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Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox) artwork

Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox) review

"Halo is the first Xbox game I ever played. To this day, itís also the BEST Xbox game Iíve ever played. "

Halo is the first Xbox game I ever played. To this day, itís also the BEST Xbox game Iíve ever played.

In Halo, you take the role of this guy called Master Chief. Youíre the elite super-soldier of the Earthís military. When the game starts, youíre on an Earth warship in space. Youíre fighting against these evil aliens called the Covenant, who naturally are out to conquer the galaxy and destroy earth. Your ship is boarded and you have to make a quick escape- . You find yourself on a halo-shaped moon that is aptly named Halo.

Up until the point where I put halo into my Xbox and hit the power button, I was of the common opinion that all console FPSís suck. This game proved me totally wrong.

GRAPHICS (9/10): Easily some of the best graphics Iíve seen on a console, if not The best. Everything is smooth. No jagged edges. No hands going through guns, guns going through hands, etcetera. Metallic surfaces shine beautifully. Grenade explosions are a glory to behold- the lighting effects are the best Iíve seen on a console. The environments look incredible- and are huge. Quite an accomplishment. The enemies look great; everything looks great. I could rant about the graphics of Halo for quite a while. Two words sum them up well enough: Extremely Polished.

SOUND (9/10): Nothing short of amazing. The deep sound of gatling guns spraying bullets, the sound of a grenade tinkling across a metal floor and then exploding a few feet ahead of you, the sound of a giant Covenant warrior with a bazooka for an arm lumbering towards you, its armor rattling..Every sound in the game is crisp, clear, and realistic. If youíre privileged enough to have a nice sound system, some surround sound, and a nice subwoofer maybe, during deathmatches youíll feel like youíre right back in Nam. The music is good as well. Itís used very sparingly throughout the game to provide dramatic effect. Soothing monk-chanting music for the nicer, calmer parts of the game, and fast desperate music for when youíre trapped in an underground tunnel system with nothing but a pistol and a machine gun inbetween you and about 50 zombie-like creatures.

GAMEPLAY (9/10): As with all other parts of Halo, the gameplay is excellent. The Campaign mode (which can be played single or two-player) is very well designed and executed. The story is pushed along by brief cinematics that are rendered in-engine (and look pretty nice). The levels are huge. I mean massive. Playing on Legendary difficulty, Iíve seriously spent over 2 hours on a single level, and none of that 2 hours was spent running around trying to solve some puzzle- itís all running and gunning baby. Whatís cool is, during these gigantic beautiful levels, there is no load time. You heard me, NO load time. Zero. Rather refreshing. If thereís any gripe I have with the Campaign mode, itís that it wasnít quite long enough for me. I just didnít want it to end. A few more levels wouldíve made me happier. Perhaps, too happy.

And then thereís the multiplayer. Get a few friends around on a game of Halo, and youíll have unheard of hours of fun. Thereís 8 or so levels made specifically for multiplayer; wide open areas and more cramped, tunneled areas. What struck me as exceptionally cool about the multiplayer was the ability to use the vehicles that are also present in the single player game. Youíve got a jeep-like thing called a Warthog with a mounted machine gun, a small fast alien hover-bike type thing that shoots lasers, and a big green tank. I know what youíre thinking. ďWhoa, a tank? Itíd probably be easy to just hop in there and dominate everybody.Ē Well, youíre wrong. Itís all very balanced. Even the tank has weaknesses. Wait until it comes rolling over a hill and lob a couple grenades under it, or snipe out the driver from afar. The multiplayer has a variety of modes available; Slayer (normal deathmatch), Capture the Flag, King of the Hill (hold a point on the map for a certain amount of time) Oddball (kind of like smear the queer..did anyone else ever play smear the queer? No? Well anyway, 1 person has the ball, and everyone else has to kill that person) Race (race the vehicles- this mode struck me as kind of dumb) and a Few Others That I Forget. Most modes come in the Team variety as well. Where as youíll be finished with the Campaign mode in a couple of days, the multiplayer will keep you coming back for more, for a very, very long time. Get 4 people together for some 2 on 2 capture the flag with tanks- pure gaming bliss, I tell you. True glory. Again, my only gripe here is the amount of levels. I wanted MORE. Maybe thatís too much to ask for.

OVERALL (9/10): At this point, Halo is still the best the Xbox has to offer. (Note: Iím writing this before the imminent release of Splinter Cell, Unreal Championship, Panzer Dragoon Orta, etc). The graphics and sound combine to immerse you in the world of Halo- and it is an amazing world indeed. This game is definitely a must have for any Xbox owner. Even if you DONíT own an Xbox and you like first person shooters, you should find some way to check this game out.

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Community review by goatx3 (November 22, 2002)

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