Forerunner ruins, desert sand
Recommended number of players:
|“||Although the Brute occupiers have been driven from this ancient structure, they left plenty to remember them by.||”|
It features odd Forerunner constructs and is encircled with a minefield that features vertically launching mines to prevent players from venturing beyond its boundaries. Six large towers surround the outer extremities of the map, all connected by a large wall. The purpose and origin of these structures is unknown. The September 7 EGM stated that this was the site of a Brute excavation and UNSC forces (deployed from the frigate UNSC Aegis Fate, which hovers in the sky above the map) came along and removed them; remains from both sides' forces can be seen in the form of a crashed Phantom and a crashed Albatross.
It has a heavy emphasis on vehicular combat. All of the Forgeable vehicles available at the time in the game are on this map - for example, the "bases" are a pair of Elephants at opposite ends of the recently unearthed Forerunner ruins. There are also some very interesting sniper spots. For example, if you are inside of the crashed Phantom, it will be hard for other players to see you and the location gives you a very interesting view to take down some unsuspecting players. Also, a large hill gives you a good view over the field from overhead.
According to the holographic displays stationed on the lower sections of both Elephants, Sandtrap has an atmosphere which is mainly composed of CO2 and other gasses inimical to unprotected human life. This may mean that Sandtrap is not located on the Ark, or that it is located on a previously unseen section of the Ark with wholly different atmospheric characteristics. Simple equipment malfunction is another possibility, as the artifical nature of the Ark may well play havoc with instruments designed for use on conventional worlds.
 Secrets of Sandtrap
- Each tower is paired with an actual Easter Egg objects. These Easter Eggs fire faint beams that appear to be similar to a Sentinel Beam but are not. These beams are believed to be used for triggering the mines in the minefield. See also: Easter Egg Towers.
- The two wind tunnels or air lifts are powered by a green square object. There are only two of these objects hidden underneath each of the tunnels or lifts. To see them, you must get under the map in Theater and fly to them. Another way to view them is by modding a map to have them on the surface.
- There are several hidden shapes within the walls of Sandtrap. Most of these shapes are just different types of parallelograms, the most common kind being squares.
- There are several secret rooms on Sandtrap. The most popular one is the one inside the ceiling of one of the bases. The other secret rooms are all within the walls of the long narrow hallway in the middle of the map.
- There is a small hole within a small gap on Sandtrap where all weapons fire will just simply go through and disappear. If you look through it, the Hall of Mirrors effect may occur if you are playing on splitscreen mode with at least one guest controller. It will not work on Xbox Live.
- The playable size of Sandtrap can be doubled by going outside of the map, where there is more playing space. The explosions of the mines can simply be countered in Forge by placing large piles of every possible type of grenades. These grenades will negate all explosions even though it seems like the explosions are still happening. However, this will only work in Forge and not Custom Games. The reason why is currently unknown.
- There is a mistake in the central hall where the boxes are labled "USNC" instead of "UNSC".
- There is a symbol inside the "crypt" of Sandtrap which is the same symbol inside the crypt of Sandbox and they are crossed on the hologram on the ceiling and on the double block, stone platform, so they may have a lot in common.
- In Multi-Flag CTF and Assault, a good strategy is to seize the enemy Elephant and bring it to your base in order to repetitively capture the objective. In Neutral Assault, take the enemy Elephant to the very middle of the map and continuously grab and plant the bomb until victory. Beware; stealing an enemy Elephant is quite a task, so make sure to bring several team-mates along with you.
- The Brute Shot is useful for flipping runaway Warthogs and Mongooses.
- Trip mines are near impossible to spot in the orange sand color. Try throwing one in the center, near the sniper spawn for best results.
- The Chopper is valuable on this map, it is a great secondary option to eliminate enemy Warthogs and sometimes you can splatter a Banshee with it.
- On several dunes to the side of the map where the sun is, you can easily see the whole area of the map. Set up here and you can dominate. A common tactic is to take the sniper and use a Mongoose to drive over to the area and snipe. Good secondary weapons are Assault Rifles to dispatch enemies that attack you at close range and Spartan Lasers so any incoming vehicles can be eliminated, and the sniper can continue wreaking havoc from afar.
- In CTF games, try to sneak up on the flag with a partner. Take the flag from the Elephant and steal the enemy's Mongoose that spawns on the Elephant's lower level. Your opponents will think that when you steal a flag, you will be easy to kill. But you will be long gone by then.
- You don't always have to run through the map with the flag, if you are in a Mongoose, you can drive through the minefield with ease.
