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.
With two missions under my belt, both trapped within the confinements of the Chief’s two feet, it was a relief when I found myself in a garage at the close of the Crow’s Nest. The anticipation of running through mass clusters of Brutes was all too appealing. And that was exactly what I faced as I launched into the Tsavo Highway mission.
Although the objective seemed easy enough, leading the marines away from the base is far from simple as just outside awaited an attack force ready to flip your Warthog (the vehicle carrying you and the troops) and make fast work of your backup. Especially in the harder difficulties, unless you want to exit your vehicle and fight off the enemies from afar, it is best just to run over any stray Brutes and Jackals who may stand in your way of any nearby checkpoints.
Whereas the previous missions allowed you to hide behind any objects that served as a barrier between you and gunfire, the Tsavo Highway puts you in the unlucky position of having to either drive or ride through these dangerous areas. While the first handful of checkpoints can be driven through with little worry, it still requires some planning to determine which route is the safest around the on-coming fire. I found it best to remain to the extreme right or extreme left of the maps as most of the attacks come up the middle, and it is easier to plow through the handful of Covenant forces on either side than have to face thick fire.
This plan, however, does little good once you enter the final segment of the mission before having to find the town of Vai. For the fist part of this sequence, it is beneficial to remain behind the barracks and any large rocks that can shield you from enemy fire. I was in the unfortunate position of having useless weaponry, so I made it my objective to search the barracks for any gun that would serve as a long-range weapon. Luckily I found a Battle Rifle, which held off the closer threats long enough to find a Spiker and a Beam Rifle lying in the middle of the battlegrounds.
Using the Beam Rifle, it was safest to remain behind the barracks until I picked off the Grunt manning a turret on the opposing hillside and the sniper on top of the floating platform. With the coast clear as far as distant enemies, you will soon discover two enemy Choppers guarding the road towards a shielded tunnel. Once again employing the Beam Rifle, you will need to use your intuition to predict their movements so you can land two shots on each Chopper: One to destroy each driver’s armor, and a second to finish them off.
After clearing the right side of the map, it should be pretty easy to take care of the area where the shielded tunnel is located. However, before you go kamikaze on this last part, remember that "Halo 3" requires the gamer to use stealth and planning. To do this, look to the right of the tunnel from some guarded position; a Grunt on a turret is keeping an eye out for any threats. In order to take care of him without alerting the Brutes and Drones who are waiting on the other side of the shield, you will need to situate yourself behind the mountainside to the left of the tunnel. There you should be able to fire one shot to make the Grunt get off the turret, and a second to kill it.
Now that the immediate threat of being spotted is relieved, it is time to destroy the shield that is blocking the tunnel. First backtrack to the sniper platform and trade out your Beam Rifle for one that should be fully charged, and then return to just outside the tunnel and jump on top of the overturned trailer. From here you can hurl a grenade at the base of the shield to blow up the generator and use your Beam Rifle to take out the Brutes who are guarding the entrance. If Drones attack, use the Spiker to clear them fairly quickly, jump on board one of the Choppers and make your way through the tunnel.
I thought the battle in the Crow’s Nest was the hardest I would ever have to fight ... that could not have been further from the truth as I searched for the town of Vai. The final two battles on the Tsavo Highway not only pit you against multiple Chieftains, but also a new kind of enemy vehicle that is more deadly than any before: The Wraith.
The first of the two battles is certainly not easy, but is best won with the Sniper Rifle on top of the bridge above the highway and just outside the main battlefield and the Sniper Rifle in the building located at the back of the battlefield. These should provide you with enough ammunition to take out the Chieftain and the Jump Pack Brutes - just don’t waste your bullets on Brutes who can be killed easily with a Spiker or Battle Rifle. If for some ill-fated reason you run out of shots before killing the Chieftain, charge to the back of the battlefield and exit to the checkpoint before he can spot you.
Here is where the tables turn and you are forced to rely on tact and luck to make your way to the first blockade.
I tried this first by driving a Warthog to the left, but was halted quickly by a Wraith’s mortar cannon. Don’t worry about trying to shoot these down, however, because you will need a Sniper or Beam Rifle to lock on to the Brute who is manning the vehicle’s turret. My final course of action again put me on foot through these final battles. On the ground I was able to avoid the Choppers and attack the Wraiths by jumping on the fronts and throwing a grenade into the cockpits. This may completely destroy the vehicle, and thus rendering it useless, but it will keep them from firing mortar at you from a distance as you try to take care of the Brutes guarding the first blockade.
With enough grenades and a Sniper Rifle that is located just outside the blockade, it is easy to take care of the first bunch of Brutes (just watch out for the Jump Pack Brutes), and position yourself on top of the floating platform to snipe any distant enemies guarding the final blockade.
It may seem as though the scene is clear to make a run for the tunnel’s entrance, but there are Brutes waiting for you to make that move, and even worse, a Chieftain. So before moving down the slope towards the final enemies, search around where the last battle took place for a Beam Rifle. With the Beam Rifle, position yourself behind the various overturned tractors and trailers so you don’t get hit by any of the Chieftain’s shots from its Fuel Rod Gun. If you are quick enough, you can strafe from behind the cover to fire shots at the Chieftain and finish him off with a couple hits from the Rifle. But make sure you return to the cover before he can attack you with a barrage of Fuel Rod shots.
If you successfully became one with the Beam and Sniper Rifles, you will be ready to carry on through the tunnel and your fourth mission: The Storm.
Mission rating: Due to the fact that I should be up for Tom Berenger’s role in "Sniper 4," 5 out of 5