Note: This series intends to follow my day-to-day events as they occur in the Microsoft-exclusive title "Halo 3." Each entry will divulge important plot details for the game regarding each of its nine missions, as well as tips and tricks to help gamers "Finish the Fight." With that, it is safe to assume spoilers will lie ahead in the succeeding text.
After battling countless hordes of Grunts, Brutes, Jackals and Chieftains, Master Chief needed a well deserved break. Well, at least I did. Nonetheless, this was when I realized why so many fans foamed at the mouth for the fresh and final chapter in the "Halo" trilogy. It didn't matter how many hours I spent trying to finish that first mission (about three, if you must know), I needed more. Where is the Pelican taking me? What is the Crow's Nest?
As the Chief leaves his aircraft with Sgt. Johnson at an underground UNSC base, Commander Miranda Keys informs them that the Prophet of Truth (the leader of the Covenant) had destroyed the UNSC fleet and only a few ships remained. This leads the group into the Command Center (a War Room of sorts) where Lord Hood delivers a debriefing that includes plans to attack the Prophet's militia. An interruption from the Covenant, however, throws a wrench in Hood's plans as the lights shutoff and an image of the Prophet appears on a main monitor with the exclamation that the humans' world will burn.
Lights Cue Master Chief And action!
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Forget the fact that it is ultimately your mission to save the troops in the UNSC base; you need to protect yourself first and foremost. To do that, follow the marines downstairs from the Command Center and find a room filled with vehicles and, more importantly, weapons. I suggest at least the Battle Rifle and any other weapon of your choice - believe me, you won't give two cents which weapon you grab once you reach the first open turret. The Battle Rifle, with its pretty solid scope, proves to be one of the most reliable of the readily available weapons because of its quick, powerful bursts.
What is initially helpful in this mission is the presence of the marines. While it seems the Grunts pickoff the troops just as quickly, the little bit of backup helps draw attention away from the Chief as you become situated in a location ideal for sniping with your Battle Rifle. Just always make sure to stay near some sort of cover, especially if you're playing through on Heroic or Legendary, and don't just rush into any attack. It may seem to slow down the game play, but I don't think it's my imagination that even the Grunts are getting smarter as I progress through the game.
If you successfully make your way through the corridor - which is not an easy take with the massive barrage of enemies around every corner - you will find yourself in the base's South Hangar where your objective is to neutralize the hostiles. Hopefully those marines who helped you make it safely to this location are not all dead, because the face-off in the hangar is one of the longer, more physically and tactically demanding of the battles thus far.
One of the safest and easiest ways to quickly dispose of this onslaught of Grunts and Brutes is to situate yourself the control room upstairs. While you are still a fairly easy target through the windows, the location gives you the benefit of ducking behind the back wall once your shields are depleted. This tactic of popping into the room, firing off a couple shots and ducking back behind the wall should put you at an advantage. Just look out for renegade Grunts, they will wander upstairs from time to time; but that's nothing you can't take care of with a simple melee.
When you feel confident enough with the handful of Brutes remaining, you should be pleased to find a machine gun turret downstairs and to the right of the control room. The turret gives you two options: You can either man the turret and have unlimited ammunition, but act as a sitting duck from on-coming fire; or rip the gun off its base and move around (slowly) with a large supply of bullets. Either way you decide to take advantage of this awesome weapon, it should be quick means of disposing of the final aliens.
Following a brief introduction to a new, utterly obnoxious foe - Drones (and you thought mosquitoes were bad, these suckers pack heat) - you will again have an intense battle with Brutes and Grunts, but this time they are backed up by a Brute Chieftain. There is no real secret to beating this ambush except to make use of your frag and plasma grenades while keeping cover. The problem with just standing back in the shadows in this stage of the mission is many of the Brutes will remain at a distance, and that will limit your aim with the grenades as well as the effectiveness of your shots. So you will need to sneak around the right and left sides of the room, attacking enemies as you go along. Eventually you will be forced to battle the Brute Chieftain, and, just like in the Sierra 117 mission, he can be defeated with distant shots and quick melees.
Grab the Chieftain's Gravity Hammer - oh yeah, you know you like that! - and proceed to the barracks where you'll knock around a couple Brutes and free the captive marines.
The final "real" battle in the Crow's Nest mission occurs in the Command Center and once again pits you against a Brute Chieftain, but this time he wields a Fuel Rod Gun; which means he is just as threatening as a Chieftain with a Gravity Hammer, but can reach you from a long distance. The best course of action in this room is to grab a Plasma Turret from outside the hallway and drop it just outside the door. Also, except for running into the room to throw the first grenade, remain in the hallway at all times because the ramp gives you the coverage needed to rejuvenate your shields.
If you dropped a Plasma Turret near the doorway, pick it up and use it to make fast work of the Grunts and Brutes, and then charge the room enough to fire a couple shots at the Chieftain. This should buy you enough time to attack him with a series of melees and steal his Fuel Rob Gun.
As soon as the room is clear, you will need to activate the bomb in the center of the Command Center and evacuate to the South Hangar where you'll face a small, disoriented group of Jackals and Grunts. Knowing the compound will blow up anyway, ignore the remaining forces and proceed to the room on your right where you'll take the maintenance elevator down to the garage. With the base now just rubble, it is time start a new mission: Tsavo Highway.
Mission rating: Due to the killer revelation that I can pick up a gun turret and mow down enemies with ease (and a lot of bullets), 5 out of 5