Evac prevention at the first structure

Posted April 3rd 2007

Associated movies None, but see BCM290

"Alright ladies, volunteers step up on the double, the rest of you get to the dropship"

At the end of the battle at the first structure, you can stop survivors leaving on the Pelican by blocking the ramp leading down from the structure (assuming they retreated onto it at some point, which they usually all do). Standing anywhere along the ramp will do, including the short section near the top, as long as you're in the middle of the path so nobody can squeeze past. Dead simple! Thanks to Major Silva for putting me on to this. I'd previously heard that you can block their departure by placing the Warthog across the Pelican's rear entrance, but I remember trying that and finding it awkward. This is far easier.

Whoops, there goes your ride boys

The Pelican will fly off after they've been blocked for a short while. Once you see it starting to rise you can stand aside. The survivors will head down and hang around near the structure, and the Warthog gunner will join them if you make him dismount. Here are three uses of this little trick.

Use 1: Getting Sarge aboard the Warthog

As Major Silva pointed out to me, this can be used as a way of making sure you get Sergeant Johnson aboard the Warthog if you want him. He's good fun on the chain-gun; excellent vocals. Maybe you want him in a rockslide megabattle you plan to set up, or maybe you just want him for all the normal combat in the remainder of the level. It should be quite easy to pick him up once everyone is milling around. If he's initially only in the passenger seat, you can get him swapped around to the chain-gun later.

Hold on tight Sarge

Actually, if getting Sarge is your sole aim with this blocking business, the thing to do is to let survivors pass you on the ramp until Sarge is approaching. Him you block, along with anyone behind. The ones you let through will fly off in the Pelican, and you'll have a smaller group from which to extract Sarge. Major Silva suggested the alternative approach of just killing some of the guys you don't want, but that's just asking for a court martial and I reckon he'll be Private Silva by the time the authorities are done with him!

Use 2: Fun turning traitor

You can have a bit of fun by turning traitor. Kill a few of the survivors and you'll soon be having to duck bullets and dodge grenades. With this little disagreement in mind I like having a full needler so I can send a few of the guys up in nice pink explosions. You can fire on them from up on the structure, or wherever.

Use 3: Collecting Marines

You can also use the trick as a starting point for getting all the Marines into the later part of the level, where they can be put to use as reinforcements in the rockslide megabattle or other battle scenarios. Ferry them to near the light-bridge area, activate the bridge (keep your guys back out of danger), and ferry them across while the bridge remains up (it goes down by the time you start the 'Reunion Tour' part of the level).

Frag out!

Tips for healthy survivors

If you want to keep survivors as healthy as possible for whatever you're going to do with them, here's my advice.

When you arrive on the scene, be armed with a pistol and plasma rifle. Throw a frag among the Grunts as they dismount from the dropship, then use quick pistol fire to help polish them off - or throw a second frag. An Elite or two will probably be starting to attack Marines by the time the ship is out of the way, and it makes sense to divert their attention as soon as possible. Charge them with the plasma rifle, going in hard. It won't matter if you take heavy damage; you can use a medkit shortly.

Red stunned and tagged while the blue misses a swipe, hee hee!

Let Sarge and co talk to you before you head off to tackle the next dropship, else they're liable to run after you into danger. Try to blitz all dropship troops from close range as they land, making sure to get the Elites first. E.g. tag or needle them before they're down, or stun and tag them as they hit the ground. I'd recommend a plasma pistol and pistol for this phase of the work. These troops will never even get near the survivors.

The penultimate dropship can be tricky because it could easily be down before you're on the scene. My tip for arriving in time is to finish off the previous dropship's Grunts with a pistol when already on your way to the new landing zone, so the ship gets triggered as late as possible. Looks like it's only triggered when the enemy count falls below 3.

But they don't always retreat

Obviously the trick is dependent on the Marines retreating onto the structure. However, I've had occasions when they failed to do that. Is there a way of ensuring a retreat? I'm not sure, but maybe it depends on whether you're sufficiently near the structure as dropship 5 is arriving. That's when they seem to retreat, if at all. All I can suggest is that after tackling dropship 4 at close quarters, you pause near the structure until you hear Sergeant Johnson give the order.