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Legendary Difficulty Guide by shockwaveXPOW
Version: 2.0 | Updated: 01/19/04
============================================================== Halo XBOX Shockwave (firstname.lastname@example.org) Copyright 2003 by shockwave All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their respective trademark and copyright holders. None of this information can be reposted anywhere outside of gamefaqs without my express permission. ============================================================== ================================================== === TABLE OF CONTENTS ================================================== ================================================== I. INTRODUCTION 1. Update Information 2. Legendary Difficulty 3. Co-Op Play II. GENERAL STRATEGY 1. Terrain Features A. Retreat and hide B. Learn scenes C. Use dropoffs D. Checkpoint wisely E. Notice respawning enemies F. Bypass open area G. Examples 2. Combat Strategy A. Conserve health B. Abuse sleeping enemies C. Let enemies fight D. Items may disappear 3. NPCs A. Protecting marines B. Sniper marine uses C. Herding marines D. Marines and vehicles E. Sentinels III. WEAPONS 1. Held weapons A. Assault rifle B. Needler C. Pistol D. Plasma pistol E. Plasma Rifle F. Rocket launcher G. Shotgun H. Sniper rifle 2. Grenades 3. Mountable weapons A. Vehicles types B. Vehicle use C. Indoor vehicle use D. Driving tips E. Stationary guns 4. Melee attacks 5. Consumables A. Health pack B. Cloaking C. Overshield IV. ENEMIES 1. Overview A. Covenant B. Flood 2. Covenant Enemies A. Grunts B. Jackals C. Elites D. Hunters 3. Flood A. Parasites B. Carriers C. Drones 4. Sentinels V. CONCLUSIONS ================================================== === I. INTRODUCTION ================================================== ================================================== ****************** 1. Update Information ****************** V1.0: First version V2.0: Miscellaneous revisions *************** 2. Legendary Difficulty *************** So you're going to try to tackle Legendary in Halo. This is one of the hardest difficulty levels of any game that I've ever experienced. In most games, harder difficulty just means more patience and dying; in Halo, there are simply scenes that you will spend hours trying to get through with no progress until you get extremely lucky or figure out some quirk. I have a lot of experience with FPSs and Halo, both single and multiplayer, and it's only a couple of years after I got the game that I've good enough to really try to solve Legendary all the way through on single player. Legendary is not for people who want a guarantee that they'll solve the game, most likely you'll get frustrated somewhere near the beginning and stop playing. But if you're truly masochistic, here's a general guide that will help you through to the best of my ability. This guide is not comprehensive, but it's intended to cover points that I have not seen in other guides. If you have questions, be sure to first check the other many faqs available on gamefaqs before contacting me. It is also possible that there are other ways to solve Legendary that conflict with my comments. I haven't even solved Legendary all the way through at the time of this writing, but this is just my honest attempt of compiling everything I've learned so far. Before you get started, I would sugget inverting flight controls, turning off auto-levelling, and increasing your rotation rate by a bit. You want to be able to spin as fast as possible, unfortunately Halo is not like a PC game where you have a mouse interface for this sort of thing, so try to get used to using your analog to control your spin rate. I find that the default setting is way too slow, and this is not just a preference thing because there are times when you really do need to turn fast and thus will die if you're using a lower sensitivity. As a matter of terminology, I refer to "scenes" as areas between two checkpoints. In other words, it's what you need to fight through to get to the next save. *************************** 3. Co-op Play *************************** Co-op play is fairly trivial to solve at any level given the unlimited respawn. One easy way to get through difficult levels is to simply alternate having one player stand very far back while the other charges in and does damage. Since monsters don't generally respawn indefinitely, and since you start off with weaponry and ammo whenever you die, you'll eventually make it through. The harder co-op missions are ones where you start off in one room and have nowhere to hide (e.g. boarding the covenant ship in Level 3) or when you have to keep some puny target such as Captain Keyes alive. In the former, note that often you can find a place to hide anyway, e.g. in the said level where you board the covenant ship, you can have one player hide behind the normally locked doors if you run through them while the covenent are opening them. More on this later. In the latter, an important note is that your NPCs (Non Player Characters, e.g. marines) will always follow the second (i.e. bottom screen) player. So you have that person hang back while player 1 clears out the hostiles. That's all I'll say about co-op play. The unlimited respawn makes it artifically easy to solve; if you're having trouble getting through Legendary in co-op, then I suggest reading through some other basic guides. Just bear in mind that you cannot save halfway through a level in co-op, so you'll have to solve the whole thing in one sitting. The rest of this guide will cover exclusively single player since that is where the real challenge is. ================================================== === II. GENERAL STRATEGY ================================================== ================================================== ****************************** 1. Terrain Features ****************************** I am not going to go through how to solve every level in Legendary. This would take far too much time and I doubt most people would even be patient enough to read through it. There are other guides that have more detailed walkthroughs, this guide is intended to supplement them while avoiding duplicating information. However, I'll start out by pointing out some general ways to approach levels, then give examples of a couple of excetionally difficult ones. A. Retreat and hide ------------------------------ The absolute most important idea in Legendary is that you must find a position where you can take on enemies one or a few at a time. Open areas are bad, closed areas are good. There are plenty of fairly open levels where you'll get absolutely slaughtered if you run in with guns blazing. Even the lowly grunt with a plasma pistol can take down your health very quickly when given an opportunity to fire for more than a second or two. The first thing I do whenever I enter a level is run backward and see who follows, this is a standard "retreat strategy". For example, hiding behind doors is an excellent tactic. In many levels, opponents will not follow you, so you use the door as somewhat of a shield -- open the door, fire a couple of charged plasma pistol shots, then retreat and allow the door to close so that you can regenerate shield. You can do this similarly with obstacles, corners, etc. There's nothing magical about this. So if you're dying repeatedly in any particular scene, then consider a more patient approach. As a policy, you should never be running around in the open when there are enemies around. Always start far back, inch forward until you see your first enemy, pick the appropriate weapon to dispatch it, then proceed after it's dead. The hardest scenes about finding hiding spaces are in the beginning of levels, because you're often thrown into some open combat area. Even so, most of these levels beginnings actually have hiding post. More on that later in this section. B. Learn scenes ------------------------------ There are generally quirks and tricks you can use for each scene. Again, I'm not going to go through this because it's far too laborious, and in general I am not going to answer questions for people who are having trouble on a particular scene so don't ask. For some of the tougher scenes, I can play through up to 50 times to get through. During that time, I'll naturally learn the scene inside out by the time I'm through. So I'm assuming you will be able to too; my main comment is that you need to approach Legendary with patience and be willing to fight through the same checkpoint dozens of times until you figure it out. If you're thinking about giving up or asking for help after dying several times, you're not going to make it through and probably should try a lower difficulty level. If I'm having trouble in a scene, I'll usually spend a couple of lives running around the area mapping out where weapons, powerups, and terrain are. Dying, dying, and dying again doing the same thing each time without any change usually means I'm not doing it right. Spend some time searching out the optimal way to approach each scene, then work on your execution. C. Use dropoffs ------------------------------ Some areas have cliffs or open portals. These are your friends as long as you don't fall down them, particularly against hunters. The easiest way to kill a hunter is through use of a pistol. The second easiest is to get it to charge at you when you're standing at the edge of a cliff. Most areas where you meet hunters will have one or the other. You can also sometimes flush normal enemies off of dropoffs through grenade use. Elites and grunts in particular will launch themselves pretty far when you throw a grenade at them, so you can get them to jump off of cliffs. There are other areas where enemies such as elites will be at a different level than you, such as on a raised platform, and where it's nearly impossible to kill them because they'll constantly hide and regenerate shields whenever hit. One of the best ways to handle this short of sniping them is to throw a grenade at them and make them jump off the platform down to your level. D. Checkpoint wisely ------------------------------ Checkpoints almost always are triggered after you finish clearing out a given group of enemies. Because Halo loads each scene up as you pass from one to other, there will never be a very long continuous stream of enemies without some break. So after you kill a group of enemies and there are none other in sight, you should expect to checkpoint soon. This is all obvious information, but what is not obvious is that sometimes you can go through a scene without checkpointing. This means that if you die in the next, you're setback to starting over both scenes. Getting through a scene without checkpointing doesn't mean the scene doesn't have one, it means you haven't reached a spot where you trigger it. If after you kill your enemies, you don't checkpoint soon, wander around the area until you get the checkpoint message. It's always there somewhere. After clearing out enemies, be sure to backtrack and replenish your weapons and ammo and do whatever other maintenance before going forward and hitting the checkpoint. Chances are that in most scenes you will die at least once before successfully getting through it. If you did your maintenance before checkpointing for the previous scene, then this saves you the trouble of having to do it all over again each time you die and restart. For example, if your plasma rifle is low on ammo, first backtrack and find a replacement before going forward, otherwise everytime you die during the next scene you'll have to go back and do this. In levels where you need to use a Banshee, generally you'll checkpoint right as you get into the Banshee. Some levels such as Level 4 are non-linear, in that you can go through scenes multiple times and each time will checkpoint. You can abuse checkpoints in these types of missions becuase you essentially can get a manual save whenever you cross the boundary between two checkpoints. In other words, in these levels you'll always checkpoint when you run over certain spots. Find