BCM41 - Seven extra Marines and a hog

(5:48) Level 5 ('Assault on the Control Room') on Heroic. This shows how to get seven extra Marines early in the level - optionally an extra hog too - and soon end up with a healthy squad of 13 ready for action, with the aid of a Banshee. There's also a bridge descent via Shade (a quick method for PAL Xbox).

Released September 21st 2011, gameplay recorded September 15th-20th 2011.


00:02 (Set-up work for seven extra Marines) The footage starts as I near the end of my slaying in the first room. A grunty fool raises the alarm with "More here!", apparently thinking there's a whole squad of cyborgs shooting up the place. I soon knock some sense into him. After a little more carnage including a 'stun and tag' on the Elite which amusingly takes out a few Jackals, I head along the passage keeping the checkpoint delayed with a bit of jumping to get a handy checkpoint for descent attempts, just like in BCM40.

00:30 This time I opt for a Shade ride from the V, good for PAL Xbox, but I get a bit flashy for the sake of entertainment. After leaping off the bridge I glance down to help me judge the crouch landing (which is not quite perfect; I take minor shield damage), then start looking up to the Banshee. The early look-up helps give me enough time to throw a plasma before flipping the Shade when it lands. The Banshee sails past with grenade attached, and meanwhile I'm flipping the Shade a second time and boarding. I have a go at finishing it off with plasma fire on the way down, but it misses. Not to worry; that just gives me a chance to enjoy finishing it from the ground. It crashes down at my feet in satisfying fashion. You want to destroy the Banshee before leaving, so the Marines will remain unharmed.

01:06 Next thing is to fetch a Banshee of your own, though I'll warn here that you need to be careful not to leave too promptly else the four Pelican Marines end up getting removed. To avoid that outcome, I made sure to let the music play for at least ten seconds before I'm onto the ice patch. I board the first available Ghost, open a few big doors along the way, steal the twin bridges Banshee, and head back.

01:30 As part of keeping the Marines healthy, I overturn the Shade in advance so it won't get used. Then I fly up to the end of the bridge and land. No new bridge enemies spawn, because I avoided a trigger along the bridge. Inside, I start keeping the passage checkpoint delayed (triggered after you turn right), and trigger enemies in the second room by going to the end of the long middle section. Then it's back out and down to the ground. I use a high plasma throw to keep the delay going, but you could use Banshee firing instead. I free-fall to the ground, which is slightly faster than using powered flight. After a bit of jumping to keep the delay going just a little longer, I get the delayed checkpoint just in front of the door line. Set-up done!

02:24 (Preserving the ten Marines) The battle is triggered by crossing the door line. At that point the game creates three new Marines, making ten in all, though the four Pelican Marines will be inactive for now, as seen in BCM25 (they're also invisible to the enemy). I can already see that the enemy attack is led by Jackals rather than Grunts, so that's good for the Marines. To best keep them healthy I fly low up the battlefield and fire an early shot at the Wraith to try and get its attention before it fires at the Marines, though this time it gets a shot off. Obviously I could revert to try again, but I opt to continue. A further blast takes care of two arriving Jackals - hee hee! When you get a certain way up the battlefield sufficiently low down, most enemies are triggered into new behaviour, namely to chase you. That's takes the pressure off the Marines (you can see enemies withdrawing in my footage) and you can clean up at leisure. I blast the high Shade fairly quick though, as that's still able to damage them. The Elite in the Ghost does an involuntary sideways somersault off the Banshee wreckage. He should really look where he's going.

03:05 (Pelican Marine activation and squad assembly) After finishing off the last of the covies (just look at that mess!), I get a checkpoint delayed from earlier when I flew up the battlefield. It was delayed by enemy threat, and now forms a handy checkpoint for the next bit of work in case anything goes wrong. I deliberately stay clear of the ten Marines and head straight for the next area to trigger it and help out with a Banshee blitz, though I'm careful not to trigger additional enemies there (I avoid being too far forward, low down). Notice how I blast the Grunts first, before they get chance to lob any grenades. Johnson snipes the weakened Elite; he's a real kill stealer with that rifle! I get some altitude for firing on the other enemies. The final Grunt eludes my plasma peppering - I was getting quite frustrated there - but his luck runs out when I send in a fuel rod blast instead. No food nipple for you tonight grunty!

03:52 Heading back I meet the Pelican Marines, who activated and started running for the step when the new area was triggered. That almost always happens when you avoid linking up with the early Marines, and that's why I did things that way (you can read more about activation in my article). They jump down into the next area, which I take time to show.

04:09 The other guys stand around at base and need help to get over the step, at which point they'll become properly mobile again. You can let them drop down from the chain-gun, and the last two can just be driven over. After that I've got my 13-man squad, ready for action. A little bit of footage follows to show them off. All the Marines I ferried had perfect or near perfect health, so my 'divert and destroy' tactic was successful for them. I didn't check to see how healthy the Pelican Marines were, but unless they got hurt by that opening Wraith shot, they should be fine.

05:21 (Modification for also getting an extra hog) Finally, I quickly show what you need to do differently if you also want an extra hog. Namely, trigger the battle in the hog rather than on foot, having moved it into a convenient position earlier. Here I don't even bother to back it right over the door line; I just go far enough to get my body across, which is enough to trigger the battle. This hog is Marine-retaining by the way, unlike usual one which gets created at the defence area when you trigger the battle. Useful!

Closing remarks With the original descent footage I was going to use, I got down on the left side of the bridge via Shade as shown here, though without attacking the Banshee. When I reached the ground the Banshee swooped my way and got tagged, resulting in a lovely explosion as I chased it up the battlefield. But when I returned with my own Banshee, I found that the Pelican Marines had vanished! After experimenting I realized that I'd departed the area too fast. If you get too far away too soon (heading for the Ghost), they don't get chance to run to the defence area and the game ends up removing them. I'd never encountered that before, having been using a much slower descent method. Sadly this meant having to ditch my lovely footage and start over - this time being careful not to run for the Ghost too soon. But on the positive side it led to my exploring some new ideas for anti-Banshee tactics, such as seen here where I tagged it part way through the descent work. I may show more such tactics in a dedicated movie later on. Update: See BCM75.

After returning with the Banshee I could've killed the remaining enemies on the bridge, but that's not essential so I didn't bother with it here (I was trying to keep the movie brief). If you want to tidy up though, by all means go ahead!