Rearranging the furniture

Posted March 24th 2005

The basic idea

There are various places in the level where it's possible to skip a trigger that's necessary for enemies to spawn in certain areas. Having skipped it, you can move vehicles and Shades around or change things in other ways. Many such items are already present, though others will only materialize when you play through properly later. Once you've done this 'rearranging', you can go back and do the triggering you skipped, to resume normal play. Except, as you play through, things will be different thanks to your work!

You'll find many applications of this on the site, and I'll give some links at the end (I used to have a lot of the smaller applications on this page, but that made it rather long and I decided it was better to make them separate). But for the most part this page deals with the generalities.

Skipping at the first bridge

There are several places where you can skip a trigger to do some rearranging, but the first is rather special as it gives you almost the whole level to play around with. You can namely use a descent method at the first bridge (any method you can manage) to avoid triggering the first ground battle yet. While that battle remains untriggered, no enemies will spawn in the rest of the level, nor will any supplies. By skipping here, you can potentially give the level a novel feel the rest of the way through. I refer to rearranging done from here as early rearranging, as you're doing it from so early on.

Resuming normal play

Having done any rearranging you want, here are three methods for resuming normal play.

If you've got a Banshee, the simplest is to fly back up to the bridge to continue, maybe after sending the Banshee down to the ground for use when you emerge into the ground battle. You could grenade it off, but it's fairly easy to dismount at the edge of the bridge so it falls down of its own accord.

Alternatively you can do things on foot. Go through the door beneath the bridge, then to the lift inside, being careful not to walk into the empty shaft. Bring the lift down, ride up and head through the room. A short way into the passage that leads to the bridge, enemies spawn behind you and (slightly further on) a checkpoint is triggered. You can now turn around and resume normal play (note: enemies have to spawn in that second room in order for you to be able to trigger the first ground battle).

If you've got a Banshee and you'd like to skip the indoor segment across the bridge, land on the bridge and go inside just far enough to trigger enemies in the second room (it happens near the end of the long middle section of corridor). Return to the Banshee then fly down to the door below and enter, triggering the battle. A side-effect of this method is that you'll have seven extra Marines. Also - rather strangely - it seems that you won't be able to trigger a checkpoint at the underground bridge, nor at the second corner of the exit tunnel. In order to get those, it seems that you need to've triggered the checkpoint you'd normally get when heading through the exit passage into the first ground battle.

Warthog shortcoming

Although the Warthog is present in the snow below, there's usually no point trying to leave it in a handy position somewhere else, because it gets magically returned to its usual position near the Marines when that battle gets triggered. It can't be freely rearranged like other objects can. There's an exception though, namely in regard to the business of getting an extra hog (and possibly extra Marines too), where you make sure to be in the Warthog at the crucial time, preventing it being moved.

Overlapping music

If you open the door to the underground bridge during your rearrangement work, you'll probably notice something odd later when you battle in the two-Wraith area. When you enter the area, you'll hear not only the usual music but also the music associated with opening that door. Presumably the game refused to play it earlier because the two-Wraith area hadn't been triggered yet. Now that's finally happened, it starts the tunnel music which has been waiting all this while. You can also end up getting some overlapping music elsewhere due to similar triggering issues.

Skipping near the spiral path area

Once you reach the tower area after the underground bridge, there are various triggers you can skip, to set up a blockade or do other rearranging for a spiral path megabattle; or to rearrange things in the twin bridges area. Skipping is done simply by flying high past the trigger area in a Banshee, which you may've stolen earlier in the level. No enemies will spawn in the snowy areas coming up, though you would start getting enemies if you were to go through the door in the twin bridges area. You resume normal play by coming back to move through the trigger area.

The earliest of these triggers is the tower trigger, which triggers two Shade Grunts plus enemies behind the nearest door. Further on, you could skip the triggering of the pass guards. There are more options besides.

Banshee access

There are five Banshees you can access by skipping ahead. In order of appearance through the level, the platform Banshee is up on a high platform just around the corner from the crashed Pelican, the tower Banshee is on the huge tower in the snowy area after the underground bridge, the twin bridges Banshee is at the far end of the twin bridges area, and the ice bridge Banshees are on the ice bridge in the final area.

The twin bridges Banshee is down on the ground, so you can just run or drive off to fetch it. You can then use it to blast down the two earlier Banshees if you want them for any reason.

It can also be used to let you reach the very last area, featuring the pyramid structure up to the control room. Just fly up to the exit door of the second bridge and go through. It's the door you'd be using in normal play, and it'll have a green arrow on it. A bit of running will take you to the area. One thing you could do there is move an ice bridge Banshee so you'll be able to step straight into it when you're playing through later!

