|Let's Play Halo SPV3: SPV3.3 Comparison Episode 4
|Posted By: Lion O Cyborg
|Date: 10/18/21 7:30 a.m.
Part 4: Welcome to the Revolution
Special Stage 2: The Commander Evolved – White Jungle
I’m covering this level too since I showcased The Silent Cartographer Evolved earlier. I’ve never played the SPV3.2 version before I upgraded to SPV3.3 so I watched a video of it. I remember the major events but more minute details are sketchy. We return to Tanigo Island as the Arbiter Thel Vadumee before he became the Arbiter. The plot of this level compared to the regular one is similar but different in a couple of regards.
Act 1: The Will of the Prophets – White Jungle: Aquatic Mine
“The parasite has taken control of the Cartographer.” Usze says when we land. “We sent a squad of brutes to the map room, but we’ve lost contact with them. We need to investigate and clear out the infestation before the Flood gathers more information from the Cartographer!”
Sentinels show up soon after I cross the river. There’s a charging column and the first terminal by the door that leads to the broken anti-grav elevator, which is now locked.
I follow Rtus and Uzse up the path into Green Forest towards the Cartographer building. Guess with the sentinels burning the place and the eerie orange glow around the ring, it’s more like a White Jungle now. The next terminal is in the same spot as another one in The Silent Cartographer Evolved.
There’s also a space crate that’s open and it has a needler in it. In the main games starting with Halo 2, the regular space crates contain weapon racks like human ones. These ones look a little different.
The brutes are encamped by a rockslide that’s now blocking the way to the cartographer building clearing. I speak with their leader. “Identify yourself.” Usze demands. “Chieftain Lapidus of the ??? clan.” The brute replies. I can barely make out his pack’s name when I hear it. When Rtus asks what he’s doing here, Lapidus tells us that the Cartographer has been taken over by the Flood. They barely escaped barricaded themselves here, presumably by causing the rockslide blocking the pass behind Lapidus. When Usze tells him we’re here to secure the map room and to ready his troops, he refuses, not wanting to endanger any more of his pack to the elites’ “foolish decisions.” Thel warns Lapidus not to try his patience but he retorts that his own patience has already run out and his order’s his troops to kill us. The brutes betray us in the regular level too but it’s a lot less detailed than this, with them being shown to have simply gone mad from terror of the Flood.
The fight goes easy but Lapidus escapes. I try chasing him but give up and concentrate on the others when I noticed my energy sword hits are doing nothing. I think he’s the one we see later. Rtus uses a late game Halo 2 line to express his disgust at their betrayal. Uzse says we don’t have enough firepower to clear the blockage where Lapidus was standing so we’ll need to find another way in. Rtus mentions a passage into the cliffs at the far end of the beach. Sure enough, the door to the anti-grav lift is now vulnerable to being smashed open with a melee attack. Inside, the elevator drops like a stone deep underground to a brand new section of Holomen’s Caverns whose upper regions we saw in the security station.
Problem is, Holomen’s caverns have been turned into a Flood hive. Tanigo Island is crawling with draconian creeps forcing anyone in the caverns to follow their way of thinking, leaving them effectively enslaved; unable to diversify their company and barely able to cry out for help. Just as well the Chief’s actions XXXX miles away and Thel’s here will together crush the Gravemind’s dreams and give those infected by the Flood the freedom they deserve, making Holomen’s caverns, Tanigo Island and the ringworld as a whole a much better, more diverse place, especially when the ARK rebuilds it (twice). However, there’s only one way to get that started: right through the hive.
That explains why the swords self-destruct upon the elite’s death. They stop doing this in Halo 2 however, which allows us to use them. That said, the Chief can now use energy swords himself in SPV3.3 in the next level as the hint alludes to. In the main games, energy swords are not counted as armour abilities. They only are here so we can actually use them while the ones dropped by elites are still destroyed. I wonder if lightsabres have the same problem if someone drops one on the floor while it’s switched on.
This place sure feels haunted. Well, it’s for the Halo ring. I don’t have time to complain.
