Flood is an offensive spell that does Water-elemental damage. It typically targets all enemies, and is usually the replacement for the spell Water in the games that it does not appear in.
Flood is a Ninjutsu for Edge. Gained automatically when fighting Rubicante. Costs 20 MP. In the Advance remake, Flood can be cast when the player uses the Triton's Dagger weapon as an item. It is also available as an Augment.
Flood returns as a Ninjutsu spell, usable by Edge and Izayoi, both of who start with it. It functions in the same way as in Final Fantasy IV, but now costs 7 MP to use.
Flood appears as one of the Ancient Magic spells. It is available to Black Mages at level 58. For 368 MP, the spell will cause Water-based elemental damage and lower resistance to Lightning. A stronger version, Flood II, is also available through Merit Points.
Flood is one of Terra's initial HP attacks which manifests three bursts of water one after the other from beneath the opponent. As a Mime, Bartz is also able to use the attack which functions identically to Terra's version. Shantotto's Spirit Magic: Water casts Flood when she has 6,000 or more Brave. It summons a large torrent of water surrounding the opponent.
Flood in Final Fantasy IV.
Flood in the DS version Final Fantasy IV.
Flood in The After Years.
Flood used by Bartz in Dissidia Final Fantasy.
Flood used by Terra in Dissidia.
Flood used by Shantotto in Dissidia.
|Aero - Aeroga - Bio - Blind - Blizzard - Blizzara - Blizzaga - Blizzaja - Break - Breakga - Death - Drain - Fire - Fira - Firaga - Firaja - Flare - Flood - Freeze - Hold - Meteor - Osmose - Poison - Quake - Rasp - Scourge - Shock - Sleep - Stone - Stonega - Thunder - Thundara - Thundaga - Thundaja - Toad - Tornado - Warp - Water - Watera - Waterga - Ultima|
|Focus - Focara - Haste - Kill - Muddle - Saber - Sleepra - Slow - Slowra - Stop - Stun - Temper|
|Final Fantasy II|
|Aura - Curse - Destroy|
|Final Fantasy III|
|Erase - Raze - Shade|
|Final Fantasy IV|
|Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-|
|Electrocute - Energy - Dark Fire - Dark Fira - Dark Firaga - Hell Firaga - Tri-Fire - Dark Blizzard - Dark Blizzara - Dark Blizzaga - Hell Blizzaga - Dark Thunder - Dark Thundara - Dark Thundaga - Drainra - Drainga - Hell Thundaga - Osmoga - Tri-Thundaga|
|Final Fantasy IX|
|Demi - Doomsday|
|Final Fantasy XI|
|Absorb-AGI - Absorb-CHR - Absorb-DEX - Absorb-INT - Absorb-MND - Absorb-STR - Absorb-TP - Absorb-VIT - Aero II - Aero III - Aero IV - Aeroga II - Aeroga III - Bind - Bio II - Bio III - Biora - Bioga - Blaze Spikes - Blind II - Blizzard II - Blizzard III - Blizzard IV - Blizzaga II - Blizzaga III - Burn - Burst - Burst II - Choke - Drain II - Dread Spikes - Drown - Escape - Fire II - Fire III - Fire IV - Firaga II - Firaga III - Flare II - Flood II - Freeze II - Frost - Gravity - Ice Spikes - Klimaform - Luminohelix - Poison II - Poisonga - Quake II - Rasp - Retrace - Shock Spikes - Sleep II - Sleepga II - Stone II - Stone III - Stone IV - Stonega II - Stonega III - Stun - Thunder II - Thunder III - Thunder IV - Thundaga II - Thundaga III - Tornado II - Tractor - Warp II - Water II - Water III - Water IV - Waterga II - Waterga III|
|Final Fantasy XII|
|Ardor - Blindga - Scathe - Silence - Silencega - Sleepga - Stoneja - Toxify|
|Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates|
|Meteorga - Quaga - Ultiga|
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The Flood (Latin Inferi redivivus meaning "The dead reincarnated"), or The Parasite as they are known to the Covenant, are a species of highly virulent parasitic organisms that reproduce and grow by consuming sentient life forms of sufficient biomass and cognitive capability. The Flood were responsible for consuming most of the sentient life in the galaxy, including the Forerunners, during the 300-year-long Forerunner-Flood War. The Flood presents the most variable faction in the trilogy, as it can infect and mutate Human and Covenant species, such as Elites,Grunts,and Brutes, into Combat Forms. They are widely considered to be the greatest threat to the existence of life, or, more accurately, biodiversity, in the Milky Way Galaxy.
The Flood are extremely adaptable, dangerous, and expendable parasitic lifeforms. They were first encountered in the Milky Way Galaxy by a Forerunner pioneer group on planet G617 g1. It is a highly infectious viral supercell, and the cause of the "Forerunner-Flood War", which lasted approximately 931 years. They were the reason that the Halo Array was constructed, as a last final effort by the Forerunners to preserve biological diversity in the galaxy. After exhausting every other strategic option, the Halo Array was fired, resulting in the elimination of the original source of the Flood infestation and the death of every sentient being in the Galaxy.
The Flood exists in a fairly stable state in the absence of a Gravemind. They lack the ability to spawn spontaneously and spread by infecting sentient life forms, specifically those that are self-aware and capable of introspection. This stage of a Flood outbreak is known as the Feral Stage.
During its Feral Stage, the Flood is only capable of local coordination through use of pheromone-based communication. Research indicates that the content of said messages are of very limited complexity. Individual Combat and Carrier Forms have access to the skills and memories of their host; however, once an outbreak establishes a viable Gravemind, the Coordinated Stage begins—and it is at this point the Flood becomes truly dangerous.
With the formation of a Gravemind, the assimilated intelligence and memories of consumed hosts become part of a collective consciousness, which is capable of strategic thinking and commanding individual Flood forms in an organized manner.
A Gravemind (like the Proto-Gravemind that gave rise to it) is the fusion of pure Flood Super Cells and the evolved complex neuro-system of one or more sentient entities. The control it exerts over the more mobile forms it creates is accurately likened to an entity's control over its own limbs. Ergo, during the Feral stage, control is localized at the individual level, but once an outbreak enters the Coordinated stage control is assumed by, and broadcast from, a central compound intelligence.
Although no data exists from any adequately controlled experiment, data gathered in the field suggests that if a mobile form is removed from the influence of the Gravemind coordinating its group of origin it will revert to a Feral Stage. Insufficient data exists on whether mobile forms of one Gravemind would be influenced by another Gravemind, though logic dictates this would be the case. However, because individual Graveminds are remarkably similar and are all striving for the same goal, it is likely that a distinction would be impossible to detect.
