Two Pelicans and other fun
Posted February 28th 2017
Associated movies… BCM220
At the first bridge, Echo 419 flies in to drop off four Marines, including either Johnson or Stacker (randomly decided at or after the preceding loading point). If you use a descent method to get down off the bridge, you can easily be on the ground in time to greet their arrival. But also, when they dismount you can board the Pelican yourself to get taken for a nice ride! Just hit X to board - and to later bail at any time. You can sit on either side, getting a different view in each case.
Of course, such boarding was never intended in normal play; you weren't supposed to be down on the ground yet!
The Pelican flies to the later area where there's a Scorpion and a crashed Pelican, both of which will already be present. Now, in normal play it flies to a position close to the crashed one, and then vanishes - which you can verify by using the dropped Warthog to speed off to that area to watch the disappearance. However, if you're aboard the Pelican and you stay aboard long enough, your presence keeps it in play. It settles to the ground (still humming) and then you've got two Pelicans. Two versions of Echo 419.
How long do you need to stay aboard? At a certain point there's a change in the engine sound when the thrusters turn off, and it becomes lower in tone. That change point is approximately how long you need to remain aboard. So, just listen for the change (or wait until the Pelican slows) and then it'll be ok to bail.
People were riding on the Pelican quite early after the launch of Halo. I haven't done a full search but FrogBlast (aka Metafire) posted co-op pics on February 2nd 2002, which you can see here on a mirror of his original site. He advertised them in the HBO forum, and they're also in the HBO 'Tips and Tricks' section.
Having two Pelicans is a novelty but there's also plenty of other fun you can have with Pelican riding, and I'll talk about that shortly.
Getting a handy checkpoint for repeated fun
The way to enjoy such fun is to get a delayed checkpoint shortly before the Pelican drops off the Marines. My movie BCM220 shows an example. I start by delaying the entry passage checkpoint, initially using jumping but sometimes relying on enemy threat (a nearby Grunt, and later the Banshee). You can use any descent method you like, but it's good if you can maintain full health, because that's advantageous for doing stunt boarding and bailing. I also recommend having a full supply of grenades. I ended up short of two plasmas in my movie, but never mind.
As for when to get the checkpoint, for good flexibility I suggest getting it when the Pelican is still quite a way up, something like in BCM220 (seen in the pic). That way, you'll still have time to move to positions away from the drop-off point for doing stunt boarding. However, if you're only interested in boarding at the drop-off point, you could keep the checkpoint delayed longer until the Pelican is very low down, or even when the drop-off is happening. Then each time you play, you'll have less time to wait before you can board.
As mentioned already, you can take either seat, each giving a different viewing experience - and range of fire. You can't board until the Marines collectively disembark, even though the boarding prompt appears prior to that. Even if you kill a guy to make his seat vacant, you still have to wait.
When standing at the boarding ramp, don't forget about the hog which gets dropped and then pushed to the right by the back of the Pelican. You could easily get splattered if you're too far back!
Actually you don't even need to be standing at the boarding ramp to board. One option is to stand alongside so the side of the Pelican is between you and your target seat. You still get a boarding prompt if close enough. In effect you're boarding through the side. Another option is to board from below! When the floor of the Pelican comes down, you actually clip through it, instead of getting squashed. Let your target seat come down from overhead, and you'll get the boarding prompt in due course.
In regard to attacking the Marines, which can give you some fun, they appear to be unnaturally resilient against blasts while seated or disembarking. They can even survive a tag!
Late boarding from inside
Clipping through the floor can be used as a way of getting deep inside the compartment. Let the floor come down on you, then when you clip through, jump up onto the floor. At that point you'll be able to move around within - and you can take either of the two front seats when you fancy. A good bit of fun to have is to get as deep as you can, then wait for the Pelican to depart. The floor slides under you and you can board at the last moment. It's as if you're suddenly grabbed. Pretty funny.
There's plenty of fun to be had doing 'stunt boarding', namely doing some sort of jump to board when the Pelican is already flying off. That can be a normal jump or - when the Pelican is higher - a grenade jump, which is more challenging and for which you'll ideally want full health. You can see some examples in BCM220, including a 'blind' boarding in which the Pelican is approaching from behind as I run.
Towards the ice patch there are a couple of rocks you can stand on to get extra height, potentially allowing you to board with a normal jump as the Pelican passes close by. Incidentally, the geometry of those rocks is not fixed; it will have been randomized when you went through the last loading point.
When I use those rocks in BCM220, I fire a plasma ball at the Pelican's windscreen beforehand because something amusing happens. You get a spectacular shower of earth! That anomaly isn't special to this Pelican; I think you can get the same from any Pelican. Another recreation you can try with an approaching Pelican is to tag it, to be aboard when the blast goes off.
You can have fun bailing from the Pelican when it's in motion. Naturally this is potentially hazardous, and you'll ideally want full health to help you survive landings. When you bail from up around the Pelican's maximum height, survival depends on getting cushioned by some friendly surface - typically a sloping surface. You can try to time your bail so you hit something friendly like that (after learning of the possibilities).
Another challenge to try is tagging the Pelican after bailing, either immediately or after landing. It's not easy but there's one example of an immediate tag in BCM220. The trouble with trying to tag the Pelican after you land is that it'll typically be quite distant and it's hard for the grenade to catch up. Typically you'll have to be throwing at a point well ahead of the Pelican's current position, to account for the grenade's flight time. Can't say I've had much luck with that so far.
Seated firing and grenading
While aboard the Pelican you can have fun firing weapons and throwing grenades - and all ordnance is able to pass through the Pelican. One fun thing to do is fire at the ground when the Pelican departs and is still quite low. In particular, shooting at the Pelican's shadow acccentuates the impact effects. Looks nice with an AR or pistol, and also a plasma rifle (which gives big dark blue spots). The plasma pistol has relatively low shot speed and can't maintain high rate of fire for long, so isn't very good for shadow shooting.
In BCM220 there was a wrecked Banshee I could enjoy grenading when the Pelican flew over. When setting things up, you could potentially destroy the Banshee (if present) so that the wreckage lands in a handy spot for such grenading. But even if you don't have such a target, you can always enjoy grenading the hog or the Marines as you depart.