BCM36 - Twin bridges megabattle
(4:26) Level 5 ('Assault on the Control Room') on Normal. This shows a twin bridges megabattle against 65 covies including 18 Elites and 4 Hunters, fought solo using the trough defence plan. I use a rocket launcher and plasma rifle against the initial hectic onslaught, and do some needling later.
Released June 26th 2011, gameplay recorded June 24th 2011.
00:02 The movie starts just after a delayed tunnel checkpoint I saved. Let me say a bit more about that. What I'd been doing was modifying an existing save by getting the enemy jostled around a bit, to vary the enemy attack dynamics. I flew around in a different Banshee to draw most of the 59 free-roaming enemies up the battlefield a way, while keeping the checkpoint delayed mostly by being sufficiently low down to the enemy - namely around the height of the first ledge. When they were up near the start of the trough, I flew back out and finally let myself get the checkpoint, standing in position as seen here with a Banshee and spare weapons already carefully positioned. The covies mostly flock back to the start in the meanwhile, but the overall effect has been to get them jostled up compared to how they were before, and also some of them are further up the battlefield than normal, something which can obviously lead to a speedier enemy attack. In this case the resulting attack dynamics turned out to be pleasingly good, so I saved the checkpoint.
The spare weapons enable me to head into battle with any combo I want. I put them here because it's nice and bright, and also a nice place to take off from. In my previous twin bridges megabattle movies I started from a checkpoint in mid-air above the underpass, with spares on the roof. But what you see here is I think my new favourite arrangement - and it's certainly a lot simpler than trying to get weapons up onto that roof!
Anyway, enough of the background talk; let's get the action started. I get armed with a rocket launcher and plasma rifle - an excellent combo for the battle ahead - and take off.
00:12 I swoop left over the underpass roof, almost skimming it as I try to stay low for added drama. The covies come into view and I give the front line a light peppering, trying to pick out a few individuals before swerving right to avoid a barrage of fire. Flying through the narrow gap between the tree and the cliff is fun. Taking a left after the tree, I pepper a blue Elite and fire a blast from the fuel rod gun. He moves off before it reaches him but is killed anyway, causing widespread grunty panic. A nice start.
Arcing right, I head for a pair of Grunts who seem to've got left behind when the enemy flocked back to the start. I suspect these are the Shade gunners from near the door (I'd blasted their Shades over beforehand). I used to think those gunners were territorial, but in the course of setting up this battle I realized that they're actually free-roaming. Nevertheless, perhaps they still favour being near the door. Anyway, whoever they are, I blast one of them. Quite often that would make the other one run off and shout an amusing line such as "Flee!", but this time his courage doesn't desert him, and he opens fire as I pass overhead.
A U-turn brings a chasing Hunter into my sights, and I give him a blast then take the opportunity to scythe him down with a Banshee leg as I head into the trough. I enjoyed that. But if you think I'm home free, think again. Hunter shots often sail my way as I'm heading in for a landing, and in the course of doing gameplay for this movie I got blown out of the air several times, including once as I was dismounting. This time there's a near miss, but I'm ok. I let the Banshee slide to a stop part way up the back slope, where it can subsequently serve as useful cover.
00:53 First thing I see heading my way is another chasing Hunter - fairly common. These guys are a serious threat with their long-range bombarding, so I send off a rocket to take him out fast, getting him square in the chest. I switch to the plasma rifle and take down a blue Elite with it. Actually, what I perhaps should've done was just weaken him to the point where he was motionless, then send in a rocket to get both him and a closing red together. That sort of efficiency measure can be a significant benefit against such high enemy numbers. However, this time I kill the blue separately then fire off a rocket hoping to get the two advancing reds. It lands short - not one of my best rockets - but the next one makes up for it, taking care of both reds nicely as I back off to avoid shield damage. Damage which can quickly and fatally accumulate in this early and most dangerous phase.
01:15 Four Elites down so far; only another fourteen to go! Here comes number five; a blue with a Jackal close by. Initially I just aim for the blue, but at the last moment my aim diverts rightwards slightly. I think I was hoping to get the Jackal at the same time. The blue isn't quite killed, but a spot of plasma finishes him off. I think I should've reloaded the launcher first though. It's rarely a good idea to put it away when it needs reloading - as you'll see later!
