December 9, 2008

Halo

> — Cocopjojo @ 3:31 am

“We are aboard – humans and Elites.”

“Will you not come with us, brother?”

“No. This is our fight – and I will see it finished.” [Halo, Halo 3]

The Covenant is broken, Regret, Mercy and Truth are dead – and the Sangheili are now allies with humanity.  An unlikely partnership, quickly forged by the tumultuous events of the past several hours.  The Shipmaster’s inflection shows, perhaps, some pride at this new relationship – one which none could have foreseen… least of all, the High Prophets.

The Arbiter echoes back the same sentiment: he refuses to leave the side of his human friend.

The Chief and the Arbiter’s Pelican heads toward the ringworld, which is hanging above the now-familiar Ark landscape.  Cortana initiates a conversation with Sergeant Johnson about their plan:

“Johnson?  Do you have the frigate?”

“Yes ma’am.  I’ll land her as close to the Control Room as I can.”

“Safe is better than close, Sergeant Major.”

“Roger that.  And ma’am?  It’s good to have you back.” [Halo, Halo 3]

Cortana has been an ever-present ally in Johnson’s more recent interactions with the Covenant; it has surely added to the chaos of the battle for Earth that her guiding hands have been absent –  for him and for us.

“Halo. It’s so new… unfinished. I’m not exactly sure what will happen when we fire it.”

“We’ll head for the portal and we’ll all go home.” [Halo, Halo 3]

Spartans – including the Chief – perform at their best when they have a clear objective.  In this situation, the Chief reassures Cortana that they have a plan.

The replacement for Installation 04,  which was prematurely released by the Chief after Truth’s death, is – as Cortana stated – unfinished.  With a task as monumental as wiping out all sentient life in the galaxy, one has to wonder how this tool of destruction could even be created.  Getting to see it partially-completed is quite astounding.

In The Art of Halo 3, a caption from a picture of this partially-completed ringworld provides more insight:

A Halo’s construction is executed [by] armies of Sentinels: some are the size of cities.  [Viewing the picture of the] reconstituted asteroid material, you can see the process of skinning the Halo.  There are four huge terraforming factories moving across the face of the Halo.  They hold in the atmosphere which would leak out across the face, eventually pouring through the super structure, tugged into place by centrifugal force. [The Art of Halo 3, pg. 117]

The Pelican that the Arbiter and the Chief found in High Charity reaches the end of its usefulness, as it barely glides into the snowy canyon, trailing smoke right before it crashes.  Johnson’s frigate can be seen in the sky above.

The “Under Cover of Night” variation that Halo 3 has adopted plays as this level begins, sounding familiar, and, at the same time, hauntingly disconnected from the memories we have from Halo 1.

The chapter title reads: “Full Circle,” along with your current mission: “Find the Control Room.”

If you begin this level having immediately finished Cortana, you will start with the same weapons that you had at the end of the Cortana (if you held a skull, then you’ll start with a Spartan Laser).

Woops. My bad! I intended on flipping the switch that allowed everyone to start with new weapons (Rocket Launchers/Flakk Guns) at the level beginning, but missed this. We wanted to start with power weapons to hopefully change the gameplay mood from Cortana to be a faster-paced flood encounter. [dmiller, Bungie]

The music continues as we press forward through the canyon.  While we did make our way through a snowy area in the level The Covenant, it was not like this; this is the first time that we’ve experienced a snow-flurried canyon as the Chief since… well, since Halo 1.

Upon reaching the cave entrance, you may notice the icicles which have formed from the ceiling of the cave. The light from the exterior shines through some of them, refracting through the impure liquid they consist of.

Shortly after entering into the cave, you can turn to your right to find a backwards-leading pathway. At the end of it, you’ll find the Mythic Skull.

Moving forward, there is another interesting area also to the right. Immediately before moving onto the concrete, you can access another pathway leading off to the side.

Around this time, the music usually introduces a female vocal, which was present in the Halo 1 rendition of this theme.

