BCM151 - Grunt-Jackal spawning trick

(6:55) Level 3 ('The Truth and Reconciliation') on Normal. After a brief and robust reminder of the 66-covie horde I got in my tutorial movie BCM145 for the Grunt-Jackal spawning trick, this movie shows some increasingly large hordes and accompanying effects and oddities which arise (with PAL Xbox at least), culminating with some overload weirdness obtained with a horde of 131, my largest so far.

Released July 15th 2015, gameplay recorded July 8th-15th 2015.


00:02 (66 covies killed fast) To start things off with a bang, here's a quick reminder of the 66-covie horde I got in my tutorial BCM145. In that movie I worked my way down the passage killing the majority, but quite a few got past. This time however, I slaughter the lot, fast! It was actually quite hard doing a quick blitz like this. I made many attempts but often there would be one or more covies who'd slip by, plus there were many times when I got killed in explosions, usually relating to my own grenades (which might sound careless but I was really pushing for speed don't forget).

Notice the plasma grenade thrown onto the floor around 0:11. It guaranteed that nobody would be getting past to the corner while I nipped into the side-passage and turned around. At about 0:31 I tag a Jackal, but actually that was just by chance; I was just throwing a grenade to clear that part of the passage.

00:56 (83 covies) At the start of this set-up with 83 covies there's widespread blindness to begin with, though I could've remedied it in a couple of ways (see later). Most of them don't see me, but eventually more of them do, and hostility breaks out. There's an amusing case of friendly fire as a Jackal gets taken down by his buddies. But as you can see, the slowdown is pretty bad. Too bad for fluid combat really (so, combat wouldn't be very enjoyable). That was the other thing I wanted to demonstrate with this horde size.

01:46 (Stack of about 55) Running down to the stack, and arriving without damage thanks to exploiting widespread blindness, there are about 55 covies there (including a few externals). Actually I think there are exactly 56 within that end compartment. A whole load of Jackals turn around at once, apparently having got the word that there's a cyborg standing right behind them. When one of them rolls, I see a nice opening and throw a frag in, which wipes out all non-externals. I take some nasty fire from retreating Jackals and lob another few frags to quieten things down, before having a spot of fun with one of the externals.

02:19 (115 covies) At the start of this clip for 115 covies (of which a whopping 53 were Jackals), I do a spot of firing before the covies reach the corner, as if to alert them. That's one way of averting the blindness issue. In the subsequent combat you can see that the slowdown is chronic. Significantly worse than with 83, and that was already bad!

02:40 When I get killed by my stray frag, my body is instantly removed, the game is so strained. In the next clip I show another amusing example, where you see a Grunt body being instantly removed too. I killed him either just before I died, or at the same moment. Then one more clip, where I deliberately wait for my plasma grenade to go off, to show you a whole bunch of covie bodies being instantly removed, along with my own.

03:17 (Stack of about 85) Quickly bypassing other covies (exploiting widespread blindness as usual), there are about 85 in the stack when I get there. Actually I think it's 84, by which I mean to include everyone in that end compartment, including about 4 externals. I throw a plasma grenade through the legs of a high Jackal, and it bounces off the ceiling and falls a short way. After the blast, there are plenty of survivors who really should've been killed. It seems like the game can't manage all the consequences of the blast, when there's so much stuff around. A frag finishes the rest, aside from externals who generally seem immune to such interior blasts.

03:46 This time I've taken a quick diversion into the boarding area to grab an AR, to make for a bit of weapon variation in the movie. When I frag the stack, there's a blue-shielded Jackal who's right in front of the blast, yet he's completely unaffected; a very clear example of blast effect limitation.

04:03 After finishing off some Grunts with painfully slowed-down AR fire, I give another demonstration of blast effect limitation, throwing a plasma onto the ground. Precious little is affected aside from a Grunt who chose the wrong moment to fall through the ceiling. In particular, none of the loose grenades are detonated. It's all because there are so many bodies present, I assume. They're somewhat merged together, but they're still there.