where those are and return to them whenever you need to save. It's too bad that Halo doesn't allow you to save at will but that's part of the reason Legendary provides such a good challenge. E. Notice respawning enemies ------------------------------ There are some areas, particularly with flood, where enemies will continue to respawn indefinitely, usually everytime you pass through or near an area. In other words, you can never clear them out completely. These spots are rare but it can save you a lot of frustration if you recognize them. For example, in Level 5 when you're escaping into the forest with your marines, there are a few spots that constantly regenerate flood (they'll typically fall out of trees). In Level 10, engineering room, flood will constantly respawn at the ramps to the third level. You can wait around 30 minutes and they'll just keep coming until you move out of the area. The best way to handle these is to engage and kill the current enemies there as quickly as possible, then run through the area so that none respawn. Just be careful of flood carriers when running through, particularly in Level 10. F. Bypass open areas ------------------------------ Sometimes you'll come across an open area where there's nowhere obvious to retreat to. Remember that the best way to handle enemies in Legendary is to take them on in enclosed areas, often this means that the first thing you do when entering a new scene is to retreat into the previous and see what follows you. If that's infeasible -- e.g. the retreat is blocked by a door suddenly becomes impassable -- then sometimes you can also run through the area and into the next to find cover. One example is in Level 6 right after you climb the tree to get to the open area near the indoor installation, this is very close to the beginning of the level. You'll recognize this because the first thing you'll see is friendly assault rifle fire and grenades being thrown, and the covenant in retreat (there's not actually any real marines doing this, it's all just scripted). If you stay in this open area and fight the covenant, you'll generally take a lot of damage even if you use the shade gun there. If you retreat, you'll go back down a hill onto the tree and nobody will follow. However, you can run through the covenant forces and into the station, then make your stand there. There are well over a dozen grunts and jackals, and taking them on from inside the entrance is astronomically easier than fighting them in the woods. G. Examples ------------------------------ Here's a couple of detailed walkthroughs for the more difficult scenes. I'm sure there are others that I have not run into yet, I'll add onto this when I find more noteworthy ones. a. Level 3 : After boarding the covenant ship. This scene puts you into an exposed area surrounded by several doors. Covenant come out in waves through any of these. This includes groups of jackals, grunts, and gold sword elites. Unfortunately, no enemies carry plasma rifles so you'll never be able to get a fresh one. There is one health pack here and a cloak. First, before you get into this level, make sure you're at full health. If you're not, replay the previous level until you are. There is a health pack near the lift of the previous level so there is really no excuse for not having full health. You should also have a plasma rifle with as much charge as possible, a needler with full ammo, and a full stock of plasma and frag grenades. If you cannot find those in the previous scene, then go back further. There is a cache of frag grenades near the beginning of the level, and you can certainly find all covenant items. I suppose you can also kill the marine reinforcements to see if they have any grenades. Drop your sniper rifle, it's not worth carrying in general through the next level. You could keep it, because there are a couple of spots later on where it could be useful, but it takes up an inventory slot and if you drop it during combat, most likely it'll disappear pretty soon. The first enemy will always be an invisible sword elite. Kill it immediately with your plasma rifle; if you don't kill it fast, then restart. Now look at your radar for the masses of red blips. Whenever you see one, go towards that door and chuck a plasma grenade in there as soon as the door opens. Jackals and grunts are both only mediocre at dodging plasma grenades so you can often do a lot of damage or at least force them to jump away, which means they won't be firing. The types of enemies that appear, and the doors they appear out of, are totally random. Just hope that you don't run into too many sword elites, because these are by far the hardest to kill. Remember that all elites will stop and "power up" as soon as they're hit for the first time or shortly after seeing you. Try to stick the elite with a plasma grenade while it's stationary. Otherwise, use your needler, it is by far the fastest way to kill the gold elite. I've tried using my sniper rifle but this is just too iffy; it takes around 3 hits and if you miss, you die. That said, if you're actually really good with the sniper and can take out gold elites consistently, then definitely bring along your sniper rifle. Keep your marines alive as long as possible, because they often throw frag grenades and this will help out tremendously. Also, the longer your marines are alive, the more they're diverting fire away from you. After they're dead, things become very difficult because all covenant will focus on you. At this point, it's a good idea to run into one of the inaccessible doors and take things slowly. Two of the doors meet in a common passage, the others go to a dead end. Wait until a group of covenant comes out of one of the two doors, and kill them and run through that. Covenant except for gold elite will not go through the door to pursue you, although once in a while they'll come out of one of the other doors leading into the passage. Usually there's a lot of dead bodies and weapons near the door. I'll open the door, grab a plasma pistol, and run back quickly. Then, it's just a matter of patience -- charge your plasma pistol, open the door and unload it, retreat. You don't really have to aim because there's invariably going to be a target nearby that it'll hit. When your pistol is depleted, chuck it and get another. Save your needler for when you see groups of enemies or when a gold elite is nearby. Save your plasma rifle (if it has any ammo left to begin with), you'll need it for the hunters or for when enemies come into your passage. Speaking of that, this is where I usually die, because those enemies will appear right in my face. The best way to handle this is to chuck a plasma grenade, and use your rifle. The needler works too but because they'll be near you and it does delayed damage, you may sustain hits before your target explodes. The music will change eventually, then you'll checkpoint after a couple of other waves. Whew. It took me many many hours to get through this. Finally, two hunters will come out when everything else is dead. Killing them is not eays because most likely you'll only have some plasma pistols and needlers available. If there is an assault rifle, definitely use that. Otherwise, just be patient. You may want to consider luring one of the hunters into the passage (just back up towards the door and it'll open when the hunter gets close to it). The other hunter won't go through the door unless it's nearby. The drawback is that the passage is quite narrow so there is less strafing room. I would save the cloak until near after your marines are dead and you're taking on enemies from the passage. If you can get to it, it'll be very helpful. Sneak up behind the gold elites and club them while they're inactive, etc. Just be aware that any action other than melee attack will reveal your position, and keep your distance from your enemies because they'll sometimes react if you get too close. b. Level 3 : Large open room interior This is a huge room with a lot of crates, an upper ledge where enemies will appear, and a dropoff. There are two health packs here and some grenades. You'll checkpoint only once, after the first few waves. Using plasma pistol charged shots works fine against most enemies here, you can just fire it blindly at the upper ledges and they'll home in on any grunts there even if you can't see them. In front of you and on the left near the dropoff, against the wall that forms one of the upper ledges, there's some large crates that you can stand behind and be completely hidden from most fire. There is a set number of waves that will come at you, the place they appear depends on where you are standing. The easiest waves to handle are ones where grunts and jackals appear on the ledge above you and to your right. You can hide in the safe area I mentioned above near the ledge, keep out occasionally, and fire charged shots to take them out. The most difficult are the waves that come from the door that you entered the room from. When that happens, I'll chuck a fragmentation grenade at the door, unload a few plasma grenades, and run clear to the other room and hide behind the large crates near where the hunters will come out of later. From there, I keep out occasionally and take out enemies one by one. The main difficulty about this level is that you have to fight a LOT of waves of enemies, and there's one red elite on the upper ledge with a plasma rifle who will pick you off relentlessly. There is no easy way short of luck for killing him unless you kept your sniper rifle from the beginning of the level. There are a lot of crates up there, and he'll always come out, shoot at you while strafing, and hide behind a crate to regenerate as soon as you hit him back. You can try to get lucky with a needler or plasma pistol but red elites tend to dodge these very well. You can try to get luck with a plasma grenade but this is really not practical. The easiest way (and it's not easy) that I've found is to flush him off the ledge by tossing a plasma grenade near him. I'll get right up to the ledge, face almost vertical, and toss a grenade upward, it'll land somewhere on the ledge. Repeat until he decides to jump off to avoid it, sometimes you'll get extremely lucky and he'll jump clear out of the dropoff. But in any case, as soon as he's on the same level as you, it's much easier to kill him with a needler. Also, there is also an overshield in this level. I recommend just getting it when you need to fight that wave of enemies. After much work, the music will change and you'll finally come up against 2 hunters. As far as I can tell, there is no checkpoint. Fortunately, the hunters aren't all that hard to kill because you can use the dropoff. Just lure them there, let them charge you, and strafe so that they run off the ledge. There are two health packs here and some frag grenades, use the health packs sparingly. Unless you're absolutely amazing, you'll probably have sustained some damage from earlier in the level. But, try to get through at least up until the first checkpoint without using a health pack. Things are more difficult after that, and having just one health pack afterward means that you'll most likely end up taking damage. Don't be afraid to keep restarting the first scene whenever you take body damage, so that you checkpoint with full health. It really sucks if you're at one red and accidentally checkpoint here. c. Level 5 : Start This is a tough level because as soon as you're dropped off, you're confronted by two red elites and a swarm of grunts. There are two stationary guns here that are tempting to use, but if you get in them then you'll most likely get grenaded or just whittled down by direct fire. When you're dropped off, look to the extreme right of the board. There is a large square column there. Run immediately towards it and strafe to avoid fire. If the elites are quick and start firing at you, they'll probably take off a lot of health before you get there, just restart in that instance or chuck a grenade at the door to make them dodge when they come out. The elites will pursue you to the