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Let's Play Halo SPV3 Stage 6
Posted By: Lion O CyborgDate: 3/23/20 8:21 a.m.

Stage 6: 343 Guilty Spark

Creep through a swamp to meet the only enemy Covenant fear.

Welcome back to the Halo SPV3 mini Tour of Duty. Into this update, we follow Captain Keyes’ footsteps into a swamp deep in the fog filled jungle during an electric storm. You already know what’s coming as it’s been hinted at in a lot of terminals leading up to this point and there’s also the Primer, assuming you didn’t already know as the original Xbox game has been out for almost 20 years.

Act 1: Well Enough Alone – 49 Feet Under

There’s more to my subtitle than the Marathon 2 reference: Death and Suffering is what 4 & 9 mean. There’s plenty of it here from now on.

We got rain like this at primary school back in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Child’s play about Halo during recess with my musketeer team -Ryan Mutch, Craig Davis, Kieran McMullen and I- was themed around this level during weather like this, especially when we had swimming later in the day: when the rubber raft came out, we used it in make believe escape sequences as part of the same fantasy, down water runoff tunnels or sewers, having to get out and dive at one or two points to open sealed bulkheads. (floodgates?)

“The last transmission from the Captain’s dropship was from this area. But that was over 12 hours ago.” Echo 419 tells me as she sets down in the knee deep water of the stinking marsh. “We’ve been unable to re-establish contact with the Captain or his team.” That last part was cut from her line in vanilla, but it was not removed from the script, as Anniversary reveals in its subtitles. This is similar to another occurrence in Halo 2, where the second cutscene before the level The Arbiter has missing dialog revealed by the subtitles in both the original and the remake. The first and third sentences of what she says next are also cut from vanilla.

I jump out into the swamp water, armed with an assault rifle and a pistol. It’s all I need. "I’ll stay in the neighbourhood in case the area’s hot. When you locate Captain Keyes, radio in and I’ll come pick you up.” “Thanks,” I reply to Foehammer in the novel only. “Be sure to bring me a towel.” Carol chuckles and takes off. “Good luck, sir.”

It’s possible to jump back on the ramp and ride the pelican up until Captain Rawley flies off, but as discussed in the last stage, it’s pointless and there’s no Easter Egg for doing it this time, unless you count a Master Chief Collection achievement in that game’s version of Halo Anniversary.

So here I am, lost in a dense jungle with nothing but marshes and moonlight seeping in through the trees above, what little beams manage to penetrate the pea-souper.

“Something spooky is in that jungle. Our pelican crashed down in the swamp. Every night some of my men would vanish without trace. Others fled in fear. Then this happened." https://youtu.be/LG9zLfLU9WI?t=26

I explore the swamp, wading through the marsh and checking out the strange plants on the little hill. They remind me of the giant headcrab shaped funguses on Xen in Half Life (I know them more from Opposing Force). The atmosphere of this place is perfect in all versions: the fog, the sounds, the light bleeding in, the rain and in SPV3, the occasional moonlight rays that seem to flicker as I walk through them at times, creating the illusion of lightning flashes.

This whole area improves on the swamp river in Marathon Infinity completely and feels like the full 3D predecessor to the swamps in Rubicon. Not far from where I start is a crashed pelican hinted at above. I hear explosions in the distance and the excellent spooky song What Once Was Lost starts up. I associate that song with this level and/or theme specifically.

I pick up a sprint armour ability from Halo Reach and listen to the distress call coming from the dropship’s cockpit. It’s full of static, making it hard to hear: “Dropship Victor 9…Pillar of Autumn. …assistance. We are under attack by some new kind of hostile…isn’t covenant. Captain Keyes has been captured by monsters…dug in in a large structure in a swamp….long we can hold out. Please…! I will send this message to repeat at….intervals. Dropship Victor 933 clear!”

Climbing on the front of the ship, this is the first time in the game you can look inside the Pelican cockpit in-game. It’s not well modelled in Halo 1 as the design was fleshed out by Halo 2. In SPV3, the cockpit glass is a 1-way mirror.

I take out some grunts with my pistol before looking at the cockpit. It seems the ship crashed during takeoff as opposed to in-flight or landing. Generalkidd/General Heed has a video showing what the inside of the pelican looks like and what Carol Rawley actually looks like, moreso the Anniversary version. She uses the exact same model as the lifepod pilot at the start of the game, which is funny as the pilot sounds the same as Echo 419 too. Rawley herself doesn’t have a character model in Halo 1 at all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BEuNG33z8M

A brute with power armour shows up as I try to look at the first terminal among the supplies outside the pelican. As you may have seen, this assault rifle model is the one with a grenade launcher so he’s easy pickings.

