Well, things are really starting to heat up now. Cortana has access to Halo's computer systems and she's totally flipping out. Looks like you have to go save Keyes' sorry butt again before he, uh... well you don't really know what he's going to do, but Cortana seems to think it's really bad. This level is considerably shorter and easier than Assault on the Control Room so relax. And it introduces you to new enemies and a new weapon to play with.
Well Enough Alone
Walk straight ahead and a downed Pelican will loom out of the fog. That's the third busted Pelican in as many levels. Makes you a little more grateful to have Foe Hammer as your pilot, doesn't it? Anyway, move ahead and behind the dropship you'll find a stash of ammunition and health packs. The green boxes are full of shotgun shells, but somebody neglected to leave you a shotgun. Fill up your assault rifle, switch to your pistol, and move ahead. A few grunts and jackals will wandering around up ahead, so find some cover near them and zoom in. Pick them off with the pistol then switch to the assault rifle if they get too close. The jackals will tend to hang back so finish off the grunts first. Then you can either hang back as well and snipe them with the pistol or run in and waste them with grenades and the assault rifle. Since there are three health packs by the downed Pelican, feel free to grab one now.
Switch out your assault rifle for a plasma pistol. There's one or two lying on the path ahead with 100% charge. You don't find one of those every day. Moving along, another downed dropship will come into view, only this one is a Covenant ship. There may be a couple of jackals hanging out near here, but after a few charged plasma shots, they'll retreat. Don't follow. Get directly in front of the Covenant dropship and look up at it. There's a path to the left of it that goes around the tree it's propped up against. Walk up the hill and take the path around. Keep turning right and trying to walk up higher on the hill and you'll see a huge fallen tree stretching across a depression. Continue around and you'll end up behind and much higher than a group of jackals. Zoom in and gun down a few with the pistol. Once they get their bearings and start to shoot back, send off a few charged shots then retreat. Walk back the way you came to the Covenant dropship and continue on the normal way. Now some of the surviving jackals may have their backs turned and should be easy prey. Zoom in and shoot off a few rounds, then switch to charged plasma shots until you have to retreat. Go back and forth and attack them from both positions until they're all dead. Now you can go back and grab the second health pack.
Hop up onto the log and walk across. Hey, wait. What are those yellow blips on your motion tracker? Never mind, they're probably nothing. While you're walking across, stop for a second and turn right. See that pipe? There's an active camouflage just to the left of it hidden back in some bushes. You'll be wanting to save that for later.
At the end of the log, hop up onto the ridge and get into the Shade on the right. Aim for the lit area in front of the tunnel. A whole boatload of grunts and jackals will come pouring out of here, apparently getting their butts kicked by marines. Carpet the area with plasma as they flee. Keep shooting and aim for any gaps in the trees. Eventually these guys will notice you're a sitting duck and start firing back. That would be a good time to get out and duck back behind the ridge. Toss a couple of grenades towards the bad guys then go grab that active camouflage. It's a little hard to get to the alcove where it's hidden. Look for a little ridge that leads up to the left. Once you have it, get back to where the Covenant are gathered. Just start beating them down. Hit them from behind, of course, and try to finish off all the jackals before you become visible. Any leftover Covenant should be no problem. Grab one of their plasma pistols if you're running low and go back for health pack #3 if you're not already maxed out. Move into the structure and hit the switch to ride the elevator down.
There's a whole pile of Covenant in this next room, but they're all packed in the doorway and won't be able to see you when you arrive. Run behind one of the energy shields and take a look. They're just sitting there, waiting to die. Bounce a grenade or two into the middle of the group. Open fire with the plasma pistol after they go off. Mop up any survivors that stay in the room, but don't pursue any that leave. There should be a ton of plasma pistols lying around from the explosion and were going to use up as many as necessary. Charge up your pistol, open the door ahead, and nail the nearest jackal. Fire off a few more shots if you can then duck back under cover. Just keep peeking in and hosing down the area with plasma until all of the jackals are toast. Now all of those jackals have littered the next area with plasma pistols, so we get to do it all over again.