The Bestiarum states that the society of the Flood closely resembles an "utopian socialist ideal as there is no wealth, no poverty, no want, no crime, and no disease; every individual works for the advancement of the Flood as a whole". It also states that it "is unfortunate that their one overriding goal is to [butcher and consume] every other life form in the galaxy".
The Flood are believed to have arrived in the Milky Way Galaxy more than 100,000 years prior to 2552 when they encountered the Forerunners on the planet G617 g1. The Flood used unarmed civilian assets to penetrate planetary defense groups, first striking at the Forerunner-held planet of LP 656-38 e, bypassing the Forerunner Orbital Fleet, and infesting the planet below. They soon moved to similarly infest the planet DM-3-1123b. They were perceived as hostile by the Forerunners, whose ground forces were overcome by the sheer numbers of Flood forms on the planets. While at first the Flood demonstrated a lack of even "basic cohesion", they had "numerical superiority"; billions of forms dedicated to the assault, and every member of the Forerunner population a potential Flood host. In desperation, the Forerunner's armada was ordered to immediately commence full planetary bombardment on infested worlds, although at a great cost - many Forerunners were unable to be evacuated before bombardment commenced, leaving the Forerunner military with shallow victories against the Flood. In events where the naval garrisons were unable to commence bombardment, major Forerunner population centers appeared to activate localized weapons of mass destruction, effectively committing mass suicide, but stopping the growing infestation.
Thereafter, the Forerunners realized that ordinary naval tactics were unable to stem the growing tide of the Flood, and decided to pin their hopes of defeating the Flood on super weaponry. While the Forerunners initially deployed the Sentinel robotic drones to fight against and contain the Flood, almost immediately afterward, the Forerunner Fleet Command contemplated "Premature stellar collapse": using naval battle groups to destroy planetary star systems' primary stars in supernova that would engulf the planetary systems and prevent any possibility of Flood infection.
While the Flood were exponentially growing, spreading from system to system with the intent to infect the Forerunner population, not to wage war with Forerunner battle groups, the tide was turning: the Flood had reached sufficient proportions to create a Gravemind form, a creature that embodied a collective sentient intelligence for the Flood species, and one that could coordinate the Flood swarms in intelligent attacks against the Forerunner Fleets. The Forerunners were aware of this, and constructed the Contender class artificial intelligence Mendicant Bias in an effort to destroy this centralized Gravemind and disorganize the Flood. This too failed since Mendicant Bias went rampant and joined the Flood cause to destroy its former masters.
The Forerunners began a "Conservation Measure", researching the Flood, while constructing an Artifact to generate a slipspace portal leading to the Ark on Earth and possibly other uninfected home worlds of Tier 7 races they considered "worthy".
The Forerunners employed many, many measures, including intricate naval tactics in an attempt to contain the Flood, which ultimately failed. Finally, the Forerunners were forced to a Pyrrhic solution, building seven ring-like super-weapons, known as Fortress Worlds or Halos, across the galaxy. Because the Flood were parasitic, and their survival was directly linked to the presence of potential hosts, the Forerunners reasoned that eliminating all potential Flood hosts, that is, all sentient life forms in the galaxy, would "render the parasite harmless", as explained by the Forerunner AI 343 Guilty Spark. After all countermeasures failed, the Forerunners activated the Halos in 97,448 B.C, unleashing galactic destruction, and destroying almost all sentient life forms in the Galaxy. However, the human race and many other species throughout the galaxy survived the firing of the Halos because they were safely spared on the Ark which was out of range of the Halo Array or protected by the Shield Worlds, which were also out of range .
The Flood were contained, and unable to reproduce due to lack of hosts, and eventually died out. The only surviving specimens were contained in state of the art, high-security Forerunner research facilities, such as the Halo Installations and the Threshold Gas Mine.
Thousands of years after the end of the Forerunner-Flood war, the human ship Spirit of Fire jumped from Arcadia to follow the signal of Professor Anders, who had been captured by the Covenant. They were led to an unknown planet, which happened to be a Forerunner Shield World. Ground forces were deployed to investigate the presence of unknown hostiles sighted by the ship's radar. After fighting their way through Covenant forces, Sergeant Forge and several Marine squads were attacked by the Flood.
The surviving UNSC forces, which included Sergeant Forge, were ordered to recover some Elephants that were surrounded by Flood forms. After one was rescued, the small squad made their way into a site that would become a base. They then assembled a larger force to rescue the other soldiers. Following their successful rescue, the UNSC forces prepared to engage the Flood.
SPARTAN-II Red Team, while searching for Anders, was ambushed by several Flood forms, which forced their Warthog to crash. The remaining forces at the nearby base, led by Sergeant Forge, moved out to rescue the ill-fated team. As they attempted to rescue the SPARTANS, they soon discovered that the Flood was creating a Proto-Gravemind, and that it may have been jamming the tracking signal that Anders was giving out. On their way to the soon-to-be Gravemind, they encountered several Flood Colony forms, and found that by destroying them, the Proto-Gravemind would become weakened. Once they destroyed the Proto-Gravemind, Serina found a signal, which was believed to be Anders'.
Captain Cutter then ordered all UNSC personnel on the planet to return to the Spirit of Fire. These orders were impeded by the Flood, which attempted to prevent the humans' retreat, but the Flood were eventually held back long enough for the UNSC forces to return to the Spirit. The Flood attacked the Spirit as it entered the interior of the Shield World, but were wiped off by the ship's crew, Sentinels, and the Shield World's cleansing rings. All Flood on the Shield World were destroyed when Sergeant Forge used the Spirit of Fire's Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine to destroy the Shield World's internal sun, obliterating all Covenant and Flood forces on the Shield World. The Spirit of Fire narrowly escaped by performing a hastily-calculated slingshot maneuver around the exploding sun in order to shoot off into space. Without the Spirit's Slipspace Engine, however, the ship was lost in space, with humanity's only knowledge of the Flood lost with it.
Although the first firing of the Halo Array starved large numbers of the Flood, samples of parasitic specimens were kept alive (perhaps in stasis) on various Forerunner outposts for research and further scientific study. One such research site was located on Installation 04. This proved to be a grave, irreversible mistake, as both Humanity and the Covenant stumbled upon the abandoned ring thousands of years after the firing of the Array and the destruction of the Forerunners and most of the Flood. Cortana, aboard the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, made what was presumed to be a "blind" jump through Slipspace (although it was later revealed that she used translated co-ordinates from a Forerunner artifact found on Sigma Octanus IV) to evade Covenant pursuers. This led both species to Installation 04, and in turn, the Flood that were kept there. After the crash of the Pillar of Autumn on the Halo Ring, the surviving crew members dug in for what they believed would be a long and brutal guerrilla campaign against the Covenant forces on Halo.
