Bungie’s Xbox first-person shooter Halo: Combat Evolved is a game you need to play. It does not matter if you are into first person shooters or not. You will be. Halo is simply impressive title that has high level of quality written all over it, despite a few problems with it. In a 14 hour campaign, Halo is definitely best described as an action film from beginning to end. Anyone looking for a thrill, a great storyline albeit simple, amazing gameplay, single-player and online, look no further.
Halo begins through helmet of a character known as the Master Chief, an enigmatic cyborg commando that you don’t know much about but everyone in the game knows about you and speaks about you as if you’re a legend, whispering praise left and right while addressing you as “Sir” the minute you exit a resuscitation pod. Halo centers itself around a space future, where Earth’s forces have come into conflict with an alien race known as The Covenant, bent on destroying the world and taking over it. In the beginning of the game, you’re awakened out of a cryosleep and learn that The Covenant are trying to obtain a mysterious artifact presumed to be a weapon, appearing as an artificial ring-shaped world known as Halo. As Master Chief, it’s up to you to stop it.
Weapons in Halo are definitely far and few compared to games like Half Life or Golden Eye. You quickly learn that only two weapons are permitted in Halo, one for each hand–a realistic touch that many game players assumed for years would detract from first-person shooter experience but that lends a critical element of realism to this one. This forces you to choose wisely which weapons you pick up from fallen allies and enemies. They all drop guns, which is simply amazing. Nothing floating in mid-air, or just lying around. A gun you pick up might be your comrades or might be of an alien foe that came close to blowing your head wide open. There’s a huge intrigue with Halo.
The AI in Halo, speaking of close calls, provides the game with replay value far above the normal. You could play the same section a dozen times and nothing is scripted. Nothing happens the same way twice. Random elements are thrown in often, and it’s all the more intriguing to go rushing into a room with a smile, even if you’re rushing in to die. Halo: Combat Evolved has simply got everything right; from combat to AI and atmosphere that makes it so crucial to a game. No one imagined a first person shooter could be as provoking as this.
The only complaint we have with Halo is the multiplayer. The actual modes are competitive and range from typical modes like Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch, etc. You can play with up to four people at one time using a split screen, or you can link up to four systems and TVs, using cheap link cables that can be bought for a LAN connection to play with up to 16 people at one time. The best part is the fact that any combination works. You can have 4 offline and 4 online with 2 LAN’s. 2 LAN’s, 1 offline, 2 linked online. You get the idea. The only real gripe I personally have with Halo is the fact that there’s no cooperative gameplay. I know this concept isn’t readily available since many developers believe it won’t work, but that won’t change my opinion of having a friend to play with to take out aliens either online or LAN. LAN alone would not be good enough for cooperative gameplay, and unfortunately Halo takes an immense blow for not having this.
Aside from a bad choice leading to a multiplayer flaw and trade-off, Halo: Combat Evolved manages to be the first title to bring first person shooters to a stable console environment, all the while smacking and punching PC owners that believe that their platform is the only thing capable of global play. One thing is for sure, Halo is not going anywhere. It’s here to stay and make a big change in every way.