01:21 With three more Elites closing fast, I throw a plasma hoping to buy myself a bit of time, then reload the launcher as a Hunter shot sails in and lands where I'd just been standing. The grenade doesn't give the Elites much pause for thought, but at least the bang takes out a pair of Grunts. A rocket deals with one of the Elites, and I administer some nice stun 'n tag treatment on the other two - a red and a blue - getting a howl of horror from the red. Hee hee! The blue tries to dive clear of the sliding Banshee, and in so doing he takes the grenade towards a newly arriving red, who dies in the blast. I do like getting two for the price of one. Meanwhile I've been working on a blue with my rifle, and then he gets finished off with a rocket which I just fired into the midst of trouble. That makes ten Elites down, including four of the seven reds.
01:42 I switch back to the rifle and throw a frag which takes out a Jackal, but meanwhile my shield has started bleeping and I realize I've still got a nasty close red to deal with. He eludes some of my plasma and I switch back to the launcher, but then remember I neglected to reload it - a mistake. Rather than suffer the dangerously slow reload (during which time the enemy fire could be expected to intensify), I decide to switch back to the plasma rifle and grenades, but I've lost valuable time at a critical moment. A blue gets taken out in a chain reaction from my frag. Another frag takes out a load of Grunts and also sends a new red back with shield flickering. Over on the left I finally finish off the earlier red with plasma fire, and meanwhile the frag has sent the Banshee sliding down the hill where it squashes the other red rather pleasingly. My shield is still bleeping and my rifle is overheating, but it look like I've survived the worst of the attack. Phew!
02:05 No time to rest on my laurels just yet however. I finally get the launcher reloading, having noticed an advancing Hunter. I fire a rocket but he starts running and I miss - though I almost inevitably cause some minor casualties. A spot of plasma halts a few Grunts, and my final frag sends a Jackal flying. I send off my second rocket at the Hunter, but this time it hits a flying body. Dang - another mistake. Meanwhile I've noticed an advancing blue with a needler. He's not a big threat and I could potentially ignore him for a while, but I dish out a bit of plasma fire. There's so much stuff in the air that I lose sight of him though - I just see needles coming out of dust. So I elect to reload the launcher instead, while dodging the needles. Just as I move left, the blue takes a Hunter blast in the back and groans. Hilarious. Thanks for the help, spiky! I finally get a clear shot at the Hunter, then finish off the blue as I dodge a whack - and a plasma ball.
02:34 The death of the blue sends Grunts running in panic, but another arrives and turns them right around - a striking example of how quickly the little guys can regain their grunty courage with Elite support. My plasma rifle gets a bit toasty while trying to deal with him and the Grunts, so I switch back to my original while he's busy growling, then smite him with a satisfying whack, bringing the Elite death tally to fifteen. The last few nearby Grunts are finished with plasma fire.
02:49 With no enemies close, I take the opportunity to pick up fresh weapons from a handy bunch of spares left at the back of the trough. A needler will be good for a bit of fun now things are less hectic, and I also get a new rocket launcher - yay! Heading back down, a few minor enemies have advanced. I send a satisfying stream of needles into the Grunt, then put a rocket between two Jackals. A third gets a whomp on the head with my launcher, causing him to turn tail. I add a plasma grenade to his rear end then send him flying with a rocket, causing him to pass over his buddy with comical consequences. I didn't actually plan that, but it was part of why I selected this play from among many I recorded. Like, my actual fighting wasn't the best, but it's hard to beat an airborne Jackal bomb, am I right? Needles take care of a further Grunt.
03:15 Two more Elites are closing fast now with a Grunt. I pile needles into the blue, then take care of the rest with rockets. Just after this I look left to check for the rocket launcher I'd left there (first seen when I flew in), but it's gone. It often gets blasted away somewhere, so maybe I should've put it in the passage instead.
03:27 Yet more latecomers are heading into the trough. A brave grunty trooper leads the way but meets up with an explosive pink death. I send a few more needles up towards other enemies, though not in any focused way, then send a rocket into the minor enemies at the back, decimating them. A second rocket takes out the Hunter. He did get in a few shots beforehand but I was playing more for fun here. If I'd been more serious I would've rocketed him right away. Meanwhile a Grunt has had the nerve to lob a plasma grenade at me, so I give him a bonk on the head with the launcher. That'll teach him. I try to tag the next Grunt but the grenade lands near the Jackal instead. Oh well - that'll do fine. The idiotic Jackal goes flying, and I get the chance to swing my launcher down onto a grunty skull again. Happy times eh?
