BCM35 - Massed Hunters
(4:03) Level 4 ('The Silent Cartographer') on Normal. This shows two 'beach sweeps' against six Hunters plus Grunts and Jackals with a nine-man squad, having set things up as described in my article Massed Hunters (see the section on Marine assault). One play is on foot, the other in a hog with Stacker on the chain-gun.
Released May 5th 2011, gameplay recorded April 26th-28th 2011. Thanks to Louis Wu for the HBO download versions and the streaming version in the viewer.
00:02 (Sweep 1) Ok then, nine bozos ready for action. Three on foot who could start running for home at any moment, and six in hogs. I quickly get the hog guys dismounted - the hogs were positioned to make that easy. There's no need to draw on the spare weapons laid out just near the front hog; I'm going to stick with the plasma pistol and needler I'm already armed with. Nice combination for fun, though the needle bangs are definitely unpopular among the Marines who frequently get caught by them. But hey, that's their own fault!
00:13 Some of my initial plasma bounces off the Hunter's shield and heads skyward, and he sends a shot back my way. I tag him in return. The Marines have been alerted by now and they're starting to advance, heading for home. Stacker takes a nasty blast but continues on. The frontmost Marine doesn't fare so well. Too dumb to wait for support, he take two plasma balls from the Jackals and then gets knocked their way by a Hunter swipe. Shortly after I finish off the Hunter, the Marine yells "You're all gonna die!" before falling dead, but I avenge him with a few grenades, sending the Jackals flying. Actually my frag went a bit high and far, but bounced back down the path so that was ok.
00:40 There's another Hunter a short way along and I send in a plasma ball then a bunch of needles. The needles mostly bounce off but at least they look pretty. My frag is a bit dangerous with Stacker so close to the Hunter, but I'd seen him dive away so I figured I might be able to just hurt the Hunter. No good though. I eventually smack him down with a right hook, but not before he's batted a few Marines away.
00:54 Up on the hill are three Grunts, and it's high time to pay them some attention before they lob any grenades down. I send up some needles but one of the Grunts is already coming down, having received a bit of plasma fire in the back from his buddy. That's some excellent grunty teamwork eh? The falling Grunt goes splat - "Wa-haaa!" - while my needles make the friendly firer go bang. The third Grunt dies too, though I'm not sure how. Probably my needles, but Marine fire is a possibility.
00:59 There are two Hunters ahead and I've already sent a plasma ball their way, but now it's time to pile in. The Marines are having a rough time of things, with Jackals to cope with as well. I do some nice work with needles, and for once the bangs don't even hurt the Marines. A frag sends a Jackal flying and a Marine says "Booooooom!" in appreciation. One Hunter goes down from my plasma fire, and I smack the other down from behind just after he bats a Marine across the sand. The final Jackal gets a plasma ball then needles - my favourite way of dispensing with beaky assailants.
01:23 Heading for the corner, there are still two Hunters left and I'm low on needles. You may've noticed some spare needlers along the way. I'd placed four full ones along the beach beforehand to try to ensure that I'd have a good supply of needles, but a couple are a bit far off the beaten track which wasn't ideal. There's one off to the right as I near the corner, but I elect not to divert to it, preferring to stick with the Marines. Otherwise they might be mostly gone by the time I'm attacking the Hunters.
01:28 I fire a clip of needles at the first Hunter that comes into view, but they mostly bounce off. Ok then, let's try a frag instead. That shakes him up, taking his attention off the Marines, and I finish him off with melee after backing off from his swipe.
01:39 Last Hunter now but he's blocked by a rock, scuppering any chance of long-range plasma fire. I get a tiny glimpse of him and send off the last of my needles, hoping they might home in as he moves out, but the Hunter goes left rather than right, so they never pick him up. When I finally get a proper sight of him I tag him on the back, then throw another plasma for good measure, catching his left foot. The first bang causes a bit of collateral damage - oops! - and the second takes him to death's door. A spot of plasma finishes the job. All covies killed; lost four Marines.
02:06 (Sweep 2) Ok, let's try that again but this time whizzing around in a Warthog like a madman. This is excellent fun, part of the challenge being to avoid all the Marines running about! I get the first four hog Marines out, then drive into battle with Stacker on the chain-gun.
