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Halo 2 Legendary Walkthrough by Mike Miller

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Cairo Station


Like Halo 1, Halo 2 starts you out in space in a relatively small but tricky level. Your opponents are limited to grunts and elites (including the new flying elites) with a few drones thrown in for good measure, and they usually show up in tight groups; but your weapon choices are also limited, forcing you to rely on relatively light, medium-range weapons, with the exception of the energy sword. Weapon selection and effective use of weapon combos are essential right from the start. The good news is that by the time you finish this level, you'll be an expert at killing elites cleanly and efficiently with the aid of the venerable plasma pistol.

Part 1: Home Field Advantage

There are those who said this day would never come. Evidently they were wrong, and so here you are in space once again, about to be boarded by the Covenant. Well, time to start saving humanity, one dead alien at a time. Begin by descending the stairs to your left and grabbing some weapons. I'd strongly recommend the battle rifle and magnum.

As you continue on through the sliding doors, Sarge & company prepare a little defensive position, while the Covenant prepare to blast through the door on the far side of the room. Fortunately, Sarge is too mean to be killed by conventional weapons, so let him handle this fight while the Chief moves on to bigger and better things. This is the first of many optional battles in the game that we're just going to avoid for the sake of expediency. Set yourself up along the wall next to the door (not too close, or the blast will kill you), wait for the Covenant to burst through, and proceed as follows:

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Note that you don't even have to fight the enemies in the hallway; if you hide nearby, marines will soon show up and catch them in a crossfire.

Whatever course you chose, you should now find yourself near a staircase. At this point, I'd suggest switching to a dual plasma pistol/magnum setup in anticipation of the upcoming battle. If you're like me, you might prefer to put the magnum in your dominant hand, which can make it easier to pull the trigger rapidly. Get comfortable with the plasma pistol: you're going to be seeing a lot of each other. When you're suitably armed head up the stairs and through the sliding doors, and prepare for your first serious fight.

You have a few options here. Unlike the lesser difficulties, I'd avoid the turret, which is pretty much just an open invitation to be shot dead. You could continue through the doors ahead and down the stairs, methodically using your plasma pistol and magnum to pick off the elites and grunts, which works perfectly well. However, we're going to do something a bit more daring. When you get the checkpoint, charge up a plasma shot, make a left, and jump right off the balcony and into the fray like the badass cyborg that you are. Actually it's not as suicidal as it sounds. The enemies are already broken up into small, manageable groups, so just take it one elite at a time, as the video shows:

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The advantage to doing it this way is that not only is it quicker, but you have a much greater chance of keeping your marines alive. They will repay the favor by mopping up any stray grunts in the central area while you deal with the elites. When you're done, you'll find yourself at the base of another staircase.

If you liked the dual plasma pistol/magnum setup, and are planning on leaving the catwalk at some point during the upcoming fight, you can refill your magnum ammo under the stairs; otherwise, you might as well drop it now and just hang onto the plasma pistol and battle rifle before proceeding up the stairs. Note that the doors to the previous area close once you enter the hangar, so if you really want to be on the safe side, take advantage of the dual wielding to drop a few spare plasma pistols into the staircase area. That way, you can go back and grab a replacement if you run out. In the same fashion, I might also suggest carrying an extra plasma pistol with you into the hangar from the start, and dropping it at your feet behind wherever you choose to take cover. Two should probably be enough.

As you enter Hangar Bay #1, you're faced with the first of five waves of Covenant, each consisting of one or two elites and a few grunts that will pour out of the boarding craft on the floor below you. If you're the cautious sort, still getting used to the combat, or just don't feel like dying too much today, head right on the catwalk and take cover behind the large crate. This crate will be your refuge for the remainder of the battle. Find the likeliest elite and introduce him to the plasma pistol/battle rifle combo. If you miss, just duck behind the crate and then try again. Pick off the grunts with battle rifle headshots as necessary. That's really all there is to it; just repeat this procedure for each wave, as shown in the video.

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Note that the appearance of the next wave is governed by the number of enemies remaining, and they won't always wait until you're finished; use your judgement, and try not to get overwhelmed by too many elites at once.

As you can see, they can't get close to you, and can't flank you, so as long as you're patient, stopping to let your shield recharge when necessary, and don't get careless about standing in the open for too long you should be fine, save for the occasional unlucky grenade. The final wave can be slightly trickier, as you encounter a gray elite with dual plasma rifles who can literally kill you in about a second if you're not particularly careful, so don't let up too early. If you're having serious trouble surviving even the first waves, it's likely that you're taking too long to line up your shots (even if it may not seem that way).

Another, more adventurous path is to jump right down into the fray once again, taking them on at close range. Your marines can aid you in this by distracting the elites, often leading them to turn their backs unwisely to you, as shown in the next video.

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After you kill the last boarder, take a moment to find a fresh plasma pistol; but don't get too comfortable because you're not done yet. A final group of two elites and some assorted grunts are getting ready to blast through the door on the far side of the room, to the right of the pelican. Line up perpendicular to their path of entry, throw a few plasma grenades at the doorway as soon as you see the explosion, and mop up the survivors, which should be no problem after the last battle. Be careful, since you may not get a checkpoint until after this encounter.