There really was a weapons cache here but assuming the elite wasn’t lying, the Covenant needed those weapons here for a reason. They were guarding the structure Victor 933 mentioned: specifically whatever is kept locked inside.

Well would you look at that! Back then, you’d never think to see a crashed spirit in Halo 1, especially as you couldn’t destroy any dropships until Halo 3, but here we are. SPV3 even adds lightning arcing from the troop bay engines, as if the gravity drive is trying to reactivate. The first covenant terminal is on the ground here.

There’s no beating around the bush. We meet the Flood for the first time in 100,000 years on this level. SPV3 assumes you played the original Halo 1 or the other games first. Anniversary is the same.

I read a friendly contact just past the jackals on a fallen tree up ahead. Maybe some marines in the Captain’s squad are still out here? The major jackal on the tree loves to use charged shots and in SPV3 he uses a brute plasma pistol, so now you also have to watch out for fires.

Unlike Halo 1 vanilla and Anniversary, the fallen tree’s bark is all rocky, like it’s been petrified. As I cross the fallen trunk, I see dark figures moving in the embankment above the swamp.


They’re also marked as allies on the motion tracker, but something’s off about them: they look oddly misshapen. And that smell… pe-euu!

More phantom contacts swarm past me and liquid like growls echo from the bushes as I approach a large A-shaped structure. Assault rifle fire comes from inside, causing grunts and brutes to flee. An explosion and fires rock the entrance. Using my sprint, I dash inside before they see me, to greet the supposed marines…and find nothing.

I’m startled by the noise of machines starting up, but it’s just the anti-gravity lift in the middle. Unlike the last few, this one is a large glass plate, which isn’t the safest idea for an elevator platform. On the back of the pillar on the ramp behind me is the first Forerunner terminal.

Erm, WHAT? This shouldn’t be here and it certainly wasn’t in SPV3.1. This is the wrong terminal message! https://youtu.be/gxcHTX6fAVI?list=PLjpAzVTa-X3T_hnkWkWWQbvLr-XIE6pjY&t=127

This is what it’s supposed to say: https://youtu.be/AqiHE0aa4Lg?t=48

The grunts and jackals at the bottom of the lift don’t suspect a thing; presumably they think it’s their buddies or the brutes taking supplies back down. A frag or black hole grenade takes care of them. Next are several dimly lit vaults with light bridges. The holo panel to turn on the first one is broken on my side of the gap, so I have to jump down. Some of the doors are marked with red alarms.

The side doors have little square hallways in them, some with side hatches into what look like cells. The next room with some jackals is the first of the glass tank rooms. The tank here is broken.

Hey, what’s that green crap? What is this? Tiny globules of this stuff rain down from above. I actually do know what it is: it’s got to be Flood biomass. How it got there I don’t know.

Unlike the mechanical animal breathing in the machine rooms of the last stage, there’s low humming, creepy metallic wind, creaking metal groans in the distance which sound oddly alive and sometimes a pulse followed immediately by an angry breath being drawn by what sounds like a ghost. If Bungie have topped Marathon Infinity’s scary ambience i.e. the Jjaro station and the W’rkncacnter’s ship creak sounds, this is it. It got me as a child who’d only heard of Bungie thanks to his new Xbox and it’s still effective 18 years later. (Going by when I first played it)

Have a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqjUmkfZJEg

The gold square hallway I exit by is lined with grunt blood and a huge pile of them are barricaded in a cell. More Flood biomass drips from the corner of the open hatch. All of the bodies had brute plasma weapons but the space crate barricade means I can’t get to them.

Get a good look as that’s the only time you see needler and brute needler ammo packs. How they break those crystals into the needles’ shape I don’t know, but SPV3 redoes the reload animation to show you stuffing one of those inside. The main games just have you cock the gun back and forth before the needles spit out the top. Through the hatch past the needler ammo, I hear a popping sound and a marine slumped against a pillar, terror in his eyes, opens fire on me until he runs out of ammo.

