Destiny guide: Mars Meridian Bay story mission walkthrough and guide
Destiny draws to a close on the surface of the red planet, Mars. Named for the Roman god of war, it is a fitting place to come face to face with the deadly Cabal.
Mars: Exclusion Zone Level 15 Story Mission
Welcome to Mars! It’s an inetresting place. Look for relic shards in order to harvest Relic Iron, a valuable crafting resource. The landscape here is far emptier than you’re used to, and as such, you’ll have to get used to travelling further - and faster - to find cover in firefights.
Upon arrival, follow your radar but don’t enter the tunnel when prompted to deploy you Ghost; instead, go on a little further to the round building nearby. There’s a Gold Chest here, sitting on some crates.
Pass through the bunker door by deploying your Ghost, and then whip it out again to access the orbital link - well, to trigger your first combat with the Cabal.
The Cabal are tough; their armour is top notch, and they hit hard. Headshots work, but are tricky thanks to their comparatively tiny faces and sudden movements. Although the Cabal move slowly, they’re not stupid; they’ll dodge sideways, and even use a jetpack, to evade fire. When threatened, they retreat to cover. They’ll always attack in groups, take the high ground, and attempt both to flank you and funnel you into their crossfire zones. In short: trouble.
Legionaries are your basic grunts. Phalanx are slightly tougher, because their shields protect them against all damage. Pop them one in the leg or arm and they’ll stumble, dropping the shield, and you can pepper them with bullets. Don’t wait, though; if you let them recover they’ll set in place and fire blindly over their shield, pinning you down for precious seconds. They’ll also leap to melee you if you get within range.
Centurions are equipped with missile launchers and shields, and are very quick to hide and recharge them, making them a pain. They're the toughest unit you'll face regularly for quite some time.
Fight your way through the Cabal carefully; try to lure one or a small number of them away from the rest, and if they retreat, don’t feel obliged to follow. Save the Centurion for last; ocne everyone else is dead, it’s much easier to chase him as aggressively as you’ll need to in order to get through his shields and armour.
When you’ve won, you can leave or go on a short trek to find a Dead Ghost. Skirt the borders of the Barrens, ignoring any paths leading out, and you’ll come to a bunker where Cabal and Vex are battling. Clear them out (or not), and enter to find the Ghost in plain sight.
Take your Sparrow down the indicated track. Take a good look around the Scablands when you arrive. There’s a never-ending battle here and getting into it can be deadly. You should take a side trip to the huge wall on one side of the map, though; pass through the gate to find a Dead Ghost on a ledge to one side. Be careful! There’s a Colossus in here.
Giant’s Pass is guarded by several Legionaries and Phalanxes. Clear them out thoroughly before deploying your Ghost at the objective marker ahead of a tough fight.
A drop ship brings the Cabal troops in, and it has a much faster gun than any ship you’ve seen so far, so get out of its range; it’ll hang round and fire at you for quite some time.
If you can, start taking down troops immediately, even while the ship is firing, because if you let them hem you in, you’ll have trouble. This battle introduces a new kind of Cabal enemy, the Psion, which has a ranged magic attack. It’s lightly armoured, but very agile. It runs at you fast, and it has a special melee that will seriously hurt.
To win the battle, you’ll need to take down the named major Centurion, but be aware that there may still be troops around after he goes down. When you finish the fight, go and grab a Dead Ghost; it's in the roots of a tree on a rocky outcrop, tucked into a bend of the track leading towards your next objective.
As you enter the Valley of the Kings, take note of the huge Vex gate to your left; leave it alone for now, unless you fancy beating up some fierce Vex for shits and giggles.
Instead, head down the track to where it splits in three (the left fork goes to the gate) and take the centre path. Go on down this track to just past some giant cables sticking out of the sand. Hop off your Sparrow and go to the nearby rock, where you can walk onto the cliff edge. Travel along it a short way to find a Dead Ghost.
Follow your radar to the objective; it’s up on a rocky outcrop, near a Cabal outpost. You’re supposed to fight your way up here across the outpost’s front wall, but you could always cheese it by double jumping up.
