants on the main rules. The only way to get intimately familiar with these sub-types is to experience them directly, but these descriptions and tips will hopefully come in handy during your learning process.
As the name implies, this mode is pure carnage. The goal? Kill or be killed. Anyone familiar with deathmatch should know the score here: Find the other guys, whether by sight, sound or by motion sensor, and take them out. The player (or team) with the most kills wins the match.
Boom!: Don't forget that you can melee with any weapon by ramming your opponent with it. If you're behind someone, this will usually result in an instant kill, or can be quickly performed after you've closed to point-blank range if you don't have an appropriate weapon like a shotgun or a sword. When you're going up against someone with a weapon like a Plasma Pistol that doesn't need to be reloaded, it's often best to just close in and melee them if you run out of ammo; they're going to kill you if you stop to reload anyway, so you might as well just try for a desperation frag.
Hunt In Packs: If one of your teammates in Team Slayer gets the Energy Sword, stick close to them and attempt to distract or break up groups of enemies that'll come gunning for your friend. The Sword is a devastating weapon, but it can be even better if you can help your teammate stay alive. If worst comes to worst and the Sword-bearer dies off, you'll be right there to pick it up! Heck, even if your teammate doesn't have a sword, you should still attempt to pair off while in Team Slayer; lone wolves don't stand much of a chance when going up against coordinated groups of enemies.
Grenadiers: If you're caught in a small space with someone who's likely to kill you, you can sometimes effect a bit of posthumous revenge by throwing a grenade at the wall or on the ground. Even if you die before it goes off, it'll often wind up killing whomever it was that was attacking you.
Explosives FTW: Many slayer maps will feature small explosive barrels stacked together in little groups; these glow with a faint yellow light. As befitting an explosive substance, they can be fired on and detonated with just a couple seconds worth of SMG or Plasma Rifle fire, and they'll kill anyone nearby in most cases, without having to go through all the bother of wearing down their shields and the like. You do get the credit for kills from the barrels, so there's no reason not to use them if you notice someone loitering in a dangerous spot!
In Capture The Flag, your goal is simple: grab the enemy flag from their base and return it to yours. Things that are simple are rarely easy, though, and you can expect your foes to viciously defend their flags. Teams that want to win at CTF will need to have coordinated sub-teams for both offense and defense.
Although traditional two-flag CTF is included, most of the battles that take place online seem to favor the 1 Flag CTF variant, in which each team is assigned to either offensive or defensive duties. If your team is on offense, then you won't have to worry about defending your own flag or base, and your whole team will be able to join in on the assault on the enemy base; if you're on defense, you won't need to go after the enemy's flag, so everyone will be able to stick back and defend the base. This variant is split up into rounds, though, which will give the offensive team only a couple of minutes to successfully infiltrate the enemy base, grab the flag, and return it to their flag stand.
Luckily, the offensive team does have one big advantage on their side in 1 Flag CTF games; if you can pick up the flag and take it at least part of the way back home, your enemies won't be able to automatically return it if they kill you. Instead, they'll have to "contest" the flag by standing near it for 20 to 30 seconds, at which point it'll warp back to their base. (In multi-flag CTF, this wait interval is much shorter.) Thus, the team that's on offense doesn't have to get the flag back to their base in one long charge; you can actually move it in a few different shifts, since the contention timer resets each time someone on your team picks up the flag. The most difficult aspect of this will be getting the flag out of the enemy base and moving it a significant part of the way back to your own, but the closer you can get it to your base, the better your chances of getting it all the way there.
Other than that, the main thing to keep in mind in CTF is that teams that work together will always beat teams with players that insist on running around the map by themselves. The main reason for this is that a player with a flag will be almost completely defenseless; while carrying the flag, your movement speed is significantly reduced, and you won't be able to fire weapons, meaning that you'll be a sitting duck for the first enemy that comes along. Ideally, a team's flag-bearer will have one or two teammates along to escort him back to base; otherwise you don't stand much of a chance to get back there without dying. If you're about to make a run for the flag, be sure to broadcast that fact to your teammates and give them a bit of a heads-up; if you just grab it and run, you can't really expect them to protect you.
Know the maps: On some CTF maps, such as Colossus, teams have to run specific routes to get back to their base after picking up an enemy flag. If you can scout the route that they run, then lie in ambush along it, you can often get some easy flag returns, especially if the flagrunner is left unprotected. A good example of this is in Colossus; after picking up a flag, a flagrunner will almost always have to either run up one of the ramps in the middle area or ride the airshaft to reach the upper levels. If you wait near one of the corners here, you should be able to pop the flag carriers as they pass, especially if you keep your movement down to prevent yourself from showing up on radar.