“Stay back! Stay back! You’re not turning me into one of those things! I’ll blow your brains out Get away from me!” he screams. He seems to recognise me soon after but he still keeps firing. In vanilla & Anniversary, you have to dodge his shots or take cover. SPV3 makes him run out of ammo instead so as to avoid that pesky annoyance.

“FIND YOUR OWN HIDING PLACE! THE MONSTERS ARE EVERYWHERE! Play dead! That’s what I did, play dead. They took the live ones. Oh god, I can still hear them! Monsters!” He screams again, sounding more pained and terrified than he already was. “JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!” His tone gets sadder, “Sarge, Mendoza, Bisenti, all gone. The things took them…” before turning to anguished babbling. Then he roars at the top of his lungs. “THEY’RE GONE! GET IT? GONE! THEY WON’T GET ME! OH GOD I DON’T WANT TO BE LIKE THEM! Please, please no! Please noooooo!”

The poor sap isn’t getting out alive on his own so I’ll have to come back for him later. In vanilla, you could easily think exactly that. However, no sooner have I got past the pillar than he commits suicide. I see why he did that but it won’t help him: the Flood can infect and reanimate dead bodies as well as living ones. We see the full extent of that in Halo 3. He doesn’t do that in the original however.

The horrified marine became a running gag by Halo 3: at least one marine voiced by the same guy has appeared from then on in a sorry state of some kind. In Halo 3 during the level Floodgate, he’s distraught at having to kill his friends when they get infected by the Flood, trying to console himself by saying he helped them. He then considers “helping” himself and does exactly that if you go away and come back.

In Halo 3: ODST during Uplist Reserve, a similar marine is shell shocked and being tended to by a medic in the wildlife park, comparing the Covenant to big cats and humans their prey.

In Halo Reach, New Alexandria has a skyscraper modelled after Ivory Tower in Halo 2. Another terrified and panicking marine is there on the upper level near a strange grain lift of sorts (which doesn’t work in campaign). He is similar to this one, but is instead considering deserting the UNSC as he signed on to fight the insurrection, not aliens.

Past the marine is a dead spec-ops elite by an intact glass tank and a terminal.

Oh come on! This is a duplicate of the first one! https://youtu.be/ZjAYgEWDO5Y?list=PLjpAzVTa-X3RVDMZg_6AfQItxDD_3ygqM&t=778

The first Forerunner one from before was meant to go here instead. Who is responsible for all this mess? The terminals and fuel rod cannons on the AA Wraiths better be the very first things that get fixed in the next build of SPV3: both the messed up messages and the ones that disappear if a single one in their map chunk is read. This is atrocious.

Here’s the real one: it ended up being the first Forerunner one in SPV3.2.

This guy is supposed to be here in the vanilla game but he only appears in the next cutscene for some weird reason. The marines didn’t kill him as he and a similar elite seem to have been hosed with plasma fire. Friendly fire perhaps? Marines with Covenant weapons? Possible but neither of those fit.

Past the elite bodies is a broken balcony with a large fire behind the rubble. Unfortunately, while it does improve Halo 1′s fire effects, the basic standing fires in SPV3 except for Brute Plasma Pistol charged shots are too small and underwhelming compared to vanilla and Anniversary. Following the balcony past the intact half of the glass tank, I follow the upper portion of the square hallway back to the other room and turn on the light bridge to the other side. For some odd reason, the game refers to those smaller ones as “energy bridges” which is inconsistent.

The door on the other side has been blown open and ominous symbols that look like red, alien bullseye targets flank the door. Those are a warning. Flashing alarms are set at the top of a double ramp, one side with a dead marine, a first aid kit and the next terminal.

Actually, Mendoza’s first name is Manuel. He’s the Spanish or Mexican sounding marine with some good dialog. The next Forerunner terminal is by the window overlooking the room below.

That’s new! This isn’t good, more on that in a minute.

Oh gimme a break! https://youtu.be/0MDwKzH4ez8?t=1167

This is the real terminal: https://youtu.be/AqiHE0aa4Lg?t=89

A Flood hive is exactly what the fleshy mess down below is. It sort of resembles the beginnings of a Flood hive in Halo 2, but this is a complete one. The biggest two we see in Halo 3 and they are absolutely terrifying, completely changing the insides of twisted metal salads that used to be a Covenant ship and High Charity respectively, plastering them with rotten flesh, brown gunk and hundreds of what look like pumpkins with 4 giant sperm cells around where the stalk should be. Those latter things are Flood growth pods that spawn infection forms and release them if shot.

