If you manage to finish Truth and Reconciliation on Legendary, The Silent Cartographer will seem like basic training. Not only is this level relatively short and easy, but you can also skip whole sections of it. That said, it's one of my favorite levels to play. It has a beautiful island setting contrasted nicely with intricate alien architecture. You get seven overshields, an active camouflage, three warthogs, and even a rocket launcher to play with. It sure beats scrounging for plasma pistols on the purple people eater. But enough digression. Here's how to beat it.
The Silent Cartographer
The first battle of the level is totally optional. If you don't like the way your fellow marines smell, just leave them to die. Turn around, go the opposite direction as everyone else, and follow the beach half way around the island, keeping the ocean on your left. Stop when you see a flipped warthog in front of you and skip the next few pages of this walkthrough. If you decide to stay, you're safest bet is probably to hang back and let the marines stir up trouble while you snipe with your pistol. But you're not going to leave and you're not going to play it safe. You're going to personally kill as many Covenant as possible and save those marines! There are two grunts to your left, two in the middle, and two on the right as you hit the beach. Lob a grenade at the ones in the middle, switch to your pistol, and go for the ones on the left. Zoom in and mercilessly gun down these two grunts. Don't worry about ammo, there's plenty of it around. Reload while you run towards their position. Switch out your assault rifle for the plasma pistol one of them just dropped. Charge it up and head back towards the carnage. Behind the first line of grunts is a single elite. He should be concentrating on marines so hit him with that charged plasma shot. Follow up with your pistol. Aim for the head and keep shooting until he's beyond dead. Reload. Use the energy shield as cover and lob a grenade into the next group of Covenant. There's an elite and three grunts here that need to go down. Send a charged plasma shot at the elite, then follow up with the pistol as usual. Help the marines out with the remaining grunts. When you're sure they're all dead, throw every grenade you have at the next group of Covies. You may need to switch out plasma pistols before moving on. There are two elites and two jackals left to kill, and they're the nastiest foes out here. Send as many charged plasma shots as you can towards them. Approach on the left and try to stay ahead of the marines. Run around behind the Covenant. Try to trap them between you and the marines. If they go after the marines, bash them from behind. If they go after you, send a charged plasma shot into them and follow up with a melee attack. Keep hitting until they're all very, very dead. Using this strategy (and with a lot of luck), I have saved all six marines. Hopefully you will have saved two to accompany you in your new warthog. And remember to come back here whenever your gunner and passenger die to pick up new ones. Why Foe Hammer didn't wait for a warthog before dropping you off in hostile territory I'll never know. At least you have one now. Head out, keeping the ocean on your right.
Again you have an optional battle ahead of you. It's not really necessary to stop and smell the flowers on the upcoming side of the island. You could just speed past these guys, but that won't stop us from taking a moment to kill everything we can find here. There are seven jackals to face at first. Plow into them as fast as you can. Make one pass, swinging the back end around into a couple of them, then take off back towards safety. Now stay just on the edge of their range. Let the gunner work if he's firing. If he's not, swing back in for another pass or just snipe with your pistol. Once all the jackals on the ground are history, ditch the hog and sneak up on foot. The guys on the rock can be tricky. Keep moving around until you can get a good shot. Be patient and keep sneaking around the base of the rock until they've been eliminated.
In the distance ahead of you, two elites and six grunts are waiting. Again you want to drive in and run over a few Covenant while your passengers dispatch a few more. Quickly drive away before they can organize themselves and fight back. Give yourself time to recharge then hit them again. The elites will tend to head for cover since your gunner has been spraying the area with bullets. After the grunts are paste, you may have trouble hitting these guys with the hog. Try using the rocks as cover to sneak a plasma grenade onto one or unload a needler on them.
Past these goons is the entrance to the tunnels where the cartographer is located. You'll have to deal with these Covenant eventually. It might as well be now. The path splits here. One way continues against the cliff towards the structure. You can go that way later. We want to take the path on the right. It leads back to the beach. Take out the three jackals down here on the ground. They're near the overshield. Let your gunner go to town, or just run them over if you don't have one.
