Stealing the platform Banshee
Posted March 17th 2012
A well-known trick for this level is that it's possible to get a Banshee early on by rocketing it down from a platform - something I originally read about in a magazine. It's namely on the high platform just around the corner from the crashed Pelican. Normally you'd get attacked by it after you cross a certain trigger line well up the battlefield (that's when the pilot spawns). But if you fire a rocket at the underside of the platform, you can blast it down before you've even entered the battlefield, and can subsequently use it to have a lot of novel fun. I described the trick in an old article but never went into detail. After some recent forum discussion relating to this Banshee, I decided it was high time to cover things more fully (and with pics) to help anyone steal it with ease. So here we go.
Getting it down
To get the Banshee down you'll want to aim at a suitably good spot, otherwise it's very easy for a rocket to simply have no effect, not even nudging the Banshee. There seem to be a couple of 'sweet spots'. The one I recommend is along the centre-line of the platform, about a quarter of the way to the edge from the support. That's where I'm aiming at in the picture, and in my various movies. A rocket strike there will be roughly underneath the rear of the Banshee, hopefully making it tumble forwards and off. An alternative sweet spot you may like to try is about a third of the way up the top half of the reticle seen in the picture, where one of the reticle lines is.
Even if you think you're aiming well however, success can be fickle. Being slightly off the mark can easily result in failure, and there also seems to be a certain amount of randomness even if you're spot-on. For this reason I suggest arranging to get a checkpoint when you've taken aim with either the launcher or a sniper rifle, as in my picture. You may prefer the sniper rifle if you want to be really precise, aiming at a particular bit of the patterning which you've memorized as being good. If the shot fails, you can just revert and try again, adjusting your aim as desired. Repeat until it works, and even if it takes a while you'll still only have used up one rocket. If you don't mind potentially using multiple rockets though, you could just ignore this checkpoint refinement and take your chances with a barrage.
There are a couple of handy checkpoints you can use if you want one. Part way down the sloping path leading to the battlefield, a checkpoint gets triggered (plus battle music if you didn't board the Scorpion). That's ideal. Having made the area safe, you can just walk down the path with your aim on the platform until you get the checkpoint, as seen in BCM80 at around 2:24. You won't be right underneath the platform at that point, but you don't need to be; you can rocket from anywhere. Another way of doing things, better for exact aiming, is to move down the slope using jumping until you've crossed the trigger line, then throw a grenade to keep the checkpoint delay going while you take careful aim. Or, throw a grenade before crossing the line, advance far enough to cross it, then take aim and wait for the checkpoint - as seen in BCM54.
An alternative checkpoint to use is the one which gets triggered as you advance in the crashed Pelican area, namely about halfway past the central snow mound. You can keep it delayed via jumping or enemy threat or whatever, until you've made things safe and are ready for it. You could get it at the top of the sloping path for example. Subsequently, it's actually possible to blast the fallen Banshee your way so you can board it without even having triggered the battle yet! Nice challenge.
Getting the Banshee opens the door to a whole lot of fun for much of the rest of the level - not least the general novelty of blasting covies from the air - and also enables you to easily steal a further two Banshees later on if you want replacements. You'll find several bits of fun described in Fun with a stolen Banshee, and there are Banshee uses in other articles too, including Spiral path megabattle and Massed enemy fun.
An entirely different way of getting a Banshee for such fun is to descend off the first bridge and go fetch one, but that requires more investment of effort. This platform trick is great for more casual use.
Other methods of blasting it down
Although it's possible to blast the underside of the platform with the Scorpion after getting it angled up suitably (e.g. using the raised land by the tree at the top of the sloping path), I've never managed to get the Banshee down that way, even after serious effort. It doesn't help that the Scorpion's aim is so random; but even allowing for that, I suspect that Scorpion blasts just don't work the same as rocket blasts.
Scurty showed how you can get the Banshee down using plasma grenades. In his video a first blast sends a well-timed second grenade high enough to land on top of the platform and blast the Banshee off. It's not intended as a practical method, but it's nifty all the same. If you fancy giving it a go just for the challenge, arrange to get a checkpoint when you're aimed and ready to throw (just as I described for rocketing), to make repeat attempts as efficient as possible.
It's also possible to get the Banshee down by scoring a direct hit on it from deep in the battlefield to send it to the back right of the platform, then using a blast against the cliff wall to knock it forward and off, but it's much harder than the usual method. If you're interested though, you can read my details on that method elsewhere - but note that rockets could potentially be used instead of Scorpion blasts.