And speaking of female vocals…

“Where are you going?” [Halo, Halo 3]

Cortana’s inquiry is bone-chillingly jarring. Except for the previous level, for the entirety of the game we’ve been apart from her – it is a shocking return to form to have her voice sound out from nowhere, questioning our actions.

The doorway seems oddly familiar…

As you turn to the left, you’ll see an opening in the corridor, and a Terminal.

“Wait, what’s that?” [Halo, Halo 3]

We’ve seen seven of these Terminals already; what we haven’t seen, however, is a recreation of the Assault on the Control Room and Two Betrayal’s pulse generator rooms. Until now.

The Terminal is lodged against the wall of a room that most Halo fans should be all-too-familiar with. Apart from the Terminal, the room is without function, other than its job of inducing nostalgia. Which it accomplishes.

This Terminal, by the way, is unique in its content; it shows different text depending on the difficulty on which you’re playing. For more information on this, I – as always – defer to Voc and his writings on the subject.

Directly opposite the Terminal, in the darkness at the complete other end of the corridor, lies a secret:

In the darkness of a corner that is near-impossible to reach by yourself is this image of Jason Jones, co-founder of Bungie. This picture is based on a cardboard standup of Jones, which is located at Bungie Studios, and has made appearances to the community numerous times over the years. Back in 2004, it was seen in a BWU video (image here). It was also seen in Halo 2, in the Legendary difficulty cutscene at the beginning of the level Gravemind (it appeared floating alongside a group of Grunts). And it’s even popped up in more recent times in the background of Bungie’s 2008 Winter Pentathalon (image here).

Back outside, more Forerunner architecture pushes out through the snow. The dim lighting of the interior of the cave gives way to…

The Control Room ziggurat from the first Halo game.

This towering, multi-tiered structure which made up the entrance to Installation 04’s Control Room has been recreated here on the ringworld’s replacement.

A lot of effort was spent visually setting up the reveal of the Ziggurat. If you go back and look at the Halo 1 ziggurat, you’ll realize that the two look nothing alike. The fin is the one element that tie the two together. [dmiller, Bungie]

Even the landbridge which reached across the center of the area has begun to form.

A fantastic homage to Halo 1… “full circle,” indeed.

Little time is given to contemplate the past, though… the Gravemind roars:

“Did you think me defeated?” [Halo, Halo 3]

“Flood dispersal pods! The control room’s at the top of that tower, Chief. Go!” [Halo, Halo 3]

Similiar to the ODSTs’ HEVs, these organic pods slam into the snow, releasing Flood warriors to block your path.

The ‘Flood Spore Pods’ concept came together rather late. I mean, how does the Gravemind send its soldiers into battle from space? We couldn’t get enough Flooded Phantoms or Pelicans to drop them off- so Barry suggested a ODST-pod floody thing. [dmiller, Bungie]

The last time we visited Installation 04’s ziggurat, we were scaling down it, battling Elites to reach a Banshee. This time, an Elite helps us scale back up.

Halo 3’s AI really shines here, as the Arbiter plays no games; he draws his sword and rushes head on into combat, taking out Flood combatants with single blows. I’ve seen him tear through a dozen without pausing.

And this is needed since the Flood, as always, seem to have near-inexhaustible numbers.

Battling up the structure is not easy; luckily, the Arbiter keeps up his intelligent attack strategies.

The Installation provides help, as well, deploying Sentinels. And, finally, Johnson finally shows up to add his assistance with a Spartan Laser.

“I got you covered, Chief. See you at the top of that tower.” [Halo, Halo 3]

Unfortunately, when you finally reach the top, it doesn’t get any easier.

Johnson and the Monitor speak to each other:

“Spark? You in there? Open the damn door!”

“Of course, Reclaimer. As soon as you dispose of all proximate Flood threats. I’m afraid containment protocols do not allow…”

“Yeah, yeah, I hear you!” [Halo, Halo 3]

Of course, the Monitor calls him “Reclaimer,” a title which, back in Halo 1, was used exclusively for the Chief. We’ve since learned that all humans are considered Reclaimers (Truth almost used Johnson to activate the Array!).