There are three elites and five grunts waiting just outside the entrance. You can access the platform they're on three different ways. If you're on the beach facing inland, the first way is to the left. You can go back up the path you just came from and take the other fork. You can also walk up the side of the hill on the right and get up that way as well. The last way is through a tunnel far around to the right. The easiest way to take them out is to drive your warthog up there and make roadkill out of the lot of them. Or if you prefer a method that's gentler on the marines that are hopefully still riding with you, try this. Go up on the left and find some nice cover to snipe from. Take out any grunts you can. Head back down below the platform and come up on the right. Snipe any you couldn't get to before. Once all the grunts are taken care of, you have to be sneakier. Pop up on the left and get the attention of the elites. Quickly, sneak back down and come up on the right. If you're really slick, you can catch them with their backs turned and melee one of them. A bit safer tactic instead of meleeing is to stick a plasma grenade to them. As soon as you hit one, drop back down below the platform. Repeat as necessary if this tactic is working out for you. If not needlers also work well here. Whatever. As long as they die.
Moving further in you'll find the entrance itself guarded by four more elites. That's a lot of elites, so you may need the overshield here. A couple of them will wander around patrolling. Keep hidden right beside the entrance and melee them in the back when the opportunity presents itself. Send several grenades in towards the back of the hall. That should take care of another one or two. Keep moving further in the hall. Needlers and charged plasma shots will both work well here, but keep your pistol as the back-up weapon to finish them off. If you're having a real tough time, try driving in with your warthog. The gunner will tear these guys up at close range. Of course they'll tear you up to, but it's a lot of fun.
The last group down here consists of an elite and four grunts. The elite commander quickly slips behind the closing security door. They're in a tight corridor, so peek in and throw a grenade or two. These guys should be easy. Since you can proceed no further, you'd better head back out, grab your warthog, and drive around to the next side of the island.
If you turned around at the beginning and left your comrades to the carrion birds, you can tune back in now. Either way you go, you'll soon see a flipped warthog and some dead soldiers in front of you. Head to this warthog and look towards the center of the island. You should see a pack of Covenant behind a fallen tree. There are seven jackals, with an elite and four grunts to back them up. Don't let them see you, but take your warthog, turn it around so the ocean is on your left, and drive away. Put a bit of distance between you and them then turn around. There's a large hill here that overlooks the enemy position. The side the Covenant are on is a sheer face, but the side you're facing makes a nice ramp for your warthog. Drive up and off of it. You should land right in the middle of the jackals. Spin around a couple of times to grind them all into the dirt then speed off before they can regroup and start shooting back. Repeatedly barge through then go recharge. Each time you go in try to run over at least one Covenant then get away quickly before you take any real damage. The ramp is also a great sniping position if you like to pick them off from a distance. Stop when there is only the one elite left. He'll often be found hiding behind the tree blocking your route to the next area. Park near him and your gunner will keep him nicely pinned behind cover. Throw a grenade around behind him or fill him with needles or shoot him with whatever's handy.
You don't actually have to leave your warthog and gunner behind now. If you head to the left of the tree at just the right angle and with a lot of speed, you'll pop right through. I'm going to assume though that you don't have the warthog at your disposal from here on though. There are two little groups here consisting of an elite and four or five grunts. They should be pretty easy. Send a lot of charged plasma shots their way. Plasma pistols should be littering the ground near your previous engagement. Take on the elites after the grunts are gone and after you hit them with a good shot to take out their shields. They'll hide behind cover allowing you to get close enough to stick a grenade to them. Grab a good full plasma pistol after you're done and move on to the hunters.
You should be familiar with these guys from Truth and Reconciliation. Just run right up to them, but try to keep them in a line so you only have to deal with one at a time. Their shots are infrequent and easy to dodge, so it shouldn't be a problem getting close. Once they charge, quickly back up and shoot them in the gut once it's exposed. There are two overshields here. Go ahead and grab one. There isn't anything too nasty ahead, but they'll just go to waste otherwise. Oh, and try to save one of the health packs to pick up on the way out.
As soon as you dispatch these guys, hurry to the other side of this area where five jackals will be moving in to attack you. If you're quick you can catch them all in a bunch and take them out with a grenade or two. If not, use a charged plasma shot to take out their shield, then shoot them with whatever's handy.
Past them is yet another fight. Plasma pistols should again be readily available, so use them up. There are three jackals hiding in the rocks on the right and an elite with five grunts out in the open. Find some good cover and pour on the plasma. You've probably noticed by now that the trunks of the trees on this island extend out farther than they seem. You have to peek far out sometimes to get your shots around the edge. Eliminate the grunts first. Then move in after giving the elite a good shot in the kisser. Finish him off with a few shots and a melee attack. The remaining jackals should be easy enough. Drop their shields with a charged shot, then beat them to death or gun them down.
