Prong attack

Posted April 2nd 2006

Setting up

After the Warthog-assisted jump that starts a descent into the main shaft, you'll probably be on the third prong level down. From there you can have great fun attacking the enemy, who'll gather to eye you up. But to maximize the number of targets, it's best if you've activated the Silent Cartographer first. Here's the detail for creating a good replayable save.

Creating a good save

In the plan I gave for the descent into the shaft, you didn't go down to activate the Silent Cartographer as there was no need. In that case, when you get over to a prong there won't be as many targets as there could be, because various groups haven't spawned yet. If you want to maximize the enemy count, you should first activate the Cartographer and come back up, bypassing potential targets where possible, and minimizing overshield damage. As long as most of the red band of your overshield is intact, you can survive the Warthog-assisted jump, though you might lose a bit of health. With good planning and a bit of sharp fighting when needed, it's possible to retain enough overshielding even on Legendary (where the enemy count is highest).

For talk about bypassing enemies, see Platform attack. Indeed, creating a good save with high enemy count is much like you'd do for a platform attack, except for also needing a Warthog ready, and needing some overshielding to survive the jump. In contrast to the bypassing advice for a platform attack though, I suggest leaving the bottom Elite and Grunts unmolested, as they'll all be potential targets from your prong. Of course, once you've created your save, there's nothing to stop you also using it to do platform attacks if you fancy.

As with the platform attack, I suggest you carry a rocket launcher and pistol, but also have a pile of alternative weapons handy (assembled after getting the Warthog out of the way for a moment, backing it into the first room). Both plasma weapons will be viable from your prong, and some enemies are within needler range. Each time you restart your save, you can swap weaponry if desired, prior to making the jump. You should also be fully loaded with grenades of course.


If you've activated the Cartographer, there are potentially four groups of enemy to attack. I'll talk a bit about each one shortly; but first some general remarks.

All the groups are good for grenading. You'll soon learn the right elevations to use, to get grenades to plop down in the right places. It's great to see enemies frantically trying to dive clear and then getting blown off anyway, sometimes still alive. If you see anyone flying off still alive, see if you can finish them off with pistol fire. As with a platform attack, you can also have fun seeing how many enemies you can send off the edge.

I suggest you do your attacking from the tip of a prong; you might as well be as close as possible. But keep a mental note of how much room you've got to dodge left or right, as the Jackals sometimes fire plasma balls. You'll have landed on the nearer side of prongs, but you can hop around to the other side if you want, to get closer to certain enemies.

You'll probably be on the third prong level down. It's actually possible to land on the second level for a higher view, but that's difficult and it also cuts off your view of the lowest enemies; see Landing on the second prong level for details.

Ok, now the four groups.

(1) High group

Up top there's a bunch of Jackals who'll come over to the edge near the supplies outside the Hunter chamber. From the third prong level you don't get a full view of them as you're much lower, but you can certainly get them with rockets or grenades. One sneaky thing you can do is slam a rocket into the top of the purple box (you can just see it), causing a blast which sends nearby Jackals flying off to the sides or off the edge. Slamming a rocket into the wall on the right is another nice idea. On at least one occasion I've seen one of these Jackals get blown down to a lower surface, still alive.

There are also the Hunters and nearby Elite and Grunts up there, but they seem to stay back from the edge, over to the left. From the third prong level you shouldn't expect to see them, but you might still manage to kill some with a hopeful grenade. Maybe you'll see some get blown out. If you've managed to land on the second prong level however, you'll probably see some of them.

(2) Middle Jackals

Lower down there are more Jackals, potentially on two levels. Sometimes they cluster in the corner, sometimes they move along the walkway to the right. They can be within homing range for a plasma ball from a plasma pistol. They occasionally send plasma balls your way. Heh, they'll pay for that!

(3) Platform squad

On the right there's an Elite with some Grunts (I count 6 on Legendary, 4 on Heroic). They come out onto a platform and sometimes go down the nearby ramp. Once you weaken that group, the remainder tends to retreat permanently. So, once you've killed a few, maybe try to take out the rest with a big bang.

That group is within range of the needler, and also within homing range for a plasma ball. For best effect with the needler, send in an explosive stream after dropping a few enemies, so you end up with a nice chain reaction. However, I also love to send single needles over, or pips of plasma, to hear the Grunt reactions. The superb echo makes the Grunt voices seem even cuter than normal. Is that possible?

(4) Bottom squad

Down at the bottom there's another squad comprising an Elite with some Grunts (I count 9 on Legendary, 6 on Heroic). Initially they'll probably be through the doorway; but once you start shooting, some may come down the ramp, and they can be within needler range. One thing you can do here is kill lots when they're still at the doorway, then set off a huge chain reaction with a rocket or grenade.

Landing on the second prong level

After many attempts I managed to land on the second prong level down, rather than the usual third, but I had to use a trickier method which is probably going to be too hard to pull off regularly. The idea is to use a plasma grenade to give the hog an extra boost as you drive off the platform. The blast goes off just behind the hog, causing it to somersault. Remain seated. If you're lucky, the hog hits the second prong level and you manage to dismount ok.

There's a bit of cunning involved in getting the plasma grenade to go off late enough. With the hog backed up as usual or perhaps a bit closer (e.g. nose level with the side passage), crouch by the front left wheel where you'll be able to get into the driving seat instantly. Throw the grenade so it hits the roof of the tunnel very near the end. As soon as it hits, get into the hog and go. The grenade drops to the ground, and this fall delays the blast long enough for you to be past it (you hope).

Being on the second prong level puts you at the height of the high Jackals, which is nice. You can now potentially see some of the other enemies on that level, hanging back on the left; the Elite and Grunts, and maybe even the Hunters. However, you can't see the bottom squad through the doorway so well, which is disappointing.