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The Vehicles from the Halo Universe are transport vehicles usually designed for use in combat situations. Many vehicles exist in the Halo universe, and some of them can be used in the Halo games. Vehicles are a very important part of the gameplay, and can be used in both Campaign and multiplayer.
Vehicles have distinct tactical advantages. Most vehicles have powerful weapons with unlimited ammunition. Their firepower can be used to damage or destroy enemy forces or placements. Vehicles can also be used to transport troops swiftly, and can provide essential support in skirmishes.
Due to their size, vehicles can't enter some tight areas like buildings, except when you glitch them in, where infantry can enter. However, Warthogs, Mongooses, or Ghosts can often be driven in corridors, and even up and down stairs. Vehicles can be clearly seen and destroyed by enemy artillery or explosive small-arms fire. Vehicles can also be hijacked, which either results in the hijacked vehicle being destroyed, or the driver being ejected and the hijacker taking control of the vehicle.
In gameplay, only a small number of very unique vehicles are drivable, and controllable, most operating in a similar fashion, allowing driving (navigation) and control of mounted weaponry (attack), though some allow one to do both simultaneously or only provide one of the two. Such weapons usually have unlimited ammunition available, whether they are human (ballistic-based) or Covenant (plasma-based).
When the player enters a vehicle by climbing into driving, weapons or passenger seats, the camera switches from a first-person to a third-person view, with the exception of entering a falcon on the side where it stays first-person. This improves peripheral vision and the bird's eye view makes it easier to drive around, with nearby terrain easily fitting into view. When the player has control of weaponry while being driven around in a vehicle, either hand-held weapons (usable while in passenger seats) or mounted weapons (usable while in turret seats), a stylized aiming reticle is displayed much like when in first-person view, locked to the center of the screen and replacing the typical arrow cursor.
Halo: Combat Evolved is the only game where vehicles cannot be destroyed unless its part of the game (campaign) or glitches/mods. However, Ghosts, Banshees, and Wraiths can be destroyed in Halo: Combat Evolved's campaign, albeit only when the Ghost or the Banshee is occupied, while the Wraith is the only vehicle in the game that can be destroyed without an occupant.
UNSC and Covenant vehicles are made available in Campaign levels (depending on which side the player character is on, UNSC/Covenant), when the player needs to infiltrate or cut through enemy-held territory.
Either kept unused, waiting for a driver or allowing the player's character to switch with a friendly unit, the player may enter it without meeting any resistance and take control of it. Alternatively the player may enter unoccupied mounted turrets.
Since UNSC Vehicles are rarely available within Campaign levels, it is a common practice to kill the driver of Covenant vehicles in order to hijack them. Although it is relatively easy to kill its driver from afar with careful sniping, the preferred approach is known as "boarding".
Vehicles that have been stopped by sheer firepower by destroying or disabling them cannot be taken control of. With vehicles such as the Ghost and Banshee, the boarding procedure is simpler. You can board it, throw the driver off, and in most cases automatically assume control of the vehicle, all in one quick action. However the Wraith can be taken when the player leaps on and melee enough times until the driver itself pops out, the vehicle can then be driven, however the AA Wraith and the ODST Wraith are both unaffected by this as they explode as soon as the driver leaves the vehicle but this can be exploited by a glitch.
Certain vehicles can be driven in multiplayer levels. Vehicles can be very useful in Slayer and Skirmish gametypes.
In Capture the Flag, once the player character has picked up the flag, the character cannot drive a vehicle or take control of its weaponry, though the character may ride in a vehicle driven by another character. However, this was an exception to Halo: Combat Evolved.
- UNSC vehicles are usually named after animals (such as the Warthog, Mongoose, or the Pelican). Some exceptions are the UNSC aircraft fighters and bombers (such as the Longsword, Shortsword, and Sabre) which are named after types of sword. Covenant vehicles are mostly named after supernatural beings (such as the Ghost or Phantom); with the exception of large land units being named after insects (such as the Scarab or Locust), though this could stem from them first being encountered in a non-combat role.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved, when a player jumps ontop a vehicle without boarding it and another attempts to drive it, the person on top will get "splattered". However, this was fixed in future games, as it would carry the person on top.
- In every game except Halo: CE, players could bypass the vehicle carrying limit by simply jumping on top of a vehicle as it moves along, provided they do not fall off.
- Halo 2 was the first Halo game to feature hijacking (boarding), and Halo 3 was the first to damage the hijackee when hijacked.
- UNSC vehicles focus on teamwork, as they often can carry more than one player and come with a turret, while Covenant vehicles are focused more on one individual.