Meanwhile, the pursuing Covenant cruisers (among them the Truth and Reconciliation) amassed their ground forces on the surface, and soon discovered an underground Forerunner Flood Containment Facility in the swamps of Halo. Due to the secure nature of the facility, the Covenant came to use it as a fortified base of operations and an area for storing weaponry, oblivious to its true nature. Though some of the Flood managed to escape, the terrified Covenant soldiers eventually pushed the Flood back in. It is unknown whether a few still escaped. The Flood escaped due to a leak in the library, allowing the flood to reproduce by spores.
After Captain Jacob Keyes was captured by the Covenant for interrogation, he caught wind of this weapons cache and, upon his rescue, organized Fire Team Charlie to seize it. When the team arrived at the swamp however, they found the facility was completely devoid of Covenant personnel. However, upon takeoff, a Pelican Dropship, whose call sign was Victor 933, which had transported them to the base, crashed into the swamp as a result of enemy action. Then, immediately after the crash, the pilots were able to record a message about their attackers, calling them "Unknown Hostiles". These "Unknown Hostiles" were actually the Flood, and shortly afterward, they could be seen creeping throughout the swamp, as witnessed by John-117 when he was deployed into the area. At first, when he saw the Covenant retreating out of the Forerunner structure running from Assault Rifle fire, he believed them to be allied forces. However, after he opened the door that Captain Keyes had unlocked, he learned the truth through Private Jenkins' recording: this was no Covenant weapons cache. He then proceeded to escape, escorted the surviving marines to a drop zone, and encountered 343 Guilty Spark. Guilty Spark then promptly teleported him into the Library and said, "The Flood is spreading. We must hurry!"
The few surviving Covenant soldiers left were scattered and disorganized, and put up little resistance to the new Combat Forms created from numerous Covenant corpses. It is presumed that the Covenant occupants of the research facility had moved through the structure in hopes of finding Forerunner artifacts, and had inadvertently released living Flood specimens. Knowing full well what the Flood are capable of, the Covenant forces promptly locked the facility down and evacuated all personnel who survived the Flood's escape. Keyes and his team were unaware of this fact, however, and proceeded to delve deeper into the facility, ultimately coming across one of the unopened Flood Containment Chambers. Believing it was a weapons cache of some sort, they unlocked the door, and were promptly attacked and assimilated by the Flood inside. With a large supply of "edible" sentient life now occupying the ring, the Flood began to multiply and infest most of Halo. Soon, the infestation proved too great even for Halo's automated military force, the Sentinels, to handle, and the ring's commanding AI, 343 Guilty Spark, was forced to call upon a "Reclaimer" (John-117) to activate the array once more. Hearing of the above events, John-117 was deployed to the area on the drop ship Echo 419, proceeding into the facility, only to find out that most of the Marines he had been assigned to rescue had succumbed to the Flood.
These events brought the knowledge of the Flood to the UNSC. In a war of losses, this was another grim revelation for humanity.
After the Flood's escape, the Covenant forces, who were widely stretched across Installation 04, were heavily engaged, and were being overwhelmed by Flood forces. While at places, the Covenant were able to hold the line by using vehicular and air support, most of the weaker Covenant soldiers such as Grunts and Jackals succumbed easily to the Flood, and the few Elites who remained were outnumbered and destroyed. The UNSC, having a much smaller presence on the Ring, found out about the Flood's might a short while later, when a UNSC Orbital Drop Shock Trooper force engaged with the Covenant near Alpha Base, was ambushed by the Flood and suffered heavy casualties. However, one of the attacking combat forms, Wallace A. Jenkins, who was one of the Marines in the original expeditionary mission to the supposed arms cache, was infected by a weak and elderly infection form whose powers of infection had been dulled by years of hibernation, making Jenkins' transformation into a combat form incomplete. Jenkins was still able to resist the pervasive Flood entity in his mind, and although incapable of articulate speech and with a physiologically devastated body, Jenkins was still able to betray the Flood through hand gestures during an interrogation with Major Silva, informing the UNSC Marine battalion that the Flood planned to assault the UNSC base from a series of underground catacombs underneath their base. In response to this intelligence, the UNSC moved to secure them, and prevented the Flood from staging another attack.
By the time of these developments, Flood dominance over the Covenant was assured. The Sentinels were unable to contain the Flood, and the Covenant and UNSC were sustaining heavy losses and rapidly losing ground. Meanwhile, the Flood were occupying whole areas formerly held by the Covenant, although Covenant and Flood forces continued to wage war on the massive ice plains of the Ring. Although the Covenant had the benefit of Shade stationary plasma turrets and vehicular/aerial support, the Flood had captured both UNSC and Covenant weapons, most notably M19 Rocket Launchers and massive numbers on their side.
The Flood, however, were not unintelligent. One of the UNSC personnel captured in the Marine force to the ex-Covenant arms cache was Captain Jacob Keyes, a brilliant naval strategist of the UNSC Navy. When he was infected, instead of using him in combat, the parasitic infection form, while deleting his memories, felt that Keyes held vital information. Keyes knew the location of Earth, the birthplace and major planet of the human race, a planet with tremendous possible assimilation opportunities for the Flood. Instead of becoming a combat form, he was merged with at least four other victims into a massive, engorged Proto-Gravemind aboard the CCS-class Battlecruiser, Truth and Reconciliation, a Covenant warship that the Flood were relentlessly attacking. While he was in the brain form state, the Flood began to comb his memories. Captain Keyes successfully withheld information about Earth by constantly accessing information available on his Command Neural Interface such as his name, rank, and serial number, until the Chief arrived. However, his arrival was too late, for Keyes was already dead. It was at that time the SPARTAN-117 punched a hole in Keyes' skull to get the Captain's CNI.
The Covenant Flagship Truth and Reconciliation was a major point of contention between the Covenant Special Operations units and the Flood. The Flood had likely entered the warship previously, decimating most of the Covenant crew and garrison on board, leaving only isolated pockets of resistance, mostly small numbers of terrified Grunts and a few Elites aboard the vessel. However, below the Truth and Reconciliation, in a series of rocky canyons, the Covenant were much stronger in force, with large numbers of Elites augmented by Grunts, Jackals, and Hunters, fighting off the Flood. The Covenant High Command on Installation 04, however, were terrified by the Flood presence. Because the CCS-class battle cruiser had been damaged in a previous space battle with the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, it had been grounded, awaiting repairs for at least two days. After The Flood were discovered to be aboard the battle cruiser, the Covenant High Command sent a Special Operations strike force to the Truth and Reconciliation to commence immediate emergency repairs, prepare it for lift-off into space and neutralize The Flood. These efforts, however, failed, with the Flood eventually retaking the vessel. Later, the remaining UNSC Marine forces on the ring staged an assault on the Flood-held Truth and Reconciliation, and managed to neutralize most Flood forms on the cruiser in a swift assault, and prepared the battle cruiser for take-off with emergency repairs to escape from the ring to Earth. However, there was tremendous risk if the Flood-infected vessel traveled to Earth, if there was even one Flood carrier form aboard, "Earth could fall," according to UNSC AI Wellsley, because of the Flood's exponential parasitic potential. Against orders, Marine officer McKay destroyed the warship with whatever Flood forms were still aboard, killing hundreds of UNSC personnel, including an infected Jenkins, but saving Earth and possibly billions of lives from the Flood.
