Ice horde carnage

Posted December 16th 2005

With a bit of engineering, you can create a save in which you've got a massive enemy horde packed behind a blockade of Ghosts down on the ice in the spiral path area. That can be around 50 to 60 enemies, just waiting for you to come along and wreak havoc. This situation is the best I've ever come across for chain reaction fun and cyborg mischief in general, so grab your rocket launcher and follow me!

Setting up

Start off with a spiral path megabattle set-up featuring a blockade down on the ice, such as described in 4-Ghost blockade on the ice (which is the one I've been using). Actually some of the bits of fun I mention will also work with a blockade elsewhere, but I'll stick with just describing things for one on the ice. Also, make sure you drew all enemies right through the pass.

Kill off the Marines and complete things with the method described in Horde boosting to make all enemies collect behind the blockade (because they want to reach the underpass). Basically then, you'll trigger the zigzag path checkpoint and keep it delayed until you want it for your starting checkpoint. Preferably kill all the new enemies you trigger, else they'll be extra work for the game to handle and it may make any framerate slowdown worse. Preferably be armed with a sniper rifle and rocket launcher for the fun. And have maximum grenades of course.

Since much of your mischief will probably lie in setting off huge chain reactions, you may like to set things up on Legendary, as enemies tend to drop more grenades. That said, the writing here is based entirely on my experience with Heroic, which seems plenty explosive enough!

Chain reaction from above

Now you've got your save, how about a spot of explosive fun for openers? Drop yourself off somewhere overlooking the horde, use the sniper rifle to kill some Elites or Grunts, then send in a rocket to set off a magnificent chain reaction. Send in further rockets to blitz the remnants if any. You can also have fun setting things off with a grenade of course; I quite enjoy watching them bounce lazily along the ice to drop in amongst the enemy. Frag grenades bounce particularly well, and it's fun to see the enemy watching a grenade come in, then trying to dive clear when they suddenly realize it's settling down in their neighbourhood.

Spoilt for choice

There are lots of places you can overlook the horde; have fun trying them out. This flexibility is part of why the situation is so good for chain reaction fun, quite apart from the high enemy numbers. In particular you can drop yourself off at cliff level directly in front of or behind the enemy, giving a great view.

Note that when you're up on the cliff behind them (my favourite position), they don't flock up after you like they would've done earlier; they stay where they are. That's because of their altered behaviour, namely their desire to head for the underpass, which you'll see demonstrated if the blockade gets breached. This is great, allowing you to do your evil deeds at leisure. That said, watch out for Hunters taking pot-shots at you if you're on the cliff. You may also find several plasma balls heading your way all at once from the Jackals, when provoked.

Hunter elimination

Because Hunters tend to fire at you when you're relatively close, you may want to take them down before going to work on the rest of the enemy (you could also have eliminated them in advance of course). If you want to kill a Hunter with the sniper rifle, but he's looking at you, you can do it by hitting the narrow opening for his eyes. Alternatively, here's a sneaky trick. Lob a grenade so it'll explode harmlessly on the other side of the enemy, then duck down out of sight. When the bang goes off, the Hunter will briefly turn around to look, which is your cue to pop back up and let him have a bullet in the back.

Long-range tagging

Particularly when you're on the cliff in front of or behind the enemy, you can enjoy the challenge of long-range tagging, in which you try to land a plasma grenade on a particular enemy. To help your aim, level a sniper sight at the enemy in question, then revert to normal vision and look up to what you think will be the right angle. Try to remember your aiming point by noting some feature on the background (e.g. a bit of patterning on some cliff face). If the throw turns out to be a bit short or long, have another go but use a higher or lower aiming point respectively.

On the underpass pinnacle

One place I sometimes land is on the small pinnacle on top of the underpass. From there I can see my 4-Ghost blockade and the front part of the enemy. With the sniper rifle I'll kill Elites and Grunts for a while. When you kill enemies near the front, others tend to move forward to take up the freed space, which is rather obliging of them. Once I've killed enough, I'll send in a rocket or a long-range grenade to set off a chain reaction. I can't see all the enemy on the ice, but I invariably get to see most of them once they go flying off in all directions!

But the fun doesn't stop there. Turning the other way, I've got a nice view of the enemies beyond the zigzag path, including a few Ghosts hovering around. The Ghosts are active because I progressed far enough into the area to trigger their pilots, in order to stop the music; and I didn't bother to kill enemies there. There are also some Shades visible because I've previously rearranged them to be closer to the zigzag path (back when setting up the blockade). All in all then, there's plenty of fun to be had with rockets and long-range grenading; a welcome bonus. However, those extra enemies are also giving the game more to deal with and may be contributing to framerate slowdown, so it may've been better to kill them in advance.

Cloaked mischief

Another idea. Apply the active camouflage and quickly head over to the horde to wreak some cyborg mischief up close and personal.


In particular you can have fun whacking lots of Elites and Grunts, and when there are plenty of loose grenades, set things off with a grenade and enjoy the blast close up. But not too close up!

With whacking in mind, it's a nice idea to leave a plasma pistol by the active camouflage during your set-up work, so it's handy to pick up when you apply the camouflage. You can get one from a dead Shade Grunt.

There are challenges to be had in regard to whacking enemies. For example, see how many you can whack before setting off a chain reaction and wiping out any survivors. You might manage about 25 if you're quick. Or see if you can pick off all the Elites.

