Halo 2 is one of the more technical speedruns in the series. With the discovery of glitches such as sword flying and sword canceling, movement in Halo 2 is much faster compared to other Halo titles. However, glitches can also work against you, as there are several run-killing glitches that can occur.
Legendary is an absolutely brutal category. It is highly recommended that you be familiar with both the speedrunning tricks and the main route, as well as having a general knowledge of the game, before attempting to run it.
Halo 2 has multiple versions, which include original, vista, and MCC. Given the amount of changes made in MCC and how different it is from the two, it is considered a different game by the community and thus has its own separate category.
The differences between original and Vista are noteworthy, but not enough to call them different games. The faster version is the original. It is suggested you run this on version 1.0 on the Xbox 360 console, as this will allow swordflying and give you better overall performance compared to the Original Xbox console (if you are running patched, simply clear your consoles cache and it should revert to 1.0). Halo 2 Vista (the PC version) is slower due to sword flying being patched, the addition of loading screens between levels, and a slightly modified physics engine.
It's also worth noting that there are some slight differences across languages. Since certain events in-game are scripted to happen at the end of character dialogue, these events vary in duration.The Japanese version is currently considered the fastest, though the timesave compared to English is only around ten to fifteen seconds across the whole run.
Halo Runs record page: http://www.haloruns.com/records?lb=200 (click the timestamps for video links)
Looking for Halo 2 MCC?
- The Armory
- Cairo Station
- The Arbiter
- Delta Halo
- Sacred Icon
- Quarantine Zone
- High Charity
- The Great Journey
Sword flying lets you lunge towards enemies across long distances. Unlike the normal limit on the sword's lunge distance, sword flying allows you to cover vast distances at high speed.
- First off, you need to make sure you have two things: The Xbox Live update NOT installed and a sword with another weapon of your choice.
- Sword flying is a simple three button combination that is quick to master because it has a rhythm to it. The button combination goes in this order: (Y) (X) (Right Trigger) The first two are hit in rapid succession (usually by the sliding of your thumb) while the third button is hit slower than the first two are spaced apart. Watch the video to hear how it sounds.
- Your reticule must be red for this to work on your gun when you switch to your sword (by pressing Y). You also don't have to be zoomed if if you don't want to, although in most cases you will be zoomed in.
Most people find it easier to swordfly with an Xbox 360 controller than with an Xbox controller. To swordfly with one hand, slide your thumb from Y to X, then press R. Alternatively, you can swordfly while clawing by rolling your index finger from Y to X, then pressing R with your middle finger. This allows you to aim while preparing to swordfly. If an enemy is standing still, you will be able to swordfly over its head and past it. If it is moving, the swordfly will stop when it is above the enemy's original position.
The Rocket Launcher is one of the most useful weapons to swordfly with, because it has a large reticule and 2x scope, and turns red at fairly long distances without much aiming.
Sword canceling is a movement technique. In its simplest form, sword canceling is the ability to "cancel" the effects of a sword lunge. If you press R to lunge, you can press X (Reload) to cancel the impact of the lunge any time before it hits.
This can be utilized to travel long distances in tight quarters. To swordcancel past an enemy, press R+X+A simultaneously (Fire+Reload+Jump). R+X will perform the sword cancel, and jumping will make you rise in height as you lunge, thus letting you fly through the air.
To swordcancel over an enemy's head, press A, then R+X+A simultaneously. The first jump gives you height to get over the enemy.
While boosting in a Ghost, hold A to lean back and raise the nose of the Ghost. This lets you turn more sharply while maintaining your boost. It also makes you prone to flipping, so be careful.
Holding A can also be useful for getting enough air on certain jumps.
Superbouncing is a variation of a pressure launch. If the player model intersects with the geometry, the game will apply a large amount of force to try and push the player out. By going into auto-crouch, you can glitch the player model. Then when you jump on a polygon seam, you will intersect, and the game will push you out. Superbounces differ between PAL and NTSC, because different framerates means different intervals for collision detection.
The only place superbouncing is useful is as a method to board the Scarab early in Metropolis.
