BCM8 - Seven extra Marines and a hog fast
(4:01) Level 5 ('Assault on the Control Room') on Heroic. This shows how to use a PAL descent trick (seen in BCM7) to get seven extra Marines and an extra hog below the first bridge. Moreover, I'm doing things fast enough to stop any of the four Pelican Marines going inactive (a temporary shortcoming you could otherwise have), and thereby stop them becoming permanently invisible to the enemy. I also take the play far enough for you to hear the special 'hidden' 16-second all-clear speech from Johnson (which got a bit of comment in the HBO forum way back when). Note: You can also get the extras a slower way and with a different descent method (e.g. an NTSC one); see my article for details.
Released January 21st 2010, gameplay recorded January 16th 2010.
00:02 I'm starting from a saved checkpoint just prior to the loading point in the passage, for the following reason. As I go through the loading point, one of the things that spawns outside is the sergeant aboard the incoming Pelican. It'll be Johnson or Stacker, decided at random. I want Johnson. So if it turns out to be Stacker, I'll be able to start over by ejecting the disc and reloading.
00:09 Now I'm on bridge, let me outline the situation for you. The Pelican is heading in with four Marines, and when they dismount they'll run to join the three already down below. My goal is trigger the battle down there before they complete their runs. Otherwise they'll go into a strange inactive state, and even if I were to free them from it (which is possible), they'd be invisible to the enemy for the rest of the level, which can make for some unrealistic battling. When I trigger the battle, the game will also create three new Marines at the defence location, bringing the total to ten. To also get an extra hog, I'll need to board the one from the Pelican practically as soon as it drops, and be in it as I trigger the battle by going through the door. To reach the hog in time, I need to get across the bridge fast! There's no need to stop for the dozing Grunts, or the Elite on the lower deck. I just head straight up the bridge.
00:14 The Jackals are coming into view, and meanwhile there's a Banshee off to the left which is almost certainly lining itself up for an attack run. I briefly pause behind a stanchion, hoping to become a poor enough target that the pilot decides to veer off. This time it seems to work, which saves me a taking a nasty plasma barrage. I take down one Jackal with the pistol (missing an attempted headshot), but the other I ignore; I just reload for what's coming up.
00:21 The far door opens and I lob a plasma into the passage. It's a throw that takes a bit of practice, but it should give you a great start in clearing the enemies gathered there. Just after I throw, a glance at my motion tracker tells me there's at least one Jackal over on the right ahead, so I lob a plasma that way, catching a glimpse of a Jackal sauntering along. You can hear his expression of surprise and his subsequent death cry, heh heh. I'll be dropping through the glass panel hole shortly, so I shatter it in advance to hopefully save me from attracting attention later. I switch to frags and lob one into the passage. It arrives just after the plasma goes off - which is what I want (else it could get blown back out). The gold Elite gives a cry of pain as the plasma goes off, then a louder one as the frag explodes. His growl suggests that he's almost dead, so I get a plasma ball ready to finish him off. I find him facing the passage wall; those grenades must've knocked him silly! Sure enough, my plasma blast takes him down and my precautionary follow-up swipe is redundant.
00:36 I've just triggered a checkpoint midway through the short second section of passage, and I want to keep it delayed a while, so I start jumping. I go just far enough to trigger the enemies in the second room (just have to pass the start of the final black stripe), then I head back and pause just before the loading point, to get the delayed checkpoint. The point of this is that if I fluff the descent, I'll be able to get back here by reverting, and each time I cross the loading point the landing rock will get randomized afresh. As I speed off from my checkpoint, Johnson still hasn't said "Roger that, make it quick" yet, so I know I'm doing well for time.
00:46 Back out on the bridge, a panicky Grunt is running past. I give him a plasma zapping, but really I shouldn't have. It's better not to draw attention to yourself if possible, but I guess instinct just got the better of me for a moment there. Not to worry though; I make it to the descent spot without serious trouble - though I'm perhaps fortunate that a Jackal's plasma ball gets blocked. Off the bridge I go, and my landing is almost perfect, with barely a flicker from my shield. Yahoo! No retry needed!
