The map is set on a large island on Installation 05 with the remains of a Forerunner vessel sticking out of the ground. Some consider it to be a counterpart of Halo: Combat Evolved's campaign level The Silent Cartographer. It also resembles a smaller version of Halo PC's Death Island. Due to its design, it is best played using one flag/bomb CTF/Assault variants.
There is a two-way Teleporter that can be activated from inside the basement of the building, though the inside Teleporter can be used prior to its activation by jumping, firing a rocket launcher at it, and landing on it—or, more simply, by Crouch jumping.
There is also a Covenant Deployable sniper tower, with a Beam Rifle lying at its base. This tower can be toppled using explosive weapons or certain vehicles, such as the Gauss Warthog. Despite this, the tower can be an amazingly helpful weapon for such a large map.
There is also a Sniper Rifle located near the back of the Albatross. Two more fantastic weapons are the Energy Sword and the Shotgun, both of which are located near the center locale of the map, under the Forerunner building. The Rocket launcher is located by some broken walls on the far side of the island. Control over these weapons generally translates into control over the outcome of the game.
It is, oddly enough, one of the few maps in which the flags in a CTF game mode are not on opposite ends of the map or in any symmetrical pattern. This makes for unusual gameplay.
- Rear Base
- Teleporter Ridge
- A player who is connection host can use a Rocket Launcher, an Overshield, a black barricade, and a trick similar to the Banshee launch Wingtip Method to reach the top of the tower, which is an excellent sniping location.
- On Bungie.net, the image files for Relic are in the /dune/ directory, and in the game files, the map is called dune.map, which may indicate that the level was originally called "Dune".
- Avoid using the Energy Sword to attack someone who has positioned themselves behind the Teleporter (when active) inside the structure; doing so will launch you outside of the map and to your death.
- This map is used as the main setting for the machinima Gameplay May Change During Online Play. It has also been used as the main setting for the machinima Lost: Halostyle and, more notably, in Red vs Blue.
- There is an Albatross dropship on the west edge of the island. Another dropship appears in Halo 3's Sandtrap.
- The size and shape of Relic may have been inspired by the Halo PC map Death Island.
- This is the only multiplayer map that has a Deployable lookout tower placed in it by default.
- The map originally featured five Orbital Insertion Pods located across the map from the crashed Albatross, but they were presumably cut; they cannot be found without modding tools. An energy barrier (most likely anti-vehicle) was also cut from the map, but not removed from the map's files.
- Relic was used as the setting for the cover of the Halo 2 Multiplayer map pack box, as the Forerunner structure can be seen behind the Spartans.
- The spire of the Forerunner structure closely resembles the Citadel in the Half-Life series.
- It is possible that, with a Spectre, you can climb the Spire.
- Relic was remade as Remnant in Halo 2: Anniversary.