The Shade is a Covenant stationary gun, commonly operated by the Unggoy, and occasionally by Sangheili or Jiralhanae. The Shade turret fires two bolts of slow moving, high powered plasma encased in magnetic fields. The accuracy of a Shade's weapon is fairly low, as the bolts of plasma fired can hit anywhere within the aiming reticle.
The Shade is effective against most infantry. However, due to their higher intelligence and speed, Sangheili will often find cover and escape the Shade's range of fire. On this same note, the bolts fired lack the required punch to damage Mgalekgolo, whose armor and combat shield can withstand most Covenant and UNSC small firearms, causing the plasma bolts to have little to no effect on them.
The Shade offers a wide field of fire and a 360 degree traversal mount. The Covenant use the Shade's field of fire to their advantage and place them at strategic points where they can do the most damage. It has shown good defense against light vehicles such as the Ghost, and in desperate situations, can serve as anti-aircraft defense, requiring only a few direct hits to destroy a Banshee.
As with its recognizable human counterpart, the Shade is very effective against both enemy ground forces and light vehicles. Some of its advantages over its human counterpart are that the plasma bolts are accurate and effective at longer distances and it is easier to see where shots are actually going than it is with the M41's rounds, although this might also effect the ability of the target to dodge them.
As with the human counterpart, the player will be exposed to enemy small arms fire. While it is useful against enemies in light vehicles, the Shade is not a weapon of choice when facing an enemy heavily armored vehicle. Also, as is the case with the M41, players are unprotected from the rear. Additionally, the Halo 3's version of the Shade has an extremely slow turning rate, making it a detriment to the user. The Shade's rate of fire is much slower than that of the M41. Shade gunners must also lead their targets, as there is a significant travel time, in contrast to the M41's projectiles which hit their targets instantly. It also has the obvious disadvantage of being completely immobile which makes it easy to flank.
Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST
- The Shade returned in Halo 3 and had major visual and technical updates from its predecessors; the Shade now is in the shape of a ball-turret, has a higher rate of fire, and provides excellent front and side protection for the gunner.
- Like all Shades that have appeared in previous games, it is elevated on a small gravity lift that hovers the turret in the air, and so has a full 360 degree field of view.
- Interestingly, the Shade's aiming reticle was similar to a Needler's, except with a circle of lines at the center.
- The Shade was in multiplayer only in Halo 3 Epsilon, as it was removed from the final version, even in Forge. But modders are still able to mod the game to get the Shade on certain maps.
- In Halo 3: ODST, the Shade seems to rotate quicker than it did in Halo 3.
- It is also worth noting that in Halo 3: ODST, the Shade lacks a plate of armor in the top middle, in between its guns, exposing the operator to enemy snipers.
- In Halo: Reach, the Shade appears to have a similar design as the ones in Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST.
- The Shade is now usable in multiplayer and can be added into custom maps via Forge. The Shade's base can also have its color changed in Forge similar to how the Mongoose's color can be changed.
- It has regained the Halo: Combat Evolved fire rate, albeit with the plasma bolts of the Halo 3 Shade.
- The flaps at the side will no longer cover the user instead giving the user more angular cover.
- An anti-vehicle variant armed with a Fuel Rod Cannon appears in the campaign. It has a green coloration, and a slower rate of fire. This variant appears in the level Tip of the Spear.
- An anti-air variant makes appearances in the levels Tip of the Spear and New Alexandria being referred to as by Catherine-B320 as a "Heavy Shade." This variant is armed with a weapon similar to the standard Shade, however its plasma bolts act similar to flak weaponry, detonating in close proximity to enemy aircraft to deal splash-damage. It also has integrated energy shielding systems and is seemingly automated without an operator.
- It is the only stationary turret in Halo: Reach to not overheat with continuous fire.
- The Shade, like most other Covenant Vehicles in Halo: Reach, has a hexagonal pattern on it.
- Heavy weapons, vehicles or grenades are perfect to destroy Shades.
- In Halo 3: ODST, Automags and sniper rifles can be used to kill the gunner if no heavy weapons can be found.
- Ramming it with any vehicle at a medium to high speed is an instant kill.
- In Halo 3, if you shoot a Shade from a distance, in between the barrels, the operator may jump out.
- In Halo 3, if you stand right in front of the turret, in between the guns, the operator will not turn the turret to make you slide in front of it, making the player a harder target.
- If aimed perfectly in Halo: Reach, it is possible to kill the operator with a well-aimed head shot from the front. However, this can be difficult if it is firing at the player.
- Neither the Power Drain nor an overcharged Plasma Pistol shot can disable the Shade's firing mechanisms, though either of these will temporarily disable its ability to rotate.
- The Shade does not appear in any Halo 3 multiplayer map. Tags for the Shade do exist in several maps, however, including Snowbound and Guardian. As with most normally-inaccessible Forge Objects, the Shade has no name, cost, or maximum limit, and it does not respawn. If a player's tool of destruction is a Shade, it will be shown as a Ghost in the postgame stats.
- This weapon can be considered the Covenant's equivalent to the stationary variant of the UNSC's M41 Light Anti-Aircraft Gun
- For some reason both Halo 3's manual and Forge in Halo: Reach classify the Shade Turret as a vehicle despite the fact that it has the same properties as regular turret except for the ability to remove it from its base and walk around with it.
- In Halo: Reach, the Shade doesn't seem to have its flaps closed. This makes the gunner of the turret vulnerable to enemy fire from either side.
- In Halo: Reach, if an NPC is in the turret, the Shade will have a much higher rate of fire.
- In Halo: Reach, Shade Turrets can be deployed via Phantom, although this seems to be extremely rare. One instance of this occurring can be observed on the level Exodus when Noble 6 first approaches the building where two Falcons will later land to escort him/her out of the area. On the side with the landing zone, a Phantom can be seen deploying Unggoy-occupied Shade Turrets. This observation can only be accomplished in theater mode, as the Phantom leaves before Noble 6 can get close enough to witness the turrets' deployment.