04:21 (131 covies) At the start of this clip I'm using another blindness aversion method; that of waiting back from the lower part of the rise until the covies come around the corner. Once I open fire, it's immediately apparent that something's wrong; but I knew that was going to happen of course. Guns aren't firing anything, nor can I get a grenade into the air! I need to get a body removed first, and the only way to do it is by using melee. The removal frees up enough capacity for things to get back to normal.

05:15 (Stack of about 90) Prior to arriving at this stack, I quickly got guns and grenades working by getting the leading Jackal removed. Then, on my almost non-stop run down the passage I used three grenades and a bit of gunfire to wipe out a fair number of covies - maybe around 20 - in the hope that it might reduce the horrible slowdown a bit; but I'm not sure it made any difference. I took a small amount of damage on the way; a few covies were able to see me right away.

After zapping a Grunt and Jackal standing just outside, which is what you see at the start of the clip, I believe there are 89 covies in the end compartment. There's actually also one external Grunt outside. You can see one of his feet if you look carefully.

Anyway, I bounce a frag off the ceiling, doing my usual thing of trying to get it deep into the stack (it's fun to see covies getting blown outwards), but there are many survivors as expected. The slowdown is terrible and I back off down the side-passage as I throw a second frag. This allows a lot of stuff to get removed, as you can tell when the slowdown suddenly evaporates - quite a relief.

05:46 (Lots of externals) This save features lots of externals; typically I encounter about 10 but there can be as many as 13. When I shock them with a shot, a Jackal falls though the ceiling and obligingly angles his head my way, inviting the inevitable tag.

There was also a Grunt who lost his footing and fell into the void. You can hear him crying "Get it off, get it off". That cry is also heard in the next clip, and I believe it's the same Grunt, judging by the direction.

06:00 (Fuel rod joker) One of the externals is a bit different. A fuel rod joker! Acts like he's got a fuel rod gun. I believe the game spawned him weaponless because it was too badly overloaded to provide a plasma pistol. Having become used to this save, I knew where he was in the ceiling, so I knew whose feet I was looking at (you could see his feet in the previous clip too).

Incidentally, this horde wasn't quite the first one in which I got a fuel rod guy. Earlier I'd got one in a horde of 125. I was slowly counting them (see my article) and along he came - and I was like "Whoa!"

06:23 (Deserted muster bay) Here's one other anomaly with my horde of 131, though you can get this with significantly lower numbers too. No covies spawned in the muster bay (which I triggered earlier to get my save checkpoint), and no attack waves enter. In a short space of time the game allows me to head for the hangar, but there are no troops along the way.

Closing remarks It took me a while to get going with this movie. I knew I wanted to show increasingly large hordes and various oddities, but I wasn't sure how to structure it, or how much could be fitted in. Horde sizes also had to be decided, though I at least knew I was going to start with a reminder of my 66 covies and end with my current largest horde comprising 131. Eventually I did some preliminary gameplay and put some clips together to try and form a rough shape for the movie; a kind of framework to build on. Then it was basically a case of refining things, a major part of which involved doing a lot more gameplay to try and replace some of the clips with better ones (more entertaining, illustrating oddities better, or whatever).

In regard to the weaponless Grunt, originally I was planning to leave that phenomenon out because I'm planning to do a whole separate movie on it. But eventually I decided to include a clip for completeness, otherwise I would've been omitting a major oddity relating to overloading. It took many tries to get a suitable clip. To keep things focused I wanted one where he was the only guy to come down from the ceiling. But also I wanted him to be well seen (good camerawork you might say) and to start departing without too much hopping around in delay. It was quite painful having having to repeatedly suffer the terrible slowdown of that 131-covie save; and frequently he fell through the ceiling prematurely, which didn't help. Incidentally, as part of the business of getting a nice view of him, I made a point of picking up the best plasma pistol I could find, so my HUD wouldn't keep showing pick-up prompts. Yes, I really am that fussy.

The final clip takes up almost 30 seconds and is relatively dull you might say, but I thought it was worth including that no-spawning oddity, even if it does relate to something away from the horde.