front side of the pillar but will never go fully around, so you can hide behind it indefinitely. The grunts will man the guns and stand around doing nothing. Pick them off with your pistol until they're all dead. Now you just have to deal with the elites. This is the hard part. Assault rifle and pistol are poor weapons to use against them. There are two methods for taking them out. First, you can try to run past them and get back to the entrance, there you can pick up a plasma pistol and some grenades, or use the shade guns. This is difficult because the elites will pick you off as you run past them, you can try grenading them repeatedly to make them dodge but that's not easy either. The second thing you can do is wait until they're stationary and facing in one direction. Typically after not seeing you for a while, they'll hunch over close to the pillar in some random direction and become inactive. If you approach when they're facing away from you, you can melee them and kill them instantly. Do this once and then pick up a plasma rifle to finish off the other, or be patient and do it twice. In one instance, I was able to take out both elites with melee in one pass because they were both facing away from me. You should be able to get through this without losing any health, so be patient -- run behind the pillar, wait until the elites stop shooting, inch forward from the other side of the pillar and see if they're facing away from you, repeat until you get a good shot at their backs. ****************************** 2. Combat Strategy ****************************** Here's some general approaches to combat. There will be far more detailed information in the enemies and weapons section, so this includes all non-specific facets of combat. A. Conserve health ------------------------------ In general, you should replay scenes until you can get through them without losing any health. The only scenes where you should lose health at all are ones at the beginning where there is no easy place to hide. Otherwise, assuming that you have enough patience, you should always adopt a strategy that allows you to kill enemies while exposing yourself to the least amount of direct fire. Granted, you can't be perfect all the time, and there will be scenes where it is possible but difficult to get by without taking a scratch. Learn to be able to discern which is of that type so that you don't needlessly lose health getting through the easier scenes. In particular, note that checkpoints come with no warning. If you've dispatched a bunch of enemies and have taken more damage than you think is reasonable, immediately pause and restart the level so that it doesn't save before you're able to. Even bearing this in mind, you'll certainly get into situations where you accidentally checkpoint with far too little health. This is why it's important to try to keep health up as much as possible, to account for situations such as these as well as scenes where you will invariably get through with some damage. The worst feeling is to be halfway through a level, accidentally checkpoint when you have 1 bar of health remaining, and not be able to get through the rest, and having to start over from the very beginning. Note that your health bar is discretized whereas your shield bar is not. What I mean by this is that it's possible to take health damage even if you don't see it. You can take a few plasma shots before your health goes down by a notch. However, this doesn't mean that your health is staying the same. Just remember that whenever you take a hit when your shields are down, you will sustain health damage, even if it doesn't show up. B. Abuse sleeping enemies ------------------------------ Grunts often show up in scenes sleeping and should be taken out quietly with a melee attack. Melee attacks will kill anything that is sleeping, or all covenant, except hunters, that have their backed turned. These are all obvious comments -- of course you should take out sleeping grunts. However, there are some scenes where you can get through the entirety just by melee attack, but where it may not be obvious how to in the beginning. Usually sleeping grunts are close to elites or jackals, which will call out and cause them to wake up if you alert those. However, in some of these scenes, you can avoid the elites or jackals and take out all the grunts if you're patient, this may involve getting familiar with their patrol routes. Elites in particular are often prone to being knocked out from behind too because they'll often stand upright and motionless. As an example, for Level 4 there is a scene where you meet a bunch of sleeping grunts after going indoors, shortly after a huge fight involving covenant and your supporting marines. This is the scene right after you're unable to take your tank further. In that scene, there are a LOT of sleeping grunts, and a few elites. The elites can all be taken out by melee attack -- some of them are staionary while others go through predictable patrols where you can get behind them. If you charge into that with guns blazing, you can also win the scene but it's much more difficult. Even if you can't take out everything without waking up a single grunt, you should be able to figure out how to kill at least 3/4 of the enemies and at least one elite. There are other scenes where grunts start asleep but will wake up after a short amount of time because there are unavoidable elites nearby, such as on the Level 4 bridge scenes. In these, you just have to take out as many as possible as fast as possible, there's no magic to it. C. Let enemies fight ------------------------------ There are scenes where you'll have both covenant and flood, or both enemy sentinels and flood. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the fireworks, preferably with a zoom weapon so you can see the action better. Generally the flood will win all fights. You may want to look at the outcome of the fight and then see if you should help out in case there's too many enemies left. For example, if the flood slaughter the covenant, maybe you can chuck some grenades at the covenant to whittle them down a bit while they're fighting. D. Items may disappear ------------------------------ One very annoying aspect of Halo is that dropped items do not stay around indefinitely. Rather, there seems to be a maximum number of supported dropped items per scene, so that older weapons start disappearing. This is particularly annoying when enemies you are killing are in some inaccessible area where you can't retrieve their weapons (e.g. a parallel bridge), meanwhile the ones you can get a hold of are disappearing as you kill those enemies. Fortunately, there is only a max number of items per scene. This means that once you are done with a scene, you can safely assume that dropped items there will remain persistent. This is particularly relevant when you have some rarer item that you need to drop for some time, such as a rocket launcher or sniper. In levels where I have access to these, I'll typically carry them around but rarely use them. This means they take up inventory space. When getting into large fights, though, I'll often need access to a secondary weapon, so I'll drop my sniper rifle and pick up something to use temporarily. Unfortunately, sometimes when I come back, my rifle is gone. The safer way to do this is to go back to a previous scene (you can tell because the game will give the "loading...done" message as you pass into a previous checkpoint area) and drop your weapon there. Items that start in the scene, i.e. are not dropped by killed enemies, will not disappear. So if you run across a rocket launcher, ask first if you really need to pick it up right now. It's often better to leave it sitting there, and backtrack later to get it so that it does not tie up an inventory slot and so that you don't have to worry about it vanishing if you drop it later on. ****************************** 3. NPCs ****************************** I'm using NPC as "Non Player Character" here, this includes marines and sentinels. Here's some basic strategies for how to protect and utilize your NPCs. A. Protecting marines ------------------------------ In Legendary, marines die very quickly, and there are some levels where you absolutely cannot save them no matter what you do. As a general policy, should you try? This is a matter of some debate. As a general policy, I think you should look for ways to keep your marines alive; after all, it's no different from how you will generally die easily in Legendary and thus look for ways to keep yourself alive. Marines provide a lot of useful support. They will not kill many enemies with their machine guns, but their frag grenades are very useful and they generally throw them effectively. Marines' verbal remarks will also alert you when there are enemies around, and also when you've killed enemies. The latter point may not seem that important, but there are plenty of times when you'll be firing or sniping at something in the distance and will not be sure whether it is dead. And there will be other times when enemies don't necessarily appear on your radar but your marine friends will detect them first. Marines are also very useful in vehicles such as the Warthog since you can't fire while driving. Marines with shotguns will take down flood pretty fast in the later levels. Finally, I find the game much more rewarding just from an aesthetic level if I can keep my marines alive, because the addition of marines into the game and their funny interactions is part of what makes the game enjoyable. My favorite marine saying: "Hey, that was Bob!", after one of the marines kills a flood drone. Just because your marines are frail does not mean that you cannot protect them. For Level 3, I was able to keep most of my marines alive until the scenes right before I boarded the covenant ship. For Level 6, I kept most of my marines alive through the entire level. In fact, in almost all levels, I'm able to keep at least some of my marines alive until the end. Think of it as an added challenge; after all, you've got to be a challenge-seeker in the first place to be playing Legendary. I'm not going to force you to believe that spending time saving your marines is always the right idea; you have to weigh the tradeoff between what they give you versus how much trouble it is to save them. My main challenge is that you don't just assume off the bat that they cannot be protected at reasonable cost. Generally there are achievable ways if you're patient enough to look for them. As a caveat, there are some situations where it's absolutely impossible to save your marines, and attempting to keep them alive only ensures that you'll sustain heavy damage yourself. There's only a couple of scenes I've found so far where this happens, so don't give up too easily because in most scenes you can save your marines and it's worth doing so. B. Sniper marine uses ------------------------------ Sniper marines are absolutely vital and you should always replay scenes where sniper marines die. They fire frequently and never miss. You can also use their tracers to target far away enemies that you cannot see. This is particularly useful if you're in a vehicle such as a tank and your sniper passengers are firing at distant targets such as hunters that take multiple hits to kill or are impervious to sniper shots. Just fire in the same direction as the tracer, and stop after the marines say the equivalent of "Nice shot". Sniper marines are very useful in Warthogs since the Warthog can provide them with quite a bit of protection. They will always get into the shotgun seat if it's available. C. Herding marines ------------------------------ Unfortunately there is no squad based control for Halo, one would ideally like to be able to give commands to marines such as to fall back and stay out of trouble. Marines will generally run towards enemies and engage them, and will do silly things like open doors and expose themselves to fire if you're too close to a door. You can force marines to retreat by just running away yourself -- eventually the