While it's still fresh in my mind, here's how this megabattle came about.

Weekend discovery

Shortly after posting Danger! More falling Grunts for Bad Cyborg's second anniversary on Saturday April 22nd 2006, I settled down to a bit of level 3 fun and tried something perverse. From the start, I ran right through to the grav-lift passage trying to leave most enemies alive, then backtracked to see what novel fun I could have. It was maybe the first time I'd ever done this.

One of the things I noticed was that quite a few enemies had chased through into the dustbowl area, making for a bigger battle there, maybe twenty enemies or so. Nice! But I also had fun playing around back in the second area. In doing that, I eventually noticed that enemies there were sometimes heading on through. After a while, I realised I could actually make them trickle through if I wanted, by being near the far side of the raised land to encourage them. That's when I knew I was onto a good thing. Megabattle in the dustbowl! Soon I was getting almost everyone from the second area along, including the group of reinforcements that initially entered the first area but then chased me up the path.

First area enemies too

Back in the first area, enemies were merely standing around, as were the Marines I'd left behind. They'd seemingly all had a behaviour change. Try it and you'll see what I mean. For a few days, I simply assumed that enemies in the first area were unable to leave. But after thinking about how enemies in the second area became able to leave their home with a little encouragement once I'd triggered a checkpoint beyond them, I thought "Why not the guys at the start?". I'd never tried encouraging them. So I went back to explore. Killing the Marines this time, I triggered the checkpoint you get near the start of the cliff path, then went back to see what the enemy would do. And lo and behold, they started trickling out. Great! I then found that as long as they got near the ammo area, they'd advance to the dustbowl along with everyone else. The megabattle had just got even bigger.

And Shade gunners!

There was still one development left in regard to enemy numbers. Until now, I'd just been killing the Shade gunners along the way. But then I thought, what will a gunner do if I can manage to eject him? I tested the gunner in the second area. After pushing his Shade off the edge of the raised land, he went toddling off to join his buddies. Yay! Looked like Shade gunners became fully mobile once ejected. I later found that I could get the gunners from the first area too, by carefully grenading them out. I also realised that by ejecting the gunners in the dustbowl area, I could swell the size of the chasing Grunt gaggle there. All in all, that made for another six pairs of stubby legs on the ground. Woo-hoo!

Took long enough

The amusing thing about all this is how easy it could've been to realize the potential for a megabattle ages ago, if only I'd let a few covies live to chase after me into later areas. I suppose my mistake all along was to just massacre the living daylights out of them on sight. Somehow that's always seemed like the right thing to do, know what I mean? Still, when I think of the countless times I've been through the level, and all the while this megabattle has been lurking there waiting to happen… Ack!