03:50 Now for the final phase. As I emerge from the trough, only the five territorial enemies are left: an Elite and four Grunts. I deliberately left them alive when setting things up, because they make for a fun-filled ending to the battle (and I'd need to emerge from the trough anyway, because sometimes free-roaming enemies may still be up there, having failed to join in the attack). The spare rocket launcher I mentioned earlier has got blown up here - you can briefly see it on the left - but I'm ok for rockets so I don't bother to load up from it.
I pile a full clip of needles into the blue. Sometimes he drops plasma grenades and the second needle bang makes them go off with spectacular effect, but not this time. The Grunt flee in panic, and it's time to have fun with them. First up, a tag launch. I tag the rear Grunt on the foot and send him up with a rocket. You can briefly see the grenade boosting him higher. A well placed rocket sends a close twosome flying off, and as I switch to the needler the final Grunt shows an admirable grasp of the situation, crying "We're gonna die!". Strictly speaking he should've put that in the singular as he's now the only one left, but I think we can excuse him as he was understandably flustered. A delightful clip of needles finishes the job. Poor little grunty.
Closing remarks Fighting in the trough was probably the earliest way I was enjoying this megabattle, so I'm glad to showcase some of the fun-filled carnage at last. Most of my saves for the battle have been focused on Heroic with Marines, but for this solo affair I dropped things down to Normal to give myself a more reasonable fighting chance, and spent quite a bit of care getting the high enemy count and also arranging some handy spare weapons. The total of 65 covies is made up of 7 reds, 11 blues, 11 Jackals, 32 Grunts and 4 Hunters. A few Grunts were lost to friendly fire when tempting enemies through the underpass, and I carelessly lost one of the Shade gunners in the spiral path area, who was freakishly killed by a stray Hunter shot aimed at my Banshee.
Did you notice the four Ghosts blocking the trough's inner platforms? If you don't block them, you tend to get a few enemies coming along the platforms and potentially coming around the back of you. That adds to the difficulty and isn't without interest, but I prefer to have enemies just coming along the trough, especially when things are already rather tough. Sometimes Hunter blasts will wreck a blockade during your Banshee flight anyway, so you might still have flanking enemies to deal with. On occasion you might even get an enemy coming around the outside of the pipe structure. Incidentally, two of the Ghosts I used were the ones already in the battlefield. I had to overturn those, to stop their pilots using them.
As mentioned, I was only using Normal. Battling solo against this kind of enemy force would be hellishly hard to survive on Heroic, fighting as I did here with primarily a rocket launcher and plasma rifle. As you probably noticed, I was really fighting for my life during the worst of the onslaught - and it would've been even worse if I hadn't done some decent work with the launcher early on. With all those Elites heading your way, you can't afford to waste many rockets. I played this battle many times for the movie and ended up dead more often than not. It may only be Normal, but at its worst it feels like Legendary!
After this however, I'm thinking to set up something similar on Heroic but eliminate some Elites beforehand to make it sufficiently survivable. With Heroic, the combat after the main onslaught would be more challenging than it was here on Normal, so it might make the battle more evenly challenging. I might also need to eliminate one or more Hunters though. They're bad enough even on Normal; I got killed by their fire so many times. Eliminating the Hunters entirely would potentially allow me to tackle things without a rocket launcher. When Hunters are around, it's tough to do without a launcher.
The combo of launcher and plasma rifle is really very nice for this defence. I hardly need mention the satisfaction of the launcher, and as for the rifle, it has excellent range and speed, plus the useful ability to stun. Also it doesn't feel too sluggish in the framerate slowdown situation you'll have in the initial part of the battle with so many enemies close. In contrast, pulsed fire from a plasma pistol can feel painfully slow.
In this particular play, my use of the launcher and rifle was certainly not my best ever. I could've been more efficient, and there was more than one occasion on which I should've immediately reloaded the launcher after using both tubes. My failure to do so nearly cooked my goose! But it's just as well for me to show you a cyborg in trouble, because if you set up a similarly large battle yourself, you'll know what to expect! Some of my other plays for the movie featured fewer mistakes but overall I liked this one best, partly for its comedy elements such as the Jackal bomb incident. I'll have to see if I can do that trick on purpose in future!