marines will stop fighting and will follow you. Unfortunately, they're often dead by the time you get far enough away from combat; however, one tactic is to immediately backtrack when you see new enemies and get them and your marines to follow you where you can later handle them in favorable terrain. This is often better than staying in an open room and watching everything including yourself die. There are also instances where you can keep marines stuck in an area for their protection. For example, in Level 4, the first marine scene involves a large open area where you have access to a warthog and your nearby marines are getting slaughtered. You can save a couple of marines into your warthog then run the warthog back through the door that lead to the scene. Get out of the warthog and take the rest of the scene on foot. The marines will try to follow you once you get out, but you can stop them if you backed the warthog into the passage. That way the gunner and the shotgun both cannot get past the warthog to follow you. D. Marines and vehicles ------------------------------ One of the best reasons to save your marines is because they're valuable accompany you in vehicles. By no accident, often when you have access to a Warthog or Scorpion tank, you'll also have marines nearby. Marines on vehicles will last longer because the vehicle provides natural protection. For example, if you want to protect your shotgun marine in your Warthog, turn it so that it faces away from your enemies. This of course will also prevent your marine from firing at those targets on its other side, but this is often strategically o.k. For example, if you're facing a bunch of enemies in front of you, only the right side can hit your shotgun marine and vice versa be hit by that marine. The tank provides similar protection although it's much less effective. It's worth experimenting around to see how to best utilize your marines while protecting them. In particular, for Warthog scenes, I often find that the best thing to do is to get out of my vehicle and leave my marines in a good defensible firing position. I then can fire my own weapon while they provide cover support, this is generally better than running rampant into the middle of a swarm of enemies and getting myself and them killed. For smaller groups of enemies or where I have maneuvering space, though, I'll often charge in anyway. As long as I'm in motion, I can dodge most shots or force clusters of enemies to keep running away from my Warthog as I try to run them over. Experiment with a bit to see how to approach enemies so that you maximally protect your marines. I usually charge directly at enemies and then veer clockwise to my right so that my driver's side is exposed to their fire as I try to run them over. Be sure to keep tabs on your marine health before you checkpoint. If they've taken too much damage, it might be better to restart the scene unless you can backtrack to another point where you have a stock of fresh marines. Killing badly injured marines is also a sound tactic if you can't stop them from being the ones to gett into your vehicle. Just don't kill too many or eventually they'll turn on you. Killing sniper marines to get sniper rifles and ammo is also sometimes a very good idea, although it's certainly a tradeoff since those marines are the most helpful for support. E. Sentinels ------------------------------ Sentinels are your friends through Level 6, then become your enemies later. Sentinels individually do not do much damage but concentrated fire will take out individual targets fairly quickly. Their real value to me is that when they fire at something, I know it's there, and this is very helpful in Level 6 because the level is so dark. Sentinels don't do as much damage as it may seem. The issue is that although sentinels fire a continuous beam, this doesn't mean they do continuous damage. Their beams sweep a small area and thus slice through a target. For smaller targets, this means that for half or more of the time, the beam isn't actually hitting the target. During times when I do want to keep sentinels alive, I can usually help them by tossing grenades and attacking aggressively such that the flood are attracted to me versus the sentinels. Flood will kill sentinels very quickly -- their shots are accurate, they'll leap and melee attack, and sometimes (not coincidentally) they'll have rocket launchers in scenes where sentinels are helping out. That said, I can generally keep my sentinels alive in Level 6. ================================================== === III. WEAPONS ================================================== ================================================== ****************************** 1.. Held Weapons ****************************** The beauty of Halo is that all weapons are useful. If you play in lower difficulty levels, you'll quickly prioritize weapons -- for example, plasma rifles and shotguns are great against everything and plasma pistols are rarely worth the time. Legendary is a completely different beast so you'll find yourself using so-called weak weapons frequently. This is because in Legendary, you can only rarely attack enemies head on without losing considerable health, even if those enemies are lowly grunts. Legendary is all about picking off targets from relative safety. A. Assault rifle ------------------------------ I would get rid of the assault rifle in favor of just about anything against either covenant or flood. Assault rifles pale in comparison to plasma rifles for damage output, and plasma rifles in particular do a lot more damage against elite shields than assault rifles. The assault rifle reloading time is absolutely atrocious. Their accuracy is poor when firing sustained, but firing in controlled bursts typically doesn't do enough damage agianst anything to be feasible. You can empty a whole clip into a red elite and do barely any damage. One of the main drawbacks of assault rifles in Legendary is that it takes a lot of ammo to kill anything, so you'll be reloading frequently. For plasma rifle, even on periodic fire it does more damage, and you'll never have to reload. On lower difficulty levels, one clip will take out most enemies so you can reload between fights. In Legendary, you'll spend almost a whole clip dropping one flood, then have to reload while the others are swarming at you. Assault rifles are semi-useful against flood since flood do not have shields and are generally large targets. However, plasma rifles still kill flood faster. Even a pistol does better. I would only use assault rifles against flood until I find a plasma rifle or shotgun. The assault rifle's display also acts as a compass, although this is generally not useful. Levels are fairly simple in that you don't tend to get lost, so this feature is more a cosmetic versus useful one. The one target that assault rifles really shine against are banshees, because assault rifles are the only fast-firing hit-scan weapon. Banshees are ordinarily difficult to hit with projectile weapons except on an attack run because they weave and fly fairly far away when preparing for an approach. B. Needler ------------------------------ Needlers are your best weapon against elite. Gold elites are nearly impossible to kill with anything except a needler or heavy ordinance (e.g. rocket launcher). The drawbacks of needlers is that they don't carry much ammo, and against covenant they are all but useless against jackals. Think of a needler somewhat like a guided plasma grenade launcher. Depending on how many needles you pump into a single target, it will either explode once, twice, or three times. Needles travel slowly but opponents will not attempt to dodge them, and needles fire at high frequency such that once the first needle reaches its target, the subsequent ones will most likely too. This makes the needler a great fire-and-forget weapon. Duck your body into a room, aim at the nearest elite or grunt, discharge your full clip, and duck back out. The needler explosions are quite impressive and since they have a delay time before they explode, similar to a plasma grenade, this gives the target some time to run frantically towards his buddies and take them out by the explosion too. For jackals, I'll sometimes take out their shields with a plasma shot then pump them full of needles while they're retreating towars other jackals so that they take out everything around them. Because the needler doesn't hold much ammo, I use it sparingly, primarily against elites. If I see that my enemies have needlers, I'll use mine more liberally because I can recharge in ammo. Otherwise, the needler makes a great secondary weapon. Accumulate ammo, use it once in a while to clear out groups of enemies. Or, if I'm passing by a needler, I might temporarily drop my secondary weapon, empty the needler at whatever is nearby, then swap it back for my secondary weapon. Just remember that needlers are almost entirely ineffective against jackals since the needles will bounce off its shields, and needlers are not as well guided as charged plasma shots so you will have to aim the minimally. One annoyance is that red elites are unusually good at strafing randomly while fighting you. In open combat, they will typically fire for a short time then sidestep or find cover. This means that needlers and other slow projectile weapons are sometimes difficult to use against them. Needlers are dangerous to use against flood drones for the same reason that plasma grenades are -- drones can leap to cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time, and having a drone covered with needles near you is bad news. However, needlers are fine against flood drones provided they are sufficiently far away. Since flood clump, needler explosions can end up doing massive damage. Needlers are also very useful for the many scenes where floood will be sniping at you from stationary elevated positions, since you can just fire the shots in their general direction. If you're not using a pistol as your secondary weapon against flood, I would suggest using a needler. Whenever you come across a group of flood that are in the distance, unload a clip as you backpedal, then switch over to your shotgun while they close the distance. C. Pistol ------------------------------ The pistol is useful in a wide variety of situations, don't automatically discount it just because it's a default weapon for mission starts and looks puny. It is first of all a hunter killer. A single pistol or sniper shot to the exposed back of a hunter will kill it in one shot. Generally whenever you find a pistol lying randomly around, that's a good indication that there's a hunter nearby. Sometimes hunters will not even detect you before you see them. Use the zoom feature, wait until they have their backs turned, and kill them with a single shot. Pistols work fine against jackals. Jackals have two exposed sections in their shields that you can shoot through. Since pistols fire accurately and are hit-scan, it is not difficult to shoot through this gap, and jackals hit by pistols will flinch. I find it easier than, say, using a plasma rifle, because pistol bullet shots are "smaller". That said, I wouldn't make a habit of using pistols against jackals. Pistols work surprisingly well for direct damage. Remember that unlike plasma pistols, they are automatic so you can hold down the trigger. They are very accurate and with the zoom feature you can pick off enemies before they even close into firing range. I use the pistol almost exclusively as my long range weapon against the flood. In open areas where I meet flood, e.g. all throughout Level 6, I'll put on my zoom and retreat away from them, picking them off as I go. Often they just run towards me without firing. I can get through some of the early scenes in Level 6 without a single shot being fired at me using this technique. The pistol is even better than the assault rifle for direct damage against flood. Two shots will kill a flood carrier, whereas it takes nearly half a clip sometimes with an assault rifle. Flood drone marines can be dropped with