Get a ride: On the big maps, such as Coagulation, you're going to find it incredibly difficult to walk all the way from the enemy base to your own if you're carrying a flag; this is where a bit of coordination will come in handy. If you can escape an enemy base to where a teammate is driving a Warthog, Ghost, or something similar, you can jump atop their vehicle and let them drive you away from the action back towards your own base. You're incapable of actually riding in a vehicle while carrying the flag, so all you can do is jump on top of it and try not to slide off while your teammate drives off!
Drop the flag: If you're flying solo as a flag carrier and have a decent weapon, then you can always attempt to defend yourself by dropping the flag with the Y button and shooting away at whomever is assaulting you. If you manage to kill them, you'll be able to pick the flag back up and head back on your way, but you won't want to do this unless you're forced to, as most games will display the location of the flag while it's lying on the ground, giving the rest of your foes a chance to home in on it. On maps with flag return on, your opponents will also usually just make a dash for it and attempt to return it to their base if you drop it, but on 1 Flag CTF maps you won't have to worry about this; just drop the flag, defend yourself, and pick it up again if you survive.
Invisibility For The Win: Some call it camping, some call it base defense, but everyone can agree that standing still is tactically the smartest thing to do while attempting to protect your flag. Since you won't be appearing on anyone's radar, attackers won't be aware of your presence until they actually spot you, giving you a huge upper hand in the fight to defend your flag. Try to find a spot with line of sight to approaches towards the flag, and be sure not to stand next to any explosive barrels!
King of the Hill
In King of the Hill, pure frags aren't going to win you the game; instead, you have to stay inside a bounding zone for as long as possible to build up a timer. Your timer only goes up while you're inside the demarcated area, so every time you die, you'll need to quickly get back to the contested "hill." Some variants of this game require you to be the only person inside the zone before you gain time.
In most cases, King of the Hill devolves into a Slayer match centered on one area of the map (or more than one, if one of the shifting-hill variants is used). The key difference here is that, since that area will be densely populated, weapons that don't need to be reloaded will generally be more useful than those that do. Plasma rifles are usually your best bet for surviving inside a hill, as you'll be able to pick off enemies that have been weakened by other players without needing to constantly leave yourself defenseless while reloading. Remember, though, that kills aren't required to win a King of the Hill match; all you need to do is get into the bounding zone and stay there as long as possible. Sometimes staying quietly on the edge of a zone while everyone else kills each other is a profitable strategy, but be sure you're packing some kind of weapon with which to defend yourself.
Use Your Grenades: In King of the Hill, you'll almost always spawn somewhere outside of the hill zone. As you make your way back to it, you should almost always go ahead and chuck any grenades into the zone to clear out anyone inside before you reach it. You can expect most people in these games to do so as well, in fact, which is another good reason to try and stick to the periphery of the zone boundary as often as possible.
Oddball, like Juggernaut, is a game where only one person can score at any given time, but unlike in Juggernaut, your goal here is to truly stay away from everyone else. In Oddball, the player with the ball will continually rack up time, but he's the only player that will be able to do so. In order for other players to rack up time, they'll have to kill the ball carrier and steal it from him! As such, your only goal is to find and kill the ball carrier, then evade the fire of other players while you're the carrier. Of course, doing so is much easier said than done.
Juggernaut is a me-against-the-world type scenario, in which one player is the center of all the action. Said player (called the Juggernaut) is the only player that can gain points through killing other players, but is also going to be the player that every other player is going to be trying to kill. When the Juggernaut is taken out, the player that killed him will become the Juggernaut. In that, it's something like a game of tag. Well, a game of tag that's played with rocket launchers.
Only the Juggernaut can win the game, so in order to be successful, you'll need to combine a little luck with a lot of gameplay savvy. The Juggernaut is going to get hounded by every other player in the game, so he won't stay alive forever; the trick to becoming the Juggernaut is finishing off the last player in the large melees that ensue. If yourself and two other players are attempting to kill the Juggernaut, then, it's worth hanging back away from the action and, for instance, chucking grenades into the fray. If you don't kill the Juggernaut, you'll weaken him up for one of the other players to kill, and you'll be able to charge right in and kill the new Juggernaut; if you do kill him, you can skip that step and run away from the other players.
