Halo Alpha
Halo Alpha

Were you looking for the soundtrack, The Maw?

Destroy Halo before Halo destroys all life in the galaxy.

The Maw is the tenth and final campaign level of Halo: Combat Evolved. In this level, John-117 makes his way through the wreck of the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, in order to detonate the ship's fusion reactors and destroy Halo, the Flood, and the Covenant armada, thus preventing the destruction of humans and potentially, all sentient life in the galaxy. Just like the previous two levels, the player has no allies.


…And the Horse You Rode In On[]

{Original Cutscene} {Anniversary Cutscene}

Opening cinematic-The camera skims low over a large body of water, tinted gold by an oncoming sunrise.

The camera slowly pans up as it flies over the sand, revealing a burnt coastline, and a giant gouge where the terrain has been ripped away and the sea has flooded into the newly-formed canyon. At the top of that canyon rises the massive stern of the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, relatively intact. The camera circles around the side and front of her, revealing that her nose is hanging just slightly off a massive cliff, and that the antennae along the bow have been bent and torn away. The entire bow has been burnt badly; the metal is scarred. The once powerful cruiser looks almost pitiful, and it is clear its only purpose left is to destroy Halo. As the camera circles around to reveal the starboard side, a slightly damaged, smoking Banshee drifts into view.

The camera cuts to a view of the outside through one of the ship's Bumblebee docking slips. The damaged Banshee comes into the frame and veers wildly towards the Pillar of Autumn.

  • Cortana: (panicked) "This thing is falling apart!"
  • Cortana: "We're not gonna make it!"
  • Master Chief: "We'll make it."
  • Cortana: (urgently) "Pull up! Pull up!"

The Banshee drops just before reaching the Bumblebee slip and smashes into the side of the Pillar of Autumn, sending debris and fire hurling out madly.


Master Chief climbing into a Bumblebee port.

  • Cortana: (sardonic) "You did that on purpose, didn't you?"

John-117's hand appears from below and grips the edge of the slip, and he pulls himself up and onto the Pillar of Autumn.


  • Cortana: "We need to get to the bridge. From there, we can use the Captain's neural implants to initiate an overload of the ship's fusion engines. The explosion should damage enough systems below it to destroy the ring."

As John-117 heads for the bridge, he discovers Covenant, Flood, and Sentinels fighting through out the ship. Eventually, he reaches the bridge.

  • Cortana: "The bridge. We made it. Let's get to work."

John-117 clears out the Covenant Spec Ops team guarding the bridge.

  • Cortana: "I need you to upload me into the control systems. The terminal is located next to the main view screen."

{Original Cutscene} {Anniversary Cutscene}

John-117 takes Cortana's chip from his helmet and inserts it into the cylindrical terminal near the front of the bridge. Cortana's avatar appears above it.

  • Cortana: "I leave home for a few days, and look what happens. This won't take long."

She concentrates for a moment, and the main screen flickers to life. "Self Destruct Sequence Initiated" is displayed across the top, and numbers begin counting down from what is, as far as we can tell, a random starting point between five and fifty-nine minutes.

  • Cortana: "There. That should give us enough time to make it to a lifeboat and put some distance between ourselves and Halo before the detonation."

John-117 moves to unplug Cortana from the terminal, but stops abruptly when he hears an all-too-familiar voice.

  • Cortana: (groans) "Oh, hell."
  • 343 Guilty Spark (COM): "Ridiculous! That you would imbue a warship's AI with such a wealth of knowledge! Weren't you worried it might be captured? Or destroyed?"

Cut to Cortana.

  • Cortana: "He's in my data arrays, a local tap!"

Cut to 343 Guilty Spark in the engine room. He's busy scanning a console.

  • 343 Guilty Spark: "You can't imagine how exciting this is! To have a record of all of our lost time! Human history, is it? Fascinating."

343 Guilty Spark flutters around Engineering, as groups of Sentinels hover around in the background, and scans another console.


343 Guilty Spark collecting information.

  • 343 Guilty Spark: "Oh, how I will enjoy every moment of its categorization! And to think that you would destroy this installation, as well as this record. I am shocked. Almost too shocked for words."

