Entry chamber Pelican reboarding trick

Posted June 21st 2017

Associated movies… BCM247

Near-instant reboarding

At the start of the level, a Pelican flies you up the entry chamber, and in due course you get ejected at the LZ. But it's possible to quickly reboard! The easiest way is to hit X as soon as you notice the ejection happening; and in that case your feet don't even touch the ground. You can achieve the same result by instead mashing X, starting just before getting ejected, but really there's no need for anything so frantic, because there's plenty of time to react with a single press. Whatever you prefer though.

One other possibility is to quickly reboard after hitting the ground, but that's needlessly hard and easily failed. The way to do it is to face the same way as the Pelican before you get ejected (actually you don't have to, but it may be best), and then bounce straight back up off the ground. But you'll also need to hit X at just the right time, awkwardly close to the ground. The prompt is very fleeting and easily missed. How long could you wait on the ground before jumping back up and still getting a boarding prompt? According to my testing (with PAL Xbox), barely more than a tenth of a second.

Parting gift

Attacking the covies and going for a ride

There's a checkpoint shortly after you're back aboard. From there you can have fun attacking the covies (though your range of aiming is quite limited), and you can go for a ride back down the chamber. During the ride, it's quite hard to look in the direction you want, and you tend to have to fight for it. The Pelican gets near vertical going down the shaft.

Eventually you get into some mist. When you reach the barrier (see my article Exploring the entry chamber), the Pelican stops at a platform (pointing downards) and you get ejected. You then have a chance at getting a foothold, but just being passive is no good. Based on some experimenting, my advice is as follows. Be facing across the back of the Pelican (i.e. the way your seat faces), and have the motion joystick forward, then when you're ejected, hit X to flip the Pelican. The flip has a somewhat random effect, but if you're lucky you'll make it onto the platform - which I think would be due to the Pelican having moved sufficiently out of your way (or possibly you might get a helpful nudge - I'm not sure). Seems to work more often than not.

Into the mist

Siege of Madrigal Easter egg

Along the rightmost ledge leading off from the platform, you can trigger the Siege of Madrigal Easter egg. Is it just a coincidence that it's so close? I think not. I suspect Bungie knew you could potentially take a Pelican ride down the shaft and reach it. Indeed, they may have engineered the end of the trip so that you could get onto a platform. That said, the egg is also accessible using a Banshee, as seen in BCM246; and for all I know, that method may've been the one Bungie had in mind.

Other remarks

Can you reboard into the other seat? I tried extensively but never even saw a prompt, so I gave up on that. There might be a prompt available, but if so, it seems like you can't get to it fast enough before the game cancels reboarding ability, which I think it does very quickly (see earlier remarks about reboarding after hitting the ground).

Getting onto the platform

By bailing early, can you reach any other places via the Pelican? I wasn't able to. After bailing, it seems like you're travelling too fast to survive impacts.

When the Pelican is rising, covie fire can damage you. But damage seems to end before the Pelican has fully risen, even though controller vibration continues to indicate hits. On Legendary things are pretty murderous and you're likely to lose health. If there are two reds you can even be killed, though I found that rare when recording for BCM247.

Once the Pelican is a fair way into its flight, you get a 'Press X to flip Pelican' prompt if you bail. Flipping it can cause it to briefly go upside down, and maybe the trajectory gets affected, but I explored this and couldn't get any decent fun out of it, nor did it look like helping me survive any impacts.

History and links

I haven't done a full search of when this trick came to light, but here are some sources I know, in chronological order. (1) There was a co-op mention of some Pelican usage in January 2002. The task of reboarding the Pelican at the start is only described in a follow-up post. It's not clear whether the poster realized that you can likewise reboard in single player. (2) There was FrogBlast's article from Februrary 2002 showing co-op pics. (3) In March 2002 Berzerk Fury described accessing the Siege of Madrigal Easter egg via Pelican in co-op. (4) The HBO 'Tips and Tricks' section has a pictorial co-op item from April 2002.