Take a look around the room. There are two levels to the place. The exit is on the lower level on your right. The remaining Covenant should be clustered around this door. Stay on the upper level and move up against the right wall. Look down on the enemies below. There should be a pillar coming out of the wall on the right at the edge of the ledge. It's just perfect size for you to hide behind. Peek out and start sending charged plasma shots into the group of Covenant. Once you empty a plasma pistol, go back and grab another. Once the number of Covenant down there has dwindled considerably, you can find the fullest plasma pistol and hop down to finish off the rest in person. Here's yet another pile of plasma pistols for you to use in your next battle. There's also a health pack on the far side of the room somewhat hidden behind the large pile of Covenant boxes. You shouldn't need it now, and you'll be coming back later, so leave it.
The door ahead leads to a square hallway that leads to the next big room. There are five jackals guarding the exit to this room on your left. Toss a grenade or two into the mix and start sending charged plasma shots over to soften them up. Retreat into the doorway to recharge and keep sending charged plasmas shots in until they've been taken care of. Go back whenever you need to pick up another pistol or grenades. Run in and finish off the last one with a couple of punches to the face if he's being annoying. Once these guys are dead, you can relax. You won't have to fight anything for a while.
The next square hall leads you to... an empty room. Creepy. One thing to note is that there are several needlers lying on the ground to the right between the two Shades. And there are clips of needles lying there too. This is one of two places (both on this level) where you can see needler clips. They are nowhere else in the game. Hmm... maybe Bungie is trying to tell us something. While needlers are very useful for some of the battles ahead of you, I wouldn't pick one up now. To get out of here, you have to jump on the short platform above the needlers and go through the door.
Another square hallway leads to a room where some serious combat took place. The crazed marine here still gives me the willies. I hate to say it, but you should put him out of his misery. He's got ammunition for the pistol, which is scarce on this level. Plus, he's just going to get his insides scrambled by some... uh, never mind. You haven't gotten there yet. Head to the back of the room and jump up on the rubble to get to the upper level. Exit through the door above the one you used to enter.
After another hall you'll be on the upper level of the room with the needlers. Hit the switch to activate the light bridge. Move across and look for an assault rifle on the ground. It should be right in front of the door. Pick it up and ditch your plasma pistol. Reload it and head through the door.
Look around this room and you'll find two ramps down to the lower level. The one on the left has two health packs and some ammo. Don't grab the health unless you really need to. You shouldn't be too badly injured. You've hardly fought anything yet. Go down a ramp and walk up to the door to trigger a cutscene.
Look around the room. There are four groups of enemies that are going to attack in succession. Each group seems to be triggered by killing off a large fraction of the previous group. The first will come out of the door directly in front of you across the room. The second group will come out of the door nearby on your right. The third group will be coming out of the far door on the left. The last group comes out of the door you used to enter this room. And on your left you'll find a bunch of assault rifle ammo as well as pistol ammo. Move over this ammo and fill up. Then head to the back of the room and get out your assault rifle for the first group of Flood. As the door bursts open, start firing. These guys are the infection form of the Flood. You can just let small numbers pop themselves on your shield or smack them with your melee attack, but large numbers can be a problem. If one of these guys hits you while your shield is down, he will eat you alive, literally. So empty a full clip at least on them then head to the next door. Once you're in front of the next door you can fire off a few rounds at any stragglers from the first group or smack them if they jump at you. Once the door starts to give way though, turn back towards it and open fire on this group as soon as you can. Again empty a full clip at least then move to the next door. Once you've got the next door covered, pop any wandering Flood nearby until the door starts to open. Burn through another couple of clips until almost all the little guys are gone. Don't worry about gunning down the last few. Get to the final door. Remember it's the one you came in through. More infection Flood will be coming in along with their big brothers, the combat Flood. Again you can take a second to off any leftover infection Flood until you hear the ominous thud of the door being bashed open. Drop a plasma grenade right in front of the door and back up. Plasma grenades are not normally good to use against the Flood because the Flood are faster then you. Most of the time, you'll end up sticking a grenade to a Flood who will promptly run right up in your face and explode. They work well though when you drop them on the floor as you're retreating. The Flood will run right over them as they explode. So drop one for these guys as they enter the room and open fire. It should take out almost all of the infection Flood leaving the combat Flood for you to deal with. The key to dealing with combat Flood is to keep moving, preferably backwards while shooting at them. So basically you want to keep circling the room backwards shooting at anything you can. Don't get too close to the wall or you may get pushed into a corner. That would be bad. Circling the two raised areas in the middle of the room seems to work well. Use the assault rifle against multiple targets and at close range. The pistol works better against a single target at medium to long range. Just keep pouring on the hurt until they all go down, get back up, and go down again. Whew. Your first battle with the Flood is over. Go fill up on ammo.
