With only one episode remaining after this week, Spartan Ops Episode 9: Key had to fit a lot of plot into a short five minute cinematic. And it nearly delivered. Majestic squad and Commander Palmer are at odds this week. With the latter sent on a mission to kill Dr. Halsey and Majestic sent to intercept and stop the assassination. Meanwhile, Dr. Halsey is speaking with the Librarian who gives her the Janus Key, a map to every piece of Forerunner technology throughout the galaxy. When Dr. Halsey leaves the Librarian’s presence, half of the Key is taken by the Elite Jul M’Dama and the other half is thrown to Spartan Thorne who had arrived to rescue Halsey and stop Palmer. However, Dr. Halsey is shot in the shoulder by Palmer before being teleported away by a Promethean Knight. It, thankfully would appear to be a non-life threatening injury.
The five missions in this episode run the gamut of defending areas, clearing out bad guys, rescuing marines, and pressing switches to activate some kind of forerunner device. All in a day’s work for Crimson Squad. However No one mission stood out this week, they were all standard fare. Activating the forerunner artifact in mission 5: Hammer was interesting, as players watched as the structure was formed, wondering what it might do, turns out it was a some kind of map, and a cliff hanger. Guess we’ll find out where it leads next week. Perhaps it will lead to the mysterious “Absolute Record” referred to by the Librarian.
Overall, this episode’s cinematic was much better than its mundane missions. As usual, the excellent writing in this second half of Spartan Ops has left every Halo fiction fan wanting more. While this wasn’t one of the stronger episodes, it served its purpose and propelled us to next week’s season finally. My advice to end this review; when playing, try not to let the repetitive environments hinder the overall experience and enjoy the story that unfolds.