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.
In every aspect where The Flood lacked, The Ark delivers and even exceeds expectations. The mission is long, challenging and offers a plethora of new vehicles.
Luckily when the mission opens, you are given a Sniper Rifle, which is extremely handy for the first segments of The Ark. Most of these objectives provide maps that have locations ideal for sniping. So be sure you save your ammunition for sure shots, and use your other weapon for anything small, such as Grunts. The reason you don’t want to snipe anything in sight is because I made that mistake and was forced to battle two Hunters with only an Assault Rifle and an assault of expletives.
After battling on foot for the majority of the mission, you’ll find yourself choosing to board either a Mongoose or an enemy Prowler. Whichever mode of transportation you pick, know this: I hardly fired a single shot in any of the battles. I have recognized my biggest weakness in "Halo 3" involves any mission that requires me to either pilot or gun from some vehicle. I can’t seem to drive without flipping my Mongoose or Warthog. And even more so, I can’t seem to aim while sitting in a gunner seat. Needless to say, I did not find it in the best interest for my survival to spend much time trying to kill every enemy in these sequences.
By slipping by much of the on-coming fire through moving up the sides of the map, I was able to quickly open the checkpoint that gave me the opportunity to take control of a tank (Scorpion). You read that correctly, after battling through thousands of enemies and their vehicles, you finally have a quick solution for anything that may cross your path - even the often elusive Covenant drop ships. On the other hand, don’t be fooled by the heavy armor that surrounds you, enough fire can weaken the Scorpion and eventually destroy it. But with the range of its shots, there shouldn’t really be much reason to come close enough for anything to attack with great force.
Eventually you’ll face off against another Scarab like the one in The Storm. The biggest difference here is the sheer number of enemies who are attacking from atop the Scarab and from Choppers below. If you can drive the tank under the giant cockroach, you’ll be in prime position to shoot its legs and any Choppers that may charge to your location. Also, when the Scarab falls, you can shoot the turret operator and Brute stationed at the bug’s back hatch. With the coast clear, jump on board and destroy the engine core.
Now that you’ve made the desert a complete wasteland with the Scorpion, it’s time to move inside the cartographer building so you can activate the device and pinpoint the Prophet’s location. Following the Arbiter to the cartographer, you’ll be met with light resistance, but that bit of relief comes to an abrupt halt once you’ve activated the apparatus and are bombarded by enemies. This difficulty also comes from the fact that you are introduced to a new league of Brutes who are armed with Cloaking devices.
Up until now, I’ve ignorantly paid little attention to the radar on my onscreen display; this quickly changed when I realized I was being shot by an invisible monster. But once you’ve gotten a hand of watching the radar while watching where you’re going, it becomes much easier to navigate to the area where a Pelican is supposed to pick you up.
There is one more catch in this mission, though. The landing location is infested with Jackals, Jump Pack Brutes, Brutes with Cloaking devices and a Brute Chieftain. Although it took a few runs, I found it best to proceed to the left of the "battlefield" and collect a Carbine. Shoot the Chieftain with the Carbine, jump down to the area where he was standing, pick up his Gravity Hammer and immediately run to the side opposite of where you grabbed the Carbine. From here, hide behind a bulletproof "window," peeking out to lure the Jump Pack Brutes to your location. With the Hammer, you can knock the curious Brutes off the map and begin to search the vicinity for the invisible creatures. Even though you can see them on your radar, you’ll still have to stay in areas with plenty of cover because they can shoot at you before their presence is ever detected.
If the cut scene showing the Pelican landing to pick you up never comes, that means there is one more Brute lurking somewhere on the map. However, with everything clear, you’ll be carried off to your seventh mission: The Covenant.
Mission rating: You drive a tank! 5 out of 5