Fun with a stolen Banshee

Here are various things you can do after stealing the platform Banshee by rocketing it down (though you could equally use a Banshee fetched after doing a bridge descent).

Two-Wraith area

For starters you can use the Banshee to tackle the covies in the two-Wraith area, and to kill the Elite who eventually emerges up on the platform only to find his pride and joy missing (he's triggered once you advance far enough along the battlefield sufficiently low down).

Instead of fighting in the Banshee though, you might like to use it to drop yourself off on the platform or some other high spot, from which to have fun using a rocket launcher and sniper rifle. After firing a rocket, switch to the sniper rifle to savour the sight of the explosions. It's great fun watching enemies just standing around or sitting in their Ghosts or whatever, not realizing what's about to happen to them.

Cavern

You can fly the Banshee along the tunnel into the cavern containing the underground bridge, where you can have some spectacular fun swooping around on the enemy. There are also some interesting high-up places you can land (pipes and 'hole in the wall' ledges) to have more fun with a rocket launcher and sniper rifle. You can also fly down to the bottom of the chasm to see what's down there. Answer: not much. What were you expecting, a hot-dog stall?

It's a long way down

Here's something else I like to do. See if you can make enemies leap off the platforms to get clear of the Banshee. Follow them down to hear their cries; especially the grunty types who've just bellyflopped off the edge. Maybe you can even blast them with a plasma bolt as they fall, before they die.

Marine support challenge

You may also like to set up the following challenge which I've had quite a bit of fun with. Arrange to fly into the area well ahead of your Marines, then land somewhere up high on the far side and get to work with a sniper rifle and rocket launcher. See if you can do enough damage to enable some Marines to survive; they'll try to get across the bridge towards you. Actually, you can set up a similar challenge based on driving in using a Warthog and going to one end of the far platform, but it's more fun being up high.

The amount of challenge depends on how much time you have before the Marines arrive; so set it up accordingly. If you gather them back at the snowy entrance before flying on through, that should give you a fair chance.

For a variation on the challenge, you might consider using the active camouflage from the previous area to let you get in and amongst the enemy on the far side to begin with, taking out those nasty Elites and Hunters quick.

Tunnel and central tower

You can fly up the tunnel after the cavern, though you'll probably want to deal with the Elites on foot first, so they don't damage your precious Banshee. Nothing to stop you blasting the patrolling Jackals though!

Landing up high

As you fly up the rising tunnel, the dropship comes in to land. One thing you can do now is climb rapidly up onto the huge central tower (or one of the platforms), get out, and have fun with a rocket launcher and sniper rifle. Actually, you can go even higher up and land on the precarious ice ledge that goes all around the area; it's quite wide in some places. If you're on a platform instead, you may need to carefully jump up onto the low wall edge, to be able to see over properly.

The distant Wraith seems to go up in two rocket blasts rather than the usual three, suggesting that its armour is weaker on the top.

Playing with the dropship

It's also possible to land on top of the dropship (including on foot if you jump out of the Banshee at the right moment). I was hoping that when the dropship took off, it would take me on a nice ride; but disappointingly, you just seem to slide off. Another thing you can do is to chase the dropship in your Banshee. After a while it suddenly disappears in thin air; obviously something we were never expected to see.

Another Banshee

Note that there's another Banshee up on the huge central tower, normally destined to attack you later. You could switch to it if your machine is damaged. If you leave it there you'll have the opportunity for some dogfighting later when the pilot materializes, though I'm not sure exactly what triggers him to actually get aboard. Alternatively you could knock it to the ground for later possible use - and perhaps return later to kill the rideless pilot.

Banshee in the central tower

Ever flown inside the tower? You might think there's no chance of getting in, but actually you can enter quite easily through the balcony entrance if you angle the Banshee obliquely.

Sparkling walls

Once inside, you can fly up the hollow tower and go "Oooh!" when you get to the top and see that the walls appear to sparkle. Don't bump heavily into the ceiling mind, else you'll likely get bumped out of your ride (and it's a long way down).

On a platform

Another thing you can do inside is drop yourself off on a platform part way up (fairly near the bottom). Seen against the floor, the cloaked Elites seem to take on an odd dark appearance. Looks like a graphics glitch to me, and you'll probably have noticed it ages ago from ground level when seeing mysterious dark ankles moving around. The glitch also seems to affect Jackal shields.

