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The Man Cannon is an object introduced in Halo 3 that launches a player through the air to another part of the map. It works quite the same as a gravity lift, present in maps such as Colossus and Lockout. The only difference is that the Man Cannons are somewhat more powerful and tilted at such a horizontal angle so they can easily hurtle a player across a large part of the map. The user is unprotected while in mid-air, but can still attack other players. It is much like the Covenant's gravity lift technology, so it is very likely that the Covenant learned this from the Forerunners. Man Cannons return in Halo: Reach and Halo 4.
While the name specifies a man, the cannon will launch anything that enters it. However, its strength will be diminished when heavy objects such as the Warthog or Chopper drives through it, and the cannon will not launch them as far.
Bungie stated the following about the teleporters:
- “Although it was a great way to get around quickly, it didn't provide as much inherent danger as the man cannon does.”
The danger of using the man cannon is that your trajectory is set when you enter. Since you don't have a lot of air control, an enemy sniper will be given a good amount of time (the main man cannon on Valhalla takes around 2.5 seconds from 'take-off' to 'landing') to estimate where your head will meet his crosshairs.
It also adds some advantage, as this player still can attack the other competitors. The player also has a quick overview of the positions of enemies and the current battle situation.
As of now, this device has only been featured in the Halo 3 Multiplayer maps Valhalla, Guardian, Narrows, and Avalanche, but similar devices called gravity lifts can be found on Guardian and Epitaph, as well as a placeable object via the Forge in almost any other multiplayer. The Halo 2 Multiplayer Maps Desolation, Lockout, Ascension, Gemini, and Colossus also have gravity lifts. Ivory Tower, Headlong and Foundation also have features that produce the same effect, but these are called 'air vents'. Most people do however still refer to them as grav lifts, probably because in the midst of battle you don't have the time to highlight the difference between the two of them. Another name used by a few people is jumps.
The man cannon was also used in the popular machinima series Red vs Blue, both occurrences being quite humorous.
Placeable Man Cannon
The man cannon has appeared in Halo 3 as an environmental feature in 4 maps so far, but a placeable version of the man cannon can be placed manually in Forge on Rat's Nest, Foundry, Standoff, Avalanche, Cold Storage, Sandbox, Longshore and Citadel, although in other maps a grav lift could be used to similar effect, albeit not as powerful or directional. This placeable version has roughly the same 'firepower' but can be placed anywhere on the map and in any position. This gives users great creative potential when using the man cannon in Forge that can be utilized to produce maps with better gameplay than would otherwise be possible.
The man cannon is also an object which is immovable during normal gameplay after being placed in Forge. Unlike the small portable grav lift, the man cannon can't be destroyed. In Halo 3 and Halo: Reach all placeable man cannons were part of the Covenant palette, although most placeable man cannons in Halo 4 are part of the UNSC palette. The maps Tempest and Monolith from Halo: Reach and Halo 4 respectively both have placeable Forerunner man cannons.
- The main man cannon on Valhalla has a 'landing zone' roughly the size of an Elephant, but a good player will quickly see where his opponent is about to land. This makes it harder to pinpoint where the player will land, although on some maps such as Narrows, the LZ is considerably smaller to the point that you can place a Trip Mine to much effect.
- Throwing a grenade (Plasma Grenades work best) or Power Drain into the Man Cannon can sometimes be effective against opponents within range.
- You can improve the distance of your Man Cannon jump by pressing the jump button as you land. Some of the momentum left from your launch will transfer and allow you to leap farther. This is best accomplished by walking directly into the center of the Man Cannon you are using and mashing the jump button as you land. This will give you several smaller jumps until you return to normal speed. Jumping into the man cannon usually does not give you as much forward momentum, so it will not work. This trick is useful on Valhalla when getting the Spartan Laser. You can jump all the way across the river on the Lake Base side, or past the large rock on the Waterfall Base side.
- Almost anything can be launched through Man Cannons. It's an effective way for supplying teammates across the map with guns, throwing equipment to use on friends or enemies.
- Dropping Flares into the Man Cannons on Avalanche in Custom Games is an effective way of using optical cover to invade a base.
- Throwing Bubble Shields into the Man Cannons is an effective way to protect your flag carrier in the air, and while waiting for a Hornet or other transport to arrive.
- Explosive objects, such as Fusion coils, will almost always explode upon impact of landing after being launched from a Man Cannon. Doing this can basically give your team a sort of improvised mortar (particularly in Valhalla in Custom games).
- In Valhalla, it is useful to fly a Ghost into a Man Cannon while simultaneously activating the boost. This will send the Ghost completely across the map, albeit somewhat beat up or completely destroyed upon impact of landing.
- Though it requires amazing timing and a degree of luck, it is possible to hijack an incoming enemy Banshee or Hornet, preferably from the side of the vehicle. This action can easily turn the tide of a game. But note that this is nearly impossible if you attempt to hijack head-on, as the speed which you are moving can easily get you splattered.
- In Capture the Flag games on Valhalla, the man-cannon is an essential tool, that can get your player with the flag almost halfway across the map.
- It is possible to launch a mongoose through the man cannon and get the "Mongoose Mowdown" achievement by doing this, particularly on Valhalla and Avalanche.
- The man cannon was first introduced in Halo 2 on the maps Ascension, Lockout, Gemini, Colossus, and Desolation. The "human grav lift" or "air vents" were on Ivory Tower, Headlong, and Foundation
- Almost anything can be sent through a Man Cannon. This includes the flag in a game of Capture the Flag.
- The Man Cannons placed in Valhalla and Narrows can be shut down if you use the map Overload Glitch. This makes it a lot easier to place objects such as spawn points, grenades and teleporters close to or even on the Man Cannon. If the round or game is ended the map is no longer overloaded and thus, activates the Man Cannons again.
- The main difference between a gravity lift (for example the one on Colossus) and a Man Cannon is that it is more powerful and at a more horizontal angle. However, the main gravity lift on Epitaph can not be called a Man Cannon because it doesn't look like those present on Valhalla and Narrows. It also makes a different sound when used.
- In Valhalla, it is common for players to drive a Mongoose into the Man Cannon to quickly get to the middle of the battlefield with a vehicle.
- Using the Man Cannon to throw large objects can be fatal to opponents. Doing ten straight kills this way without dying, strangely, will get you the Vehicular Manslaughter medal.
- A Trip Mine placed in a Man Cannon could be a devastating tool, as players would not notice what they are stepping on in the heat of battle and you could just get one or more easy kills.
- You can create a crude Man Cannon on almost any map on Forge by spawning a weapon holder and a placeable Grav Lift as the lift will be held like a weapon in the holder at a sideways angle although it will give you no upwards lift like other Man Cannons and will have less power. The floating objects glitch may be used to tilt the lift at any angle to give you the upwards momentum.