The ones here can contain not just infection forms, but combat forms too, acting like the lairs in Dungeon Keeper. The carrier forms Spark mentions are made when combat forms become too damaged or old to be useful any longer, so their upper bodies swell up and turn into walking seed pods. Grunt & Jackal flood forms are new to SPV3, though the latter are based on their Halo Wars one. Except they serve as new types of carrier form besides the normal ones and not combat forms, if the normal carriers appear in this remake at all. I forgot if they do. The growth pods in SPV3 are based on the incomplete ones in Halo 2’s High Charity as I said above.

Going down the ramp, it all goes quiet, with only a hollow booming sound (incidentally also part of the music here) to disturb the otherwise perfect silence. A human spoofer is attached to the locked door but as I reach for the keypad, I hear a strange, liquid squishing noise behind me. I turn around, but there’s nothing there.

Cautiously, I press a button on the spoofer and open the door, only for Mendoza’s dead body (I think?) to be dumped into my arms. Catching the body, I point my assault rifle back the way I came and step carefully through the hatch as it shuts.

My foot hits some empty shell casings of many, causing them to roll away. I also start hearing quiet, liquid rushing sounds like there’s something flowing through the walls nearby. There’s a discarded helmet belonging to Private Jenkins lying in a pool of blood next to the small, hollow speedbump things. No, this is Wallace A Jenkins from Contact Harvest. Leeroy Jenkins wouldn’t be for another few years so Bungie weren’t making that joke.

Inspecting Wallace’s helmet, I find a solid state floppy disk like those in Marathon (the chips, going by their 3D model in the models plugin) connected to his field camera so I insert it into my head and watch the playback:

The video quality is pretty bad as it’s covered with scan lines and night vision mode is on, though that is more clear in the original. Sgt Johnson is with the Captain’s squad listening to awesome rock music. It’s allegedly from Marathon 2 according to the wiki, but it sounds nothing like Marathon 2’s main theme.

It sadly never made it to the soundtrack in either the original or Anniversary. Here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXWz0waXq-g

The marines don’t agree with him. “Why do we always have to listen to this old stuff, Sarge?” Mendoza complains. Johnson chews him out, saying that this stuff is our history. “This shit reminds you grunts what we’re fighting to protect.” Mendoza says that if the Covenant want to get rid of this one part of human history, it’s fine by him. Jenkins and Bisenti agree. “You ask them real nice next time you see ‘em, Bisenti.” Johnson says. “I’m sure they’ll be happy to oblige.” A female pilot who sounds similar to Cortana informs them that the LZ is clear, though we still see the crashed pelican in the swamp for a second through the fog, even in vanilla. Oops. Even so, this is presumably Victor 933 so maybe the male on the distress call was the co-pilot.

In SPV3, Shreddin’ has been replaced with a different song I’d never heard before: Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones. https://youtu.be/V7yoqbNKi5A?t=809

This song was meant to play here in the original, but Bungie couldn’t get the license to it. SPV3 doesn’t have the same limitations. I spool ahead and see them arriving in front of the structure. Someone runs inside, but Johnson tells him to wait here for the Captain and his squad. Jenkins points out Keyes, but we don’t actually see him. Then they all go inside. I fast forward a little more and see them talking about the dead elite I saw where the other guy killed himself. You can still hear the fire in the background.

“…Which is weird, right? I mean, look at it.” Private Kappus says, nudging the corpse with his foot. “Something tore open its chest and…scrambled the insides.” The tear open its chest bit is another bit of dialog missing from vanilla. Did Bungie think those parts of the lines were simply taking up too much room on the CD? They don’t sound redundant.

“What’s that, plasma screen?” Johnson asks. “Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe there was an accident? You know, friendly fire or something?” Keyes comes over to investigate and Johnson tells him about the elite.

“Real pretty.” Captain Keyes says, looking down at the mangled elite. “Friend of yours?” “Nah, we just met.”

Spooling ahead some more, they arrive at the very door I just opened. Kappus says it looks like the Covenant worked pretty hard to lock the door down. They did, as they used an engineer to seal it shut like Guilty Spark said. Kappus attaches the spoofer we saw earlier to the door and presses some keys to hack it open. The rushing sounds start up in the video and get louder. The Flood hive we saw has already formed. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Mendoza warns before Jenkins can say it himself. “Boy, you always got a bad feeling about something.” Johnson retorts, but he is interrupted from saying more as someone from the second squad radios him and the Captain, panic in his voice.