“Was that the Monitor? You didn’t tell me he was here. Well, we are finally doing what he wanted. [Halo, Halo 3]

Cortana is still trying to catch up on the current situation.

The Gravemind speaks, as he launches wave after wave of Flood warriors at you:

“I have beaten fleets of thousands! Consumed a galaxy of flesh and mind and bone!” [Halo, Halo 3]

Unforunately for him, moving his forces across hundreds of miles of terrain must be taking time, because the attacks subside, and the Monitor opens the massive door that will take you into the corridors leading to the Control Room.

These corridors are the same shape and general size as the ones we knew from Halo 1; but they’ve gotten an aesthetical upgrade.

Halo 1’s control room tunnel was an l-shape and really oddly placed. We made the tunnel more of a C-shape and aligned its placement so that the control room door was in the same orientation and axis as the front door. [dmiller, Bungie]

“Do I take life or give it? Who is victim and who is foe?”

“It’s trying to rebuild itself on this ring!” [Halo, Halo 3]

The Gravemind speaks, and Cortana follows up. It’s not entirely clear what she means here, but luckily, we have some explanation from Bungie developer Jason Keith:

You fought the Gravemind when you rescued Cortana. It is implied that High Charity and the Gravemind are one in the same. He was on it at the end of Halo 2 and the infection sort of grew from him until he and HC were actually one thing. Then, he was trying to detatch and regrow on the Halo. You never actually see him at the core though you are correct. A boss battle on Halo wouldn’t have been that great with Gravemind in a diminished capacity, weakened by the crash and the core overload the mostly destroyed him. Also, it’s a hivemind sort of thing so any flood form could really evolve into the gravemind sort of like a bee colony when there is only one Queen and a new one is born only when the old one dies. [Jason Keith, “DoubleBlog,” 2old2play.com]

This quote explains a lot: Cortana’s line here, and the lack of a direct confrontation with the Gravemind when it appeared as though one was imminent – such as at the end of the levels The Covenant and Cortana. What Cortana is implying is that if the Gravemind has enough time to reconstitute sufficient biomass to rebuild itself, it’s likely that its power here on the newly created Installation 04 would become overwhelming.

The final door to the Control Room opens, revealing a domed room near-identical to the Control Room we remember from Halo 1.

As the Chief, Arbiter and Johnson step forward, a Flood army can be heard mustering somewhere in the distance.

“Yank me, Chief.” [Halo, Halo 3]

The Chief removes Cortana’s chip from his helmet, and hesitates briefly before handing it over to Sergeant Johnson.

“I’m not gonna lose her, too.” [Halo, Halo 3]

Miranda’s death is still fresh in his memory.

The Chief and the Arbiter hold back to defend the Control Room, if necessary, while Johnson takes Cortana to the control panel.

The Monitor flies in from above, humming in his abnormally chipper manner as he approches Johnson.

“Oh, hello! Wonderful news – the installation is almost complete!”

“Terrific.”

“Yes, isn’t it? I have begun my simulations. No promises, but initial results indicate this facility should be ready to fire in just a few more days!”

“We don’t have a few more days!”

“B-but a premature firing will destroy the Ark!”

“Deal with it.”

“You’ll destroy this Installation…” [Halo, Halo 3]

The Monitor turns red – reminiscent of 2401 Penitent Tangent. And Guility Spark’s massive laser makes its return – this time, aimed at Johnson.

“Unacceptable! Unacceptable! Absolutely unacceptable!” [Halo, Halo 3]

The Chief springs into action, but is also knocked down by the Monitor’s powerful blast of energy. The Monitor looks down at the Chief on the floor, his armour’s energy shields popping with electricity:

“Protocol dictates action! I see now that helping you was wrong!” [Halo, Halo 3]

The Arbiter wanders in, only to be blasted, as well.

The Chief attempts to rise, but another blow drops him to one knee.