Button Combo: B-X, X-B, Y-B, B-Y Keep your crosshair over the enemy so you fly past him (crouching helps a lot). It can be timed perfectly but it may be easier to spam the required buttons.
By pressing Fire twice and then Reload (RRX), you can fire two Battle Rifle bursts in quick succession. The timing of X is around when the last bullet of the first burst is fired. After the doubleshot, the BR will reload itself, unless you perform another doubleshot.
You can chain together doubleshots by tapping YY to switch away and back to the BR. With the right timing, you can double shot until the clip is empty - RRX YY RRX YY etc.
Fire a plasma pistol overcharge. When the overheat bar is at halfway, quickly tap L twice. You should throw two grenades in quick succession. This is useful for some launches, such as the Delta Halo Ghost launch.
You can also double nade with a beam rifle overheat, but the timing is different.
In addition to the BLB method from Halo CE, you can also do BXB or BYB to melee twice in quick succession. It's not as useful for speedrunning due to the low melee damage of Halo 2 1.0.
After a certain point in the reload animation (usually after the clip is in the weapon), the weapon counts as reloaded. At this point, you can cancel the rest of the animation by pressing YY to quickly switch away and back to your main weapon. If you are only carrying one weapon, you can melee and hit X to cancel the melee. When using a scoped weapon, it can be faster to zoom out by pressing YY. You can press YY after a sword lunge as well.
In Halo 2, some enemy types were added.
Ultra Elites are known for their raw firepower and strong shielding. They will usually pull out a sword when you close the distance, this is a good opportunity for a backsmack or grenade stick. However, be very careful of dual-wielding Ultras. They are some of the most dangerous enemies in the game.
Jetpack Elites are usually dual-wielding Plasma Rifles. Generally, you want to home in on them with a plasma pistol overcharge or snipe them with a ranged weapon. Their shields are weaker than normal Elites, a sword lunge will do them in if you can close the distance.
Stealth Elites have the weakest shields of any Elite but this is compensated for by their fast shield recharge rate, which makes them extremely durable. Like all cloaked enemies, they do not turn the reticule red. In all instances upon spawning, they will be briefly uncloaked so you can get a sword fly off of them. You can force them to uncloak by shooting them. A sniper weapon has enough stunning power to keep them immobilized. Melee attacks are also a good way of de-camoing enemies, as well as stunning them. A sword lunge will either kill them or remove their shield completely. Getting them caught in a grenade explosion can expose them.
Zealots are rare in Halo 2, and only appear in a few locations, such as Hangar B in Cairo Station, the tunnels on Metropolis, and the last enemy on Gravemind. They always spawn with swords but their shield isn't different from a blue Elite.
Infection Forms in Halo 2 do a lot of damage, especially against unshielded players. Don't try to melee them with anything but the sword, as your melee range is nerfed from Halo: Combat Evolved. They can glitch out and refuse to pop when they hit you. This wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that they do damage per frame - aka one-shot you. It's advisable to keep distance.
Carrier Forms are also very damaging, although their movement has been nerfed from Halo: Combat Evolved. Also, they deploy fewer Infection Forms than before. A fast killing method is to make it fall down and stick it with a plasma grenade, but there's a small window of time for the stick.
Combat Form whips have weird properties, sometimes they can gain the ability to assassinate you. Again, keep distance. You should destroy dead Combat Forms so they won't be re-animated by Infection Forms.
Heretic Grunts almost always have Needlers. Their projectiles can easily hit you, even when you're behind cover, due to the large hitboxes.
Fuel Rod Grunts can hit you through thin walls, again due to the hitboxes. Fortunately, there is no longer a kill switch on their weapons.
Jackal Snipers are MLG on Legendary. They can easily snipe you out of your seat when driving a Ghost or Hog.
Most Brutes can tear through shields in an instant with their weapons. Best to keep your distance. Having a sword or brute shot can make a huge difference in close encounters. Stick them when you can, especially when they berserk. Dual-wielding Needlers is also efficient though rarely used.
On Legendary, any encounter with a shotgun wielding enemy will prove fatal, they have extraordinary range with their shots.