Seventh room

Posted August 27th 2006

The room

Just before the second of the twin bridges in level 5, you reach the seventh octagonal room, which for me is easily the best in the level. Featuring a raised inner housing that I call the 'glasshouse' on account of the big shatterable windows, the place is jam-packed with enemies and there are so many entertaining ways of tackling them. Read on for lots of ideas.

The room is just after a long passage manned by Grunts and Jackals; and just before this there was a supply pile that included a rocket launcher, which might just come in handy!

As you approach the room on Legendary, there are 2 Elites patrolling just ahead, though they'll often be heading off around the outside or through the inner area. There are 6 dozing Grunts around to the left, another 6 sleepyheads around to the right, and 4 Jackals patrolling the far side. Up in the glasshouse there are another 6 Grunts sleeping on the job, and 3 Elites. In all we've got 5 Elites, 4 Jackals and 18 dozy Grunts, making 27 units of enemy scum to play with. Nice! On Heroic it's 3 Elites, 3 Jackals and 15 Grunts, making 21 in all; still pretty good. On Normal there are 3 fewer Grunts.

Creating a good save

To create a save which is as flexible as possible in regard to having fun with different weapon combos, do the following.

After clearing the long passage of Grunts and Jackals, build a collection of weapons near the end; but to avoid triggering the room's checkpoint yet, don't go further than the start of the last pillar on the left. Once you're done and you're carrying your favourite combo for the room (a plasma pistol and needler for me), advance to trigger a checkpoint. Each time you revert to this point to start tackling the room again, you'll have the option of nipping back to your nearby weapons collection to pick up what you like.

It's nice to have one of each type of weapon available, and all well stocked with ammo. There were some supplies back in the previous room that can be handy in this regard, but if you want a sniper rifle, you'll need to have brought one with you from way back in the level. Hopefully you'll be fully loaded with grenades. You'll need to have conserved frag grenades from earlier, as there were none among the latest supplies.

Tackling the lower Elites

A couple of Elites will be patrolling around on the ground floor, and they'll probably be the first enemies you see. Their initial patrol pattern varies. Sometimes you might find them walking off to the left and right, sometimes they may be heading into the inner area under the glasshouse, and so on. There are good opportunities here for taking out an Elite with a nice sticky plasma grenade lobbed onto his back. Heh, that'll soon wake him up!

Rocket and whack

Another comical way of taking out an Elite is to rocket the ground beneath him as you close in, then switch to a plasma pistol and finish him off with a firm whack while he's still in the air, the rocket having blasted him up a few feet. Takes a bit of practice, but it's well worth it once you've got the knack.

Going around the outside

When it comes to all the Grunts and Jackals around the outside, it's huge fun to go around the left or right to tackle them. Plenty of opportunity for gleeful carnage. A plasma pistol and needler combo is tremendous here. I like to use overcharge shots to get rid of Jackal shields, and use explosive streams of needles to do most of the actual killing, for maximum torment. Tagging is another favourite tactic here. When you see a Grunt starting to run off, that's the ideal time to tag him, so he'll carry the grenade back among his mates. I also love doing the stun and tag move on Jackals (using a plasma ball to stun him and remove his shield). And then there's always the rocket launcher!

Around the left for a grunty mass

If you go around the left and let Grunts run off, you tend to end up with a mass of Grunts concentrated around the other side. They make a great target for some intense needling. I like to make repeated short runs out of cover, each run sending in a stream of needles causing a nasty bang. Sometimes you'll get a big chain reaction. For even bigger blasts, kill several Grunts non-explosively first (pistol headshots perhaps) so the place gets littered with grenades, then set it off to take out the rest.

Tackling the glasshouse from outside

Here's a bunch of tactics for tackling the glasshouse enemies from outside.

Using the glasshouse ceiling

There are two ways you can make use of the glasshouse's ceiling.

Firstly, you can throw grenades up through a broken window so they bounce off the ceiling and fall to the floor. With a full stock of grenades you can create havoc like this, and occasionally you might see an enemy amusingly get blown back out through the window. I also once saw a Grunt dive out through a broken window to get clear of a grenade.

Secondly, you can fire rockets at the ceiling, causing major blast damage to anyone nearby. Of course, it helps if you've got some idea of where they are. If you can't actually see them from down below, there's always sound and your motion tracker to help.

Using a pillar for cover

Outside each of the entrances to the inner area, there's a large pillar which makes some handy cover for attacking enemies through the glasshouse window. You can easily attract Elites over to the window with shots into the air. Once the window is broken, you can tag Elites quite easily after edging out of cover a little. The Elites are often looking the other way (having failed to see you behind the pillar) which makes things even easier. You can also use weapons fire of course.