“You are the child of my makers, inheritor of all they left behind – you are Forerunner! But this ring… is mine!” [Halo, Halo 3]

For those unfamiliar with the Terminals, 343 Guilty Spark’s words here may lead them to believe something incorrect – that humans are literally Forerunner; that they are the same species. As we have learned from the Terminals, however, the Forerunners actually found, and chose, humanity to inherit their technologies. Humankind did not “descend” from the Forerunners – on this, the Terminals are very clear.

The cutscene ends, and for a few brief moments, you’re pushed back by the Monitor, and you must avoid his laser blasts – while listening to his inane babblings:

“You do not deserve this ring! I have kept it safe. It belongs to me!” [Halo, Halo 3]

Johnson’s voice can be heard…

“Not for long…” [Halo, Halo 3]

A Spartan Laser beam splashes against the Monitor from behind, and he tumbles away.

Johnson has propped himself up, and is holding up the Spartan Laser.

“Kick his ass.” [Halo, Halo 3]

The Laser’s ammunition counter doesn’t deplete, but it won’t take many shots to take out the Monitor, anyway.

There are a variety of phrases the Monitor may speak during this battle. Here are some of the more interesting ones I’ve heard:

“You – you cracked my casing!”

“Damn it! Damn it! That hurt, Reclaimer!”

“My eye! Do you mean to blind me!”

“Stop now, before one of us gets hurt!”

“Destroy your inheritance?”

“Accept your legacy!”

“Think of your forefathers!”

“My precious!”

“I am the monitor of Installation 04!” [Halo, Halo 3]

After a final Spartan Laser blast, the Monitor’s vocoder-like voice increases in pitch as his casing burns blindingly blue.

Jaime Griesemer scripted Guilty Spark encounter and did a great job. Boss fights have always been an interesting challenge for our sandbox and I think this approach was a good one. [dmiller, Bungie]

And with a shrill scream, and a blinding flash, 343 Guilty Spark is no more.

The music begins, and we know what is about to happen.

“I’m getting you outta here.”

“No… no, you’re not.” [Halo, Halo 3]

The Chief takes Johnson’s hand.

To understand Johnson’s next line, we need to take a look back at his past…

“Johnson! Take the shot!” Byrne thundered over the COM.

Suddenly, Avery [Johnson] saw the ghostly image of the captured boy’s father rise from his chair, hands raied to show the Innie woman he was unarmed. Avery couldn’t hear the father’s pleas (they were too soft for the bravo squad’s helmet microphones), but his calmness only increased the woman’s panic. She began backing toward the restroom, waving the detonator, her threats now so furious they were incomprehensible.

“Nail the bitch,” Byrne shouted. “Or I will!”

“Firing,” Avery said. But instead he watched the aiming-vector pivot, waiting for an angle that might spare the boy. “Firing,” he repeated, hoping his words would stay Bryne’s trigger-finger. But Avery didn’t fire. Not immediately. And in his moment’s pause, the father jumped forward, grasping for the detonator.

Avery could only stare as the woman tumbled backward, father on top and the boy pressed between. He heard the rattle of Byrne’s M7, then the muffled thump of the bomb in the purse followed by the earthshaking boom of the hauler’s tires. The drone’s feed bleached painfully bright, slamming Avery’s eyes shut. Then a wall of shock and heat tossed him back hard against the Hornet’s airframe. The last thing Avery remembered before he slacked inside his armor was the sound of thrusters fighting for altitude – a noise more like a scream than a moan. [Halo: Contact Harvest, pgs. 19-20]

“Don’t… don’t let her go. Don’t ever let her go.” [Halo, Halo 3]

The battlefield isn’t the only place the Sergeant has faced tragedy.

The elevator was even warmer than the lobby. But inside his aunt’s apartment, the air was so frigid, Avery could see his breath.