Transparent floor

Talking of the floor, have you noticed that it's mostly transparent? Take a peek, and you'll see that you're standing over a shaft that goes down for miles.

Massed enemy mayhem

If you set up loads of enemy as in Massed enemy fun, you can whizz into the tower in your Banshee, quickly drop yourself off on the platform, and wait for the masses to flood in. Then you can create a little mayhem with grenades and a rocket launcher. When things are cleared you can drop down onto the active camouflage and go to work on enemies outside.

Tip: When coming in, you'll want to make your entrance smooth and fast else you can easily end up toasted under heavy fire. Don't bother trying to kill the Elites on the balcony beforehand; that just tends to draw more enemies into the tower and up towards the balcony. Just fly straight in, as it often causes the Elites to jump clear or get squashed.

Twin bridges, ground level

You can fly all the way through to the twin bridges area, the large area with two bridges overhead. It's deserted; the enemy will only appear when triggered later by the appropriate events. If you want, you can blast all the gun turrets and Ghosts now so the enemy won't be able to use them. Heh heh! There's another Banshee at the back if you want it. If you leave it, you've got the opportunity for some dogfighting later.

Twin bridges, death from above

After wiping out the enemy and fighting your way up to the first of the twin bridges, stop just before stepping through the door out onto the bridge. You've now done enough to make the bridges fill with enemy. Go back down to a Banshee and fly up. You can use it to swoop about on them, or land on the high ice ledge around the area and have fun with a rocket launcher, sniper rifle and grenades.

It can be tricky to land the Banshee on the ice ledge so it doesn't fall off. But maybe you don't care, if you're happy to just have your fun and then go back to the last checkpoint. Up on the ledge, you seem to get slowdown in the framerate incidentally, presumably because there's so much in view.

Choose your moment for that rocket

Watch the movements of the enemy as they pace about, and fire the rocket launcher where you predict they're going to be by the time the rocket arrives. As usual, after firing a rocket, be sure to switch to the sniper rifle for a good view of the forthcoming carnage. A mini-game you can try here is to see how many enemies you can rocket onto the other bridge.

Early bridge population

Actually, you can get the bridge populated even before the area down below gets populated. E.g. fly up and land on the nearer bridge and make your way down through the empty interior. Just as you head back towards the snow, the interior suddenly becomes populated. You'll hear music and the sound of snoozing Grunts. You can now make your way back up, then take off in the Banshee you landed.

Backtrack to the first snowy area

You can backtrack to have fun with enemies deliberately left alive in the first snowy area (note: even on Heroic, it's quite easy to just run past most enemies on the first bridge and leave the attacking Banshee undamaged; and when you get down to the snow you can grab the Warthog or a Ghost and speed away to get the platform Banshee). The Marines may be dead by then but never mind. You can now dogfight the enemy Banshee (if any), and tackle the enemies you left alive on the bridge and on the ground, possibly by landing up on a ledge and having fun with a sniper rifle and rocket launcher.

Fun with the gold Elite

There's also fun to have with the gold Elite. If you hover near him just away from the bridge, he'll be only too happy to take a leap into the wild blue yonder to take a swing at you with that plasma sword. In fact it looks like he tries to jump on top of the Banshee. If he connects, it's bye-bye Banshee and bye-bye cyborg. Bye-bye gold Elite too, for that matter; he may have a big sword but he doesn't have wings! On the other hand if he misses, he must feel a right fool as he plummets pointlessly to his death. Mock him cruelly on the way down. "Wort Wort Wort, you big lemon!".

Spook the Grunts

You can have fun flying at enemies on the bridge, potentially causing them to leap off. Note also that if you go over and hover near the Grunts on the bridge, they'll attempt to lob plasma grenades your way, which is cute.

Down below

Meanwhile, the enemies down below tend to congregate in a small huddle over near the 'step' that leads to the Scorpion area (you may need to blast the Ghost before all enemies head off to that gathering point). They make a fine target for a rocket. The Wraith usually seems to've fallen over the step, presumably having chased you when you sped past earlier.