The Flood appeared to be interested in seizing space-capable vessels, in the hope of spreading itself away from the Installations and into the stars: they attacked the UNSC Pillar of Autumn and CCS Truth and Reconciliation, for this reason. After the UNSC cruiser's crash-landing onto the ring, and after engaging over fifteen enemy warships, it had been taken by the Covenant, although a UNSC raid had managed to temporarily retake the hull. On the third and final day of the Battle of Installation 04, however, the Covenant were in control of the crashed warship when a Covenant patrol was ambushed by the Flood and infected; when it returned into the vessel, the Covenant garrison was attacked by Elite Combat forms. The combat forms were able to scatter before they could all be destroyed, and a steady trickle of Flood continued to enter the Pillar of Autumn through vents and openings in the hull, waging a tedious guerrilla battle against the Covenant security force on board. Eventually, the Sentinels came on board, overwhelming the dwindling Covenant forces as the Flood began to attack the warship in full force, in the end almost completely obliterating the Covenant presence, and severely limiting the Sentinels on board. Despite their best efforts and enormous numbers, the Flood, Covenant, and Sentinels were unable to stop John-117 from detonating the wrecked warship's reactors, and escaping in a C709 Longsword-class Interceptor. The resulting thermonuclear detonation severed the ring world, destroying it and its capability to annihilate all sentient life, and simultaneously killed all remaining Flood on Installation 04, along with any other life forms that were on the ring.
The Flood were also kept in the Forerunner-constructed Threshold Gas Mine, in one of the three peripheral arms of the station. A small Covenant special forces strike team of three Phantoms laden with Special Operations Elites and Grunts, led by Special Operations Commander Rtas 'Vadumee and Thel 'Vadamee, were dispatched by the High Prophets. This was to "silence" Sesa 'Refumee, the leader of the Heretics stationed within the mine encouraging dissent against the Prophets. While the force attempted to track down Sesa 'Refumee to assassinate him and destroy his forces, the Heretics, unleashed the Flood that were held within the station, and there was absolutely nothing they could do about it.
During Thel 'Vadamee's pursuit of Sesa 'Refumee, where Thel 'Vadamee neutralized several weapons emplacements. Enemy Banshees, Thel 'Vadamee, Rtas 'Vadumee, along with Spec Ops Elites and Grunts entered a laboratory, while the Heretics deliberately locked the doors: most likely by design, in order to crush the Special Operations force. The Heretics then released the Flood from containment in that arm of the station, locking Thel 'Vadamee and his five allies into a peripheral laboratory, and then besieging them with Infection Forms while Heretics dueled the Flood underneath them.
When that trap failed to annihilate them, instead dealing tremendous damage to the would-be trappers, 'Vadumee retreated to call for reinforcements and coordinate a continued assault while the Arbiter and any remaining allies pursued 'Refumee to a gigantic elevator that ran in the spine of the Flood-infested arm: while presumably used to transport gas conduits, its walls were rampant with ravenous Flood, and it ferried canisters full of Infection Forms. The tenuous, agonizing elevator was nicknamed "A Descent Into Hell". Thel Vadamee's allies were slowly picked off as Flood attacked the elevator, with Sentinels continually hovering overhead and firing lasers into the chaotic fray. Finally, Thel 'Vadamee left the elevator into a second wide laboratory hall, where the Heretics attempted to lock out both Thel 'Vadamee and the Flood. The Heretics' plan was not flawless, however, and handful of Heretic Sangheili were still present in the second laboratory when the Flood entered, these Sangheili were presumably infected while a horrid tide of Infection Forms, Combat Forms, and Carrier Forms lurched into the hall, and Thel 'Vadamee was forced to defend himself against them until the tide stilled and the doors were opened.
The Flood could not be contained in the rooms, however, and attacked both the Covenant assassination force and the Heretics themselves. Their assault was too much for either the Heretics or their attendant Sentinels to contain, and the Flood passed on a pathway between their infested peripheral arm to the central core of the station, where they overwhelmed the Heretics there. Thel 'Vadamee continued to pursue Sesa 'Refumee, but was impeded by large waves of Flood, crushing the outnumbered Heretic Elites, Heretic Grunts, and the ever-dwindling number of Sentinels. Eventually, the Sentinel presence was completely obliterated as the Flood spread to the upper levels of the station. However, Thel 'Vadamee managed to sever the cables that secured the gas mine to its support structure higher in the atmosphere of the gas giant. This caused it to plummet into the maelstrom as the Arbiter tracked down and eliminated the Heretic Leader. While Thel 'Vadamee and 'Refumee were engaged in battle, the Monitor 343 Guilty Spark explained that the act of cutting the cables was a fail safe in case of a Flood outbreak, and that any remaining Flood (and, presumably, remaining Heretics) would be killed once the facility entered the planet's solid Nitrogen core.
Unlike on Installation 04, where the Sentinels had contained the Flood until the Covenant began to meddle with the Forerunner containment measures, on Installation 05, the Flood had been in continual war with the Sentinels since the firing of the Halos 100,000 years ago. Even up to 2552, the Flood were presumably dwindling with no fresh supply of hosts (perhaps they were involved more in hiding than in open warfare). However, like on Installation 04, the fresh suitable host bodies of a newly-arrived Covenant armada and a UNSC strike force fueled the Flood's exponential parasitic capabilities, and Flood infestation increased at a surprisingly rapid rate, and within hours, Sentinel forces were being overrun, causing a risk that the Ring would fall to the parasite.
In order for the activation of the Halos and the facilitation of the ultimate Flood containment measure to occur, a Reclaimer had to retrieve the Index from Installation 05's own Library, making the Library a high-priority target for the Flood: if it could control the Library and prevent any Reclaimer from entering, it would make itself essentially invulnerable. Installation 05's Library was nestled in a tenuous series of wintry and snowy canyons and boasted three levels of defense: an exterior Sentinel Wall kilometers in the distance, an underground honeycombed facility that produced large numbers of Sentinels (that impeded any invaders from advancing), a Containment Shield (an energy shield that denied access by any means to the Library until it was deactivated), and a Quarantine Zone (a type of biological "airlock" to prevent the Flood from spreading any further). This multi-tiered defense was patrolled by hundreds of Sentinels and Sentinel Majors, and several Enforcers.