“WE’VE GOT CONTACTS! LOTS OF THEM! BUT…THEY’RE NOT COVENANT! T,T,THEY’RE JUST TEARING THROUGH US! WHAT THE…OH NOOOOOO!” The radio goes dead. Johnson orders Mendoza to head back to the surface and find out what the hell is going on. He protests, managing to get the Avery’s attention: the rushing sounds have been replaced with the liquid squishing I heard earlier.

“What is that?” Jenkins says nervously, his eyes darting from one shadow to the next. “Where’s that coming from Mendoza?” the sergeant demands.

“Everywhere. I don’t…There! Mira!” Mendoza points to the now broken of the doors to the metal cells. In vanilla, there’s three loud bangs and on the fourth bang, the open breaks apart. In SPV3, an unseen growth pod inside the already open door bursts, both letting in little whitish green/brown balls of flesh and tentacles. Those are Flood infection forms. I’d played Half Life before Halo and learned what headcrabs did in Opposing Force as well as Half Life 1 at the same time. The infection forms are basically just headcrabs in disguise. They go for the chest and bury their way in before tapping their victim’s spine, injecting venom of some kind into the bloodstream and converting the host’s rapidly rotting flesh into Flood biomass.

Someone screams as an infection form grabs his face, only to die or lie injured when his friend pulls it off. The other marine struggles to get rid of the infection form as everyone else opens fire, more streaming into the room by the second. Jenkins is frozen with fear while Mendoza yells he’s had enough before running away. This is why I think he’s the one who died against the door: it was locked again and he died beating on it trying to get out.

A swarm of infection forms surrounds Jenkins and drags him down. Johnson shouts for him as he and the others get infected too. However, Johnson survives as First Strike reveals he has “Boren’s syndrome”, actually a coverup for his Orion Project augmentations. Basically this means his DNA is so alien to the Flood, even they cannot make use of him. Maybe the Spartan IIs are the same? If we die to infection forms they don’t seem to infect us. At least not onscreen, anyway.

Having finally caught up with what we already learned in the terminals (and I knew from the original game back in 2002), I toss away the disk and bring my weapon around.

Act 2: The Flood – COVENANT 19 Virus

Until I got my Halo 2 strategy guide in either 2005 or 2006, I didn’t know the names of any of the Flood forms so Wren and I just called the infection forms “Flugs”, partially due to the sounds they make. Combat forms we just called flood guys or mutated guys, and carrier forms we called “Gasbags” thanks to their explosion sounds in Halo 1.

It’s common knowledge now that the Flood are based on the S’pht cordyceps virus from Marathon 2, which would have turned both Pfhor and S’pht into fungal zombies just like real cordyceps.

The infected ticks look a little like the flugs somewhat. More to the point however, the droning sounds made by the infection forms besides their liquid squishing noise are actually distorted Pfhor noises, whether Marathon 1 Pfhor or Marathon 2 I don’t know as I haven’t removed the distortion in Audacity to see, nor found videos on it. Maybe those are the sounds that Pfhor fungal zombies were meant to make had they actually appeared in the game?

I back toward the door, listening for the tell-tale sound as it opens. But the door doesn’t open. Not yet anyway. Normally the other locked doors are meant to blow open and let in more swarms of flugs, but this time the growth pods explode with loud bangs, like abscesses filled with dynamite.


Flugs explode into small clouds of pus and cartoon dog bones when you shoot them, dealing enough splash damage not to harm us or others (unless they explode by jumping on us when our shields are up), but other infection forms, creating a chain reaction in big clusters. Those red tipped tentacles are their penetrators by the way: razor sharp feelers they use to slice open our skin and bury themselves in our chest cavities like reverse Xenomorphs.

HELLO! Combat forms normally only appear when the entrance to this lab is broken open, but there’s a lot of them nesting inside the pods. Unlike Halo 3, I think the Flood growth pod explosions can hurt you, but I don’t intend to put that to the test.

Combat forms have the infection form’s penetrators poking out of their chest as a sort of mouthpiece, as shown when the Gravemind makes them talk in Halo 3. More tentacles come out of one of their arms that they use as a whip, with their other arm serving to fire any guns they take from their hosts as we see very soon. Treat with shotgun. If problem persists, treat with more shotgun.