Another bit of fun is to jump up and fire as the enemy briefly comes into view over the top of the pillar. I don't mean jump up on top of the pillar, I mean act like you're on a pogo stick; up and down. You may take a bit of fire this way, but you're never exposed for long, so you should be ok. Plasma balls are good as they home in; you won't have much time to aim after all. You can also explode enemies with needle streams, perhaps fired over the course of a couple of jumps. The pistol and plasma rifle are pretty handy too; and it's huge fun to send a rocket slamming straight into an Elite as he stands there looking out. Damaged Elites tend to try to back off or crouch for cover, but you can often continue to damage them as you jump up and find them briefly in view.

Up on the siding

Try hopping up onto the siding around the outside of the room, on the near or far side. This gets you up high enough to be able to see into the glasshouse and do some shooting with whatever you've got. It's good fun getting enemies with streams of needles, perhaps strafing along the siding in order to minimize incoming fire, which can be intense if there are still Elites there. You can also lob grenades in.

Behind a low window

One of the most enjoyable tactics for killing the glasshouse enemies is to stand behind a shattered low window and wait for enemies to come down the ramp. Attract them down with a bit of plasma fire or something. Once an enemy appears, take him out with your method of choice.

My favourite method is to pile in a vicious stream of needles. I like to thrust-fire them, making a brief run towards and slightly across the window. They don't like that much at all. BOOM! The window frame gives you fair cover as you fire. The first explosion shatters the long window above, causing a brief waterfall of glass to cascade down onto your first victim. Nice!

But hey, plasma is good too. Stun an Elite with a plasma ball and flick to a pistol or plasma rifle to finish him off. Or maybe use a rocket. Another idea: see if you can tag enemies from your window when they come down the ramp. You can potentially tag them all, one by one.

Another idea: initially kill some enemies non-explosively to get the place littered with grenades. Then catch the next victim in a big chain reaction.

Behind a side platform

Here's a sneaky and amusing tactic for getting the glasshouse enemies. Around the outside to the right, there are two high openings into the glasshouse, with platforms sticking out. If you jump up onto the siding around the outside of the room, you can fire through an opening and kill enemies, who have trouble shooting you. In particular you can send explosive streams of needles in, taking out one enemy after another. Rockets should be fun too! Occasionally you may hear an Elite growl and you know he's gone into rage mode. In that case he's liable to come down and around the outside to get you; so you'd best be ready for him.

Incidentally, you can also hop up onto one of those side platforms if you fancy running into the room, perhaps to finish off a damaged Elite who's trying to hide.

Back near the passage

Just a few feet around the corner at the end of the long passage you came through, you can see part of the glasshouse's front window. If you fire shots into the air, Elites tend to get attracted over to that corner, and you can then get them with the sniper rifle. There's very little risk to yourself. Elites can get you with their plasma rifles, but you'll usually get in your shots first; and even if you do start taking plasma, you can get out of the way with a quick step to the left. You could have fun firing rockets too.

There's something else you can do from here. Throw a grenade so it hits the side of the window frame and bounces into the glasshouse. It can be a nasty surprise to anyone nearby, such as damaged Elites taking cover. A rocket against the window frame is also good.

At the ramps

You can attack the glasshouse from underneath, at the two ramps. Often there will be one or more enemies in view as you briefly look up a ramp, and you can tag them or send some fire up; a rocket, a plasma ball, a stream of needles; whatever. Sometimes you may encounter an enemy at the bottom of a ramp; and actually, it's easy enough to tempt them down with fire into the air if you want. If it's an Elite, I recommend tagging, followed by a hasty retreat. If it's a Grunt, a nice idea is to quickly damage him enough to make him start running back up, then tag him as he goes, so he takes your fizzing blue gift back inside to share with his pals.

Each time you attack from one ramp, I suggest heading around to the other, as the enemy are probably not expecting you there. I sometimes attack by continually orbiting around the two ramps, sending in grenades or whatever.

Storming the glasshouse

If you fancy a real gung-ho approach to the room, see if you can start by storming the glasshouse, straight up the ramp. It's possible, even on Legendary. Once you've cleared it, you can have fun dealing with the outer enemies from within. A fun way of doing this is to blast them with rockets or send down grenades. Or if you want to continue the gung-ho ethic, leap down out of the window with rocket launcher in hand, and blast them as you come down. Sheer carnage.

Attacking across the room

Once you've cleared the glasshouse, you can have some unhindered fun attacking distant Jackals and Grunts from across the room, back near the entrance to the inner area. I just love sending rockets over from here, but you can have fun with the other weapons too. The needler has enough range; you can send a plasma ball over to wipe a Jackal's shield, then let an explosive stream of needles sail across. For another bit of mischief, see if you can throw grenades so they pass through the glasshouse; that'll give the enemy a pretty nasty surprise! Frag grenades can end up hitting the far wall and bouncing down amongst the enemy.