as few as two shots too. Since the pistol is accurate, it's also easy to zoom in and aim at the flood carriers that are in the midst of the flood drones coming towards me. Two shots and they explode, taking out everything around them. D. Plasma pistol ------------------------------ This is by far the most effective weapon against covenant in the game. It is difficult if not impossible to solve Legendary without constant use of these things. The drawback is that you'll be cycling through them frequently because the main use is with overcharged shots, which deplete ammo quickly. But on the other hand, the most common enemies carry them and thus you'll find yourself lacking them. If I could carry two of the same weapon, I would go around always with two plasma pistols during covenant stages. Plasma pistols are the only weapons that are very effective against every single covenant type. The main idea behind plasma pistols is to forget about the normal firing mode. If you're going to firing normally, then get a plasma rifle or assault rifle, because otherwise your fingers are going to get very sore and you'll be very dead. Instead, abuse the overcharge feature. Treat the plasma pistol as if it is a slow firing guided missile weapon. A charged blast is both guided and does massive damage. It will take out any elite's shields in one hit, it will take out a jackal shield in one hit. 3 charged shots will kill a red or blue elite, 2 or 3 will kill a jackal, 1 or 2 will kill a grunt. The charge shots are fire-and-forget, they'll home in on even enemies that you don't know are there, such as ones hidden behind raised ledges. If you even suspect an enemy is nearby, fire your charged shot and it'll most likely hit it. This gives the obvious advantage that you do not have to expose yourself to direct fire in order to use the plasma pistol. If you're near a room full of enemies, just inch your body in, fire, and then retreat from the resulting hail of bullets. Repeat until your enemies are dead. Practice getting used to firing charged shots as fast as you can, i.e. knowing how long you have to hold the trigger before your shot is charged. Elites have an annoying habit of running and hiding once they're hit by a charged shot. This isn't foolproof, though, so I'd just repeatedly fire at them until you kill them. Sometimes they stick around anyway, sometimes they're still reeling from the shot, sometimes they hide in such a way that they're still exposed. For jackals, usually I'll hit them with a charged shot to kill their shield, then either use a few normal shots to finish them off or switch to my other weapon. For faraway jackals, I just hit them with 2 or 3 charged shots. You have to be quick about this because jackal shields will regenerate after a while. Like all covenant, they go through hit-stun (i.e. reel when they're hit) from charged shots so this gives you plenty of time to figure out how to finish them off. Charged shots are also very useful for killing distant enemies that you cannot reach. For example, in Level 4, there are several areas where you're going across a bridge and there are grunts on parallel but inaccessible bridge that fire at you. Taking them out is fairly trivial -- just fire charged shots at the bridge and they'll automatically home in on the grunts and kill them. You can also use the needler for this purpose. I would not generally use plasma pistols on flood. Flood don't sit around and let you charge up your plasma pistol to fire at them repeatedly. Instead, after your first shot, they'll be close or right on you. Plasma pistols do not do more damage against flood as they do with covenant. It still takes 2 overcharged shots to kill a flood carrier; in comparision, it takes 2 quick pistol shots. The only time I would use plasma pistols against flood is if I'm trying to pick off enemies that are on ledges or in some other inaccessible area. However, in this case, needlers work far better. E. Plasma Rifle ------------------------------ Plasma rifles are a semi decent weapon against all covenant, although they are not great against any particular covenant type. They are far less useful against flood since flood do not take extra damage from covenant weapons. Against covenant, the main drawback is that for Legendary, you will rarely if ever come up ahead when fighting covenant enemies directly, so I generally use the plasma rifle only to take out isolated enemies or small groups such as grunts and jackals. This is not to say that plasma rifles are bad weapons; I almost always use one as my primary for covenant because it holds a lot of ammo and is decent against all covenant types. Plasma rifles work o.k. against jackals because shots deplete their shields. However, jackal shields regenerate as they're being hit, so if you let off the trigger then the shield will come back to full strength quickly. Usually I'll either have to aim at the cracks or charge and melee attack a Jackal versus try to wear down its shield, or strafe around hitting them until I get the Jackal to roll, which usually exposes its body. Against elites, anything above a blue elite is bad news to attack with a plasma rifle because you'll take far more damage than you inflict. Invisible elites, however, are fine to take on with plasma rifles since they do not have shields. Using a plasma rifle against a gold elite is pretty suicidal. Note that although plasma rifle projectiles are not hit-scan (i.e. do not hit their targets instantaneously), they are very fast, especially compared to plasma pistol shots. This is moreso a caution when plasma rifles are used against you -- there are very little chance of dodging shots unless you are at a considerable distance. Plasma rifles are decent but not great weapons against flood. I'd generally rather use a shotgun. Plasma rifles work o.k. though as a secondary weapon for long range, particularly since they are accurate. However, in that case I would rather have a pistol or needler. F. Rocket launcher ------------------------------ The rocket launcher is perhaps the only weapon that is very useful against every single type of enemy. However, it is of course limited in ammunition so you'll want to use it sparingly. I primarily keep it around to take out vehicles such as tanks, and to overturn vehicles and guns so that covenant cannot use them. It's ocasionally useful for clearing out clusters of enemies, but then so are grenades so it doesn't give a hugely unique advantage. Like the sniper rifle, the rocket launcher often just takes up space in my inventory. But also like the sniper rifle, it makes some scenes so much easier to get through that it's hard to pass up. G. Shotgun ------------------------------ The shotgun is your premiere weapon against the flood. A well placed close range shotgun blast will kill most flood in one hit. Shotguns are fairly effective against covenant too although I would carry a covenant-specific alternate weapon such as a plasma rifle if I'm in a level that has both flood and covenant because covenant like to keep their distance in general. Shotguns are primarily a close range weapon although they do mediocre at distance. Since their blast area is wide, they also don't require great aim -- just shoot whenever the targetting circle is red. Shotguns carry a pretty good ammo clip and you can reload partway at any time. If you pull the trigger while reloading, you'll finish reloading the next round and then fire. If enemies are coming at me sporadically, I'll try to reload after every shot. Otherwise, I find that a single clip of shotgun shells generally will last me through a whole scene (or at least a whole group of flood in one scene). Shotguns don't hold a tremendous amount of ammo, so don't be reckless with them. They hold enough to be a primary weapon, and against flood you'll find new shotgun ammo fairly regularly. But there are times when I'll drop it and pick up an assault rifle or what not to use temporarily for a scene if I think I'd still be safe, in order to conserve ammo. H. Sniper rifle ------------------------------ Sniper rifles are generally given at specific scenes where they are intended to be used in that scene or near it. Sniper rifles have many uses, the primary drawback is that they do zero damage against flood and they hold very limited ammo. Like a pistol, a sniper rifle can take out a hunter in one shot. A head shot can kill even a red elite outright. The primary advantage of the sniper rifle is of course the ability to snipe. Most targets can be taken out before they are even aware that you exist. The night vision feature is also useful in darker settings. Overall when I find a sniper rifle, I'll usually pick it up and use it as a secondary weapon. However, since I'll use it only sparingly, it tends to just take up space. So I'll find myself often dropping it to use some other weapon, then picking it up later. Just make sure that the rifle doesn't disappear on you after you drop it. One interesting use for the sniper rifle is to site for other weapons, particularly for rocket launchers. Pick a faraway target such as a stationary tank with your sniper, zoom in on it, then switch over to your rocket launcher and fire without having moved your site. Your rocket will hit exactly where you were zooming in from the sniper rifle. Sniper rifles are almost totally useless against flood, they do very little damage. Do not waste sniper shots on flood. ****************************** 2. Grenades ****************************** Use grenades very regularly. In legendary, many covenant enemies carry grenades, so you'll rarely be without them even if you throw them habitually. This is a far different philosophy than most first person shooters, where you'll use grenades very sparingly since they are hard to come by. Just be aware that covenant do not drop fragmentation grenades, so generally when fighting covenant I'll only use plasma grenades except for situations where I absolutely need to use one of my frags. Some covenant drop a ton of grenades, in particular silver elite (since they're fond of chucking those grenades at you) will often drop 3 or 4 grenades. This is great for replenishing your stock and for causing chain reactions later on. In general, whenever a pack of opponents appear, I chuck a grenade in their direction. This may ideally kill some of them, but will at least scatter them. Otherwise, they come in guns blazing and I take a lot of damage. Grenades are great for flushing enemies out of various spots, or getting them to jump off of platforms and cliffs. Flood carry relatively fewer grenades so you'll have to be more careful about using them. However, since flood tend to charge and in doing so clump, and because they do not attempt to avoid grenades at all, grenades are devestating against them. When you enter a scene, retreat to get the flood to start chasing you and clump up, then toss a frag towards them. And since flood carry both types of grenades, you can be fairly liberal about using both types against them. Whether you favor plasma vs. fragmentation grenades in general is moreso a stylistic issue. Plasma grenades stick to opponents and thus are both harder to dodge and also increase the chances that you'll take out multiple opponents if e.g. the one you hit freaks out and runs towards his buddies. Fragmentation grenades have a far shorter fuse and thus are better for getting out of trouble spots and have a higher probability of doing damage if chucked haphazardly. Plasma grenades are generally more useful against vehicles since they'll stick to things like tanks. One important use for plasma grenades is in sticking elites. Shortly after you engage elites (usually a bit after they first spot you, or when they're first hit), they'll go stationary for a moment and do their war cry. This is a prime opportunity to stick a grenade onto them. All elites including gold will die to a point blank plasma grenade, so usually I get them to war cry, stick a grenade on them, and backpedal until they explode. Keep in mind that grenades trigger other grenades. This sometimes works to your