Red ring impact effect

Expanded April 12th 2020

Associated movies

  • BCM419 - Red ring impact effect (7:36)
At the security substation

In various levels there are control panels associated with doors, lifts, bridges and more. I forget when I first noticed, but if you shoot at one with an assault rifle, you get a beautiful impact effect made up of expanding red rings. Geometrically the effect looks similar to the light blue ring effect you get when shooting a stationary shield or certain other things. Red is a surprising colour though. It tends to be at its most striking in relatively dark places, with your flashlight off (a flashlight can weaken the red a bit).

The first such panel is the one that activates the light-bridge in level 2, but there are also two in level 4 (one for the security override - see pic - and one for the Cartographer), many in level 5, quite a few in level 6, and likewise quite a few in level 8.

If you want to go and try out the effect, let me suggest level 6 on Easy. Grab a shotgun to add to your AR, and have fun shooting the lift control after entering the facility. It's dark in there, which makes the effect stand out well. But some other panels in nice dark areas are the two in level 4 (you can reach the substation quite quickly) and the light-bridge panel in level 2.

Other weapons that work

Although an AR is best, a shotgun provides red rings too, though it's not as dynamic. You can also get red rings using a sniper rifle, a Warthog's chain-gun, and the Scorpion's machine-gun. The impact effect for plasma weapons on control panels is totally different by the way - but quite nice too.

Cortana terminal - and lower screen mount just behind

Other items giving red rings

But wait! It's not just control panels which give the red ring effect. When I embarked on making BCM419 and expanding this article, I went checking through all the levels, trying to find any other items that work, and I discovered a few as follows, all of which are featured in the final section of that movie. I don't know if I missed any, but I tried to be thorough.

In level 1 there's the Cortana terminal on the bridge, which you can return to after getting an AR. Specifically you need to shoot the small octagon on the top, from which her image projects.

Just behind the terminal is a giant display screen, and the screen mount areas along the bottom and top give the red ring effect too (bullets actually pass through the screen, although I assume it's meant to be solid, as confirmed by its blackened appearance in level 10). With your flashlight off, the mounts appear light bluish-green like the terminal octagon.

Don't worry dude, I'll get you out as soon as I've finished playing

The terminal also appears in level 10 (somewhat the worse for wear) and again will produce the red ring effect. Likewise the screen mounts, after the screen has been shattered by Sentinels in the cutscene. With the screen gone, you can actually jump onto the lower mount, and then if you crouch and aim at the upper mount, and have your flashlight off, the ring effect is particularly striking in the dark - as seen in my movie.

In level 3 we have the holding cell barriers, providing some very big targets to pepper! It's surprising to find the effect applied to those, given that the hangar bay barriers give light blue rings, like when shooting a light-bridge. Something I noticed: when you bring down the barriers, you can briefly continue to get red rings after the barriers have faded from view. I assume they're actually still there at that point.

What are these things for anyway?

In level 4 the effect is given by a small circular display element on a wall in the top room of the main facility, and also two similar elements in the Hunter chamber below, and one in the next level down, which I almost missed. The latter is the one you can get the closest view of (see pic).

Further remarks

In regard to the aforementioned circular display elements, you can make the red ring effect look extra bright and striking by first blackening the wall area by blasting it with a rocket or two. The red against black makes for a strong contrast.

Some of the circular display elements can take on a strange 'oscillating' appearance (hard to describe). I think the change is triggered when there's a message from Foe Hammer to the ground teams, warning that "You've got two enemy dropships coming in fast!" When you hear that message (which occurs in my movie), try going up to the Hunter chamber to check for oscillation. You may find that both of the elements there are oscillating.

In regard to the screen mounts in level 10, bear in mind that if you skip the cutscene in which the screen is shattered, or if you revert to the checkpoint which follows the cutscene, the screen is actually still there, albeit in darkened broken form. That seems like a bug. In that case you mostly can't get the red ring effect, because the broken screen intercepts bullets. They can't get through like they can in level 1. However, the screen has a crack in it which reveals a tiny part of the upper mount. You can get the red ring effect there.

The only levels in which I could found no red ring potential, are levels 7 and 9.