They're Random, Baby!

Halo 2 Legendary Walkthrough by Mike Miller

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

The Great Journey


Here we are...the end of the road at last, and only the Arbiter can stop the Covenant from drinking the cosmic Kool-Aid and destroying all sentient life in the galaxy. The scenery should look familiar, as this level picks up right where Uprising left off. This time, you'll begin with some vehicular combat, using a spectre (and potentially a wraith) to blast your way through a swarm of ghosts and wraiths with the aid of your invincible spec-ops buddy. You'll then move inside, where you'll battle through room after room of brutes and jackals, though this time both elites and hunters will join you. Eventually, Sarge will join the team as well, and you'll have one last vehicle battle as you close in on the control room. You may have been expecting to fight Tartarus at some point, and your worst fears will be confirmed as Bungie pulls out the last (and cheesiest) boss battle of the game.

Part 1: Your Ass, My Size-24 Hoof

Although you start out on foot, a spectre will soon arrive to pick you up. Since the spec-ops commander stubbornly refuses to give up his wraith, the spectre is the best we can do for the moment.

Interestingly, the level starts you out very close to your ultimate destination. Any attempts to head right for the control room, though, will likely be foiled by the cheap insta-death barrier down below the cliff.

Your first priority is to upgrade your vehicle to something a bit more robust, as you'll be wading through quite a few enemy ghosts, as well as a couple of wraiths. Thus, rather than jumping right into the combat at the beginning, I'd recommend boosting ahead a bit and procuring the first available wraith, as shown in the next video.

QuickTime (3.9 mb) | WMP9 (5.9 mb)

Right-click (option-click on a Mac) and "Save As" to save to disk.

The biggest danger associated with this tactic is probably being shot apart by ghosts while you're boarding the wraith. However, if you don't waste any time, you should usually be able to make it to the wraith and complete the boarding before you really get swarmed. Using grenades to kill the driver can help speed up the process, though you run the risk of destroying the wraith along with him. As your allies don't let little considerations like, say, the fact that you're clinging to the vehicle that they're firing on slow them down, there's also the danger of friendly fire. Partly for this reason (and partly to avoid getting caught in the explosion if it gets destroyed), I'd suggest parking your spectre behind the rock before boarding the wraith.

Once you've safely gained control of the wraith, you can relax a bit. Obliterate any ghosts that may be pestering you and move ahead to engage the two enemy wraiths near the door. I'd recommend attacking them more or less head-on, as shown in the next video.

QuickTime (3.4 mb) | WMP9 (3.4 mb)

Right-click (option-click on a Mac) and "Save As" to save to disk.

The small tree on the right can actually help provide a bit of cover, intercepting some of their shots. You could try flanking them from around the little hill on the right, but the narrow path severely restricts your movement, making you an easy target. Note that there's also a phantom out past the cliff to the left who may fire on you at some point. From this distance, though, he's not really much of a threat, so I usually just ignore him and focus on the wraiths. Take a moment to savor vaporizing the brutes running around on foot with the wraith's cannon.

When the area is clear, I'd suggest exchanging your useless plasma rifle for a brute shot and as much ammo as you can find before heading inside. Unfortunately, you won't run across an energy sword for a while, so the brute shot is the best you can do for melee attacks.

Once inside, proceed through the hallways, making sure to exchange your equally useless plasma pistol for a beam rifle along the way, until you enter a two-level room guarded by a phalanx of five brutes on the upper level. A couple of additional brutes will also enter through the upper door after you've killed off a few members of the initial group.

You might be inclined to sit back in the hallway and use your newly-acquired beam rifle to pick off the brutes from a distance. The problem with that tactic is that not only is it tedious (with all of the grenades bouncing around, it can be hard to get a clear shot unless you're cloaked), but your hunters will take a tremendous pounding, and at least one of them will most likely die. The hunters can be a valuable distraction in the next battle, and so it really pays to keep both of them alive. Thus, I'd recommend moving in on the brutes right away, before they can deal out too much damage. Although there are quite a few of them, they tend to focus their attention on the hunters, which makes it much easier to sneak up the ramp and kill several of them from behind before they even know you're there, as shown in the next video.

QuickTime (2.1 mb) | WMP9 (2.1 mb)

Right-click (option-click on a Mac) and "Save As" to save to disk.

Make sure not to use your cloak too early, as you'll want to save it for when the brutes arrive through the door. If necessary, you can also drop down to the lower level after taking out the first group. Note that, for some reason, the brutes in the second group (even those that have gone berserk) have a tendency to retreat back the way they came when they're losing the battle, so if you don't finish them off here you'll have to deal with them in the next room. As usual, collect plasma grenades and brute shot ammo after the battle.

