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Halo 2 Legendary Walkthrough by Mike Miller

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After four blessed levels of absence, the flood once again fall upon us like a...er, flood. Save for a brief banshee excursion, you'll be doing this one entirely on foot. The level begins with a series of three unskippable battles, where you are beset on all sides by infection, combat, and carrier forms. Thereafter, you'll encounter quite a few heretics as well, vainly attempting to interrupt your pursuit of their leader. In contrast to the first part of the level, your progress from this point onward is relatively fast-paced, with many battles that can be avoided outright as you close in on your quarry. Lamentably, the chase finally culminates with Halo's very first boss battle, which contains all of the cheapness and arbitrary trickery we've come to expect from such things. Good thing we've been planning ahead.

Part 1: Juggernaut

Well, you knew it was too good to last.

Yes, it's true. With strangely little fanfare, buildup, or justification, the flood are, I'm afraid, once again upon us. They generally behave pretty much the same as in Halo 1, though their arsenal has been expanded accordingly and their melee attack is now often a one-hit kill. The exploding carrier forms seem to do less damage than in halo 1, while the infection forms seem to do considerably more. The combat forms have acquired a few more tricks, like driving vehicles and using shields, but that's a problem for a later day. Although it won't affect you on this level, eventually you'll find that the shotgun does not seem quite as effective as it used to be; in its place, though, the energy sword has stepped up as the ultimate flood-killing device.

As it happens, if you've been following along with us so far, you should now be carrying just such a sword. Although the indicator reads 0 and the blade is invisible, it will otherwise sound, act, and wreak devastating carnage just like the real thing, with the useful added bonus of unlimited energy. Note, however, that if you drop the sword you won't be able to pick it up again. I suppose some people might consider exploiting this glitch to be cheating, as it eliminates the need for careful weapon management and requires virtually no effort, but, hey, I'm not here to make value judgments. Play the game however you want. Personally, I hate fighting the flood and resent the cheesiness of the heretic leader fight, so I'll take any opportunity I can find to reduce the pain on this level.

Your first mission: save and quit.

If you restart the level, you should keep the fuel rod gun, but lose the unlimited energy sword. Therefore, be especially careful with your checkpoints throughout this level and make sure to save and quit only when you are satisfied that you are in a good spot, unless it doesn't matter to you.

Now, head through the doors, ignoring the battle raging beneath you, until you drop down into a room with all sorts of creepy, X-Files-looking green alien stuff on the walls. Your quarry will soon pay you a visit in the form of a hologram, and afterward Bungie will take the opportunity to introduce you to another of the flood's new abilities: infection forms can now reanimate dead combat forms, as long as the bodies remain intact. Fortunately, you can preempt this little surprise by destroying all five of the dead combat forms with the sword before the infection forms start appearing. Having eliminated the threat of the combat forms, there's really nothing to this first battle, just a few infection forms which your team will mop up easily. After a few waves, the door will open and you can proceed onward until you reach a round platform, where you'll find the flood and some sentinels already engaged in battle.

This next battle is fairly long, and as far as I know there's no way around it. If we were actually operating within an internally-consistent game environment where we could navigate the level at face value without running into invisible barriers and insta-death zones as soon as we step outside some arbitrary set of dotted lines, the series of platforms lining the wall would provide an ideal route for climbing down and skipping this sequence entirely. We aren't, and if you descend too far below the platform you will meet with sudden, unexplained death (I don't think we're in Silent Cartographer anymore, Toto). So, like it or not, we've got a fight ahead of us.

