Special ops wall glitch and more

Posted April 17th 2020

Associated movies

  • BCM420 - Easy; Special ops wall glitch fun (8:15)
  • BCM421 - Easy; Special ops shortcut fun (6:27)
  • BCM422 - Easy; Special ops versus Flood (6:37)
  • BCM433 - Easy; Special ops hog boost fun (5:30)
Hey guys, where are we going?

Not long after passing the Pelican rendezvous area and (hopefully) getting a checkpoint, you encounter a Covenant special ops squad making a run for it along the winding corridor. Normally the squad would comprise two Elites with plasma rifles plus three Grunts with fuel rod cannons. But if the game is overloaded - which is one possible route to snatching a Banshee - some of the squad may fail to spawn, and it's also possible for one or more covies to be weaponless.

While the covies are running, they won't attack you. Usually the Elites are already in front of the Grunts, but even if one lags behind, he'll soon pull ahead with the other.

You can have quite a bit of fun with these guys, as I'll elaborate. It would typically be best to have a snatched Banshee (reminder: it's easiest to do a tag-snatch if you want one), but a lot of the fun can also be had using a Warthog. Either way, you'll want to've got the post-rendezvous checkpoint deep into the ship, so you can reach the squad quickly (like in perhaps 12-15 seconds).

Houston, we have a problem

Wall glitch fun

The navigational skills of the covies are somewhat dodgy, and in particular, there's a place where one or more Grunts will commonly go astray, running into the wall and ending up running on the spot, blocked by a vertical girder. You can see an example at the start of BCM420. With the set-up I was using there, I actually never once saw all three Grunts manage to stay on course. There was always at least one that got blocked there. It's also possible for covies to end up blocked by other wall girders.

But here's the best part. It's fairly easy to deliberately divert covies to the aforementioned girder. It's best to have a Banshee for this, but a Warthog could be used too, or even your own body. Two other ways of diverting the covies are to put grenades in their path (they try to go around them) or to shoot them; but a Banshee gives you the most control.

Grunts on top!

You can try to get all five blocked, which isn't all that hard - or not when you've had a bit of practice at least. Also, once you've got some covies blocked, you can try to get them stacked up by nudging them with your Banshee. Stacking is quite a delicate business because covies are easily splattered, so you'll need some patience. But as seen in BCM420, the results can be pretty entertaining and you can also enjoy blasting the resulting formations.

Incidentally, sometimes an Elite will auto-stack, i.e. you'll find him already standing on someone. But usually you have to do it yourself.

It's fun to see what formations you can get. There's quite a bit of creative potential there, which can tax your engineering abilities. One particular challenge is to get a cute column of three Grunts. It was a long time before I managed that. I'm wondering if it's possible to get a column of four covies or even five, but I haven't managed that so far. It's hard to lift covies far without splattering others.

Watch out fellas, bit toasty in here!

Shortcut fun

Unless you dawdled on your approach, the squad is encountered near an opening to the right, which is actually a shortcut (and which contains the hidden thirsty Grunt). If you block squad members sufficiently early from their initial route around the left of a big pillar, it can cause them to divert into the shortcut. Ideally you'd want a Banshee for that as seen in seen in BCM421, though a Warthog would also be viable.

It's hard to block an Elite in time because they're usually too far ahead, but on rare occasions you can stop one, and then it's maybe like a 50-50 chance he'll take the shortcut. But you stand a good chance with Grunts, or at least with the rearmost two Grunts, as the front one often can't be blocked in time. Often you can get one or two Grunts heading for the shortcut, though they sometimes have a bit of trouble entering.

Trouble in the side passage

If you get someone diverted, you can have fun following him through. The narrow path includes four raised segments and additional shallow slopes which cause a Grunt to pause repeatedly, and cause an Elite to hop. But also, Grunts may instead go off course, wandering up the slope on the right. Indeed, that's something you can encourage by blocking the path (maybe Elites will go off course too, but I never pursued that). It's like they're going mountaineering. Pretty funny to watch. Funny also when they finally emerge, jumping down into the corridor.

Having made it out, a Grunt may sometimes snap out of his running behaviour and return to normal mode, attacking you. It seems pretty random. Indeed, on one occasion I got two Grunts through but only one of them stopped. As for Elites, I've got one through the shortcut several times but have never seen one stop.

Within the shortcut, you can try to get covies diverted into the side-passage containing the thirsty Grunt. The easiest way to do this is if a Grunt has gone up the slope. As he reaches the side passage and walks off the edge, give him a nudge with your Banshee. Once in the side passage he'll go up the sloping side on the left, and will try to move along it, but he tends to get held up early on, and may get killed by fire (see pic showing the first danger zone). But you can potentially get him past that hazard by nudging him.

My money's on the covies

Special ops versus Flood

If allowed to continue, the covies will encounter some Flood, just before the place where in normal play you'd be expected to make a huge jump in a Warthog. You can have fun watching the two groups fight, as seen in BCM422. Of course, you can always do more than just watching if you want; and eventually you'll be needing to defend yourself. The best weapons for fun? I'd say the rocket launcher, shotgun and needler.

It's probably best to be playing on a low difficulty though, otherwise you could get killed fast. I suggest using Easy, so the fight goes on the longest and (aside from explosions) you don't need to worry much about your own safety. Or at least, not while the two Elites are focused on the Flood. Once they focus their plasma rifles on you, their fire is actually surprising fierce on Easy.

As mentioned earlier, Grunts have a habit of wall glitching. If you want to get all three to the Flood fight, I suggest doing some blocking to try and cause shortcutting, as in the previous section. This interference seems to give you some chance of getting all three there, even if none of them shortcut. It's a technique I was using during some of my work on BCM422, although I never did use a battle clip featuring all three Grunts.

Heading for the ramp

Hog boost fun

This bit of fun is just for a Warthog. As long as you don't dawdle, you'll typically find that when you arrive at the special ops squad, the Grunts are heading across the passage to go around a pillar, presumably to avoid the two fires which are burning on or near a ramp. If you head for that ramp and splatter a Grunt on the way, or even two if the opportunity is there, one or more plasma grenades may go into a fire (typically the nearer one) and detonate, giving the hog a spectacular boost as you take the ramp.

Sometimes you'll be ejected and go flying through the air. Other times you might remain seated as the hog does a nice somersault or corkscrew and lands on its wheels. There's also a chance you could be killed outright, though that seems rare. It's quite good fun playing about with, and the tumbling hog quite often splatters an Elite or two. See BCM433 for some boosts on Heroic.

From your post-rendezvous checkpoint deep into the ship, each drive to the ramp takes only about 15 seconds, so it's not too laborious making boost attempts. With a typical set-up it's quite easy to splatter the middle Grunt on approach; and then you could be looking at something like a 25% chance of a boost, based on my experience. Depending on how the squad spawned, it may be possible to splatter two Grunts, in which case you chance of a boost may be greater than normal, due to more plasmas being scattered.