As you proceed through the next door into the large cavern, you'll find yourself on one arm of a U-shaped platform that curves around to the right, while five brutes occupy the other. Another group of two brutes, two regular jackals, and two jackal snipers will arrive from the cave on the opposite side after you either kill off most of the original brutes or you approach the exit.

The easiest way to survive this room is probably to run right through, as shown in the next video.

QuickTime (1.7 mb) | WMP9 (1.6 mb)

Right-click (option-click on a Mac) and "Save As" to save to disk.

Jumping the chasm at a couple of points helps to speed things up and bypass the brute in the turret, though sometimes you may end up taking quite a bit of fire from the main group. Be sure to save your cloak for the end, as you'll need it to avoid the snipers.

Despite the effectiveness of this tactic, I'd recommend fighting this battle merely because it can be rather fun. If you've been following my advice, you should be carrying a full sniper rifle, and so it's certainly possible to sit back and snipe everything. However, closing in on the enemies right away can work just as well for killing them all as it does for avoiding them. If you're quick enough, you can manage to get around behind the second group while they're still mostly bunched up, as shown in the next video.

QuickTime (3.1 mb) | WMP9 (3.0 mb)

Right-click (option-click on a Mac) and "Save As" to save to disk.

Otherwise, if the second group manages to disperse, you'll just have to take out the first group and then approach the remaining enemies in whatever way seems best, as shown in the next video.

QuickTime (3.5 mb) | WMP9 (3.5 mb)

Right-click (option-click on a Mac) and "Save As" to save to disk.

Note that you can always crouch jump over the low wall in order to flank the enemies, when necessary. Whatever you do, I'd advise against standing around in the vicinity of the turret brute. There are several exploding objects nearby that are easily detonated by brute shots and possess a dangerously wide kill radius.

Continuing onward, you'll reach a short bridge defended by several nearby jackals, as well as a jackal sniper and several drones at the far end. The next video shows how I usually approach this battle.

QuickTime (2.1 mb) | WMP9 (2.1 mb)

Right-click (option-click on a Mac) and "Save As" to save to disk.

Note that a phantom will appear on your left to complicate matters when you're about halfway across, so once you start moving I wouldn't stop until you're safely out the other side. In my view, there's not much to be gained from fighting the drones except pain, so I'd recommend running right past them. The timing of your cloak is very important here, as the drones will send a barrage of plasma fire your way if you wait too long, which will usually cancel your invisibility.

Continue up the hallway and into the prison.

Once again you'll have to deal with two large contingents of brutes, with the second group showing up, as usual, when enough members of the original group have fallen. Three jackals also lurk up on the walkway around the center of the room. Despite the large number of enemies, though, a relatively mindless tactic is all that's really necessary to clear the room, as the next video shows.

QuickTime (7.3 mb) | WMP9 (7.0 mb)

Right-click (option-click on a Mac) and "Save As" to save to disk.

It's very easy to die if you take too long to fire a burst of needles, as the brutes will quickly start launching grenades and shooting carbines your way. The needler's tracking is pretty forgiving, though, so you won't have to aim too carefully; but don't forget to use your cloak when it's available. It's possible to free your captured allies from prison during the battle (just shoot the little force field emitters in front of the cell doors). However, they won't last very long with all of the brutes around, so I usually don't bother. Note that the door by the brutes will stay locked until the second group arrives, so even if you're planning on just running through the prison, you'll still have to kill at least a few of the enemies.

When the battle is over, I'd suggest picking up the energy sword if you haven't already and exchanging your needler for the beam rifle. Fill up on grenades, and free your allies as well, though they won't be able to help you for very long.

Continue through the next hallway, which eventually leads you to a large platform outside. There are four brutes here, and the next video shown how I usually deal with them.

QuickTime (1.1 mb) | WMP9 (1.1 mb)

Right-click (option-click on a Mac) and "Save As" to save to disk.

Part 2: Backseat Driver

When the cutscene ends, grab a banshee to begin a fairly long sequence of vehicular battles. Make sure that you have at least one plasma grenade left before you leave, as it will become very useful the next time you're fighting on foot. The terrain should look rather familiar from the beginning of the level. Regardless of what your objective says, the scarab is just as indestructible as it looks and you don't have to worry about protecting it. In fact, you can skip as much of the combat this chapter as you desire, as the scarab will eventually kill the three wraiths and then lumber onward to its ultimate destination.

Still, as long as you're waiting you might as well make yourself useful and speed things up. The safest way to destroy the wraiths is probably with the banshee, as it's quick enough to dodge their slow shots with relative ease. However, if you intend to keep fighting after the wraiths are gone, you'll also have to face two spectres and four banshees around the next bend. To make matters worse, several enemy turrets line the canyon walls. Surviving this gauntlet in the banshee can be fairly challenging, and so you'll be better off in the long run if you can take control of one of the wraiths. I'd suggest boarding the one on the right and using it to take out the other two, as shown in the next video.

