Previously on The Halo Chronicles

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I battled my way through the Silent Cartographer’s lair, and learned that three jeeps beats two spiky bastards any day.

What Happened Now:
I reload into a dark hallway. I walk forward, and kill those two guys I killed last time. I melee the first one in the back of the head, and it barely damages him at all. I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to be able to kill anybody with a melee attack to the back of the head. Oh well, I kill them both and continue into the next room where there is a blue ring of light floating in the air and Cortana tells me that it is what I’ve been looking for.

I activate the Silent Cartographer. Cutscene. The ring animates, and Cortana interprets it. She says she’s located the control centre, in a shrine. I think “that’s an odd place to put a control centre… all sacrilegious and shit.” And then Cortana remarks on how a shrine is an odd place for a control centre… I could have written this game in my sleep.

Once she has a fix on the location, she radios the captain… no response. Faux hammer says the captain must be out of range, but you and I both know that he’s been captured again. How this guy ever rose through the ranks to captain is entirely beyond me. A message pops up that I should get the hell out of there, and I would have to agree, because I haven’t seen spork-boy since that last cutscene, and they didn’t show him to me for fun… at least I don’t think that’s why they showed him to me.

Trying to find my way back, I take the first ramp going up, and it leads to a dead end… with cowardly jackals shooting down at me from the balcony. I don’t even bother with them, because I know they’re too scared to jump down after me. Save my bullets for later.

The music gets all hard-rock guitar-riff-y, and I recognize it from the area I just cleared in Halo2 yesterday.

The next ramp I find goes down, and contrary to contemporary wisdom, I go down anyway. oooh, and overshield. Should help me dispatch spork-boy if I ever find him. Oh, oops. this is the back entrance to the map room. Oh well, I just wasted an entire minute of my life going in circles. Good job Easymac.

I find the correct way up, and run into three cowardly jackals in the hall. They take down half my overshield before I get rid of them. So much for saving it for spork-boy. Approaching the door to the next-floor-up, I see a red dot on my radar, right in front of me. I equip my pistol, open the door, and headshot the jackal who hadn’t had time to hide behind his shield. In the second it took me to do that his two buddies acted quickly and are now safely ensconced behind their shields, and I take a little more damage. At this rate, I won’t even make it back to the ground floor in one piece, never mind saving my overshield. I still know where to find health and ammo if I need it.

I enter the room, and play “gun tag” with a few gnomes and a little boy blue up on the mezzanine. Little boy blue keeps dodging behind a pillar to let his shields recharge, so I get annoyed and try to find another ramp up. Heading up the ramp, I find a few more cowardly jackals waiting for me. Somehow I take them by surprise, and am able to take the long way around the mezzanine level of this room, over to where little boy blue is guarding the next ramp. Wait, never mind. it looks like I DID kill that blue guy… guess that means I’m still “It”.

There are two cowardly jackals hiding on the next staircase, again. This is becoming a common theme. I guess in a game with only four enemy types, you encounter the same scenario again and again.

I emerge from the staircase into the same room where I’d killed the two spiky bastards. Three jackals come out of nowhere and take a few cheap shots at me. Goodbye Mr. Overshield, it was nice knowing you. I kill them, and while I’m letting my standard shield come back into full bloom, I notice what looks like a gnome and a little boy blue standing on the next ramp. I decide to equip my magnum, and see what I can do with a little long-range shooting… with a pistol. Whatever, I’ve given up trying to make sense of this game.

Using some retro play styles, I jump and shoot, killing all three gnomes, and doing some damage to little boy blue. But again, he keeps hiding behind some cover until his shields recharge. Now I’m a good deal smarter than he is, so while he’s hiding, I hurl a grenade up to where I think he should be standing. The grenade starts smoking, as it’s apt to do, and he says, I swear, “crap!”. Naturally the grenade does no damage, but does distract him long enough to let me jump up and lay into him with my kmart gun. Thinking back, I probably should have tossed him a few frag grenades instead, they might have actually hurt him, but I honestly forget that I have them.