Further around the building six or seven grunts will stumble out into the open in two groups. You know what to do. Peek out and shoot til they all be dead. Just past them are three, yes, three overshields tucked away in this inconvenient little corner of the island. Really makes me wish you could kick them down to the ground below. It's not really worth trekking all the way back here to get them later. Leave them for now.
Move into the structure and down the ramp. As you move into the next room, two hunters will come out to greet you. Quickly run and hide in one of the little cubicles to the side. If you're fast, they will fail to notice you and one at least should be easy pickings. Be careful of the cramped quarters, but run up and deal with the other as usual. Shoot him in the gut after he swings his shield at you and misses.
Now would be a good time to pick up one of those overshields. Then go shut off the security system to move on to the next phase of the level.
There are five stealth elites now in the room where you killed the hunters and they can be very nasty. The easiest way to eliminate them is to run as fast as possible straight through this room. Your overshield should keep you alive. Once you're safely on the ramp leading out of here, you can peek in and pick them off much more easily. They'll bunch up together just inside the door. Take a moment if you wish to gloat over the pile of bodies.
Once you're back in the fresh air you'll see a friendly dropship has crashed below you. You could just drop down here. There's a good spot off to the right near the overshields. But I go the long way around so I can kill everything. One fun thing to do here before you go is to pick up a needler and get as close to those far away grunts as possible. The structure you just exited extends out over the beach and you can walk out pretty far onto it. From here you can do some maximum range needling and take out most of the grunts.
Wandering back to where you first met hunters on this level, you'll see a Covenant ship dropping off a present for you. Five jackals. Carefully shield yourself from the bulk of them while you work on one at a time. Drop his shield with a charged plasma shot, switch to the pistol, zoom in, and put half a clip into him. When there's only one left, just run up and smash his head in. Fill up on goodies here then go back to the warthog you left behind.
Cruise back to the beach and take a left around the island to find the crashed dropship. If you just fell down here, you can sneak up and make off with the goods pretty easily. You might have to kill a few jackals on the way out, but you don't really have to fight these guys. If you drive in you'll have to do a little more work. There are four jackals in a group in front of you and four more on the other side of the hill. On top there are five grunts. If you're a good driver, you can make roadkill out of both groups of jackals on the ground. One will probably retreat up the hill, so get out and go beat him down in person. If you're not such a good driver, your chaingunner and passenger will do most of the work for you. If you've used up all your marines, you can use the chaingun yourself from long range to take these guys out. Use short bursts, aim for the hole in their shields, and get down whenever a plasma shot comes at you. The grunts on top could be ignored, but I hate these guys so move up the hill and look for their little heads peeking out. Zoom in with your pistol and pop 'em. The jackals on the far side are easier to eliminate from the top of the hill. Rain charged plasma shots down on them until their bodies litter the ground.
Now you can claim your prize. The M19 SSM Rocket Launcher! Fill up on goodies here. You should have a full pistol, full health, and be just one rocket shy of a full SPNKR. There's even another warthog for you if you dropped down from the ledge. Move out. We're headed back around the island to the security door we opened to find the cartographer.
As a side note, I keep the rocket launcher throughout this walkthrough, but rarely use it. I will detail strategies that do not require it so that you may use it whenever you get to a spot that's tough for you. Basically if these tactics aren't working, try blowing everything up. You do have nine rockets to work with, and you'll only need a few of them following this walkthrough. The rest are your playthings.
Now turn around so the ocean is on your left and follow the beach back around until you see a couple of purple Covenant boxes littering the beach. This is where you must enter to find the cartographer. If you dealt with these folks already, there will only be three more jackals up the path on the left, which should be easy to run over or smack around, and two hunters on the platform. The rockets you've just been given were meant for these guys, but by now you know a much less wasteful way to eliminate this threat. Save the rockets for later. It's especially important here to keep both hunters in a line so they can't both shoot at you. They have a lot of open space to work with and can be very annoying. Get them to swing their shields out of the way and plug 'em in the gut.
If you took the short route then you haven't been here yet. There will be a ton of Covenant waiting for you. Interestingly enough you won't have to face all the original Covenant that were here plus the new batch. Evidently a few from the first group go on their lunch break before you arrive, but it's still a hell of a battle. Just keep barreling through with your warthog to whittle down their numbers. Then follow the same strategy I outlined above for the folks who came here first.
Move into the complex and through the security door. Head to the right and gaze upon the depths of the shaft.