Single Enemies Out: Actually getting kills as the Juggernaut can be difficult, since every other player on the map will have ample time to scout for weapons and recharge their shields, while you'll usually be scurrying about just trying not to die. Obviously enough, if you can get into any one-on-one matchups you should try to take out whomever you're up against, but more often than not you'll be forced to take on multiple opponents at once, which is why players who know where weapons like the rocket launcher, shotgun, and energy sword spawn will be at a bit of an advantage when playing Juggernaut. The energy sword is particularly potent in Juggernaut games, especially in Dreadnaught matches, and will usually be passed from Juggernaut to Juggernaut like a pair of hand-me-down pants.
Assault is somewhat similar to one-flag CTF, in that both teams are going to be fighting over a single item (a bomb), which needs to be picked up and moved from a starting point to the enemy base. After the bomb is placed inside the target zone in your enemy base, and the bomb-holder stands there for a few seconds, the bomb will explode and your team will score a point. It's fairly similar to an inversed match of CTF, where you're attempting not to steal something from the enemy base, but to deliver an item to it.
The two primary gametypes here are Neutral Bomb, which sees both teams fight over a single bomb, and a round-based variant which splits the teams up into offensive and defensive squads. In Neutral Bomb, the bomb will spawn in the center of the map, and both teams will have to attempt to grab it and run it into the enemy base. If a bomb carrier dies and drops the bomb, then anyone nearby will be able to take it and run with it, so it'll often be the case that you'll get within a hair's breadth of the enemy base, only to die and drop the bomb in front of a group of foes eager to propel it in the other direction. As such, it's kind of a big game of football, but one in which only a touchdown is worth anything. And without forward passes. And cars. And guns. Well, that analogy doesn't hold up when you look at it too hard.
The round-based version of Assault is also quite similar to the 1 Flag CTF. In it, only one team can pick up the bomb; they'll be tasked with delivering it to the enemy base. If they succeed, or if the timer runs out, the teams will switch offensive and defensive duties. As in CTF, you'll need to stick close to the bomb runner in order successfully deliver your payload.
Cut The Chatter, Red 2: One of the things many people don't realize about the voice communications in Halo 2 is that the other team can overhear your conversations if you talk while they're near you on the map. Thus, if you're about to enter an enemy base, try to verbalize whatever commands you can to your teammates before you actually get inside, and emphasize the need for radio silence to your teammates. True, the base defenders will probably spot you on their radars anyway, but there's no point in making them privy to your strategies as well.
Sacrifice Yourself: The natural instinct of a player that's escorting in the bomb-carrier will be to stay behind him so that you can keep him in sight. This is somewhat pointless, though, as you'll simply be leaving him open to attack from any foe that happens to come from the enemy base. It's better to stay in front of the carrier and keep track of him via your radar, and put yourself in between him and any enemies that pop up. Your job as an escort is usually going to be simply to die so that the bomb-carrier makes it to his destination safely. There aren't any points for "close".
Territories isn't an incredibly popular gametype, but it does offer up a nice change of pace when compared to the other modes of play. It's somewhat similar to King of the Hill, in that your goal isn't to get a lot of frags, but rather to increase your team's timer. Instead of sticking inside a specified zone, though, your goal here is to capture and convert a set of five flags; for each flag under your team's control, you'll accrue time, and if your team reaches a set allotment of time before the other team does, then you'll win. The only problem is that the other team can contest flags that you've already captured by standing near them while they're undefended. Thus, you'll need to spend at least as much time recapturing bases as you will capturing those that the enemy has converted. Anyone familiar with the Battlefield series of games on the PC will recognize the mechanic.
A Head Start: Often enough, the team that can successfully perform an early-round blitzkrieg and capture a few flags before the other team can will wind up winning; it's difficult to pull off come-from-behind wins on the timer games. If you're playing a pick-up game, then feel free to ignore the flags nearest your spawn point and instead head for those in the area between the two team's bases.
Stay Mobile: Although it might seem like a good idea to find a flag and defend it, passive strategies like this will rarely help your team win a game of Territories. A successful team will feature numerous players that are willing to dash from flag to flag as the enemy takes them over, while losing teams will usually consist of overly-defensive players and players that are intent on treating Territories as a large game of Slayer. The flags are your only goal; any combat you participate in should be directly helping your team capture them.