Step through the door and look up one of the ramps. There is another group of Flood up there so fire off a few shots to get their attention then retreat into the room. If you're really low on health, grab one of the health packs before setting them off. Drop a plasma grenade in the doorway as you're retreating and then open fire when you see the combat Flood coming in. There aren't as many in this group. A few clips from the assault rifle should do it. Fill up again after the battle. Head up one of the ramps and grab a health pack, even if you don't really need it.
Moving along you'll see a bunch of Covenant and Flood duking it out. Ignore these guys for now. Stay on the upper level and exit through the door on the right. After another hall you'll end up in a room full of Flood. Head to the right or left and back yourself up into a corner. Normally this would be a suicidal tactic against the Flood, but I got a plan. Fire off a few dozen assault rifle rounds at the ground below to get the attention of everything in the room. Snipe at any Flood that jump up to the upper level with your pistol then switch to the assault rifle when they get too close. You can move around a bit, but try to stay near the corner. Once the upper level is clear, get back into the corner and face the middle of the room. The Flood on the lower level will be mindlessly trying to get to you, so they should be right below you in a big pile. Look for them congregating on your motion tracker. In front of you is a pillar, but in between the very corner of the walkway you're on and the pillar is a little gap, just big enough for a grenade. Toss one (either kind will work) through the little gap and it should drop down into their midst. A few seconds later, BOOM, all the Flood die in a messy explosion. If you can still hear a lot of Flood moving around down there, drop another. Maybe try a different kind. Follow it down and clean up any survivors. Leave through the door below the one you used to enter and follow the hall back to the previous room.
The battle between the Flood and the Covenant should be dying down by now. Peek in and gun down anything nearby with the pistol then retreat into the doorway. Hose down anybody who comes in after you with the assault rifle. Drop a grenade in the doorway if it looks like a whole lot of Flood are coming at once. Repeat until the room has been cleansed of enemies. The Shade in here works well against Flood, but I'd only recommend using it once the number of enemies is very small. Now you can go back the way you came through the gore-spattered hall then through the door on the right.
The next room has both Flood and Covenant again. Wait around in the doorway for a moment and they should notice each other and start fighting. Once they're finished you can take out a Flood or two with the pistol then retreat into the hall and whip out your assault rifle. Mow down anything that shows its ugly mug. Drop a grenade if things get really nasty. Keep popping in and sniping with the pistol then falling back and tearing through pursuers with the assault rifle until there are no more Flood around. Move into the room now and look for stragglers. After you're through down here, you'll have to get back to the upper level. To get up there you have to jump on the Covenant boxes in the corner. Behind these boxes is a health pack (unless you picked it up earlier) so grab it if you need it. After you jump up look around the upper deck and kill off any jackals or grunts that may be hiding up here. There's a door open right next to where the Covenant were, but we don't want to go there yet. That is the way ahead, but we have some more Flood to kill. You can peek in here and snag some assault rifle ammo though if you're running low. We want to go directly across from this door to the other side of the room. Hit the switch and walk across the light bridge.
Now you're back at the elevator you used to get down here. Maybe you can ride it back up. You can use the same strategy here you've been using. Peek in and get their attention by gunning down a few with the pistol then fall back and drop a grenade in their path. Waste any survivors with the assault rifle. Repeat until the room is clear. Move in and hit the switch to activate the elevator. Aww, sad. It's broken. I guess you'll have to find another ride up.
Go back into the previous room and through the door on the far side. Here you can finally grab yourself a shotgu... oh wait. This is Legendary. No shotgun for you! That would make things too easy. There is an awful lot of ammo here though and two health packs so fill up.