Cut to the bridge. A tone sounds over the ship's speakers. The countdown timer freezes.

  • Cortana: (with a note of frustrated awe in her voice) "He stopped the self-destruct sequence..."

John-117 surveys the bridge carefully with his Assault Rifle, never missing a beat.

  • 343 Guilty Spark (COM): "Why do you continue to fight us, Reclaimer? You cannot win! Give us the construct, and I will endeavor to make your death relatively painless and -"

He is cut off as another tone sounds.

  • Cortana: "At least I still have control over the comm channels."
  • Master Chief: "Where is he?"
  • Cortana: "I'm detecting taps throughout the ship, Sentinels most likely. As for the Monitor ... he's in Engineering. He must be trying to take the core offline! Even if I could get the countdown restarted ... I don't know what to do." (She shrugs her arms in desperation)
  • Master Chief: "How much firepower would you need to crack one of the engine's shields?"
  • Cortana: "Not much. A well-placed grenade perhaps, but why-"

Master Chief holding a fragmentation grenade.

She turns to see John-117, who is calmly tossing a fragmentation grenade up and down

  • Cortana: (nods) "Okay, I'm coming with you."

John reaches for Cortana just as a squad of Sentinels descends from above and take position along the shattered windows of the bridge

  • Cortana: "Chief! Sentinels!"

The Sentinels open fire, shattering the main display and touching off John's shields. John quickly drops behind cover, removes Cortana from the terminal and places her into his helmet, and raises his rifle.


John dispatches the Sentinels and leaves the bridge.

  • Cortana: "The ship was heavily damaged when it crashed. Head to the cryochamber. We should be able to get to the engine room through there."

John heads for Engineering, fighting past more Flood, Covenant, and Sentinels. Along the way, he makes a brief detour to the ship's Armory to stock up on weapons. Inside the Armory, he is ambushed by a group of Flood, including several cloaked Combat Forms (presumably infected Stealth Sangheili). He defeats these enemies and hurries to Engineering.

Light Fuse, Run Away[]

  • Cortana: "Engine room located. We're here."

John enters Engineering which is crawling with Flood and Sentinels. Guilty Spark is also present.

  • Cortana: "Alert! The Monitor has disabled all command access. We can't restart the countdown. The only remaining option is to detonate the ship's fusion reactors. That should do enough damage to destroy Halo. Don't worry; I have access to all of the reactor schematics and procedures. I'll walk you through it. First, we need to pull back the exhaust couplings. That will expose a shaft that leads to the primary fusion drive core."

Throughout this entire sequence, 343 Guilty Spark mumbles randomly at John, trying to convince him to spare the installation.

  • "You would destroy this installation, as well as this fascinating record?"
  • "Do you require medical attention?"
  • "Your behavior is not in accordance with established protocols."
  • "Oh, how touching."
  • "Detaching the failsafe just now?"
  • "Please. Surrender the construct and I will endeavor to make the necessary repairs as quickly as possible."
  • "The Flood continue to multiply, Reclaimer!"
  • "Why do you continue to ignore your task?"
  • "Are you perhaps ill?"
  • "Why do you continue to resist us, Reclaimer?"
  • "Inconsistent!"
  • "Inadequate safeguards."
  • "This AI construct possesses far too much data."
  • "Weren't you worried it might be compromised?"
  • "Unacceptable, Reclaimer!"
  • "Not acceptable, Reclaimer. You must surrender the construct, so that we may return to our appointed task."
  • "Your behavior necessitates repair and revision."
  • "Surrender the construct to me, or I will be forced to take you offline permanently."
  • "Reclaimer, we must keep moving ... Reclaimer?"

John opens one of the manifolds.

  • Cortana: "Good! Step one complete! We have a straight shot into the fusion reactor! We need a catalyst explosion to destabilize the magnetic containment field surrounding the fusion cells. Use an explosive. I recommend a grenade or a rocket. If you run out of explosives, there is an armory station located near the engine room's entrance."

John knocks out the first reactor.

  • Cortana: "Analyzing. Fusion reactor number one destabilizing. Use explosives on the other three reactors. That should be enough to trigger a wildcat explosion of the engines."

