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Halo 2 Legendary Walkthrough by Mike Miller

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The Arbiter


Once again, you'll find the action on this creatively-set level split between on-foot and vehicle-based sections. You'll begin by fighting your way through a series of variously-shaped open rooms interspersed with narrow corridors, somewhat reminiscent of T&R back in Halo 1. Your foes will be limited to sentinels, grunts armed with either the needler or fuel rod gun, and elites, often armed with the new carbine or sentinel beam. With your newly acquired cloaking device, you'll be better able to choose between fighting and sneaking, and we'll be doing a bit of both. The second half of the level will formally introduce you to the newly-modified banshee through a series of air-to-air and air-to-ground (or ground-to-ground, if you prefer) engagements.

Part 1: A Whisper in the Storm


Well, I didn't see that coming.

In a move disturbingly reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid 2, Bungie seems to have pulled the old switcheroo on us. Actually, I don't think it's as bad as that, unless you're really dead-set on playing the Chief and nothing but the Chief. There's no difference between the Chief and the Arbiter in terms of combat performance, save that we've managed to trade up our broken flashlight for a significantly more useful temporary cloaking device. Plus, I must admit that I've always wanted to fight with grunts on my team, even if they don't survive very long. Then again, my sympathy for the Arbiter is tempered by the fact that he's apparently the same bastard responsible for massacring Reach, hunting down the Pillar of Autumn, and generally spending the last game trying to kill us. Well, at least it's nice to see our enemies fighting among themselves. Once you reconcile yourself to your new identity, follow your team through the doors and prepare for some covenant-on-covenant violence.

Sneak in and bash the unsuspecting elite and the two sleeping grunts with your plasma rifle (might as well conserve the sword), as well as the elite up the ramp to the right. Your team will remain in stealth mode as long as you don't alert the enemy to your presence. Note that despite their odd appearance, the heretic elites are more or less equivalent to red elites, in terms of their damage-absorbing capacity, meaning that one stuck plasma grenade will kill them, but one sword lunge usually will not. When they're dead, exchange your plasma rifle for the carbine, which basically serves the same function as the battle rifle: performing headshots on unshielded enemies. Three shots will also take down an unshielded sentinel. You may find that without the three-shot burst of the battle rifle headshots are somewhat more difficult to line up, although the high rate of fire and relatively large ammo capacity compensate somewhat. I also find it rather odd that the weapon was apparently designed to eject spent magazines directly at the wielder's face. I have this image in my head of the clip bouncing off the Arbiter's forehead every time I reload. Anyway, I personally prefer the battle rifle, but since it's not widely available in most levels from this point onward we're mostly stuck with the carbine.

At this point you'll find yourself on a platform overlooking an open room characterized by the presence of three conveyor belts. This area presents your first meaningful choice in the level of either fighting or sneaking. In this case, the quickest and easiest option is probably sneaking; not only will you avoid this battle, but, as the next video shows, if you're quick enough the enemies on and around the upcoming elevator will not even spawn.

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If you are detected or take a bit too long, you may have to deal with a few grunts down by the elevator, but you shouldn't be faced with the normal contingent. Either side of the conveyor belt room can be used to advance (both begin with one patrolling grunt); I tend to pick the one where the grunt seems to be most advantageously positioned. Of course, the downside of sneaking is that you abandon your team, who can potentially aid you during the hangar bay battle after the elevator.

If you choose to fight it out, the next video shows an example of one possible route.

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I try to thin out the grunts a bit before moving in, as they remain annoyingly intent on firing at you, and can easily turn you into a pincushion before you even realize it if you just charge right in. Also, nobody is forcing you to use the sword if you don't feel comfortable with it. Feel free to fall back on the plasma pistol/carbine combo for dealing with the elites from a distance if you prefer; the concept works just as well here as it did back on Cairo Station.

If you fought your way through the battle, hopefully a few of your elites will still be around to join up with you afterward. You can fill up your carbine ammo and grab a new energy sword in the elevator room, if necessary. When you're ready, step onto the elevator, hit the down button, and rest for a bit as you watch the descent. You'll emerge onto the second level of a large, two-level hangar with a heretic ship docked in the middle. A single elite patrols the area in front of the elevator, but rather than taking him on directly, I instead duck around behind the elevator shaft, where I usually receive a nice checkpoint. You'll also see a few sentinels, but they won't bother you until the enemies raise the alarm.

The upcoming battle is a fairly extended one, but it breaks down naturally into two distinct halves, the first of which, in my experience, is much more consistent than the second. The next video shows how I usually begin the fight.

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As you can see, one of the keys to making things a lot easier for yourself in this area is hitting the enemies quickly while they're still bunched up in the doorways, before they can spread out and start wreaking havoc on your team. By the time you hit the button to open the hangar doors and cross to the other side of the room, there should only be a few sentinels remaining. Between the phantom, whatever members of your original team are still alive, and your newly-delivered reinforcements, you shouldn't even have to bother with the sentinels yourself. I usually just sit back, take a break, and watch the fireworks.

