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The Pillar of Autumn

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Walkthrough and Guide

by CMBF  

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The Pillar of Autumn - Part 1

--== Enemy Units ==--

(1) Grunts -- Low-level blue and red grunts; grenades and plasma pistols.
(2) Elite -- Medium-level blues; effectively utilize cover / Plasma SMG.

--== ==--

The main objective for this opening mission is to get used to being awake again, and to get off of the ship without dying...  Because if you were paying attention to the bloody story, the ship is presently under attack by an almost overwhelming Covenant force and has been boarded -- the idea appearing to be that the enemy hopes to capture the ship as intact as they can manage!

-- Our Main Objective? -- Find Captain Keyes on the PoA Bridge

After you pass the abbreviated tests to configure your Armor but BEFORE you leave the Cryo-Chamber, head to the back of the room behind the boxes and look on the floor for a white ball-shaped lump that looks suspiciously like a human skull... It IS a human skull!  And in fact it is the very first collection item in the game, your first Skull, and later on when you replay the game or some levels it might be on of the special powers that you choose to activate on the configuration menu!

This particular skull is called  The Iron Skull, and its special powers are explained in its description:

"Death carries a heavy price.  Dying in co-op resets you at your last saved checkpoint.  Dying solo restarts the level."

So the effect of this Skull is actually negative --  when you die on single player the whole level is restarted costing you all of your progress!  When you die in cooperative play, then the level reverts to the your last save instead of just re-spawning you wherever your teammate is! 

You might be asking yourself what the bloody point to this is, if all the Skull does is punish your failures, but later you will appreciate the different powers of the skulls when you play with them enabled...  You may not want to use all of them -- this one in particular might be one you never use, but claiming it?  That is a good idea!

Your first Skull - Iron Skull

The Iron Skull

--== About Battle Skulls in Halo: CEA ==--

While we are on the subject of Skulls -- if you played the previous games (or the later games, whatever, for the purposes of this guide we will consider them to be the previous games) you might recall that in them you had to actively pick up the Skulls by holding down the 'X' Button.  In Halo 2 you were not prompted to do this, you had to do it on your own.  In Halo 3 you were prompted, and in both of those games once it was picked up the Skull could be used as a weapon for melee damage breifly if you wanted to.

None of that is true in Halo: CEA.  First, you do not have to hit any buttons, you just walk into a Skull and it gets collected.  You never actually pick up the Skulls in this game, so you cannot use them as a weapon.  Finally if you are playing the game using the original graphics engine, then you failed to find the first Skull and are wondering WTF?!  To be clear here -- you CANNOT collect (or even see) the Skulls under the original graphical engine.  You MUST be using the enhanced engine to see and collect the skills or they simply do not appear. 

If you are re-playing a level and you already have collected that Skull it is now gone from the game and you will not see it again because you cannot collect them twice.  This includes replays -- once you have collected it, you have collected it!

If you are playing cooperatively with another gamer online, you will still not see any Skull that you have already collected, but they will - until they collect it themselves - but if you are playing with them in local Split-Screen Mode, they will NOT see any Skull that you can not see!   What that means is that they will have to come back alone or with someone else who has not collected that Skull in order to collect it...

Only one of you needs to collect it -- in fact only one of you CAN collect it -- in Split-Screen Mode for both of you to obtain it.

--== The End of the 'About Battle Skulls in Halo: CEA' Section ==--

Collecting the first Skull (The Iron Skull) unlocks the first Achievement in the game: "Looks Like an Oddball"{ (10 GS) for what?  For collecting your first Skull, that is what!

Now we set out to accomplish our first objective -- report to the Captain -- by following the only path that we can -- which will be through hatches whose lock plate glows green rather than red (red being locked) until we reach a soldier who will lead us to the Bridge...

--== The Bridge and Captain Keyes ==--

Since we do not have a weapon this first part of the adventure will be about not getting shot or killed, and using the different moves like jump, duck, open door -- which is the whole point here, along with the realization that the NPC Marines around you can fight (and die) for you!  That is actually an important lesson for you to learn because allowing the Marines to battle for you will, later on, be an important thing for you to do when you are playing on the harder difficulties -- believe it!

As you enter the Bridge, but before you move over to the Captain and trigger the next CS, look on the left and you will see an empty chair before a terminal in the left wall.  Walk over to the terminal and, when you are prompted to, hit the X button to engage the Terminal and unlock your second Achievement in the game: "What Have We Here?" (10 GS) which is for reading the first terminal. 

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