A fitting creepy Flood hive for the Arbiter to go with the hive in the Pillar of Autumn’s new areas in the next level. The tide or one of the rivers above seems to be seeping into the lowest reaches of Holomen’s Caverns through sinkholes. I’m reminded a little of The Descent and the areas inspired by it in Tomb Raider 0 (2013). Down a metal tunnel nearby is an underground lake with a bridge across it. Flood growth pods and tentacles grow on and around the bridge.
This fight takes a couple of tries not because it’s hard, but because the glass over the middle there is hard to see so it’s easy to accidentally run into the holes at the ends not realising there’s no floor.
So this is what the inside of these caves turned into. This is gonna be a little tough! Through more twisting caves and metal tunnels I come to another super-fast anti-grav lift which takes me to the vent shaft plug.
Act 2: A Day at the Beach – White Jungle: Pumpkin Hill
This fight is a little tough as the Arbiter cannot hijack vehicles yet. He learns by Halo 2, just like the Chief in the main games. Watch out as there’s several jackal snipers on the rocky headlands leading into the upper portions of Holomen’s Caverns and they all have sniper rifles. On Legendary, jackal snipers in the main games especially Halo 2 are the bane of many a player’s existence because they’re a 1 hit kill. Reach is a little fairer in that regard as they have focus rifles instead of beam rifles so they’re simply annoying in a different way. SPV3 jackal snipers also use beam rifles so it’s not so bad. However, savage jackal snipers armed with UNSC sniper rifles are just as deadly as they are in Halo 2. You can cry now.
The next terminal is in the same spot as before as well, impaled through the screen by a pfhor staff shaped lamp. Unlike the regular level, the Covenant terminals are a little different, to fit in with the expanded/edited plot of this level.
Remember the boss fight we were deprived of in the main Tour when we did the regular level? Yeah, not anymore! You only get to fight Lapidus in The Commander Evolved in both versions of SPV3 that have either version of this level and it’s handled in a similar way to Sesa Rufumee’s boss fight in The Oracle of Halo 2. If you’ve read all of the main Tour, you know what I mean by that.
As with the deeper levels, the upper reaches of Holomen’s caverns which we saw before are a hive. More brutes and their cronies hold the sloping paths, now with boulders plugging the jump ramps so we can cross the gaps. Hunters with assault beam cannons, snipers and shades backed up by power armour brutes hold the cliffs leading to Bravo 22’s crash site. The next human terminal is right where the old one is.
This chapter and levels’ subtitle comes to light on the other side of the bridge. The Flood have infested the former Green Forest on Tanigo Island’s hills, and the Flood growth pods look a little like pumpkins.
The goal now is to enter the security facility like I did in the regular level and turn it back on, in an attempt to try and get some control back over the Flood pandemic. Brutes, jackals, grunts and Flood fight in the pit where the station entrance is with the red beacon.
Another Flood hive waits inside where the purple beam room is. Unlike The Silent Cartographer Evolved, the terminal in here sharing the same spot is not missing and I can read it. The placement reminds me of one of Halo 3’s terminals hidden under a similar ramp. To my pleasant surprise, the terminal does not immediately disappear once I read it.
Inside the dance floor room, the elevator over the titular hard light shields is going haywire. You can ride it up, but not down again and you have to jump the gap to the doorway as the light bridge holo panels are destroyed. More pods hatch on the way out and Flood attack outside by the now blue beacon, including a blind wolf combat form. The shield doors leading to White Jungle’s swamp are now open and there’s sniper platforms in the trees above the marsh. The last covenant terminal is in the same spot as before.
What he wasn’t counting on was me finding the terminal where he boasted about it. So yeah, it’s foreshadowing the end of level boss fight completely. On the other side of the forest/jungle, I find the next forerunner terminal in a small hive in the tunnel on the Mario 64 cliff, guarded by blind wolf combat forms.
An enforcer fights brutes on the other side of the tunnel. Thel tells the others to use grenades on it, which I do then I take its incineration cannon. More blind wolf combat forms and grunts fight outside the cartographer building, but they’re no match for me.