Almost all of the weapons from the single-player campaign of Halo 2 will reappear in the multiplayer mode, and while most haven't changed fundamentally, the gameplay and speed of multiplayer render some more worthwhile and some less worthwhile than you might've found them in singleplayer.
In most multiplayer games, your character will spawn with either a single SMG or a single Plasma Rifle and one or two grenades. Any other weapons that you want to use will have to be found in the game world or picked up from the corpse of an enemy. Not all maps will have every weapon, of course.
Most weapons will automatically respawn after a player picks them up, even if that player is still running around with it. For instance, if someone picks up a Plasma Rifle, then another Plasma Rifle will appear in its place 30 seconds later, even if the previous player is still running around shooting the one he picked up. (On the flipside, though, weapons that are dropped after a player dies will automatically disappear within 15 to 20 seconds, unless someone else comes along and picks them up.)
The exception to this rule are the exceptionally powerful weapons, in this case including the sniper rifle, beam rifle, rocket launcher, brute shot, shotgun, and energy sword. These weapons will not automatically respawn after being picked up; they'll need to either run out of ammo and be discarded by the previous player, or fade away after the player dies. This may seem to be annoying if you're not the first guy to reach the energy sword at the beginning of a slayer match, but we can all agree that the rarity of such weapons is part of what makes it so cool to find one and use it. Regardless, if you want to grab one of these things, you'll need to know precisely where they spawn in a level and then make a beeline for that location when a match begins.
Sword = complete and utter devastation. The main drawback here is the lack of ranged attack capabilities, but at close range, you should be able to string together kills without a problem. A lock-on kill is instadeath, but you have to get close enough to use it! Thus, it's best to skip it unless you're on an in-close map like Lockout or Colossus. If you do decide to use the sword, it's best to keep it in your secondary slot until you're close enough to someone for the kill; there's no better way to encourage someone to fire while backpedaling than to close on them with an energy sword drawn.
In point of fact, on smaller maps, it's sometimes worthwhile to lure people in with whatever your default weapon is before going to town with the sword. If you're tucked away in a cubbyhole in Ivory Tower or Midship, you can fire away with your SMG or Plasma Rifle at someone passing by and attempt to feign weakness. If they spot you firing away with a single weapon, they may attempt to come in for the kill, especially if they're dual-wielding or otherwise sense that they have the advantage. When they're about to close into lock-on range for your sword, switch over and axe them before they know what's going on. You can also use this to force someone who's unaware of your presence to turn around, especially if they're running away from you; just fire at their back to alert them to the threat and see how they react.
Also note that when you have active camoflague, as in the Juggernaut sub-game Dreadnaught and in Phantom Elimination, the Energy Sword is not masked like the other weapons - the entire blade still burns quite visibly. It also makes a distinctive hissing sound when you whip it out, so any nearby players will simultaneously be made aware of your position and be warned of the fact that you have a sword at your disposal.
At point-blank range, a shotgun blast will kill even a fully-shielded foe, but you shouldn't expect this to happen too often; you basically have to be standing right on top of your opponent to land all of the pellets from a shotgun blast. This doesn't make it any less useful, though; if you're willing to engage your opponents in close-range combat, then the shotgun makes a great weapon to have at hand; some people will even prefer it to the Energy Sword.
Even if you don't get an instant kill, you'll rarely have to use more than three or four shells to kill an opponent if you're in a smallish room. Of course, the weapon's spread makes it more or less useless at medium or long range, and you'll have to be careful of the long reload time if you don't want to get caught with your pants down. In most intense games, though, you'll be dead long before you can actually expend the whole 12 shots required before reloading, and you can interrupt the loading animation if you get pressured. The other primary weakness is its rate of fire; if you miss, it's going to be a second before you can fire again, allowing an enemy with an automatic weapon a moment of unfettered aggression.
The Magnum pistol is actually fairly useful in multiplayer, as opposed to in the singleplayer campaign, where you can easily get through the entire game without ever using it. In multiplayer, it benefits from pinpoint accuracy at short range, which helps you to get headshots, combined with extremely rapid firing. The main drawback is its semiautomatic fire, which will prevent you from holding down the trigger fire and letting loose with a stream of bullets; you'll have to get used to clicking the trigger over and over. But each individual round packs quite a bunch, being around three times as powerful as an individual SMG round, so it makes a great weapon to pair up with an SMG or Plasma Rifle, especially because they're relatively easy to find near most spawn points, especially in team games, and aren't especially valued by most players. A single round to the head will kill an unshielded opponent.