John destroys two more reactors, leaving only one left.

  • Cortana: "Keep it up! Only one more fusion reactor to go!"

John takes out the final reactor. Alarms and klaxon begin to blare as the reactors go into critical meltdown from the Chief's sabotage.

  • Cortana: "That did it! The engine's gone critical! Based on the current rate of decay, we should have fifteen minutes to get off the ship; we don't have much time! We should move outside and signal for evac. Accessing schematics... there's a service lift at the top of the engine room! It leads to a class-7 service corridor that runs along the ship's dorsal structure. Hurry!"

John reaches the elevator. A mass of Spec Ops Covenant descends to meet him. He defeats the Covenant and starts the long ride up.

  • Cortana (COM): "Cortana to Echo 419, come in Echo 419!"
  • Foehammer (COM): "Roger, Cortana. I read you, 5 by 5."
  • Cortana (COM): "The Pillar of Autumn's engines are going critical, Foehammer! Request immediate extraction! Approach the crash site and be ready to pick us up at external access Junction 4C as soon as you get my signal!"
  • Foehammer (COM): "Affirmative. Echo 419 going on station."

A few moments later, still on the elevator.

  • Foehammer (COM): (concerned) "Echo 419 to Cortana. Things are gettin' noisy down there. Everything okay?"
  • Cortana (COM): "Negative, negative! We have a wildcat destabilization of the ship's fusion drive core. The engines must have sustained more damage than we thought! (Off radio) Analyzing... we have six minutes (five minutes if on Legendary difficulty) before the fusion drives detonate. We need to evac now!"

John reaches the top of the elevator.

Warning: Hitchhikers May Be Escaping Convicts[]

  • Cortana: "Activating final countdown timer. When it reaches zero, the engines will detonate. The explosion will generate a temperature of almost 100,000,000 degrees. Don't be here when it blows."

If you leave the Warthog station on foot:

  • Cortana: "We can't make it on foot, we need a vehicle!"

If you're still leaving the station on foot:

  • Cortana: "Alert: We need to keep moving, get back in the Warthog."

John drives down the corridor. Flood, Covenant, and Sentinels are fighting all around him. Eventually he nears the site where Foehammer is supposed to extract him.

  • Cortana (COM): "Cortana to Echo 419! Request extraction now, on the double!"
  • Foehammer (COM): "Affirmative, Cortana. Foehammer inbound."

John arrives at a wide open platform.

  • Cortana: "Wait, stop! This is where Foehammer is coming to pick us up. Hold position here."

If you wait for Foehammer:

Echo 419 appears, banking around the hull of the Pillar of Autumn, listing badly and flaming at the engines. The Pelican approaches John. A pair of Banshees close in on the Pelican from the rear at both sides.

  • Cortana (COM): "Cortana to Echo 419! Two Covenant Banshees are approaching on your six! Evade! Say again, evade!"

A loud explosion erupts from the Pelican's starboard wing dips sending it into a shaky dive, ablaze and out of control, Foehammer yells into the speaker as she passes under the platform.

  • Foehammer (COM): (panicked) "I'm hit! Mayday! Mayday! Rear port thrusters have been shot to hell! I can't hold her! I can't hold her!"

Foehammer continues to yell into the speaker, her words becoming inaudible as the roar of the damaged engines are heard in the background. The Pelican flies into the distance, still ablaze, the Pelican struggles its way down and out of sight with flames and smoke trailing

  • Cortana (COM): "Echo 419!...(off speaker) She's gone. Calculating alternate escape route. (Timer restarts) The ship's inventory shows one Longsword fighter still docked in Launch Bay 7. If we move now, we can make it!"

If you hurry past the platform, Cortana's message is cut short.

If you go where the Thirsty Grunt is.

  • Thirsty Grunt: "Ugh... Good thing that the food nipple will be waiting for me at the starship, cause man; I worked up a Big, Grunty, Thirst!"

John comes around the final S-curve in the corridor.

  • Cortana: "Chief, up ahead there's a gap in the trench! At top speed, we should be able to clear it!"