Don't deploy your Ghost just yet; you can collect a Dead Ghost quite easily. Jump onto the roof of the building housing the objective marker, and then look at the nearby rock wall. See that flat shelf? Leap on, then walk a few steps to the edge, away from the objective and further around the wall. Look down. There's another platform just beneath you. Drop down and search carefully to find the Ghost.
The missions ends when you deploy your Ghost at the objective; you won't suffer further attack. Take your deployment orders back to the tower for a reward.
Mars: The Garden’s Spire Level 16 Story Mission
Fight your way through the Barrens and Scablands, entering the big gate. If you didn’t grab Dead Ghost #2 during the Exclusion Zone mission, do so now - there’s no Colossus watching this time.
There’s little to do here but grit your teeth and fight through. Stick to the high ground rather than drop down and be caught in a crossfire zone. You'll start off facing Legionaries, Phalanxes and Psions, but before you've turned to cross the bridge you'll be attacked by a Centurion, the first of two you'll meet. The Psions are quite thick through this area, and they and Legionaries will often try to get behind you. This area will refill with reinforcements twice, if you hang about, so choose whether to clear it fully or just dash through once you spot an opening.
Once this area is clear, don't go through to the Rubicon Wastes just yet - pause to collect a Dead Ghost. If you turn around at the door to the Rubicon Wastes, facing back the way you came, and hug the right hand wall closely - very, very closely - you should find the entrance to a tunnel, tucked behind a light and a crate. It's very hard to see. The Ghost is in the roots of a tree at the end of this tunnel.
In the next area, you want to head right, to reach the tower. There are four Psion Operants here - a kind of major - so sneak around the tower and try various approaches, to try to take them out before you get close enough to the tower to aggro the Colossus, Legionaries and Phalanxes guarding it. Deploy your Ghost once you break through.
Between the tower and your next objective you’ll find a bunch of Interceptors in a shed. Steal one from the guarding Psions and Legionaries - there are a few majors in here - to make short work of nearby troops. It can be hard to hit the Colossus guarding the exit path, but awareness of which side of the Interceptor while fire next will help you out. You can drive it as far as the Darkness zone if you’re a good pilot and don’t take too much damage, but there's not much point once your foes are down.
Inside the Iron Line, you'll face quite a pitched battle, made eerie by an alarm rather than music. To my mind, the Psions pose the biggest threat in this battle: you don’t know Swarming till you’re surrounded by waves of magical force. They’re so quick that it’s easy to lose track of them, so drop them quickly.
There are three waves, and the third includes a Colossus and a couple of Phalanx, but otherwise you’ll mostly just be battling the quicksilver Psions and plodding Legionaries, which is easy enough if you take down the Psions fast.
When the battle is won, you have the opportunity to grab a Gold Chest. Face the door you’re supposed to be going through next, and look left. See those big blue pipes? You can easily jump on to them, and then to the platform above the doors. Then hop your way across in front of the doors to the opposite side; the chest is in the far corner, out of sight.
There's also a Dead Ghost to be had. Use the pipes to climb up to the platform above the door again, but rather than cross in front of the door to the opposite side, look out across the room to a column with a pair of floodlights. Jump to the small platform here, and then to another suspended above it, closer to the centre of the room. Then climb slightly higher, onto the rocks, to grab the Ghost.
Be warned: as soon as you deploy your Ghost and the doors open, three Phalanxes - including a Major - will charge you. There’s nothing else in the next room, or beyond the next door. A nice change.
To reach the Legion’s Keep, you’ll have to battle your way across a bridge. The Cabal put their cowardly tactics to good use here, and you’ll find yourself constantly advancing into crossfire zones. Watch out for the parallel path; Psions like to sneak down the right hand side of the bridge en masse.
Once across, put down a few more Cabal and prepare yourself for a tough fight. Before you deploy your Ghost, explore the ground level structure around the base of the pillar to find a Dead Ghost when ready to spawn Primus Sha’aull and a couple of Legionaries.