- If you eliminate the enemy wielding the Spartan Laser, your team can temporarily claim it taking the biggest threat to your team's vehicles
- Upon picking up the Spartan Laser at the beginning of the match, be ready to destroy the opposing Banshee, Chopper, Warthog or Mongoose, because more often than not, the enemy will most likely get it ahead of your teammates, and you can eliminate the threat immediately.
- If you are good at sniping, get the Sniper Rifle and kill any enemy player that goes near the Banshee until one of your teammates gets it or it is destroyed.
- If you start at the Albatross end of the map, and if you are going for the Sniper Rifle, then always keep an eye out for enemies camping up high on the other side, although a Bubble Shield is an easy way to get past this problem.
- Unless the enemy vehicles are seldom in movement, the Rocket Launcher is better off destroying vehicles up close or when you have an element of surprise.
- If you are driving a Warthog, stick to the other Warthog until most threats are eliminated, that way, at least one of you can kill the enemy. It also ensures a victory over a lone enemy Warthog or Brute Chopper, provided that both gunners are paying attention to it.
- One great sniper spot is inside the crashed Phantom, as it provides excellent cover and allows you to watch the Banshee. Be sure though to carry another weapon that can help you because opponents can become aware of your position and attack.
- Another excellent sniper spot is the highest sand dune on the outer edge of the map. This area provides a spot where you can see the whole map. However, there is no cover and you can be easily detected. Also, it is usually the first guess as to where a sniper is hiding, due to the relative popularity of the spot.
- Try and get a team-mate to let you jump on his Banshee and go to the highest building and jump off with a long-range weapon.
- Slip a Trip Mine under enemy vehicles. This will no doubt come in use.
- You can jump on the treads of the Elephant, allowing a fast and surprising attack on your opponent's base.
- On the Phantom side, you can jump over the center dune with a Warthog and wipe out the enemy's Warthog station as well as steal the Spartan Laser.
- Have your VIP jump on top of your Banshee, then gently ease up to the large towers, by crouching and on the far side of the map, it is difficult for enemies to kill the VIP, the biggest threats are the Banshee, Laser, Rockets ,Sniper Rifle and occasionally, Plasma Grenades thrown long distances
- When playing Slayer gametypes, the Warthog is undoubtedly one of the most important things to get kills with. Have a driver drive the gunner along the paths of the map and eliminate any foot soldiers. Beware of the Chopper, Spartan Laser, and other Warthogs, as they are the biggest threat to your Warthog.
- The Mongoose is a great vehicle for getting to the combat zone fast. Coupled with a passenger on the back and the ability to drive in the mine field, it can be a fast moving offensive weapon.
- If you can't get the Spartan Laser before a teammate, try going for the Missile Pod.
- The Gravity Hammer can easily send enemy Warthogs and Mongoose flying into the air, which allows teammates to easily pick them off.
- On Sandtrap heavy tanks are strong weapons and should be used. Tanks will usually survive a Spartan Laser hit so you are relatively safe inside. Just keep driving around the bases do not go into the middle of the map because A: Mines are usually planted there and B: Enemies could jump on the tank and easily hijack it or plant grenades on it.
- An effective position for enemy sniper's is at the top of the tall towers (Phantom End). They get there by ditching a Banshee aircraft just above the tower tops, landing safely on top. The enemy will have prepared by gathering weapons and equipment such as Bubble Shields, Flares, Spartan Lasers and of course the Sniper Rifle. There is a 360 degree view of Sandtrap from the top of the towers and ground forces won't be looking up A good way to determine whether there is an enemy situated at the top of the towers is to look for a abandoned Banshee near the Elephant or in the vicinity of the towers. A wise enemy will, however, always destroy the Banshee once it has done it's job.
- Have your allies man the turrets inside the elephant while you drive so you'll have a basically indestructible mobile fortress. If an opposing player tries to kill the driver the other players manning the turrets can take them out and the driver can continue driving.
- Main article: Forge
- The crashed Phantom is a good place to hide weapons. It can also be used to hide Teleporters that lead to safe zones during infection games.
- There are two ways to "bridge the gap" between the big wall in the center. The first is a simple two-way teleport system, obviously both being on the same channel. This allows for infantry to cross; however vehicles can't go through Teleporters. The way to fix that is to place two permanent Grav Lifts, one on either side, of the gap. This will allow most land-based vehicles going a decent rate of speed to cross, the only exceptions being Scorpions and Wraiths. Be cautious going towards the smaller base (with the Albatross), as you may go through the holes in the top, and flip your vehicle over.
