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.
As I have progressed through these missions, one thing has become very clear; I’m getting pretty good at this whole "Halo" thing. It’s not as if I’m running through the missions without dying a time or two (or three, or four), but I no longer have to take "Guitar Hero" breaks just to calm my nerves. And this elated feeling has increased with each level. In fact, I’ve at times become bored with the monotony of battling Grunts and Brutes, and look forward to new, interesting challenges.
This is why The Storm was especially appealing to me. Although the first parts of the mission still involved me sneaking around, picking off Brutes, the events leading to the final goal introduced me to a few new nemeses.
The Storm opens with your convoy of UNSC Warthogs entering Voi and the objective to destroy the first anti-air Wraith. However, before you have the opportunity to lead an attack on the Wraith, the Chief must lead his troops through the outpost by opening a series of large doors that allow the convoy to pass safely through.
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Once the path is clear, you’ll lead the troops into the middle of a large battle where you have to destroy the anti-air Wraith. This can be quite problematic as the sheer number of Ghosts make it difficult to get a clear shot at the Wraith’s gunner. Seemingly, the easiest way to take care of all the excess enemies is to find the Sniper Rifle on top of the building where the Phantom drops off troops. With the Rifle, you can hide inside the building and snipe the Grunts piloting the Ghosts so you can make your way to the far side of the complex to destroy the standard Wraith. Finally, just as with the regular Wraith, you can destroy the anti-air Wraith by jumping on the front and tossing a grenade into the cockpit.
Initially I was a bit disappointed by the lackluster level. I’ve battled Brutes. I’ve battled Ghosts. And I’ve battled Wraiths. I was ready for a challenge. Something new to tantalize my taste buds. What awaited me on the other side of another outpost walkthrough more than met my needs. Sure I’d have to face another herd of Choppers and Ghosts, but I had no idea a giant cockroach was on my to-kill list.
Surprisingly, squashing this bug (known as a Scarab in the game) wasn’t too difficult of a task.
There are two options for blowing up this humongous, mechanized Arthropod: Either you can rip a Missile Pod off its stand and attack the bug’s legs from beneath it; or you can again rip the Missile Pod off its stand, take the elevator up to a platform, and jump onboard the front of this thing. The main thing to remember here is to rip the Missile Pod off its stand.
I chose the latter of the options because it was too difficult to jump into the back hatch of the bug once its legs were incapacitated. On board were a handful of Brutes and Jackals (don’t waste the Missile Pod on them) and the Scarab’s engine core. While a simple Battle Rifle could destroy the engine core, the Missile Pod will make ridiculously fast work of it; just be sure you make faster work of getting off the bug before it blows.
The final objective is a bit trickier because you’re introduced to yet another enemy, and a massive anti-air cannon - all accompanied by two Brute Chieftains.
These beasts of an enemy I speak of are called Hunters, and you meet them just before you exit the outpost. The problem with the Hunters is they are fast and one hit from them is almost equivalent to one hit from a Gravity Hammer. So the best course of action is to lob grenades at them from a distance, strafe when they charge and with their backs turned, shoot at the orange flesh (a weak spot). Luckily you will have the Arbiter with you through this mission, so he should draw some of the Hunters’ attention.
Outside the atmosphere significantly changes as you are forced once again to defend against hordes of Brutes and a Chieftain. The hot situation can be cooled by taking the stairs to the right of the entrance where the Hunters came in, and picking up the Sniper Rifle in the room at the top. From inside, you are in a prime position to snipe the Chieftain and any of the Brutes. By doing so, the Chieftain yields a Gravity Hammer, which (trust me) comes in handy in the final part of the mission.
Until you meet up with the final Chieftain, the last part of The Storm is one of the easiest in the entire mission, especially with the Hammer. First, move up the hill with caution and knock the panicked Grunts out of the way. Next, navigate around the boulders, and slam any Jackals to the other side of the map. You’ll need to remember, however, that the Hammer will run out of "steam," so try to hit more than one enemy with each swing so you can save a couple slugs for the Chieftain. Now, before you charge the Chieftain with the hammer, try to fire a few shots at him with a Fuel Rod Gun if you happened to pick one up. This should save you the stress of meeting him face to face, and the chance of having to redo the entire hill sequence.
If you’ve cleared the field, the only thing left to do is destroy the anti-air cannon. This is a breeze by just tossing a couple Plasma Grenades onto the blue orb that appears beneath the gun whenever a shot is fired. With enough luck and only two grenades, you will be well on your way to the most bizarre of the first five missions: Floodgate.
Mission rating: Because the Missile Pod "Kills Bugs Dead" better than any can of Raid I’ve ever encountered, 5 out of 5