Primus Sha’aull is a Ultra centurion, so he uses that nasty missile launcher you already dislike. Because this weapon fires in an arc, if you’re slightly above but very close to him, as for example on the platform where you deployed your Ghost, you can usually intersperse the platform at your feet between you and him, granting you a clear shot but keeping you safe. He's weak against headshots, happily. As Primus Sha’aull's health depletes he’ll start charging in close to you. Be very wary of his very quick area-of-effect stomp; it can and will one shot you.
If you have the firepower, take Sha'auul down quickly and his minions will go with him; otherwise, be sure to clear out every wave of minions that spawns, so you're not distracted while whittling down the boss's health.
Deploy your Ghost to end the mission. You'll receive an item that can be traded for a reward at the Tower.
Next: A Rising Tide and The Hollows.
A Rising Tide Level 17 Story Mission
Follow your radar to the Conflux, ignoring the battles around you. If you stick to the Sparrow track, you’ll be fine.
Defeat the baddies, including a Minotaur, and deploy your Ghost to set the next objective. Follow your radar; you'll pass through the Drift. Stop here to retrieve a Dead Ghost from a clump of trees very close to the entrance to this area; you'll have to look up to see it, and travel further down the path to find an approach to the trunks. The Ghost is in the branches of one of the trees.
You'll soon arrive at the Buried City, where the main feature is the Off World Transit building. The atrium is guarded by a couple of Harpies, including Majors, which respawn rapidly. This can be a real pain; successfully tested tactics include lying down and crying. Take out the normal harpies first then hammer away at the major, trying not to let it recharge its shields.
Once you're safe - you may want to come back in co-op or on patrol if this is too hard right now - you can collect a Dead Ghost. You need to climb onto the roof of the Off World Transit building. Stand facing the billboard in front, and look left; there's a tall crate, and a narrow barrier of some sort, here. Use these to leap to the lowest corner of the roof. The Ghost is behind the billboard.
As you explore the dark, go nice and slow and the enemies will obligingly spawn ahead of you without aggroing. They have red lights on their heads and their weak spots glow white; snipers will have a delightful time, although melee builds may struggle with the reduced visibility.
In this area you should always go forwards slowly. Rounding a corner and exiting the darkness, you’ll see a whole troop of Vex appear, then obligingly teleport away, right up until the last one, which spots you. Take him down and then carefully edge out and look left to see a Cyclops. If you’re a distance player, snipe the heck out of him from the safety of this doorway. Then you can approach the nearby stairs to fight off the teleported army of Vex in peace and quiet.
Before you leave Freehold Station, and now that everything is dead, you may want to collect a Dead Ghost. It's sitting tucked behind one of the monitors hanging from pillars back in the dark room; you can leap on top of the monitors from nearby structures.
You’ll now pass into Tharsis Junction.
Fight your way through the Goblins, Harpies and Hobgoblins till you reach the trains. Continue through, but, as you face up the line before you reach the first Vex gate (which you should destroy, obviously) hug the left wall and find a seemingly empty room with two doors and a couple of crates to one side. Run to the far wall and hunt in the left corner (facing into the room) for a gap in the fence; follow the narrow passage beyond for a Gold Chest.
Once you have the chest, it's time to grab a Dead Ghost. Pass the first Vex gate and you'll go through one of two openings, either under the sign that says "Off World Transit M Line" or next to a train. Immediately turn right and climb the sand and rubble in the corner to find the Ghost.
The rest of this mission is a brutal fight. Goblins and Hobgoblins attack in huge packs, interspersed with the occasional Minotaur. Take the gates down as quickly as you can without exposing yourself to risk, and you should have no problem - the Vex are old news, amirite?
After the fight, deploy your Ghost at the objective to complete the mission.
The Hollows Level 17 Story Mission
The first thing to do on this mission is pick up a Gold Chest, which awaits you in a false ceiling on the tunnel between the starting point and the Hollows. Follow the path indicated on your radar, and when the game tells you you’re in The Hollows, stop and search the tunnel behind you.
There's also a Dead Ghost to be found. Fight through the ever-spawning Cabal to enter the domed structure marked with the CB logo directly ahead of you as you exit the tunnel from the Barrens. There's a large floodlight here you can use to jump up to the catwalk that surrounds the room. The Ghost is directly behind where the CB logo is, at the peak of the semi-circle.