John clears the gap. As he reaches the bay, heavy fighting between the Covenant and Flood is seen. A Longsword fighter is docked at the end. A barricade forces John to get out of the Warthog and finish the journey on foot.

Cortana: "That's the ship! Move! We need to get aboard now!"

If the timer runs out before John reaches the Longsword:

{Original Cutscene} {Anniversary Cutscene}

Fades to an exterior shot of the Autumn as it explodes.

If John makes it to the Longsword:

{Original Cutscene} {Anniversary Cutscene}

John, with no weapon in hand, makes a break across the platform for the Longsword, the Flood closing in behind him in a vain attempt to stop him. He makes it through the open door just before them, and slams the hatch closed as he runs through.

  • Cortana: "We're cutting it close!"

John sprints for the cockpit, but is jarred by an explosion and braces himself against a wall, shaking his head. He reaches the cockpit, jumps into the seat, quickly punches a series of buttons, and takes the controls in his hands.

  • Master Chief: "Here we go."

The Longsword rises above the platform slowly, turning to face the open end of the bay, and lights its engines, rocketing away from the exploding ship. The camera cuts to an exterior view of the Pillar of Autumn, as it burns and explosions flare all along its length. A horde of Flood stumble slowly towards it, and the Longsword arrows from the starboard side of the ship away into the sky the camera cuts to follow the Longsword, looking back towards the Pillar of Autumn as the explosions intensify. The Longsword clears the atmosphere, flying away from Halo. John-117 stares straight ahead, piloting the fighter as quickly as he can. Cut to a frontal view of the Longsword; as it sweeps past the camera, the distant side of Halo is drowned out in a blinding explosion, which grows and grows, and then a massive shock wave sweeps across the ring, shattering it into sections. In the cockpit, a screen beeps and displays: "ENGINE TEMP CRITICAL."

  • Cortana: "Shut them down, we'll need them later."

John flips a few switches and the Longsword's engines die, leaving it drifting. Debris from the blast hurtles past it, still hot and glowing.

  • Cortana: "Fancy a look?"

John-117 rises from his chair and moves to one of the Longsword's windows. Halo has broken into a few dozen large fragments, all of which are slowly spinning away from each other. As John watches, one massive fragment comes swiftly from the far side of the ring and collides with another, closer one, splitting it in half, and the two go spinning off in a giant gout of fire and debris. Silent explosions spread throughout Halo's remains. The ring has been destroyed.

  • Master Chief: (braces himself against the frame of the Longsword cockpit) "(quietly) Did anyone else make it?"
  • Cortana: "Scanning." (Pause) "Just ... dust and echoes. We're all that's left."

John-117 shakes his head and moves back to his seat.

  • Cortana: (hesitant) "We did what we had to do ... for Earth. An entire Covenant armada obliterated, and the Flood... we had no choice. Halo ... It's finished."
  • Master Chief: "No...I think we're just getting started."

John removes his helmet, but the cockpit's frame blocks the view of his head. The camera tracks the Longsword for a few a moments, Basis looming large in the background, before panning to focus on a large spiral galaxy hanging in the sky, an ornament emblazoned across the heavens. A few final, dark notes of a cello play, and everything fades.

After the credits:

A glowing object flies away from Halo's wreckage, towards the camera. 343 Guilty Spark has survived as he hums to himself wandering in space.

D40 35

Johnson and an Elite.

Bonus Ending (This is only seen when beating The Maw on Legendary mode, and is to be considered non-canon.)

{Original Legendary Cutscene} {Anniversary Legendary Cutscene}

Staff Sergeant Johnson struggles with a Stealth (Zealot in Anniversary) Elite for an Assault Rifle, among a multitude of dead Flood forms with the Pillar of Autumn in the background.

Sergeant Johnson: "Come here, you mother… I'm gonna… Grr… Ah!"

They suddenly stop and turn to see the ship about to explode in the distance.

Sergeant Johnson: "Oh shi—"

Johnson turns to the Elite.

Sergeant Johnson: "This is it, baby. (affectionately) Hold me."

Hugging Elite: "...mmph."

The two embrace as the ship explodes and the Elite additionally places his right hand on Sergeant Johnson's bottom. In Anniversary, Johnson places his left hand on the Sangheili's bottom, and the Sangheili reacts uncomfortably.

