Top of the first map via Pelican

Posted November 18th 2017

Associated movies

  • BCM258 - Heroic; Top of the first map via Pelican (7:55)
  • BCM259 - Heroic; Spawning fun at the structure
The Eagle has landed

There's a classic old trick which lets you reach the top of the level very easily. After the cutscene the screen goes white. When the whiteness has faded, quickly throw a grenade (either type). Then you'll remain aboard the Pelican instead of being forced off, and you can go for a ride (and note: the Pelican has no boarding prompt, so staying aboard is the only way to get a flight).

The Pelican flies to the top of the map, where you can dismount to explore and have some other fun. Moreover, there's a handy checkpoint you can get on arrival, which I'll call the 'arrival checkpoint'. I think it's actually the checkpoint triggered by spawning the first covies (there was an explosion and the creepy music started), and it got delayed while you were airborne.

Early bail option

Dismount options

Let me give a bit more detail on the dismount options. If you remain aboard until after the engine tone lowers and the Pelican begins to slow, the Pelican will settle on the ground and remain in play, still humming. If you instead dismount earlier - which you can do at any time - the Pelican will vanish. As such, this remain/vanish dynamic seems to be the same as when taking a ride on the second Pelican of level 5.

Delaying the arrival checkpoint

The arrival checkpoint is delayable, which is useful. You can delay it (e.g. by jumping) in order to get it in some specific place, to set yourself up for some replayable fun - for which there are multiple possibilities. In particular, it can become a battle start checkpoint for fighting certain groups of covies in novel ways. Also note that the music stops after about six and a half minutes; so if you want to have your replayable fun without music, simply keep the checkpoint delayed until the music is over.

Lots of 2D scenery

If you want to delay the checkpoint it's easiest if you bail early, before the Pelican slows. If you leave it late, you'll be in danger of getting the checkpoint before you can get clear of the Pelican and start jumping without obstruction. But it's still possible, if for some reason you want the Pelican to remain in play.

The lay of the land

The upper area is pretty huge. It's uneven and has some slopes too steep to negotiate. It surrounds the play area and is bordered by an invisible wall. Grenades vanish through the wall, but plasmas leave a fizzing trace for a while. AR bullet casings bounce off. If you try to whack the wall however, it's like there's nothing there.

Based on following the wall, which takes about 3:20 on PAL Xbox (you can run a bit faster on NTSC/PC), it looks like the map is square as seen from above. There's a lot of 2D scenery (with only one side visible), but there are also plenty of normal solid tree trunks.

Getting frisky down there!

Attacking the early covies

There are some early covies you can attack from above. You heard them during the flight, and they may even have fired on you as you passed. It's only a small group, but on Legendary they can put up some nasty fire. Trying to wipe them out with grenades is one challenge. You could also jump down, perhaps taking them by surprise.

Another thing you can do with these guys is backtrack to them after dropping down to get the active camo not far from where the Pelican settles. When you pass a certain line close to the covies, they're triggered into panic, which is a nice time to have fun launching them with tags if you're a bad cyborg like me (see the last part of BCM258). A checkpoint is triggered too, though it can get delayed by enemy threat.

Dude, where's your gun?

Weaponless Marine

Not far from where you'd overlook the early covies, you can find a mysterious weaponless Marine. Perhaps Bungie put him there deliberately for fun, knowing that it was possible for you to reach this high ground? He's just standing still, but will protest if you shoot him.

Water blasting

There are various pools you can overlook, and it's fun to throw grenades into them to cause water explosions. Try engineering some simultaneous blasts, like in BCM258.

Fun at the structure entrance

There's some excellent fun you can have by dropping down to the structure entrance area to fight Grunts and Jackals, and potentially even see them spawn right before your eyes. The spawning trigger zone covers most of the depression but you can drop to some place outside it to do some easily controlled spawning (again and again, if you've checkpointed suitably). For details on this topic see my separate article, Spawing fun at the structure entrance.