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. Glitches can also work against you however, as there are several run-killing glitches that can occur.
Legendary is an absolutely brutal category. It is highly recommended that you become familiar with both the speedrunning tricks and the main route, as well as having a general knowledge of the game, before attempting to run Legendary.
Halo 2 has multiple versions including the original Halo 2 (2004, Xbox), Halo 2 vista (2004, PC), and Halo 2 re-released as part of the Master Chief Collection (MCC) (2014, Xbox One). Given the number of changes made in MCC and how different it is from the other two releases, it is considered a different game by the community and thus has its own separate leaderboard.
The differences between original and Vista are noteworthy, but not significant enough for them to be classified as different games for the purposes of speedrunning. The faster version of the two is the original 2004 release for the Xbox. 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 out, the addition of loading screens between levels, and a change in tickrate that affects the 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, faster dialogue completion allow dialogue dependent events to save time over the English version. The Japanese version is currently considered the fastest, though the timesave compared to English is only around five to ten seconds across the whole run, with the potential to be completely nullified as more skips are found. Halo Runs record page: http://www.haloruns.com/records?lb=200 (click the timestamps for video links)
Looking for Halo 2 MCC?
- 1 Level Strategies
- 2 Movement Techniques
- 3 Combat Techniques
- 4 Enemies
- The Armory
- Cairo Station
- The Arbiter
- Delta Halo
- Sacred Icon
- Quarantine Zone
- High Charity
- The Great Journey
- 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 sword fly with an Xbox 360 controller than with an Original Xbox controller. To sword fly with one hand, slide your thumb from Y to X, then press R. Alternatively, you can sword fly 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 sword fly, but it can be very awkward or even uncomfortable to claw for a sword fly. It is highly recommended that you learn to sword fly one-handed. This will allow you to continue moving while preparing to do your sword fly.
If an enemy is standing still, you will be able to swordfly over its head and past it. If the enemy moves horizontally by a substantial amount away from it's initial position, or if you are aiming too far to the left or right after executing the fly, the swordfly will abruptly stop at or above the enemy's original position.
The Rocket Launcher is one of the most useful weapons to sword fly with because it has a large reticule, a 2x scope, and turns red at fairly long distances with minimal aiming and even without zooming in. The needler is nearly the same as the rocket in this regard, though you cannot zoom in for a sword fly with the needler.
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.
Butterflying is currently used in two levels in the speedrun and has a slightly different method for each. In it's purest form butterflying allows you to gain momentum upwards while underneath an enemy by melee-ing an enemy but canceling your melee before it connects (repeat ad-nauseam). You're going to want to start by learning the basic button combo method used for prison skip on Gravemind.
To execute this trick, you simply switch between pressing A+B with your right hand and X with your left hand at a somewhat fast pace while looking upwards at the enemy above you. This allows you to jump and melee upwards at the same time without killing the enemy on top of your head.
Ghosting (also referred to as box humping) is a relatively new trick to the speedrun and is used several times throughout. By walking back and forth into an object you can displace your hitbox and walk through walls. This is similar to the hitbox displacement utilized for superbouncing. The main visual cue for judging your hitbox displacement is a slight screenshake after hitting the object or wall your are displacing off of. It isn't the end of the world if you miss a couple screenshakes here and there, but it is definitely something you should practice.
One major issue with ghosting is that if you do not get enough hitbox displacement, you risk dying when in solid space as the game is programmed to kill the player if they find themselves out of bounds. To avoid dying, it is recommended you attempt to get at least 10-14 or more screenshakes for any given ghost apart from Hangar 2 skip. The first ghost in the game on Cairo station is a major skip and is also one of the easiest ghosts in the game, it has no enemies and is the perfect place to start learning.
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.
Melee Boosting is similar to sword cancelling but is accomplished without a sword. The goal is to melee at an enemy, cancel the melee damage just like you would during a sword cancel and then keep your momentum and fly past the enemy. If you combine the melee and cancel with a well timed jump, you can get some significant distance. Elites are the easiest to melee boost off of because of their height.
Button Combo: B-X and 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.
While boosting in a Ghost, hold A to lean back and raise the nose of the Ghost. This allows you to turn more sharply while boosting but slows you down significantly. It also makes you prone to flipping, so be careful.
Holding A can also be useful for getting enough air on certain jumps and grenade launches.
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, there are some enemy types worth taking into consideration.
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 and one body shot from a snipe followed by a couple battle rifle shots will also do the trick.
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. It should also be noted that the stealth elites in the camo room on Regret have an absurd amount of health. The sword elite in that area does not share this trait.
Ultra Elites are known for their raw firepower and the highest elite shielding in the game. They will usually enrage when you close the distance or stand behind them, which causes them to pull out their energy sword, 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.
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. A good way to get rid of them is by using nades, sentinel beam, or your sword melee. Infection forms also avoid being nearby combat forms that are actively agrod to you, so they're not usually an issue during close quarters combat until the enemy dies. They can also 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 - In short, they absolutely melt your shields and health, so it's advisable to keep your distance and take care of them as quickly as possible.
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 Forms have melees with weird hitboxes, so sometimes they can gain the ability to assassinate you at absurd angles. Again, keep your distance. You should also destroy dead combat Forms so they won't be re-animated by Infection Forms, this is a key factor in Oracle lab fight and Sacred Icon end fight.
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. Fuel rod rounds from enemies will also curve towards the player, though this is mainly only an issue during the final gondola ride on Regret. While there is no longer a kill switch on their weapons like in CE, it is common for them to sometimes shoot their fuel rod once they die. This can be fatal when killing them at close range.
Jackal Snipers are very strong on Legendary. They can easily snipe you out of your seat when driving a Ghost or Hog. They do not miss very often.
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 has an extremely high chance to prove fatal, they have extraordinary range with their shots.