BCM27 - Bridge descent via gold Elite

(5:29) Level 5 ('Assault on the Control Room') on Heroic. For PAL Xbox this shows how you can descend from the first bridge by using a gold Elite to stop you on the near right ledge. It won't work on NTSC or PC, as the Elite will die before hitting the ledge. It uses footage from when I was actually getting down that way for the first time, plus there are clips from later descents. See here in my bridge descent guide for an account of the method.

Released February 3rd 2011, gameplay recorded February 1st 2011.


00:02 The movie starts from a delayed checkpoint I saved just prior to the trigger line for the one on the bridge. That's a good idea in case the next bit of work goes poorly. Lobbing a plasma towards the door, I head forth and trigger the checkpoint (level with the floor lights), but the grenade keeps it delayed and the enemy threat level will soon continue the delay. My throw is a bit off-target, hitting the frame rather than the door, but it doesn't matter. I follow with a frag, bouncing it off the far passage wall to decimate the minor enemies.

The Elite starts growling and I lead him towards the start of the bridge. After a while he's getting a bit close, but I want a bit of distance between us so I do a bit of a jink across a gap, which seems to flummox him. I then lure him forward over a glass panel, shooting it so he falls to the lower deck. Now he's in the right general area, I want the delayed checkpoint. All I need to do is get somewhere the game no longer considers me under threat. Going into the entrance passage did the trick. I didn't even need to go so far, but this was only my first time doing things.

00:50 Now for the most difficult part: getting the Elite onto the ledge, somewhere you'll be able to collide with him. That's why you wanted a handy checkpoint of course; it's probably going to need a lot of tries. You have to let him take a swing at you when you're on the edge of the deck, dodging at the last moment. This clip shows an early try in which I got him onto the ledge, but from experience with other descent methods, I was sure I'd have a hard time reaching him from the run-off point. I had a go at peppering him with fire in the hope that he'd obligingly move closer, but that didn't look like it was going to work. Back to the drawing board then!

01:17 About ten minutes later, I've been sliced up more times than I care to contemplate but I've got a better feel for how to get him flying off at the right sort of angle near the corner of the deck. I tempt him away for a moment then stun him so I can get past safely; a plasma pistol is a useful thing to have for this descent method! I try to get him coming towards the corner from the right direction - I'm effectively lining him up - then I dodge. I'm sideways on at the time, but I'm not sure if that's best. Anyway, he flies off and hits the ledge. It looks like he's shooting off after the bounce, but he suddenly stops right at the edge. Bingo! Looks like an ideal position.

01:42 Now I want a delayed checkpoint for the next tricky bit. I trigger one in the second section of the exit passage and head back, keeping it delayed with grenades until I'm at the bottom of the 'V' as I call it (in distinction to the snowy 'ledge' running around the whole area). Getting onto the V is easy. Here I just run off past the right hand side of the bridge support (no jump required) and crouch as I land. When my final delaying grenade goes off, the checkpoint is granted.

02:20 "Wort wort wort!". Yeah, same to you squid-face. My first attempt at colliding with the Elite goes badly. I undershoot and end up flying off the ledge. More distance required! I'm a bit slow to hone things, undershooting another three times not shown here. It also becomes clear that he tends to sidestep to his left as I approach, so I try to anticipate that.

02:27 On the fifth attempt I nail it. Woo-hoo! The descent idea works! Notice how I'm bouncing off a nicely sloped bit of the ledge beforehand. This is the friendly 'chevron' feature I mentioned in the commentary for BCM12. Ideally you'd want your Elite to be somewhere along there so you can bounce off the chevron before colliding with him. There's no need to crouch as you hit the chevron. Here I bounced off very close to the middle. I don't hit the Elite square on, but it's good enough that I stay on the ledge. A plasma ball stuns him long enough for me to hop over towards my favoured drop-off point. I could of course just kill him where he stands, but I want to introduce him to the Marines. I'm thoughtful like that. And besides, they need the shooting practice.

With a sword zipping past my ears I drop down safely and he follows behind, overshooting somewhat and landing with a groan. The Marines are on the case before I've even spotted him again. I move in for a closer look and eventually decide to lob a grenade at him. That one misses and I try another with more purpose, but he moves aside at just the right moment. Tricksy fella! But the Marines have worn him down and pretty soon his sword is extinguished. About time too.