The door breaks open at last and more combat forms storm into the room. Elite combat forms now pull double duty as carrier forms: big, glowing yellowish growths sprout from their backs and they explode into more infection forms when they die. Regular elite forms from vanilla are still seen as well. SPV3 now does something we never actually saw until Halo 3: the Flood actually infect their prey this time. In Halo 1, the flugs do nothing and just kill their prey. Sometimes, combat forms appear to die only to get back up and attack again unless you see their chest bleed green from the infection form dying. Chest shots on Flood work as headshots do on anything else.

In Halo 2, Infection forms still mostly did nothing but they could now resurrect dead combat forms unless you destroy the body or shoot off all their limbs. You can still do that in Halo 1, but doing so gives you “a little buddy” who follows you around. Halo 2 removes this glitch by making the combat form self-destruct if you try it, leaving the original infection form. In Halo 3, infection forms are at their most dangerous as they infect everything alive and dead right in front of you, and non-infected bodies cannot be gibbed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekTLkVWfeAM

The same thing happens in SPV3 but they turn into combat forms instantly with no animation. You can practically hear the cartoonish pop. This is what happens to some grunts in the light bridge room and they get turned into vanilla Halo 1 carrier forms.

Vanilla carrier forms or Gasbags as Wren & I called them, walk up to you, drop to the ground and rapidly swell before exploding. Unlike the flugs this does damage you, intending to give the new-born flugs some easy food. Also in SPV3, It seems the flugs only infect living beings but not corpses unlike Halo 3. I think that’s simply due to how the Halo 1 engine works but it does at least tie in with what the AWOL marine said, so it’s not all bad.

Speaking of the AWOL marine, the door to the room he was in is now broken so you can’t go back for him in vanilla either. I backtrack to the elevator on the upper level, fighting more Flood along the way. Normally you are forced to drop down in the raining Flood biomass room as the door there is locked, but not this time.

I can activate the light bridge I couldn’t before on this side. And Return to the entrance lift.

This is bad! With the elevator destroyed, I have no choice but to look for another one, through the door by the grunts on the other side of the light bridge. There’s a dead marine and some ammo here.

Jackal combat forms are similar to elite ones in SPV3, but they move and attack more like the stalker pure forms in Halo 3. Unlike Elites, I think you only get Jackals as carrier forms rather than actual combat forms, including this one.

My buddy Mark and I used to think this thing could create Flood: you’d pass someone in through this end and they’d come out the other side mutated. I wonder what this thing actually does? Is it a Forerunner MRI scanner? The gun I’m holding is an SPV3 exclusive portable machinegun turret. We saw Johnson carrying this earlier.

There’s another anti-grav elevator past the machine but it goes the wrong way. The walls of the shaft are lined with grunt blood, which isn’t a good sign. If you jump off the elevator just as it enters the room below, you can reach an overshield on some stacked space crates. Now we see human combat forms for the first time as well as all combat forms carrying weapons.

Elite forms still with armour I encountered at the top. They start appearing in Halo 2 and they still sport energy shields, which is a huge problem. I think you can even get infected honour guards. Luckily neither of those ones were honour guards. Normal elite forms appear here too.

The next terminal is down here. It’s just another repeat of part 1 so here’s the real part 3: https://youtu.be/AqiHE0aa4Lg?t=105

Marines are in the next light bridge room! Unfortunately, they get swarmed by infection forms:

I kill him quickly and take his shotgun. Flood with shotguns are one of the worst, as it may be hard to spot their weapon and they can knock you out cold with 1 or 2 blasts on Legendary. As I said before, use it against them.

Incidentally, vanilla Halo 1 human combat forms sort of resemble headcrab zombies a little bit, right down to the rib cage re purposed as gills & a mouth. You can even see the remains of the infection form dangling down:

Valve, eat your heart out. Also, that little nub next to its tentacle whip is his original hand.

The light bridge in this hive flickers on and off constantly. It’s very hard to time jumps across before it turns off and dumps you down here, but it’s possible. I’ve done it at least once in vanilla and it saves a lot of time. The active camo that was where I came in doesn’t exist in SPV3.

The next room is another glass tank lab similar to the AWOL marine one complete with broken balcony and fire, but a different shape. A dead marine with ammo and a first aid kit lies on the rubble. It’s an absolute flug-fest in here. Following this path past the other side of the malfunctioning light bridge, I jump down by another tank with some brute forms.