QuickTime (4.0 mb) | WMP9 (3.9 mb)

Right-click (option-click on a Mac) and "Save As" to save to disk.

You should receive a checkpoint after this battle, and I'd recommend that you save and quit before proceeding.

The two spectres will arrive as you move a bit farther along the canyon. They can be fairly annoying, gradually picking you apart with their little cannons, so I'd suggest taking the proactive approach and going right after them, as you'll be less likely to miss at close range. When the spectres are gone, four banshees will fly over the cliff ahead of you one at a time. The next video shows how I approach this battle, using the wraith.

QuickTime (9.5 mb) | WMP9 (9.2 mb)

Right-click (option-click on a Mac) and "Save As" to save to disk.

Staying near the corner along the side of the cliff forces the banshees to begin their attack runs closer to you, making them somewhat easier to hit. As you can see, their tendency to fly straight at you does not exactly help their cause, either.

By the time you finish with the banshees, the scarab will most likely have reached its destination. If you're really out for blood, you could take the time to destroy the two wraiths and four banshees in the next area, but I generally just head for the door at this point. I'd also recommend that you save and quit before proceeding if you received a checkpoint after destroying the banshees. I'll note once again that it's possible to skip this whole section simply by hopping back into a banshee after clearing out the first three wraiths and flying right to the control room. You can wait there out of harm's way until the scarab shows up. You'll have to fly toward the scarab close enough that Sarge begins firing on the control room door.

Part 3: Delusions and Grandeur

After the door is destroyed, the intended path is clearly to land outside and proceed on foot. You'd then have to fight through a large group of brutes before finally arriving at the control room.

However, it's actually possible to squeeze your banshee through the tunnel and fly over the brutes and into the control room. This approach has the advantage of not only bypassing the difficult battle with the brutes (though they can still potentially shoot you down), but also allowing you to employ the banshee in the final battle with Tartarus. In order to get the banshee through the tunnel you'll have to squeeze it up and over the rubble once you're past the doorway. You can make this task somewhat easier by destroying one or both of the banshee's "wings".

There's an even more interesting way into the control room, though, that involves exploiting a glitch whereby you can trigger the cutscene that precedes the final battle from outside the control room structure (thanks, Kyle Barr!), as shown in the next video.

QuickTime (4.9 mb) | WMP9 (4.5 mb)

Right-click (option-click on a Mac) and "Save As" to save to disk.

As you can see, not only is this method quicker, but it also allows you to skip the brutes entirely and, surprisingly, even warps the banshee inside with you. Well, most of the time, at least. It's been my experience that the banshee doesn't always make it through in working condition (for example, I've run back to find it stuck in the floor). It's for this reason that I encouraged you to save and quit at the nearest checkpoint before you entered the control room structure. Be aware that you can't enter the control room in this manner until Sarge breaks down the door and the final chapter transition occurs, so there's no sneaking in early. Also, if you don't already have a beam rifle I'd recommend stopping by the bridge and picking one up before you proceed. You may not even end up using it if you have the banshee inside, but it gives you more flexibility for deciding how you want to deal with the brutes in the final battle. Anyway, it's not like you have anything else to do while Sarge is breaking down the door.

And so we come at last to the final battle of our epic, galaxy-spanning quest.

Split-jawed squid head vs. hammer-wielding monkey.

In celebration of this climactic encounter, Bungie has decided to throw consistency and believability completely out the window and fully embrace the lame convention of the video game boss battle in all of its cheesiness.

As you'll see, this battle shares many of the faults of the Heretic Leader and Regret fights.

  • Endless supply of disposable henchmen. At three points during the battle that appear to be determined by how much damage Tartarus has received, a group of three or four brute reinforcements will arrive from the large platform to the left of where you entered. Fortunately, in contrast to the elites in the Regret battle or even the holograms accompanying the Heretic Leader, these brutes are predictable in their avenue of approach and easily seen long before they engage you.

  • Arbitrary invincibility. Much like Regret, Tartarus is imbued with defensive abilities that verge on the magical, and he doesn't even have the excuse of the floating chair. As you might expect, his proprietary shield of uncertain origin grants him complete invulnerability, even to such extreme measures as being crushed by a banshee. Of course, like any self-respecting video game boss he has one fatal weakness. Conveniently, the weakness happens to be the beam rifle that Sarge is carrying. Three shots in close succession will be necessary to drop his shields, after which you'll have a short window of time in which to damage him before his shield re-activates. I was sort of hoping we'd get to jump on his back (wouldn't that be ironic?) and beat him to death like we did with Regret; but whatever works, I suppose.

  • Improbable avenues of movement. Go ahead. Just try pushing him off the platform with the banshee and watch what happens. Um...yeah.

