Vehicle overloads, devious flag grabs, raging team mates as Scorpions were lost; Blood Gulch and its subsequent remakes taught us that team games never meant teamwork. They were bloody battles of who could acquire the most kills for ego satisfaction. Never mind your team going 2-0 on capture the flag; kills meant pride.
Blood Gulch; The First Stop
In Halo: Combat Evolved, Blood Gulch was predominantly a team-based, open field map, based in a sandy, savanna region enclosed in a canyon. This picturesque scene was soon ripped to shreds as tanks mounted on either side of the bases, warthog guns manned and a frantic rush to the centre ensured.
On offer, a rocket launcher that would annihilate any further vehicles and establish you as the top guy. Snipers lurked, ghosts splattered and those too eager for a piece of the action charged through teleports, only to be dispatched moments later in the bloodbath.
From the picture, you can see:
•Red and blue bases either side
•The coves to the left of either base
•The centre and respawn point for the Rocket Launcher
•The ridges in front of the respective coves, which provide good sniping spots
Coagulation; Keeping a Winning Formula
In a nutshell, Blood Gulch was pure mayhem and Coagulation followed in Halo 2. An almost exact replica of the original, Coagulation still resembled the expansive setting Blood Gulch was renowned for, consisting of only a few minor differences, which included:
•Basements in either base that held the banshees
•Gravity lifts within bases
•Subtle changes in the cave regions
•Differences in weapons to accommodate the Battle Rifle and Brute Shot.
Valhalla; A New Direction
Despite the differences, Coagulation still very much resembled Blood Gulch. Its spiritual successor, Valhalla, kept the similar style of open-space, vehicle heavy landscape which proved so popular but with a complete overhaul of setting, introducing a more alpine setting, with forerunner bases.
Gameplay dynamics changed quite a lot; as sniping became less efficient, mainly due to:
•A reduction in map size
•Numerous objects, trees and rocky outcrops to shelter.
A major difference was the central ridge zone on the hill. No longer did you have to snatch a ride off a Warthog or make a last minute ditch to get to the centre in good time for the Spartan Laser. Man Cannons propelled trigger-happy Spartans to the centre to join the assault, resulting in a more frenzied, high-action warzone.
Hemorrhage; The Closing Chapter?
The final instalment, Hemorrhage, was ushered into the Forge World of Halo:Reach. A return to the original maps, it was set on a grassier area with extra rocky segments and gloomy caves. The jet packs introduction in Halo:Reach made for some interesting sniping positions along the edges of the map. The graphic differences between the original is remarkable, as you can see below.
You would be forgiven to think Blood Gulch had run its course, but 343 Industries has given Valhalla a makeover in the upcoming Halo 4. The new map is called Ragnarok, with the mantis (a large mecha) being introduced. Though it may have a different name, the idea that inspired Blood Gulch all those years ago still remains. Now that’s called longevity!
The progression of Blood Gulch is quite brilliant but do you think it’s time for them to let it be? What did you most enjoy about it and what things ? What would you like to see if they were to bring it back in future Halo editions? As always, feel free to leave your comments below.