Two or three extra Marines and a hog

Posted July 21st 2006, expanded later

Associated movies… BCM40

The basic idea

By descending off the first bridge, it's possible to trick the game into giving you two or three extra Marines in the first ground battle, plus an extra Warthog if you want it. Moreover you can be entering the battle in a manned hog, which gives you the opportunity to clean up quick! Or if you prefer, you can enjoy the novelty of running into battle with Marines by your side. All very nice!

Moving on

Your extras won't be limited to this first area either. When you trigger the battle in the next area, usually four Marines will go running over the step, while the rest stay where they are. However, you can always ferry any reluctant Marines over with a hog or the Scorpion (or by letting chain-gunners dismount over the edge so they fall down). Once over the step, all Marines should follow you about as normal.

Some advantages over seven extras

Although it's actually possible to go four better and get seven extra Marines and an extra hog, getting only two or three has some potential advantages in regard to the immediate battle. Firstly, you won't have any inactive Marines standing around spoiling the realism - not that that's always the case with the seven-extras trick. Secondly, there's no effort needed to get a convenient battle start checkpoint via checkpoint delaying; you'll have the usual checkpoint the game intends.

Two extra Marines

Wait there men, I'll be back later

First here's how to get two extra Marines and optionally an extra hog (a hog which will usefully be Marine-retaining, unlike the usual one). This is simpler than getting three and shows the basic principle. You can see a demonstration in BCM40.

Do a descent trick off the bridge and pick up two Marines in the hog. Two of the original ones that is, not the Pelican Marines, who in any case may be inactive by the time you're there (they go inactive not long after exiting the Pelican). Back the hog into the indoor passage, all the way down the long middle section, or at least past where the loading point will be when you're coming back out later (it'll be at the end of the middle black stripe in that section as you head out).

Dismount and go up in the lift after bringing it down. Go through the room and into the passage beyond, far enough to trigger a checkpoint in the second short section. The trigger occurs less than halfway along that section, and by then, enemies will have spawned in the room. Resume normal play, coming back down in the lift. When you get back to the hog, drive into battle. There's a checkpoint triggered just before reaching the hog but it was critical to've triggered that earlier checkpoint I mentioned, otherwise you wouldn't have been able to get this one (or any others while still indoors).

Crucially, you're in the hog as you cross the loading point (located at the end of the second black stripe in the passage as you drive out), so the game doesn't move it into the desired overturned position outside; it creates a new one for that instead. You'll also find three fresh Marines there, so now you've got five.

You don't actually have to have the two Marines aboard as you drive out. You could make them dismount first (where they are) then drive off alone, leaving them to run out and head for the defence location.

Diagonal position, before dismounts

Running into battle, no extra hog

If you don't want an extra hog, or prefer to be running into battle, you can modify the set-up work by backing up the hog in the passage until diagonally across the second corner you reach, then making the passengers dismount. Because of the hog's position, neither of them is likely to be able to get past it to run back outside (which they want to), though I did have at least one occasion when the Marine from the side seat was gone when I returned, so I guess he may have managed to squeeze past the nose.


When you return having resumed normal play, you'll see the hog vanish as you cross the loading point. The game is effectively moving it to the overturned position outside (perhaps it's actually removing it entirely and creating a new one). But the Marines remain and become free to run out. You can let them lead the charge, or take point yourself. It's quite a novelty to have company when running out here, but three Marines would be even better of course!

It was crucial that the Marines weren't closer to the exit than the end of the long middle section, else they'd have vanished when you crossed the loading point. Or at any rate, that's what I found. See my later section trying to explain why the trick works. I think the Marines had to be within your current loading zone at the time the game wanted to remove them - and that stopped their removal.

An alternative to that diagonal placement of the hog is simply to use the original placement I described, leaving the Marines aboard until you get back. Get them dismounted, then run across the loading point. Again, the hog will disappear and the Marines will be free to run out into battle. This way however, they'll just take a bit longer to reach the exit.

Three extra Marines

As for getting three extra Marines and optionally an extra hog, you just need to modify things a bit to end up with three in the passage. Here's a good way to arrange that - as seen at the end of BCM40.