Take a breath, rearm and reload; I would strongly recommend equipping yourself with a plasma pistol and battle rifle at this point. If necessary, you can use one of the crates to crouch jump back up onto the catwalk to retrieve grenades and ammo. Head down the hall and proceed into Hangar #2. Many people have trouble with this room, but there's really nothing fundamentally different from Hangar #1, save that there are a few more elites, and you no longer have the advantage of elevation (unless you do run up onto the catwalk, which is not really advisable). Just find a good crate to hide behind and use your plasma pistol/battle rifle combo as in the last battle to pick off the elites and grunts from a safe distance. If you're in a hurry, you could try lobbing a grenade or two as each new wave arrives, but it's not really necessary. Remember to exploit the dual wielding to carry a backup plasma pistol along with you, because you'll probably need at least two. The fourth wave can be hard, with the two dual-wielding gray elites, but just be patient and cautious, and whatever you do don't get caught out in the open. The safest hiding spot is probably the crate right near the entrance.

If you're feeling more confident, the next video shows another possibility. As you can see, this spot has the advantage of providing a better field of fire, and lets you catch the elites in a crossfire, in which they'll often turn away from you to face your marines. There is, however, a greater chance of being surrounded.

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It's also possible to play it out even more aggressively, and take the battle to your enemies, as the next video shows.

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Or even:

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Once you finish off the last wave, feel free to relax and pat yourself on the back: you just survived one of the harder battles in the game. I don't know about you, but that didn't feel like much of a home field advantage to me.

Part 2: Priority Shift

I know that energy sword lying on the floor looks awfully tempting, but try to resist it for now as we turn our attention to the two stairways descending into the floor. At the bottom, you'll find a familiar group: two elites, and some assorted grunts. You know the drill: plasma pistol/battle rifle. If you're feeling vindictive, you can cruelly toy with them by striking from one entrance and then switching to the other, hitting them while their backs are turned. I would suggest leaving one grunt alive, running back up to the hangar and exchanging the plasma pistol for the energy sword, and then heading back down the stairs to kill off the last grunt so that you get a checkpoint with the sword already in hand. If you're wondering, we're going through all this trouble in order to conserve the sword for a later battle when it is more useful (that is, the two flying elites at the start of part 3). Do not proceed down the hallways before retrieving the sword, or the doors at the bottom of the stairs will lock behind you. Also, make sure you fill up on plasma grenades before you proceed, even if it means going back to the catwalk in hangar 1.

As you proceed down either of the hallways, the door at the end will open to reveal a very surprised, not-yet-cloaked elite. Greet him with a lunge attack, and finish him off with a slash. An identical, cloaked elite on the other side will either enter the room with you, or try to sneak around behind you, the latter being preferable from your standpoint since you only have to deal with one at a time. In that case, wait next to the door until he appears and make sure he suffers the same fate as his buddy. If you die, no big deal; you have a checkpoint close by, so just try again...after all, it just means more time playing with the sword.

Another two elites are waiting in the room above you. As in the previous area, you can exploit the two staircases to distract them and then sneak around behind them. Deal with them in whatever way you like.

In the next area, you'll find another open atrium much like the last. The video below shows one effective path through the enemies.

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By jumping up onto the balcony, you can skip a significant portion of the fight, avoiding not only the enemies by the staircase, but those that would have entered the balcony as well.

Continue around the bend and take out the elite and grunts, which should be straightforward at this point. You may want to temporarily exchange the sword for a plasma pistol if it's running low. As you advance about halfway down the hallway, a second, similar group will come running around the corner from the right. Toss a grenade to give the grunts something to think about and drop the elite with the plasma pistol/battle rifle combo. After retrieving your sword, round the corner to the right, and keep right on running.

Part 3: Authorized Personnel Only

As the chapter title disappears, the door at the end of the windowed hall will open, and you'll have your first run-in with the game's new flying elites. These guys can be a pain for a couple of reasons. The charged shot, on which we have come to rely so heavily, does not cancel their actions from a distance in the same way that it does with regular elites. On the contrary, they can absorb a shot and keep right on moving and firing at you, giving you much less time to line up the headshot. Also, the charged shot often has difficulty homing in on them while they're flying (naturally, it makes the follow-up shot more difficult, as well). Fortunately for us, they don't usually exploit most of their advantages very well. If they were to attack aggressively in a group, flanking us from above and the side, we would be in serious trouble. Instead, they remind me more of the guards in Metal Gear Solid: once they see you they'll buzz around excitedly for a while until they get bored, land, and go back to staring at the wall again. Often they'll land in such a way as to make themselves easy targets for a plasma grenade or a melee attack to the back. So, while it pays to be cautious with these guys, they're not as formidable as they could be.