Dual Magnums can also be devastating for short-range combat, such as base defense in CTF or Assault modes, although the reload times will leave you exposed for quite a while, especially when compared to the time required to discharge a pair of clips.
Dual SMGs are usually going to be the baseline weapon for most team-based games; most players begin with a single SMG, and another one isn't too difficult to find, whether it comes off a dead player or is found in the game world. When used at extremely close range, dual SMGs should let you kill rather effectively, but they'll take a bit of time to chew through your target's shields, and you'll have to use most of both of your clips in order to get a single kill, leaving you vulnerable while you reload. SMGs, on the other hand, deal more damage to unshielded opponents than do Plasma Rifles, making a Rifle/SMG combo quite lethal.
A better idea is to pair the SMG up with a Magnum or a Plasma Rifle. The Magnum will let you get in headshots while you close in, resulting in quicker kills, while an off-hand Plasma Rifle will allow you to fire while the SMG reloads. Regardless, you're never going to want to use an SMG for too long on the open maps, as it's just woefully bad when you have to fire at an opponent across any kind of distance.
The Covenant equivalent of the SMG is an able weapon, especially when paired with another automatic weapon, such as another Plasma Rifle or the SMG. Most players will probably prefer it to the SMG, due to the fact that it requires no reloading. Although it will need to be cooled down periodically, forcing you to lay off firing for a second or two, you will usually be able to fire more often with a Plasma Rifle than with an SMG, if only because of the lengthy reloading wait for the SMG. You also don't have to deal with quite as much recoil as with the SMG, which some players will find worthwhile in and of itself.
The fact that you can more consistently fire the Plasma Rifle than the SMG with less recoil to boot gives it a slight edge over that weapon on the maps where you're likely to be engaging enemies at medium range, like Ascension. When you're going to be firing away at point blank, as on Ivory Tower or Lockout, the SMG probably gets the nod, but you can never go wrong with an SMG and a Plasma Rifle alongside each other! The plasma rifle does have slightly better accuracy than its counterpart, but is still not really suitable for distance encounters due to the spread of its rounds.
The Plasma Pistol isn't a weapon that everyone will be able to use well. In the hands of a skilled player, though, it can be quite devastating due to the fact that a completely charged shot will usually sap the entire shield charge of an enemy, letting you quickly kill them with whatever weapon you're holding in your other hand. Of course, this only works at extremely short range, and if you miss with your charged shot, you can generally kiss your life goodbye, but still; it's an efficient way to get kills if you can't find better weaponry. The pistol shot does have a bit of a homing effect, though, in a fashion somewhat akin to the needler, but an adept enemy will still be able to sidestep it.
Some players (crazy ones, at least) swear by the Needler in MP, others find it rather too inconsistent to be useful. You're going to require a bit of playtesting to make up your own mind about it. At point blank range, it can be handy when paired up with an SMG, as it'll both weaken your target's shields and provide a nice burst of damage when the needles explode. At medium range, well, you'd better hope your opponent hasn't mastered the use of the dreaded strafing maneuver, as the needles move rather slowly, and if your foe is moving across your field of vision, the needles are likely to miss their target.
On base defense, Needlers can actually come in pretty handy, especially while you have another defender around to help out. If your teammate is using SMGs or another shield-draining weapon, you can follow in with the Needler to finish off a foe with drained shields. It's still not something that you're going to want to choose above a good plasma rifle, though.
The Brute Shot isn't exactly something people are going to be fighting over. Although an alien grenade launcher might sound like a cool gun to pack at your side, the grenades that it fires are fairly weak, requiring as many as three direct hits on an enemy before they go down. What's more, it's difficult to actually hit people with them, as they fire with an arc and its difficult to predict precisely where they'll land. The fact that you only have four grenades in a clip also works against El Bruto in a major way, as you'll usually spend just as much time reloading as you will actually shooting. The grenades are much more useful when fired at light vehicles, as a full clip will usually be able to destroy Ghosts, Banshees, and perhaps even Warthogs if they've taken a bit of damage already.
A better use for the Brute Shot is in melee combat. The bigass blade on its bottom end isn't just for show, after all, and the Brute Shot is three times as powerful as most other weapons when used to physically hit an opponent. Of course, there's the whole matter of actually getting in close to an enemy to hit them; if you're really good at sneaking up on opponents, then you can take them out with a couple of whacks from a Brute Shot, even if they're facing you, but you have to be a very special kind of masochist to choose to run around looking to whack people when they're all going to be using automatic rifles and plasma beams to fry you from long range.