However, two external forces, the Covenant and the UNSC, wanted the Index as well: the Covenant, to activate the Halos and set off the misinterpreted "sublimation event" of the Great Journey, and the UNSC to secure the Index and prevent the Covenant from doing so. The Covenant sent a Strike Team of Special Operations Elites, commanded by Rtas 'Vadumee, and led into battle by Thel 'Vadamee, to retrieve the Index in a multi-staged assault. However, the Covenant first needed to deactivate the Containment Shield by disconnecting its power generator in the center of the Sentinel Wall.
Previously, a force of Jiralhanaes, Unggoys, and Kig-Yars had been dispatched to complete that operation, but they were overwhelmed by Sentinel defenders and forced into a defensive position instead of an attacking one. Thel 'Vadamee was personally ordered by the Prophet of Truth to find and retrieve the "Sacred Icon" (the Covenant term for the "Index") for the Covenant. Because the Sentinels activated the Containment Shield, he could not be directly air-dropped to the Library; instead, he had to land at the periphery of the Sentinel Wall, disable the generator, and then proceed to deactivate the generator. Tartarus deployed Thel 'Vadamee in a Phantom drop ship, where Thel 'Vadamee entered the first half of the Sentinel Wall, where there was evidence of heavy Covenant casualties and abandoned infrastructure, making his way down through the facility and finally deactivating the Containment Shield.
While the first half of the Sentinel Wall had remained pristine, the second half, the one buttressing the Quarantine Zone, was infested by Flood. Sentinel resistance had been destroyed in some segments of the Flood-Infested Wall, and in heavily infested areas, the Flood appeared to be beginning to terraform the Forerunner facility, spreading murky spores into the air. The UNSC deployed a small number of Marines to fight through the Flood-Infested Wall, but they were quickly overrun. Thel 'Vadamee was able to battle through hundreds of Flood forms that had taken up positions in the Wall, which had entered through wall-mounted conduits, although later, the Covenant deployed a team of three Special Operations Sangheilis in the lower levels of the Flood-infested Wall, although they were killed as well. Finally, Thel 'Vadamee was able to make his way out of the Wall, emerging at the ground levels: the Quarantine Zone.
With the Sentinel Wall compromised by the Covenant and the Flood, and the Containment Shield lowered by Thel 'Vadamee, there was only one last line of Forerunner defenses: the Quarantine Zone. There was a significantly elevated number of Enforcers present, even automated sentinel construction factories flying over watch, and automated factories built into the landscape, each churning out Enforcers and Sentinels, further swelling their numbers even in intense combat. Here, the Flood demonstrated their unusual technical aptitude, commandeering Covenant and UNSC vehicles, possessing dozens of Ghosts, Wraiths, Warthogs, and Scorpions to do battle with the hovering Enforcers. Flood forces also boasted large numbers of Combat Forms, which appeared to infiltrate the Containment Zone by means of gaping chasms that periodically split the ground, emitting a green mist and appearing to be of indefinite depth, perhaps linkages to the Flood-infested underground.
Six Special Operations Elites, along with Rtas 'Vadumee, were airdropped at the periphery of the Quarantine Zone by means of Covenant drop pods, and Thel 'Vadamee joined them, rallying their efforts to secure a landing zone against large numbers of Flood attackers. Using the advantages of elevated ground, Shielded Plasma Cannons, and a Deployable Lookout Tower, the small Special Operations contingent was able to hold an LZ for a Phantom to drop off a Spectre and a pair of Ghosts. Meanwhile, 'Vadumee commanded his men to assist Thel in forging towards the center of the Flood-infested Quarantine Zone, so that Thel 'Vadamee could reach the Library and secure the Sacred Icon.
The Flood, despite a significant vehicular and infantry presence in the Quarantine Zone surrounding the Library, were unable to deny access to the Covenant and the UNSC. Miranda Keyes managed to slip the In Amber Clad through the Forerunner Enforcer patrols, while the Covenant launched a ground borne attack, led by Thel 'Vadamee and involving a small team of Spec Ops Elites, using a gondola to get to the index while attempting to control the gondola and keep it from slipping into Flood or Sentinel hands. Later, In Amber Clad was captured by the Flood.
Spartan-117, who had arrived with Keyes and Johnson, met Thel 'Vadamee for the first time in the clutches of the Gravemind, the central controlling intelligence of the Flood hive, created from the combined intellect of tens of thousands of assimilated corpses. Gravemind attempted to convince Thel 'Vadamee, against his own beliefs, and through the use of the captured Monitor, 2401 Penitent Tangent, and the semi-revived Prophet of Regret to not activate the ring. Still unswayed, although in question of his religion, Thel 'Vadamee prompted the Gravemind to show him, by "Stopping the key from turning.", transporting Spartan-117 to High Charity, and Thel 'Vadamee to Delta Halo's Control Room.
Taking advantage of the distraction that Spartan-117's presence caused, as well as the ensuing Covenant Civil War, Gravemind took the opportunity to deliver himself, as well as a multitude of Flood underlings, onto In Amber Clad and then jumped the UNSC ship inside High Charity, whereupon it immediately crashed into the city's superstructure to deliver its infectious cargo, while a wave of Flood-controlled Pelican Dropships delivered Flood all over the city. The ill-equipped and distracted populace was no match for the Flood onslaught, and the Covenant Holy City was quickly overrun, with even the Prophet of Mercy falling victim to an infection form.
The Flood soon spread to every district, and Flood spores began to infiltrate and overload the ventilation systems; the whole city was becoming Terra-formed into a massive Flood Hive. The Gravemind regularly rebutted the words of comfort the Prophet of Truth delivered to the city’s population over the comm system, to sadistically instill more panic and unease. Spartan-117, having successfully stayed in front of the wave of Flood running rampant in the streets, stowed away on the Dreadnought that was leading the Prophet of Truth's fleet to Earth. Cortana, who had to stay behind to manage the situation should Installation 05 be fired, was left in the clutches of the Gravemind, who could potentially learn all possible Human knowledge from her.
