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May 11, 2007 - Vehicles don't play a prominent role in the [Register or Login to view links] Multiplayer Beta. There are only three vehicles playable across the three maps: The Warthog, Ghost and Mongoose. The first two will be incredibly familiar to Halo 2 players, but the Mongoose is new and it is swank.

Mongoose
The Mongoose is the new business. It has no weapons and can carry two Spartans. And really, two Spartans is more weapon than any mounted turret. The Mongoose is easier to control than the Warthog and can fit into narrow spaces. It's quick, though it offers no protection. It's best used to quickly transport two Spartans. As such, it's a key tool for both Assault and Capture-the-Flag games.

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Because it's narrow and light, the Mongoose can slip through the narrow caverns in High Ground, which can get you from the beach and into prime infiltration position on the enemy stronghold. The Spartan on the back has free range to shoot in any direction (even at his buddy's head), but it's tough to aim with the 'Goose moving so quickly.

The best thing about the Mongoose? Jack the guy in the back, hop on and then pop his friend.

Maps Found In: High Ground, Valhalla
Verdict: A great addition for team-based games. We like!

Warthog
There's not much to say about the Warthog available in the beta. It controls as in Halo 2 and there don't seem to be any special additions.

Maps Found In: Valhalla
Verdict: We're so over the Warthog.

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Ghost
You'll feel instantly at home in the Ghost. It controls a little better and still maintains its dual lasers. The speed boost, still on the left trigger, no longer sends you charging forward. Instead, it's a constant (but slower) turbo. It negates the ability to fire and restricts your turning radius. You can still run fools over, but it's not as effective. The balance feels better, since the Ghost can't be used for easy instant kills with the speed boost. It should make for a great Mongoose chaser. Too bad the beta keeps these two weapons on separate maps.

Maps Found In: Snowbound
Verdict: The slight changes should prove welcome, though the Ghost seems a little wasted here.

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Man Cannon
The Man Cannon isn't technically a vehicle, but it is a mode of transportation. Located at both home bases in Valhalla, the Man Cannon launches Spartans and their vehicles a good 50 feet in the air. This gets you a third of the way across the map, but leaves you vulnerable to sniper and laser shots. But who cares, it looks effin' awesome!

The real joy of a Man Cannon launch is driving a Mongoose or Warthog into the air. This is a skill that must be learned. Take a Mongoose at a side angle and you will launch crooked, flip around and crash into the creek. Take the Mongoose at a straight angle and you will soar like an eagle. And as long as a rocket doesn't take you out of the air, you'll likely land perfectly and be ready to take off towards the enemy base.

So far, the best Man Cannon moment came quite by chance (though I'd like to believe it was all skill). After taking a mighty leap, I noticed an enemy Mongoose below. Aiming the drop perfectly, I hit the ground and instantly jacked the vehicle. That's right, Halo 3 (sort of) has air jacking.

Maps Found In: Valhalla
Verdict: It's like Prom all over again.

Thanks to [Register or Login to view links] for sharing the news with us!