Modified arrangement

First get a Ghost. There's one in the crashed Pelican area, and you can get it up over the 'step' by driving at the left corner with the nose up (hold the A button). Take it down the long middle section of the passage then into the next short section. Pick up a gunner in the hog and back down the long section. Make him dismount at the end, then quickly reboard to drive the hog forward a few metres - he won't reboard if you're quick. Carefully drive the Ghost into the space opened up, so it'll block the Marine. Preferably go slow else he might dive out of position.

Drive the hog back outside and pick up the other two active Marines. Back up close to the Ghost, preferably going slow so you don't make the Marine dive (though it won't really matter if he does end up in the short section of the passage). Dismount and move the Ghost clear - you could leave it in the passage or move it into the room. As an optional finishing touch, carefully back the hog up a bit more for convenience in reaching the driver's seat later.

Note: If you want to move the Ghost back outside for some reason, you can potentially do so by driving it up and over the hog, though you'll need to be careful not to accidentally squash the Marine at the back.

That's some mighty handy shooting there soldier!

Running into battle, no extra hog

If you don't want an extra hog, or prefer to be running into battle, you could finish the arrangement by driving the hog forward into the diagonal position mentioned earlier and making the passengers dismount. Normally this works fine, but one time the Marine on foot managed to hop past on the left side before I'd finished getting into my diagonal position. If you don't want to risk any escapes, you could instead leave the Marines where they are and make the two passengers dismount when you return later.

Either way, running into battle with three bozos can be good fun, though I have to say that they do an amazingly poor job of trying to frag the nearby Shade (assuming you haven't moved it for fun, or overturned it in advance). Like, they either miss by a mile or try to bounce a grenade off the gunner's head. But landing one on the ground just nearby? Fat chance - and their shooting isn't much better! But hey, they make a bit of noise and jump around a lot, so who's complaining?

Why does it work?

How come you ended up with extra Marines? Here's my understanding of the situation.

Normal play

In normal play, Marines get removed when you come down in the lift and trigger the ground floor enemies. When you cross the loading point as you head out into battle, three fresh Marines are created, ensuring that you've actually got some decently healthy ones to save (bearing in mind that the originals could have been killed or badly weakened in the Banshee attack).

Trick play

In your trick play however, you've moved Marines into an area that will be part of the current loading zone, at the time when the game would normally be wanting to remove them. This apparently prevents the game removing them. It's as if the relevant computer code (at the bottom of the lift) says "Remove all Marines outside the current loading zone", or something like that. Your guys aren't outside it, so they're unexpectedly left alone. Nevertheless the game still creates three fresh Marines later, having assumed that the original ones will have been removed by now.


A few words on how all this came about. Back on July 9th 2006, fellow cyborg Boris alerted me to how he was sometimes getting four extra Marines in the first ground battle. That grabbed my attention pronto! But it was unreliable (as Boris had noted), so I started investigating.

An old trick

In the course of that, I checked through a few tricks pages to see if there was already something about getting extra Marines. I didn't find anything, but I did notice a trick for getting an extra hog. It was on a tricks compilation assembled by Kyle Barr (Halo Tricks, Version 1.4.4). I hadn't actually heard of getting an extra hog before (ok so I was behind the times by a couple of years), so I checked it out. The description involved moving the hog all the way into the ground floor room (after doing a descent trick off the bridge), and it also included a lot of other stuff involving a Banshee and checkpoints. Most of that turned out to be unnecessary. The only important thing, I eventually realized, was that you be in the original hog when the game tries to commandeer it for the ground battle; which is normally just after you cross the loading point in the passage (very fractionally after).

Two extra Marines, then three

Having got to the root of that trick, I started experimenting with a couple of Marines in the hog to see what would happen, and that's how I ended up with two extras. Later I managed a third when I figured out a way of foiling the Marine desire to run out of the passage (but I thought of an easier way when doing BCM40 later).

Seven extra Marines!

While exploring this new trick, I tried something quirky and triggered enemies in the second room before getting down off the bridge, just to see what would happen. When I did that and went through the door below, I was mightily surprised when a battle started up behind me. And wow, there were ten Marines over yonder! I was pretty amazed. I'd stumbled into a method of getting seven extra Marines and an extra hog.