Now head towards your objective. Battle the Imperial Legionary and Phalanxes waiting for you at your goal, Building 5, instead. More Phalanxes and an Imperial Centurion await you inside.
Deploy your Ghost at the objective marker, then look out the window towards your next objective. Two Legionaries await; how you take them out is up to you, but whether you snipe them or get down there in their faces, you can quickly get down by leaping out this gap - double jump right at the bottom to avoid taking damage.
Follow your radar through the main Clove Bray building and you’ll reach the Dust Palace. You’ll see two Phalanxes ahead of you as you enter, but there’s a group of three more - and two Psions - on the left, so don’t get ambushed rushing in.
It’s time to collect another Gold Chest. Go back to where you entered this area. Run straight ahead till you reach a corner filled with sand. Turn left. Run straight ahead again, dodging past the sign that gets in your way, to enter a small room with a large reception desk directly opposite the entrance. The chest is behind the desk. Watch out for a couple of Psions lurking nearby.
Follow your radar and you’ll spot some Cabal, but as you approach, the Vex warp in and start beating them up. Are you going to let them steal all your XP?
This is a huge arena so make the most of it as you battle the Vex and Cabal. Neither of them have brought any special units and they’ll quickly thin each other’s ranks, so your biggest worry is probably the Minotaur that appears near the entrance. When you’ve finished, climb up to the ledge below the top row of windows and hop along the windows bays to find a Dead Ghost about half way around.
Follow your radar through to Overwatch. You’ll meet a couple of Phalanxes in the corridor initially, but be wary of pushing into the next room too quickly; as well as a band of Phalanxes and Legionaries, a Colossus awaits you near the only path forward.
Beyond our colossal friend things start off gently enough - a couple of Legionaries, then a few Psions - but penetrate the far room and a much more intense battle kicks off. Depending on where you’ve ended up during the fight with the Phalanxes ahead, you may have the boss spawn behind you.
The boss is a major Centurion, so you know how to deal with him - but his tough, quickly-regenerated shields make him unpleasant. A grenade will bring them down quickly, but don’t give him an opportunity to dodge. Once the shields lower, keep him on the hop and hammer him. If he brings in more minions, retreat and pick them off before beginning another assault.
Don't deploy your Ghost yet; now that you've cleared the enemy there's time to grab a Dead Ghost. Facing into the room from the door you used to enter, look left; there's a raised area with a short flight of stairs leading to it. Nearby is a small curved desk; look underneath it for the Ghost, nestled against a PC tower.
Deploy your Ghost in the centre of the room to complete the mission - and pick up the threads of a story we last encountered on Earth.
Next: The Black Garden.
The Black Garden Level 18 Story Mission
This is it: the final story mission. Good luck.
You spawn a long way from your goal. Following the track on your Sparrow, you won’t meet much resistance until Giant’s Pass, and even this can be circumnavigated if you’re in a rush.
When you reach the Valley of Kings, pause and eyeball the Vex gate. You’re going to meet fierce resistance, so distance players may want to begin sniping, while melee types should take note of the available cover - there isn’t much. There’s a Hydra, a Hobgoblin, and several Minotaurs to defeat before the gate becomes active. The gate will spawn another bout of the same enemies if you hang about too long, so hop through as soon as it opens.
This is the Upper Garden, and you can collect a Dead Ghost in this first room. As soon as you step through the Vex gate, look around and note two dark statues on either side of the circular door in front of you. To the left of the lefthand one, you should see a concrete platform attached to a pillar emerging from the roof. Go over to the cave wall on this side of the room and climb as high as you can, then look around - you'll see another concrete platform leading to the higher one you saw earlier. Jump to the first platform - it's tricky, and you'll need an upgraded mobility ability - and then to the second, and on to the top of the statue. You should now be able to see the Ghost on top of the other statues, so jump over to collect it.
Move on into the complex. The mossy stasis Vex here are just decorations, so don’t worry - but be wary of a knot of live ones hiding among them further on; look for their red eyes. There’s a Minotaur as well as several Harpies and the usual Goblins.
