BCM242 - Bottom of the entry chamber

(8:30) Level 5 ('Assault on the Control Room') on Heroic. Recently 3rdPerson alerted me to his 2006 video on reaching the bottom of the entry chamber in single-player, which I hadn't been aware of when trying to get below the barrier in BCM230. Having now checked things out, here's my own tutorial on getting down, including some changes which help in the final stages. You'll also see some spectacular force-launching! I'm using PAL Xbox as ever. I don't know if you can survive the Ghost falls on NTSC/PC (which start at 4:24).

Released June 6th 2017, gameplay recorded June 4th-6th 2017.


00:02 (Ghost launch) To get a Ghost up to the bridge, I got 14 frags out of 10 Marines obtained as in BCM241, except I also got an extra hog which was useful for transporting Marines to my chosen launch site. Before killing each Marine, I got a delayed tunnel checkpoint to make sure I got the most frags out of him (there's some randomness in how many they drop). To try and get an extra shunt I also tag the Ghost. It sails up nicely and lands on the top deck. That took quite a few tries, and actually I'd been trying to aim it towards the start of the bridge, but there's a lot of randomness.

Incidentally, part of the reason I made BCM241 was to show how I was getting 10 Marines. It served as a handy precursor for this movie (while also being a nice movie in its own right). 3rdPerson would've got his Marines (however many) differently, as the Banshee grab was still a decade away. I expect he used a different version of my seven extra Marines trick, which I'd posted a few months before his video.

00:43 (Trouble on the bridge) After flying up to the bridge, I bring the Banshee down to the deck but then suddenly hear covies. I forgot that I hadn't triggered the mid-bridge group yet. Oops! I quickly blast the two Jackals up top, and just after that you can hear one of the four Grunts on the lower deck cry "Get down!" But his plasma bounces off the bottom of the upper deck and makes two of his buddies dive off. You can hear them dive, and hear their cries as they fall - plus you can see them on the tracker of course.

01:00 But the fun isn't over yet. As I drive the Ghost away, I fail to notice that some glass is missing, and I end up getting a wing trapped in the deck. A Grunt lobs a plasma and I bail in nick of time before it potentially tags me - and it's a while before I'm on my way again. Amusing episode.

01:43 (Ghost and Banshee to the LZ) I get the Ghost through to the entry chamber and then the Banshee. Getting a Banshee through isn't without risk, as you can get splattered if you do a clumsy dismount at a door, but the risk is fairly small so I didn't bother to get a delayed checkpoint before doing it. You could though, if you want to play safe.

Incidentally, when getting the Ghost through the first room, I went through the middle, over the glass bridge. That's pretty safe (I'd tested it earlier), but 3rdPerson took an outer route instead.

02:13 (Ghost drop and blasting prep) I use the Banshee to gently push the Ghost down to the annular plain. I could've used melee earlier, which is what 3rdPerson did, but I thought using the Banshee would be a bit less laborious. I subsequently position the Ghost near the edge, ready for being blasted down to barrier level, then I get a delayed checkpoint.

03:11 (Blasting the Ghost down) 3rdPerson blasted the Ghost down in one go, and that's what you could keep trying for, but I think it's likely to take a lot of tries. My approach is instead to just accept each good bit of progress as it comes, and checkpoint for each new phase - like I did with a Shade in BCM230. That may be the most efficient strategy time-wise, though I haven't tried to test it. Anyway, here you see me getting the Ghost down in two phases, each involving some delicate shepherding with the Banshee. I was pleased with both of those mid-air deflections, but especially the second one, which was a nice save.

UPDATE: When making BCM248 I got lots more practice blasting a Ghost down the shaft. In light of that, I now recommend as follows. Aim it to go past the column and land on one of the low platforms on the opposite side. Specifically, either a platform at barrier level - which is preferable - or at the level of the bottom ring. If you settle for the latter though, bring back a delayed checkpoint and get the Ghost down to a platform at barrier level using a blast and ram.

03:57 (Final checkpoint, and alcove drop) I bring back one last delayed checkpoint and cause a long delay with a slo-mo Banshee bolt, giving me plenty of time to float the Ghost down to an alcove (which is suitably easy) and get ready for the next drop. The bolt wasn't critical though; you could instead just keep the Banshee firing, then after dismounting, continue the delay by either throwing a grenade or using Ghost fire. A slo-mo bolt is easiest though.

