Mission Title: The Truth and Reconciliation (Halo: Combat Evolved)
P.O.V. Character: Master Chief
Stage Number: 13/52
Foehammer drops us off with a group of marines near the plateau where the Truth and Reconciliation is docked. Under cover of night, we'll move up the cliffs until we reach the gravity well the Covenant is using to transport forces between the battlecruiser and the ring-world.
We're given a Sniper Rifle with more than the usual amount of ammunition and told to pick off as many Covenant troops as we can, especially the Shade turrets that are stationed on the way, and the marines will move up to engage when we're spotted. It's unclear exactly how long we can maintain stealth on this mission, but in my experience it's never very long. This time around I don't get a single shot off before being noticed, but that's okay: the Master Chief has the firepower to make subtlety unnecessary.
|Captain Keyes is being held on the Truth and Reconciliation battlecruiser.|
First Marine: What? There's no Covenant here? Maybe nobody's home.
Second Marine: Contacts! Lots of contacts!
Third Marine: No Covenant... you had to open your mouth!
After dealing with a stealthed sword-wielding Elite and his allies, we make our way through the corridors of the ship, following the signal from Captain Keyes's transponder. Eventually we come across the brig and free Keyes and some marines from their imprisonment. He reprimands us for taking on such a reckless adventure, but he's still glad to see us. He's learned some intriguing information:
Captain Keyes: While the Covenant had us locked up in here, I overheard the guards talking about this ring world. They call it... Halo.
Cortana: According to the data in their networks, the ring has some kind of deep religious significance. If I'm analyzing this correctly, they believe that Halo is some kind of weapon. One with vast, unimaginable power.
Now that we've rescued Captain Keyes, we need to get him off the Truth and Reconciliation. He grabs a Needler and we retrace our footsteps. Another sword-wielding Elite stands in our path (possibly the Shipmaster of the Battlecruiser, though he's not identified as such in-game), but if we keep him away from Keyes he shouldn't be too problematic.
Foehammer calls in and tells us that there's too much air traffic; she can't get close enough to lift us off the battlecruiser. Captain Keyes has an alternate solution: if we can get him to the hangar we passed on the way up, we can commandeer one of the dropships and Keyes will fly us out of here. The plan works as envisioned, and even the sudden appearance of Hunters as we're about to fly away can't stop us; Keyes smushes them against the walls with the front of the dropship, and he triumphantly flies us away from the Truth and Reconciliation.
This level isn't quite as interesting when it's played in Chronological Halo, simply because we've already seen a night-time sniping level (3/52, 'Nightfall'), we've already seen Hunters (as early as 2/52: 'ONI: Sword Base'), and we've already seen the inside of a Covenant ship (5/52: 'Long Night of Solace'). Originally all of those firsts belonged to this mission; now they don't feel as original.
I've always loved the ship-names in the Halo series, and this level introduces us to a great one, the 'Truth and Reconciliation.' It's always made the Covenant an interesting and more alien foe, as their ship names seem to have an almost religious significance; that becomes even more clear during this mission, when Captain Keyes learns that they call the ring world 'Halo' and that it apparently bears some religious meaning for the Covenant.
This mission is one that suffers a little from its new location in Chronological Halo, simply because we've seen most of what made it unique already. The sniping section during the first half of the mission is still entertaining, but the corridors of the battlecruiser during the second half are samey and confusing. Once Captain Keyes is rescued, though, all the pieces are in place for the next mission, one of the very best in Halo: Combat Evolved and my personal favorite. But that's for next time.
Three Spartan helmets out of five.