After a little hall and an empty room with a cool lightning thingy, you'll come to another elevator. Maybe this one will take you out of this hellhole. You know what to do. Peek in and snipe at one with the pistol. Fall back and drop a grenade if a whole swarm comes after you. Blow away the rest with your assault rifle. Once the room is clear, go back and fill up then hop on the elevator and ride it... down. You'll get a checkpoint as you're riding the elevator. Save and quit when you hit it. This is always a good idea when you know you won't have to go back, but it may come in especially useful here.
Crap. Well it looks like you're just going deeper down into this little nightmare. But wait. It gets worse. While you've been riding the elevator, they've been learning how to use guns. And you get your first peek of Flood-infected marines. Recognize anybody? This room can be pretty tough. Turn on your flashlight while you're riding down and get your pistol ready. As soon as you land run out and gun down the nearest Flood. Keep moving and finding new targets quickly. Go for the guys with the assault rifles if you have a choice. They can really hurt. Keep shooting until you empty your pistol clip then switch quickly to your assault rifle so you can keep firing. There are usually only four armed combat Flood in here, but it seems like more. After a great deal of shooting, the room will be yours. Hop up on the big pile of Covenant boxes and grab the over shield.
There are a couple of marines in this next room, but they are most certainly going to die within seconds. So don't bother trying to save them. Grab one of the active camouflages and hose down any Flood on your side of the upper level. Spraying bullets while invisible pretty much negates the stealth factor, so expect to get smacked around a bit. Switch to the pistol and gun down any on the other side. Stay on the upper level and shoot at the Flood down below. They tend to cluster beneath you, so while you're still invisible try to throw grenades down at any groups. Once your active camouflage wears off, they'll be less likely to sit around while you toss grenades at them. So once you're visible, just keep moving around and trying to find spots where you can shoot down at the Flood with your pistol. Once you've taken most of them out, grab the second active camouflage and drop down to finish off survivors. Just mow them all down as usual.
Now you may retrieve the almighty shotgun. It's not always here, but often one of the marines or one of the Flood will be carrying it. Comb the room looking for it. If you find one, ditch your assault rifle in favor of it. It's the ultimate Flood-killing machine. Just make sure to keep it full of shells. Reload as often as possible. If you can't find the shotgun, I'd suggest reverting to your saved game on the elevator. This is why it's good to save your game there. Exit through the blood-spattered door that's been torn to pieces.
This next hallway has a few Flood hiding in rooms on either side. Put that shotgun to work. You should wait until they're relatively close, but be careful. If they hit you as you're firing, you'll waste the shot. And when in doubt, shoot them again.
The next room is pretty standard. There's more pistol ammo in the back next to a health pack, so use up those rounds. Shotgun anybody who gets too close. Clear out the lower level first then move around looking for a good view of the Flood on the upper level. Take them out with the pistol. Once you're tired of sniping at them head to the back of the room. Jump up on the flaming pile of rubble and grab the pistol ammo and the health pack. Run up and blast any remaining Flood with the shotgun. Leave through the open door on the upper level.
The next hall should be empty. It leads to the upper level of the room you were in before. Things should be quiet around here unless you missed a Flood earlier. Head straight across to exit. This next hall may have a Flood or two. Nothing you can't handle. Keep on moving.
Enter the next room and head straight for one of the corners. You remember this trick. Shotgun any Flood on the upper level as they get close using the pillar for cover. By now everybody on the lower level is clustered beneath you. So back up into the corner, face the middle of the room and toss a grenade into that little gap between the walkway and the pillar. If you still hear lots of commotion, drop another or a different kind. Drop down and blow away any survivors. Exit through the door on the lower level that's been ripped open.
Peek into this next room and blast somebody with either weapon. As the Flood on the lower level run at you, give each one a shotgun shell to the face. Back up to recharge and repeat if you need to. Now you're free to move into the room and take potshots at any Flood on the upper levels with your pistol. Try to finish most of them off. To the left of the door you came in through is an unlocked door. It's the one on the little platform. Through this door is a bunch of Flood and not much else, so taking them out isn't necessary. It's a lot of fun though, so run in and clean house with your shotgun.
The way ahead is directly across the room from the door you came in through. So after you're through blasting all the Flood in the area, go there. You'll know you're headed the right way if you run into a bunch of Flood in this hall. Shotgun shells for the lot of them. Don't worry about conserving ammo. You're about to get a lot more.