(NOTE: this ending did not really happen in Halo canon, as Sergeant Johnson was actually on a Pelican at the time.)


Icon Name Description Value
HTMCC AchievementArt AllYouCanEat All You Can Eat Beat the par time on The Maw. 10G
HTMCC AchievementArt Consumption-Junction Consumption Junction Beat the par score on The Maw. 10G
HTMCC AchievementArt Kilotons-of-Fun Kilotons of Fun Activate Terminal 10 on The Maw. 5G
Never Tell Me the Odds Never Tell Me the Odds Complete the level on Legendary difficulty with at least one minute remaining on the countdown (CEA only). 25G
HTMCC AchievementArt Skulltaker-Halo-CE-Grunt-Birthday-Party Skulltaker Halo: CE: Grunt Birthday Party Find and claim the Grunt Birthday Party skull in remastered mode. 5G
The Maw (achievement)HTMCC AchievementArt The-Maw The Maw Complete The Maw. 25G (CEA)

10G (MCC)

HTMCC AchievementArt Thirsty-Grunt Thirsty Grunt Listen to the Thirsty Grunt talk about his eating habits on The Maw. 5G
This Side UpHTMCC AchievementArt This-Side-Up This Side Up Complete the Warthog ride of The Maw without being forcibly ejected from your vehicle. 10G
HTMCC AchievementArt T-Rex T-Rex Find the hidden Rex sign on The Maw. 10G



  • During the Warthog escape on co-op, the weight of the second player manning the turret can cause difficulties making jumps on the large ramps, causing the Warthog to flip over backwards in the air. Having the second player in the passenger seat, however, will keep the Warthog balanced.
  • If one goes to the cafeteria before the bridge cutscene, one can walk up to the cafeteria door before it opens and have a Hunter push you up through the ceiling. You can now walk on top of the cafeteria, using the various lampposts and support beams to cross to the other side.
  • In the cut scene where John takes off his helmet, he actually has a second helmet on underneath, because Bungie didn't model a face for him. This can only be seen with the proper modding tools required to alter cutscenes. This was also revealed in the Halo 3 Legendary Edition bonus disc.
  • If you continue driving after the pick up point where Echo 419 is shot down by Banshees, Cortana will say her line even if Foehammer hasn't crashed yet (this is actually a time-saving strategy, but you won't get a checkpoint).
  • If you open the exhaust vent and jump inside it before firing the rocket, the vent will close on you. You will take damage and die from the heat. This is easier on co-op when someone else fires the rocket.
  • After destroying all four of the fusion reactors, if you let a Flood form follow you to the service lift, it is possible to see the Flood form combat the Elite. Just kill the three grunts accompanying it and get into the lift. The Flood form will follow you as the blast door closes. Then you can watch the Flood form fight the Elite. However, this glitch is not recommended because if the Flood form wins, meleeing it will be useless, and any bullets or grenades you use (including rockets) somehow go through the lift.
  • Interestingly, the Banshees that destroy Foehammer can be piloted because there is actually no one inside of them. If you go on top of your Warthog you are free to explore the areas.
  • On the service lift (the one you see after destroying the fusion reactors), you can leave the three Grunts and the Elite locked out. When the lift arrives, make sure the Elite runs out first (it will). Then go inside, the Elite will be locked out. Strangely, though, the Grunts who where standing on the lift attacking you will not come up the lift, but remain standing at exactly the place where the lift landed first.
  • Randomly, the beginning portion of Suite Autumn fails to shut off during the game's final cutscene, and will play until the credits begin, overlapping the final cutscene's actual music, Dust and Echoes.
  • There is a glitch where you can receive no enemies during the "Light Fuse, Run Away" part. Spark will show up as an ally too.[verification needed]