The Battle Rifle is a powerful if situational weapon in Halo 2 multiplayer. Although it's fantastic in the single-player campaign, its burst-fire works against it in multiplayer, especially when you're forced to engage an opponent at close range. Although it deals more damage per bullet than an SMG, you will be forced to continually click away at the trigger button to keep firing it, which can make it difficult to use on an enemy that's at close range and attempting to evade your fire. On larger maps, though, such as Coagulation, the zoom feature of the Battle Rifle will let you attempt to get headshots from long range as opponents approach your base, and at medium range, it's much more capable of quickly punching through shields than even dual-wielded SMGs are.
Although these weapons are quite useful in the singleplayer campaign, their efficacy is muted a bit in multiplayer due to the fact that all of your enemies are shielded. You probably didn't often use the Battle Rifle or Covenant Combine when you faced off against Elites in the campaign; you're more likely to have switched over to dual Plasma Rifles or something else that could quickly overwhelm their shields and then finish them off. In multiplayer, the same problem exists; although these weapons are precise, they don't deal damage quickly enough to let you overwhelm an enemy's shields, at least not at close range. When you're talking about long-range encounters, then the fact that you can zoom in and get headshots with the battle rifle or covenant carbine make them a bit more useful, but unless you're turning off the auto-aim and getting headshots manually, they won't be too horrifically useful in most fights.
A direct hit with a rocket launcher will kill anyone more or less instantaneously, and the splash damage should be enough to kill off most fully-shielded opponents, save those protected with an Overshield. Cons are its unusability at close range (due to the fact that you'll die too), the long reload time, and the fact that it only spawns with four rounds of ammo in most cases. Still, if you see one, this is a definite pickup, no matter what the map.
The thing to remember about the Rocket Launcher is that you cannot fire it upwards at opponents and hope to land your shots. Since you rely on splash damage to deal the killing blow here, you're going to want to bring this weapon up to at least level footing before firing off your precious few rounds. In most cases, it's going to be most effective if you can put yourself in a position where you're firing downwards onto players on a lower level than you. Unfortunately, the RL will usually spawn on the lower portions of a level, as on Ivory Tower and Ascension, meaning that you might be better off stowing it after you grab the pickup and hightailing it to a makeshift sniper's roost before letting loose.
Sniper Rifle / Beam Rifle
The sniper rifle and beam rifle are two of the more skill-based weapons in the game, especially when you're trying to use them for the purpose they was intended for, i.e. killing people at long range. They're definitely one of the most powerful weapons in the game - two body shots will kill almost anyone - but they do require a good amount of precision in order to pull off the instakills.
No matter how far away you are from your target, the ultimate goal of a sniper is to get one-hit kills by shooting your opponent in the head, if only because the first instinct of an enemy that's had his shields dropped down to zero is to immediately run for cover, and you'll rarely be in a position to take a second shot in this instance, unless your target picks a poor hiding spot. Getting headshots is, well, fairly difficult, considering the fact that a head is an awfully small target to aim for, especially when you're talking about shooting across a distance akin to that between the two bases in Coagulation. Perhaps the best way to make headshots easier to hit is to increase the angle of incidence by getting above your enemies, although there are relatively few maps that give you both the height and distance required to pull this off; Foundation is one.
That said, if you can snap off a pair of shots at an enemy before he or she has a chance to hide, you'll be able to rack up kills fairly quickly. Even single shots on busy maps will let your teammates more easily kill opponents, since a body shot from a sniper weapon instantly drains your target's shields; just be careful about firing into melees, though, as accidentally hitting your teammates won't earn you a lot of love.
So far as the differences between the sniper rifle and the beam rifle go, they're identical to the differences found in the single player game, although the fact that the beam rifle requires no reloading becomes a huge advantage in multiplayer. As such, it'll spawn much more rarely than the sniper rifle will, but is usually worth taking over it whenever possible. It is a bit easier to trace the path of beam shots back to their source than it is to trace sniper shots, but this is more than made up for by the fact that you'll be able to fire away with only short cooldown times required, unless you treat it like an automatic weapon. If you fire the beam rifle too often, not only will it require more ammo for each shot, but it'll overheat and be temporarily unusable, like a plasma rifle. This is bad news, so be sure to restrict yourself to firing only after the weapon's had a chance to cool off from your last shot.