The Full Wiki

More info on The Maw (Level)

The Maw (Level): Misc



Up to date as of February 08, 2010

From Halopedia, the Halo Wiki

(30 votes)
Prev: Keyes
Next: Halo: Combat Evolved Credits
Game: Halo: Combat Evolved
The Maw
Player: John-117
Date: September 22, 2552
Place: Inside the crash site of the UNSC Pillar of Autumn

Overload the Pillar of Autumn's engine cores to destroy Halo and escape Halo.

Halopedia has a walkthrough guide to this level, The Maw (Level). See The Maw (Level)/Walkthrough.
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 level in Halo: Combat Evolved. In it, the Master Chief makes his way through the Pillar of Autumn's wreck 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 life in the galaxy. Just like the previous two levels, you will have no allies.




Part 01: And the Horse You Rode In On


Opening cinematic-The camera skims low over a large body of rugged grassland, tinted gold by an oncoming sunrise. The main menu theme rises.

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 former sea has flooded into the newly-formed canyon. At the top of that canyon rises the massive stern of the 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!"

Master Chief: (calmly) "It'll hold."

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 life pod port.
Cortana: (sardonic) "You did that on purpose, didn't you?"

The Master Chief'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 the Master Chief 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."

The Master Chief 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."


Cinematic-The Chief 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 twenty 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."

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

343 Guilty Spark (O.S.): "I'm afraid that's out of the question, really."

Cortana: (groans) "Oh, hell."

343 Guilty Spark '(O.S.)': "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...."

The Chief surveys the bridge carefully with his Assault Rifle, never missing a beat.

343 Guilty Spark '(O.S.)': "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 the Master Chief, who is calmly tossing a fragmentation grenade up and down

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

The Chief 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 the Chief's shields. The Chief quickly drops behind cover, removes Cortana from the terminal and places her into his helmet, and raises his rifle.


The Chief 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."

The Chief 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 Elites). He defeats these enemies and hurries to Engineering.

Part 02: Light Fuse, Run Away

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

The Chief 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 a whole bundle of stuff at the Chief, trying to convince him to spare the installation. Here's what he's got on his mind:

  1. "You would destroy this installation, as well as this fascinating record?"
  2. "Do you require medical attention?"
  3. "Your behavior is not in accordance with established protocols."
  4. "Oh, how touching."
  5. "Detaching the failsafe just now?"
  6. "Please. Surrender the construct and I will endeavor to make the necessary repairs as quickly as possible."
  7. "The Flood continue to multiply, Reclaimer!"
  8. "Why do you continue to ignore your task?"
  9. "Are you perhaps ill?"
  10. "Why do you continue to resist us, Reclaimer?"
  11. "Inconsistent!"
  12. "This AI construct possesses far too much data."
  13. "Unacceptable, Reclaimer!"
  14. "We must keep moving Reclaimer...Reclaimer?

The Chief 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."

The Chief 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."

The Chief destroys two more reactors, leaving only one left.

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

The Chief takes out the final reactor.

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!"

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

Cortana (O.S.): "Cortana to Echo 419, come in Echo 419!"

Foehammer (O.S.): "Roger, Cortana. I read you, 5 by 5."

Cortana: "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 (O.S.): "Affirmative. Echo 419 going on station."

A few moments later, still on the elevator.

Foehammer (O.S.): (concerned) "Echo 419 to Cortana. Things are gettin' noisy down there. Everything okay?"

Cortana (O.S.): "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!"

The Chief reaches the top of the elevator.

Part 03: 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."

The Chief 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 (O.S.): "Cortana to Echo 419! Request extraction now, on the double!"

Foehammer (O.S.): "Affirmative, Cortana. Foehammer inbound."

The Chief arrives at a wide open platform.

Cortana: "Wait, stop! This is where Foehammer is coming to pick us up. Hold position here." (There is no sense in stopping here if you have seen this before. If you don't wait for Foehammer, the scene will jump, and you will save about 20 seconds as it takes a while for Cortana to finish the dialogue and restart the clock again.)

{If you wait for Foehammer}

Echo 419 appears around the hull of the Pillar of Autumn, listing badly and flaming at the engines. A pair of Banshees close in on the Pelican.

Cortana (O.S.): "Cortana to Echo 419! Two Covenant Banshees are approaching on your six! Evade, say again, evade!"

An explosion lurches the Pelican, the starboard wing dips, ablaze, and Foehammer yells into the speaker as she passes under the platform.

Foehammer (O.S.): (panicked) "I'm hit! Mayday! Mayday! Airfoil structures 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, collides into the Pillar of Autumn's hull and explodes, debris flying everywhere.

Cortana (O.S.): "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!"

The Chief 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!"

