CB Games Halo 3 Primer: Characters

UNSC Forces

Made up of the human race, with the Elites joining their former enemy after the Covenant Civil War, these are the “good guys” in the Halo storyline. Below are the main characters and groups that will be encountered in Halo 3.

Master Chief – Spartan 117, John 117, or The Demon. Whatever you call him, he’s considered one of the most elite of all bad ass mofos in all of entertainment. MC grew up in military camps on Reach, having been taken from his family at the age of six he was entered into the Spartan program and trained from there. Master Chief is a military man through and through, but he doesn’t have the passion for blood that other soldiers do. He kills his enemies efficiently and without qualm, but only because he knows they are his enemy. As far as he knows, he is the last surviving Spartan (he’s actually not) and is the only thing standing in the way of the Covenant. Master Chief is the main playable character in the game.

Last seen: Hitchhiking on a Forerunner vessel after destroying another Halo and telling Lord Hood that he is “finishing this fight.”

The Arbiter – When needed, an Elite warrior is chosen to wear the Arbiter’s armor and go off on a mission. The Arbiter is “The Will of the Prophets,” and is used to take on tasks which guarantee his death. When the Elite Fleet Commander at Halo 04 allowed the Sacred Ring to be destroyed he was tortured. After Truth and Mercy allowed him to become the Arbiter to put down the Elite Heretics, led by Half Jaw. Contrary to the plan, the Arbiter continued to survive his battles and eventually learned the truth about “The Great Journey.” The Arbiter is the secondary character in the game, and is controlled by player two in co-op mode.

Last seen: Defeating the Brute Chieftain, Tartarus.

N’tho ‘Sraom – The third playable character in co-op mode. N’tho ‘Sraom is the youngest member of of an Elite Spec Ops unit. He’s young and willing to help the humans, and he wants to fight the Brutes supplanting of the Elites within the Covenant.

Usze ‘Taham – The fourth, and final, playable character in co-op mode. Usze ‘Taham was a top student at War College, and immediately got offered a position on the Prophets’ Honor Guard. He declined because he lacked experience. His continued refusal of such an honorable post has put him out with the Covenant.

Cortana – One of thousands of AIs that exist in the computer networks of the humans. Cortana is a copy of Dr. Halsey, and is unique amongst all AI constructs. She is lacking in any behavioral inhibitors, which allow her to be outspoken and a bit odd for an AI. Due to this she has a lifespan of 7 years, at the end of which she will become so smart that she’ll simply forget to breathe. You see what too much thinking will get you?

Last seen: After downloading a ton of data from the Control Room on Halo 04, Cortana has been burdened with way too much info and no way to analyze it. She continues to work to protect the Human race. But at the end of Halo 2 she seemed all too willing to offer answers to Gravemind’s questions.

Sergeant Major Avery Johnson – If there’s any character in the Halo games players would want to play as besides Master Chief, this would be the one. Just play the first game to see how amazing this soldier is: according to a recording from the headset of Pvt. Jenkins, Sgt Johnson was killed by the Flood. But he survived, and went on to kill many many more Covenant. He now has some pieces of non-infectious Flood DNA floating around his body.

Last seen: Stealing a Scarab and helping the Arbiter take down Tartarus.

Commander Miranda Keyes – Likely the only surviving relative of Captain Keyes, who went down with the Pillar of Autumn in Halo. Commander Keyes raised through the UNSC ranks quickly, gaining control of In Amber Clad at a very young age.

Last seen: Captured by Tartarus she was forced to put the Index in the control panel to fire the Halos. Tartarus’ defeat allowed her to stop the firing sequence, but they are on “ready” status.

Humans – Humans are relatively new to interstellar travel, having established only a few hundred colonies. As seen in their weaponry, the humans are not all that far advanced from where we are today. Most of the advanced technology comes from reverse engineering Covenant items. Which could be a full circle if theories of the Forerunners true identity is correct. The Covenant technology is all stolen from Forerunner worlds. In the realm of AI, Humans are unmatched by any other species currently in existence.

Last seen: The humans sit starring up at a Starry Night waiting for the inevitable attack to come.

ONI – The UNSC Office of Naval Intelligence operates like any other intelligence agency in stories. Members often subvert the law for their own means, they are always around, and they strike fear in the populace. Whatever the truth about the organization, the ultimate goal is the preservation of the human race.

Last seen: Everywhere. The last in game confirmation was Lieutenant Haverson, who was rescued from Halo 04 when the Pillar of Autumn went down.

