Mischief over the bowl

Posted January 18th 2009

At the second crash site - where you can find another two rocket cases giving you a potential total of 8 rockets by now - there's a metal panel angled up like a ramp against the massive rocky outcropping. You can use that to get up onto the rock, or you can simply drive up onto the rock a bit further around where the angle is shallow enough. If you head along the direction of the rock striations, an annoying invisible ceiling will tend to stop you. However, if you keep to the right, you can get down onto a ledge. Near the end of that ledge you've got a great view over the bowl-like area where you'll later go through a door. You can also get a handy checkpoint which you'll be able to keep reverting to.

You can have some fine cyborg mischief up here with a sniper rifle and rocket launcher, picking off enemies or blasting them from out of the blue - don't you just love that? There are some explosive plasma batteries to set off as well. Here are some more specific ideas however, plus a few comments.

Sentinel shoot

Across the way there are Brutes and Grunts trying to fend off a stream of Sentinels emerging from two outlets, only one of which you can see from your vantage point. It's quite good fun just to watch them - especially if you've got the Catch skull on so Grunts lob grenades like crazy. But you can help them out if you like. A Sentinel goes down with a single sniper shot, frequently getting sent into a crazy spin. See how many you can get. I'm not sure of the exact spawning dynamic, but I think at least a dozen will emerge before the flow stops.

If you like, kill the covies first so the Sentinel destruction duties are all down to you. When there are no covies around Sentinels just hover about a bit, but they always like to have at least one of their number in an advanced position. You can use that to make a little challenge as follows. Destroy any advanced Sentinels. Ones further back will now try to advance. See if you can snipe them one after another, to stop any reaching a forward position.

It's possible to rocket Sentinels, but interestingly they're able to sense the incoming rocket and dodge, so it's not easy. Try sending in a pair of rockets, so that when they dodge the first, they might get hit by the second. Incidentally, if you blast the outlet with a rocket, no more Sentinels emerge from it.

Note: I think the fight between Sentinels and covies will last longest if you use Easy. When I tried Heroic the Sentinels were wiped out pretty quick. On Heroic the covies have two Shades, rather than only one.

Grunty retreat

Over on the far left are some Grunts, and if you snipe their Brute boss, three or four of them will toddle along the platform, heading for the other end. Send a rocket over to intercept them at the place where a few Brutes stand near their Choppers. There are a couple of plasma batteries there to set off, and the effect should be quite nice if you've got the Cowbell skull on! Alternatively you could snipe a battery.

Grunty fountain

If you let the aforementioned Grunts proceed along the platform, they'll join their buddies at the far end, joining in with any ongoing struggle against the Sentinels. That makes for even more plasma grenades in the air if you've got the Catch skull on. You'd probably need to be on Easy or Normal for that however, because on Heroic the Sentinel fight is likely to be over by the time the grunty reinforcements arrive. When there are no Sentinels left, you can end up with a nice gaggle of maybe six or seven Grunts hanging around. If you see them gathered nice and close together, fire off a rocket to make them go flying up in a beautiful grunty fountain. It's also quite fun to see enemies try to dive clear just as they see the rocket coming in. I don't fancy their chances though, heh heh.

Actually, before you do your rocketing you may like to first advance along your ledge to potentially get another checkpoint if possible. You'll then be able to conveniently revert after each rocket, to send Grunts flying again and again. I think there are two checkpoints available along this ledge: one triggered relatively far back - which I think may get delayed or even cancelled due to enemies fighting Sentinels - and one nearer the end. If your original checkpoint was the one further back, you'll be able to advance for the second checkpoint.

Another way of playing about is to rocket the purple containers, maybe trying to make them smash into enemies. I once caused a blast that sent a container smashing into a Shade, destroying it. Something else to try: see if you can rocket a container while a covie is on top. I bet he wished he'd never gone up there now!

Chopper shoot

If you advance right to the very end of the ledge, almost in danger of falling off, two Brutes are triggered into mounting their choppers - else they normally just stand around like a couple of idiots. They'll head down into the bowl and provide enjoyable moving targets for your sniper rifle as they whizz around. See if you can pick them off with clean headshots. You could also watch them engage Marines, if any made it through with you.

Strange Sentinel behaviour

When the covies start fighting the Sentinels there are usually a few Brutes up near the outlets, and they sometimes drop bubble shields - though they probably won't stick around long to actually use them. You can now see some odd behaviour. Sentinels like going inside a bubble, and seem especially interested in the bubble projector at the centre. You can see them go into the bubble and cluster around the projector like moths to a flame. Only when the bubble expires do they remember that they're meant to be frying covie ass, and get back to the fighting. Weird.

You can potentially exploit that behaviour as follows. When you see Sentinels clustered inside a bubble, try to time a rocket so it arrives just after the bubble expires. BLAM! Sentinels scattered all over the place - very nice.

Ammo tip

Obviously you should make sure you take a full sniper rifle. If you want to have further ammo available at the ledge, bring a Marine along with a spare sniper rifle, which will be dropped if he meets with an unfortunate accident - like if he receives a sharp blow to the back of the head for some reason. That should give you plenty enough to cleanse the entire area. Bye-bye covie scum! Oh, and thanks for the ammo buddy - good of you to bring it along.

Should you be up here?

Whether Bungie really intended for you to get up this high I'm not sure, but that 'ramp' was remarkably inviting. On the other hand, if you'd kept to the left after getting up, you can end up suddenly dying at a certain point, which isn't very friendly at all, and which suggests that you weren't expected to be up on the rock. There's also the invisible wall problem. All I can say is that if Bungie did intend this rock access to be a valid way of tackling part of the level, the implementation was rather clumsy. But whatever, it's sure good for a bit of fun!