Released: November 2001 (X-Box Launch Title)
Genre: First Person Shooter
Capabilities: Memory Card Compatible, Vibration Function, X-Box System Link (link up to 4 X-Boxes and TV's for up 16 players)
I have found the
Goldeneye-Killer. It is this game, Halo.
The above shots can show you that the computer is way smarter than you think
and the great multi player game in action.
Review Written: May 23, 2002
Halo is a first person shooter by Microsoft. Its also one of my favorite hard rock songs, which is performed by the band, Soil. It was highly hyped as being the next Goldeneye. I just ignored all the hype and anticipation at first. I kept thinking that nobody can make first person shooters on console better than Rare. That thought grew on me even more after playing the acclaimed PS2 version of Half-Life. Recently I was at my local Blockbuster rental outlet, and saw nothing else sticking out to rent other than Halo. So I reluctantly rented it, expecting it to be nothing more than a decent FPS like Half-Life. I couldnt of been more wrong.
In Halo, the game is set in the year 2552. And by this time, human technology is pretty damned advance. Earth is still around, but it eventually got so populated that colonization on other nearby planets began. One of those planets were called Reach. It was close to Earth, and was a great construction site for civilian and military ships. However, recently the colony on Reach vanished, without a trace. Military was sent to inspect, but only few came back. They reported contact with a outrageously powerful alien race (which is labeled as The Covenant). The clear object of the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) is that this mysterious race doesnt find out about Earths location. Humans proved to be far too weak to take on The Covenant, so a secret project of powerful, android soldiers (called Spartan-II) was started. The whole stock was transported to Reach in order for them to invade a Covenant ship. But shortly before the planned attack, the Covenant attacked and destroyed all, but one of the Spartan-II soldiers. You take that role of the surviving android, in a quest to find out more, and eventually extinguish all of the Covenant.
I wish this is what all first generation X-Box games look like. These graphics are the best I have ever seen in any first person shooter to date. Thats how good the graphics are in Halo. When you start the game off aboard the human Pillar of Autumn ship, youll automatically notice how far advance the visuals are in here. Youll notice various scientists teaching you the ropes as you marvel at the ships environment. Itll remind you of an episode of Star Trek, with all the control panels having all those weird designs and random numbers on them. Once you progress into the Covenant home world, youll notice its much like Earth with various terrains like mountains, cliffs, and grasslands scattered about. All your allies have various designs to them. This way, every other guard wont look exactly the same, like in Half-Life. I love the character designs in Halo. The Covenant have their own, unique, look to them. And they dont look like the same alien races we see in almost all other games. The marines couldnt look better, and you can make out the guns theyre carrying, and grenades equipped to them.
The heads-up display (HUD) has its own unique look to it. Almost every weapon has its own ammo magazine design on the HUD. There are motion trackers that appear that let you lock on to opponents. Handy navigation points help you get to a location in certain parts of stages. And whenever you get hit, a red arrow pops up, indicating the direction the bullet hit you from. The game loads parts of levels as you progress in Halo, much like the way Half-Life does for PS2, but much shorter. So short, that youll probably mistake these loading times for a skip in the frame rate. Youll know when you run across these when the screen flashes yellow. Theres only several long loading times. And theyre only about twenty seconds long. They occur whenever you start a whole new level. If that break period seems too long for you, at least be thankful you are treated to one of the coolest looking loading screens since Ridge Racer V. The game runs at a consistent frame rate, with the only skips occurring when you come across those one second loading scenes. To my amazement, this game runs at only 30 frames per second, not the 60 you would believe. To have a game run so well at this rate calls for mad props to the developers at Bungie.
Remember the hilarious guard chatter that was made famous in Perfect Dark? That same formula is in Halo. You can hear the Covenant plotting against you as they yell, Hes over here! Theyll make you laugh when you have them outnumbered, as the remnants of them run off yelling, Mommy! Lots of missions have some marines helping you through parts of the level, and they too will yell out advice to where as the Covenant are coming from. Theyll start cursing and threatening you when you start shooting at them. The sound effects for the game are on target with all the gunfire, explosions, foot steps, and so on sounding the way it should. There is never music running at a consistent rate during Halo. It is usually silent when you are walking around and exploring the level, with not much action going on. This only adds to the suspense. Once a powerful foe walks out (like the Elites and Hunters), a thunderous tune starts playing as they start roaring at you, and dont be surprised if you get caught jumping.