I go back around to where I remember there being ammo and health. I fully reload my guns, and am grateful that the health pack is still there… this has been a little easy, so I’m anticipating taking some huge damage soon. Going out the door I’d originally entered from, I come to another big staircase and – surprise – no jackals. I totally didn’t see that coming.

I open the door and see a red gnome in the distance. I equip my pistol and take a shot at him. It takes four rounds to put him down. Toughest damn gnome I’ve seen yet. His worthless-brother-Ralf comes over to investigate and I get him in only two shots. What did you expect from a worthless-brother-Ralf? There are jackals on the mezzanine again, but I’m pretty sure I know where I am, so I don’t need to kill them. Making a right, I come to an open door with five, count’em, five enemies behind it. A few grenades and my trusty kmart gun get me through, but my shields go down once, and I have to hide behind a wall just like those guys I said bad things about earlier. Remind me to be nicer to them in the future.

Continuing through this room, I come to a T-intersection that I’m pretty sure leads me back to my jeep. I hear angry-alien-language being shouted nearby, and see shots from a human gun come whizzing out of the intersecting hall. Have the aliens started picking up human guns? ‘Cause that’s just not cool. You don’t see me picking up alien guns do you? Well, okay, there was that minute and a half where I held a needler in reserve, but I never fired it, and I didn’t pick it up again and after I died. Moving cautiously towards the intersection, I come up against the back of spork-boy. His shields are flashing, like he’s taking damage – you don’t think my stooges are shooting him do you? ‘Cause that’d be awesome. Anyway, I walk up to his back, and try to melee him in the head. I mess it up this time, and he turns around and cuts me in half with his spork. That was totally uncalled for. Totally. Next time I’ll try to stick a grenade to his ass instead.

I respawn, and the same thing is happening, he’s being shot at. I toss a grenade at his back, and it’s like he sensed the movement of my arm or something, because he runs forward just quick enough to avoid getting stuck. Following at a safe distance, I see him standing in front of my jeep, growling. And the stooges are shooting at him. That is awesome. It takes me two full clips from the kmart gun, and another grenade to kill him, not to mention all the damage the stooges did. For some reason, only the stooge sitting shotgun was shooting. Gunner McRetard, as he’s prone to doing, was doing nothing.

I hop in the jeep, and it’s like a 7-point-turn to get the damned thing turned around. I drive up the ramps, and as I reach the surface Cortana radios echo419 that we’re ready for pick up. Echo agrees to come get us, and I turn around to notice a Covenant dropship parked just outside the front door. There also seems to be an invisible guy running towards me, and since he’s invisible, the stooges aren’t doing a thing about him. I hit E to engage him on foot. However, the moment I step out of the jeep, the stooges start shooting at the, not one but, two invisible guys. Even though the stooges are shooting too, it takes me almost an entire clip to take them both down. And then one of the stooges goes and takes credit for my kill. Fucker. Like magic, once the two bad guys are dead, the Covenant drop ship flies away, and a pelican touches down in it’s place.

Jumping into the pelican triggers a cutscene. Once again, we fly away leaving two helpful, if somewhat retarded soldiers and a perfectly useful jeep behind. I could probably use those two guys in the next section you know?

Cortana relays coordinates to the pilot, and she sceptically informs Cortana that these coords are underground. Cortana assures her that according to Covenant seismic scans, the halo has an extensive grid of tunnels, and besides, the enemy’d never expect an aerial insertion underground. This is supposed to be funny. We fly over the giant cement mushroom, and it turns out to be a landing bay. We fly down a few levels to a landing where a handful of gnomes are patrolling. The sight of the pelican scares the shit out of them, and I disembark as they’re running out the door.

As I take control again, the doors open, and two of the gnome re-emerge behind a little boy blue. I kill them, but it eats a lot of ammo. I’m doubtful that I’ll find dead marines down here to reload from. Stranger things have happened in this game, but I’m not going to bet the farm on it.