SPARTAN – “Spartans! What is your profession?!?!” The SPARTAN II project was headed up by Dr. Halsey, which developed right along with the MJOLNIR armor. 75 children were stolen (or “enlisted”) for the project. Their names were taken and replaced with a 3-digit number. These children went through intensive physical and mental training.

About 8 years into the project the children went through medical operations to enhance their skeletal, muscular, optical, and nervous systems. Only 33 survived the surgeries. It’s not known exactly how many are left, but of the handful only one is focused on in the story of humanity’s fight for survival.

Last seen: See entry on Master Chief above.

UNSC Military Forces – The few, the proud, the sons of bitches who keep the Covenant at bay. While the human fleet is far outmatched in space battles, on the ground they more than hold their own. With ranks depleting, their main task is to hold and maintain key points until someone to arrive who can finish the job. While Master Chief is a nearly unstoppable force, it’s the support of the UNSC marines that have kept him in the fight and at an advantage. Never underestimate the power of a squad of cocky humans with big guns.

Last seen: Lord Hood and the Earth’s defensive force were exhilarated to hear Master Chief announce his arrival back on Earth.

The Covenant

The Covenant is a religious alliance of many species, with the Prophets as the founders and leaders. They have acquired their advanced technology through the excavation of Forerunner ruins, and have been on a path to begin “The Great Journey.” There may be more races within the Covenant, but the following are ones we expect to see in Halo 3.

Grunts (Unggoy) – The lowest species in the Covenant hierarchy, the Grunts serve as pawns in battle. They are the front line infantry, but are prone to panicking and running away. Often in the front of the line Grunts can be found sleeping, at which point they can be easily dispatched by a melee. If a Brute is amidst their ranks the Grunts can work in concert with each other, you’ll often see them strategically tossing plasma grenades in this case. The Grunts are not loyal to “The Great Journey,” or the ideals of the Covenant. Their sole inspiration is the survival of the species, and thus they are loyal to those who are in control. This is why they have so easily taken up arms with the Brutes after the splintering of the Elites from the Covenant.

Last seen: Getting BR’d to the head by Master Chief.

Jackals (Kig-Yar) – These bastards are the snipers of the Covenant. Their heightened senses allow them to be expert marksman, as was evidenced playing through Halo 2 on Legendary. Ground force Jackals carry an arm-mounted energy shield and a plasma pistol. They are small and thin, so do not normally get into direct altercations with the enemy. Jackals are most often found up high in prime sniping positions, or ducking behind their energy shields. They provide support to the Covenant armies on the battlefield by taking out enemies with well placed sniper shots.

Last seen: Up high on a ridge, sniping Master Chief and the Marines.

Drones (Yanme’e) – An insect race that are very mobile, and difficult to get a good shot on. They often fight in swarms, keeping their distance for the most part. Up close their claws can do considerable damage.

Last seen: Buzzing around, and being a general nuisance.

Hunters (Lekgolo) – Probably the most interesting of the Covenant species, the giant Hunters are not actually a single sentient being. Each Hunter is made up of a large group of eels, which are held together by the hefty armor they wear. The Hunters are heavily armored (as mentioned) and carry a fuel-rod gun, which is incorporated into their arm. Of particular note is that the Hunters do not care for, or communicate with, the other Covenant species. In battle they will kill another Covenant member if that creature is in their way. They seem to share a mild kinship with the Elites, and after the split in Halo 2 many have joined the Elites in their fight against the Brutes. It is not confirmed if the Hunters will join with the humans in the upcoming battle, but a contingent still fights loyally beside the Brutes and other Covenant. The Hunters’ belief in “The Great Journey” is highly questionable.

Brutes (Jiralhanae) – Big, hairy, gorilla looking creatures that possess amazing strength. They are the latest species to join the Covenant, and most often served as body guards to the Prophets. The Brutes use a “pack mentality” when in battle, and can be an overwhelming force. When they are injured Brutes can often go on a rampage where they revert to animalistic tactics and charge at enemies, pummeling them to death when they arrive.

The Brutes have a deep hate for the Elites, and when the Prophets took the Brutes as their personal body guards and warriors in Halo 2 the Elites rose up and the Covenant Civil War began. Now the Brutes are the main ground forces for the Covenant, and employ a shielding technology similar to what the Elites had been using. This is especially important as it eliminates the function of the Brutes as a bullet absorbers, something that made them painful to fight against in Halo 2.

Last seen: Getting their asses handed to them by Sgt. Johnson and The Arbiter.

Prophets (San ‘Shyuum) – The leaders of the Covenant, and the species that uncovered the Forerunner’s technology. Originally they were at war with the Elites, but the discovery of “The Great Journey” led to a truce and the formation of the Covenant. Prophets are frail looking, and get around on levitating thrones. For defense they use Brute bodyguards, but do have energy weapons mounted on the throne if need be.

