units

Members of each species in the Halo series of games.

Gate secured

Gate secured

yep that's a stargate behind me

Machine Covenant

Machine Covenant

Sentinels teamed with the Chief in a Scorpion Smiling

Last stand on 343 GS

Last stand on 343 GS

the survivors on this level

WTF?!

WTF?!

i was just messing around with the camera when i saw this at the end of the video o.o
and the reason why it looks like this is that the Chief was pulling out the memory chip from his helmet not because my graphic sucks Sticking out tongue

IDk

IDk

Halo 3 Guide

With the release of Halo 3, Bungie fans will be looking at new vehicles, new weapons, new maps, and new opponents. To kick off the promotional campaign for the game, the website Halo3.com launched late last month, with some preliminary information on Halo 3's characters, weapons, and vehicles, as well as a summary of the story to date.

Of course, like Halo2.com before it, the site is flash-based, graphics-intensive, and cannot be searched or commented on. So I've transcribed the text and created a Halo 3 Guide, not unlike our old Halo 2 Guide, to be the starting point for a database of items in Halo 3.

For each of these items, I have provided the original text, plus my own annotations.

Here's what we have so far:

The Story So Far (Halo 1 and Halo 2 spoilers, as well as Halo 3 potential spoilers)

Covenant

It is worth noting here that the "Human" vs "Covenant" descriptions are no longer quite as helpful as they once were, as the Brute-dominated Covenant are still the enemies of humanity, while the Elites are now their allies. Here I am maintaining the old distinctions, so categories are based on species, not alliances.

Humans

Flood

Flood do not seem to have any vehicles or weapons, or indeed any technology, of their own, but are able to use what is available to them-- usually the technology belonging to their victims.

Flood

The Flood (sometimes called The Parasite by the Covenant) is a virulent, parasitic lifeform that thrives by consuming other sentient life of sufficient biomass.

The Flood appears in three primary forms: Infection, Combat, and Carrier, but also can evolve into the 'Gravemind' form that appears to act as a kind of hive-mind for the entire species. All of these forms have an attraction to any calcium-based life form of sufficient mass to accommodate them and will try to attack/infect any they encounter.

NOTE: Calcium? Perhaps they meant "carbon".

Gravemind

When the virulent Flood organism reaches a certain critical mass, it develops a centralized intelligence, which calls itself a Gravemind. This is the Flood personified, and it carries with it the genetic memory of millenia of slumber.

The thing was stopped once before by the Forerunner activation of the Halo weapon, but it will not be stopped this time by a weak alliance of ruined humanity or the deluded obsessions of the Prophet of Truth. The Gravemind intends to achieve its ultimate purpose - to consume and absorb every thinking creature in the Galaxy.

NOTE: A lot to chew on here. That any Flood unit can become a Gravemind under the right circumstances, also repeated in the information about general Flood units, seems to bolster the long-held theory that the Keyes Blob from Halo 1 was a proto-Gravemind. It is suggested here that each such individual contains the entire memory and experiences of the Flood as a species, which one presumes includes the memories absorbed from infected species, as we see Gravemind do so with the Prophet of Regret in Halo 2.

The text here seems to state unequivocally that the only thing that has stopped the Flood in the past is Halo activation, and that the remaining conventional forces of the Covenant and Humanity, however arrayed, are not enough to effect a victory by other means. Either a third possibility exists, or we may end up spending a good deal of time in Halo 3 trying to achieve what we spend the last two games trying to prevent: the activation of the Halo installations.

Drones

Drones

Best considered a kind of airborne infantry, these flying insectile warriors occupy an unusual stratum in the Covenant hierarchy. Drones do not interact with other species except to trade and serve in a military capacity. Their ability to fight on the wing makes them an excellent strategic weapon against ground-based, largely bipedal opponents.

NOTE: This sounds more like an apology for how Drones have been implemented than anything else: they seem to operate entirely outside the troop hierarchy. They aren't affected by morale, don't cooperate with other units in groups. They're basically waves of enemies separate from other kinds of encounters, even when they occur in close proximity. At least they don't have snipers.

Grunts

Grunt Silhouette

The basic infantry unit of the Covenant, Grunts are dangerous in groups but present little threat individually. Tough, physically strong and capable with a wide range of Covenant hardware, they are a significant military force. However, their discipline is hierarchy reliant and based on the security that comes with strict leadership and strength of numbers. Leaderless, they present significantly less resistance.

NOTE: Again, not much new here. Grunts tend to retreat when their Elite commander is offed, but tend to regroup. Like the Jackal, the Grunt here is shown with a plasma pistol, but they've also been known to wield fuel rod guns and needlers.