Looking around, there are shields and gun turrets strategically placed on this landing pad to keep people from doing exactly what I just did. Why didn’t those idiot gnomes actually try to, you know, stop me from getting off here? You know what, who cares? Two more gnomes come back out of the door, one at a time, so I pistol whip them. Man these guys are weak.

Going through the door, my radar shows enemies in impossible places. I’m not deterred though, and I keep going. Opening another door, there’s a little boy blue walking away from me. Two frag grenades take him out, and I wonder why the hell I’m throwing frags when I have four plasmas. I hit G so this won’t happen again. I make a right and follow the wall a bit. I come across the usual mixed bag of aliens, and my grenades are having literally no effect… except for launching the dead bodies around… I guess that’s an effect. My grenades are having no useful effect whatsoever, and I take a lot of damage. By the time I kill them all, I’m down to half my health, and just under a hundred rounds in the kmart gun. Ammo crisis, here I come. I walk around, ignoring the guy in the centre, and open the next door. A gnome runs out, nearly bumping into me, and he doesn’t say “excuse me”. I pistol whip him for being so rude. His buddy comes through the door a few seconds later, so I whip him too, just for being friends with the rude guy.

I open the door to… snow? Cortana comments on the unusual weather patterns. I know she’s doing this to try to illustrate just how far from humanity the halo-builders were, but it’s just a little lame. I mean, come on, weather? You guys can do better.

As I’m admiring the effect of the snow, a pelican swoops by, taking fire from a turret, and giving off a distress call. They call themselves “Fire Team Zulu” and request assistance. Cortana remarks that she didn’t think there were any other UNSC forces alive on this part of the halo. I guess I should go bail them out. At least try to score some lousy bullets. I kill the gnome in the turret with my pistol, and run into two more of them milling about. Once they’re down, I jump into the recently vacated turret to see if I can pick off anybody from afar. The turret is absolutely useless. It must have a range of no more than 20 metres. I do manage to kill one jackal with it though.

Walking forward, the glass part of the bridge shatters. I wasn’t even walking on it, maybe the cold made it brittle. anyways, there are enemies on the lower level, but to hell with them, they can stay there.

I continue across the bridge, carefully avoiding the glass parts. I come across two cowardly jackals patrolling width-wise, and believe it or not, they’re both walking way from me. I’m able to whip them both and save a few rounds. I come to the end, and there’s a golden boy with a spork waiting for me. My pistol just doesn’t pack enough of a punch, and he cuts me clean in half. Fucker.

I respawn just a few meters away, and this time I’m smart enough to stick a grenade to golden boy. He explodes before he gets a chance to slash me, and all is good. Okay, well, not all. Waiting for the grenade’s fuse to run out gives a gnome a chance to get into one of the turrets. He takes a few shots at me, and manages to take another bar off my life gauge before I kill him. Plus, I’m still having an ammo crisis. This isn’t good.

I open the door to a hallway that looks exactly like the one on the other side of the bridge. Okay, that makes a little sense. Continuing through the hall, I come to a room, that looks an awful lot like the last big room I was in. Is this what they mean when people say Halo was endlessly repetitive? In this room there are quite a few gnomes, and, it turns out, an invisible guy. I kill a lot of bad guys, but invisible guy is able to take my shield down. Now I’m down to the bloody heartbeats. God, how I hate the heartbeats.

And just like bungie reads The Halo Chronicles or something, I come across two dead stooges. I manage to pick up a health pack, 480 kmart rounds (which didn’t top me up), 42 magnum rounds (which did top me up), and two frags. Thank you, ammo crisis averted.

I take the next exit, thankfully all the hallways have little arrows on them telling which way to go. I wonder why the hell the halo-builders would build it that way. Did they know several millennia ago where I’d be going? ‘Cause that’d be impressive. Apparently, this hallway is a checkpoint. Save. Quit.

Tune in next time when I try to save Fire Team Zulu. And maybe I’ll try to rescue the captain. You know. Again.