Epitaph is a multiplayer map featured in Halo 3. Situated in an enclosed Forerunner "Cathedral," this asymmetric map is best for free-for-all gametypes, such as Slayer, King of the Hill, and Oddball, and small team games, such as Team Slayer and One-Flag.
Epitaph is set in an enclosed, cathedral-like Forerunner structure that is over a mile tall(at about 5,385.64 feet), with a ceiling vaulting nearly 200 feet into the air, and may possibly be located on the Ark. A mile below, a massive desert stretches out beneath the player. Shining, metallic paths fan out in numerous directions, possibly roads. Far off to the east an immense storm rages, where lightning flashes occasionally. The structure's blue-green glowing "windows" are actually made up of holographic Forerunner text symbols. It is lined with corridors, Gravity Lifts, and shield doors, forcing rapid-paced, corridor-based combat. It towers above a virtually endless wasteland, although careful inspection will reveal metallic-like ribs jutting through the sands below. Though not featured in Team Slayer, Epitaph is played primarily in Team Doubles, Lone Wolves, and SWAT variants, where the primary gametypes include Slayer and the occasional Oddball gametype. The map is semi-symmetrical, modeled in the relative shape of a cross or plus sign (or possibly a tombstone cross, which would be suitable with its name), with a "base" at either end. These bases are essentially enclosed, with a spacious gap in the center that forms the primary cathedral area.
To either side of the bases are stairways that lead to a pair of raised tunnels, one on each side of the cathedral area. However, they are separated from the open space by a wall, preventing players in the tunnels from overlooking the cathedral space. Situated in each "base" is a gold-colored lift, similar to the main lift on Construct. One of the lifts ejects players into the air, toward the center of the cathedral area, where a floating platform with a Rocket Launcher wobbles. This platform is reminiscent of the platform on the Halo 2 map Midship, though much smaller in shape and size. Only two pieces of equipment exist on this map: the Power Drain (found by the main Gravity Lift) and a Bubble Shield (found on the opposite side of the map).
The interior of the cathedral is split into five sections, each section having multiple levels, with access to the ramps and walkways outside. Of the five sections, four form the "spokes" of the interior with two of the sections being identical. From each of these sections, players may travel on the walkways to the outside of the level, and back into the interior of the cathedral.
The main hallway in Epitaph is split into two bases, one of which bears a large and mysterious golden hologram, which has been the subject of many rumors. On one end of the level, a Gravity Lift propels players to the Rocket Launcher platform, while the opposite lift only carries players to the upper level. Two smaller gold-colored gravity lifts (one on each side of the main section) also send players to the upper levels of the cathedral. A plethora of weapons and grenades can be found on the upper and lower levels of this main section, including Maulers, Needlers, and Brute Spikers.
On the lowest level of the interior, in the center rests a Gravity Hammer, which is often a contested weapon between players and teams alike. Directly above the Gravity Hammer, resting on a floating platform, players can find the Rocket Launcher, an equally contested weapon like the Hammer. The identical sections of the map are adjacent to the Gravity Hammer and Rocket Launcher, and can be accessed from a number of directions. The lowest level of these two sections holds a Battle Rifle, while the upper part contains a Magnum on one side, and a Plasma Pistol on the other. Players can jump to access the platform where the Rocket Launcher rests from the ramp on the upper level of this section. Players can also find an Overshield on the lowest level of the main hallway.
A series of catwalks and ramps exist on either side of Epitaph's outdoor section. These catwalks run parallel, and perpendicular to the main hallway section of the Inner-Cathedral, and thus exist on the "light side" and "dark side" of the map. Since this map is semi-symmetrical, the catwalks on either side are similar, but not identical. The commonality shared between these two sides is that they all connect to the Inner-Cathedral through a series of doorways and shield doors. While technically not a power weapon, the Shotgun exists on a ledge of the "dark side" catwalk, beside a Gravity Lift leading into the map's interior. This section, known as the "corner of death" is a common place for players to camp. Players will wait just out of view around the corner for an unsuspecting player to come looking for the shotgun.
On a lower ramp on the "light side" catwalks, players can find active camouflage power-up, offering a clear advantage in the cramped spaces of Epitaph. Players can also find Maulers on the ramps, as well as Plasma Rifles. This map also features Spike Grenade's, and a number of them can be found on both the interior and exterior of the map. It is interesting to note that the Spike Grenade does adhere to the shield doors in this level. In addition to quickly accessing the upper and lower levels of the map, players can drop down onto the lower catwalks from the top, by carefully jumping down. There is also a small opening on the upper ramp on the "dark side" that allows players to drop down onto the lower level.
Experts can't agree on why, despite their technical prowess, the Forerunners lacked central air conditioning.
Epilogue is a Forge-altered variant of Epitaph added to matchmaking on September 23, 2008.
Changes from Epitaph
- The Sniper Rifle spawns in the former Brute Shot location.
- The Rocket launcher has been moved to the middle of the map in the former Gravity Hammer spawn location.
- The Brute Shot now spawns on the platform suspended above the center of the map.
- Both sets of Spike Grenades have been replaced with Plasma Grenades.
- The Plasma Pistol and Magnum next to those grenades have been replaced with Battle Rifles.