“Auntie?” he called, dropping his duffels on the well-worn blue carpet of her living room. The bottles of fine bourbon he’d bought at the spaceport duty-free clinked together between his neatly folded fatigues. He didn’t know if his aunt’s doctors were letting her drink, but he did know how much she used to enjoy an occasional mint julep. “Where are you?” But there was no reply. [Halo: Contact Harvest, pg. 39]

Avery rubbed his palm against a large holo-still near the bedroom door, and a young boy’s face appeared beneath the frost. Me, he grimaced, remembering the day his aunt had taken the still: my first day of church. Wiping downward, his mind filled with memories: the suffocating pinch of his white, freshly starched oxford shirt; the smell of carnauba wax, liberally applied, to mask the scuffs in his oversized, wingtip shoes. [Halo: Contact Harvest, pgs. 39-40]

“Now don’t you look handsome,” his aunt had cooed the day she’d taken the frozen still. [Halo: Contact Harvest, pg. 40]

“Auntie? You in there?” Avery asked, knocking softly on her bedroom door. Again, there was no answer. [Halo: Contact Harvest, pg. 40]

If the living room had felt like a refrigerator, the bedroom was a freezer. Avery’s heart dropped into his stomach. But it wasn’t until he saw the line of sixteen evenly spaced cigarettes (one for each hour of her waking day) untouched on a bedside vanity, that Avery knew for sure – his aunt was dead. [Halo: Contact Harvest, pgs. 40-41]

Johnson manages one last request…

“Send me out… with a bang.” [Halo, Halo 3]

Johnson’s hand goes limp, slipping from the Chief’s…

With his last breath, he presses Cortana’s data card – which holds the Index – into the Chief’s palm…

And Sergeant Major Avery Johnson is dead.

While his lines here could be viewed as a bit out-of-character, I think that when put in context with his past, it’s obvious that there’s a lot under the surface when it comes to Johnson: he’s faced enormous loss in the past, and, when facing his death, these losses prompt him to impart an impassioned plea to the Chief to hold on to what he’s got.

“Chief… I’m so sorry.” [Halo, Halo 3]

As soon as Cortana is transferred to the Forerunner data panel, she speaks to the Chief. And then, in an instant, she activates the Halo.

This ringworld is unfinished – and the room cannot support itself with the massive amount of energy surging through it. Beams drop from the ceiling, and the transparent walkway that the Chief stands on begins to collapse.

The Chief runs toward the door, which has opened. The Arbiter stands ready.

“I am sorry, Spartan. But come.” [Halo, Halo 3]

The chapter title here is “The Way the World Ends,” a reference to Cortana’s dialogue from the Halo 3 announcement trailer, which was a reference to an earlier text: the Cortana letters from 1999 – which were, themselves, referencing to the T.S. Eliot poem, “The Hollow Men.”

A small group of Flood wait around the bend… nothing too threatening. The corridors spark and flash as the structure falls apart.

Once outside, the Arbiter states:

“Even in death, your Sergeant guides us home.”

“The Dawn. Of course – the frigate! We still have a chance! Find the doorway in the cliffs, Chief. The Dawn is on the other side.” [Halo, Halo 3]

It’s interesting that the Arbiter is the one who reminds the trio of the Dawn – Cortana didn’t remember, herself.

One thing to note here that I’m sure many have noticed: if you deployed auto-turrets during your defense of the doorway earlier, they will now attack you. And they’re pretty deadly. I suppose as soon as the Monitor turned against Johnson, he informed the installation’s security system of the change.

If you look up at the sky, you’ll notice that it has changed, also.

Before the installation was activated, it was a snowy white-blue; now it burns red.

Fighting your way along the canyon wall, you’ll see that the installation’s Sentinels are also attacking the Flood, reminscent of the latter levels of Halo 1.

Speaking of Halo 1, the doorway at the end of the cliff’s path leads into another pulse generator room – like the one that housed the Terminal earlier in the level. And much like in Halo 1, a three-way battle ensues.