detriment but it's also sometimes the only way to actually hit opponents with your own grenades. Generally in Legendary, opponents (with the exception of Jackals and flood) are smart enough to see a grenade and dodge out of the way. However, they do not consider grenades that might be on the ground. The resulting chain reactions can often take them out. Generally, don't worry that this will "waste" grenades on the ground, because you get plenty at least from Covenant since almost all of them will drop grenades when killed. On the flip side, be careful that you're not caught in chain reactions if you're standing near grenades. Remember that flood carriers in particular trigger grenades when they blow. If you've been hanging around one area for a long time and are worried about chain reactions, just toss your own plasma grenade near your feet and run backward, this will cause all grenades in the area you were standing to blow. You're now safe to return to it. If you trigger some enemies and then retreat, they'll eventually go back to being inactive. Often a good way of sticking a plasma grenade on that pesky elite is to back off until it becomes inactive, then inch forward until you can see it. Often it'll be stationary and facing the direction where you came from. Aim carefully and stick a plasma grenade on it, problem solved. When fighting covenant, in general do not use plasma grenades unless you throw them on the ground. Flood drones can cover long distances quickly when they close in to melee you, and having a plasma grenade stuck onto one doing so is not good news. Sometimes the plasma grenades I throw at flood will simply not explode, I have no idea why not. ****************************** 3. Mountable Weapons ****************************** A. Vehicle types ------------------------------ 1. Warthog The warthog is an indestructible human vehicle that houses a driver, passenger, and gunner. The warthog gun has infinite ammunition and fires fairly rapidly, it is not very accurate when the trigger is held down but is still effective. The gunner can only shoot -- and generally can only be shot at -- by enemies on the right side. The warthog is great for running over enemies, the general strategy is to charge the enemy then bank so that you hit them with one of your sides, this is more effective than trying to run them over straight because the Warthog is longer than it is wide and hence you're more likely to hit an enemy with your side than front. 2. Scorpion Tank Scorpion tanks deal heavy damage and offer good protection for the driver. They have both a main cannon, and a machine gun similar to the one in the Warthog. Four marines can sit on the tank treads, this offers them some but minimal protection. Generally I hold down the machine gun trigger at all times and use the cannon whenever it is available. Scorpions are indestructible and cannot be overturned. 3. Ghost The ghost is a covenant attack vehicle. It fires twin plasma shots similar to that of a plasma rifle. The driver is almost completely covered from head-on attacks but is vulnerable to attacks from the side. Ghosts are very maneuverable and can strafe well. A generally sound tactic is to drive strafe circles around an enemy -- in other words, face the enemy and strafe in one direction while rotating in the other, such that you are making a circle around it while facing towards it constantly. Ghosts are great for running over enemies in the same way that Warthogs are used. Ghosts have fairly mediocre health and you will generally die if the ghost explodes while you are in it. 4. Banshee The banshee is a covenant flying vehicle. It shoots twin plasma shots similar to that of a plasma rifle, as well as a cannon similar to the fuel rod. Banshees are highly maneuverable by extremely frail. Generally I hold down the plasma fire and aim my cannon shots carefully whenever those are available. Cannon shots don't quite have the same blast area as scorpion cannon shots so they are more difficult to use effectively. You can hover banshees by facing a target semi-vertically and pulling away from it such that the banshee is backing up. If you do this as the correct rate, the backing up and gravity will cancel each other out. A good way to soften up enemies is to hover fairly far away from them and unload cannon shots. B. Vehicle use ------------------------------ There's no real magic to using vehicles. With the Warthog, my favorite tactic is to park it somewhere barely in range of my opponents and then get out and engage them myself. My marines provide cover and I try to draw fire away from them as much as possible. Covenant vehicles are more tricky because you, the covenant, and sometimes marines will all try to use them. One important point is that covenant will not overturn stationary weapons or vehicles, so the easiest way to stop them from stealing your banshee is to overturn it with a grenade or rocket launcher. In the scene, "If Only I had a Superpower", the first thing you should do is rocket one or both banshees before the elites steal them, then you can clear out the scene at your leisure then turn the banshee back around to get into it. In some levels, there are various stationary guns that enemies enjoy getting into. You can either repeatedly kill them whenever they mount one or just chuck a plasma grenade at it to overturn it. This is particularly useful at the beginning of Level 3 where you have some time to snipe enemies before your marines run in and get themselves killed. If you overturn the stationary guns using grenades first, then your marines are far more likely to survive because the covenant won't be able to use them against you. Marines will board ghosts that have previously been used by elites if the elite is killed. This is particularly relevant when you or a marine has a sniper rifle and is able to quickly kill the driver without destroying the vehicle. Marines in ghosts are fairly suicidal and are prone to accidentally running you over, so be careful. The key to fighting enemies while in vehicles is either to stay very far away or stay very close. When far away, you can typically dodge projectiles. When very close, enemies will spend more time running away and getting run over than shooting at you. It's particularly useful to get right into the face of hunters so that they don't fuel rod you to death. C. Indoor vehicle use ------------------------------ Vehicles are generally only available outdoors. This does not mean that you can't force them indoors. Or, there are other areas where barriers are put up with the intention of keeping vehicles out, but you can pass through them anyway. There are two spots in Level 4 where this becomes particularly handy. The first is about halfway through when you reach some vertical pillars after meeting up with a bunch of marines and taking out two hunters and a dropship. You should be using a tank at that point, and the tank will not fit through the slot. Warthogs and ghosts initially don't seem like they will, but if you're patient and cram them, they'll eventually get through. Both warthogs and ghosts are rather squeezable because they can rotate in any direction. After this point, you'll come to a huge open area scene with many enemies, then go indoors. You can again cream either your warthog or ghost indoors, and take on the entire next level with your ghost. It's not pretty because your ghost will constantly scrape against walls, but the ghost doesn't take any damage despite the suggestive sound effects. You can take a ghost completely through that next scene and into the turbolift, but it'll fall once the lift is activated. There are othe such locations where this becomes very useful. As a general rule of thumb, don't automatically give up and assume you can't bring a vehicle into an area where it's not intended to go. D. Driving tips ------------------------------ Vehicles take a bit of getting used to for driving, particularly ghosts and warthogs. The key is to note that vehicles will always go in the direction of the targetting arrow regardless of their orientation. In other words, don't get sidetracked by looking at the orientation of your vehicle, just look at the targetting arrow instead. When a Warthog is in the air, I believe there is some limited control you can do using the front/back of either control stick. If you're having trouble staying level when jumping, particularly in Level 10, try experimenting with using your controls while in the air, and also try laying off the accelerator right as you go into a jump. E. Stationary guns ------------------------------ Shade guns are great weapons against both elite and flood. They fire fairly fast, are accurate, and provide decent cover from return fire. The main drawbacks are that charged shots from Jackals will always hit you and you generally cannot get out in time to evade them, and plasma grenades will stick to your body when thrown at the gun so that's instant game over. Banshees will bomb you, which does massive damage and usually overturns your gun too. Against banshees, I usually stay on foot so I can avoid their fire while they're charging, then get into my gun and start firing as soon as they veer off. It's difficult to hit Banshees with non hit-scan-weapons so I don't want to waste real ammo trying if I don't have an assault rifle. When they approach for another attack run, I get out my gun. Against other covenant targets, I often find that shade guns are certain death. It's usually more sound to use standard tactics of hiding and baiting enemies than get into a stationary exposed weapon and blast away unless there are few enemies. There are almost zero situations in Legendary where I dare get into a shade gun against covenant. On the other hand, shade guns are very useful against flood and there are several situations where you'll want to resort to them such as in Level 9 outdoor. Flood do not throw grenades or use overcharged plasma shots, so shade guns are fairly safe here. Shade guns give you full protection against flood parasites, those can't reach you while you're in the gun. Shade guns seems to have some sort of limited auto-aim functinality built into them. If an enemy is not directly in your crosshairs, the guns will still fire directly at it; i.e. the gun does not always fire straight ahead. This is of course a very useful feature since it will generally improve your accuracy. ****************************** 4. Melee Attacks ****************************** Not all melee attacks are the same. They all seemingly do the same damage, but each weapon has a different area of attack and rate. For example, the rocket launcher sweeps through a large area but has a slow rate of attack. Assault rifles cover a fairly limited range but at higher frequency. I find that the sniper rifle balances both factors fairly well -- it has around the same rate as a shotgun melee attack and both has a significant reach as well as hits enemies that are at the bottom of your field of view. Next after that is probably the shotgun. One of the worst ie the pistol, it has small range and low frequency. You'll primarily be using melee attacks to take out covenant enemies from behind and flood parasites. Enemies from behind is fairly self-explanatory, and remember you can hit sleeping grunts anywhere to one-hit kill them. You should totally abuse melee attacks when cloaked. Just don't get too close to enemies when you're cloaked or they'll respond to you. Ditto with grunts -- if you get too close to them, they'll wake up. ****************************** 5. Consumables ****************************** The first thing you should do when you see an item is leave it sitting there and remember its location. In most cases, you can get through the scene without having to use the item. A. Health pack ------------------------------ Health packs restore your health. Use health packs sparingly. I pretend they don't exist and try to solve scenes without having to use them. Again, with enough patience, I can get through most scenes without losing any health, so this negates the need for health packs. However, for