In the first article of this series, I introduced Captain Roy Luthan, an eight-year veteran in the US Marines, and he discussed the realism of the Pillar of Autumn from the viewpoint of a real Marine. I was fortunate enough to pull the Captain away from his usual day of yelling at rookies and pushing his aircraft to speeds well over 500 knots just a few hundred feet above the ground to discuss the second level of Halo, Halo.
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: Hey, Roy. Why don't we go a little deeper into your history and tell us what military operations you've participated in around the world.
Capt. Luthan: A lot of the stuff that I've been in I can't really talk about and by the time I joined the Marines there was really no war going on, but I did participate in the early bombing phases in Operation Iraqi Freedom and later air cover for our conveys there.
skseifer: Cool stuff. What are you anticipating the most in the coming of Halo 2?
Capt. Luthan: The graphics look really amazing and by the sound of things they fixed a lot of the AI problems, mainly with the Marines. I was really surprised when I was watching the demo and the guy called in air support on that Covenant mortar tank.
skseifer: Okay, back to the campaign mode. We're going to be going through the Halo level now. The Master Chief has just crash landed onto Halo, now what would you have done?
Capt. Luthan: Well, naturally, I would have checked for survivors and then tried to get into contact with some of the other escape pods or aircraft. If nothing came up by the time that Covenant dropship showed up, before I left, I would have set its procedure to destory immobile equipment or vehicles that are left behind to prevent the enemy from capturing and using it. To accomplish this, I would have tossed a few grenades inside the escape pod before leaving, then grabbed as much ammo and other gear as I could and run for the hills.
skseifer: Now to where to the Master Chief shows up at the first group of Marines.
Capt. Luthan: The Marines there were oddly positioned. After landing they should have secured the perimeter and taken cover in that structure, obviously because you've got a better advantage at a higher vantage point. After that, if they played their cards right, they should have been able to hold off any attempts of storming their position because that walkway up to the building is long enough to get a few good shots at the charging wave of Covenant.
skseifer: What about the constant waves of Covenant reinforcements that show up next?
Capt. Luthan: If the Marines had efficiently armed themselves before evacuating the PoA, they should have had some smaller versions of portable rocket launchers that we have nowadays which ground troops have attached to their pack. These smaller rocket launchers actually look like a plain-old steel pipe. In either event, they could have used those and tried to take down some of the dropships. I would have handled the situation by leaving two guys watching the walkway and taken the rest in the direction of the dropship, then when the bay doors opened, unloaded a fury of hell onto them. All of this could be done from the safety and height of the building.
skseifer: Okay, now the Pelican shows up and the Chief is taking off in the Warthog.
Capt. Luthan: It would have been a lot easier to have just the Pelican take you to the nearest safe landing zone to one of the escape pods, but in the event of taking the Warthog, I would have prayed that there were no Covenant snipers wherever we went. The Warthog still confuses me, the Humvees today have a somewhat shielded gunner seat on top and an optional onboard missile launcher, what we like to call a TOW missile, in the back for anti-aircraft or anti-ground troop purposes. Basically that's going to suck for whomever so much as looks at you funny.
skseifer: Now you're leaving that uncomfortably dark tunnel and you make the left turn to the second crash site.
Capt. Luthan: That's a pretty hard position to be in, your only way out is blocked by Covenant and you're stuck in the basement of a building. Upon turning that corner into the area of Marines, the Chief should have parked the Warthog in a pretty good view of the building and the enemy, then had the passenger take cover behind the Warthog and had the gunner stay there and lay down some cover fire while the Chief made a run for the building. Upon successfully taking out most of the Covenant on the ground level and gone to check the underground level, the Marines there should at least be alive by the time the Chief came, if, they had corner peeked and shot most of the time. After the Pelican came and took the survivors, I again would have had the Pelican drop me off at the next crash site.
skseifer: What about after you leave the second crash site and those banshees that are in the air start to attack you?
Capt. Luthan: I would have kept the Warthog moving and just kept on firing at them while trying not to roll the vehicle while making all those crazy turns to avoid getting hit.
skseifer: After taking care of those fliers, you head towards the next crash site with the big rocks and boulders.
Capt. Luthan: Again, the position they're in should give the Marines a huge advantage. You could lie down in prone position on top of the rocks and that'll help steady your hand for firing on the Covenant below. There's really no need to have anyone below if you're all on top laying some lead into the Covenant. If I recall, there was a sniper up there too. That's a BIG advantage. He could have sat on the highest point of the rock and picked off anything that the Marines didn't kill. It seems that guy who has the sniper rifle just found it because he's strafing left and right and he's just pulling the trigger. Most snipers stay hidden even when cornered like they were and I'm wondering where their camouflage is that is made of grass and such that they wear over themselves.
skseifer: After the Pelican takes off with that group of survivors and you approach the next and last crash site, you receive that transmission from Cortana that states Captain Keyes is captured. What do think needs to be done?
Capt. Luthan: With the amount of information he has, I'm surprised he didn't already die trying to kill his captors. Since he was captured we couldn't afford what would happen if they managed to extract information from him, so we would have had to go in and top priority would have been to find out if he told them anything and rescue him, and a last resort would have been to kill him. If he had told the Covenant something we would have had to go and try and destroy that information wherever it was being kept.
skseifer: Okay, now you've just reached the final crash site and it seems the area is pretty cramped. What do you do?
Capt. Luthan: If the Warthog hadn't already been blown up, in those tight quarters I would have just tried running some Covenant over, then just hunted the rest down. After the area was secure and it was decided to go and rescue Keyes, I would have reattached the Warthog to the Pelican and taken it. There wasn't much of a payload of humans to take and I'm sure the Warthog wouldn't have been a problem. Since they just left it there it would've had to have been destroyed.
skseifer: And there it is, the level Halo seen and explained from a Marine viewpoint. Join us next time as we discuss the Truth and Reconciliation!
Thoughts? Opinions? Disagree with what the Captain would have done? Comment.