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As this map is set after Alpha Halo was eradicated by John-117, "chunks", varying in size from gigantic landscapes to small scraps of metal, of the Installation are raining down on the surface of the moon Basis. Two huge chunks of twisted metal dominate the horizon already, and flaming fragments enter the atmosphere frequently. The map is ideal for 4v4 and the most popular gametype is Team Snipers, though the map is also ideal for One Flag and Assault.
The gully runs along a side of the map with the offensive base at one end. Many boulders lie inside making for many hiding/cover areas. A bridge spans the gully in the middle and a Rocket launcher has a default spawn on top of the bridge. Towards the back of the gully near the base, chunks of the Halo form a shadowed area where a Beam Rifle can be found. A Warthog spawns near the base.
Metal walls form over this area to what would look like a rib section of the map. It provides good cover from the turrets of the defensive base.
This cave along the back of the map has two entrances on the back wall. An Energy Sword can be found in the middle of the cave.
The center of this map is mostly bare, except for a pillar of burning metal. A Ghost is usually found at the base of this pillar.
The Defensive Base
This base has three walls and a bridge to the front of the map. There are two windows one large window opens to the center. Another higher window overlooks the Gully. It has two Gun Turret placements on each window. A UNSC Sniper Rifle is at the back of the bridge.
- The tunnel near the bridge (over the gully) is useful as a sniper cover spot. Since it also spawns the rocket launcher, it's a good place to camp with a sniper/BR and Rocket Launcher, so that you can destroy any threatening vehicles and take out the enemy from a distance. In sniper exclusive games, however, this strategy fails.
- The ribs are tremendously popular in sniper games- avoid them (or not, depending on your skill level) as often as possible. It's usually better to keep distance.
- The earth ramps that go up near the gully are sometimes used as a lockdown for team battles. They will simply sit in the tunnel, gully, and hills, and wait for enemies to get within Battle rifle range. This is incredibly painful for the other team in most cases, as snipers will take up defensive positions in the rocky knolls near the ribs, and simply snipe anyone that breaches the 'fort'.
- The dark area near the ribs is a good sniper cover, as it's often ignored because of its lighting.
- Burial Mounds is a large course. However, there is plenty of cover in the generators, rocks near the ribs, the rocks near the gully, the gully itself, and the back path near the defensive base. Use this variety of cover to be unpredictable- remembers that if you're predictable, you will usually be killed.
- Originally Burial Mounds was to be the setting of the campaign level The Arbiter, however this idea was later discarded for the final version set on the Forerunner Gas Mine above Threshold.
- After the Halo 2 media blackout that occurred in 2003, Burial Mounds was the first Multiplayer level to be shown in the form of a screenshot on Bungie.net on January 30, 2004
- A different approach is taken on its appearance in the Red vs Blue series where, on the director's commentary, they call Burial Mounds a "melted version of Sidewinder." The general horseshoe shape of Sidewinder can be discerned in Burial Mounds.
- In the background scenery, players can observe the debris from the ruined Installation 04 falling to the ground.
- One piece of debris in the map resembles the central structure in the level the Silent Cartographer in Halo where the player sees the first Hunter pair.
- There is a possible way to get out of Burial Mounds. You need two players. One needs to be wielding a Weapon without a Scope, the other needs to be driving a Warthog. Position the first player near the Beam Rifle spawn, where there is a small corner. Make the Warthog barrel towards the first player while he is walking backwards. This should send him flying up onto a platform. Jump on the rocks at the edge to get to the Largest rock. Out near the corner, there should be a point, zoom in on an un-scoped weapon and start to walk towards it. When you hear your feet stop, walk to the right to be out of the map.
- This glitch is also known as the Hologram Glitch. To find this glitch in Burial Mounds, you must be equipped with a Rocket Launcher as the primary weapon, or it can be found on the bridge over the gully in the middle of the map. Wraiths must also be on the map, it also requires two players. One of the players must stand on the front side of the rock column by the ghost respawn point where the rock slants inward. There should also be a Plasma Pistol near the base move a little to the right and turn around so you are not facing the rock. The second player should get in a Wraith and drive towards the first player standing by the rock column. Right before you ram the first player boost using L with the wraith and you should push the first player through the rock and out of the map. While falling down the player should hit a beige sphere, this beige sphere is known as a skybox. Have the second player in the Wraith look up and the dead giant figure of John-117 should be lying on top of the map with his weapons.