03:22 More fun 'n games for the remainder of the movie now, showing further descents from the V. One thing I quickly realized is that it's very satisfying to give the Elite a good thump as you arrive. In this clip he clumsily sidesteps off the ledge as I strike him. He survives the fall however, and there's now a very angry loose Elite down with the Marines. Cyborg to the rescue! I get down sharpish, only to be rebuked by a Marine: "About time you showed up!". Huh, I jump down a cliffside for these guys and that's all they've got to say? There's gratitude for you. I give the Elite a spot of plasma and finish him off with another whack. To add to his indignity he gets a nice bit of taunting from an Aussie Marine - "How's it feel to be dead?" - along with a few extra bullets.

04:01 Remember how my Elite tended to sidestep as I arrived? If you stun him early with a plasma ball you can prevent that, which could help you collide with him. Here I add a thump for good measure. Look at all that purple snow! Excellent.

04:10 You can also fool around with plasma grenades. Here I tag him as I fall. Obviously this sort of thing is going to make your arrival needlessly dangerous, but as long as the bang hurts ol' squid-face at least as much, that's ok by me. Mind you, there was that time I ended up tagging myself. Oops!

04:22 Again I go for a tag as I fall. This time my throw is looking well short, but the grenade bounces up onto the Elite and at the same time he sidesteps over the edge. You can just see him disappearing with something fizzing on his neck. Most amusing. Meanwhile I've taken a lucky glancing blow off him, just enough to keep me on the ledge. It really looks like I should've gone off!

04:30 Instead of bouncing off the ledge before you collide with the Elite, you can go straight for him if you like. A 'direct arrival'. I'm sure it's going to be harder to survive, but maybe you're feeling lucky today. Here I get stopped dead, almost right in front of him. Serious health damage, but I'm good to make my escape - though a sword swipe does zip past the back of my head. I've forgotten whether I crouched as I arrived, but I don't think it's critical.

04:38 Here I head straight for the Elite again, also trying to whack him as I arrive. The whack was late I think, but I get a freaky bounce which sends me along the ledge. No doubt about it; heading straight for the Elite is living dangerously!

04:44 One last descent. I miss an attempted whack, but yet again the Elite clumsily sidesteps off the ledge, ending up standing on the snow below. This time I send down a grenade. It lands just behind him but he doesn't move. BOOM! I get down to the Marines using what I thought was a risky shortcut, but which on further experimentation seems to be an excellent way down, perhaps as good as the one I've been favouring. I greet sergeant Stacker but he's in a bit of a trance (he's one of the inactive Pelican Marines which the game was planning on removing before you trigger the first ground battle).

Closing remarks To briefly sketch in the background, I had the general idea for this descent ages ago but I only explored it using the far ledge. It's easy to get the Elite to end up on the far ledge. If you jump onto the bridge support when he's chasing close behind, he's liable to follow and drop, ending up almost directly below (there are other ways too). But I found that the collision with him would kill me, so it seemed like the idea was dead in the water. This time however, I was exploring at the near ledge, having thought that a collision after falling from the V could be survivable, being less of a fall. I'd also just managed FrogBlast's method of getting stopped by a Shade on that ledge after falling from the V, which offered encouragement. Lo and behold, the Elite worked fine as a stopper - and I subsequently found that you can do basically the same thing using a Hunter from inside (which is easier, if a touch less showy).

This is not an easy descent method but it does have novelty value, and there's plenty of fun to be had once you've got a checkpoint on the V, ready to try and collide with the Elite, which is relatively easy. Getting him onto the ledge and in a suitably good position is the real trouble. It actually only took me about twelve minutes once I realized where he needed to go, but I suspect I got lucky. I can easily imagine it taking much longer another time. But you could make things less painful by using Easy, where sword blows are survivable.

In regard to getting the first delayed checkpoint, ideally you want to arrange things so it's going to be very quick and easy to then get into position to dodge a swipe on the edge of the lower deck. I didn't do the best job of that - in particular the Elite ended up needing to be shifted every time (unless I cared to try and circle in behind him) - but it was only my first run after all. Having done a bit more experimenting, here's my advice on how to do things. Run straight up the bridge with the Elite in pursuit. Don't bother with that jink business I did; it's better to keep him in touch. Just as you get past the end of the final glass panel which you carefully left intact, turn and shoot it so he falls through. Hang around above but keeping out of sight. With any luck he'll remain below having lost you, and you'll get the checkpoint after a while - possibly after moving around a bit. There's no need to go into the passage like I did - though if you do, there's no need to go so far. If things don't turn out well enough, you can eject the disc and restart from the delayed checkpoint you carefully saved just prior to the bridge checkpoint trigger line (see start of commentary).