The Chief 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 the Chief to get out of the Warthog and finish the journey on foot.

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

{Cutscene} {Cutscene - Failure}

{As you reach the ramp leading up to the Longsword platform—cinematic}

(Dust and Echoes plays)

The Chief (with no weapon in hand) makes a break across the platform for the fighter, the Flood closing in behind 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!"

The Chief, sprinting for the cockpit, 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. The Master Chief 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 huge light, which grows and grows, and then a massive shock front sweeps through 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."

The Chief 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?"

The Master Chief 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 the Chief 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's cockpit) "(quietly) Did anyone else make it?"

Cortana: "Scanning." (Pause) "Just ... dust and echoes. We're all that's left."

The Master Chief 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."

The Chief 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. The Monitor has survived.

Johnson and an Elite.

{Legendary Cutscene}

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

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

Sergeant Johnson: "C'mere you motherf-! I'm gonna. Grrr... ah."

They suddenly stop and turn to see the ship preparing 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: "...mmf."

The two embrace as the ship explodes and the Elite additionally places his right hand on Sergeant Johnson's ass.

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



  • 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 Player 2 in the passenger seat, however, will keep the Warthog balanced.
  • In the cut scene where the Chief 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 you get at the pick up point, Cortana will say her line even if Foehammer hasn't crashed yet (this will save some time).
  • 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.


  • 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 3km 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. If you notice, the Banshees do not fire a single shot that destroys Echo 419; in fact, they are too far off to hit an accurate shot on a moving vehicle.

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.
  • The Special Operations Elite commanding the squad of Special Operations Grunts in Maintenance Elevator 07 was actually Zuka 'Zamamee from Halo: The Flood. Zuka was actually pursuing John during almost the entire duration of time that he was on Installation 04. As a result, he is considered by some as an unofficial mini-boss on the level by fans. Depending on the level of difficulty, however, there can be more than one Spec Ops Elite in the elevator. 
  • In the beginning cutscene in this level, you can see the Marathon logo on the front of the Pillar of Autumn.


  • 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.
  • This is the only level that has a time limit in the Halo trilogy, although when the Warthog Run was remade in Halo 3, if you take too long and do not die you will be unable to finish the level.
  • The definition of a "maw" is "the throat, jaws, and gullet of a flesh-eating animal". This is a possible reference to either the Flood or the adage: "Victory from the jaws of defeat." In the U.S. Marine Corps, MAW is an acronym for Marine Air Wings.
  • At the beginning cutscene where it shows the Pillar of Autumn on its side, you can see a Marathon logo on either side of the ship, engraved into two large circles just like in the beginning of the game.
  • The end of this level is very similar to the end of Halo 3 level, Halo. This was more than likely intentional on Bungie's part.
  • The final chapter of the level, "Warning: Hitchhikers May Be Escaping Convicts", is referenced in the Halo 3 level Tsavo Highway as "Warning: Hitchhikers May Have Jetpacks". It's also referenced by Vergil, who repeats the line as "Warning: Hitchhikers may be escaped convicts" in the Halo 3: ODST level Data Hive.
  • In the beginning cutscene, Master Chief crashes his Banshee into the wall and climbs up into the ship. This is similar to a scene in the Halo 2 level The Oracle, where the Arbiter crashes a Heretic Banshee into the wall before climbing it and re-entering the Gas Mine.


  • "Maw" can have many different meanings. This level is most likely named "The Maw" after the biological term for an animal's mouth, a maw. Either that, or the biological term for the gall bladder of a fish, also called a maw. These could be reference to the fact that the place takes place inside the Pillar of Autumn, just as the maw is the inside of a mouth or inside of a fish.
  • Apart from the Legendary Ending, the only way you can actually see the Pillar of Autumn explode is to let the timer run down to zero. A cutscene will show it exploding.
  • This is the only level where Elite Combat Forms will use Active Camouflage. They will come in from the locked door in the armory, along with several regular Combat Forms. There will sometimes also be several human combat forms that have Active Camouflage activated, although there is no known reason for this. Since the Flood are non-sentient, it is unlikely that they share equipment. The elite combat forms are referenced as "floodcombat elite stealth unarmed" in the code, and can be seen in HMT, and with the default tagset of the Halo Editing Kit, and states that these are likely infected stealth elites.
  • The Assault Rifles and Shotguns in the armory have no ammo. The Shotgun ammo is in the green cases near the rocket launchers.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • This mission's final cutscene is viewable in the beginning of the Halo 2 level The Heretic.
  • When Halo explodes, it makes the same gurgling noise made by Flood Combat Forms.


Preceded by
Halo Campaign Missions
The Maw
Succeeded by
Halo Credits

This article uses material from the "The Maw (Level)" article on the Halo wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address