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Backwash is a mid sized multi-player level in Halo 2, resembling the Halo: Combat Evolved campaign level 343 Guilty Spark. It is a Flood containment facility set in a large swamp set on Installation 05 which at one point was breached by the flood leading to a formation of a Gravemind. It is actually stated by the developers of Halo 2 that Backwash was originally set on Alpha Halo and based directly on 343 Guilty Spark. It is also stated that they originally had 343 Guilty Spark floating around but decided to change him to 2401 Penitent Tangent because the blue glow of 343 Guilty Spark's eye could too easily be mistaken for a Plasma Grenade flying through the air.
Backwash was removed from Halo 2 Matchmaking in the April 2006 Matchmaking Playlist Update (NOTE: Not an Auto-Update), due to problems with the Xbox loading the fog covering the map. To this day Backwash remains the only map to ever be removed from Halo 2 Matchmaking.
Strangely enough, this trend originally seemed to continue in Halo: The Master Chief Collection as it was the only medium-sized Halo 2 map to not be featured in the Halo 2 Classic or Team Slayer playlists. However, in early 2015, it was finally added to Halo 2 Classic playlist along with several other previously excluded maps.
There is a way to get out of the level, but it requires super-jumping or a Spectre. With a person, get him/her to Superjump over the invisible wall on the hill, then get them to stand on top of the base (red or blue). Get them as close as possible to the wall and then sword cancel up onto a small spot on top of the base. You can now sword cancel (try it a lot) through the wall. Then, walk through something that looks like a large amount of roots (surrounds the outside) and look for edge of the level. Then walk around until you find red ground. The message is very large, written in blood, and says: Looking a little rough out here. (Possibly because of the mold, fog, etc.) Also, go to the far right and there is a message that simply reads, "HERE."
To do it with the Spectre, go to blue base and jump on a small ledge that is right next to the invisible wall. Have the driver put on a severe handicap (if you don't have an overshield) then ram into you. If done correctly you will be smashed through the invisible wall.
Try to limit use of all Covenant weapons on this map, as the fog shows the plasma bursts very easily. This especially means either not using the energy sword at all, or keeping it hidden until right before you attack. And no, using the invisibility power up on the level will not solve this problem, seeing as in Halo 2 energy swords are still visible no matter what you do.
- If you listen closely, telephone ringing can be heard in a distance of the map, though it could be the sounds emitted by the Monitor as it hovers around the map.
- Flood gurgles can be heard around the place. An easy way to hear them is to go into the bases (small buildings on the sides of the map).
- Backwash was used as The Great Swamps in Red vs Blue.
- Elements of Backwash may have been incorporated into the Halo 3 map, Isolation, another Flood-themed map.
- Along with Desolation, this is the only level in the Halo Trilogy to spawn a Sentinel Beam by default.
- There was a game type called Predator that was designed for use on this map. It was a variant of Juggernaut in which the Juggernaut was fast, invisible, had radar, had an Energy Sword and was only supposed to use melee based attacks. The other players were only allowed to use the Battle Rifle and had no radar and therefore required a lot of teamwork to take down the Predator. The fog made it almost impossible to see the Predator (at least from a distance) meaning that the other players had to stick together. Also, neither the predator nor the other players had energy shields. This made for a very "spooky" atmosphere. This could be a reference to the movie Predator, as the alien in that movie had very similar traits to the Juggernaut, as well as being named the same.
- There is an Easter Egg called Hidden Gargoyle on the map.
- The center structure on the map shares similar geometry with a tower in 343 Guilty Spark.
- If you listen carefully, The ambient sound of animals are the same to the Ambient sound from the swamp level 343 Guilty Spark in Halo: Combat Evolved but they cannot be heard in the Anniversary edition as they were updated.
- Originally, the Monitor floating around the map was meant to be 343 Guilty Spark but it was changed because Spark's light from a distance looked like a plasma grenade so it was changed to the Red 2401 Penitent Tangent. But the sound files were not changed so it sounds like Guilty Spark but where slightly modified so the sounds are slightly distinct but it is nothing like Penitent Tangent's Voice. This also means that the Map originally used to be in the Swamp as seen on Installation 04 in the mission 343 Guilty Spark.