The Legendary Pacifist's Guide to Halo 2
Halo 2 Legendary: The Ninja Way
"For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence." -- Sun Tzu
by Eric Hartwell - Latest update March 30, 2005
This guide describes how to play Halo 2 the Ninja way, using stealth and guile to reach your objective with the bare minimum of violence.
Halo 2 is hard. On the Legendary setting, it can be next to impossible. Trying to get through Legendary without killing is impossible.
This guide is intended to help you through the Halo 2 campaign with a minimum of violence. If you're unconditionally pacifist, then you shouldn't be playing Halo in the first place -- just sit back and watch the Covenant glass the Earth.
This is a work in progress. I'll be adding additional levels as I find the time to replay and document them.
* Spoiler Warning *
This guide assumes you've already played the game and are familiar with the locations and scenarios.
I started this project long before I got the "Halo 2: The Official Guide", but now that I have it, I've adopted its terminology.
- "When hiding, be as unfathomable as things behind the clouds; when moving, fall like a thunderbolt" -- Sun Tzu
- Rely on Shields, Speed and Surprise.
- As the Master Chief, use crouch walk to sneak around enemies. As the Arbiter (or as MC if you care to use the Envy Mode skull), use your Active Camo to sneak from hiding point to hiding point.
- Sentinels are slow
- Flood are (mostly) stupid
- When dealing with Flood, DON'T STOP if you can avoid it. Once you stop, DON'T MOVE or make noise until you have to.
- Hunters are best avoided. If you can't, then the best approach is to get close enough that they don't shoot, but not close enough that they can hit you. They're slow to turn, so try to jump over/onto their front and get away before they can turn around.
- There is no way you can get through a swarm of alerted Drones without being killed.
- Snipers kill you with one shot in Legendary mode, so it's hard to locate them. They're less likely to hit you if you're zig-zag jumping really fast.
- The Ghost is your best friend. It's quick, harder to hit, and can go around or over enemies. Best of all, when you're riding a Ghost, you can often survive several sniper shots as you zoom through an area.
A note about leaving your marines and other allies behind
Let's face it, in Legendary mode there's no way you can possibly keep all your marines alive. No matter how good you are at protecting them, eventually they're bound to do something stupid like charging single-handed into an enemy stronghold. When you're the arbiter, grunts will come to you for protection, but invariably turn around and run away (usually straight into ambush) as soon as there's trouble. Let them go ... "it is the soldier's disposition to offer an obstinate resistance when surrounded, to fight hard when he cannot help himself" -- Sun Tzu
A note about killing Flood
Since the Battle and Forms use previously owned bodies, you could claim they're already dead, and it's ethically OK to kill them again (as with zombies). However, Flood are animated by Infection Forms, and won't stop until the Infection Form is stopped. One could make a strong case for the Infection Forms being alive, more so than, say, viruses. On the other hand, they are horrible nasty parasitoids that play off our natural instinct to avoid being swarmed by deadly spiders. It's downright satisfying to reduce them to dust with an Energy Sword. The problem with killing Flood is that if you stop long enough to kill one, then you're probably stuck in the same spot until you kill all of them.
[not all verified as of 20050330]
This is by far the hardest level in Legendary mode, and one that you can't get through without killing Covenant. If you switch to Easy mode you can get most of the way through by letting Sergeant Johnson and the marines do all the dirty work, but you'll still need to help by running around to distract the enemy and lure them out of hiding.
Alternate Approach (untested): Invincible Sgt. Johnson
I haven't been able to locate the place I originally saw this described. In brief, Sgt. Johnson can't be killed, so he'll eventually kill all the Covenant if you can force him past his normal storyline. From xboxhero.com (edited):
"There is a way for you to have Sgt. Johnson travel throughout the level with you. When you are about to face the first batch of covenant, he sets down his turret. Hold 'X' to get him off, then take the SMG and destroy the turret. Let him kill all of the covenant. Then melee him all the way to where the next batch of covenant are. He will not die.
"Let him kill the next batch of covenant. Now here comes the hard part. Melee him all the way to the steps till you get him past the door. You must do this repeatedly behind his back or he will go back to a certain spot. Make sure you do not get him into a corner. You can do this all the way throughout the level.
"Make sure he is in battle with the covenant most of the time or he will go back to his original point. When you get to the part where the door behind you shuts you are safe from him returning to his original point.
-- Sent in by kidmonkey148"
- Home Field Advantage: Sergeant Johnson is invulnerable, and he's got a turret gun, so keep out of the way and let him do all the work. When the Covenant stop coming through the bulkhead, press on through. Instead of fighting, jump over the elites and run up the stairs to Security R-01. Jump into the courtyard from the right side of the room, then leap your way toward the last bulkhead on the left (you can probably pause in the corner just outside to let your shields recharge). Scoot in past/over the elite and up the stairs to Hangar Bay R-01
- Hangar Bay R-01: Sorry, you have to kill all the Covenant. Each wave comes as soon as all the grunts in the current wave are dead, but try to trim out the elites too. When they're all gone, the door to the next level (behind the Pelican) opens. Wait until the Covenant come inside, then run/jump past/over them.