At the conclusion of the Battle of Voi, with the Prophet of Truth activating the Artifact and the Jiralhanae fleet escaping to the Ark, a Flood infested Covenant cruiser appeared out of Slipspace, having penetrated the Elite's blockade of High Charity and crash landed into the city of Voi in an effort to spread. In order to prevent the Flood from escaping and infecting the entire planet, Miranda Keyes ordered John-117 to detonate the cruiser's reactors and search the ship for Cortana, causing the city of Voi to be destroyed and the Flood there eliminated. As John-117 and the Thel 'Vadam fought their way to the ship, the Shadow of Intent arrived and deployed Sangheili task force to aid UNSC marines. SPARTAN-117, with the help of the Sangheili, was able to battle through the Flood forces, including the newly encountered Flood Pure Forms to reach the crashed cruiser where he found a message from Cortana. Upon this discovery, 343 Guilty Spark arrived pledging his assistance to the Reclaimers. With the Flood spreading, SPARTAN-117 boarded a Phantom while the Sangheili went on to glass the infected areas. The remaining Sangheili forces, fulfilling their mission of removing the Flood from Earth, retreated back to the Sangheili Carrier, the Shadow of Intent, along with Cortana's message and Guilty Spark.
With the assistance of 343 Guilty Spark, Cortana's message was repaired, revealing a solution to the Flood menace on the Ark. To Lord Hood's disapproval, Miranda Keyes led UNSC forces allied with Thel 'Vadam's and Rtas 'Vadum's Sangheili's through the Portal.
On the Ark, while attempting to lower the shield surrounding the Ark's citadel, the infested High Charity made a Slipspace jump and smashed into the Ark, releasing the Flood inside the structure and causing an infestation on the newly built replacement for the destroyed Installation 04. After retrieving Cortana from the derelict High Charity, SPARTAN-117 was able to kill all Flood present on the Ark and the replacement Installation 04 by activating the unfinished Halo using the Index Cortana retained from the first Halo. The ring's activation also presumably killed the Gravemind. SPARTAN-117 also destroyed High Charity by destroying its reactors, causing them to go critical and killing the billions of Flood that were present when High Charity was destroyed in a huge explosion.
With the Gravemind destroyed, and all the Flood on the Ark gone, it is probable that the Flood still exist on the other Halo rings, excluding Installation 05 (although it is possible that not all of the Flood on Installation 05 left and there are still some there, since Installation 05 was never destroyed), or any other remaining Forerunner Installations. The fact that the Flood were never originally from this galaxy further complicates the issue, and how they arrived leads to more possibilities. It may be that is why the Forerunners preserved some Flood for research on the Halo rings instead of destroying them all, since the Flood would return sooner or later, and it would be better to fight a researched enemy rather than a foreign one. At least for the moment, the Flood are seemingly defeated.
The Flood, a virulent species of parasites, is an anomaly in all known biology, and an anomaly to regular life. Due to this, it is thought to be an extragalactic species, originating from different galaxies[verification needed]. It is extremely adaptive, and mutates hosts through different stages of accelerated "evolution", where the body of biomatter accelerates its own evolution to the point of a massive biological breakdown, where by the infection can first take place. The virus can reproduce through asexual methods, though this is described as a last ditch effort, and only performed by pure Flood forms.[verification needed]
The only known pathway for Flood reproduction and survival is by the infestation and assimilation of other species. They do this through a form of cellular reproduction known as lysogenic replication where the viral cells infect host cells with their own genetic code which mutates the host cells into viral forms.
Capable of surviving extreme environments ranging from -75 to +53 degrees Celsius and even underwater (in early stages of life), the Flood can withstand harsh environments of all known colonized planets.
It would seem that the Flood can infest any living organism, but that they prefer hosts with a large brain capacity to accelerate the formation and expansion of the Gravemind hive intelligence and the Flood intelligence as a whole. They are only as intelligent as the beings they infect; the more cunning the enemy, the more dangerous the Flood will be.
As the Flood spread and replicate, they will alter the environment to better suit their needs. This takes the form of biomass growing on any available surface, and the air being filled with spores. This appears to be part of the Flood life cycle and is done automatically, and leads to the development of a Gravemind and a Flood Hive.
The Flood seem to thrive in moist and humid areas, which lends itself to the fact the the Quarantine Zone is bereft of organic life, and is cold and perpetually snowy, to hinder the development of the Flood.
Infection forms selectively target other species that possess sentient intelligence and are of sufficient biomass, and can infest living or lightly wounded dead bodies. Infection forms have long tendrils that pierce the skin of the host and find their way to the spinal cord. From here they synchronize with the host, matching frequencies with the host's nervous system and taking over brain functions, completely rewriting the psychology of the creature to the ravenous and voracious psyche of The Flood, although retaining higher-level cognitive abilities, such as combat techniques and technical knowledge which may be useful. However, resistance of the host is completely destroyed, as the original mind's memories are systematically erased, leaving only a simplistic and primal urge to assimilate other species and destroy them. During the early stages of infestation, when the host still retains its original consciousness, there are distinct somatosensory sensations: first the host's extremities grow numb and their lungs feel heavy.
Then, the greater Flood intelligence begins to take over the mind, and sensation becomes increasingly indistinct: the host's vision seems to be "a gauzy white haze", but the host can make out shapes and the host can hear a low droning through the ordeal. Finally, once physiological mutilation occurs, the host can vaguely feel dramatic changes to its own body: the limbs feel to the host as if they are made of a spongy liquid and the lungs itch as well. However, the host can still control their limbs to some extent if the neurological contact with the infection form is weakened. They can use the vocal cords of Jiralhanae's, Humans, and Sangheili's to communicate as well as the moans they use as observed on The Covenant where the drop pod crashes into the third shield tower.
While baseline neurological assimilation is the same regardless of host species, The Flood's infestation includes physiological mutilation, which is species-specific.
Higher-level species capable of combat, such as Humans, Jiralhanae, or Sangheili are selectively infected to become Combat Forms. Combat Forms retain the general profile of their original species, although they are significantly mutated. Organ-based systems' physiology are corrupted, organ-specific functions are decentralized, and body cavities are decayed, making hitbox-selective incapacitation impossible; organ functions are decentralized, thus, decapitation does not down a combat form. Furthermore, highly area-specific munitions, such as sniper rifle projectiles, are completely ineffective, as picking off selective areas of a combat form leads to no wide-scale physiological impediments, and the projectile will punch through the decayed flesh rapidly, exiting through the other side of the combat form without consequence.
Combat forms also generate tentacles very quickly without regard for the skeletal structure of the host, with tentacles protruding from the combat form at odd locations, typically localized to the chest axial regions, such as the neck, armpits, or torso. A single arm is oftentimes mutated to a claw like or tentacle-like structure that splits into multiple angular, hand-like structures replacing the hand's usage, yet it will still be there. The musculature of the combat form dramatically changes as well, and the form is given prodigious arm and leg strength, allowing for heavy blows with its arm-like structures and for incredible speed and jumping height with its legs. The Flood are also prodigious climbers, able to scamper on walls with little hindrance to the organism . Metabolic requirements, however, appear to be extreme on the organism: blood vessels become extremely prominent on the surface of the Combat Form, with thick and distinct blood-colored vessels spawning all across the creature's surface, most prominently so on the head.
