I love Halo. I love everything about it. I’ve recently played through Halo 4 on PC thanks to its recent addition to the MCC and I’m still working through the mountain of Achievements that sit before me before I can nail that 100% completion rating. Part of hitting that 100% is speedrunning each Halo game (which I’ve done), but one will always stand out as the pinnacle, and that for me is Halo 2. Not only is it the Halo game with the best movement and tricks, there’s a speedrun from Awesome Games Done Quick 2014 that, in my mind, is one of the best speedrunning videos.
For those that don’t know him, meet MisterMonopoli. This bloke has been speedrunning Halo 2 for a long time. He might not hold the world record right now, but he is one of the best Halo 2 runners in the world, currently sitting in the top 10 for Halo 2 Legendary – which is certainly considered the most difficult version of Legendary in any Halo title. Here’s his run from seven years ago.
What really makes this speedrun so great, at least in my books, is not only the skill on display but the quality of narration. MisterMonopoli manages to nail some incredibly difficult tricks all while calmly and concisely telling the viewers what he’s doing, why it works, and why some other philosophies and ideologies don’t work. For instance, he explains dying a few times to nail a tough trick versus fighting through a section the “normal” way.
The core trick on display, sword flying, is still utilized today. This is by far one of the most impressive feats. It works by quickly swapping weapons from a long-ranged gun like the Battle Rifle to the sword while aiming at an enemy (this turns the reticle red). For a couple of frames, the red reticle of the Battle Rifle changes to a red reticle of the sword, and by pulling the right trigger, the player can sword lunge. This makes the Chief sword lunge huge distances as the game thinks he’s able to lunge at an enemy a mile away. It’s always so cool to see Master Chief flying over the terrain. This button press isn’t easy by any means, requiring precise timing and being in line-of-sight of enemies, which on Legendary can often mean death in seconds.
There are other tricks on display, and while they still work, runners have found faster ways to move through levels. One example is the prison skip in Gravemind. This trick requires baiting a Brute into an elevator so it’s on your head, going down the elevator until you hit the loading zone, and then melee-cancelling the Brute while jumping, which causes you to float back up the elevator, circumventing the entire encounter.
This is one of my weird comfort YouTube videos that I always get a kick out of watching. When I was trying to complete Halo 2 in under 3 hours on Legendary (a simple task for speedrunners), I referred to this run quite a bit as well as other modern strategies. Trying to speedrun a game like Halo 2 certainly puts into perspective just how good these players are at what they do.
Do you have any favorite speedruns or games you love to speedrun? I often find that my favorites are those games I’m most familiar with. I know Metroid speedruns are popular, but having never gotten into them, they just don’t click with me.