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If you play Halo 3, then you no doubt know what Recon armor is.
Initially available only to Bungie employees, this armor can now be had by anybody. But it takes a little work to get it.

Across Halo 3 and Halo 3:ODST, there are 7 Vidmaster achievements. Successfully earn all 7 and Recon is yours to show off.

One of the Vidmaster achievements from ODST is called Vidmaster Challenge: Classic. It requires you to “Finish any level solo on Legendary, on LIVE, with no shots fired or grenades thrown.”

As it says, it requires you to complete a level without firing any weapons (that includes the guns on vehicles) or throwing any grenades.

Now, if you are like me, you said something to the effect of “You have to be fucking joking” after reading that. Playing this game on Legendary is no walk in the park, but to do it without being able to use weapons? It sounds crazy doesn’t it?

Well, I want to try and get Recon, so I had to try this achievement. Since it’s the only single player Vidmaster I needed, I decided to tackle it first. I had already played through the campaign, so I had an idea of how each of the levels worked. Based on that, it was clear to me that “Uplift Reserve” was the best option. It is fairly short, vehicle based, and best of all – you don’t have to kill a single enemy to finish it.

My plan was to grab a warthog and just drive by all the enemies. I tried this for a while and just kept getting annihilated. Even in a warthog, you take considerable damage from all the plasma flying around you.

I tried for a while, and got frustrated, so I went back to looking for audio logs. Around 8 am, I decided I needed to go to bed (I had been up since noon on the 21st, mind you). But while trying to lay down, I decided to take one more stab at the “Classic” achievement.

I fired it up and got through the part I was stuck on in a single try. I kept going, working my way from checkpoint to checkpoint, dying several times in the process. And before I knew it – I had done it. I finished the level and after exiting the flashback sequence, the achievement popped. It was incredibly satisfying, and got me very amped up. Even though I’d been awake for nearly 48 hours, I was no longer tired.

Want to see it in action? Well thanks to the saved films ability, you can! Go here to download the file so you can watch it in your copy of ODST: http://www.bungie.net/Online/Halo3UserContentDetails.aspx?h3fileid=94491098

I’ve decided to share some tips that I found useful. Maybe they will help you.

First of all, make sure you have the difficulty set to legendary, all skulls off (ones like Grunt Birthday Party and IWHBYD are okay to leave on if you wish, since they don’t increase the difficulty any), and the level “Uplift Reserve”.

Second, take your fingers off the triggers. You don’t want to accidentally fire off a shot and have to start over, now do you?

Finally, make sure you are connected to Xbox Live. Gold or Silver, it doesn’t matter – but you have to be connected.

From the start of the level, follow the path around like normal. When you come to the clearing, stop for a second. Some marines will be running toward an overturned warthog. Make sure you stay behind them. There are a few enemies near the warthog, and running out in front of them will only get you killed. Let the other marines distract their fire. Now run to the overturned warthog, flip it and speed away in the direction it is facing. DO NOT LET ANY MARINES HITCH A RIDE. If a marine fires a shot in the warthog you are driving, it counts as a shot! (EDIT: There are conflicting reports about this. With scoring on, marine kills add to your score when they are in the same vehicle – hence the belief that their shots counted. But according to some, having marines onboard does not void the achievement. Try at your own risk.) (UPDATE: Max Dyckhoff, a Bungie employee has revealed the issue via his twitter account: “Sadly, you have to not brake (or use the horn) while driving for the achievement to trigger.” So there you have it – it is okay to have marine riders, just don’t use the horn [right trigger] or the main brakes [A]. The E-Brake [Left Trigger] should be fine though, I’m pretty sure I used it on my run-through) Turn left around the bend, making sure to avoid the brute choppers. If they hit you head on, the warthog will explode and you will die.

Your target is a small pathway in the rocks. Unfortunately, there are 2 enemy wraiths coming out. This is the hardest part of this entire thing. You need to drive down this path, and pass by the 2 wraiths without dying. Their main plasma mortar will not be an issue, but once you get near them their turrets will begin picking into your health. It may take you a few trys but keep at it. You will eventually get lucky and make it past these 2 wraiths alive and hit a checkpoint.

Once you are clear of the wraiths, you get a bit of a breather. You will notice a ghost sitting up ahead. Get out of the warthog and take it. Trust me, you will need its boost ability. If you are low on health, the structure along the right side wall has a health pack. Take the ghost through the oddly hilly tunnel and hug the right side wall. Boost as much as possible to avoid enemy fire. Once you hit the flooded area, head straight across and follow the path around.

You will come to an area with turrets. Keep on boosting and head up the pathway here. You will need to quickly do a U-turn at the top and speed through the oncoming fire. (EDIT: Sam pointed out below that you can simply boost up the side of this hill on the ghost. I tried this out and can confirm that is does work – Do that to make this section a little easier) This may take a few tries, but I assure you it is possible. Once you make it around the bend and over the hill, you get another short breather.

You will get to an area overlooking a structure. Head down the path to the left (watch out from wraith plasma fire!) and head toward that building. You have likely taken some damage and luckily there is a health pack next to the entrance. Even if you are somehow at full health, head to the building anyway. A covenant dropship is currently landing along path you need to follow, and taking the time to grab this healthpack will give enough time for the dropship to leave. Continue along and take a left around the bend. There will be 2 more wraiths, a chopper, and a turret for you to dodge. Make your way inside the structure at the end here and take a right.

You will get another breather here as you cross the bridge and watch the space elevator collapse in the distance. At the end of the bridge you will enter another structure that has a fresh ghost. Take it, just in case your current one has taken too much damage – we wouldn’t want it blowing up with us on it.

Follow the path around and jump over a group of grunts and jackals. Hug the right hand wall and speed your way up this path as quickly as possible, there are 2 turrets along the way that you need to get by. Once you’ve done this – keep your eyes open for an overturned warthog. There’s a building here with a much needed health pack. You will need to be at full health for this next part.

Continue up the path until you reach the strange purple structure, and take a right. There are footsoldiers, turrets, ghosts, and a wraith in your path so a little bit of luck may be in order. Turn right again and pass by the wraith as quickly as possible.

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations, it should be pretty smooth sailing from here on out. Continue along the path. There will be 2 brutes running away from you. DO NOT RUN THEM OVER. If you hit them, if will cause a severe amount of damage to the Ghost you are on. The last thing you need is to have your ghost exploding on you.

You will come to a set of purple wall structures. Turn left and speed along as fast as you can. This area is home to 3 Wraiths, and a bunch of brutes. Hug the left wall and pass it all by. Get through this, and all you need to do is jump off the edge of the map here, and the cutscene will take over.

Once you are taken out of the flashback sequence and are back in the Rookies shoes in New Mombasa, the achievement will pop. You just got one of the hardest achievements in the game!

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