BCM77 - Dustbowl megabattle

(9:58) Level 3 ('The Truth and Reconciliation') on Normal. This demonstrates setting up a dustbowl megabattle with high enemy count. I end up with 43 here; 7 Elites, 9 Jackals and 27 Grunts. I intended to get 8 Elites (of the possible maximum 9), but one gets killed when I slip up and improvise for self-preservation. Manned Shades are eliminated as I didn't want any in the megabattle.

Released August 18th 2013, gameplay recorded August 12th-17th 2013.


00:16 Disembarking backwards off the Pelican, I efficiently kill the Marines with AR fire and a spot of melee - which is actually harder than it looks. Cortana remains amusingly oblivious of my transgression as she babbles about Marine support.

00:39 In the first enemy area I briefly advance far enough to trigger the entry of an extra Elite and two Grunts from the path, so the start of the path will be clear when I reach it. I also snipe the left Shade gunner so he won't attack me there. Sometimes he's already on the Shade, but not today.

01:04 Taking a good route through the area to try and minimize damage, I reach the start of the path where there's a chance to recharge, thanks to the earlier measures I took. As I then advance to the small rock to trigger the first enemy retreat, I fire a shot to try and set four Grunts panicking, saving me some damage. The difficult part is getting back to a place of safety with full health. But I make it, and start jumping to keep the checkpoint delayed. On the way back, the blue Elite I jumped over earlier missed another swipe, heh heh.

01:53 The covies gradually retreat (the movie cuts about a minute of footage during which a couple of Grunts hung around before toddling off) and eventually there's just a Shade gunner left. After getting his attention so he's pointing in the right direction, I eject him with a carefully placed frag as judged by the markings on the wall, and soon he leaves.

02:52 Near the tree I trigger the path music in advance so it won't keep starting up when I make run attempts (it gets repetitive and makes it harder to hear covies). I also try to attract covies up the path a bit with a few shots. Then I move into position for my path run, picking up a plasma grenade just beforehand, and finally get the delayed checkpoint.

03:30 The path run is tough against so many enemies, but on this attempt I make it (there were plenty of failures before this). I use an efficient evasive route along the edge of the path and give a few enemies a light peppering to try and make them pause from firing. Past the raised land I snipe the cliff corner Elite to avoid the cliff corner Grunts problem (which could lose me three Grunts from the megabattle) and also to make my passage safer. That's certainly what I'd recommend if you're new to things, as this run is already plenty hard. Killing him also panics two attacking Grunts, which helps me recharge. I have time to briefly try and attract earlier enemies this way with a bit of shooting, before continuing on.

04:20 Around the corner, I make quite a mess of things. I kill the first Shade gunner as I don't want any manned Shades and especially not one in that location, but I should've sniped him early. Instead I use my AR which alerts the patrolling Elite, and I get caught by his fire. With a needling Grunt closing in behind, I scramble to kill the Elite, but I make a mess of that too by not finishing him with a second sniper round. My AR drilling puts me on a course up the ramp and I elect to continue that way, acquiring another plasma grenade as I go (but I don't dawdle to get the one I missed). A distant Shade catches me with a bit of fire, and I quickly take out the gunner.

Originally I'd planned to go along the cliffside path and past the Jackals, leaving the Elite alive, but never mind. On the positive side, there's now a plasma rifle for me to pick up later to fight with if desired.

04:54 At the enclosure I eject the Shade gunner with a frag placed by the ground light, and in due course he toddles off to join the nearby Elite. Meanwhile, enemies have followed me from earlier. There's a good crowd over yonder; just what I want to see. Their proximity is enough to continue the checkpoint delay without me needing to keep jumping.

05:39 Returning to the last area is relatively easy. I almost get blocked by a few Grunts just after passing under the bridge, which could've been bad news (enemy fire can very quickly mount if you're stationary for even a second or two), but I make it through ok.

06:12 Around the corner I resume some jumping to keep the checkpoint delayed, but the presence of a few retreating Grunts saves me having to jump for a brief while. After watching them go (not shown), I continue to the Shade where the delay can be handily continued without my needing to jump, and I watch another Grunt on his way to the dustbowl area.

06:45 Expecting more troops to be gathered near the supplies, I fire a shot to try and get more on the move, but quickly realize that things are rather quiet. It turns out that the area is empty already, which is pretty unusual. A lot of troops must've followed me through to the dustbowl area earlier. Nice; that saves me some work which could've taken several minutes.

06:58 With a bit of melee I knock the Shade down to get the gunner out, and after a short pause he's on his way, disappearing cutely backwards over the mound as seen through my sniper scope. See ya later grunty!

07:17 Back along the path, there are three stragglers who won't be going anywhere without my help. It would be hard to shift the Grunts so I just kill them (and subsequently pick up both of the dropped grenades), but it's easy to make the Elite advance to the point where he's finally able to run off. I let him swipe at me another two times after the last swipe shown here. That got him past the tree, which I knew was certainly far enough. Right at the end of the clip where he's about to go around the corner, I'm doing a bit of jumping just in case he's got too far off for his presence to continue the checkpoint delay. Probably wasn't needed, but it's better to play safe.

08:00 I get ready for re-entry by restoring my health and getting ammo and frags, and (not shown) I also get my flashlight recharged, before ending the checkpoint delay at the cliff corner.

08:15 As you can judge from this clip, heading along the path can be rather tough! Here I try to go up the ramp, but I quickly lose health when I bump into a couple of Elites - and you can imagine how much worse things would've been if the patrolling red Elite hadn't been killed earlier! In this case I go flying from a big chain reaction, and the covies don't escape too lightly either! Some were lost to friendly fire even before the bang. I had a bunch of failure clips and this was one of the most spectacular and amusing.

08:44 With my rock-hop method however, I soon achieve success. Here it works like a charm, and in particular I get up onto the rock well (not as easy as it looks - and I've normally made that jump from its left side, which I think helps get you on the peak where you need to be). After some evasive movement to retain full health (I wasn't going to settle for anything less), I'm able to recharge as I near the far base of the bridge - a relatively safe place.

09:11 After getting cloaked, I head for the passage. I briefly divert to the right of the Shade when I spot a plasma grenade I might pick up, but actually I already had four so that was pointless. I should've checked my plasma count earlier, but somehow it skipped my mind. Just past the light, I trigger the repetitive music to stop, plus a final checkpoint which I saved of course.

09:39 To close the movie and perhaps whet your appetite for the megabattling to come (next movie!), here's a quick look at my haul of covies (I attracted them to that spot with a few shots while still cloaked and I stood on a rock to avoid contact). I ended up with 43, comprising 7 of the possible 9 Elites, all 9 Jackals, and 27 of the possible 32 Grunts. Happily, no covies were lost to friendly fire during my bypassing work. The five Grunts I lost were namely three Shade Grunts and the two stragglers I gave up on. Of my seven Elites, two are red.

Closing remarks It was a shame I messed up when first arriving at the dustbowl area, killing the patrolling Elite unplanned and losing health in the process. But aside from that blip, the work shown here provides a good example of how you can do things. There are plenty of options though (including alternative ways of finishing off, to shape the start of your battle save), and you can read about those in my article if interested.

For me it was unusual that I killed the left Shade gunner in the first area, but I did that because I was trying to show my best recommendation for how to proceed if you're new to this stuff. If you're willing to have that first run be more difficult, possibly requiring many more attempts, you could leave him alive.

Coming up next; a nice dose of megabattling using the save I created here!