Halo Wars

An example of battle: How to down a Scarab Tank

So you’ve emptied out a Covenant hidey-hole, and everything’s going swimmingly, when this clankalicious prick emerges from a bunker. It’s a Scarab. And, boy, it’s pissed off. So we surround it. A double tap of the A button directs every last Scorpion we’ve got to surround it.

“That’s new…and scary,” says your AI assistant, Serena, hinting that this is the Scarab’s first appearance. The metallic debutante vomits out a green laser as an introduction. It blows the nearby Scorpions to smithereens in milliseconds. This is not good news. Time to head into our menu and pick out some heavy artillery, and super-fast too. Orbital Bombardment sounds like just the ticket. Obviously, you only get so many of these moves, and often you’ll have to research them. Tap the d-pad for research bases.

We fire death down on the enemy. What you can’t appreciate in the screenshot is the smooth animation, as the Scarab struggles to regain its footing after absorbing a blow. As the Scarab struggles to retreat, your men are able to move on it. By holding down the A button, you can ‘paint’ around the units you wish to control, then send them on in.

The scale of the battles is every bit as exhilarating as its FPS counterparts. The Scarab impotently claws and scowls but by this point it’s fighting a losing battle. With a direct hit, the Scarab explodes in style, and the path is clear for our heroes to advance. “Enemy destroyed,” says Serena, with the deadpan pitch of a railway worker. The Scarab is history, but not before claiming heavy casualties. Make sure you’ve invested in research and development, or you may find your forces cut short.