We made the decision to use these rooms from Halo 1 to try to remind people that they indeed are on a re-make of Alpha Halo. [dmiller, Bungie]

“Resignation is my virtue. Like water I ebb and flow. Defeat is simply the addition of time to a sentence I never deserved, but you imposed.” [Halo, Halo 3]

We know very little of the Gravemind – how long he has existed, how much longer this existence will continue… or really what his “existence” could even be defined as. Perhaps he is immortal, continuing to survive in some unknown state, even when his physical body has been long destroyed; or perhaps as long as one single Flood spore remains, the entirety of the Gravemind is preserved… or possibly even without the Flood? Regardless, we know that he has been alive for a very, very long time; and he seems to be prepared for his “undeserved” punishment – what we think will be his death, he views only as the passage of a little more time.

“There! Johnson’s Warthog!” [Halo, Halo 3]

The ‘hog that Johnson used to drive from the frigate to the Control Room is waiting outside of the corridor. Typically, as soon as you hop on, the Arbiter will decloak from the turret’s seat, masking the “teleportation,” that we can liken to what occurs to a “pulled” player during co-operative play in Halo 1, 2, and 3.

It was important for us to keep the Arbiter with the Chief the whole time, this posed quite a problem for scripting. Our final solution was to use the Arbiter’s active camo and teleport him into the back of the warthog. It really sucks having to wait on unsteady ground for the Arbiter to run into the back of the Warthog after a spill. [dmiller, Bungie]

The famous Halo theme begins to play – one which has always accompanied high intensity moments throughout the trilogy.

After gunning the Warthog down the narrow pathway, you’ll emerge onto an extremely unfinished portion of the ringworld. Beams crisscross the ground, the beginnings of the foundation upon which the ringworld’s environment will be laid.

In the distance, you can see miles of empty air with enormous half-completed support structures rising from the mists below.

And it’s hard to get a good picture of the entire sky here, so I won’t even try.  I’ll just say that it is truly remarkable, and probably one of more epic skyboxes you’ll find not only in the Halo trilogy, but in any video game (take a look at our Gallery for a panoramic shot of it).

If you take an immediate left as soon as you exit the enclosed area of the canyon path, and continue down, hugging the rock wall on the left, you’ll soon find a parked Mongoose.

Continuing your escape, your path will very shortly lead you onto the panels that make up the foundation of the ringworld.

As soon as you drive onto the panels, you recognize the severity of the situation – the ground is literally falling out from beneath you. You’ll have to dodge the ever-increasing holes in the ground, while routing the ‘hog through the Flood-laden support structures that hang in between groups of paneling.

Every single panel that falls or blows up is scripted. I think we hit around 300+ panels. This includes the larger panels in the tunnels. [dmiller, Bungie]

This section plays out like an otherworldly pyrotechnics show combined with a dirtbike stunt course – while dodging falling beams, and making insane jumps, enormous panels explode from beneath you and fly wildly through the air; massive explosions constantly rock the already-disintegrating ground, and Sentinel fire seems to come from every direction.

It was important to us to create multiple playable paths in this part. There are a ton of paths so that every time you play, you can drive the trench run differently. Even the linear tunnel levels have many paths to take. We wanted this to be highly replayable- which is tough for a linear space like this. [dmiller, Bungie]

It shouldn’t take Cortana’s first plea for you to “go faster,” for you to realize what this is an homage to – Halo 1’s “Maw Run.”Many fans consider the final sequence of the first Halo game – the Warthog race against the clock – to be the perfect climactic end to an already epic game; so it’s no surprise that Bungie chose to duplicate it here. This time, however, there are no holds barred: while there is no timer displayed in your HUD, the ground is constantly breaking apart, giving way to a bottomless pit below. If you pause for longer than a few moments, you’ll find yourself riding a panel down to your death.

