Eject some Banshee pilots and have some fine sport with them.
Leading Banshees astray
Toying with pilots
Marines vs pilots
Leading Banshees astray
Back in December 2007 I advertised the very simple coastal Hornet trick which gives you a Hornet that can go places you wouldn't normally be able to go in level 7, The Covenant. There's lots you can do with that, but now here's more!
As mentioned in that article, the Hornet can access the high coastline that stretches along to the third tower. There are 8 indestructible Banshees along the way; 5 attacking Elite Phantoms outside the second tower, and 3 guarding a Brute Phantom further on. If you draw a Banshee's attention you can quite easily lead it back the way you came over snow-topped hills and end up taking it pretty much anywhere, though you'd best use Easy so you can survive a lot of fire during the chase. It's quite a novelty to see a Banshee flying around outside the first tower for example. But the real entertainment lies in getting the unkillable pilots ejected and then blasting them around with your Hornet or setting up fights between them and Marines. That's what I'll be focusing on here, but there's also some talk about forming a Banshee collection if you fancy that.
Aside from using Easy, which lets you survive pursuits and also has the benefit of making Marines very resilient against ejected pilots, I recommend having the Cowbell skull on so Brutes get blasted further when you're playing about rocketing them, and so your machine guns exert more force. Also, remember not to jump into the level at rally point alpha, for reasons described in that Hornet trick article and because you'll probably want lots of Marines around anyway.
Tips on tempting and leading Banshees
It's pretty easy to get a Banshee's attention. Just fly fairly close and one is soon likely to focus on you. Sometimes you'll attract more than one, and you can end up leading multiple Banshees along together.
When leading a Banshee, try to remain a tempting target else your pursuer may turn back. In places the Banshee may move rather slowly, especially as it first gets over the snow-topped hills, and you'll need to dawdle. If you're not facing your pursuer, listen out for the tell-tale sound of an approaching plasma bolt, and do a little jink so it misses. Mind you, on Easy you should be ok even if it hits.
When leading a Banshee back from around the distant Brute Phantom, you may return to find a whole chunk of scenery missing, which includes the area of the first tower plus the upper part of the canyon. Quite disorienting at first! I expect the scenery got unloaded when you crossed a loading point heading out to those Banshees. To make it reappear, simply head for the canyon gouge, either straight away or after ejecting any pursuers. It should reload when you reach that area.
Once you've ejected one pilot, you can potentially use his Banshee to go and lure more pilots, if you prefer that to using the Hornet, or if you want to avoid further Hornet damage.
When you want to eject a pursuing Banshee pilot, dismount and let him make attack runs. When he comes close, hold RB to board - maybe after jumping up to get a bit of height. It's usually pretty easy, but the height of his attack runs can depend on the terrain. Just make sure you don't get struck head on or you're likely to die; you want to be to one side of the Banshee. To stop him reboarding later, deposit the Banshee a good way away from him.
Outside the first tower
In specific regard to ejecting a pilot outside the first tower, remember that to get down onto the ground you'll need to go down through a gap in the invisible plane. But actually you don't even need to get down. If you dismount on the invisible plane he's liable to swoop around you in a close figure of eight doing a very poor job of targeting you, and it's then fairly easy to intercept him even though you can only move slowly on the plane. He'll survive the fall as he's unkillable. There's one drawback to this method. If he loses interest and flies off before you get him ejected, he may leave the area completely, and meanwhile you're stranded. However, you can still get down as mentioned in my account of the plane.
Ejecting at an easy spot
An alternative way of getting an ejected pilot outside the first tower, or indeed anywhere else, is to first eject him in a relatively easy spot such as on the snow-topped hills shortly after he starts coming after you, and then blast him to where you want. You may find that easier.
Toying with pilots
Once you've got a pilot ejected, you can blast him around with rockets or make him stagger back from machine gun fire as much as you like, because he's unkillable. The Cowbell skull will accentuate those effects, giving rockets and machine gun rounds more force. He's also unarmed, so you don't have much to worry about! If you eject him on the snow-topped hills I mentioned earlier for example (and it's rather novel to see a Brute up there), you can force him over to the edge then blast him off with a rocket. Ho ho. Long way down!
Cyborg comin' through!
Another thing you can do is repeatedly fly or drive at a pilot, making him dive clear. That's especially good fun if you've collected a whole bunch of them; you'll be able to make them scatter en masse as you come though. It's quite easy to get lots ejected on the snow-topped hills, and from there you can always blast them down to ground level where you can rip though them in a Mongoose or Ghost or hog.
Marines vs pilots
But now here's the best fun. You can pit Marines against pilots and it makes for some really good watching. On Easy the Marines are highly resilient to melee attacks, which is all the unarmed Brutes can deliver, so these fights can go on for ages - and I mean like an hour or more! You'll get a
You can get multiple pilots if you want; just keep luring Banshees and ejecting pilots until you've got however many you want.
