Coastal plateau fun

Posted September 10th 2019

Associated movies… BCM377, 378, 379

When you emerge from the tunnel into the second part of the level, and you look across in the direction of the stream and waterfall, you see a massive body of rock rising up. It forms part of the surround to the cliffside survivor area. On top is what I call the 'coastal plateau'. It's possible to reach that plateau, and you can then explore and have some fun. And in particular, you can do some scary driving on a vertiginous ledge! So let's get on with it.

Onto the plateau via Warthog catapulting

Reaching the plateau

As for how to reach the plateau, you can undoubtedly get yourself launched there with a conventional Warthog launch, powered by a pile of frags from slain Marines. I'm pretty sure you'd also be able to reach it from the adjacent hilltop with just a 2-grenade boost of the type used in Warthog catapulting with a Pelican. Such boosts can send you quite far on occasion (see the early part of BCM373).

But the way I reached it for exploration was to use Warthog catapulting itself, getting self launched. If you do that, you can end up there with a Warthog, and potentially also a Marine. That's advantageous because the hog can provide extra fun, and a passenger can add some amusement too. You can see me reaching it with Sergeant Stacker in BCM377 using a copy of the save seen created in BCM376. A save which very usefully provides checkpoints after landing, thanks to having triggered the succession of rockslide dropships.

Slopes along the tower side

Tower side

In my exploration movie BCM377 I proceeded around essentially three sides of the plateau, so I'll talk about each side separately here, beginning with the 'tower side' which borders the survivor area.

There are various rock surfaces sloping down, and some of these are negotiable. In a few places the surfaces look dauntingly steep, but you can actually grip them. In one place though, only just! If you have the movement joystick fully forward, trying to get back up, you potentially oscillate up and down for a while, finely balanced and in danger of losing grip if you get too far down! Fun to play about with.

At the coastal end of this side, you can potentially descend by getting cushioned by a rock. Or at least, you can on PAL Xbox. With NTSC/PC, I suspect you'll die (PAL is much more forgiving when it comes to falling).

Driving at speed on an open ledge. What could go wrong?

Coastal side - with a very nice ledge!

The main thing of interest on the 'coastal side' (the sea-facing side), is a long wide ledge, quite a way down. On PAL Xbox it's possible to drop to that ledge on foot, although it's likely to take a good few tries. In connection with that, the thing to do is get a checkpoint so you can make tries at a high rate. With a set-up such as the one I was using, you can get such a checkpoint of course. And once you're down, you can get another checkpoint if you want, for exploring the ledge.

There's actually a better way to reach the ledge though, and this one may be viable on NTSC/PC too. Namely, drive off the plateau in a Warthog (after checkpointing, ideally). Done is a suitable way you can neatly land wheels-down on the ledge. Another outcome is that you get ejected but nevertheless end up alive the ledge (the hog may or may not stay on).

The ledge is wide enough to drive around on (see pic), and that makes for some excellent recreation. Indeed, I'd consider it the highlight of this whole plateau topic. Test your skill at daredevil driving and have other fun too, as seen in BCM378.

Lower bulge seen from mini ledge

Valley side

On the 'valley side' there's a mini ledge near the top, trivial to access. Below, you have what I call the 'lower bulge', easy to drop onto. There's a wide area with good grip, but a section on the right is too steep (yet the join between that and the grippy area is hard to see), so take care!

From the bulge you can easily clamber further down and along to the left, to reach the first entrance to the survivor area (where on Heroic there's a Jackal). But there are other ways to descend to ground too, either from the lower bulge or, more spectacularly, from the plateau itself, jumping off and getting cushioned. You can explore for stunt-like descents and have fun with them. On PAL at least, there's a lot you can do.

Warthog descent

If you've got a Warthog, you can have some fun descending with it, the main theme of BCM379. Jumping the hog down is easy along the tower side though, so really the main jumping fun is to instead go off the valley end, which ramps up rather invitingly.

Yee-hah! Ramping off the end

When you come off that ramp however, there's an awfully long way down into the valley, and to avoid death you'll need to hit something on the way down to get slowed up. Try for a bounce off the lower bulge or the Jackal mound. That'll give a decent chance of survival, though it's still a perilous business.

As well as doing spectacular jumps, you can also try to slide the hog down on the valley side. It's fun also to make rubble and see it showering down.

Tip: for having the most convenient descent fun, you might like to first get a checkpont at a good starting place, ready to hit the gas.

Further fun

I mentioned a Jackal just now. If you have such an entrance guard, you can have fun grenading him of course. But the same could also be done with any Marines you may've positioned. My movie BCM377 featured a bit of cyborg mischief with Sergeant Johnson for example (he'd been left behind at the bottom of the valley because I was planning to get Stacker). With all such fun, you can potentially get a checkpoint first, so you can then have repeated fun easily.