Hierarchs – These are the three Prophets who are the acknowledged leaders of the all the Covenant. The Prophets of Truth, Mercy, and Regret shape the culture and military of the Covenant. After the events of Halo 2, only the Prophet of Truth is left alive.

Prophet of Truth last seen: After allowing the deaths of Regret and Mercy to come to pass, Truth is the default leader of the Covenant. He is “possibly insane” according Bungie, and may be a true believer o f “The Great Journey.”

Prophet of Mercy last seen: After Master Chief pulls a piece of the parasitic flood off of him, Mercy dies. When Truth declares Mercy is alive, Gravemind cuts in and says that Mercy is a part of him now. Suggesting the Mercy has been absorbed into the Flood.

Prophet of Regret last seen: After being killed by Master Chief, Regret’s corpse is found by Gravemind and incorporated into the Flood. He is last seen arguing with 2401 Penitent Tangent, the Monitor for Halo 05.


Very little is known about the Forerunners. They were far more advanced than either humans or Covenant, but are no longer in existence. Remnants of their vast empire can be seen throughout the galaxy. While they are not the Covenant gods, they are revered highly by them. The Forerunners created the Halo network as a defense against the Flood, and when all other measures had proved useless they activated the Halos, which killed all sentient life in the universe. The Monitors are the only thing capable of communication they left behind, and interestingly both Guilty Spark and Penitent Tangent seem to recognize humans. What that means is not entirely clear, but evidence points to some sort of connection with humans.

343 Guilty Spark – The Monitor of Installation 04, first seen in Halo. As far as anyone can tell, the Monitors are the latest relics of the Forerunners that can communicate. His main purpose is to keep the infectious Flood from spreading again. His long isolation may have caused him to go a little batty, as he incessantly hovers around humming and singing. When Halo 04 was destroyed, Guilty Spark escaped and found his way into the hands of the Elite Heretic leader, Half-Jaw. He passed along the truth of “The Great Journey” to the Elite Spec Ops Commander, who in turn passed that info on to The Arbiter.

Last seen: Informing Commander Keyes and Sgt. Johnson that the Halos are online and ready to be activated from The Ark.

2401 Penitent Tangent – The Monitor of Installation 05, first seen in Halo 2. Tangent operates in a nearly identical way to Guilty Spark. He follows similar protocols and procedures to contain any Flood outbreak.

Last seen: Arguing with the Prophet of Regret.

Sentinels – The defense system for the Halos. They fire a laser that seems quite effective against the Flood, suggesting that their main purpose is to control the parasites.

The Flood

It would seem that The Flood is the most powerful species in the universe. Some forms display sentient behavior, and are parasitic. They prey on hosts that have some form of sentience and enough mass. How the different types of Flood actually work is not known. But when they take over a host the Flood is extremely adept at using technology, weaponry, and machinery of the host they’ve taken over. When the Forerunners fired the Halos around 100,000 years ago it was supposed to eradicate all sentient life in the universe. But with the Flood still being around, it suggests they are more powerful than even the Forerunners knew. It’s possible they survived through the more base forms that appear to not have any sentience by themselves.

Rangers – The small tentacle form of the Flood resembles metroids from the Metroid series of games. They seek out hosts and will tap into the spinal system to take over the host. The Rangers release spores which cause the host to mutate. Guilty Spark references these spores, but it’s not clear if they are the most basic form of the Flood or simply a part of the Rangers.

Workers/Soldiers – The first form of transformation when infected doesn’t carry too much mutation. Only Marines and Elites have been witnessed as Workers/Soldiers, and aside from the Ranger attached they look nominally the same as before.

Carrier – The Carriers are big and covered in sacs. They appear to be the result of an infection of unsuitable Worker/Soldier hosts. Carriers will try and get close to enemies and some sort of reaction makes them explode, showering the area with Rangers. This will also happen if fired upon and “killed.”

Command – Very little is known about this particular type of Flood. On Truth and Reconciliation one is seen, and it appears to be made of numerous human hosts. What its functions are is unknown.

Gravemind – The only actual “character” from the Flood that we know. We are not sure exactly what he is, except for the fact he looks like Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. Gravemind is conscious and apparently cunning. He seems to be the head of the Flood, possibly possessing all of the cumulative knowledge of the parasitic species. Or he could be a separate entity that controls the Flood, we don’t know. What we do know is that Gravemind seems to be in control of the fate of the universe in some way, again how that may be is a mystery.

Last seen: Telling Cortana that he has questions she must answer, to which she seems all too willing to oblige.

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Steve West

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.