Blockade tips

As mentioned earlier, it's possible to set up blockades in the spiral path megabattle, bringing a whole new dimension to the proceedings. Here's a guide to their building and use, and some specific ones to try.

Blockade building

Blockade building is done during the setting up phase, as outlined earlier. What you're typically planning for is to block the enemy's advance with a suitably arranged line of Ghosts, though you could also use Shades, Banshees, the Scorpion, or the Warthog (except that you can't use the Warthog as blockade material when doing early rearranging, as it would just get magically returned to its original position just before you enter the level's first ground battle). There are plenty of Ghosts you can use, but there are a few considerations you'll need to bear in mind as detailed in the next section. There are likewise plenty of Shades available, though moving them into position will obviously take a lot more effort than simply driving Ghosts into place.

Placement and design

There are lots of places you could put a blockade; anywhere from down on the ice to up in the pass. Experiment with placement and design, and see how things turn out. Use a blockade base save to save time; you won't have to spend ages going around collecting blockade material each time you want to try a new blockade.

Funnelling and obstacles

Instead of trying to completely block the enemy, you could make them funnel through a narrow gap; another fine recipe for fun. You could also simply place things so they become a bit of an obstacle course for the enemy to negotiate. For example, how about a dozen Shades dotted around in close formation? Might be quite interesting seeing the enemy weaving their way through, and I can just imagine the effect of a few rockets! Lots of potential here for unusual sights.

Using Ghosts as blockade material

There are plenty of Ghosts available as blockade material from around the level, including two in the twin bridges area. There are a few considerations to bear in mind however.

Dropship Ghosts

When using early rearranging, don't use the two Ghosts at the exit of the rising tunnel after the underground bridge. Those are destined to be brought in by the dropship later. The game will move them into position under the ship, which would leave a gaping hole in your blockade if you used them. You could always use them when doing late rearranging however, after blasting them along to the spiral path area (or after letting Elites drive them there then get ejected).

Pelican attack Ghosts

Near the crashed Pelican area, there's a Ghost in the tunnel and a Ghost down the hill, both intended to attack as you advance. Their intended pilots will initially be on foot, but when you advance far enough, they blink out and rematerialize in their Ghosts, or by them if overturned. Therefore, if want to you use these Ghosts when doing early rearranging, later on you'll need to either kill the pilots before they teleport, or avoid spawning them at all. The latter is easy if you have a Banshee; you'd just skip the Pelican area trigger as mentioned elsewhere. But killing them is quite easy too, done as follows.

To kill the pilot in the tunnel, move onto the start of the central 'island' of ground and snipe him. He won't teleport as long as you keep back from the island's centre.

To kill the pilot down the hill, you'll need a Banshee. I recommend flying way up high to the second ledge roughly above the starting location of the Marines here. It's possible to land without the Banshee slipping off, and from there you can snipe him. An alternative method is to use Banshee fire from high up. It's ok to be further forward to do that, but you have to stay several metres higher than the first ledge or he'll teleport.

Ghost safety

There's a potential problem with Elites jumping into blockade Ghosts and driving them off, spoiling your work. Although you can always counter this possibility by using overturned Ghosts, that makes positioning fiddly and the blockade ugly. Fortunately there's often no need for it, in view of the following two points.

(1) The following eight Ghosts seem safe from enemy use in the battle area, so are okay to use upright: the one near the crashed Pelican, the two attack Ghosts just beyond (as long as you kill their pilots before they teleport), the one behind the purple container in the tunnel after the cavern, the two nearest the doors of the tower, and the two from the twin bridges area. When assembling Ghosts in a base save, obviously these 'safe' ones are the most desirable.

(2) I believe that unsafe Ghosts become safe as soon as you trigger the dropship in the spiral path area (indeed, at that point you'd see Elites suddenly jump out of their Ghosts if you've deliberately let them drive in). If your blockade is down on the ice or on the spiral path, you'll probably be triggering the dropship before any Elite nears the blockade, and it should therefore be okay to use unsafe Ghosts the right way up.

Positioning overturned Ghosts

Moving an overturned Ghost into position in a blockade is probably best done by nudging it with a Banshee, except for doing fine adjustments by whacking. If you want to rotate it, you can do it by nudging one end with a Banshee's nose.

Blockade use

Here are some things you can do with blockades.