If you played Timesplitters, you should be familiar with Halos default control scheme. One of the analog sticks is used to walk, the other to aim and strafe. The R trigger fires your weapon, while the L trigger tosses grenades. The A, B, Y, and X button are your functions to jump, reload, switch weapons, and perform melee attacks (hitting a foe with the grip of your gun). The black and white buttons are used to switch between fragment and plasma grenades, and to switch on your built in flashlight. When you push in the analog sticks, they make you crouch and zoom in with specific weapons. Of course, if you dont like the default scheme, you can always alter it to your liking. Halo has a unique health system. Besides your standard health bar, you also have a shield. If you get hit, and go several seconds without taking damage, it recharges. This might make you seem invincible, but it wont.
Now I have witnessed some pretty good computer AI in FPS games like Perfect Dark, but never this good before. Whenever I run across a group of Covenant forces, I used my old rush and gun tactics that have worked before. But they dont work here (unless you suck and play the game in easy difficulty). Your foes will smartly roll and duck out of the way if you attempt to do that. They even do some smarter things that Ive never seen happen in other games. For example, theyll actually take cover behind objects. Or theyll rush you when you take cover in hopes of recharging your shield. And if that doesnt work, theyll find alternate paths to you to surprise you from behind. This game also incorporates the rarely used vehicle combat feature. Not many FPS games before Halo have let you control combat vehicles. Only the tank in Goldeneye comes to mind. In Halo there are four different vehicles to choose from. The Warthog (think of the Armadillos in the movie, Armageddon, but with a turret gun on the back) is a vehicle in which up to three people can ride in. One drives, another can be a passenger and gun off foes from the side, and the last guy can operate a turret with infinite ammo. Very nice. Then theres the tank inspired, Scorpion. Its basically a tank, but has a turret on it as well. The Covenant also have their own combat vehicles like the Ghost, which you can fly. However, you cant control the altitude of your flight with it. Then theres the Banshee which two foes can operate turrets on.
Halo also features several multi player modes of play. The first is co-operative. In co-op, you and a friend go through the games missions. If you had trouble on some parts playing by yourself, then this is where the co-op mode comes in handy. Then theres split screen mode, where up to four players can compete simultaneously against each other. There are over ten levels for you to choose from. Then you pick from one of a whopping 26 multi player game types which include favorites such as Death match (called Slayer in Halo), Capture the Flag, King of the Hill, and Tag. Some levels make the combat vehicles available for use. And when four people are competing in team play, you definitely have that great sensation when you and your buddy successfully use the Warthog to eliminate your opponents. You also have the options of creating your own multi player games, by having a level with your own settings. You can enable the use of vehicles in it or not, choose weapon sets, and boost up the player handicaps. Theres also an X-Box system link option. Where you can link up four televisions and four X-Box consoles all equipped with a copy of Halo for a grand total of sixteen players at once! Even though the reality of having your own resources to have all that equipment, and the space to cram sixteen people in one room isnt so high, at least the option is there. The only drawback of the multi player is the lack of an option to add computer players to go against.
The single player campaign is loads of fun to beat. And a friend can enjoy it with you in co-op mode. Once you beat it in one difficulty, you can always try for the harder challenge and beat it in the other three difficulty levels. Then theres the split screen multi player where you can relive the sessions of Goldeneye that most of us had four years ago. And if four players isnt enough, the X-Box system link option can enable you to have up to sixteen.
+: The best graphics and computer AI I have seen in any FPS, vehicle combat rocks, up to sixteen players can compete in multi player
-: Cant add computer players, Halo by Soil shouldve been in the game
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 9.6
Replay Value: 9.5
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 10
What are you waiting for? If you have to get one game on the X-Box, get this game. It has won many game of the year awards, and frankly, it deserved them. It is one of the best first person shooters I have ever played. Im even going to take a risk by labeling it as the Goldeneye Killer. So go get this game now, you dont even have to rent it, because I guarantee youll enjoy it.
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