Once you kill off the first group, the platform will begin its ponderous, twisting descent, stopping periodically to allow waves of about 2-4 flood (and, less frequently, a few sentinels) to attack you. I don't really think a video would be very instructive in this situation, as the encounters are fairly chaotic, and essentially amount to waiting around for the flood to appear and then hacking them to bits with your sword. I can, however, provide you with a few observations that might make your life a bit easier. In general, your job will be to kill off the flood combat forms as quickly as possible while you let your elites deal with the sentinels and infection forms. Ideally, you want to kill the combat flood as soon as they land, before they have a chance to close with your elites and beat them up with melee attacks. First and foremost, I would recommend that you save and quit prior to this battle. You'll receive a number of erratically-delivered checkpoints on your way down, and some of them might not be to your liking, so you should give yourself the option of turning the game off and starting over from the beginning if necessary.

Your next priority is to keep your two elites alive at all costs, as they provide a huge amount of assistance to you in this battle, and in the next one as well. Not only do they draw fire away from you (and with their recharging shields, they survive much better than your marines), but the direction of their fire makes the flood, who are often difficult to see in this gloomy environment, much easier to identify. They will also tear apart quite easily any sentinels that show up, which is fortunate, as you are not really equipped to counter sentinels at this point. Therefore, I would go as far as to say that you should seriously think about reloading if you lose one of your elites.

Your cloak can often help you out as a defensive measure, giving you a few valuable seconds of breathing room when your shields are down to disengage and head for cover to recharge. This tactic is always useful, but perhaps more so here because, trapped as you are in a relatively small, confined space, you don't have very good avenues of retreat. Likewise, moving beneath the elevated ramp and staying near the spindle in the center can at least help to shield you from the sentinels while your elites blast them apart. Note that the steel canisters around the edge of the platform will release a few infection flood if broken, so be careful if your shields are low. It may occur to you to try switching your fuel rod gun temporarily for a carbine or plasma rifle so you can join in the fight against the sentinels. It's certainly a reasonable option, as long as you keep track of it and don't let it get knocked over the edge, though I don't think it makes much of a difference. One time, I tried giving the fuel rod gun to one of my grunts, who then proceeded to cause far more damage to our team than he did to the enemy. Note that if you do hand it off to one of your minions and he dies, it then becomes an enemy-dropped weapon, which will soon disappear unless you pick it up again.

Other than that, all I can really say is to watch your motion tracker, keep an eye on where your elites are firing, and try to position yourself to intercept each wave. Make sure to destroy any intact combat form corpses after each battle to prevent their resurrection. Remember that all it takes to kill a combat flood is one sword slash. The lunge, while often useful for its mobility, is overkill, and actually can be a disadvantage when used in the wrong situation (e.g., when you're faced with two or more enemies) due to its slower rate of attack.

Eventually, you'll wind your way down to an open door near the bottom. It's actually possible to drop down to this platform without dying near the very end of the battle, allowing you to skip the last few waves of flood. Too little, too late, in my opinion. You're better off just sticking it out a little while longer and going into the next battle with your two elites to support you.

When the platform stops at the bottom, continue onward through the dorway and down the hall. Eventually, you'll find yourself on the second floor of an open, two-level room lined with breakable windows, where I would recommend that you once again save and quit. Below you, a battle between the heretics and the flood already rages; the flood will always be victorious, and it's up to you to choose at what point you want to join in. In generally, it's probably safer to wait until the battle is over before you move in (even through a few combat flood will drop in to pester you), though I don't think it really makes much of a difference either way. Unfortunately, though, you have no control over your elites, and they may or may not jump down into the fray at their own whim. Usually, I follow their lead, and then try to keep them alive as long as possible.

Again, this is a fairly chaotic battle where I don't think a video would really be much help, but I'll make a few observations. Clearly, the safest approach is to stay out of the open, along the edge of the room where you can use the columns for cover as necessary. After the first wave of flood is eliminated, another group of heretics will appear from the same entrance that you did, so you may want to remain underneath that side to avoid fire from above. Shortly thereafter, more waves of flood will show up to harass you and the heretics alike. If the infection forms really begin to annoy you, you might consider temporarily switching your fuel rod gun for a sentinel beam (I've got to hand it to the forerunners: the sentinel beam really is the best way to deal with them this time around); just make sure you don't lose track of it, or forget to pick it up when the battle is over.