Sometimes you'll get rumbled by an enemy you accidentally brush against, and all hell breaks loose as you start taking fire. If that happens, just be sure to drop a grenade or two before you die, to take most of the scum with you in one big blast. Then again, you may not need to drop a grenade. Sometimes a Hunter will fire off a shot at you with scant regard for all the enemies standing in the way. Needless to say, this can be pretty disastrous. Actually it's almost worth dying, to witness the enemy blow itself to smithereens like that!


Another thing you can do is tag enemies with plasma grenades. I like doing this from up on one of the small rocks just around the corner from the spiral path. With my 4-Ghost blockade, those rocks are just to the side of the enemy mass. The enemy is spread out nicely in front of me, and I can pick out a suitably ugly victim and lob a fizzing time-bomb onto some choice part of his anatomy. It'll take out a load of enemies of course, but there's usually plenty left for you to pick out a few more tag victims.

Admittedly it's not terribly safe up on those rocks as you could get caught in a big chain reaction, but we're only having a bit of fun after all. Stand on the ice behind the enemy if you prefer, so you can always back off.

High grenade

Here's another fine bit of fun. Lob a grenade straight up in the air and watch the enemy follow it as it comes in almost vertically and bounces among them. Their reactions are amusingly glacial. A few of them may eventually put two and two together and try to dive clear, and you may see a few Jackals comically recoil in delayed shock, usually letting off an involuntary blast of plasma. But most enemies will just look at the grenade quizzically and follow it with their guns, until it finally goes off in their faces. Real sharp, these alien jokers.

Resilient Hunters

Hunters are usually still standing after everyone else is dead, but a few rockets in the face or chest will soon take care of that. Alternatively, have some fun dodging around taking care of them another way.

Wake up, he's here!

The Grunts seem able to detect your presence even when you're cloaked. Some fin-backed fool will usually raise the alert with something like "Wake up, he's here!", putting everyone on guard. Maybe they can smell you. After all, there's a Grunt alert cry that goes "I smell one!", which you may've heard.

Ground attack from the rear

You can easily drop down behind the enemy, initially sheltered by the bottom of the spiral path or hidden by active camouflage. You can then lay into the enemy as desired. With the exception of Elites and Hunters in rage mode, they won't come after you as they want to head for the underpass.

Cover rock to the right

If you move well around to your right as you face the enemy from their exposed rear, there's a smallish rock at the base of the cliff that can give good cover if you fancy it; but it's not much protection against Hunter blasts, so you may want to kill anything spiky before you use it.

Weed out the Elites

One thing you might like to do is sniper all those ugly Elite heads towering over the lesser enemies. Once they're all down you can set off a chain reaction, or perhaps tackle the lesser enemies with pistol fire.

Rockets across the ice

Alternatively, forget about sniping and just send rockets low across the ice, taking out whole chunks of enemy in one go. Glorious! It's almost addictive. I find it particularly satisfying to send a rocket in the direction of some miserable Jackal who's had the effrontery to shoot at me. Or to point at me, which is just plain rude. One thing you'll probably notice is that the Grunts tend to be collected towards the rear, sometimes almost in one big gaggle. Nice target!

Friendly fire

If you move around a bit, the enemy suffers quite a lot of friendly fire which can be amusing of course. I had fun letting 30 Jackals and Grunts shoot each other in the back until there were only 5 left. The hardy survivors were then rewarded with a nice shiny rocket. I'm nothing if not generous.

Pink suicide

For a bit of fun, kill everyone except the needler folk, then advance and let yourself take as many needles as possible, resulting in multiple pink explosions, perhaps setting off a huge chain reaction that wipes out your assailants too.

Two-sided attack, with Marines

I said to kill the Marines, but actually you could set things up so they're still alive, if you initially keep them blocked so they won't tangle with the enemy. Easiest thing would be to seal them off behind the underpass. After releasing them it can be fun to attack the enemy from behind (cloaked or otherwise) while the Marines are heading along to attack from the front (trying to follow you). You can also use the Marines' approach as a sort of time-challenge, for doing the best job you can of killing enemies (in some particular manner) prior to their arrival, so as to give them the best chance of survival.


Land up at cliff level to overlook the enemy, and use the rocket launcher to send Shades or Banshees or spare Ghosts careering along the ice into the enemy. Laugh heartily at the resulting panic and squashing. See how many you can squash without breaking the blockade. Quite amusing. I feel sure there's an Olympic sport in this somewhere.

Fun with a released horde

As a bonus for your set-up work, there's also fun you can have after simply releasing the horde, e.g. by rocketing or grenading it. This isn't really part of the 'ice horde carnage' I was concerned with, but I'll quickly mention the options anyway.

Fight for your life

Standing well back on the ice, release the enemy then see if you can survive as they flood your way. This is just a spiral path megabattle plan you can do with any blockade, but here it's particularly nasty as you won't have much time to work on the advancing mass. You'll probably get quite a bit of framerate slowdown though, especially when you start to fight close up. That makes weaponry less responsive than usual, which can take some getting used to. You could potentially have Marines to help (see 'Two-sided attack' earlier). The sniper would make a big difference in your ability to survive the onslaught. The rest may not hurt the enemy much, but at least they'll draw some fire away from you.

Underpass attack

Release the enemy and let them gather at the underpass, then attack them from either side. This idea is discussed on my page about horde boosting.