We decided that an on-screen timer was a bit contrived and broke a bit of the illusion of a Halo firing. We decided on trying an in-level timer as a way of putting pressure on players to keep the pedal to the metal. It worked and it didn’t. Single player gamers were a bit frustrated that they couldn’t see their timer, but in coop it’s really cool having the gunner player give verbal indicators about their progress. [dmiller, Bungie]

Like I mentioned before, you’ll constantly be forced to take jumps with the Warthog the likes of which we haven’t encounted in the series before; and as if landing those weren’t enough, you’ll even run into Flood armed with Fuel Rod Guns. Luckily, the Arbiter is manning the chaingun, and for a few brilliant minutes, you could almost swear that you’re playing with a friend of yours over co-op.

The only thing missing is the Dropship shadow settling into place around you!

“Charging sequence at 30%…” [Halo, Halo 3]

Pillars larger than anything we’ve seen in motion before come crashing into the paneling, sending panels flipping past you at unbelievable speeds. It’s probably not even an argument as to whether or not we’ve seen anything like this pulled off before with a Halo engine.

Cortana explains:

“The charging sequence – it’s too much for the ring to take!” [Halo, Halo 3]

We are well aware of that at the moment!

Eventually:

“90% – Firing sequence initiated!” [Halo, Halo 3]

But there is one last pit stop to take:

“Hey, Demon! The jerk store called and they’re all out of you! Poor you, stolen
at the age of six and conscripted into the military, waghhh! Okay look, if you let me
live, I got the Fist of Rukt – I’ll be the bottom. I’ll polish your boots. I’ll
polish your helmet! It’s the gas, haha! When I’m on the gas, I don’t know what I’m
doing half the time!” [Halo, Halo 3]

Making the homage to Halo 1’s Maw run complete is what is colloquially known as the “Jerk Store Grunt.” (You can find the audio of his monologue here.) The “Food Nipple Grunt” in Halo 1 was also hidden near the end of the Warthog run on the final level.

“Good thing that food nipple’s waitin’ for me at the starship, ’cause, man! Have I worked up a big, grunty thirst!” [The Maw, Halo: CE]

Joseph Staten, Bungie’s lead writer, voiced the Grunts for the majority of the trilogy (until Halo 3, when he recieved some assistance), and he reprises his role here. So, for anyone wondering, the man heard here as this Grunt is one of the creators of the Halo franchise.

Before we move ahead, you should ask yourself if this arch reminds you of anything.

While the arch itself may look quite different from this one, they share more in common than you may think. Remember – we are on a remake of Installation 04.  Take a look* at this view from above the area you’ve just been driving around: here.

Moving back to the destruction of ringworld, and our desperate attempt to escape…

“Gun it, Chief! Jump! Floor it, right into the hangar!” [Halo, Halo 3]

The UNSC frigate’s hangar is open, just past the end of the paneling. They rise into a ramp, which should provide just enough air to clear the gap…

The ‘hog makes it into the hangar and flips end over end as it slides to a halt. The Chief and the Arbiter have been thrown from it, and they lift themselves up in time to see debris – including a tank – sliding across the hangar floor toward them. The Arbiter jumps behind a stack of crates just as the tank comes crashing into them. The Chief narrowly dodges a Warthog, and he halts as he runs across the bay, looking in the direction of the Arbiter. The Elite pushes some boxes out of his way and nods at the Chief, who returns the nod in a brief moment of companionship.

Sprinting to a control panel, the Chief transfers Cortana to the frigate’s system. She immediately engages the engines: “Hang on!”

The Dawn tilts at an impossible angle as it attempts to escape the ringworld’s atmosphere and enter the portal as quickly as possible.

Everything in the hangar is dumped toward the open bay doors; including the Chief, who grasps desperately at the floor, in an attempt to keep from being thrown out. His MJLONIR gauntlets dig a deep gash in the hangar floor as he tries to grip it.

Just before the end of the hangar, he manages to find a handhold, and clings to it as a tank passes over his head. His footing regained, he claws his way back up to the data panel, leading up to one of the most awe-inspiring visuals of the entire trilogy:

Incredible; I imagine that it turned out nearly identical to its original concept art.

The Arbiter has reached a control station; the Chief sits down behind the console in the hangar; all that can be done now is to hope that the Dawn is fast enough to make it through the portal before the Halo fires.