Right about now you'll have two of them coming through the door ahead of you. Why they would choose to venture inside and negate their advantage of mobility rather than ambushing you out in the open is unclear. In any case, the sword makes short work of them, as they're no tougher than regular blue elites. Refill your battle rifle and plasma grenades from the piles on the floor back near the entrance to the glass hall; there's also a full plasma pistol on the ground here (I'm going to assume that your weapon selection is plasma pistol/battle rifle for the remainder of the level). Head outside when you're ready.

Your goal here is to make it to the airlock on the far side of the open, crate-littered area. The goal of the additional three flying elites you'll encounter outside is to stop you from getting there. This area can be a bit tricky because there doesn't really seem to be a fixed pattern to their positions. One clever way to circumvent this problem altogether with the help of some grenade jumping (thanks, Cody Miller!) is shown in the next video.

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If you want to fight it out, I've yet to find one definite path that always works. The first elite often hangs out either above or below the windowed hall, but sometimes flies off to join the other two near the airlock door. If you're lucky they might be sitting around with their backs to you, in which case, problem solved. Otherwise, all I can say is observe their positions, look for an opening to take a shot or get close enough for a plasma grenade or melee attack, and retreat to a safe location while they reshuffle themselves in the aftermath. Hiding inside the big crates works well. If you can kill two of them, it's usually pretty easy to sneak up on the last guy.

The airlock will lead you into an open, seemingly empty room where Bungie sneakily tries to set you up for a cheap ambush by another of the game's new enemies, the drones. Don't be fooled: as soon as you step forward into the room and you hear the foreboding music, get ready to throw a grenade right where you see the red arrow on the floor, near the edge of the incline. If you time your throw so the explosion occurs right as the mass of drones appears over the edge, you'll be able to kill and wound several of them before they even get a shot off, as shown in the next video.

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Unless you get caught out in the open drones are more of an annoyance than a serious threat. They pretty much just slow you down and make you waste some ammo, requiring about 3-4 battle rifle bursts to kill. For this reason my preferred way to deal with drones is to let my marines take care of most of them; they're better at targeting small, erratically-flying enemies, and have unlimited ammo. In this case, just hide behind the shield and help your marine pick them off one by one. Usually they make life easier for you by landing on the walls in plain view; just make sure you get them all.

Meanwhile, that noise you hear in the background is the world's slowest freight elevator making its way up the incline. Either wait until it reaches the top or, if you're the impatient sort, jump down onto it. On the elevator you'll find Standard Group of Elites and Grunts #5137, which you don't need me to tell you how to deal with at this point. When you're finished, use one of the control panels to reverse the elevator, and go watch the extended Lord of the Rings trilogy while you wait for it to complete its descent. Don't forget to pick up a fresh plasma pistol from the elevator; I'd save the ones you're about to find in the airlock for the finale.

As you head outside once again via the airlock door at the bottom, you'll encounter another three flying elites. One of them will man the turret on the far ledge while the other two, both armed with dual plasma rifles, close in. Most of the time they'll fly up and land a comfortable distance away, making themselves relatively easy targets. Just use one of the short wall segments in front of the airlock doorway for cover and pick them off in whichever order you prefer. Note that if you stay close to the airlock the elite up on the turret will be too far away for the charged shot to home in, so you'll have to aim it manually. I would suggest zooming with your battle rifle to adjust your aim and then (without moving) quickly switching to the plasma pistol.

Once they're dead, pick up both full plasma pistols from the airlock and continue along the moving ramp, staying on the right side. At about the point you pass the plasma turret previously occupied by the now-deceased flying elite, another two of the pests will appear, flying out from under the MAC gun above the elevator door that you're trying to reach. Once again, their erratic behavior makes describing one definite course of action a bit difficult. Generally, the safest approach is probably stay out of sight until they settle down. When they land near the elevator door, proceed toward the area along the right side of the ramp where they are less likely to detect you. As you reach the vicinity of the door, drop one plasma pistol and carefully peek around until you determine their locations and orientations. If they're both facing away from you, smack them on the head and be done with it. Otherwise, I usually stick one with a plasma grenade before shamelessly running off to hide in a most un-Spartan-like fashion (there's a nice dark corner nearby that serves as a good hiding spot). When you hear the sole remaining elite land again, just sneak up and finish him off.

Retrieve your second plasma pistol and continue onward into the elevator door on your way to fire control.

Part 4: Return to Sender

Despite the new chapter title, there's really only one battle left, and not a terribly tough one at that. During the elevator ride, turn around so you're facing the way you came in. The doors open to reveal a room filled with six elites. It's not as bad as it sounds, though: you have plenty of cover, as well as the ability to alternate quickly between two nicely separated points of attack, as the video shows. You've been practicing this technique all level, and if you could survive Hangar Bay #2, this fight should be deservedly anticlimactic.

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Congratulations: you just finished one of the toughest, most combat-intensive levels in the game. Pat yourself on the back, relax, and watch that cutscene that we all marveled at back in the first teaser trailer.

Next stop: Earth.

Home | Cairo Station | Outskirts | Metropolis | The Arbiter | Oracle | Delta Halo | Regret
Sacred Icon | Quarantine Zone | Gravemind | Uprising | High Charity | The Great Journey