- The Covenant Carbine on the ground floor leaning against the support pillar has been replaced with a Battle Rifle.
- There are now two Plasma Rifles in each doorway on either side of the new active camouflage location instead of one.
- The Needler is now located on the lower, far side of the lift.
- The Rocket Launcher contains two rockets instead of four.
- The Shotgun contains six shots instead of twelve.
- Active camouflage is now positioned at the top of the golden lift instead of the Bubble Shield.
- The Bubble Shield now spawns in the former active camouflage location.
- Overshield is positioned in front of the golden lift that launches the player to the suspended platform.
- Two Frag Grenades are spawned in the former Overshield location.
- A Regenerator is positioned on the walkway containing the shotgun, almost directly beneath the opening in the upper walkway.
- The Power Drain, formerly on the far side of the upper platform lift, is now located on the upper, walkway side of the lift.
- It is possible to jump from the upper level, over the edge, to the Shotgun Spawn below, behind where a camper would be.
- When lifting to the Rocket Spawn, there may be the danger of a camper up on the pillars to the left or right. There may also be a risk of someone following you to the Rocket Spawn, this is common because of the number of people looking to see if the Rockets have re-spawned.
- Since there is only one Battle Rifle on this map, you can get some good headshot kills, assuming that the game is not BRs.
- Remember that after picking up the Shotgun, you can travel up the nearby lift and pick up the Bubble Shield, and this combination, apart from being against the Gravity Hammer, is very good for this map.
- When being pursued, throw a grenade right behind you, since this map has so many hallways they'll have to walk through the blast and a melee or a headshot with the BR will tell him that chasing you can have consequences, also try and make sure that you are not near any shield doors when attempting this.
- This area is good for a camping spot in Team Doubles as you can only be approached from the sides or the back and there is a reasonable amount of cover from rockets on the main hall side, the Shotgun spawn below and the Brute Shot spawn above the ramp on the lifts left means 2 people can hold this area against almost any threat as with the door shields the Shotgun beats anything (including Gravity Hammer) and the Brute Shot will beat all, but the Rockets and Shotgun as its one shot, then beat-down never fails.
- The Shotgun is the best weapon on this level due to the shield doors, so get it early and stay at the edges of the map, or if you don't get it, stay in the open areas so you don't leave yourself trapped with a Shotgun to your face.
- After picking up the Rockets, a good tactic is to stay upstairs because there is usually a high amount of people on the lower levels, plus this tactic can be helpful to clear the hill out before you enter.
- When you get the Rockets, look down at the lower level. There are usually a couple people down there. You can easily get a couple kills.
- When rockets spawn, you can shoot the platform that holds the Rocket Launcher with a Brute Shot from the bottom of the map. This will cause the platform to shake and the rockets will fall to the bottom.
- A good way to avoid enemies is to go to the gold lift. Walk to the right side. Make sure you are against it. There is a small section that one can stay in.
- From the center floating platform, you can jump to the pillars to the East and West, where you can camp at the highest point and look down a shaft to the Mauler's spot.
- A combination of Shotgun and Rocket Launcher has been known to provide many easy kills for an FFA player because of mainly close to mid range areas on this map.
- On the side with the gold lift, you can throw a power drain and it will sail to the rocket platform, a headshot to someone trying to get themselves rockets can give you an easy kill.
- In an interview for Public Radio internationals The World, Chris Carney, the lead multiplayer map designer, stated that this map's layout and predominant blue lighting, was based on the Cathedral of Chartes in Northern France.
- There are 7 paths leading away from the tower a reference to that number.
- The Quadwing can be seen flying around on one of the outside pathways. They can be shot, and when killed, they either lose their wings or fall apart with blood bursting out from their wounds. They do respawn afterward.
- While keeping silent, players can hear the Halo theme music, being played in a deep synthesizer-like tone every few seconds.
- When inspected closely, players can see that the "characters" on the windows of the complex scroll from the bottom to the top. Said "characters" are various and random letters and numbers, in different languages and in different positions. Some of the characters appear to be a hodge-podge of incomplete calculator-like letters and numbers.
- Epitaph was used as the setting for the AI Storage Facility at the Freelancer Headquarters in the machinima Red vs Blue: Reconstruction.
- The playable area of the level constitutes roughly 6% of the tower's height.
- In the 800x450px thumbnail of this image of the structure, the blue area has a 38px height, and the entire tower has a 269px height; without correcting for distortion caused by perspective, we can estimate the blue area as covering roughly 14% of the tower's height. Examination of the level in-game will show that the playable area is the top half of the blue section; ergo, six or seven percent of the tower's height.
- Epitaph takes place in the same structure as Citadel, though if you get outside of Citadel using Pan Cam, you can see that Citadel just floats in the air, and there is no structure.
- On the light side there are no shield doors, while there are on the dark side. It is currently unknown why this is.
- Adding Gravity Lifts to Epitaph can allow players to reach the upper decks of the level without having to go onto the outside catwalks.
- Overloading the map will cause the floating platform in the center to fall.
- Epitaph has been slightly altered for Matchmaking. As of the December 11, 2007 update, both of the Maulers that spawned in the top portion of the map have been removed, and replaced with SMGs. The small triangular ledge behind the wall near the Shotgun spawns now has an invisible wall over it, making it impossible to get to.