This is the now the third article of As Real As a 'Survivor' Elimination series, where Captain Roy Luthan and I venture through the levels of Halo and discuss the realism from a real Marine's point of view. We pick up here where we left off and discuss the Truth and Reconciliation.
Please note that the intent of this article is not to bash Halo or Bungie. It is merely a view on realism to video gamers. --Ed
skseifer: Okay, Roy, we're going to continue the level-by-level talk. We're on the Truth and Reconciliation now. Can you give us an overview of it?
Capt. Luthan: The Truth and Reconciliation level is a very delicate mission, it's a search and rescue. In those types of missions, a small force is used and stealth plays a huge role. Suppressors on the guns are used most of the time, too. I would have put together a team of the best people and moved in as fast and stealthily as possible. Going through the maze inside the plateau is a bad idea, especially if it's guarded. Going on top of the plateau would have been a better idea as there is a much smaller possibility of being seen.
skseifer: What about what went down at the start of the level?
Capt. Luthan: As soon as the order was given to move out, everyone would pile out and secure the landing zone. After the commander gives the go ahead, everyone would move in small, tight groups into the next area. No flashlights should be on and almost all radio communication is ceased while stealth is being used. A lot of hand signals are used too. I'm surprised no one had night vision goggles, it's basic gear and it was night time.
skseifer: Now the Master Chief takes the first shot and suddenly the Covenant are swarming everywhere.
Capt. Luthan: When your cover is blown, stealth is worthless. Everyone would have been ordered to fire-at-will. As soon as that first bullet went off everyone would spread out and push forward while continuing to fire to keep the enemy occupied with you, not your buddies coming up on the rear with grenades -- ready to blow things sky-high. After the area was clear you would have to move fast and keep up with the group since you're racing against the clock and the enemy knows that you're there. I would have ordered the Pelican to pick some of us up and do some flybys with the Marines shooting from the cargo hold. That way the Covenant would be fighting two fronts.
skseifer: The team reaches the area where the grav lift is and you see the Covenant gun placements on all sides. Now what?
Capt. Luthan: This is where it gets interesting. In that type of situation, it would be best to just move in as fast as you could and find cover. After that, it's just a matter of taking out the gunners. A few grenades would clear out the charging Covenant in front of you and I'd bring up a couple of marksmen and try to pick off some of the other gunners. A well thrown grenade would take care of them too.
skseifer: What about what happens next, when the Covenant start coming from the grav lift?
Capt. Luthan: The remaining Marines should form some type of staggered circle around the lift, not a complete circle, because a bounced grenade would cost big. When the hunters come, the best plan would have been to unload your entire clip into them (not knowing their soft spot on their back).
skseifer: You board the lift and find yourself inside the Covenant ship. It's quiet and there's no sign of anyone there. What now?
Capt. Luthan: That's a hard situation as you're expecting to find yourself surrounded and it turns out that there's no one there. That's nerve-racking! Upon entering everyone should have done a quick clearing and then taken a position at each of the doors. Right when the first door opened with Covenant the guys watching that door would have killed whoever was on the other side. Then when all the other doors started opening and it was clear an ambush was in place, I would have ordered everyone to move in together close and fight as a group.
skseifer: How about the close-quarter combat that you deal with when you're going through the corridors?
Capt. Luthan: I don't like close-quarter combat because there's not a lot of space to move around and fighting can get rough. When you're hitting as much turns and corners as they did, it would have taken a long time because you can't just turn the corner, you have to stop before each corner and corner-peek, then if it's clear, move ahead and if it's not, then you must clear the corridor before you can move forward.
skseifer: Now let's skip ahead to where the Marines enter the Covenant flight bay.
Capt. Luthan: In a room as big and dark as that, it's hard to see your enemies. But there are two more floors to it and the second and first floors are swarming with Covenant; you're going to have to find cover and take as many out as you can before you get pinned down. I would have just kept the team moving and when we got stuck at that security door taken cover behind the Covenant tank sitting there and tried to throw some grenades onto the second floor to take out the Covenant up there. When the hunters came into the mix it would be very hard to take them out, because by then we had to have been low on ammo and probably had to swap some enemy weapons as replacements.
skseifer: Let's move on to where you enter the Covenant control room.
Capt. Luthan: In a crowded room like that full of Covenant, a few grenades should have taken care of most of them and then a rush attack into the room should take care of the rest. I don't know why the Marines suggested to be left behind to hold that position, they all should have went. If it came to it, they could of grabbed Keyes and ran out with him while the Chief held the Covies off.
skseifer: Okay, the Chief fights his way into the holding cells where Keyes is being held.
Capt. Luthan: I talked to a couple of my friends who are experienced in the field of science and they came to the conclusion, that, any type of stealth technology that bends light will make the wearer indiscernible to others. So I don't know how the Chief could see the outline of the stealth camouflaged Elites; no matter how advanced his vision was -- unless he had thermal goggles. Moving on, after securing the Captain, it would have been top priority to get out of there. The enemy knows that you're inside their ship and they'd rain hell on top of you before you knew it with the amount of noise that was made and how many of their brethren that were killed.
skseifer: What about where you return to the control room and find out your only ride out is dodging plasma shots from Covenant air patrols?
Capt. Luthan: When your transport out of a hostile area isn't possible, you've got to improvise. It comes down to two things: go on foot or commandeer another vehicle. Since on foot is obviously out of the picture, commandeering another vehicle is your only option. What Keyes said to the nervous Marine made me laugh. He said, "Leatherneck" and if you read about Marine history, it says that back around the time of the Revolutionary War, if I'm correct, Marines wore leather around their necks in order to prevent their necks from being easily cut from enemy swords; hence, that's where they got the name "Leathernecks". Back to the subject, Captain Keyes then decides to commandeer a Covenant dropship to escape. When Keyes says he's going to take the bird out himself instead of waiting for Cortana to interface with the controls, I would have bitten down on my lip and grabbed a hold of something, fast. Putting someone in control of an aircraft (especially an alien aircraft) who has no experience with it would turn into one bumpy ride into hell.
skseifer: And there it is, the level Truth and Reconciliation as seen and explained from a Marine viewpoint. Join us next time as we discuss the Silent Cartographer!
Thoughts? Opinions? Disagree with what the Captain would have done? Comment.