#476 Halo: Combat Evolved

Posted: 14th October 2011 by Mulholland in Games
Tags: , , , ,

92nd game played so far

Genre: First-Person Shooter
Platform: Xbox
Year of Release: 2001
Developer: Bungie
Publisher: Microsoft

We DID warn you in our post for Call of Duty 2 that it would be time for a little bit of Halo (yes purists we are only calling it thus instead of the more longwinded, yet more descriptive, Halo: Combat Evolved).

Like everyone else who had the original Xbox I also had Halo and this was the first shooter that I actually had proper exposure to. When it was released it was heralded as the birth of a new type of shooter and, somewhat unusually, this critical feeling has not deteriorated with time. With this game now receiving a 10th birthday present in the form of an HD revamp it makes sense for us to cover it before the year is out.

So happy birthday Halo for a month in advance, let the games begin.

Our Thoughts

Just for the record, the reason for the subtitle ‘Combat Evolved‘ is that marketing people thought ‘Halo’ didn’t explain what the game was about. And to be fair, the game doesn’t feature as many angels as you might expect. But that’s just a small observation to explain that bit of the title. Halo is, all in all, a military shooter, where you and your squad fight the aliens. Many aliens. With, to be fair, notably non-alien names. Such as grunts, drones, elites and jackals.ย  Also notably lacking fishes, but then again, that’s just a joke even we won’t understand by the time this is published. Well, seeing how they based the Covenant troops on birds, reptiles and bears they had to leave some part of the animal kingdom for another game. True, as we’ll probably see soon enough. Besides, the fish couldn’t breath on the halo land anyway. Does the gravity for water even work out on there?

Anyway, aside from an earlier discussion on whether or not I should make Maltese fish soup for dinner tomorrow… (Yes!) In doing our playthrough for the blog we both tackled the single player campaign, for me it was a refresher and Jeroen just needed to get to grips with Halo with this being his first exposure minus 15 minutes of Halo 3 co-op. While this was a few hours of single player, which at least had the advantage of a full screen to look at. It was an interesting experience. From starting out having just been woken from hibernation, you soon have to deal with the ship being taken over as you fight off several baddies. This leads you to landing on the Halo from the title, which is mostly invaded by the Covenant, the aforementioned baddies, who try to get control of the superweapon the Halo apparently is. With a title like Halo and its respective genre there really is no need for a complex storyline and yet beneath all the weaponry and great multiplayer is a really interesting space opera. Nowadays shooters are criticised for not being able to marry an interesting plot with it’s gameplay but Halo really managed to pull it off back when it was rare. It is probably safe to say that it would still be rare if the Halo series hadn’t become such an influential force in the gaming world.

The same can be said for the multiplayer mode, something which cemented Halo as a staple of LAN parties and gaming nights with mates. We will be getting onto Halo 2 in a year or so and we will discuss it’s role in getting Xbox Live off the ground. For now though, the original Halo‘s multiplayer is good but has been so mimiced and bettered by later games like Timesplitters: Future Perfect and other titles in the Halo franchise that it will be better discussed when we review the copy of Halo 3: ODST we borrowed from my mate. Multiplayer in shooters is something that here jumped from the PC to the consoles – as you might know, they were already big on the former, but it wasn’t as big on consoles – split screen limiting what you can do in these games while the internet hadn’t taken off as much as a platform for consoles (Xbox Live being one of the things that changed that)

As I earlier mentioned Halo will soon be going through an anniversary HD revamp and, with the exception of the FMVs, we have to say that it still looking good. I mean okay; the graphics are dated and the event triggers can be a little bit off (although this may be because of the Xbox 360 patch) but it is still very immersive and playable. To mention the latter – yeah, it sometimes was awkward to trigger certain events, and we had to re-enter some areas a few times before the game realised we were supposed to move on. For the graphics… we’ve once mentioned that graphics last longer if they’re cartoony, and it’s safe to say this also applies to the type of alien backgrounds we saw through part of the game. It felt older, of course, but it’s not the eyesore we’ve seen with other games. (Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater 2 instantly comes to mind) However I do agree, the best looking areas of the games are the interiors of spaceships since they are brightly coloured with unusual lighting. Also the aliens do still look okay as long as you are not close enough to bash them in the face with your Needler. I know it’s a bit of a crappy gun but I have always had a soft spot for the Needler. The weapons are interesting. Thanks to the games not having to be realistic, they could put in plenty of stranger weapons – plasma guns, light swords, and the needler. No points for guessing what it fires. Okay it’s an obvious name but it is bloody cool. … true.

Final Thoughts

How different would gaming history have been if this had remained an RTS for the Mac? Who can say. But, what it is safe to say is that for a game that is approaching double figures it has aged gracefully with only a few select wrinkles on show. If anything this replay of an old favourite has made me want the Halo: Anniversary Edition all the more.

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