If an ejected Brute is initially not near your Marines, you can move him along to them with Hornet fire. You can likewise move him about during the fighting, for example forcing him back towards the Marines if he gets a bit far away. Heh heh... no escape for you, monkey-boy! You can move a Marine into a desired position by bodily pushing against him, on foot.
Another thing you can do is give Marines selected weaponry to use against the pilots - for example a Spartan laser or fuel rod gun for a bit of fireworks! Mind you, be careful where you leave your Hornet, if you're getting out to watch for a while. One time a Marine accidentally took out my parked Hornet with a Spartan laser, leaving me unable to bring in any more Brutes. BLAM! There goes my pride and joy. Thanks a lot buddy! I think it was an accident...
Outside the first tower
To arrange a fight outside the first tower, you'll want to have left Marines there when you departed. You could have four there. If any happen to be in a troop hog and you want to get them out to fight on foot, overturn the hog by driving it off an edge or something (e.g. I went over the waterfall), then blow it up so they don't reboard.
I had a great little situation in the pool area, where two Brutes were cornered by three Marines. Another time I was watching one Marine with a shotgun hold back two Brutes who kept trying to get near him and kept getting blasted back.
One word of warning if you're trying to get multiple pilots outside the tower. If you come back with a new Banshee and you find that the game has to reload the tower area again, you might find that your earlier pilots have vanished. I experienced that once, but it hasn't been a serious hindrance and usually no reloading is needed anyway (if you got the Banshee from the nearest group). You'll probably have no problem getting at least a couple of pilots back.
On the beach
To arrange a fight on the beach, start with a set-up as described in Marines on the beach. You'll have as many as ten Marines ready to give any Brute pilots a warm welcome. I've had a load of fun with this. The unarmed Marine you stole your Hornet from is particularly aggressive, and tends to run after Brutes screaming. As such, he tends to take a bit of a beating, and may well get killed despite the general Marine resilience. Still, he's amusing while he lasts!
To get a Brute into position on the beach, the way I did it was to first get him ejected up on the snow-topped hills shortly after he gave chase, then I blasted him off the edge, down into the base of the canyon. From there, a bit more Hornet fire forced him along to the waiting Marines. Heh, that sure woke 'em up a bit!
It's possible to arrange for the Marines to have one or two Ghosts if you want, namely the Ghosts from the canyon. The Marines will have a fine time trying to ram the Brutes, but it's possible for Brutes to eject them (or yourself, if you care to clamber aboard for a bit of Brute harrassment). Once a Brute has taken over a Ghost however, he seems to lose interest and dismount.
Moving the beach Marines
Incidentally, it's also possible to drive most of the beach Marines to the first tower one by one with a Mongoose, to have a major rumpus against pilots there instead. When I did this, the only Marines that refused to board the Mongoose were one of the pistol-wielding pilots and the unarmed pilot I got my Hornet from. You could use the same technique to have a large rumpus in other locations too, as long as deposited Marines don't run back to that beach area. I haven't explored those possibilities yet, but I'm thinking you could have a nice battle somewhere up the canyon, or maybe somewhere further along the beach.
If you're into vehicle collecting, the hijacking technique I described gives you a way of forming a collection of up to 8 Banshees to take a screenshot of, or whatever. I formed such a collection on the snow-topped hills, with the 8 pilots herded into a bunch further away. You could potentially have your collection elsewhere though. If you start with the Banshees up on the snow, you could shunt them off the edge (push them with the Hornet) and get them all down onto the beach for example.
Checkpoint, and passive pilots
If you want a checkpoint after collecting all 8 Banshees, one way of doing it is to perform sufficient destruction at the third tower. You'll still be able to fly back to your collection, but you'll need to take a high route to get over an invisible wall. Climb to maximum or near maximum height to start heading over the snowy clifftop, to get back to the area of the second tower. It's plain sailing from there.
When you return to your ejected pilots however, you may find that they've lost any attacking instinct. That's what I found when I did this, though I'm not sure exactly when that behavioural change was triggered. I was able to land and stand among them, and they just stood there passively. They reacted in pain when I attacked them, but they didn't retaliate. I gave one fellow a nasty going-over with a spartan laser at point blank range - hee hee!
Once you've saved a checkpoint you can have fun rocketing your Banshee collection to bits if you like, and later exit to the dashboard so you don't lose your save.
yes, i was very bored...
BTW forty-two I'm not your buddy too!
and did anybody actually read any of it?
[Edited by 1bobafettrules, 8/1/2008 11:19:21 AM]
[Edited by moderator forty-two, 8/2/2008 7:08:04 AM]
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