02:20 I make the Hunter jump aside before he gets a shot off, then I curve around for another approach as a plasma ball sails into the water from a nearby Jackal. SPLOOSH! Stacker's already getting into his work: "Nice and smooth now!". I take a route back to the starting point and curve around to make the ex-gunner of the rear hog dive closer to home, to try and encourage him to run. My save wasn't perfect and he often stays behind. Incidentally, something else you can do here is drive straight into the hogs, sending them flying.
02:39 Heading back to the action, the first Hunter is now down. I get a nice jump off the rise in the ground and line myself up for what's coming next. Approaching the hill path, the yellow-shielded Jackal spots me and does some pointing, then gets comically splatted in a lovely shower of purple. Ah, that felt good. There's a brief glimpse of a blue shield - the other Jackal is still active - but I'm straight past and up the path for a big jump, eliciting a whoop from Stacker: "Yee-hah!".
02:53 I circle back around and make a Hunter jump, and amusingly he catches a plasma ball in the side. I splat the Jackal who fired it then swerve back towards the Hunters, taking a nasty blast in the front. That sort of blast can send the front up and cause you to do a spectacular reverse somersault, but in this case the nose doesn't go up far.
03:05 I elect to head back along the Grunt hill to check the situation. Just as I do so, a Grunt dies from a nasty fall: "Waaaah!". Dear me, those little fellas just can't seem to stay on top of that hill! There's a Hunter giving a few Marines a hard time and I curve in to the hillside to give him closer attention. I mostly like to keep the hog going at close to full speed which makes for good fun, but here I could easily have ended up mowing down some friendlies, so I briefly slow down. A Grunt has thrown a grenade - "Down in front!" - but we avoid it and Stacker finishes the Hunter off before the bang.
03:17 Curving left into the sea to head back towards the corner, there's another grunty grenade on the way - "Heads up!" - but Stacker's chain-gunning takes care of what was probably the thrower. Another Grunt too, moments later. By now I'm well on course towards a Jackal. An AR round makes him stagger which keeps him in place for a moment, and I plow into him to the appreciation of my passenger: "Well that's one way to save ammo".
03:28 Still four Hunters left, but as I head around the corner Stacker takes another down. In the remaining cluster of three a further Hunter goes down just afterwards, either from the chain-gun or AR fire. I drive back and forth a little, giving Stacker more time to work the gun. Another goes down from gunfire but the final Hunter gets clipped by the hog. Not really intentional - I prefer to make them jump so the action continues longer - but I was trying to stay clear of a Marine running in from the left. Still, it's a nice enough ending. All covies killed, and no Marine casualties! The only hiccup is that one of those two Marines near the back of the rear hog stayed put (I returned afterwards to check), so the actual attack was only an eight man job. Unless you count moral support. I mean, that ninth guy must've been rooting for us, right?
Closing remarks With these Marine assaults I used Normal partly because you get nine Marines rather than only seven, but also because it gives them a much fairer chance of surviving. In both of the sweeps, I was playing for fun rather than trying to be as lethal as possible. If I was playing more seriously I would've gone in a lot harder but the Marines wouldn't have figured into the action so much. I was more interested in having a good time with them and getting fun footage.
When it comes to fun, whizzing around in a hog sure qualifies! That hog jump off the top of the hill path is especially worth a go - including the bit where you hopefully smash into one or more Jackals on the way. Once I realized it could be done, it became a required ingredient for my movie play. Don't try to stay on the path too long, or you tend to end up hitting the hillside or doing a bit of a nosedive. Took me a while to get the knack.
In setting up this save, I'd actually been trying to get the six Hunters separated out to be encountered one at a time, but that got scuppered by the Hunters' tendency to group together. By the time I'd completed the save, Hunters had moved together to form pairs in two places. Only the first and second Hunters were sufficiently isolated to remain alone. The fighting turned out fine though.
I still wish I'd placed my spare needlers better near the far corner. Actually I later tried to re-do the save (starting from an advanced stage which I'd kept a copy of) so that I not only had better and more frequent spare needlers but also some other spares. However, I forgot to leave enough of a gap between the front two hogs for me to run through (when wanting to drive the first hog), which was clumsy. Plus one of the Jackals tended to be way off to the left of the hill path, which wasn't ideal. So I stuck with the original save.