Once you're through in the hall, peek into the next room. This should be pretty easy for you by now. Run in and clear out the lower level with some crazy shotgun action. The upper floor can be taken out a number of ways. You can stay down below and snipe with the pistol or you can jump up there and finish them off with the shotgun. To get up you have to jump on the bloody fallen pillar. It's a tough jump, but you can do it. On this pillar you'll find a health pack, which you can feel free to grab, and a ton of needler and shotgun ammo. Here's the other spot where you can find needler clips. Ignore these until you've finished cleaning out the upper level. Once you have the room under control, switch out your pistol for a needler. Fill up on everything and get your shotgun ready. There are two exits from this room, not counting the way you came in. They're both on the same side, one on top of the other. Let's take the one on the upper floor first.
This next hall is empty and leads you to another platform with a switch for a bridge. Don't hit the switch. Shotgun any Flood on your side and use the needler on the Flood on the other side. Spend the rest of your needles on any Flood down below. Now we get to go back and clean out the lower level. Exit the way you came and go back through the hall. Now you should be back in the room with all the needler and shotgun ammo. Fill up then go through the door on the lower level below the one you just came back through.
This hall is not empty. Keep your shotgun up and spend as many shells as you want. There's plenty around. Take out one side completely then the other. Once the hall is yours, move into the room ahead. The upper floor should be clear, so just run out and put a shotgun shell into each of the Flood. Keep moving and these guys will go down easy. Now that everything's been cleared out, you can move back up to extend the bridge. Head back the way you came and hop up onto the bloody pillar. Fill up one last time. Head out the door on the upper level again.
Now you can extend the bridge. A whole mess o' Flood is about to come pouring through the door on the other side of the bridge and you've got two ways to deal with them. You can hang back and use the needler long-range. This works well and allows you to find cover if necessary. It also allows you to turn the bridge off if they start to pour across in droves. Remember you can turn the bridges back off. Or you could run across as fast as possible and take them all out with the shotgun and grenades. This works well, but is obviously a little riskier. If you choose the more aggressive route, just keep tossing grenades in the doorway and blasting away with the shotgun. Once they stop coming, take a deep breath. You're almost done with this level. If you want to be extra careful, you can go back and switch out your needler for a pistol. Either pick up the one you dropped earlier or look for one amongst the bodies. Otherwise move into the room ahead and check around to make sure everybody's totally dead. Don't worry about filling up down here. Just ride the elevator.
Finally, an elevator that takes you out of here! You get to talk to Foe Hammer and chat with your marine buddies and fill up on health and shotgun ammo and everything. Run out into the swamp and you should get a checkpoint. This is another one you'll want to save. You're full of health and shotgun ammo and that's all you'll need. This area is pretty big, but you basically want to keep moving forward and blasting any Flood nearby before they get to your marines. Just what you'd expect. Eventually you'll come to a narrow pass. It's the only way forward and it's basically booby trapped. So wait for your marines to catch up before going through. Once they're with you, take off running. A whole bunch of infection and combat Flood will leap down on you from above. The marines should distract them long enough for you to get away. They're isn't really a way to save them here, so the least they can do is be used as an effective diversion.
Once you're through the pass you still have a fierce battle ahead. Keep blasting any Flood within range and reloading as you go. The depression you're in opens up now so it's a little hard to give directions, but you want to turn left now and eventually circle around to your right. There's a tall structure in the middle you're heading for, but you'll encounter less resistance if you approach it from behind. After the mass of enemies seems to be behind you, start to circle right and look for lights on the ground. Keep moving ahead and the structure should loom out of the fog. I have no idea what this building is for, but there are four huge pipes that extend out of its sides and plunge into the ground. Run alongside one of the pipes towards the structure and it will lead you into a little alcove. You can stay right here with the pipe on one side of you and part of structure itself extending out on the other side. With your back and sides covered you can wait out the rest of the battle blasting any Flood that get too suspicious with your remaining shotgun rounds. Eventually 343 Guilty Spark will show up and beam you away. Pat yourself on the back. You've survived your first encounter with the Flood.