Shortly after you destroy the last of the combat forms, the airlock door at the end of the room will open and a group of heretics (2 elites & 3 grunts) will show up to cause trouble. Staying in the vicinity of the door so you can attack while they're still bunched up in the entrance can make them a bit easier to handle, at the next video shows.

QuickTime (586 kb) | WMP9 (610 kb)

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

If you dropped your fuel rod gun at some point during the previous battle, don't forget to retrieve it before moving too far into the airlock, or else the doors will lock behind you and you'll be out of luck.

The next area presents you with a choice of two symmetric routes where you'll encounter a few scattered elites and grunts, as well as larger group of 2 elites & (sometimes) 3 grunts that appear from the door at the top. Some reinforcements will show up to aid you once you're outside, so if you want their help you may have to slow down at the beginning and proceed a bit more methodically. As the next video shows, split up as they are, your enemies shouldn't provide much of a hindrance. The limited line of sight on the winding pathway and the abundance of cover (not to mention your cloaking device) should help you get close enough to make short work of them with the sword.

QuickTime (3.4 mb) | WMP9 (3.5 mb)

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

I tend to take the left path merely to avoid the group of grunts at the bottom. As you can see, in contrast to the first part of the level, the pace really begins to accelerate from this point onward.

Inside, you'll find a vast room dominated by the presence of a central ramp winding upward to an elevator platform. The heretic leader, in another inspiring display of fierce bravery, flees shamelessly in the face of the enemy and stops to taunt you only when he is safely hidden behind an impenetrable barrier. In sad defiance of logic, all efforts to kill him before he reaches safety are in vain. You can stick him with plasma grenades or blast him with the fuel rod gun, and it won't slow him down at all. Forget about trying to use the sword flying glitch to beat him to his hiding spot, too: you'll die instantly as soon as you cross the doorway. Never fear, though: the Arbiter comes up with an amazingly hardcore plan to flush him out.

Part 2: Hey, Watch This!

After the cutscene, head upward to sever the three cables, as shown in the next video.

QuickTime (7.9 mb) | WMP9 (8.1 mb)

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

I try to avoid the first group of flood on the ramp because they can often serve as an effective distraction for the sentinels. In a similar manner, your safest bet in the area with the cables is to remain as unobtrusive as possible, avoiding combat with the flood or sentinels unless absolutely necessary while you make your way quickly and quietly around the outside.

Of course, by the time you head back down in the elevator the heretic leader has long since fled. Take the express route back to the ground and follow him through the now-unsealed doorway, where you'll have to deal with two elites and two grunts, as the next video shows.

QuickTime (1.6 mb) | WMP9 (1.7 mb)

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

Keep an eye out for the combat flood that runs into the room a few moments after you take out the covenant. When you're ready, hit the button on the side of the elevator to raise it, and then the central button to send it back down again.

For all its size, the next area is rather sparsely populated, with only a couple of sentinels and grunts followed by two sword-wielding elites to oppose you. As the next video shows, you may want to drop your fuel rod gun temporarily to pick off the grunts with one of the carbines provided along the way.

QuickTime (2 mb) | WMP9 (2.1 mb)

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

As far as I can tell, there's no practical difference between the left and right paths, so pick whichever makes you happiest.

When you head through the door at the bottom, a small cutscene will play, and afterward you'll find yourself in a banshee.

Part 3: Dead or Alive...Actually, Just Dead

Ok, time for one last, mad dash to catch up with the cowardly heretic leader once and for all:

QuickTime (6.9 mb) | WMP9 (7 mb)

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

Well, that looked strangely familiar. Indeed, you're simply retracing the same path that you walked in the previous level back to the hangar with the docked heretic ship. Opposition here is pretty thin, and you can cruise right through the majority of the route with little trouble. The only tricky spot, in my opinion, is final room before you reach the heretic leader, as you have quite a bit of open ground to cover and several enemies in your way. Depending upon their initial position, it's not always easy to make it through the door before your cloak runs out. You should receive a checkpoint close by, though, so just reload and try again if you run into serious trouble. It may be tempting to expend a few fuel rod rounds here to clear the path, but I'd recommend saving them all for the finale, just in case.