Cortana:

“If we don’t make it…”

“We’ll make it.”

“It’s been an honor serving with you, John.” [Halo, Halo 3]

The Chief, as always, is calm about the situation; certain of its outcome.

And for the only time in the trilogy, we hear Cortana call him by his name. She is certain that both of their existences are about to be ended.

A blinding white flash and a rush of wind enter the hangar…

61 Comments »

  1. So you did, my mistake, I figured it would be part of this.

    Comment by jkruse — December 20, 2008 @ 7:07 pm


  2. That Silent Cartographer comparison is mindblowing. I noticed in halo 1 that the Silent Cartographer was located close to the Control Room and now I see the layout mirrored in halo 3. I can’t believe you caught that. Bungie has made halo 3 such a nostalgic experience.

    Comment by Chaz — January 3, 2009 @ 1:15 am


  3. Hey Cocopjojo, there is a way to get unlimited spartan laser ammo right when you first get onto the tower. you need to grenade or brute jump or a friend to jump on to get it though. You know the column where the Pure Flood forms crawl up and onto the tower from under ground? At the very first floor of the tower you can go as far to it without falling off. You may notice that with a quick grenade jump it would be easy to get to. Once on the top, keep walking upward till you reach the end. Look to your left. you should see a small ledge below you. jump onto it. From there you can easily get to the snowy cliff Johnson is on. From there, push him off of the cliff and make sure he falls to his death. He should respawn somewhere closeby. Then, kill him (headshots make it faster). Grab the spartan laser he drops, and blast away at the remaining flood still on the tower. I think you can have more spartan lasers by continually pushing him off the cliff, and killing him, but I have not tried this so I really dont know.

    Comment by bjb yo — January 22, 2009 @ 8:02 pm


  4. That’d be really cool if 2401 penitent Tangent had a blue beam o contrast 343 Guilty Spark’s red one.

    Comment by Christian Bethel — March 3, 2009 @ 1:16 pm


  5. The fact that anyone even thought to look at the recreated Maw run from above is really awesome. I knew they were recreating it…but I never would have caught that!

    Comment by Isaac Frankel — March 31, 2009 @ 11:05 pm


  6. Cocopjojo, I must correct you. Gulity Saprk says “Damage! Damage!”, not “Damn it! Damn it!”

    Comment by Christian Bethel — April 20, 2009 @ 2:42 pm


  7. the SC rock formation makes sense. The Chief DID go underground to get to the Control room in the first game.

    Comment by Christian Bethel — April 20, 2009 @ 2:46 pm


  8. Did you know you can complete the final run with a Ghost?

    Comment by Christian Bethel — April 21, 2009 @ 2:35 pm


  9. Regarding Halo 3’s vehicle physics (I forgot who complained and I’m too lazy to look again): If you paactice a bit, maybe in Forge, you’ll see that you generally can recover from banks before they’re rolls by turning into them, not unlike a banking plane. Additionally, boosting a Ghost for just a split-second on landing seems to help. Granted, it doesn’t do much good if you’re flanked by an abyss, but more often than not it works pretty well. I personally prefer the greater tendency to roll in Halo 3 to Halo: CE’s Warthogs’ bizarre ‘Scooby-Doo run’ (picture how they started a run in that cartoon- it’ll help) where the wheels would spin but nothing would happen for a second, ‘cept a bizarre slide or scoot in a direction other than that in which you’re driving. By contrast, 3’s vehicles respond fairly quickly and generally move in the right direction. Besides, chaotic rolls are comical if taken a little more lightly, especially in multiplayer matches.

    Comment by TheAsterisk! — April 27, 2009 @ 2:13 am


  10. does anyone know to keep johnson alive at the end?

    Comment by Chistian Bethel — May 4, 2009 @ 3:09 pm


  11. AWSOME!i have finished halo 3 as well

    Comment by jefrey — August 2, 2010 @ 7:12 am


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