Halo 3: First look at new 'Narrows' multiplayer map

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We got to see some hot new Halo 3 action today, in the form of the eighth multiplayer map to be announced, 'Narrows', and the spectacular new save films system in single player campaign mode. Want some tactical insight? You got it.

The pic above is of the wonderfully designed 'Narrows', built to suit 4-8 player CTF and Sniper multiplayer modes - it is long and skinny, with plenty of distant lines of sight and sniper rifles with easy access at the back of each team starting zone. It is a symmetrical (mirrored) map, complete with duelling Man Cannons down one side that will doubtless be the cause of a thousand nasty incidents - if two players launch at once, they'll hit mid-air and both will die (unless you can frag the other before you get there). The ability to toss stuff like grenades into that stream should also help 'clear' the landing area before you arrive. If you're not sniped mid-air.. but that Man Cannon flank is a fast route to getting in behind enemy lines, so if you can throw a bubble into the stream along with yourself (yep, for realz) you can wreak havok like a Master Chief should.

UPDATE: Oh yeah, and this Man Cannon actions makes for possible mid-air melee kills!

More strategic details on Narrows plus pics (thanks to IGN's embargo breach) after the jump. halo-3-narrows.jpg

Narrows will be a tough nut to crack with such an open, choked central area, but the temptation is right there with the big daddies smack in the centre - rocket launcher atop the uppermost bridge and your trusty shotgun on the lower bridge, but in a very narrow bridge section that will surely see many SPARTANs falling to their death. This lower bridge is just beneath the top one, not that beautiful electrostatic wheel of death further below.

While things are mostly mirrored, power ups are not so. Both teams get the Brute, but one will get Active Cammo while the other gets Overshield. The wonderful new dual-wield shotgun-like weapon, the Mauler, can be doubled up at either end of the map.

If you can get into the opposition's area, there are a lot of smaller areas in behind that will cause plenty of panic and some hotly contested efforts for control.

It was also noted by Lars Bakken, the game's multiplayer designer, that the flag zone may look tucked away at first glance, but there are some long range sights there too, plus around three lines of approach (one of which is a leap of faith from the top bridge).

Another nice multiplayer toy on show included the radar jammer device - a ball drop that creates false position/movement dots on the radar. (Sorry, can't recall if/where that was demoed previous to this event).

For the history buffs, Lars Bakken, the game's multiplayer designer, told us that Narrows is an homage to the Assault on the Control Room map back in Halo 1.

Campaign Save Films We got a look at the Save Films system as it will appear in the Campaign mode. Yep, not just in multiplayer. Sweet, sweet stuff.

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[Images from here at IGN Australia, where they have bigger, juicier versions of those screens]