Playing 'Shark' at the first bridge

Posted September 24th 2006

There's lots of fun you can have with a stolen Banshee, as detailed elsewhere. Here's a further idea for airborne mischief which I've been enjoying lately; a little bit of evil I like to call 'Shark'.

At the first bridge, leave all or most enemies intact, and return later in a Banshee. If you fly along it underneath with the roof of the Banshee rubbing against the bottom deck, the camera ends up being just above the deck, which gives you a novel and spectacular floor-level view as you cruise along. But the real fun lies in making enemies dive off by aiming yourself just to one side of them. This reminds me of "Jaws" (cue creepy shark music), but with a Banshee as the shark, just under the surface.

Once you see that your victim is diving off, stop and turn to enjoy watching him plummet. If you let the Banshee free-fall, you can remain close to him as he goes down and it's possible to blast him with a Banshee bolt (difficult), or pummel him with plasma. If you dismount as you fall, you could kill him with hand weaponry instead. Theoretically, you could even end up face to face and give him a good smack to the noggin before you both perish. That should be fun eh? I can't claim to've managed that last feat yet, but there's always tomorrow.

Elites can jump far away from the bridge with that athletic spring of theirs, so you may find them harder to target. The Grunts and Jackals won't go too far though, and there are plenty of them around. I particular enjoy inviting the beak brigade out for a spot of fresh air. Heh, shield not gonna do you much good now eh, beak-face?

Setting up with a convenient checkpoint

For maximum convenience in playing 'Shark', you want to have got a checkpoint when near the bridge in your Banshee, so you'll be able to repeat your shark runs with minimal delay. That's easy. All you need to do is trigger a checkpoint somewhere, then make sure to keep it delayed with Banshee firing until you're ready for it near the bridge (but note: the game will continue the delay if it considers you under threat). Assuming you got your Banshee from the high platform, one such checkpoint you could delay is the 'tunnel checkpoint' which gets triggered in the tunnel that leads to the underground bridge. But there's also one before that out in the snow, triggered a short way past the Wraith (if you're sufficiently low down).

You don't actually need to've run right across the bridge to set things up. You could do a descent trick to get down, which would save you having to try and bypass a nasty glut of enemies near the far door. Having got down, you can bring back the 'twin bridges Banshee' from the much later area with twin bridges overhead. You'll trigger the tunnel checkpoint on the way back, and can keep it delayed until ready for it near the bridge.

Another way of finishing off the set-up work with that Banshee is as follows. Put it by the door beneath the bridge. Go inside to the lift, bring it down and ride up, then go through the room and into the passage beyond, triggering enemies in the room you just came through. Turn around and resume normal play. In the passage that leads out into the snow, a checkpoint will be triggered halfway along the short second section. Keep it delayed a while (initially by jumping) so it'll make a convenient starting point for Shark play. With this way of setting things up, you'll not only have enemies on the bridge, you'll also have a battle raging below, giving you some additional atmosphere and fun if you want it.

Of course, it's also nice if there happen to be a few victims in suitable positions on the bridge, right near the edges of the bottom deck. You could leave that to chance, but maybe you can wait until you see some in good positions before getting your delayed checkpoint. If you don't have any immediate victims, at least it usually doesn't take long to tempt enemies down from the upper deck.

Flying up from underneath

Playing Shark isn't the only way to get enemies to vacate the premises. If you know approximately where an enemy on the lower deck is standing, you can fly up at the lower deck and potentially make him dive off. Unless you care to believe that the Covenant have some sort of sixth sense, or are going by sound and are fearful that you're going to crash through the deck, you'd have to say that their reactions are due to a shortcoming of the game engine. They can't actually see you approaching, so they shouldn't really be reacting; but their 'dive to get clear' behaviour doesn't seem to take account of that.

Other bridges

After I posted a message about the above material in the HBO forum, fellow cyborg hminn replied and alluded to the fact that you can also play Shark at the twin bridges later in the level. Quite right, although it's harder to make the camera cruise along smoothly, and the side barriers make it harder to get enemies to leap off (but at least there are lots of them!). For that matter, there's the underground bridge to try as well, and you can even have a bit of fun with the ice bridge in the final part of the level. Check out my reply to hminn for a report on all this.