The next vault leads to the exit but first I smash open a yellow door on a ledge. Inside is the final human terminal and something that, like the Rocket Warthog, was originally exclusive to vanilla Halo PC’s multiplayer:


Oh yes, the TOZT 7 flamethrower is in Halo! While it loses the backpack, it does have a cool shark design painted on the front. It was cut from Halo 1, but appeared in Halo PC’s multiplayer (and by extension MCC) with both ammo packs and the ability to overheat if fired too long, which did not make it less useful. The first time you could use it in campaign was Halo 3, but by then it was treated as a turret, switching to third person and slowing you down. Not here; it’s the same as Halo PC but without the need to reload, functioning like a plasma weapon. While I love the Halo 3 flamethrower, it would be better if it handled like the SPV3 one.

As stated before, he does survive. While the Legendary ending doesn’t really count, John sees him again in First Strike, picking him up from a Pelican and he shows up to greet you at the start of Halo 2. The Gunnery Sergeant in the training level there even asks how he survived the Flood. He’s not impressed when Johnson tells him it’s classified.

The next area has another broken glass tank and a collapsed pillar with ammo on it. There are shotgun shells here normally but not anymore. I found it tricky to jump onto as a kid and this area killed me more than once. Now I can make it no problem. Just try not to fall through the glass on the balcony if the Flood shoot it out.

Charging on ahead, I turn on the light bridge and make a mad dash to the exit elevator. But it may be worth jumping off on top of the metal vestibule next to it first…

Unfortunately, the only cure for the Flood is revealed in Halo 3 but it’s more a “solution” than an outright cure as it’s very situational. It still uses the array too, namely an almost identical copy of this specific ring.

Echo 419 manages to get through to me as I ascend the anti-gravity elevator, saying she lost my signal when I went inside and she’s tracking movement all over the place. Most of that is the Flood. A group of surviving marines waits at the top. An Australian marine I only know for some memorable lines in Halo 2 named Chips Dubbo comes over to me, speaking in a torrent of words. “Sir, thank god you’re here. We’ve been lost out here for hours. After we lost contact with the rest of the mission, we headed for the RV point and these, these things! They ambushed us! We’ve gotta get out of here!”

Chips does make it out, but I’m not sure about the other guys. I never remembered who Chips was, but it was only when I recognised my favourite quote from Halo 2’s Delta Halo level as one of his (I used it at the start of Stage 4) recently that I know now. “There’s a large tower a few hundred metres from your current position.” Foehammer says. “Find a way above the fog and foliage canopy and I can move in and pick you up!”

Before we go, the final forerunner terminal is on the pillar in the middle of the ramp like before. There’s also ammo and health to the left of the ramp.

Oh now they display the right messages! It’s still the wrong Guilty Spark terminal so here is the actual one: https://youtu.be/AqiHE0aa4Lg?t=142

He’s talking about Johnson. We get to see the Flood using the vents in the next level. Strangely, and much to my surprise, it feels good to enter the stinking swamp. Very good indeed.

No sooner have I picked my way through the bushes to the marshes themselves when the Halo 2 snarls and screams of the Flood alert me and the marines to them.

There’s live brutes and skirmishers on the small hill just outside but they are under attack from the Flood.

The shotgun serves me well as I cross the marsh to a large pass. More combat forms rain down from above, including a human crewman armed with a brute shot, which bears down on me screaming total nonsense. I put both barrels through the infection form in its chest before it makes a tit of itself like similar combat forms will certainly do in the Library and Two Betrayals: you see, Combat Forms carrying explosive weapons are infamous among Halo fans as they are arguably way worse than those with shotguns, despite their weapon being more visible, even on Easy & Normal: they handle their weapons a lot less carefully than live marines and elites, especially in Halo 1 so they can and will fire rockets (or brute shots etc. in SPV3) at close range and in narrow hallways. They start carrying actual rocket launchers in the next level, but rocket Flood are at their worst once we return to the control room, as that level has lots of cramped hallways and open spaces with just enough chokepoints to make dodging them very difficult. Chips yells “Oh god, I recognised that one! That was Bob!” https://youtu.be/JZAVNNGo5bc?t=154 Ah, I see what Bungie did there:

Unlike Marathon whose “assimilated Bobs” are just androids, presumably an Electric Sheep reference as simulacrum is essentially a quick thesaurus search from “replicant”, the human combat forms really could be seen as Assimilated Bobs. The only transformed humans in Marathon are the Stalker cyborg tanks in Marathon 2. Chips’ line is another one of those rare ones but I have heard it in vanilla and Anniversary before now, unlike “I Would Have Been Your Daddy”. The marines don’t survive after I deal with the brute shot form and I’m forced to press on over the next marsh to the tower alone.