Moving along, you'll come across an elite hard at work on his big purple box thingy. Hit him from behind then head half way up the ramp to your right.
One or two grunts will be patrolling the upper floor. If you wait patiently on the ramp, they will wander over near you, turn around and expose their backside to you as they walk away. Make sure to wait for the second one if there are two, then run up and hit them from behind. There's also often a sleeping grunt up here so take him out while he's snoozing.
Head back down the ramp and take an immediate right through the door. Again there are one or two patrolling grunts and often one sleeping. Peek around the corner and wait for the second one to pass. They patrol around the central structure in the room. They also like to turn when they reach the corner nearest to you and look in your direction before proceeding, so be careful. Run out and bash the second one after it turns away. The first will turn around after it reaches the next corner so move fast. Duck behind the central structure after you strike so it doesn't see you. Use your motion tracker to notice when he moves on, then go for the sleeping grunt. Retreat to the door and wait for the first grunt to return. He should be easy to sneak up on this time. He uses the same pattern as before.
Now you should be left with one elite down below, one grunt on the ledge above him, and possibly another near him. Find a good sniping spot out of view of the elite and send one round through each grunt's head in turn. The elite will be alerted, but will have no idea where you are. You should be able to use the upstairs catwalk to sneak around and pistol-whip him.
Now that the area is yours, switch out your rocket launcher for a plasma pistol. There are three jackals in the hall ahead. Empty a plasma pistol on them. Just keep sending charged shots down the ramp. Throw a grenade down too. If they get into the room with you, run up and smack them then go back to gunning down the ones in the hall. After they're toast, pick up a more fully charged plasma pistol.
The next area has two pairs of jackals roaming about and two hunters blocking the way forward. As you enter the room, you'll see a hall extending to your left and one in front of you overlooking the shaft. Move into the one ahead of you and look to your left. You should see a narrow corridor that leads to the interior of this room. This short, narrow corridor is a beautiful place. Only very rarely will Covenant follow you in here. You'll use it now on the way down and again on the way back out. Send charged plasma shots at the jackals from a distance then follow up with your pistol. Grenades as well work wonders against jackals. Hang out near the corridor and use it for cover whenever necessary. There's a pile of goodies here, but save it for after you face the hunters. These guys should be easy. Try to get the two of them in a line so they can't both fire at you. Dodge up to them then backpedal and shoot them in the gut when they charge. Go fill up on good stuff and retrieve your rocket launcher.
Follow the path down to a mysteriously vacant area. As you enter this place, the exits are directly beneath you. You could just hop down, but wander around for a moment to familiarize yourself with your surroundings. This place will be crawling with jackals later.
There are two doors out of this room. The one on the left leads to an active camouflage. Go down and take a look. Memorize where it is. We'll be getting it later. The one on the right leads down a ramp to a long hallway with three grunts at the end. Zoom in right at head level for these shorties and nail them. There are six more grunts and an elite on the lower floor. Move ahead and look down. Just before you expose yourself on the ledge ahead, you should see little triangular openings next to the floor. Through the one on the left you'll see several grunts milling about. Crouch down, zoom in, and start shooting. After you've sent many of them to an early grave, the rest will retreat down a ramp overlooking the shaft. This leaves the room they were in nicely vacant for you. Notice there are four ways in and out of this room. If you're still standing on the catwalk facing the center of the room, there's one behind you, the one you came from. The Covenant retreated through another. It's to your left, and you can see the shaft through it. To your right and in front of you there's a ramp that leads down to two more elites. And to your right behind you another ramp leads up to the room with the active camouflage. Take a moment to look around the theater and familiarize yourself with the location of all emergency exits.
Drop down and go to the fallen bodies of the most recently deceased grunts. Grab a needler and drop the rocket launcher for now. Peek out into the shaft and unload your needler on the elite and grunts that retreated. Keep firing until the grunts at least are all definitely dead. The elite might be trickier. A charged plasma shot will send him behind cover. While he's hidden you can creep up next to him and drop a grenade or run around and blow his head off. There's an overshield here behind cover, but wait until after you've dealt with the next two elites before snatching it.
These guys cover each other very well. You could always get their attention from one direction then run back into the previous room and use another exit to get around behind them and stick a grenade to their back. Or you can just toss several grenades into the hall with them. Unloading a couple of clips of needles works well too. You have many options. Try them all. Just as long as they die.
