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‘Halo 3’ Day 5: 'We're a virus with shoes, OK? That's all we are."

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.

Originality is always one of the first things that attracts me to a new book, movie, television show or album. It’s what draws me to Chuck Palahniuk’s novels, Darren Aronofsky’s films and The Mars Volta’s music. So it comes as no surprise that, in a literary sense, I find Floodgate to be the most appealing of the missions I’ve encountered because of the introduction to a parasitic form known as the Flood.

Similar in a sense to the T-Virus in the "Resident Evil" series, the Flood infects its hosts, rendering them zombies of sorts. Although this is nothing new to a veteran of the "Halo" universe, just when I thought I had figured out all the plot angles, I’m thrown a curve ball with this infestation. In no way did I ever imagine having to battle zombies and parasites on top of Covenant forces.

After destroying the anti-air cannon in The Storm, Floodgate opens with dialogue from Miranda Keyes and Lord Hood about an infection that is spreading over Voi. Apparently a Flood-controlled Covenant ship crashed into the city - which is seen at the end of the previous mission - and the infestation was beginning to spread from the crash and contaminating the entire city. With the order from Hood to destroy the city, the Chief’s mission is to enter the crashed cruiser and overload the engine’s core, thus wiping out the entire city and the Flood.

As a whole, the entire Floodgate mission is just too short and offers very little as far as a challenge as long as you possess the right weapons. So to get things started, look for a dead Brute with a Gravity Hammer before you come to the first group of marines. With the Hammer, the on-coming Flood poses little threat and is easily eliminated with a couple of swings.

Now that you should have a pretty good grasp on how easily the parasites can be destroyed, look for a shotgun and a Spiker. These should be the only weapons you need to take care of the Flood or infected forms (zombies) you may come across. However, there is one minor - and by minor, I mean huge - catch when dealing with these zombies: You must destroy the body or they will regenerate. So headshots will do little good when fighting these mutants; and the shotgun will quickly become your best friend.

Even better than the shotgun is the flame thrower, which can be found on a yellow catwalk above where marines are battling the Flood. But there is another catch. If you are trying to kill infected forms with the flame thrower, they will continue charging while they are on fire and can light you on fire as well. This doesn’t mean you should avoid using the weapon, only that you should strafe away from the mobile, combustible threats as much as possible.

Through the final segment of the mission, you are accompanied by Elites (former Covenant officers turned allies) who help to eliminate any oncoming contaminated threats, and you have the opportunity to pick up yet another new weapon: the Energy Sword. Hold on to this because, along with a Gravity Hammer, it makes the last battle move very quickly so that you can proceed down into the entrance of the infected ship and to Cortana’s location.

The catch here is the image that appears to be Cortana is not really her, but just a recording. This transmission reveals that the Prophet’s holy city is on its way to Earth with an army of Flood. Upon hearing Cortana’s advice on how to stop the Flood, and Master Chief’s assertion of his faith in her counsel, the Elites and marines prepare to go into "the portal" to save Earth from contamination.

Regardless of how quickly the Floodgate mission can be completed, it still presents some of the most important of the game’s plot details and helps to bridge to first and second halves of the game. For this, it serves as interesting entertainment that helps to build anticipation for the sixth mission: The Ark.

Mission rating: Although this plotline completely threw me for a loop (that’s a good thing), the mission was way too easy (that’s a bad thing), 4 out of 5

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