Tackling a released horde

For the most intense combat, let the enemy accumulate behind the blockade, then blow a hole in it and fight for your life against the released horde. Blowing up blockades with a rocket launcher is especially enjoyable, but you could also use a grenade or a Banshee bolt. If you want a slower stream, try blowing a smaller hole so the enemy can't pile through as fast.

Once you've got Ghosts or Shades scattered around from a devastated blockade, they can make great targets to rocket so the blast takes out nearby enemies. You can have a lot of fun picking the right moment to do the most damage.

Massacring a blocked horde

If it's explosive mischief you fancy, let the enemy accumulate behind the blockade, then have sending grenades, rockets, or Banshee bolts into their midst. Should be good for some mayhem, and probably some impressive chain reactions. You may end up with some enemies getting released and coming for you when the blockade breaks up, but at least you've got off to a handy start eh?

If you want to go to town on the chain reaction idea, kill some Grunts and Elites first so the ground will be littered with plasma grenades. That should end up giving you a big bang! You can do the killing from distance with a sniper rifle or pistol (possibly from a ledge you've flown up to), or even by whacking them while cloaked.

Setting up specialized battling

If you've got a blockade to hold back the enemy, you've got all the time you need to arrange specialized battles in which you've first eliminated enemies you don't want (using the sniper rifle), and got ready with an appropriate weapon combo. Eliminating some enemies beforehand like this can give you more varied battle experiences, and can allow you to use weapon combos (or self-imposed restrictions) that might not otherwise have been viable. For example, you could eliminate the Elites and Hunters, then blow the blockade and take on the released mass of Grunts and Jackals with nothing but a pistol. You can arrange things for just the right amount of challenge.

Of course, you could always have eliminated some enemies before your save checkpoint (you don't even need a blockade for that); but that makes your save less flexible. It would probably only be worth creating such a save for a particular specialized battle you want permanently handy.

Note: To eliminate a Hunter without killing nearby enemies, either snipe him in his orange flesh, or if he's not showing any, bounce several sniper bullets off his head; they seem to have a cumulative effect.

Ghost lines as cover

A line of Ghosts can potentially be used as cover for yourself and your Marines, which should help them survive longer. If the line goes across the whole width of the path, it will also stop Marines rushing over to the enemy to get slaughtered at close quarters. You may like to set up a defensive position with this in mind, down on the ice. There are enough Ghosts available that you could even set up two lines of Ghosts; a cover line for the Marines and a blockade for the enemy.

Another place you might leave a few Ghosts for cover is near the top of the spiral path, where the battling can be quite tricky if you've got angry Elites and cannon-firing Hunters to contend with.

Specific blockades to try

Here's are some blockades I've had fun with, which are mentioned on relevant battle plan pages.

4-Ghost blockade on the ice

If you want a suggestion for a first blockade to try out, let me recommend a line of four Ghosts about a quarter of the way along the ice path that curves around from the base of the spiral path to the ammo supplies. It's a great addition for an ice path defence. I talk about it in my account of that plan, and you can see one in BCM6. It can also be used to fight an intensified underpass defence by releasing a gathered horde. A further benefit of such a blockade is that it's ideal as a starting point for the excellent fun described in Ice horde carnage.

Blockade across the spiral path

A blockade across the spiral path is good for allowing you to pick the enemy off from down on the ice in a path base defence, or you can let a big crowd build up then send in a rocket. Fabulous! You can use as few as three Ghosts, depending on quite where you're building. You might find the occasional enemy coming over a Ghost line, due I think to their clumsiness on the slope, but it's not too much of a problem.

6-Ghost blockade on the cliff

A 6-Ghost blockade across the wide cliff path is good for fighting a path top defence, as described in my account of that plan. It's also useful for generating an intensified enemy attack lower down, by releasing a gathered horde. But make sure to build it far enough forward to block even the dropship troops.

Pass blockade; best ever!

I've had some magnificent fun with a mob trapped in the pass by a blockade at the exit. It's detailed in my pass blockade rumble plan, but basically you can either release the mob for an incredibly hectic battle, or you can advance on it with grenades and rockets, wreaking utter havoc and getting some truly amazing chain reactions. You can also blast the blockade as a way of starting off other battle plans, and I'd especially recommend the path base defence there.