- Pistol (Extremely useful even on higher difficulties)
- Assault Rifle (Not recommended in Heroic and Legendary)
- Plasma Pistol (Quite useful in most cases, overcharge will deplete Elite's shields and stun them)
- Plasma Rifle (Really good at depleting Elites' shields)
- Plasma Grenade (Heroic and Legendary only, obtainable with the bandana skull in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary) (They might save your life)
- Fragmentation Grenade (Moderately useful)
- Warthog (cutscene only)
- Scorpion (cutscene only)
- Pelican (cutscene only)
- Longsword (cutscene only)
- Bumblebee Escape Pod (non-drivable)
- Halcyon-class light cruiser UNSC Pillar of Autumn (non-drivable)
- Covenant Boarding Craft (non-drivable)
Part 01: Reveille
As soon as the first cutscene is over, you should see yourself climbing out of the cryotube. A flustered Thom Shephard will lead you out of the cryobay, but will soon be killed by a door exploding as it opens. Double back, you'll see a pair of pipes on your right (if you're facing away from the partially opened door), jump over it. Move through two more doors, and crouch under a half-raised blast hatch and move forward. Ignore the firefights going on in the hallway, you'll have plenty of Covenant to kill once you have a weapon, and there's nothing you can do to save these Marines and techs anyway. Move to your right, and you'll see a second door on the left side of the corridor. Move through a darkened room, follow the hallway, and you'll soon see a pair of techs and a Marine firing on some Covenant. The Marine will offer to take you to the bridge, you can follow him or cut around and hurry ahead yourself. Once you reach the bridge, approach Captain Keyes near the viewport, and a cutscene will start.
Part 02: AI Constructs and Cyborgs First!
Once the cutscene is over, Keyes will hand you a pistol. If you're playing single player, here's a handy trick to get you through this level on Legendary in one piece.
As soon as you can move, get out of the bridge as quickly as you can, taking care not to run into a wall or any of the bridge crew. If you're fast enough, your pistol will not appear when the door opens into the cafeteria. Pick up the Assault Rifle, and take cover behind the closest steel barrier. Shoot down the Grunts first, they're relatively easier to kill and will cut down the Covenant numbers faster. If you come under heavy fire, crouch behind the barrier. It's most likely a Marine or two has already been killed, so make sure you appropriate their ammo and grenades. Grab a Plasma Pistol or Rifle, they're very effective against Elite shields. And make sure you obtain plasma grenades too, they can kill enemies very easily on this difficulty.
Once the room is cleared, swap your undoubtedly nearly-depleted plasma weapon for a fresh one, there should be plenty lying around. Return momentarily to the bridge, make a loop around the room, and go back outside. This time, your pistol will appear, along with a trio of Grunts. You now have three weapons to keep your chin up in any sticky situation: A rifle that can cut down a lot of unshielded enemies at once with its rapid fire, a pistol that can kill enemies quickly with headshots, and a plasma weapon that will bring down shields in a matter of seconds. If you're playing cooperative, or if you haven't managed to get all three weapons, I'd recommend an Assault Rifle and a plasma weapon. There's always going to be more ammo for them on this level, and on Legendary, every shot counts. Whenever your plasma weapon drops below 30% ammo, remember to get a new one.
The room outside the cafeteria should have a squad of Grunts, and occasionally an Elite. Take down the little guys with a UNSC weapon, and if there's an Elite, knock out his shields with your plasma gun, and switch to your human gun to finish him off. There's a rack with extra ammo next to a Health kit, if you need either. Proceed down the hallway to your right, and you'll see an Elite being attacked by three Marines. If you can, go up behind and melee him in the back. If he spots you, stick him with a plasma grenade and back off. Once you leave the hall, you'll see two more Marines guarding an airlock, which will explode and kill them. Toss in a couple of grenades through the open hatch, you should be able to take out a lot of Grunts and maybe some Elites while they're still stuck in the narrow space, and it'll make the ensuing fight a lot less hazardous. Pick up an overshield from inside the boarding craft, move on. There's a Grunt standing in a darkened hallway, use your flashlight to see him. Take him down, and keep going.