The second phase of the battle begins with the destruction of the last sentinel (or the delivery of your reinforcements, whichever comes last), at which point a couple of enemy grunts are usually thoughtful enough to emerge from the nearby doors to deliver fuel rod guns right into your hands, as shown in the next video.

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There are a couple of things I should note about this battle. The doors from which the enemies appear can vary. Sometimes the fuel rod grunts both appear nearby, sometimes they're split up (as in the video), and sometimes they don't even appear at all. The two elites & grunts usually emerge from the middle door on the opposite side, but the pattern of the subsequent grunts can also vary. Thus, it pays to keep an eye on your surroundings and ensure that you don't get caught out in the open. One invariant feature of the battle is the final group of two turret grunts, a carbine elite, and (after a bit of delay) a sword elite that arrive from the door on the lower level beneath the elevator. An amusing tactic, if you're fortunate enough to have enough fuel rods left and you've finished off the rest of the enemies quickly enough, is simply to set yourself up in front of the door and unload on them with the fuel rod gun as soon as it opens. They won't know what hit them.

It may occur to you to circumvent this last group of enemies and sneak out through the door once they enter, but I wouldn't advise it. The areas that follow are pretty densely packed with enemies, and it's almost impossible to make it through unseen. When you're detected, not only will you have to deal with the immediate threats, but the enemy elites from back up in the hangar will also run down to join the fray. At that point, you'll be surrounded and most likely meet with a tragic end. So, in this case, fighting is almost certainly the easiest option.

After the last enemy falls, you can exchange your sword for a fresh one and fill up on ammo as necessary. Actually, at the next video shows, my preference for the next battle is to abandon the carbine temporarily in favor of the plasma pistol, because the confined space in the corridor ahead is ideal for the plasma pistol/plasma grenade combo.

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If you don't like that approach, and want to play the next few areas more conservatively, you might also consider going plasma pistol/carbine. You won't be equipped quite as well for close-quarters combat, but it will give you more power from medium range, which would be more useful if you don't plan on closing with the enemy. When they're dead I swap the plasma pistol back for the carbine in anticipation of the next battle.

This is another area where I wouldn't advise the sneaking approach, for the same reason as the hangar battle. Fortunately, the triggering of the enemies in this room is relatively predictable; the next video shows one approach to the fight.

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Although it's rather hard to see from the path in the video, two elites will emerge from the door on the far left as you move through the conveyor belt area, while a group of grunts will jump out of hiding from under the platform on the far right. Shortly thereafter, three more grunts will run in through the door on the far end of the room. So, if you want to play things a bit more safely, I would suggest using the plasma pistol/carbine combo to pick off each wave of enemies methodically as they appear, backing off to the relative safety of the area where you entered after moving forward to spawn them. As far as the aggressive approach, I opt for the right side because I feel the platform provides much better cover, and allows you to break up the grunts quickly with a few grenades before they can cause you too much trouble. As you can see, the battle becomes much more manageable if you have some elites remaining on your team, as they'll hold their own pretty well against the heretic elites and draw attention away from you. Take care to avoid letting the battle carry through the far door, so as not to alert the enemies in the next area.

Reload and rearm yourself as necessary; most likely, you'll want to stick with whatever weapon selection you've been using thus far at least through the next area. Prepare for a little change of pace, as I'm going to recommend the sneaking approach for the corridors ahead. Unlike the previous sections you shouldn't have to worry too much about getting surrounded if you're detected, so get into Solid Snake mode and have fun, as the next video shows.

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Note the presence of the locked doors at various points, which will open to release an elite if the alarm is raised nearby. I've noticed that sometimes the grunts in the first section will wake up for no apparent reason even if you kill the elite silently, so keep that in mind. It may have to do with how close you are when you smack the elite. Use your motion tracker to observe the movement of the second elite, and strike while his back is turned. I find it pretty tricky to make it past the third group unseen, so I generally abandon stealth at that point. However, you can turn their own ambush against them by deliberately triggering the elite and then storming right in to kill him as the door opens. Afterward, the little locked alcove becomes yours to use as cover from the nearby grunts.

As you continue onward, you'll soon run across a nice stash of weapons, including a sword. At this point, you once again have a viable choice between killing every enemy in the next room or using your cloak to skip much of the encounter; as usual, I would recommend either the carbine/energy sword or plasma pistol/carbine selections, depending on your style. The next video shows an example of the quick approach.

