- “The Quick and the Dead.”— Blood Gulch's description
Blood Gulch is a multiplayer level in Halo: Combat Evolved. It is set in an enclosed, semi-symmetrical canyon with a base at either end and an open field between. The level supports vehicles and is recommended for 4-16 players. The level is almost entirely void of life, save some sparse grass and bushes. Blood Gulch is easily the most famous multiplayer level from the original Halo.
Blood Gulch was remade as Coagulation for Halo 2 and Bloodline in Halo 2: Anniversary, and served as a major inspiration for Valhalla in Halo 3 as well as Ragnarok in Halo 4. It was also remade as a multiplayer map in Halo Wars, and made its return in Halo: Reach as Hemorrhage with a new and hugely expansive playable area outside of the main canyon, and is a main section of Forge World.
Blood Gulch is set in a vast canyon with two bases, a huge open field with hills and ditches, and caves and cliffs along the rock walls. In addition, there are Teleporters located on each base's roof. Each will transport players to the center field. Red team has the advantage of utilizing a ledge near Red Base which is an ideal spot for sniping while Blue team has the advantage of surprising the Red team via tunnel access located on the side of the map.
- Once you get better at sniping, try sniping on the large hill next to the red team's teleporter in the middle of the map.
- The Banshee (Halo PC and Xbox One only) can kill very effectively in three ways: Fuel Rod Cannon, Plasma Cannons and ram (being hit, no matter how hard, with any vehicle, results in an instant kill in Halo: CE). However, you should only ram players from behind because if you ram them from the front you are vulnerable to plasma grenades.
- Driving a Warthog into the base and remaining on the Warthogs turret is a sound defense strategy, however this will leave you vulnerable to enemy fire.
- Having a pair of Warthogs with three players on board, with a Rocket Launcher in the passenger seat, can be used in two ways. Have both Warthogs go through the cave systems to the left of the Blue base, taking care not to be hit by a grenade by any hostile infantry in the caves. The first Warthog should drive down, with a second Warthog above supporting it by bombarding the base. Drop off the side rider/gunner and drive in circles to avoid being bombed or sniped while the carrier is getting the flag. A Ghost can be used instead of the Warthog. One or two Spartans should accompany a Warthog to the base on foot. The Warthog will then circle the enemy base while one Spartan gets the flag. The Spartan and his gunner will then get in a Warthog and go up the cliff or simply go in a straight line back to the base.
- If you're on your own, a simple "run in, grab the flag and get in a Warthog" strategy is quite effective if the enemy is engaged in combat. However, if you are noticed and the enemy has vehicles, the other tactic may be less risky. This tactic is not recommended for the Scorpion, due to its slower speed. Vehicles that work best are Ghost, Warthog or Banshee (Halo PC and Xbox One only). If you are doing this with a Warthog, you can just drive the hog into the entrance, grab the flag, and drive back, while the other team has to go through the other entrance to get you.
- Have some teammates drive around the enemy base while you exit out of the passenger seat of a Warthog. While your teammates cause mischief around the enemies, you could grab the flag and then escape while your other enemies are distracted. A very effective plan when you are using two full Warthogs. Avoid this tactic if the enemy has a powerful vehicle like a Scorpion, as it could result in your entire team being wiped out, allowing enemies to make a counterattack.
- Park a Warthog/Ghost/Banshee (Halo PC and Xbox One only) at the relevant teleporter, walk into the enemy base, grab the flag, run through the teleporter and drive/fly away for a quick escape.
- You can hide in a small crevice behind the Blue base with a sniper rifle to take out enemies from behind. Just be aware of the visible vapor trail of the sniper rifle and take care not to be seen by crouching. Be prepared to run when a grenade is thrown into the crevice.
- If your team has control over the middle part of the base the Fuel Rod Cannon can help a lot. Hide behind the hills in the middle and use the Fuel Rod Cannons ability to ark to bombard the enemy with fuel rod blasts.
