Pelican descent ride

Posted July 3rd 2016

Associated movies

  • BCM190 - Heroic; Early tries and later play (7:20)
Now for a safe drop-off - I hope!

After grabbing the bridge Banshee, one of the novelties you can enjoy is transferring yourself to the top of the arriving Pelican to try and ride it down. Long ago Ms. Man did a bit of this after launching himself off the bridge with a Shade (watch from 6.38 in 'Game Over'), but Banshee grabbing makes for much easier boarding of course!

As you can see from some of my early tries in BCM190, it's a tricky business. Your ride is very bouncy which greatly limits your traction, though I suspect there's much better traction on NTSC/PC compared to PAL (my experience is only with PAL). It can be difficult to arrest undesired motion towards an edge, and it's easy to end up falling off.

Feeling stable on the vent strip

Safe boarding

The first thing you need to do is drop yourself off safely. For a good full ride, try to do it before the music starts. I favour approaching from the front of the Pelican, rather than the back, and I think the best place to go for is the flat 'vent strip' fronted by two big vents. However, the wide area of the front fuselage is also quite viable if you're careful not to end up too close to the cockpit, where things slope down more.

Try to avoid landing with much speed, else you might continue in that direction, unable to slow yourself fast enough.

Wing tip terror

Places to stand

On the vent strip, things can feel quite stable. Indeed, it's even viable to look up at the bridge, perhaps to fire on an enemy or lob a grenade before you're out of range.

Holding station on the front fuselage requires more caution, especially when you get near the cockpit. Surfaces slope down a bit, making it even more difficult to arrest undesired motion. Or impossible, if you've gone far enough. You can be quite stable just ahead of the vents, but you need to be careful they don't give you a nudge, or you might not be able to stop. At around the height of the ledge, the Pelican picks up a little forward speed for a few seconds, and that's when you're in danger of getting nudged.

In a wing gap

There are also other places you can try to hold station, so do some exploring. For starters the tail fins feel ok; not too dangerous. Things get tricky when it comes to the wings though. Riding on a wing tip is quite a challenge, and you especially need to be careful not to wander near the front edge. It took me quite a few tries before I managed to ride a wing tip all the way down (see the latter part of BCM190). The trickiest bit is when the Pelican picks up a bit of forwards speed part way down as just mentioned. That's when you can so easily fall off.

You can also try the wing gaps. They're just narrow enough to support you, but it's a bit scary. They keep you fairly secure on the left and right, but you can expect to get bounced backwards and forwards.

Forward glide at the end

Near the ground, the Pelican eventually does a fairly sharp forward glide. It'll slide underneath you, potentially leaving you unsupported to fall to the ground. By that time you're low enough to survive the fall though. Or at least, it's no trouble on PAL. I'm not sure about NTSC/PC, where MC is far less resilient against fall impacts.

This landing may hurt a little

Stunt boarding

Earlier I said a little about safe boarding onto the Pelican, but you can have some pretty good fun trying spectacular stunt boarding. The basic idea is eject from the Banshee in such a way that you'll be in the air for quite some time before hitting the Pelican. In particular, you can fly up at a steep angle from below then eject, to end up coming down on the Pelican quite steeply - as seen at the end of BCM190. The landing is relatively soft, but can certainly kill you if you fall from high enough.


Another fun thing you can do is jumping. Time a jump when you're about to bounce, and you'll go high. The odd thing is, it's quite a while before you can do it again. In fact, it seems like you can't do it for several more bounces. Jumping can also be used to get yourself out of trouble. For example, if you're in a wing gap and want to get out, a jump can help.