Briefly Noted

A few things I saw that didn't each warrant their own post.
  • I have every headshot-related achievement in Halo 3 and ODST. Let's just say nothing wants to be anywhere near me without a shield, if I have any headshot weapon. Indeed, Jackals don't even want to be near me then; I consider myself off my game if I can't do the "shoot the hand through the gap in the shield then headshot when they flinch" maneuver in one try per Jackal.

    But apparently people don't like the combo of plasma-pistol overcharge + automagnum headshot, they call it a "Noob combo"? Now I could see the trouble in Halo 2, in that you could just charge your pistol all day long and then zap a guy, but you'll burn it out in 3, so you have to learn timing.

    I vote we rename the thing the New Mombasa Drill, since ODST has an achievement for using it (which I have)—"drill" because of the Mozambique Drill, which is where you shoot an attacker twice in center of mass then once in the head.

  • It occurs to me that the plasma weapons in Halo are, basically, ball lightning combined with a railgun. It's stated right in the games (Kat's complaints about what they do to computers, for instance) that their primary damage is electrical, and their power is given in watts. I'd say they're among the most believable plasma weapons in anything (many hard SF afficionados discount plasma weaponry completely, there being a number of difficulties in using most forms of plasma as a projectile).

  • So I'm not a fan of the anime and manga "Otogi Zoshi"; it has a ridiculous demythologizing, "13th Warrior" take on Japanese legends that annoys me. But also, the special features on one of the DVDs had a history professor from Tokyo University—Japan's Harvard—completely embarrassing himself about the samurai.

    See, the guy said that the main way you died in warfare in the Heian age was being run down by horses—he apparently thinks samurai just rode their horses back and forth, crushing guys. It is to laugh. Actually, professor, the Heian military, like subsequent Japanese military, had sufficient infantry cohesion to stop a cavalry charge. Probably. Because they never faced cavalry charges—Japanese cavalry, like all Asian cavalry, was light, not heavy, and therefore didn't charge, but made multiple successive sweeps, since it was an archer-force, not a lancer-force. The principal way you died on a Heian battlefield was being shot; later, a Warring States era scholar estimated that about 70% of casualties were from arrows.

    After a few sweeps, of course, the samurai would dismount and duel each other—they were light cavalry that doubled as heavy mounted infantry.

    We'll be charitable and just assume this guy didn't know any military historians.

  • Speaking of cavalry, why do we call tanks cavalry? Plainly tanks are armored mobile artillery, and air forces are cavalry. I'd say fighters are light and bombers and attack craft are heavy, though of course the analogy's not perfect.

    Similarly modern armies are basically "mounted" infantry (currently called "mobile"), though they have a lot more mounts than just horses. One seldom has to march hundreds of miles on foot in modern war; marching was the backbone of military training in previous eras.

  • The other thing I enjoy doing in Halo, aside from headshots, is rocket launchers. I actually learned my amazing skills in Red Faction's multiplayer on the PS2—I'm the only person I've seen play that game who doesn't view the rocket launcher chiefly as a digging tool (for those who don't know, one of the game's major selling points was you could dig through the walls with the explosives).

    But I learned to use the rocket launcher when my sister and I would play a deadly game of cat and also-cat in the multiplayer, waiting for her to get far closer than would usually be safe to use a rocket, then jump back and shoot her. The trick with rockets—something no AI opponent and 90% of human ones seem to catch on to—is that you don't aim for the opponent. You might miss or get dodged, and you might damage something behind them that you need (a major factor in Halo where your allies are actually helpful, as long as they're not driving). No, see, you aim at the ground between the opponent's feet. Splash damage will probably do them even if they start to dodge.

1 comment:

penny farthing said...

You rocket-whore! And I love New Mombasa Drill.

One time in Red Faction, Jay and I were playing that level with the two big forts, and he had the X-Ray gun, and I had the rocket launcher. I dug a tunnel all the way around the canyon, inside the cliff, and got in his fort and blew him up. He had no idea what I was doing or where I was, because I kept looking at the ceiling in order to give him no clues on my half of the screen. He thought I was stuck and should blow myself up.

Good times.