- Hangar Bay R-02: Sorry, you have to kill all the Covenant here before you can proceed. Be quick and compassionate.
- Priority Shift: Go down the stairs to MAC storage. Use the cover to work your way through to the far doors before your shield overloads. It takes a combination of skill and luck to get past the camouflaged elites and into the armory with some shield left.
- Armory & Commons B-01: The "easiest" way to do this is to kill the two elites in the armory, take a breather, and let your shields fully recharge before moving on. Stealth isn't much use in the Commons because there are Covenant everywhere. If you don't mind a few more kills, use a battle rifle to take out all the plasma turrets (including the one on the upper level). Otherwise, just go for it. You can bypass the stairway by using a crouch-jump from the plant tubs at the far end. If you can, hide next to the doors until the Covenant come rushing through, then sneak in behind them. Once you're through to the Umbilical hallway you can slow down a bit. Let your shields recharge, then blow past all the Covenant.
- Authorized Personnel Only: The flying elites are deadly when you're exposed. The only advantage you have is to move and turn faster than them. Hide until the two at the exit get bored and move away, then jump through and sneak your way from cover to cover until you can get through the airlock door.
- Shipping: There's no way you can make it past a swarm of drones in Legendary mode without killing some. If you're quick, though, you can charge out of the airlock and all the way down the diagonal elevator before they get started. Once you're at the bottom, use both levels for cover as you work your way past the grunts and elites to the airlock at the bottom. Once you're outside, there's a huge open area to cross with deadly fire from flying elites. The sensible way to do this is to use the battle rifle to take out all you can see before leaving the cover of the airlock door. The true pacifist must rely on speed, stealth, and luck.
- Return to Sender: Sorry, you have to kill all the Covenant to finish this level. Be quick and compassionate. Use the cover provided by Firing Control to your left as you come out the door.
This is probably the easiest level for the Legendary Pacifist. In fact, it's easier without fighting than it is normally. You can get through the entire level without firing a single shot if you want to. The only thing you need to hit are the pistons ('X' doesn't work in Legendary mode); if you're a purist, you can activate them by meleeing.
As the Arbiter, you have short-lived Active Camouflage and weak shields. Fortunately, Sentinels are slow and Flood are (mostly) stupid. You can't damage the pistons, but you can get them to open sooner by shooting them as you run towards them. You can also hide or take cover behind the pistons, especially while activating them or waiting for them to open.
- Uncomfortable Silence: This section can be very quick if you just keep moving. Start shooting at the next piston as soon as you see it, so it activates by the time you get there. Pause at the bottom if you need to recharge your shields.
- Lethal Enforcer: Don't attack any of the Sentinels. Even if the Sentinel Major is fully alert you can make it to cover before your shields are drained; if you use Active Camo, then it probably won't notice you at all. Jump right out the opening and head for the ramp to the lower level slightly to the left. By moving around the lower level, you can get a clear shot with your carbine at each of the four columns holding the power core, while taking cover from the Sentinels as required. After all four are clear, you need to go up top and activate the switch. You can run up one ramp, activate the control (hold 'X' as you pass, don't stop), and jump down the other ramp before your shields are depleted, even without using Active Camo. Now for the best part: as you recharge down below, you'll hear impressive thumps and crashes. After you activate the switch, all the Sentinels apparently lose power and crash onto the platform. Go upstairs and help yourself to a fresh Sentinel Beam if you want (or if your carbine is low).
- Buyer's Remorse: This section is hard, but only because you have to do absolutely nothing while the Flood and Sentinels battle it out. Once the platform starts moving, go to the lower level and face the rear (where you're coming from). At the farthest left there's an Arbiter-sized nook. Go there and wait - do not move or you'll be swarmed! You can turn and watch the battle on the far wall. Eventually the Flood stop coming, the fireworks end, and everything's quiet. At this point you need to run across the platform over to where the gate will open, then back, to release the next wave of Flood. [If I just go for a coffee at this point, eventually the Sentinels find and kill me every time.] Once back in the "corner", wait until the action ends again. Eventually you get a checkpoint, which means the gate in the wall is open. Run off the front left of the platform and jump through the gate using the block in the middle as a step. As soon as you're inside, turn to your right and jump your way to the next piston at the far end.
- Biohazard: Wait until the Flood almost reach you, then jump your way through to the next piston. On the next level you'll meet lots of alert Flood, many armed with shotguns. Move as quickly as you can, and activate your Active Camo just before you reach the heavily Flood-filled room (i.e. when the marine's calling for "Suppressive Fire"). You can usually zig-zag run/jump your way through to the next piston before your shields are gone. The trick here is to shoot/activate the piston while you're on the move, jumping over or around the carrier forms so you're far enough away when they burst.