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If you go that route, I'd definitely recommend taking the high road in order to avoid the grunts; the timing of your first cloak is important to avoid getting pounded by the first two elites. Alternatively, you could also take the methodical approach, killing the sleeping grunts with a grenade, taking cover on the far right before shooting down the sentinel and killing the two elites, moving slowly along the ground level to shoot the needler grunts, and finishing up with the last two elites up on the far ledge. One advantage to running past everything is that for some reason the three grunts in the next corridor usually won't spawn from the door at the far end. The downside is that there's a possibility of an elite from the previous area following you in and making your life more difficult. However, if you hit them hard enough on your way through or avoid being seen altogether in the vicinity of the door you can usually avoid that problem.

Oh, and there's one more thing I should mention at this point. While you still have the entire banshee section ahead of you, it's not too early to begin thinking about the next level. There's a simple glitch that you can exploit in order to give yourself an unlimited energy sword on the next level; however, the glitch requires that you end the current level carrying an empty sword. So, if this idea appeals to you, you might want to start making sure that you're using up your sword's energy while you still have enough enemies around to fight.

In any case, you'll eventually end up in a room with a large, unbreakable glass wall (so much for destructible environments) and two doors on either side of you. The heretic leader will send his lackeys to take care of you (yeah, right, because that always works) while he makes excuses and runs off like a wuss. A few moments later, a group of three grunts followed by two elites will emerge from one of the two doors. You can slice them up nicely with the sword if you're waiting next to the door as they appear; however, I have yet to identify any sort of pattern or sign to indicate the correct door. That doesn't mean there isn't one, but it's not that big of an issue in any case, since at worst you have a 50-50 chance. You may or may not get a checkpoint before this fight. If you want to be on the safe side, wait for the checkpoint in the middle, where you can quickly jump up to either door. At worst, just pick off the grunts from across the room with the carbine as you run toward the door.

Part 2: To the Hunt

The remainder of the level involves you playing follow-the-leader with the phantom in order to take out a series of heretic positions while fending off waves of enemy banshees. Hop into the banshee, and you'll soon notice the very different feel, as compared to Halo 1. Gone are the abilities to hover easily in place and back up, though you'll now be able to boost, as well as perform quite useful vertical and horizontal rolls. Fly around the column directly in front of you to locate the first enemy position, consisting of a couple of turrets which are easily destroyed with the fuel rod cannon. Meanwhile, the first of several pairs of enemy banshees will show up to pester you.

Fortunately, I've never found these banshees to pose much of a threat. In fact, I might go so far as to call them downright pitiful at air-to-air combat. Usually they will engage the phantom and ignore you completely. You can help them in their poor decision-making by trying to keep the phantom between you and them until they're suckered in by the distraction. Also, it would be a gross understatement to say that they're pretty bad at evasive tactics. Hit them with a fuel rod blast, and they'll typically break off combat and flee in a straight line, almost as if they're trying to help you line up that second shot. The only real danger is when you get swarmed by several of them (which you don't have to worry about now) or they manage to surprise you from behind, as they can actually do quite a bit of damage even in the short time it takes you to turn around. If you try to flee, they're very persistent about chasing you, so your best bet in this situation is to turn around as quickly as possible and attack them right back. Amazingly, even when they have you virtually dead to rights, once they take some damage they'll turn around and start running like little girls, shaming themselves most dishonorably.

Other than the banshees, your foes will consist mainly of grunts wielding fuel rod guns, which is fortunate, as the fuel rod gun happens to be just what we're going to need farther down the road. Once again, it's time to start thinking about the future: specifically, an unpleasant battle with a certain heretic leader. Nothing simplifies this battle like good old-fashioned superior firepower (I think Sarge would approve); so what I do is acquire the fuel rod gun here and carry it all the way to the end of the next level. Thus, your mission for the remainder of this level is to pick up a fuel rod gun and completely fill up on ammo. You should be able to find more than enough over the course of the next few engagements, which go something like this,

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and this.

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Of course, you'll also have to deal with a few banshees before and after each battle. After you kill off the grunts in each area, land and gather fuel rod ammo. Note that killing the grunts with the banshee's fuel rod cannon can sometimes knock their weapons over the edge, which you don't want to happen too often. Also, take care that you don't get caught out in the open running around on foot when enemy banshees show up, because if you catch their attention they can kill you with frightful speed.

As the next video shows, the last battle can be a little trickier, because you face a decent number of assorted enemies, including some elites who show up as reinforcements.

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To complicate matters, landing to finish the battle on foot can be problematic because your weapon selection (if you've been following my advice) consists of a fuel rod gun that you don't want to use yet and a depleted energy sword. So, either get ready for some hand-to-hand combat, or just blast everything that moves with the banshee. Note that you'll get some reinforcements of your own near the end of the battle, so try to avoid friendly fire incidents (though even if they all die you'll still begin the next level with the same team).

Empty sword? Check!

Full fuel rod gun? Check!

The hunt continues in the next level...

Home | Cairo Station | Outskirts | Metropolis | The Arbiter | Oracle | Delta Halo | Regret
Sacred Icon | Quarantine Zone | Gravemind | Uprising | High Charity | The Great Journey