01:03 Immediately heading for where the hog will be dropped, I spot the Banshee making a steep attack run on the Pelican. If I can destroy it before the battle starts, that'll be a quite a help in keeping the Marines alive! So I fire on the move and manage to bring it down just before running out of time. The Banshee distraction has made me about one second late to board the hog, but that's ok, I know I can still trigger the battle in time if I'm swift. I take the opportunity for a quick reload before I board; I'm going to want that pistol fast once I'm in the battle! I dismount as I near the door, causing it to open, then drive through, triggering the battle. I was slightly heavy on the pedal here; you only need to get yourself across the threshold, not the whole hog. I dismount again before trying to come back out, else the door will close on me.
01:33 Into battle we go. Out of shot off to the left are ten Marines and a new hog. To try and keep the Marines alive, the first thing I want to do is switch the Wraith's attention to me. Heading over to the Ghosts is one way of doing that. I take a slightly curved course to try and make myself extra obvious to the Wraith, though I doubt I actually needed to bother. Dismounting near the Ghosts, I start with some pistol work on the Grunts attacking the Marines. But I know the Elite will be running for his Ghost, so I break off and manage to tag him before he even gets in. It's always easy to get him as he boards though. Meanwhile the Wraith is sending giant plasma balls my way, and one of them takes care of a needler-wielding Grunt for me, ha ha! Little critter saw it coming a bit too late. Heading for the rocket launcher now, I take care of another Grunt attacking the Marines (really should've got him earlier), and throw a plasma at the Jackal. Looks like he won't be around for much longer. I open fire on the far Shade, but before the gunner is dead, I hear shooting behind me and realize that my grenade didn't kill the Jackal after all. I should've used a frag on him instead. I finish him off with pistol fire, then the gunner.
02:14 Armed with the launcher and fresh pistol ammo, I head up the battlefield to tackle the Wraith. On my way I take out the Jackals and Shade. My pistol fire on the Jackals is bit wasteful and clumsy, as if I was stuck on auto-fire, and a few of my shots bounce uselessly off the second Jackal's shield. Not a great example of efficient pistol work really. You should stay cool and make each shot count. As for the Wraith, I approach along the side, and three rockets do the trick. The raised snowy edge around the ice patch gives me some cover from a Wraith blast.
02:44 Grunts and Jackals ahead! I give the leading Grunt a rocket in da face, and tag the second with a plasma, which he obligingly carries back to his beaky pals. Hilarious! Two more Jackals arrive and I frag them, then rocket the Elite. I pause a while to let the Marines catch up. Just as I'm about to move on, you can briefly see all ten.
03:13 With the final two Jackals my idea was just to get you some amusing footage of the ten Marines working off some aggression. It could've been a lot better (I should've let them have both Jackals), but never mind. As the last Jackal bites the dust, Johnson starts his all-clear speech: "That's the last of 'em - area secure. Stand down team! (pause) They did their damnedest that's for sure. This is all that's left of my platoon. The Covenant are down here in force, and they brought plenty of toys. I wouldn't have given us a snowball's chance until you showed up Chief." No worries Sarge! If you're wondering why the Marines head back into the depression, I must have crossed some invisible line as I neared Johnson, triggering them to flock there. In the last few seconds of the movie you can see nine Marines in shot, and a tenth can be heard off to the right.
Closing remarks Part of the reason I used this particular play was my work on the bridge, in particular the plasma grenade landing nicely in the passage, followed by a frag to help finish things off. That's just what I'd recommend if you want to try things yourself, so I really wanted to show that in my movie. Another big plus was that I managed to destroy the Banshee as I ran for the hog, and the steep Banshee attack was quite picturesque too. I also enjoyed a few grunty amusements; the Grunt getting blasted by the Wraith, and the unfortunate plasma grenade incident near the end. Pity I didn't get you better footage of the Marines in action, but hey, there's nothing to stop you getting your own giant squad of bozos. Heck, you could have eighteen by the time you link up with the guys at the spiral path!