Whew. At last you can activate the cartographer, grab that overshield and your rocket launcher and get ready to blast your way out of here.
From the cartographer, turn around and head back over the bodies of the two elites. Follow the ramp and head straight through the next room. The next ramp up should lead you to the room with the active camouflage. It's on the ledge above you with a few jackals. Lob a couple of frag grenades up there to dislodge them. They should run screaming. Take a moment to read ahead and plot your course back out of here. You don't want to get lost while you're invisible.
Now comes the fun part. You can get the active camouflage from down here. Walk into the middle of the room and face the exit. Since you dutifully memorized where the active camouflage is, you'll know the spot to jump to. The idea here is to grab it through the wall. Run up and hit the peak of your jump as your left side is bumping into the corner of the wall. If you're lucky, you'll become invisible.
Make the most of your time while invisible. Run as fast as you can back out of here. Head to the far side of the next room and go under the catwalk. Turn around and head back up the ramp and down the long hall. There might be some jackals on ramp spiraling up to the previously vacant room. Try to get behind them and smack them silly.
Before you grenaded the guys squatting on the active camouflage, there were seven jackals in this group. Hopefully you got at least two with the blast. That leaves five to take out now. They should all be hanging out near the door where you emerge. Hit them from behind or stick grenades to them. On the other side of the room are another five jackals. These guys suck. Use a rocket if you can get two with one shot. Just hitting them from behind is still the preferred method of execution, but you'll be running out of time very soon. Hopefully when you become visible, only stragglers will remain. Switch out your rocket launcher for a plasma pistol and take them out as usual.
On the ledge leading out of this godforsaken pit is an elite and five more grunts. These guys have a clear shot and will nail you if you dawdle down below them. With the abundance of plasma pistols nearby, your choice should be obvious. Charged plasma shots for the lot of them. Save the elite for last. Drop his shields then run around and fill him full of lead.
Remember you always have that rocket launcher if any of these goons are giving you a particularly hard time.
The next foes you will encounter are four more jackals on the next ramp leading up. Peek out and down them with charged plasma shots as usual. Take a moment to move your rocket launcher to your current location and grab a new plasma pistol. I know. It's tedious lugging it around. But you never know when you'll need it.
Move on up the ramp and across the interior of the next room. Hide yourself in that wonderful little hallway located in the far right corner of the wall. Use it and abuse it. There are three jackals (you're probably really starting to hate these guys), four grunts, and one elite. Take out the jackals on the inside first with a barrage of charged shots. Then use their pistols on the grunts roaming about in the exterior of the room. The elite shouldn't be a problem. Drop his shields with some charged plasma and he'll go hide. You can then sneak behind him or just run around and dump a clip of bullets into him. Scavenge the pile of goodies nearby and go retrieve your rocket launcher.
The next room again has around three jackals, four grunts, and an elite to offer. Open the door into the room and look through. You should see jackals on the upper floor and grunts down below. Zoom in with your pistol and give 'em hell. You should be full of ammo and don't have much left to use it on. And since you're nearing the end of the level, you can start to use those rockets you've been conserving. As long as you save one for the last fight.
Once a number of grunts and jackals have perished, they will retreat into the smaller room to the side. Move on in, head up the ramp to the upper floor, and follow it around. If there are any jackals left, run up and punch them or toss a grenade at their feet. Ahead to the right, you'll get a good view of the remaining Covenant. Rain bullets and grenades down on them until only the elite remains. Retreat, hop down, run around, and sneak up behind him. You may have to run back and forth a few times, but you should be able to sneak up behind him or at least stick a plasma grenade to him.
Now all that stands between you and sunshine is the elite commander. This guy is actually very easy to kill. Peek around the corner and stick a plasma grenade to him. That's it. Oh, and run like hell. He's gonna be pretty ticked off.
Once he's reduced to a smoldering carcass, you're seemingly free to waltz out of the building. Stay vigilant though. There's one last fight and they'll catch you totally off guard if you forget about them. Six stealth elites block your way to the Pelican. Peek out down the last hall to freedom and fire off a couple of bullets to get their attention. Quickly retreat and they'll pile up in the hall just around the corner. If you saved any rockets this is a load of fun. Sidestep out and shoot one right at their feet. With any luck, you'll catch almost all of them in the blast. They go flying. Any leftovers should be easy to gun down. If you have no rockets left, there are always grenades. But they aren't quite as satisfying.
Hop into the dropship and congratulate yourself. You just decimated an entire island full of Covenant inside and out.