As the cutscene with the heretic leader ends, you'll receive a checkpoint, and I'd very strongly recommend that you save and quit. As with some of the earlier battles, you'll receive additional checkpoints throughout the upcoming fight, and some of them may turn out to be inconvenient (though, with the fuel rod gun, this is less of a problem than it normally might be). After all the work it took to get to this point, you don't want to wind up stuck at the end.

Apparently, Bungie has heard the ceaseless cries from the legions of fans pleading for boss fights in Halo 2. I know that nary a day went by when I didn't think, "Well, Halo is good and all, but what it really needs are some good old-fashioned video game bosses that behave in a contrived and illogical manner and distort the rules of the game beyond all recognition."

Well, our prayers have been answered; indeed, this battle treats us to many of the traditionally lazy boss fight conventions that we've all come to know and tolerate. Let's see:

  • Regenerating supply of disposable henchmen. Still largely unwilling to fight his own battles, the heretic leader will surround himself with holographic duplicates in an admittedly effective attempt to confuse us. Curiously, these holograms seem to do just as much damage as the real thing, which leads one to wonder why the Covenant don't just employ legions of holographic shock troops as a standard tactic.

  • Arbitrary invincibility. You're only allowed to kill him when Bungie wants you to kill him. Forget about taking him out back in the elevator room after sticking him with a plasma grenade and blasting him with an entire magazine of fuel rods; you can't even kill him in this battle until the end, no matter what you do. I've watched him get stuck in a corner in the first round of this battle and proceeded to pound him with 30 fuel rods and the energy sword, to no effect.

  • Improbable avenues of movement. To add to the confusion, he can use the vents along the ceiling to move conveniently from side to side in a random fashion between each round of the battle.

I'm surprised he doesn't magically change into a more powerful form after we kill him the first time, or at least kidnap our girlfriend or something.

In any case, let's just get this over with, since we've finally managed to corner the little weasel.

The battle is divided into four rounds, the first of which begins as soon as the cutscene ends. During the first three rounds, the heretic leader shows up with two holographic duplicates. Your mission is to blast him with one fuel rod in each round, which is all it takes to send him running for cover. As far as I can tell, the holograms are indistinguishable from the real thing until after you've hit them. At that point, you'll either hear your target vanish in a poof (if it was a hologram) or yell in pain (if it was the leader). The final round can be a bit tricker, as he can potentially deploy more than two holograms, and you'll have to hit him twice in succession to finish him off. Other than that, though, it's the same story as before. Note that his holograms will vanish as soon as he runs off.

Now this battle could actually be quite tricky if we hadn't come loaded for bear, as the heretic leader and his holograms are somewhat difficult to target and can do a tremendous amount of damage. Fortunately, the patience you showed in carrying that damn fuel rod gun around for the last 1.5 levels is about to pay off in a big way. The heretic leader begins each round (after the first) by appearing randomly from one of the four vents near the ceiling. Unwisely, he stands there in plain view talking smack for a while before flying out to attack. Although he's invulnerable between rounds while he is talking, he's fair game the moment he shuts up.

So, as the next video shows, your job in the time allotted to you between each round is simply to locate the correct vent, aim in, and then spam the hell out of it with the fuel rod gun as soon as his little speech is over. Given the travel time of your shots, you'll want to begin firing a bit early so the rounds start to impact just as he finishes talking.

QuickTime (6.1 mb) | WMP9 (6 mb)

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

And that's that.

At least he has the decency just to die in the end, without inflicting some lame, gasping final speech upon us.

The purists can now rejoice, as the next level will find us back in the familiar armor of the Chief.

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