Well, despite all of that, this boss is actually, in my opinion, the easiest of the three (assuming that you don't use the fuel rod gun tactic on the Heretic Leader, at least). In contrast the other two bosses, Tartarus doesn't have a ranged attack, and so he can't hurt you as long as you don't let him get to close to you. His henchmen, meanwhile, attack only from one direction and only at fairly specific times during the battle. Thus, you can see them coming a mile away and there's little chance of being surrounded or taken by surprise.

The structure of the battle is fairly simple. Like the other boss fights, I tend to think of it in terms of several rounds, with each round ending when Sarge knocks out his shield and you damage Tartarus. Depending on your weapon choice, you'll probably need somewhere in the vicinity of 8-10 rounds to kill him. So, as far as Tartarus himself goes, the battle basically amounts to maneuvering to keep him at a distance until Sarge gets his shots in and you can do a bit of damage.

The only breaks in this pattern occur when the brute reinforcements show up. Although the time of their appearance does not appear to be absolutely fixed, it's at least consistent to a pretty high degree. The first group almost always appears after you first damage Tartarus (he'll say "A lucky hit. You'll not land another"). Expect the second group to arrive about 2-3 rounds after that, and the third group after another 2 rounds or so. As long as you keep an eye on their platform, you should be able to see them coming long before they actually get close enough to present a threat.

Given an understanding of the basic structure of the battle, the issue then becomes the specific tactics for damaging Tartarus and eliminating his brutes before they can cause you trouble. As I mentioned earlier, potentially clever shortcuts like pushing him off the platform into the abyss or smashing him with the banshee won't work, so you'll have to do it the old-fashioned way.

First and foremost, I should point out that the easiest and quickest method is to rely exclusively on the banshee. In that case, all you need to do is hover around Tartarus until Sarge takes out his shields and then blast him with the fuel rod cannon, flying off to interdict the other brutes as necessary. As Tartarus won't even be able to reach you, victory is almost assured, as long as one of the other brutes doesn't get in a lucky shot with a grenade or something.

Of course, the battle is quite manageable even without the banshee. Personally, I prefer to fight Tartarus on foot simply because I think it's more fun, and use the banshee only to take on the rest of the brutes.

Perhaps the most important observation if you intend to forgo the banshee at any point is that although the battleground consists of three platforms, virtually none of the action will occur anywhere but the middle platform. Tartarus may fall down to the lower level or use the beam in the middle to ascend to the top, but given a bit of time he'll always return to the middle. Likewise, both the brutes and your useless elite allies will jump to the middle level and stay there. Thus, the top or bottom levels (I always choose the top) can serve as a safe refuge and an ideal drop-off point for weapons and your banshee where nothing is likely to disturb them.

As far as weapons go, I'd recommend dual brute plasma rifles. They'll do a tremendous amount of damage in a short period of time, and you'll never have to worry about running out of ammo. The sword, for a change, is highly ineffective and puts you at great risk every time you get close to Tartarus. The carbine and brute shot, for their part, suffer from ammo limitations and just don't seem to deal as much damage as the plasma rifles. As for plasma grenades, his shield is usually back up by the time they explode. You may be inclined to try knocking out his shield yourself with the beam rifle in order to speed things up. While it's certainly possible to do so, I've never really found it to be worth the trouble, as you'll quickly run out of ammo and you won't have much time left to damage him after switching weapons. In my experience, you're better off just sticking with the plasma rifles. However, the beam rifle can be very useful if you don't have the banshee (or are choosing not to use it), as you can often snipe several of the brutes before they even make it to the central platform.

Since you'll need to wait for Sarge to dispel his shield in each round, I'd recommend maneuvering Tartarus into a location where Sarge can get a clear shot, without any obstructions. Your best bet, perhaps not surprisingly, is around the outside of the middle platform right in front of Sarge's position.

With these considerations in mind, the next video shows an example of such a battle.

QuickTime (19.8 mb) | WMP9 (19.2 mb)

Right-click (option-click on a Mac) and "Save As" to save to disk.

As you can see, nothing really fancy is required. Just be patient and deliberate in your movement, taking care to keep Tartarus in an advantageous location and to watch for approaching brutes. Keep in mind that he can strike both forward and backward (like the hunters), so be sure to stay a safe distance away from both sides of him. I'd also discourage you from trying to jump over his head. One move you can use to fake him out, though, is to hesitate slightly when backing away from him (much like you could do with the hunters in Halo 1 to trick them into lunging and exposing their midsections). This feint will trigger his melee attack and allow you to put a bit more distance between yourselves.

That's what he gets for bringing a hammer to a gunfight.

Be aware that you won't get a checkpoint at any time during the fight, so don't let up and get careless at the end.

When you're done, sit back, enjoy the ending cutscene, and revel in your legendary victory.

I don't know about you, but despite all of our hard work I sort of wanted to see the Halo fire.


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