There is no confirmed way to effectively stop a Flood infection when an Infection Form attacks a host. However, two possible exceptions are known. One of which is to contract the fictitious disease "Boren's Syndrome", a neurological condition where radiological exposure causes electrical anomalies in the host nervous system that is actually caused by biologically enhancing drugs, such as those used in the ORION Project. The neural frequencies of the host are scrambled, although without major negative manifestations to the host. However, it has been suggested that during Flood infection, the infection form is unable to tap into the host's nervous system to kill them. It is unable to proceed to a large-scale physiological mutation, not understanding why. Although Flood DNA is sliced into host DNA, even imparting the host with increased regenerative capabilities. Avery J. Johnson, having Boren's Syndrome, escaped the containment facility where The Flood attacked two squads of UNSC Marines. However the Boren's Syndrome was to cover his past in the ORION Project, and that the Boren's Syndrome explanation was invented to hide it. In the novel Halo: The Flood, Cortana uses an electrical charge which she generates from Master Chief's suit to destroy an infection form that was attempting to infect him.
While Boren's Syndrome left untreated may leave the victim immune to the Flood, leaving it untreated usually equates to death within a couple of years. There is said to be a one in a billion chance that research, from someone so inflicted with Boren's Syndrome in a way that they cannot be infected, could be carried on to produce a cure.
Since the Flood is a parasitic life form, they depend on other organisms for survival. Thus, the only logical foolproof way to eliminate them permanently is to take away their food sources. The Forerunners attempted this by bombing large population centers, but this was seen as one of their last resorts and as such was performed too late in the war to make much difference. The absolute last resort was the use of the Halo installations, which effectively destroyed all life in the galaxy and starved the Flood. However, the Forerunners' plan included some measures to preserve sentient life and return them to their home planets, allowing the Flood's "food source" to persist, while at the same time specimens were kept for analysis on Halo Installations, allowing the threat of the Flood to be merely forestalled, not eradicated.
Environmental stimuli seem to have an effect on Flood metabolism. Halo installations typically artificially incorporate low temperature into environments suffering Flood outbreak and to create natural obstacles to Flood progress, regarded as Quarantine zones. At least one Flood Research Facility used low temperatures to keep its specimens inactive and dormant as it studied them. This may be the reasoning behind keeping Installation Control Rooms in low degree weather, impeding their occupation by the Flood. The Flood are also vulnerable to temperatures on the other end of the spectrum. Plasma weapons will burn through them, as well as Sentinel Beams, indicating that the Forerunners had determined energy weapons to be the best 'basic countermeasure' available to fight the Flood. It may be a side-effect of the Flood's conversion of the body into biomass, breaking down cellular integrity and increasing flammability.
The Flood go through four distinct developmental changes.
The basic Flood form is the infection form, unique in its distinctive spherical shape. The infection form is used to infect organisms of other species, physically adhering to their surfaces and inserting tentacles, forcibly "hacking" into its host's nerve system, completely changing its psychology to that of the Flood's, and eventually physiologically mutating it into one of the various parasitic Flood forms of whomever the victim may be.
|Known Flood Forms|
|Feral Forms||Infection Form • Combat Form • Carrier Form|
|Pure Forms||Stalker Form • Ranged Form • Tank Form|
|Advanced Forms||Proto-Gravemind • Gravemind|
|Uncategorized Forms||Prophet Form • Flood Growth Pods • Flood Dispersal Pod • Porta • Flood Hive • Flood Spores • Flood Launcher • Flood Swarms • Flood Den • Bomber Form • Thrasher Form • Flood Stalk • Flood Vent • Flood Colony • Flood Root|
|Cut Forms||Juggernaut • Shielded Carrier Form • Infector Form • Transport Form • Stealth Form|
While possessing an unusual sentient intelligence, with Combat Forms still retaining extremely high-level cognitive functions such as vehicular operation, lower level cognitive abilities, precise dexterity, and overall battlefield tactics, are notably lacking in the Flood, especially in their psychological and combat behavior. While the Gravemind coordinates Flood strategy on a galactic scale, small encounters are not coordinated between individual Flood warriors.
The Flood follow a zealous and ravenous strategy with little target selectivity, aggressively attacking all hostiles in range. Furthermore, Flood tactics are based primarily on asymmetrical warfare: the Flood uses all types of its different forms to kill the enemies that it sees. Usually the Infection, Combat, Carrier, and Tank Forms rush the enemy and attempt to quickly eliminate them. The Ranged Forms try to support their zealous comrades with ranged attacks. The Stalker Forms attempt to transform into a Tank or Ranged Form. The Combat Forms also utilize any weapon that they have picked up. While this strategy is observed to be a Zerg Rush, they aren't completely suicidal, since they usually dodge dangerous ordnance.
The Flood have a strong preference for close-range combat: combat forms possess abnormally strong melee attacks by whipping their tentacles, capable of dropping a SPARTAN-II MJOLNIR armor’s shields in half with a single hit. Carrier forms cause tremendous devastation at close ranges, and their explosions are extremely devastating to friends and foes alike at close range, with the added benefit of disseminating infection forms in the immediate vicinity of enemies. Infection forms are capable of attacking only at point-blank ranges, exploding in damaging bursts when meeting an opponent's personal energy shields or instantly grabbing hold of an unshielded enemy organism and infecting it. Combat forms can also use firearms, and have been seen clutching them in one of their hands (regardless of whether it is one-handed or two-handed). However, combat forms are extremely poor warriors at range with ranged weaponry: it is believed that the neurological ramifications of Flood infection significantly decrease accuracy, as well as weapon recoil if held in only one hand. The Flood are mostly only dangerous with heavy weaponry, such as the M19 Rocket Launcher or the M90 Shotgun, and are curiously ill skilled with close-quarters weapons such as the Energy Sword. However, it is still possible that a Flood with a Energy Sword can kill a fully shielded Elite or Spartan in one blow.
