Black Asgard (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
While playing the newly released Halo 3: ODST, I paid close attention to the story and design with the scrutiny of a writer. What I believe I've discovered is that ODST pays abundant homage to the first book of the Divine Comedy, Dante Aligeri's 'Inferno'.
The Inferno, as I recall it (having read it about 2 years ago after enjoying 'La Vida Nuova'), begins with Dante wandering lost and alone, in a 'dark wood'. It is night when you awaken in New Mombasa. The city towers above you not like a frightening wood.
The first helpful hand you encounter is that of Vergil, who guides you to supposed safety--Vergil, the Superintendent of New Mombasa, who shares the name of the Roman poet who wrote the Aeneid (about the Hero who survived the Trojan massacre (perhaps an allusion to Buck and Reach?)). Vergil guides the Rookie, like Dante, through 9 levels; the 9 circles of Hell.
New Mombasa burns, like the common image of hell. It is dark, dangerous, horrifying. And Vergil guides you gently, offering help with cryptic statements (in game, it is composed of the Bumble-bee-esque conglomeration of audio bytes).
Later, as you encounter the final lost squad mate, you descend to the 9th level of the city substructure where it is frozen; that is to say, not unlike Satan's frosty chamber. For what seems to be little to nor reason (as far as I could tell).
Food for thought. ;)