  • At the beginning of the level, the Bumblebee port is smaller than it was in the level Pillar of Autumn.
  • After leaving the cryochamber, if one continues to the area with the overshield, one should notice that the hallway branching off from the scorched black room it is unscathed. In the level The Pillar of Autumn however, this hallway was scorched black along with the rest of the room.
  • If the player uses mods to hack a vehicle other than a Warthog into the level, when the player uses that vehicle instead of a Warthog Cortana will still say her line "Chief, we need to keep moving, get back in a vehicle!" despite the fact that the player is already in one.
  • The Pillar of Autumn is approximately 1.17 km long. This, however, contradicts the final level of Halo: Combat Evolved where the player must drive along a 3.5 km long service corridor that supposedly runs the length of the ship. This was probably for generating the tension and atmosphere necessary for the level. However, as Master Chief's route was not straight, the curves and twists would be able to create at least 3 km for him to drive. However, nav points indicate the straight distance to your target, and does not count twists and turns. This is proven by when you make a map using the Halo Editing Kit, make a single player map, and mark a nav point.
  • The Banshees that attack and follow Echo 419 have open cockpits so they look like no one is piloting them. The Banshees do not actually fire shots that destroy Echo 419. If you shoot at the Banshees, they will not receive any damage and cannot be destroyed until after Echo 419 has passed over the extraction point. When the banshees are destroyed, Elites will fall from the banshees but nobody was inside.
  • Running over any Carrier Forms during the Warthog run will not knock them down, though it will make the Warthog pass through the Carrier as it merely drops down and explodes.
  • Strangely, after Echo 419 is gone, when you see the three Spec-Ops Grunts with fuel rod guns, killing them causes the others to not attack you. A possible reason was that either Bungie focused on the excitement of the Warthog run more, or that the Grunts were supposed to take on the Flood (which come out of a hole in the side). Same deal with the two Elites.
  • 343 Guilty Spark in the cutscene where John-117 and Cortana made it to the Bridge, was facing backwards when he was trying to take the core offline in the Engine Room.

Easter Eggs[]

  • The Thirsty Grunt appears in this level at one of the tunnels close to the Longsword Fighter.
  • In the level, there is a room under one of the runways (that you can get to when you're on the Warthog) that has the word "REX" written in human blood splatters and bullet holes.
  • In the beginning cutscene in this level, you can see the Marathon logo on the front of the Pillar of Autumn.
  • In the hall before the engine room, there is a single Flood Marine Combat Form that is allied with the Covenant and will fight other Flood Forms.


  • What looks like an approaching Flood army in the final cutscene was revealed to be seven Flood forms, in the Halo 3 Legendary Edition DVD cutscene commentary.
  • When the player has destroyed the engines, Cortana will say, "It leads to a class 7-service corridor that runs along the ship's dorsal structure."
  • During the elevator ride, just before the Warthog run, Cortana instructs Foehammer to pick John up at "External Access Junction 4-C." When you consider that C is the third letter of the alphabet, 4C is another reference to 7.


  • The unloaded weapons in the first armory is referenced in Halo: The Flood in which the surviving Marine forces returned to the Autumn's wreckage to recover most of its ordnance.
  • After first initiating the self-destruct sequence, Cortana says: "That should give us enough time to make it to a lifeboat and put some distance between ourselves and Halo before the detonation." This is strange, given that at the end of the level 'Pillar of Autumn', when approaching the docked lifeboat she tells John-117 that it is the last one, and that he must get aboard quickly before it launches. It is however also possible that she is rhetorically referring to any kind of vehicle capable of escaping Halo as a 'lifeboat', as Pelicans and Longswords are incapable of entering slipspace.
  • If you skip the bridge cutscene before the Sentinels shatter the main display, the display will not be shattered when you start, and will not shatter no matter how long the Sentinels or the player shoots at it. This can actually be quite advantageous as it provides you with additional cover when fighting the Sentinels. If the Sentinels kill the player, the glass may reappear upon a respawn.
  • In the chapter called "Warning: Hitchhikers May Be Escaping Convicts" on Legendary, you have only five minutes before the engines explode. This is different from Easy, Normal, and Heroic Campaign modes, which have six minutes.
  • The Special Operations Elite commanding the squad of Special Operations Grunts in Maintenance Elevator 07 is Zuka 'Zamamee from Halo: The Flood.
  • In Anniversary, the terminal for this level is located on the outline of John-117 on the cryo control panel. It should be flashing.