Act 3: 343 Guilty Spark - Ne Cede Malis

A multiplayer DLC map in Halo 2 called Backwash (on Halo 2 PC by default) is based on this section of the level, but was changed from this ring to a similar place in Delta Halo during development. I switch to the flamethrower for this final fight to show it off.

All TOZTs toast toast! 343 Guilty Spark shows up for the first time in gameplay, accompanied by some sentinels, who help me deal with the remaining combat forms. Spark was meant to be floating around in Backwash, but he was mistaken by play testers as a plasma grenade so they changed Backwash to Delta Halo i.e. they replaced Spark with 2401 Penitent Tangent, the monitor of that ring. They didn’t change his lines however.

I like to climb on the pipes at the base of the tower in Easy and Normal to snipe the Flood, but there’s no way to get any higher. Guilty Spark then teleports me onto the higher platform without warning after killing enough Flood. “Greetings,” he says, “I am the Monitor of Installation 04. I am 343 Guilty Spark.”

Once I lower my weapon, he explains what’s going on. “Someone has released the Flood. My function is to prevent it from leaving this installation. But I require your assistance. Come, this way.” The Monitor doesn’t give me any choice: before I can explain to him I’m awaiting evac from another human and that he should at least come with me back to Alpha Base to inform the others first, he straight up kidnaps us.

He teleports both us and himself to the Library: a Forerunner data centre which contains the key to activate Halo. Echo 419 is shocked after she loses our signal and yells for us as the camera pans out and everything fades to black.

MEANWHILE…

Keyes floated in a vacuum. A gauzy white haze clouded his vision, though he could occasionally make out images in lightning-fast bursts-a nightmare tableau of misshapen bodies and writhing tentacles. A muted gleam of light glinted from some highly polished, engraved metal. In the distance, he could hear a droning buzz. It had an odd, musical quality, like Gregorian chant slowed to a fraction of its normal speed.

He realised with a start that the images were from his own eyes. The knowledge brought back a flood of memory-of his own body. He struggled and realised in mounting horror that he could just barely feel his own arms. They seemed softer somehow, as if filled with a spongy, thick liquid. He couldn’t move. His lunged itched and the effort of breathing hurt. The strange, droning chant suddenly sped into an insect buzz, painfully echoing through his consciousness. There was something…distant, something distinctly other about the sound.

Without warning, a new image flashed across his mind, like images on a video screen. The sun was setting over the pacific, and a trio of gulls wheeled overhead. He smelled salt air, and felt gritty sand between his toes. He felt a sickening sensation, a feeling of indescribable violation, and the comforting image vanished. He tried to remember what he was seeing but the memory faded like smoke. All he could feel now was a sense of loss. Something had been taken from him…but what?

The insistent buzz returned, painfully loud now. He could sense tendrils of awareness-hungry for data-wriggling through his confused mind like diseased maggots. A host of new images filled him. …the first time he killed another human being, during the riots on Charybdis IX. He smelled blood, and his hands shook as he holstered the pistol. He could feel the heat from the weapon’s barrel…

…the pride he felt after graduating at the Academy, then a hitch-as if a bad holorecord was being scrolled back-then a knot in his gut. Fear that he wouldn’t be able to meet the Academy’s standards…

…the sickening smell of lilacs and lillies as he stood over his father’s coffin…Keyes continued to float, mesmerised by the parade of memories that began to pile on him, each one appearing faster than the last. He drifted through the fog. He didn’t notice, or indeed care, that as soon as the bursts of memory ended, they disappeared entirely. The strange otherness receded from his awareness, but not entirely. He could still sense the other probing him, but he ignored it. The next burst of memory passed…then another…then another…

Deep within the bowels of Halo Installation 04’s library, there lies an artifact required to light the ring and wipe out the Flood: the Activation Index. It is kept suspended in the middle of a deep shaft, requiring going up several stories just to activate an elevator to bring us back down to it, allowing us to reach it. The Flood are already here and they will stop at nothing to prevent us. Next is the hardest battle yet and an absolute nightmare on Legendary in both the original game and this fan remake. Next time on Halo SPV3; Stage 7: The Library. Now the adventure evolves.

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