Box art - Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach Skull Locations | How to unlock Skulls in Halo Reach

Bungie’s last Halo opus, Halo: Reach, is finally hitting PC and Xbox One via the Master Chief Collection. As is Halo tradition, Bungie included a collection of skulls in Halo: Reach to tweak your gameplay during the campaign and in Firefight. Most will make your Covenant foes harder to deal with, while some have fun bonus effects for a more fun playthrough. No matter what you’re looking for, Halo: Reach offers a pretty customizable experience. Let’s see what options are available in Halo: Reach.

Halo: Reach | How to unlock Skulls in Halo: Reach

Breaking from Halo tradition, the Master Chief Collection doesn’t lock any skulls behind in-game collectibles. However, Halo: Reach is unique in that they did this even before the Xbox One launch game. Bungie decided to forgo hiding the skulls throughout the world in Halo: Reach. Instead, all your skull options are available in the main menu before you start any story or Firefight mission in single-player or co-op. This includes primary skulls that adjust campaign difficulty and secondary skulls that are more for fun.

Halo: Reach | How to use primary Skulls in Halo: Reach

There are several skulls available in Halo: Reach. If you’re looking for a challenge, primary skulls are what you need. Here’s a brief description of what’s available and what they do in Halo: Reach:

  • Iron: Co-op reverts to previous checkpoint on player death. 1P restarts mission. 
    • In Firefight, the skull instead disables respawning
  • Black Eye: Shields don’t recharge except from melee attacking enemies.
    • Assassinations also count for this skull, which only lets you recharge shields if you get down and dirty
  • Tough Luck: Enemies always make every saving throw, always berserk, always dive, never flee…
    • For example, this skull will cause Banshees to roll out of the way when you lock on, Brutes to charge you and Grunts to go suicider much faster than normal.
  • CatchEnemies are grenade happy – 2× as often and 2× as fast.
    • Grenades will be hard to deal with because of the double speed, but enemies always drop of two of them when they’re downed.
  • Cloud: Motion sensor disabled with this setting.
    • Go full MLG by disabling the motion sensor. This skull was called Fog in Halo 3
  • Famine: Weapons drop 50% less ammo.
    • Weapons stored in crates and the rare Spartan Lasers still have full clips
  • Thunderstorm: Major upgrade to all enemies.
    • In Halo, the color of an enemy’s armor indicates how tough it will be to take down. This skull bumps up everybody one level. Watch out for Jackal snipers!
  • TiltDamage tables are modified.
    • This skull will exaggerate the built-in weapon resistance for each gun in Reach. So, it takes more bullets to take down a shield and more plasma to take down health.
  • MythicDouble enemy health
    • Usually considered the difficulty beyond Legendary, Mythic doubles enemy health.

Halo-Master-Chief-Collection-2019_Reach-Multiplayer_02_4K Halo Reach Skulls

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Halo: Reach | How to use secondary Skulls and Firefight Skulls in Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach‘s Secondary skulls are a bit more fun, trading in damage buffs for buffed explosions. Here’s what each of them does in both Firefight and campaign.

  • BlindHUD and first person arms and weapon are hidden.
    • You lose your reticle, motion censor and even your gun model with the Blind skull. Perfect for screenshots, not for gameplay.
  • Cowbell: Acceleration scale from explosion is 3x.
    • Physics are tripled in intensity with Cowbell, but weapon damage isn’t affected. Watch Warthogs fly through the air from a single grenade toss.
  • Grunt Birthday: Grunts explode as if they were plasma grenades when they are killed with a headshot.
    • In contrast to the original game description reproduced above, Grunt Birthday in Halo: Reach doesn’t produce explosions. Instead, you get a puff of confetti and a cheer from a group of children. A Halo classic.
  • IWHBYDCommon combat dialogue becomes less common, and vice versa.
    • The I Would Have Been Your Daddy skull makes rare NPC chatter appear more frequently and basically disables common barks. Perfect for a second playthrough.

In addition to these named Skulls, Halo: Reach also has three colored custom Skulls exclusive to Firefight. These can be customized in the same way as gametypes in multiplayer, allowing you to affect almost anything in the game from gravity to weapon spawns to enhanced shields.