Getting the platform Banshee first

It's actually possible to get the platform Banshee without using another, but it's not easy. In normal play you'd be able to get it by rocketing the platform, but there's no rocket launcher available yet, and if you try blasting the underside of the platform with a Scorpion instead, the blasts just don't seem to have an effect. However, in late October 2010 I had another go at things and found that you can get it down with the Scorpion, using the following two-stage blasting procedure.

Take the Scorpion into the area and park it on the Shade hill next to the ice patch. There's often a Shade or two up here later, but they haven't appeared yet. Facing the platform, you'll have the ice patch down to your right, and you should be backed up into the corner. Up here you can just see the top of the Banshee; a faint purple hump to the left of the platform's central light. The blasting procedure is likely to need repeated attempts, so it's good to get a delayed checkpoint first. To do that, dismount and head towards the underground bridge to trigger a tunnel checkpoint, and keep it delayed until you're back at the Scorpion.

Try to blast the Banshee. Frustratingly the shells go all over the place, so it can take many shots. You can recognize a hit from the black dot of thick smoke that quickly forms in the explosion's centre. Once you see that, drive over to the other side of the battlefield, rather closer to the platform, to a spot where you can fire up at the cliff wall just near the back right of the platform. If the Banshee got knocked into that area and you get a good hit, the blast can knock the Banshee forward and off the platform. If you seem to be getting good hits without success however, either the Banshee wasn't in a good position or else it didn't get blasted forward strongly enough and has probably become inaccessible. In that case revert and start over.

Pilot materialization

If you take a Banshee, the pilot will still later materialize; and will presumably be rather annoyed to find his pride and joy missing!

The pilot of the twin bridges Banshee is a special case. He has the ability to materialize inside it if it's empty when he's triggered; and I think this can happen wherever it is. As such, you could find that the Banshee you stole has got stolen back, upsetting your plans if you left it somewhere for future use. Therefore, when you trigger him it's best if his Banshee is either being flown by yourself or is back in some area where his materialization in the Banshee will be of no consequence.

Using a base save

In trying out bits of rearranging, it'll be handy to have a base save you can use as a time-saving starting point. Here's the sort of thing I'm thinking of, for doing early rearranging. Descend off the first bridge, get a Banshee, then get a tunnel checkpoint and save. With this save you'll be ready to get straight into some rearranging work, whatever it is.

Applications

As mentioned in the introduction, there are many applications of rearranging on the site. If you'd like to start trying some things out, let me suggest New toys in the first snow battle, in which you arrange to have some lethal hardware waiting for use as soon as you step into the first outdoor battle in the snow, giving it a new complexion. In the same area, equipping yourself with an early Banshee enables you to set up a Mob battle in the first snowfield, giving more intense and varied combat than usual.

Continuing with the provision theme, rearranging some Marines and the initial Warthog allows you to get Two or three extra Marines and a hog - or if you don't want the Marines you can just get An extra Warthog if you like. You can also get Seven extra Marines and a hog, though if you only want the Marines you can actually do that without moving anything. Scorpion attack from behind discusses moving the Scorpion so you can attack the enemy from unusual locations.

On the general theme of moving covie hardware so you get attacked differently from normal, or for the sake of various amusements, try these articles. Grunty fun with Shades should give you some amusement at the underground bridge by tinkering with Shades. Good stuff for Grunt fans! Ghostly fun talks about moving the Ghosts which normally attack in the crashed Pelican area, while Who stole my Wraith? concerns moving the Wraith in the tower area. Further into the level, Running with Elites and Trapped Banshee give you a few activities relating to Elite pilots in the twin bridges area.

A few small novelty articles for you. Teleporting in a Ghost involves moving a Ghost so you end up taking a very unusual ride in it. Getting inside a rock uses a bit of Shade rearranging to let you get inside the scenery, and Grunt inside a Scorpion mentions an unfortunate little fellow I met in the crashed Pelican area.

Returning to the business of moving the Pelican attack Ghosts, Elite fireworks details a spectacular use in which the pilots end up shooting into the sky like fireworks. Nice! But for me the most important applications have been to the Spiral path megabattle and Twin bridges megabattle where, in particular, rearranging enables you to set up blockades for many delicious extra combat possibilities, and also enables you to get more Marines into the battles.

Go get creative!

But aside from all that, don't forget to spend some time trying out ideas of your own. There's lots of potential and my articles only give some ideas. Go and shift some things around and maybe have a think about what might make for some good mischief. And if you come up with anything extra good, let me know!