Through the low window

It's also possible to fire through the low window to the left. For this you don't need to have cleared the glasshouse, as long as you don't stand so close to the window that glasshouse enemies can get you from the bottom of the ramp. Jackals will have real trouble getting you at your window; you've got great cover. Again, the rocket launcher is a delight. If you try firing a plasma ball from a plasma pistol, at first you'll probably find that it tends to get blocked by a support leg of the glasshouse. However, plasma balls can get through if you aim them deliberately off target to the right.

Blast damage

When you use the rocket launcher, consider deliberately hitting walls or other surfaces to take enemies out with blast damage, rather than with direct hits. Personally I really enjoy sending enemies flying with a nearby blast. From across the room, one good 'blast target' is the far pillar (sitting in the outer pathway).

Storming across

It's also a lot of fun to storm across below the glasshouse when enemies are collected on the far side. Rockets, grenades, explosive needle streams - so many fine ways of wreaking havoc.

Attacking from above

Once you've cleared the glasshouse, you can enter and have fun dealing with any outer enemies gathered below around the far side. How about blasting them with rockets or sending down grenades? Against a Jackal, you could remove his shield with a plasma ball, then either tag him while he's still stunned, or pile in a stream of needles. Go on, give him the whole clip; there's plenty to go around.

Jackal fire

On Legendary, Jackals will fire up at you like crazy, but as long as you're not too near the window frame, you should be ok. See if you can get them all firing; it'll be a heck of a racket, and it's quite an experience.

Gung-ho rocket attack

If you fancy being a bit gung-ho, you could leap down out of the window with rocket launcher in hand, and blast the enemy as you come down (preferably right in the middle of four Jackals). Ah, that feels good!

Side platform

You can also venture out onto the side platform to the right, for another bit of high-level attacking. You're a bit exposed there, but I'm sure you'll soon give any aggressive enemies something to think about.

Stealth challenge

See if you can clear the entire room by stealthy whacking. It's a tough challenge on Legendary, which I'll say a few more words about.

Lower Elites

The two Elites patrolling the ground floor shouldn't be much trouble, but as usual you need to be careful not to creep up on an Elite when he's looking sideways, else he's liable to spot you.

Jackals on the far side

It's difficult to get the Jackals on the far side, but it's possible to pick them off one by one if you wait patiently for the right moments to strike. Once you've killed a few though, the others sometimes stop pacing, and sometimes they may be facing each other, making it impossible to creep up on one without being seen by another. A tactic you can use in that awkward situation is to throw a grenade somewhere to cause them to look in a certain direction, allowing you to quickly nip in for some bashing. Admittedly that tactic isn't completely stealthy, but it's the best you can do in the circumstances.

Glasshouse Elites

The glasshouse Elites are trickiest of all. I suggest you hop up onto one of the two platforms that come out of the side, around to the right. Watch the Elites pacing around, and take care not to get spotted. When the moment is right, you can enter the room via the platform, whacking the glass to break it. Luckily the noise doesn't alert the enemy. Are they deaf or what? If you picked the right moment you can get your first glasshouse Elite right away. But that still leaves two more. Good luck - you'll need it!

If you find the glasshouse Elites too frustrating to get, you could weaken the challenge a bit as follows. After getting all the outer enemies, try to get the glasshouse enemies by tempting them down the ramps, where you then either tag or bash them, without them ever firing a shot. It's not exactly full stealth, but it'll still be a decent challenge.

Other challenges

Here are a few other challenges to enjoy - maybe you can make up more of your own.

Needler challenge

See if you can do all your killing with needler explosions. Trickier, see if you can clinically kill each enemy with a needler explosion that takes out just that one enemy. For that you'll have to be careful to avoid chain reactions. With Jackals, allow yourself to use plasma balls from a plasma pistol to wipe their shields first.

Plasma pistol challenge

See if you can kill everyone with fire from a single plasma pistol. No whacking, no grenades. It's possible, even on Legendary. Although plasma balls are nice for stunning Elites, you won't have enough charge to be able to afford more than a few. Actually though, you can do the challenge without any plasma balls; just rapid normal fire will do. See if you can also retain perfect health.

Pistol headshot challenge

See if you can kill all the Grunts around the outside with one pistol headshot apiece. You might even be able to do the same with the Jackals, but it's harder to get a clear shot of course; you may need to keep sneaking around behind them.

Speed challenges

Clear the room as fast as possible, subject to any weapon limitations you care to impose on yourself (e.g. limiting yourself to plasma weapons).