- On The Edge: Ignore all enemies here, but move fast. Jump out and turn left. Soon you come to a wall with blue holograms. Jump up to the left then back down again when you're past the wall. Keep going to until you reach a dead end; the next piston is up and to your left.
- Conduit B: Head straight out to the end of the room, where you'll turn right. Activate your Camo as soon as the Flood start attacking, and keep jumping. If you time it right, the Camo should recharge before your shield is down, and you can use it to get into the conduit where you get a checkpoint. Keep moving through the next section to the next conduit and checkpoint (Camo optional). Ignore the Sentinels and Flood; the next piston is at the far end and to the left. After you go through that one, the next is right in front of you.
- Down to Earth: Take a breather and refresh your weapons. Then activate the piston and take the long drop. The next section is loaded with battling Flood, and the piston is right in the middle of the room. From cover, use your carbine to shoot/activate the piston, then run for the hole (with or without Camo). Your shield and Camo will recharge long before you get to the bottom.
- 100,000 Years War: Your first objective is a small tunnel on the far side of the first camp, across the bridge. It's guarded by several Flood, but you should be able to sneak past them using your Camo. There's a narrow ledge over the drop to your right; you can recharge here if you need to. [Side note: At the left end of the wall in front of you there's a protrusion - you can grenade-jump to the top, then again to the hill, and wander around above the normal map.]
So far the checkpoints have been all location-based, so you just had to keep moving. You didn't need to fire a single shot (except maybe at the pistons). Once you're in the farthest camp, you need to stay alive until all waves of Flood are defeated. Fortunately, the SpecOps Commander is indestructable, and he'll eventually finish off all the Flood on his own. You can watch from the floating platform. If you want to speed things up, you can run around to distract the Flood and/or entice them into range of the turret gun. It also helps if you use the sword to destroy the bodies before they can be reanimated by Infection Forms - think of it as cleaning up the area. They're dead, Jim.
This is probably the very easiest level for the Legendary Pacifist. You don't have to fire a single shot or melee a single thing. The strategy is equally simple:
- Get on the ghost
- Put the pedal to the metal
Every time you enter a new area, it takes a second or two for the game to populate it with enemies. With a ghost at full boost, you can often make it most or all of the way through before they even show up! Obviously, this means you have to know where you're going in advance.
- Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear: Don't waste time with the spectre; hop on the nearest ghost and hit the boost. Weave in and around the obstacles, but try to keep the boost on all the time except when you need to turn. The sentinels, wraiths, and scorpion all turn too slow to track a moving ghost - as long as you're not moving in a straight line. The only thing you need to worry about is if an enemy gets in your way and knocks you off.
- Healthy Competition: Through the tunnel, across the bridge, and make a hard left to head for the cave. There's a Flood here that's very good at nailing you with a rocket launcher - make use of every bit of cover (hills, rocks, wraiths) as you zig-zag your way into the cave. Then keep moving so the scorpion doesn't have enough time to line up a shot. It's awkward to get the ghost through the barriers in the tunnel while you're under heavy fire, but it's worth it - you're going to need the ghost if you want to get through the crashed ship without fighting.
Inside the crashed ship you have a heavy concentration of both flood and sentinels ready to pound you as soon as you slow down or flip your ghost. The best strategy is to keep moving at full speed so you're gone before they notice you're there. This takes practice. For me, the best approach is to boost along the first corridor, do a 180 turn, and boost off the ledge onto the roofed section. Hit the end, swing right, and boost through to the next tunnel. Take a brief pause to recharge your shields if you need it. At the end of the open area is another narrow tunnel that fills with flood, at least one with a rocket launcher, as soon as you approach it. Again, boost your way in, slow for the turn, boost over/around/through the flood, slow for the turn, then boost into the last section.
At the far side there's a passage filled with crates and flood. Do this part on foot: it's hard to get a ghost through, and there's a fresh ghost just outside the ledge down and to the left. It's best to save your Camo until you run for the ghost so the wraith, ghosts and loose flood don't open fire before you can get moving. Boost past the wraith, up the hill, and through the final section. It takes a second or two for the last door to open, so it helps to run into it so you're facing in the right direction to boost in as soon as it does.
- Shooting Gallery: Wave after wave of flood with lots of sword and grenade practice ... or, actually, sheer boredom. Head to the right front on the upper level of the gondola, then move back a bit so you're against the inner wall. That's it - enjoy the ride and the view. The flood will never find you if you don't move. Once you arrive at the library, go down the rear ramp then straight off the gondola into the library.
- That Old, Familiar Feeling: As Mike Miller puts it in his excellent Halo 2 Legendary Walkthrough, "In any case, I'm not sure this even qualifies as a chapter. The index is through a small tunnel some distance ahead and on your left, so, er... just walk there." There are a few Infection Forms around, but they seem to ignore you.
- March 30, 2005 - Added Quarantine Zone
- March 27, 2005 - First published; Cairo Station and Sacred Icon