those accidental times when I checkpoint at low health, I go back and get one of the health packs I left behind. They're persistant, i.e. they won't disappear if leave them around too long so they are not dropped items. It's not uncommon for me to finish a level where I didn't use a single health pack. This is overly conservative but in the end saves me more time than if I use them aggressively and end up not being able to finish the level because I lose too much health somewhere down the road. B. Cloaking ------------------------------ Cloaking turns you invisible for a moderate amount of time. Usually cloaking is given for specific situations where it will be useful, e.g. you're approaching a scene where flood and covenant. If you fire when you're cloaked, it will alert enemies around you and they'll shoot at you as if you're visible. Generally I stick to melee attacks. Sneak up behind covenant enemies and hit them. Nearby enemies will respond, e.g. grunts will run in panick, but they won't be able to target you. Don't get too close to enemies, however, because they'll detect you when you're within a certain proximity. C. Overshield ------------------------------ Overshields give you three times as much shield. The extra two layers do not regenerate. This is useful for getting through sticky situations where you might not be able to ordinary without sustaining body damage. Overshields aren't all that helpful for normal combat since you really should be able to get through most scenes by just regenerating your normal shields everytime they're depleted. I save overshields for longer scenes where I cannot get through those reasonably without sustaining damage. ================================================== === IV. ENEMIES ================================================== ================================================== ****************************** 1. Overview ****************************** General tactics to use towards covenant and flood are generally similar, but there are some specific differences that are very much worth noting. Fighting covenant tends to be more strategic -- some weapons work against some covenant but others are worthless, and covenant use organized battle tactics so you often have to trick them to kill them. You can't just go in guns blazing because elites and jackals will hide and regenerate, and who knows if the weapon you're using is even appropriate for the situation. Flood are far more brute force. They do not hide, they do not dodge your grenades, they do not regenerate shields, and all weapons work o.k. against them. With covenant, you get frustrated because they fight intelligently and respond to your actions. For flood, you get frustrated because they're so relentless and there's so many of them swarming at you, hence their name. A. Covenant ------------------------------ When fighting covenant, the main idea is to be very deliberate about what weapons you use and what plan you have for taking them out. Don't just fire or chuck grenades haphazardly or you'll probably do little or no damage since the covenant are smart enough to hide or run. Be patient; covenant generally do not charge you, so each enemy remain in roughly the same area or in a tight patrol when in combat. B. Flood ------------------------------ I actually find that flood are far easier to combat than covenant. They don't fire their weapons nearly as fast as flood do, and the same general tactic can be used against all of them. To say again, flood will just attack you mindlessly, they will pick the shortest distance between you and them and cover that. Given this, they also tend to clump pretty severely, this includes carriers. Clumping is your friend in many ways. Shooting at the carriers is like detonating a grenade if they're clumped with other flood. Sometimes the covenant in the back rows will damage the ones in the front when they try to shoot at you. Finally, you don't have to be very accurate when there's a mass of enemies moving straight at you. I find that using the retreat tactic works really well against flood. As soon as flood appear, retreat back the way you came. E.G. If you're indoors such as Level 10, back up until you reach a bend in the cooridor, then turn and face the bend. As flood appear around the corner, shoot them point blank with your shotgun. Since you're not in their line of sight until they round the corner, they won't be able to shoot at you beforehand, and typically they won't jump at you either. Sometimes flood will appear behind you but you should be able to retreat past them in most cases. In particular, if you die once, remember where they spawned and anticipate retreating as soon as you think they're about to. In Level 6, flood will pour out of vents, so you have some delay between when you first see them on the radar (i.e. when they are first spawned) versus when they actually reach you for combat. I usually use a shotgun and pistol combination against them. The shotgun is a great close weapon, and the pistol with its zoom and accuracy is great for picking off flood while I retreat. I'll just put on my zoom, hold down the trigger, and start backing up. The pistol does have a long reload time, so usually I'll just switch to shotgun while reloading. Often it's an appropriate time to do so anyway because by the time my pistol runs out, some flood will probably have reached close range. Note that since flood carry all sorts of weapons, you won't have to think about running dry of ammo. If I don't have one of these two weapons, the next choice is plasma rifle, then assault rifle although that's a distant runner up. When I'm using shotgun+assault rifle, I'll typically use my rifle as my primary and then switch to shotgun when I'm in trouble, so as to conserve shotgun ammo. When I find rocket launcher, I'll just keep the shotgun, or better yet drop the rocket launcher somewhere in a previous scene so it doesn't disappear, and remember that it's there in case I need it later on. Flood are only really dangerous when they close into melee range or when you're backed into a corner. In this case, I suggest reloading and choosing a different retreat path. If there's none available, then practice jumping around and throwing grenades to clear paths where you can increase distance to them. ****************************** 2. Covenant Enemies ****************************** Much of this information is also contained in the weaponry section, but it's worth repeating and organizing. A. Grunts ------------------------------ You can kill grunts effectively with just about anything. Just be careful when going head to head with more than a couple because grunts fire plasma pistols about as fast as plasma rifles. Getting caught in an open area means that you have to2 do an awful lot of strafing or find cover soon. Don't ever turn your back on even a grunt unless you're running for cover that's very close by. When taking on groups of grunts that are near other enemies, I'll use a plasma pistol or needler. The needler will often take out multiple grunts if you unload an entire clip because of the triple explosion. The plasma pistol is a good fire-and-forget way of taking out grunts one at a time particularly since grunts usually carry pistols themselves so you can exchange your own with theirs after they're dead. Grenades are generally effective against grunts. If you stick a grunt, it'll run around haphazardly and often this means it'll get into close range of its buddies and take them out with itself. Grunts are fairly o.k. at dodging grenades but often do not get clear of the blast radius, particularly if you're using suppressing fire to distract or damage them right after you chuck a grenade at them. Be careful of grenades. Grunts aren't particularly effective with grenades compared to elites, but are still rather dangerous. Fortunately, they usually call out before they throw, so that's your signal to back up. If you kill a grunt while it's throwing a grenade, the grenade will land by its body and it will explode. Grunts in later missions carry fuel rods. These explode and will damage you after you kill the grunts. The best way to avoid fuel rods and missile launchers is to constantly jump, since this increases the chance that they'll fire in an upwards trajectory. Grunts with fuel rods take quite a bit of prep time before they fire, so you can generally see them holding still and taking aim at you. Fuel rod grunts will never run away in fear. B. Jackals ------------------------------ Jackals can be incredibly annoying if you don't have the right weapon to take them out. They fire incredibly fast and use overcharge shots, which drains your shields in one hit. The best weapon for jackals is the plasma pistol -- use one hit to take out their shield and make them reel, then either hit them a couple more times with overcharge shots, use normal shots, or switch to your other weapon. Or, if you're anywhere close, hit the jackal with a charged shot and run up to it while it's reeling, then melee attack it immediately. One nice feature of melee attacks is that you don't have to wait until your weapon stops overheating before you're allowed to use it. Jackals usually will die to one melee attack, sometimes it takes two. Jackals will often run and hide after their shield is depleted, but they're not particularly agile so you should be able to finish them off before they find cover and regenerate. Plasma rifles are semi-useful against them but their shields regenerate only slightly slower than the rifle damages them. Let off on the rifle or accidentally overheat and you have to start all over again. Blue jackals are safe to attack with plasma rifles because their shields dissipate fairly quickly, but it's often suicide to do so with yellow jackals. Jackals often roll during combat, this exposes them. Before they're in range to fire, they are also vulnerable, and you can most often catch them unaware since their awareness range is not very great. This means that when you see the telltale shield of a jackal, take your time and make sure you get some good shots off. Once a jackal is in range and dug in, it's far harder to kill. Before then, it's often standing upright and exposed from some angles. C. Elites ------------------------------ Elites are as strong or stronger than you and have the same regenerating shields. They use a wide variety of tactics, and silver elites chuck grenades at amazing accuracy. Since elites have regenerating shields and often hide when their shields are depleted, they can be incredibly annoying to take out. They also demonstrate a wide variety of tactics and use both needlers and plasma rifles. The best weapon to take out any elite is the needler. A clip full of needles will kill anything including a gold elite, and the resulting explosion is always great for taking out nearby grunts or what not. Elites don't run until their shields are depleted, and needlers don't inflict damage until after a short delay, so an elite will stand there and let himself get pumped full of needles. The exception to this is red elite, who move fairly erratically during combat and tend to strafe long lateral distances randomly. Since needles are slow moving and only have mediocre homing ability, this means that you can empty an entire clip and not hit a red elite once. In open areas where red elites have opportunity to strafe, I generally have to resort to plasma pistols, although even those aren't terribly reliable. Even rocket launchers are not accurate at mid range. It takes a lot of patience and luck. Later once you have shotguns, you can attempt to charge red elite and blow them away close range. Unfortunately, the more annoying levels where you're encoutering red elite in the open are ones previous to when you have access to shotguns. Apart from needlers, plasma pistol overcharge shots work rather well. Elites, like all enemies, will flinch after being hit by a charged shot, this often gives you enough time to unload another into them. Just be aware that usually the elite will immediately try to hide after the first shot. After