You should see three Marines fighting some Covenant from behind steel barriers. Don't go to them yet, move right to a perpendicular hallway that can let you put some flanking fire on them. Again, throwing in some grenades will increase your advantage. Once the first group is taken down, get to the Marines, and wait for the second group behind the barriers. Once they come, throw more grenades, and kill the survivors with whatever gun is suitable. There's more ammo and another Health kit near the next hallway. Once you see a tech killed by an explosion and smashing into a wall, move towards him, and once again, flank the Covenant. They're in a perfect spot not to see you stick them with a plasma grenade. Once they're dead, proceed to another airlock, there's more overshields if yours ran out. Take down the enemies, starting with the Grunts.
You should see another half-raised blast door, move under it. A pair of techs will be running from Covenant ahead, but you probably won't be able to save them. Don't run towards them, let the Covenant come out so you can take them down. Use the lockers and benches as cover if you need to, there's a lot of enemies in the room. If there are any left, run to the right side and kill the Elite first. Turn around, and kill the others on the opposite end.
Next up is possibly the hardest fight in the mission, so make sure you have as many plasma grenades as possible, and the freshest Plasma Pistol / Rifle in the vicinity. If you only used one overshield from the last airlock, move back and grab the other one: you're going to need it. Once you come back, there's a health pack if you're not on full health. Then, move onwards.
You will eventually see Marines fighting the Covenant on higher ground. Since you have your overshield, the most effective strategy here is to run up the stairs and try and stick the closest Elite. If the stick failed, deplete his shield with your plasma weapon and finish him with your human one. Once that's taken care of, try to take out the other Elite and the two Grunts by sticking them, but save one or two grenades. Look around you, you will see a blast door opening with Elites and Grunts inside. Approach it from either side and stick the elites and grunts, they won't be moving much. Immediately after you deal with this group and your shields are up, jump down and kill the grunt and elite downstairs (on the left of where you initially approached the area from).
Move upstairs and take out as many Grunts as possible. Then, hammer the Elite with plasma fire and finish him off with your human weapon. In the next area, turn on your flashlight and kill the Grunts, who are hiding behind barrels. Next, try to stick the Major (purple) elite. If you can, stick the Minor (blue) one, too. The Grunts should be easy enough to deal with next.
After you move through the final corridor, Cortana will warn you that the blast doors behind you are closing. There will be three Grunts up ahead, make short work of them, GRAB THEIR GRENADES. Also try to get the freshest Plasma PISTOL. You don't want the rifle for the next part.
Go into the tunnel, and take the first left you see. Follow the path and you will come to a door. There are two Grunts right outside. Melee the one closest to you (he's facing away) and shoot the other. Then, try to stick as many Elites as you see. If too many bunch up in the doorway space, there's another doorway to the right of this one. Alternate the two to ambush them. When you feel like you've killed enough of them from hiding, get out and use the Plasma Pistol overcharge on the Elite shields, then rain bullets on them, or stick them. Now, in the next doorway, there are two Elites which may / may not have been killed in the brawl. Same as before, plasma/human combo or stick 'em.
Keep moving up until you see an Elite in the hallway opposite you. Plasma/human combo him. The Grunts are easy enough to deal with, even the explosion will help you out. Get in the tunnel and melee the two Grunts you encounter; they won't put up much of a fight. You should have the maximum amount of Plasma grenades by now.
Move ahead to the first exit you see and stick the Major Elite. Kill the Grunts as required. Move into the doorway on your right (again, kill Grunts as required) and keep moving to your right until you spot a second doorway. Crouch behind the fallen locker and face it. Get up and stick the elite in front. Flank around and kill the Grunts. Keep moving until you're behind the barrier with grenades. Keep lobbing grenades (frag or plasma) and taking cover until the Covenant are dead. If there are any survivors, mop 'em up as needed.
Proceed to the lifeboat to trigger the cutscene and end the mission.
Pillar of Autumn
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