- If you are on the Red Team, there is a large hill with some rocks for defense behind the red base. One tactic is driving a rocket hog up there and keep shooting rockets at the blue base's roof. The view is excellent and you should get a few kills before the enemy recognizes you. This is not recommended for Team Snipers.
- Another useful hill tactic is to go up there with a sniper rifle (usually found on top of either bases) and shoot the enemy. The sniping view is perfect for a couple of quick headshots before the enemy locates your position. This is unwise in all snipers games.
- This tactic should be used ONLY for taking out enemy banshees: Take a rocket or chaingun Warthog up the hill, and shoot at the enemy banshee (chaingun recommended) or if the enemy banshee is flying straight towards you, use the rocket to easily blast it out of the sky. However, machine gun is recommended for taking out any aircraft and this tactic is unwise in all-snipers games.
- It is advised to pick up a sniper rifle and a shotgun for beginners. You can dispatch enemies in sniping spots shown and deal with other threats with the shotgun.
- Try to guard the opposing teams teleporters in Capture the Flag. This will help your team a lot when you have the flag and are being pursued.
- Using the Assault Rifle at close to medium range can easily take care of any players in Ghosts or Banshees.
- If you take a standard warthog and drive it backwards into the entrance of either base, you can get into the gunner seat and shoot through the wall behind which the flag located.
- Main articles: Coagulation, Valhalla, Halo Wars' Blood Gulch, Hemorrhage, Ragnarok, Bloodline, Basin, and Viking
Blood Gulch has been remade more times than any other map in the Halo Franchise. There have been 5 iterations of Blood Gulch including the original, compared to three versions, the highest amount any other map has achieved. As well as having been remade a record amount of times, it also inspired a number of maps and has been included in some form in all Halo games excluding Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Spartan Assault and Halo: Spartan Strike.
It was remade as Coagulation for Halo 2, with the bases excavated to provide more room, as well as a number of other minor differences, such as the addition of an extra hole in the caves, for quicker and easier travel.
The Blood Gulch concept was later reworked into Valhalla for Halo 3, featuring a similar size and layout, but with dramatic changes in the terrain and the base structures.
A map called "Blood Gulch" was included in the real-time strategy game Halo Wars, and is somewhat accurate to the original, though it lacks the caves, since those would be hard to implement in an RTS. Unlike the original, this map has rotational symmetry, and while the theme remains the same, many changes have been made out of necessity.
Blood Gulch was also remade for use as a multiplayer map variant, Hemorrhage, in Forge World in Halo: Reach. It was revealed in a special episode of Red vs Blue. The map is slightly larger in size and features the original Blood Gulch bases with the canyon from Coagulation.
In Halo 2: Anniversary, Coagulation was remade as Bloodline. Bloodline adds two bridges, a central structure, edited base layout and some minor geometry changes, as well as a revised vehicle and weapon layout. The map's structures are no longer Forerunner in design, but instead are UNSC in origin. Otherwise, the map remains true to Coagulation.
Halo 5: Guardians features three versions of Blood Gulch, all of them Forge maps. The first is Basin, a Big Team Battle map built on Alpine by 343 Industries. According to 343, it takes inspiration from Blood Gulch and its Halo 3 spiritual successor Valhalla, but is its own standalone map. The second is the community-made Big Team Battle map Viking, which is a 1:1 remake of Valhalla with only a few slight tweaks made. Finally, there is Blue vs Red 2003, a Grifball court which features a much scaled-down recreation of the original Blood Gulch beneath the translucent grid which forms the court floor. The map is more of a tribute to the popular machinima series Red vs Blue than a faithful recreation of the map, but nevertheless can be considered to also pay homage to Blood Gulch.
- IGN once ranked Blood Gulch the best Halo map across the entire series and one the most iconic first-person shooter multiplayer maps of all time, second only to Counter-Strike's de_dust.
- Blood Gulch is the only multiplayer level available in the Halo: Combat Evolved demo.