Continue through the corridors, fighting a lone Goblin. Round the next bend a pack of Harpies and a Minotaur will warp in; don’t get so distracted by the big guy that you let yourself get swarmed. Further on you’ll face a Minotaur and a couple of Hobgoblins before entering a Darkness zone.
Pause to admire the view, then head onwards to see a Cyclops spawn. You can easily retreat a little and snipe this guy, if that’s your style; the Goblins that accompany him are so slow that you’ll have him half dead before they get into firing range. Closer in, his projectiles are so slow that it’s easy to get in hits safely.
Once the Cyclops is dead along with any accompanying foes, don't go through the passage it was guarding; stop to collect a Dead Ghost. Walk to the edge of the cliff, gazing out at the view, then turn right and walk right along the edge to the very end. Look down and you'll see a platform just beneath you; drop down and search the alcove here for the Ghost.
There’s a major Hydra ahead and it will spawn in Goblins as you battle it. As ever with Hydra, patience is the key. If you find the confines of the approaching corridor too narrow, sprint past the Hydra and out the other side to enjoy the much wider spaces beyond; sadly, it's difficult to lure the Hydra very far from its starting point.
Follow your radar and take out the three Goblins lurking just before you come out into the open again. It’s time to enter the Garden proper. A couple of Hobgoblins are on the path below if you’d like to do some sniping. A little further on you’ll encounter four Harpies and a Minotaur; again, don’t get swarmed.
The Vex really resent your presence here if the howl they give further on is anything to go by. It does warn you that you’re about to walk into enemies, though; Goblins on the left and two nasty Hobgoblins on the right.
In the next area you have to scan two objectives after clearing out nearby enemies. Both sides will spawn a second wave of defenders as you thin out their ranks, but you won’t be ambushed when you deploy your Ghost.
A hydra guards the centre of this area after your first scan, so be wary of crossing to the other side too complacently. Take it out before you hit the second scan, or it will smack you in the back.
When you deploy your Ghost a second time, a pillar forms, giving you a new objective. A couple of Goblins are guarding it, but once they’re dealt with, deploy your Ghost. There’s a hell of a battle coming, so get your gear ready, and then enjoy the cutscene.
Snipers have an advantage here; if you stay on the initial platform you can take out hordes of enemies. The Vex spawn in slowly and eventually stop, probably before you run out of ammo. Be aware that once you jump down the real fight begins.
The whatever it is up there brings a statue to life as a Primeval Mind. You will have to fight three of these buggers, so don’t waste your heavy ammo now if you’d like to use it on the Minotaurs that appear with the third one.
These guys are basically just Gate Lords (that is, souped-up Ultra Minotaurs with a weak point) so you shouldn’t struggle too much. If you cleared all the enemies out before jumping down, you’ll only have to worry about the Primeval Mind while fighting the first one.
During the second battle, a few Goblins and Hobgoblins will spawn, and the third fight is, as noted above, punctuated by Minotaurs.
The Primeval Minds’ attacks hit hard - especially when the third one gets low on health, it seems. The area just in front of the initial platform is a great place to cat and mouse these big guys as they seem reluctant to enter it at all. Watch out for attacks that go over the top of your cover, though. Unfortunately the Primeval Minds aren’t totally stupid and usually move to put cover between their weak point and you. You could hammer away at their heads, but ammo drops are scarce in here, so lure it to one side, then get a shot or two in and retreat behind cover; rinse and repeat. Take advantage of any special perks you have, such as extra damage on the last shot of a magazine, because if your gun comes up dry, you'll seriously struggle to get more ammo.
Watch your radar for minions, and if things get hectic retreat to one of the side tunnels to catch your breath and clear smaller baddies. When you drop the third Primeval Mind - well done! - you will have completed Destiny’s story missions. It’s not over, though - you still have Strikes and Raids, when they open, as well as the Crucible, Strike playlists, tracking down a full set of Legendary equipment, perfecting your build, hitting the second level cap, and conquering Heroic difficulty. Good luck, Guardian; the true challenge starts here.
Head over to our Destiny guide for more tips and info.