- Another fun way to "bridge the gap" is to use the Floating Forge Items trick on Crates. This also gives you the opportunity to make a new focus point for some of the attention if it is a Flag, Bomb or Oddball spawn point.
- Similarly, Crates, Radio Antennae, and similar objects are useful when constructing floating bases using the Floating Forge Items glitch.
- The map is obviously based on vehicular combat, so consider that when in Forge. Place vehicles like Hornets and Gauss Warthogs, and make sniper towers out of the pillars, adding Barricades for cover, and a Two-Way Node from the top of the pillars to the bottoms.
- It is possible to make the Elephant fly while in Forge. Place all the map's explosives (Fusion Coils and Plasma Batteries) in the Elephant and set the run time minimum to the highest number. Then, spawn a Hornet. Get into the Hornet and fire missiles at the explosives. The Elephant will do flips and get off the ground. It causes lots of lag and noise, but it is still fun to watch.
- There is a way to indirectly pick up the Elephant in Forge, though it will not spawn where you place it. Spawn a Scorpion tank and slip it inside horizontally from behind the Elephant. You will see hook-like attachments on top of the Elephant. Slip the scorpion under that and lift. It will rise a little then the tank will slip out from under it eventually.
- Another way to pick up the Elephant is to spawn a closed Drop Pod and move it into the cockpit. Then, you just move the Drop Pod and the Elephant will come too.
 Variant: Sand Tarp
|“||Something feels wrong. Like... like something is missing...||”|
Sand Tarp is a map variant released to improve the gameplay balance in any team-based gametype. It was due to be released on September 16th, 2008, but was delayed until the 23rd. The following is a list of changes made;
- The Elephants have been removed.
- If asymmetric gametypes are played on this map, the defender's base will no longer be the large crypt near the Phantom crash site. Instead, attackers will spawn in the crypt, and defenders at the other "open-area" base. In other words, the attacker's and defender's bases are switched, and the defenders are at the Albatross so that the attackers do not have to pull the flag out from the "impenetrable" crypt.
- One Prowler replaces a Warthog at each base.
- An additional machine gun turret has been placed near each base.
- The codename for Sandtrap before Halo 3 was released was Shrine.
- GamePro has stated that Sandtrap "...has few ties to older Halo 2 maps, but its massive size recalls Relic."
- Unlike other games, the UNSC Aegis Fate is not part of the "floating bitmap in the sky." It is a complete model. Its 'serial' number is FFG-307.
- Elements of Sandtrap seem to have been inspired from the Halo 3 Campaign mission, The Ark, and the Halo 2 multiplayer maps Relic and Burial Mounds.
- This multiplayer map is one of the largest maps in Custom Games, just behind the DLC maps Avalanche and Sandbox.
- In the Elephant, there is a screen near the Mongoose with a description about the vehicle and the map itself.
- Sandtrap has the highest height barrier in the game. If measured with a Sniper Rifle's scope, the map's barrier is over 127 meters (416 feet) at it's highest point.
- Near the top of one of the temples there is an apparent "Black Hole" that absorbs any explosive attack, for example, if you shoot a rocket into it, it will go through the "Black Hole" and not explode. If the "Black hole" is looked through at a certain angle in Forge mode, the player can see what one of the opposing players sees, similar to the blue room in Avalanche and the freezer room on Longshore (the black hole was thought to be a glitch by most players).
- This map has almost identical design style to Sandbox, sharing the same textured sand and weather-beaten, orange-tan structures.
- The structure appears to have once been symmetrical, but nature has damaged many of the structures.
- The architecture of the Forerunner structures on both Sandtrap and Sandbox share a striking resemblance to the architectural design encountered on Lh'owon in Marathon.
- There is a possible reference to the Half-Life series in the form of a hidden crowbar with the same crowbar model used in Half-Life. It is hidden in the lower area of the temple. It should also be noted that the name of Half-Life 2's eighth chapter is "Sandtraps".
- The Obelisk pieces in Sandbox are scaled-down versions of the towers at each base of Sandtrap. Upon further investigation, other objects on Sandbox can be found in their scaled-up versions on Sandtrap, such as the Stone Bridge, Small Wedge, Tunnel Ramp, and Huge Wedge.
- Sandtrap is the only Halo 3 multiplayer map that has Elephants.
- If over loading the map in forge, in the middle "ravine," (between the two "bases") be careful of a mongoose randomly spawning from high up, and landing on a pile of highly dangerous mines placed together. This happens usually when you have overloaded the map or just before.
- The little lightbulbs that line the minefield can stop vehicles in their tracks.
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