From The Trenches: Halo 3

Posted by mikeberry | Agile Development | Friday 7 December 2007 9:28 am

I finally finished Halo 3—in Heroic mode!  Heroic mode is one notch above Normal, and one below Legendary.   For those of you that have not completed the game, relax–there are no spoilers here.  I will offer some strategy advice, though.

Halo 3 is the third installment in Bungie’s highly-popular XBox video-game series.  The storyline takes place in a futuristic world that has been infested with an alien army.  Led by a creepy villain who calls himself the ‘Prophet of Truth,’ the alien onslaught will annihaliate the entire human race unless, of course, you and the space marines expel them.

Halo 3 is a little twist from 1 and 2 because you have an alien-defector who helps you during most of the levels, and well, it’s the Xbox 360 this time!

The graphics are outstanding and the playability is great.   I remember playing Halo 1 with my friend, Greg Wright.   He came to my house the day I brought the game home.   It was around 5pm when we started playing the game.  After what seemed to us to be about three hours, his wife called us to ask if her husband was ever coming home again because it was 2:30 am and she hadn’t heard from him.

With Halo 2, my neighbor Rob and I finished the campaign game in about two weeks.   We’d play every night until about 1 am.  By then, our brains were so fried we couldn’t speak properly.  We had to use hand signals to communicate ‘good-night’ and ‘same time tomorrow.’

My all-time favorite games were Bolo and Bilestoad on the Apple II, Doom and Klingon Academy on the PC, and 007 on the N64.  Ghost Recon is my most-played XBox game, and so far, Halo 3 is the best 360 game.

Heroic is a difficult level.  It took me about three months to complete, playing solo and moderately during that time.  The first few levels are pretty easy.  You basically shoot anything moving at you.  As the game progresses however, you start facing more difficult aliens and tougher challenges.

Here are some strategies that helped me:

1. Learn to be patient and lure the bigger aliens out one-by-one.  You have a much better chance of being successful facing them one-by-one.

2. Don’t feel compelled to annihilate every alien you come across.  Sometimes, the melee was so chaotic it was simply easier to run past everything and through the next door.

3. Discover your melee-punch attack.  This is where you run up on an alien, and punch them with your weapon.  I found this to be the best way to clobber a tough alien.  One or two hits and you can take down a Brute.  This works especially well inside a shield-dome.

4. Chieftains are the toughest opponents.  Wielding gravity hammers, and invincibility armor, they strike pure terror when they run at you.  There are three excellent techniques to use to defeat them:

A. Blast them with plasma cannons.  The continuous impact will stun and drain them of health.

B. If you have an invisibility shield, go invisible, quickly walk up behind the chieftain, and melee punch him in the back several times.

C. Learn to jump up over them when they run at you.  You can stay alive and shoot at them for a while doing this.

5. Attack the exhaust vent of the Wraith.

6. Attack the legs of the Scarab SuperTank, then jump on, run up to the top, and blast it’s power source.

7. This should be obvious to you– running over the aliens is easier than shooting them.

Halo 3 is a guys game.   It’s full of marines, monsters, lasers, rockets, jeeps, four-wheelers, space-ships and shooting.  There are only three women in the game.  A dispatcher who you never see,  the operations commander, and an attractive computer persona.

There are nine levels.  The environments range from jungle, to desert, to internal facilities, to inside creepy, fleshy-spaceships.  The final level is a unique racetrack-like experience.

I really liked the humor in the game.  The little grunt aliens see you coming and say “Oh, no!  A monster!”  Sometimes the little grunts poke fun at their bigger alien buddies by saying “Brute’s are jerks.”

The brutes have their own humor.  They are big, scary aliens that speak with deep voices.  Sometimes, when you die, one of them will say “All to easy…” which is a direct quote from Darth Vader.

The brute comment that makes me laugh the most is sometimes heard when you are unfortunate enough to come across a mass of Brute aliens marching towards you.  One of them will say, in their deep, Vader-like voice, “No inappropriate touching!”

I noticed a recent news snippet that Microsoft has released it’s seven-year hold on Bungie.  They’re now free again to wow us with more great games.

I really enjoyed playing this game.  I guess I’m ready for some Halo parties, now.  If you are having one, let me know.  Find me as MBER on Xbox Live.  I’d welcome some comments from others who have finished the game.

Mike J Berry
www.RedRockResearch.com

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