Act 3: Please, Make Yourself at Home –White Jungle: Dead or Alive. Actually, Just Dead
Something tells me there’s a Gravemind forming here too or at least the beginnings of a larger hive ala the ones in Halo 3. An honour guard combat form bursts through the door but my plasma rifle and sword put him down. The light bridge here is broken. We have to jump across the tentacles to reach the elevator to the submerged structures.
Now for the bad news: the anti-gravity elevator is broken and a hoard of Flood sneaks up behind us to try and push us into the hole.
Throwing caution to the wind, I throw myself down the shaft, using the tiny slanted ledges and the elevator door ledges to slow my fall. I surprisingly survive.
The Aquatic Base trope is also something that works really well when used for horror, like The Sphere, Bioshock 1+2, OceanLab in Deus Ex and SOMA do so well, especially the latter one. It’s dark and creepy and the water outside the windows with its giant spiked driftwood vines doesn’t help, giving the feeling that there are monsters waiting just outside in the deep. The last human terminal is over the glass floor by the small vent shaft hidden in thick clouds of smoke.
The hive in and around the vent shaft is full of smoke too. Rtus contacts me asking if I’m still alive. He and Usze tell me I need to disable the cartographer by destroying the generators. I should keep my blade handy as Rtus doubts they can withstand its bite. Camouflaged elite combat forms wait in the disco room and the final terminal is in the lower level of this room. However, it seems to be inaccessible as it’s behind a sealed red door below the cartographer’s holo panel. So I will provide the terminal pic below.
Why the terminal cannot be reached I don’t know.
No sooner do I destroy the final generator than an earthquake happens and Usze warns that the Pillar of Autumn has been blown. Rtus is outraged at the Chief’s actions and Thel warns we don’t have time. “COMMANDER! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! If you don’t hurry up, you’ll blow up along with the island!”
Well, you know what time it is:
As with the regular level, explosions rock the whole ring as it slowly tears itself apart under the weakness of its new stellar crater. Yes, the explosions hurt you. Good news is the anti-grav lift works again, else we’d be trapped down here.
Usze says he’s repaired one of the ghosts outside. There’s sentinels everywhere as I jump aboard and gun it through the now opened pass where the rockslide was back to the beach.
Driving past enforcers and brutes on the beach, I see our escape Phantom but unlike the regular level and just as was revealed in the terminals, Chieftain Lapidus is waiting for us. “He’s wearing special armour.” Usze warns. “Our weapons will be ineffective against its shields!” Rtus insists it must have a weak spot, which it does: Usze tells us about needing the energy sword as the terminals mentioned earlier.
“Thel Vadumee.” Lapidus sneers. “I’m surprised you’re still alive. But only one of us will leave this island.” “Indeed, beast!” Vadumee yells. “You shall be my trophy!” “I don’t think so. That phantom is mine!” Lapidus snarls back. “Were it so easy. Kill the traitor!”
Act 4: Oh, So That’s How it Is - Fatum Iustum Stultorum
Oh yeah, it’s boss fight time! This fight foreshadows the final boss of Halo 2 except instead of waiting for someone else to shoot him with a beam rifle to down his shields, we get to do it ourselves with our energy sword. I make him my bitch in a matter of seconds with the incineration cannon, no sword required. While I’m constantly getting scratch damage from EMP pulse lasers one of the enforcers got cheap shots at me with during the cutscene.
Thel kicks Lapidus in the face and yells at him to yield. “So, what will you do now, Commander? Show me mercy?” Lapidus says. “Mercy is a shield used by the weak.” Thel retorts before he cuts the brute chieftain’s freaking head off!
He roars in triumph as the phahtom approaches. “Commander, hurry!” Usze urges. Thel takes one last look at the ring, saddened to see the place the Covenant have searched for ages of their time be desecrated by their enemy’s filthy footsteps (and one of their ships turning into a small sun).
“Now that was a battle to remember!” Trust me, there’s more fun to come. Everyone piles into the phantom and it flies into orbit, leaving Halo for good. Part 5 to come immediately.
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