However, as mentioned previously, the Flood demonstrates a curious higher intelligence despite their poor combat aptitude and coordination. The Flood collectively learn any general information a species possess, even if only one member of that species is assimilated. For example, during the ill-fated raid on the Infinite Succor, after even one Sangheili was assimilated, all the Flood could open any doors and access any system on the ship immediately afterward, demonstrating that the Flood can share collective knowledge across their species. Furthermore, when the Flood assimilated the Prophet Legate, the Flood reflected the high-level knowledge of the Legate through its individual organisms to Special Operations Commander Rtas 'Vadumee, mocking him with the words, "the Forerunner could not defeat us...what chance you?". The Flood, however, reflect unusual knowledge in the individual psychologies of its individual species in processes facilitating increased infestation: The Flood were sighted gathering bodies in the corners of the Covenant ship Truth and Reconciliation, perhaps making it easier for Infection Forms to find hosts to reanimate. The Flood were also gathering body parts for a new Brain Form aboard the Infinite Succor.
Flood Combat forms have been sighted crudely operating Ghosts, Warthogs, Wraiths, and Scorpions in ground operations, although with slow deliberation and clumsy driving and accuracy. The assimilated crewmen of the UNSC Frigate In Amber Clad were also able to initiate a Slipspace micro-jump for the frigate and perform rudimentary maneuvering of the In Amber Clad, navigating the frigate from the atmosphere of Delta Halo to High Charity and then crashing the vessel into a tower, releasing Pelican dropships to rain down upon the capital.
The Flood's millennium of existence are believed to have made the assimilation process unusually brief: creatures killed in a short firefight can be reanimated within seconds to minutes by an infection form, and live creatures can be mutated into fully grown and mentally devious combat forms within minutes of contact. The mutations can occur randomly, or uniformly: according to the Halo Graphic Novel, they can sometimes develop into engorged combat forms notably larger than the normal combat form, or can alarmingly grow thick shells within minutes, indicating that the Flood can facilitate tremendous and exaggerated metabolic activity during the physiological mutilation. Furthermore, in rare cases, the mutations can constantly shift: when Rtas 'Vadumee battled his comrade-turned-combat form Bero 'Kusovai aboard the Infinite Succor, 'Kusovai continued to mutate throughout the duration of the battle. Though never seen, it can be assumed infection forms were involved in infecting victims in this case. Before being killed to prevent his becoming a Flood, one of the Sangheili accompanying Rtas 'Vadumee appears to have a wound in his chest that may have been the entry point for an infection form. Many of the Flood on the Succor seemed to constantly be mutating the infected biomass and also seemed to merge them together. This suggests the possibility that over time any infected host can mutate further and further, as exemplified by the Brain Form or the Gravemind and different versions of the Combat Form.
It is best to use the MA5B Assault Rifle, Shotgun, or M6D Pistol against the Flood. The pistol is capable of killing a combat form with a single shot to the chest, but is generally not recommended for mass engagement, as its medium rate of fire and small magazine size can lead the player into a position where they are surrounded by Combat Forms, therefore, it is best to only apply it in long-range combat. Furthermore, Combat Forms have a tendency to revive after being shot once with a pistol. The Plasma Rifle is also a good weapon of choice to use (if the assault rifle/shotgun are unavailable) as its high rate of fire can quickly destroy infection forms while still being potent enough to destroy the combat forms.
The Sniper Rifle is ineffective against the combat forms and will not kill them. The Shotgun, on the other hand, is the best choice against Flood Forms, as it usually finishes them off in one or two shots, especially Combat or Carrier Forms. On lower difficulties, Shotgun ammo is almost always available.
The Assault Rifle, an all-round effective weapon with large spread range, is superb against masses of combat forms and infection forms. Never bother to melee Combat Forms or Carrier Forms, as it is practically useless and very time consuming. For infection forms however, a single melee can take down four to five of them.
All in all, the most practical option is to have a shotgun for close-up/quick work, and a Pistol or Assault Rifle for longer range. The pistol is most useful for the level Two Betrayals, while the Assault Rifle/Plasma Rifle is preferred on The Library due to the levels cramped nature.
It is possible to shoot the arms off of Combat Forms (alive or dead). Dismembered Combat Forms pose no threat. This works well on the level Keyes.
Dual wielding SMGs and other dual-wielding weapons has proven to be very effective, as well as the Sentinel Beam, Shotgun and Energy Sword. Plasma Pistols, however, are the least useful. Dual-wielding Plasma Rifles, and aiming at the arms of the Flood is more than enough to rip them apart easily. The arms will come off quickly and therefore leave the combat form, quite literally, unarmed. They will waddle about and explode after a few seconds. There is also a way of killing combat forms in one shot. On the chest, you can see the infection form's tentacles waving about. This is where the infection form has burrowed. Shoot the infection form, and unless the combat form is utilizing shields, the combat form will die.
The SMG is also an excellent weapon against the Flood, as long as ammo is in large supply. Also effective is the BR55 Battle Rifle, as aiming for the Infection Form in the chest of a Combat Form will kill the Infection Form controlling it in a single burst. It is often a good idea to use the Brute Shot's melee, as it will have the same effect as an Energy sword on Combat Forms; it will destroy the body and prevent Infection Forms from reanimating it. For one of the best combos, use Dual SMGs for Combat and Infection Forms, and keep a Shotgun in reserve. Another highly effective combo is to carry a Battle Rifle for engaging the Flood at long ranges and carrying a Shotgun for when you don't have enough time to be precise with your aim. A good strategy on The Oracle is to dual wield a pair of Needlers, you can usually do this without running out of ammo. Also, don't let the infection forms touch you if you have no shields; otherwise, they will kill you instantly.
The Incendiary Grenade instantly destroys all pure Flood forms and is the one true weakness of all pure Flood forms, as well as its Support Weapon counterpart the Flamethrower. Also, all forms can be instantly destroyed with a melee, with the exception of the Pure Forms, which cannot be revived anyway when killed. There is also a way of killing combat forms in one shot. On the chest, you can see the infection form's tentacles waving about. This is where the infection form has burrowed. Shoot the infection form, and unless the combat form is utilizing shields, the combat form will die. However, the corpse will be susceptible to infection by another infection form unless the body is in fragments.
Their tactics on Halo Wars are very similar to those they perform on the Halo Trilogy; they can obviously infect Humans, Elites, Brutes and now even Jackals and Grunts with their Infection Forms, and usually attempt direct attacks with large groups. They possess large tentacle-like Flood forms and large pods that can pin in and attack vehicles, in the case of the Elephants they capture, which is an in-game objective to rescue in the first level where are encountered in-game. The Flood establish bases by capturing and spreading an infestation on enemy bases.
The Flood have been confirmed by Ensemble to have been made overpowering to both UNSC and Covenant forces to keep their appearance terrifying. Early in development, Ensemble considered making the Flood a playable race, but this idea never made it past the concept stage. According to lead designer Graeme Devine, the main issue was that in order to balance the Flood with the UNSC and Covenant, the Flood would have to have been similar to StarCraft's Zerg, which did not mesh with the Flood's role in the games, to be "the single scariest thing in the galaxy."
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