Jackals

Jackal Silhouette

Excellent shots, the Jackals seem to be higher in Covenant status if not necessarily rank than the Grunts. They often will be found in defensive positions fighting from behind their distinctive energy sheilds. A well-used shield makes a Jackal a difficult target, but the notch they use to return fire provides a weak spot that can be exploited.

NOTE: It's already been mentioned by others that the Jackal silouhette at Halo3.com has a much thicker, more prominent beak than Jackals did in Halo 2, and more closely resembles one variation of Jackal seen in Halo 1. Whether this is indicative of another revision in the Jackal character design, or just an error when choosing assets for the site, is not generally known; at least one mistake was already discovered in the site material, when it described the pistol in Halo 3 as a zoomed M6D rather than the non-scoped M6G.

Additional information revealed from other sources, such as the Joyride site, that mentions Jackals as unique among the Covenant due to their mercenary nature, is not mentioned here.

Hunters

Hunter Silhouette

Hunters are incredibly dangerous foes, deployed more like equipment than soldiers. They are brought in by the Covenant for demolition or heavy defense, and always work in pairs. These massive creatures appear to be composed of multiple organisms that exist within the Hunter armor, creating a hive creature in bipedal form. Near-impenetrable armor and a devestating hand-held plasma weapon make Hunter pairs very problematic.

NOTE: Not much new here about Hunters. Gameplay-wise, these guys underwent a major overhaul between Halo 1 and Halo 2 that removed their extreme vulnerability to fire against the sensitive chinks in their armor. It seems reasonable to assume that graphically Bungie is pretty happy with their design at this point and that there won't be a major facelift-- nothing as radical, say, as the change in Jackals from Halo 1 to Halo 2.

Elites

Elite Silhouette

Formerly the ruling military class of the Covenant, the Elites are proud, storied fighters with a long and interesting history. Their recent split from the Covenant is based on differences in religious interpretation of the "Great Journey" but the schism runs deeper than that. The Elites have allied with their former Human foes in part because of a deep-seated resentment of the Prophet rule and in part because they actually understand the scale of the Flood problem.

NOTE: Within the context of Halo 3, we see the Arbiter come to a realization about the supposed "true nature" of the Great Journey, but he does not openly communicate this to other Elites. 343 Guilty Spark begins to tell the story at the end of the game. Combined with this text, it would appear that the bulk of the Elites now believe that either the Great Journey does not exist, or that it is not what the Prophets have said it is.

That there is a separate and deep-seated resentment of Prophet rule does support one of my own long-held theories, which is that the Prophets intentionally manipulated the Elites into believing they shared the same faith in order to win a respite in hostilities that they could not decisively win by force of arms. In that context, the overthrow of the Elites by others more firmly under the Prophets' control, in this case the Brutes, was not only inevitable but was likely planned from the very start.

Brutes

Brute Chief Silhouette

A shift in Covenant hierarchy after the Elite civil insurrection has put Brutes in a position of military command. Until recently the Brutes played second fiddle to the Elites. With their former superiors gone, the Brutes have wasted no time in applying their pack and Alpha male mentality to their Covenant role. They are powerful, dangerous, and prone to acts of berserker violence.

NOTE: One can almost read the bullet list that the marketing company was given to flesh out here: "alpha male" and "brute pack". Interesting how individual Prophets (Truth) and Elites (Arbiter) are given special treatment here, but no one Brute is singled out. Perhaps because whatever single leader the Brutes now have is a new character since Tartarus is dead.

One can only hope that gameplay-wise, the behavior of Brutes mimics what we see here; that they emerge from the shadow of the Elites.

The Arbiter

Arbiter Silhouette

This disgraced Covenant Commander was stripped of his rank and privilege and forced to don the ancient Armor of the Arbiter. Following this traditional Elite custom, a warrior is sent on a final suicide mission to claim great honor in death.

In the pursuit of this mission, the Arbiter discovered that the Covenant's Great Journey was a lie, and subsequently began a civil war that has shaken the foundations of the Covenant. The Arbiter's people, the Elites, have joined humanity's sturggle against the rest of the Covenant.

NOTE: No real clues here to whether the Arbiter will be playable or not in Halo 3. His inclusion as a playable character in Halo 2 was controversial, and Halo fans are broken into camps who would either like to see Arby return as a playable, or those who would rather spend as much quality time as possible with the Chief.

This would appear to be confirmation of a human-Elite alliance, only hinted at by the collaboration at the end of Halo 2 between Sgt. Johnson and Commander Keyes on one side and the Arbiter and the SpecOps Commander on the other. This explains the emphasis put on Brutes in Halo 3, as it seems Elites will no longer be among our targets.

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