3rdPerson got the Ghost to the alcove with the aid of a wing tag. A neat trick, but it looks pretty risky! I found that if you position and angle the Ghost right, and depart with the right amount of speed, making sure not to hit the alcove roof, you can get down with high reliability - no tag needed. I recommend practicing such an 'alcove drop' beforehand. You can do it higher up, because the shaft geometry is the same as lower down (it repeats).

One other difference is that 3rdPerson fired his bolt from near the top of the chamber, evidently to get as long a delay as possible. But you don't really need that much time. I fired my bolt at around the height of the top ring and that was fine. I still had several seconds to spare.

04:42 (Platform drop) Dropping to the platform is tricky, which is why you want a checkpoint before trying it, even if you've practiced it before (see later). It may take a bunch of tries. Here I completely miss the platform on my first try. The next clip shows another failure, this time due to scraping the wall and being ejected. Then you see a success. The edges of the platform are faintly visible.

05:13 (Column drop) The column is likewise faintly visible and I drive at it, following 3rdPerson's lead. Hitting it slows your fall, potentially allowing you to survive the remaining distance to the bottom. However, if you get ejected you can expect to die, as seen in this first example. In the next though, I make it down.

05:41 (At the bottom) Visibility is diabolical at the bottom, and I only found one interesting thing to see. Namely, there's a gap below the column! Dodgy engineering if you ask me. I throw a plasma underneath, and the mist seems to wipe out the usual explosion effect. I fire a few rockets underneath too, before going in search of the wall, just for kicks. Tip: if you ever get lost in the mist, you can look up to at least see where the column is.

06:53 (Force-launch) The real payoff for reaching the bottom is that you can force-launch the Banshee, if you let it fall down earlier (which I made a point of doing). 3rdPerson did a bit of this in his video, so I guess he was the first to do force-launching in single-player. For this first launch I look up, which gives a spectacular view as the Banshee shoots up, reaching the ceiling in 4.2 seconds. I wasn't using thrust at all; the Banshee is entirely propelled by the barrier force. I get jolted out when it hits the ceiling, because the Banshee is vertical.

07:10 (Platform drop higher up) This clip shows a platform drop higher up, where there's no obscuring mist. I thought I'd include it to make clear what you're trying to do. I recommend practicing like this before you try it in the mist. It takes quite a bit of finesse. This example is fairly ideal I think. I aim the Ghost in towards the wall a bit, trying to get it very close but without scraping, and it goes almost vertical but then levels out.

07:21 (Alcove drop option) I found an alternative to driving at the column. Namely, drop to an alcove and then make an short final drop. I can do this with near 100% reliability, whereas the column randomly kills me about 35% of the time (based on a test comprising 50 tries). So for me at least, the alcove option is best.

07:51 (More force-launching) Two more launches to finish. In the first I have the Banshee roughly level for most of the way, so you can see the column flashing past (plus there's a bit of glass breaking; see BCM223 for more of that if you haven't already seen it). In the second I corkscrew up and get ejected, and the Banshee vanishes into the distance with a strange sound coming from it. I'll be doing a whole movie on force-launching from the bottom, so watch out!

Closing remarks Trying to use a Ghost to get below the barrier was actually something I'd thought of trying. It was on my list of things to explore. But then I got the email from 3rdPerson and found that he'd narrowly beaten me to it by eleven years. Drat! Still, it's nice to reach the bottom at last. Bit misty though!

His video included a lot of footage relating to getting and delaying checkpoints, but I've got much less because checkpointing is more of a routine thing in my movies. One thing I'll mention though, is that I used a second Banshee for getting delayed tunnel checkpoints. It was stationed on the bridge, much as seen in BCM231 at 3:18. It was the platform Banshee, which I'd blasted down earlier with my grabbed Banshee.

When on foot, 3rdPerson did some checkpoint delaying by firing or by throwing grenades. It would've been easier to use jumping, but I guess at that time he didn't know you could delay by jumping (though some people did; I see someone mentioning it here).