taking down the shield, you can continue hitting the elite with charged shots (it'll take generally another 2), or switch ot another weapon. Plasma rifles work o.k. against elites but are not recommended in open combat. Elites fire at at least the same rate as you, do not miss, and anything above a blue elite has pretty impressive shields such that yours will drain a lot sooner than his. Plasma rifles fired at you do pretty impressive damage and do not miss. Shotguns work great against elite up close, but getting close is somewhat of an issue. A close range shotgun blast will take out the elite's shields (you'll hear a sound like glass shattering) and sometimes stun the elite, subsequent shots will definitely stun the elite such that you typically won't experience any retaliation. It generally takes 2 or 3 shotgun blasts to kill a full health, full shield non-gold elite. Don't even think about taking on an elite with an assault rifle unless you intend to empty a clip and then finish him off with your secondary weapon. Assault rifles work decently if the elite is drained of shields, such as if you've used a plasma pistol overcharge, but then they're not much more effective than any other weapon still. Some silver elites are invisible. Plasma rifles are great against these because they have no shielding and thus no way of regenerating. Plasma pistols and needlers will not home in. Sometimes the best way to take out a silver elite is to figure out where it's standing before it becomes active (do a couple of suicide runs into the room where you know the elites are hanging out). Look for the cloak distortion and plant a grenade or even club them if they're facing the wrong way when inactive. Marines are totally blind towards invisible elites, marines won't fire at them even though the elite is waving around a big visible sword. However, once you shoot invisible elites a bit, they'll lose their cloaking, then your marines will unload on them. When dealing with silver or black elites, which chuck grenades at very good accuracy and distance, be constantly moving, or jump. In particular, when the elite cocks his arm to throw the grenade, jump towards it and pull out your shotgun. If you started around mid range, you can often get right up to the elite's face by the time he's done with his grenade. Elites will generally give a war cry shortly after first spotting you or immediately upon being hit for the first time, they become stationary long enough that you can stick a plasma grenade on them. If you don't have a needler, this is sometimes the only realistic way of taking out gold elites that appear in close proximity. Elites, like other enemies, will become inactive after some time of not seeing you. For example, if you hide on one side of a pillar, the elite may crouch and face that direction waiting for you to come out. If you sneak around the other side, you can sometimes club the elite from behind. There are some areas such as Level 4 beginning where this is the only sound way of handling them. Stronger elites either fire more rapidly or are more accurate. Gold elites will take down your shields in no time and plasma rifle shots are not dodgeable, so you'll have to be careful about approaching them. A good tactic is to peek around a corner, fire off some needles, then retreat back as soon as the elite starts firing at you. Generally you can get enough needles on it to inflict some body damage, so repeating this will eventually kill the elite. If you're brave, you can go melee against elites. If you're at the extreme melee range of the elite and are backing up when it starts its melee attack, you can backpedal out of range such that it'll miss you completely. You can afterwards melee attack it yourself or just keep firing. This takes a bit of practice but is highly effective if you don't have a reliable weapon to use. Shotguns in particular work very well in conjunction with this since they do massive damage up close -- run up to an elite such as one that hasn't quite spotted you, back up while it melee's you, and pump shotguns into it. D. Hunters ------------------------------ Hunters are either incredibly easy or an incredible pain to kill. Most areas with hunters will also have pistols lying around. Do a couple of suicide runs to look for them first. Pistols take out hunters in one shot from behind. You can sometimes even catch hunters unaware, in which case it's trivially easy to zoom in and shoot the exposed orange spot. Hunters do take damage when hit anywhere except their shield, although they take very little and particularly in Legendary it is infeasible to expect them to die from direct fire. Even for back shots, it e.g. takes many plasma pistols' worth of overcharged shots to kill them. Hunters almost always come in pairs, so don't get too fccused on one. It's most dangerous when one is charging you and the other is firing fuel rod shots. Since hunters are slow except when charging, you can often bait one hunter away from another. In some cases, you can even lure one hunter through a door and completely separate it from the other since hunters generally won't go through doors. If you're brave, you can kill a hunter via melee attack, just hit its exposed back after it charges, the same way you'd shoot at it with a weapon. However, this is often a slow laborious process. While dodging out of the way of attacks is not exceptionally hard, it isn't always failsafe because you can sometimes accidentally hit a wall or misjudge your strafe. Given how much damage a hunter charge does, I wouldn't generally fool around with killing it the slow way using melee. But it's an option to consider in times when you don't have a really good weapon to use. For more bravey, you can also kill hunters heads on using your pistol. Right before the hunter does a melee attack, it'll raise its shield and torso. This exposes an orange area at its front. Shoot that and it'll die in one hit just like from behind. However, if you miss, you're almost certainly going to take its attack at full force. Plasma grenades, even stuck to the back of a hunter, will not do considerable damage. Nor does friendly fire from another Hunter. Rocket launchers will take them out typically in two hits. Hunters sometimes get into a situation where they'll just stare at you without moving or firing. This seems to happen completely randomly but I suspect it involves situations where the hunter wants to charge but cannot. Just don't move if possible, and use whatever disposable weapon you can to kill it. Although hunters are armored, they take real damage if you shoot them anywhere except their big shield. ****************************** 3. Flood ****************************** A. Parasites ------------------------------ Flood parasites are generally harmless. They'll detonate against your shield and do a minimal amount of damage. When hit, they'll explode in a small radius that can take out other flood. Any single hit from any weapon will kill one. Generally if floodites are alone, I'll let them hit me and use my melee attack to take out some. Weapons have different melee effectiveness, e.g. the rocket launcher seems to have the most range and is maybe the best weapon for meleeing groups of floodites. For melee, face slightly downward, run forward until they jump up at you, then melee and run back right as you swing, repeat. You'll have plenty of opportunity to practice this since Level 5 and Level 6 both send swarms of parasites at you. The reason I wait until they jump at me is because it is comparatively difficult to hit them when they are on the ground near my feet. When they jump, they typically go close to shoulder level, so a melee attack slightly downward will hit them. Do not let parasites get anywhere near you when your shields are depleted. In this case they'll do a lot of damage and will not die upon hitting you. And do not let them swarm you when there are other enemies nearby, since each floodite hit is like taking a small weapons hit, and you really don't want them anywhere near your body in case the other enemies take down your shields. Sometimes they'll miss you when they jump at you, as long as you're moving. Groups of flood on your radar are generally represented as a very large red dot. B. Carriers ------------------------------ Flood carriers are walking bombs. They will try to get close to you, then will fall down, puff up, and explode, releasing several parasites. Or, if killed beforehand, they will explode immediately. They do not have much health and a few hits from most weapons will make them explode instantly. Carrier explosions will damage other flood. They will hurt or kill other drones, and cause other carriers to go flying then explode. Carriers killed by other carriers will puff up and explode once they land. Since carriers damage all other flood, and flood tend to clump, shooting at carriers that are in the middle of groups of flood generally gives very positive results. The main danger with carriers is that they are totally silent, and there are many situations where some will secretly appear behind you. Keep a tight eye on your radar and always keep moving when battling flood. If you don't want to waste ammo on carriers, just move up to them and then back up when they fall down. You can even safely get away with melee attacking them and then backing up, although this is kinda useless. C. Flood drones ------------------------------ Infected marines and elites comprise the bulk of the flood you'll be encountering. They carry any weapon including rocket launchers, have both leaping melee attacks and normal melee attacks that often include two hits, and sometimes get up after being falling down. Fortunately they do not throw grenades, although they often carry either type. Shotguns are great weapons to use against them short range, pistols long range. Needlers and plasma grenades should be used with care because they can get in your face very quickly and take you down with them. If you're worried about flood getting up after being killed, pump a shot into their head. When flood do get up, they'll never have a weapon (i.e. they'll always drop their weapon when first downed). Flood elites are bigger and significantly stronger than marines, other than that they are identical. Both types can carry any weapon except sniper rifles and fuel rods. You can blow arms off of both types of drones. This limits their ability to attack, and a drone without arms is completely harmless. It'll come up to you and just stand there doing nothing. ****************************** 4. Sentinels ****************************** Sentinels come in shielded and unshielded varieties. Unshielded sentinels can be taken out with a single charged plasma pistol shot and this is usually the fastest and most direct way to kill them. Sentinels in general seem to be more susceptable to plasma weapons, so favor the plasma rifle or plasma pistol when facing them. Shotguns and assault rifles are also semi-useful, but shotguns take many more hits than would be expected to kill them unless you are fairly close. The main strategy against sentinels is to find somewhere to hide, and peek out and shoot them. Getting caught in the open against sentinels is not a good idea, just as it is not with any other Legendary enemy, because they will deplete your shields fairly quickly. ================================================== === V. CONCLUSIONS ================================================== ================================================== At the time of the writing of this guide, Halo 2 is already on the horizon, and I imagine this guide will soon become obsolete. However, hopefully it is helpful if you're interested in playing the classic at its highest difficulty level. You can contact me at email@example.com for corrections or questions. However, I will not give out information for solving specific scenes, so please refer to the many other walkthroughs at gamefaqs.com for that type of information. Also, I generally do not have a good email response time. All said, don't expect too much if you attempt to contact me.