Here we are, yet again, continuing the level-by-level discussion on the realism of Halo with Captain Roy Luthan, chowing down on a MRE (Meals Ready to Eat). Be sure to check out part III of the series, where we discussed the Truth and Reconciliation. Now, we're going to pick up at the level we left off, the Silent Cartographer.
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: So Roy, why don't you tell us civilians what boot camp is like in the Marine Corps?
Capt. Luthan: Boot camp in the Corps is very rough -- as soon as you get in it's hell. I already had my head shaved when I went but I could have saved myself about 10 bucks and gotten it for free by the Marine barbers. Give it a couple of weeks and it gets worse everyday. This one time they woke us up around 4AM and made us run full gear on the beach through the sand for about 15 miles and it really sucked, everyone's legs were aching and if you're the type of person who gets sick when you exercise too much, you're bound to vomit a couple of times. The Crucible was interesting, staying up for days wasn't hard but it was trying to focus while you're getting more and more fatigued that really got us.
skseifer: Wow, sounds tough. Okay, we're on the Silent Cartographer now.
Capt. Luthan: The Silent Cartographer is really the only interesting level for me. Actually, it's the first part of the level that's interesting because you storm the beach with Marines by your side.
skseifer: How would you have handled the ascent upon the beach?
Capt. Luthan: Hostile insertions are very rough, a lot can go wrong. I would have just came in fast and low, then swung the Pelican around and gotten a few feet above the ground. After hovering for a second the Marines know it's their turn to rock n' roll. Of course, by the time I swung the Pelican around and the cargo hold was facing the enemy, even if we were still in the air the bullets would have already been flying, because Marines are trained to fire onboard moving objects, such as helicopters and automobiles. Then it's just the matter of getting out and finding some cover. After everyone was off the Pelicans, those birds would have had to jet out of there pretty quickly. The ground troops would then push forward and storm the enemy's positions. After the landing zone was secure and the Warthog was dropped off, you're pretty much just going on an afternoon ride through the beach.
skseifer: What about when you reach the building with the Covenant emplacement?
Capt. Luthan: It would be very hard to try and get inside that building if it's swarming with Covenant. I wouldn't have tried any hit-and-run tactics in the Warthog, a stray explosive device would ruin your day. It'd be bad enough if you were driving by the building and someone manages to pick off the driver. I would have parked the Warthog several yards away from the building and kept the gunner shooting, then moved forward on foot with the passenger. When we got close, grenades thrown right into the building would be extra browny points because in cramped spaces like that, one grenade should take care of a lot of Covenant. Timing a grenade is a good idea. If you wait a couple of seconds after you pull the pin and throw it just right it will go off when it gets in the building, leaving no time for the Covenant to roll out of harm's way.
skseifer: You now kill everyone defending the entrance. Now what?
Capt. Luthan: I would have told the gunner to cover us while we moved in and secured the inside. After entering it, it would take a while to clear the room because of all of the corners. When we reached the bottom where the door is and found Covenant guarding it, there's not much you can do before they close it.
skseifer: How about when after Captain Keyes gives his orders and you get back on top of the building?
Capt. Luthan: After mounting the Warthog again, we would just have to find the controls for the door. When we reach the path through the rock and the Covenant are guarding it, since there is a lot of trees and logs around, you can just ditch the vehicle and use the trees as cover. I don't know why there's that flipped Warthog with those dead Marines there, we don't like to slip small teams into random parts of a given area. We like to stay together as there's less chance of being overrun. Anyhow, upon entering the first part of the pathway through the rocks, it would be a very good idea to bounce grenades off walls so you don't have to expose yourself when you're corner peeking and shooting in those tight spaces.
skseifer: Okay, now you reach those Hunters in the middle.
Capt. Luthan: Same thing as you handled the rest, just keep on moving and shooting. Since in real life you can't float jump like the Master Chief and dodge at the same time, you're just going to have to sprint and shoot. After taking care of those guys and reaching that wooded area full of Covenant, a well-placed grenade would take care of the bastards hiding behind the trees.
skseifer: You reach the entrance to the next building, now what?
Capt. Luthan: Since I only have two other Marines with me, we can't do a full room clearing at once. It would be best just to charge in and hope you pull the trigger first if there's anything there. A room that big and with that many corners and obstacles is tricky.
skseifer: You open the door in the first building when you access the panel and you get that radio transmission of a downed Pelican. What do you do?
Capt. Luthan: A downed transport aircraft is a bad situation. You have to drop everything you're doing, check for survivors, and destroy the Pelican. When we got back into the big room and found the stealth elites, the trick is not trying to see the elite, but just listening for the sound of foot movement in front of you. After taking care of them and you get outside with a good view of the downed Pelican, you can assess the damage and figure out what needs to be done. Also, from that cliff, one of you should have some standard rope and you can rapell down, saving yourself some time. But in the event of rope being unavailable, you would have to backtrack and then head to the Pelican. When we reached the Pelican, we would have to check for survivors and salvage any gear possible. Then after tossing a couple of grenades inside the Pelican, getting the rocket launchers, and destroying the Warthog, you're all set.
skseifer: Okay, you finally get back to square one and you reach the first building with the locked door.
Capt. Luthan: The Hunters stationed outside the building are going to be hard to take care of, because if you just stroll up in the Warthog those plasma shots from the Hunters are bound to at least flip the Warthog and kill someone. It would be best to use cover and fire some rockets or grenades at them, then do some victory doughnuts over their bodies in the Warthog.
skseifer: You finally get past the door and begin the long, long descent down into the building.
Capt. Luthan: As soon as you fire the first shot, you've got to move quick because you don't know if the Covenant down below can hear the sound of gunshots. All the pathways and corners are going to slow you down a lot, too.
skseifer: What about when you nearly reach the map room and you get the call that your fellow Marines on ground level are going to be overrun?
Capt. Luthan: I'm not sure how they got killed, but it must of been a flyby of Covenant dropships. In that case I would have just wished them luck because I've still got a mission to do.
skseifer: Now you get the map from the room and begin the long journey back up.
Capt. Luthan: The way up has got to be tough because it's mostly vertical slopes up and you're going to have to be tired at least halfway up. But after reaching the top and grenading those stealth elites to oblivian, you're going to pull out with the help of the Pelican and continue on to the next mission.
skseifer: And there it is, the Silent Cartographer as seen and explained from a Marine viewpoint. Join us next time as we discuss the Assault on the Control Room!
Thoughts? Opinions? Disagree with what the Captain would have done? Comment.