Plasma cannon jamboree
Posted July 6th 2008
Want a collection of 60+ plasma cannons in The Covenant? Bad Cyborg can fix you up! Start by using the coastal hornet trick to get a hornet that can go places you wouldn't normally be able to reach. Preferably use Easy and have the Cowbell skull on.
As described in that hornet trick article, you can use the 'canyon gouge' to access the coastline that leads along to the third tower. Use the gouge and head over the snow towards the two Elite Phantoms battling indestructible Banshees. The nearest Phantom is very near the second tower. Land there, dismount, and move near the plasma cannon on the Phantom's right side. It's on a small platform which is fairly close to the ground. If you stand under the platform, you'll probably be able to jump up so you're momentarily behind the cannon (the platform is insubstantial - you can pass through it), allowing you to hit RB to man it. If you then rip it off, you'll find that you fall back down to the ground holding the cannon, yet the ship still has one there, as if it instantly grew a new one! If you drop your cannon, you can thus do the whole thing again. You can rip off cannon after cannon, indefinitely.
First time I did this, I ended up with over 60 scattered around on the ground. I kept going but realized that the game was gradually removing them. I'm not sure exactly how many you can get; I'll leave that to folk who are really dedicated about collecting stuff. I imagine it'll help if you try to keep the collection in sight at all times, to discourage the game from removing any.
Moving the Phantom to make things easier
Now, I said that you'd probably be able to jump up so you end up behind the cannon. In fact the Phantom drifts around a bit and you may find that the cannon is a bit too high or is uncomfortably close to the edge of the tower. No problem! It turns out that you can actually move the Phantom by rocketing or pushing it with the Hornet! That includes not just moving it around horizontally, but also vertically, though that takes more effort. As such, you can nudge into a position that makes cannon access easier if needed.
Moving to another location entirely
If you like, you can even move the Phantom to a completely different location, for example to the snowy ground you flew across. That's a nice location actually; lots of space and it won't take you long to get it there. See where else you can take it. I may talk more about Phantom moving in a latter article, but I'll just mention for now that I was able to get it down to the beach where I left a load of Marines. Moving a Phantom is fairly slow work, and it's advisable to be using Easy so you can survive any attacking Banshees without much trouble.
Make sure to read this subsection if you want to collect cannons speedily!
To begin with, my routine for ripping off each cannon was fairly laborious. Run under the cannon platform, turn around, hit the jump button to end up behind the cannon, hit RB to man it, hit B to rip it off, move somewhere and hit Y to drop it. If you're happy to let cannons get dropped just in front of the platform however, the routine becomes simpler. Jump up, hit RB, then B then Y.
But after a while I realized you can go one better. After hitting B to rip off a cannon, hit RB quickly enough (but not too quick) and you'll man the 'new' cannon, automatically dropping the one you ripped off. That saves you having to manually drop the cannon and then jump back up again. As such, the routine becomes a simple repeat of "B then RB". With this method you can rip cannons off at a rate of about 1 per second if you get your timing right.
However, just when I was doing my last bit of play prior to finishing this article (after getting my 360 back from repairs), I found yet another improvement, giving my speediest collection method yet. Having manned a cannon, press B and then instantly press and hold RB (you can release B if you like, or keep it held down, whichever you prefer). The cannon gets thrown forward and you're now manning a new cannon. Release any buttons still down and you can start again. With this method you can collect at a rate of around 90 per minute if you get the knack going really well. Make sure you don't release RB fractionally soon, or you'll step back from the cannon.
Finally, a general remark. If you've moved the Phantom so it's down on some ground, you'll never need to jump up to man the cannon.
What to do with your cannon collection?
What can you actually do with a cannon collection, other than gaze lovingly at it? Well, not a great deal perhaps, but the obvious thing is to rocket or grenade them. If you dropped them all in one very small pile, you'll see them fountain up quite impressively, especially if you've got the Cowbell skull on., which is why I recommended you have that skull on. Looks particularly impressive if you've been doing your collecting on snowy ground. See those cannons scatter!