Halo: Combat Evolved Review
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Halo: Combat Evolved
November 2001
Xbox Live:

Halo: Combat Evolved 
Tuesday, July 13, 2004 

Halo was one of the few games that was available the very first day the Xbox console was released. It was also one of the most hyped games and what many gamers looked forward to on this new game console. Now that the game is out and into millions of Xbox machines all over the world, most everyone will agree that Halo is a console selling game and still today one of the greatest games every created. The Master Chief, the main character in Halo, soon became what Mario is to Nintendo, and showed off what the Xbox was capable of.

The most complex aspect of the game is its gameplay that never gets old. It will take you through various stages on a mysterious alien ring-world. Where ever you are there is always action and you are almost always in combat with your sworn enemy, the Covenant. The main objective in the game is to destroy the Covenant from killing off all of man-kind and to discover the wonders of the ring-planet named Halo.

The real meat of this game is hidden inside of the extensive single player mode. There are a total of 15 levels that you can play on four different difficulties. When you first get into the game it may seem like a normal everyday first person shooter game, but once you get deeper into it you will be amazed. Unlike most other shooter games the majority of the game you are along with your small army force of other marines to help you through the game. In other games you would be the only man with a gun and you would be taking on hundreds of enemies and yet you are still alive at the end, contrary to that Halo is much more realistic because you have others in your squad to take out the enemies if you have to take the time to reload or regain your energy shield.

In the game there are two sets of weapons, the human weapons and the Covenant weapons. Although the game takes place a few hundred years from today the human weapons are vary similar to weapons used today. The human set of weapons consists of a pistol, auto rifle, sniper rifle and a rocket launcher. Each gun is useful for different sticky situations that you can get into within the game. The Covenant weapons are much more futuristic and look nothing like anything seen on earth. The Covenant weapons consists of an alien pistol, rifle, and a weapon called the needler that shots out little needles that fly into your target. Also with each weapon if you find yourself in combat and you run out of ammunition or your gun overheats there is always the melee attack that can help kill of the rest of the enemies. By simply pressing the B button your character will perform a melee attack with your current weapon. Aside from the guns there are also two types of grenades in the game. The frag grenade, which is a human grenade, and the plasma grenade, which is the Covenant grenade. Unlike most other first person shooters if you kill an enemy you have the option to pick up their weapon and use it yourself, however you can only hold two weapons at a time which is realistic as well.

Aside from the weapons there is also quite a few cool looking aliens in the game to mow down with your assault rifle or explode with some of your plasma grenades. The smallest alien is called the Grunt. The little guy is quite useless alone but can do some damage if they are with some of their other friends. You can easily take one out with one or two shots or a quick melee attack. One step up from the grunt is an alien called the Jackal. This guy runs around with a shield in front of him and can make you quite made because he is difficult to kill. In order to quickly kill him you have to shoot at him and not his shield which can be quite difficult when he is aware you are there. The most versatile alien in the game is called the Eleet. This alien is about the size and shape of an average man and is quite powerful. The last alien is called the Hunter. He is big fat and round, but don't get me wrong he can take you down in one shot with his plasma cannon and he has an extreme amount of armor. Taking one of these down requires a lot of work. You have to first dodge all of his bullets and get a large number of shots on him before he will drop to the ground. However there is a weak spot on him. If you can manage to get behind him and shoot a small orange spot with a pistol or shotgun he will die instantly.

If the aliens start to pile up and seem overwhelming there is a quick solution, run them all over! Yep, in Halo there are many different vehicles you can driver around and even one that you can fly. The most used vehicle would have to be the Worthog. It holds a total of three people, the driver, the passenger, and the gunner. It can travel quite fast but if you happen to hit a tree or a rock you can easily flip it. Another human vehicle is the Scorpion. It is a huge tank that can hold only the drive but many other marines can pile on the side of the large tank and come along for the ride. The smallest Covenant vehicle is the ghost. It only holds one person and floats around like a hovercraft. Another Convenant vehicle is actual similar to a plane. It is called the banshee and can only hold one person as well. The banshee is probably the best vehicle in the game, it is extremely fun to fly around you could get shot right out of the sky.

Incase you haven't watched the latest game movies or seen the screen shots, the one feature that impressed every gamer was the gorgeous graphics of the game. On top of that the game takes place on a ring planet floating out in space, so the sky is stunningly beautiful throughout the entire game. This ring planet is very similar to Earth so throughout the game you will be able to see things such as waterfalls, sandy beaches, and even snow.

Everything from the sky to the grass looks great in this game. There are also lots of trees, bushes, and rocks in outdoor levels that make them look even more realistic then they already are. There are very few spots in the game where you will find water but when you do it looks great and there is even one or two things like waterfalls that makes the stages look awesome.

Besides the environment the weapon models look just as great. They are extremely detailed and even though they are meant to look futuristic they still look very realistic. On the human assault rifle it even has a display, kind of like an lcd screen type of thing. The little display is programmed to show how many bullets are left in the current clip you have in the weapon. Also on two of the Covenant weapons they will actual start overheating if you use them repeatedly. These weapons you do not need to reload but if you go full auto for a period of time steam will start to appear and then the gun will stop firing, which is a neat aspect of the game.

Aside from the actual guns in the game there are lots of neat effects that add to the greatness of the graphics. Such as if you throw a grenade into a pack of grunts you will be amazed at the detail of the game. The explosion looks extremely realistic and the grunts will actually be blown away if they where close enough to the explosion. Also the muzzle flashes on the guns look just as good.

Another great part of the graphics is how the different characters look in the game. For the most part you don't get to see much of the detail of the character models until you get into some closer hand to hand type combat. But when you do you will notice how detailed they are and they even have different expressions and react to events in different ways. For example if you through a grenade in a group of aliens they may shout and then run away quickly. The small little grunts may even throw their hands up in the air too.

Although the character model look good the vehicles look just as good and just as detailed. Whether it is an old beat up Scorpion, or a nice shiny new Ghost the detail of them look great. Although a small thing that let me down was the fact that the normal vehicles do not take damage, you can flip them off the highest cliff, or through twenty grenades on them you will still always be able to drive them after just as they where before. However the Banshee is the only vehicle that will take damage, and if it takes to much of it you will find yourself in a heap of metal heading for the ground fast.

Everything in this game is wonderful, even including the sound. The most outstanding part would have to be that background music. It fits each level nicely whether you are in combat, or walking along a sandy beach the music fits the mood of the game very well. There is also a nice transition between the music when the action is heating up or cooling down.

Although the background music is quite nice the communication between you, the Marines, and the enemies are quite impressing as well. If you start shooting one of the Marines they will say something like "Hey!", or "He's turned on us!" and eventually he will command the rest of the Marines to return fire. Also if you happen to wonder upon a Grunt that wasn't expecting you he might say something like "Wake up! Their here!".

Another great part of the communication is with the people that are instruction you what to do. If you arrive on another part of the level someone will start explaining what is going on and what exactly you need to do next. When you first meet some Marines depending on what kind of situation they where in they might tell you about it. If they where all in trouble and almost died they will let you know that, or if they are just riding on the back of the Worthog they might shout something like "Lets see some action!".

Overall Halo is one of the greatest games ever created and it deserves all the hype that people where giving to it. It quickly became the best game available as soon as the Xbox was released. The gameplay is top of the line and can take hours before it will get old. The graphics are the best ever seen on any console and really shows off what the Xbox can really do. The sound and the communication between the characters in the game is phenomenal. Without a doubt this game deserves to take a spin in everybody's Xbox more than just a few times.

Overall Score

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