Halo: Combat Evolved

aka: Blam!, Guangyun: Zui Hou Yizhan, Halo: El Combate ha Evolucionado, Halo: Kampf um die Zukunft, Monkey Nuts
Xbox Specs [ all ]

Description official descriptions

Humanity is in the midst of a long war against an alien alliance called the Covenant which has been wiping out colony after colony. Your hero is Master Chief, who is given no name beyond his rank in the game itself. He is stationed on the Pillar of Autumn, a ship which, per protocol makes a jump in a random direction to retreat to avoid revealing the location of Earth. They find themselves at the titular Halo, a planet-sized ring of mysterious origin, and function with the Covenant on their heels. Master Chief must repel the Covenant assault and discover the secrets of Halo with the assistance of the female AI Cortana who lives in his suit and gives missions.

Halo: Combat Evolved is a sci-fi first-person shooter with considerable driving elements. Features include friendly NPCs who fight alongside the Chief, squad-based AI where enemies groups work together to flank you under the direction of a leader unit and can be demoralized by his death. They also use cover, set ambushes, etc.

Only two weapons may be carried at a time: one active and one on backup. There are five human weapons and three Covenant with distinct art styles for the two groups. Human weapons look basically like real guns and fire projectiles. Covenant are sleek and purple and fire energy. For the most part, weapons are not just left around the environment and must be procured from fallen enemies though there are supply points.

Your life is armor and health as in most games of the genre, however, rather than armor being an item that is picked up, it is a force field which quickly recharges itself after several seconds without taking damage, which emphasizes finding cover.

One of the most significant features is vehicles. You can drive a variety of vehicles in both single-player and multiplayer, some of which have additional seats for passengers or gunners which can be used by AI characters. Vehicles also come in distinct human and Covenant varieties with their design philosophies. Human vehicles roll around the ground on wheels and covenant vehicles hover or fly.

Halo also has a significant multiplayer component with basic deathmatch (called slayer here), capture the flag with the unusual addition that the flag takes your weapon spot while you are holding it, so shooting your way in and out of the base on your own is not an option, territories, and some options unique to the game, such as oddball, where you must hold onto a skull for the longest time, race where you score points by getting to checkpoints and juggernaut, where one super-powered player must get points by killing the others and the other players try to kill him to steal his powers. There is also a game editor which allows you to set custom rules for all the basic game types. All the playable weapons and vehicles from the campaign mode are available in the multiplayer maps with the ability for members of the same team to share the game's distinctive Warthog vehicle, which is essentially a small truck with a mounted gun on the back.


  • γƒ˜γ‚€γƒ­γƒΌ - Japanese spelling
  • ε…‰ζ™•οΌšζˆ˜ζ–—θΏ›εŒ– - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • ζœ€εΎŒδΈ€ζˆ° - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (Xbox version)

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Average score: 91% (based on 110 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 402 ratings with 26 reviews)

Hey look, it's Marathon 4!

The Good
Way back in the day Bungie was a Mac developer. Their greatest release, for many, was a great Doom-a-like called Marathon. Marathon not only had better graphics and sound -- a side effect of Macs actually being better for that until the mid-90's -- but had an incredible backstory and amazing multiplayer back when that was rare.

After doing the wonderful Myth they started talking about Halo. I couldn't wait, it looked like it was going to be Marathon x 10. But I had to wait... and wait... and wait. Then they got bought by MS, then the Mac version got canned, then it went x-box only. Finally after what, FOUR YEARS, it's out on the PC.

And sadly, it's not Marathon x 10. It's better, sure, and the hardware-based 3D graphics are excellent, but really, this is just Marathon with vehicles. The physics are better (but come on, flight sims were doing this a decade ago), but the weapons are mostly the same, the action is similar in many ways, even parts of the story seem to be lifted from Marathon.

One oddity is that it does seem to play a lot better on the Mac than Win. I see a lot of complaints here about the performance, but I was playing it on a iMac without anything fancy and it seemed fine.

The Bad
When I heard MS was buying Bungie I got the feeling they would loose all of the originality that made Bungie the company to beat. Seems I was right.

I guess if they had actually released it back then it wouldn't be so bad. But today it really does feel like a four year old game.

The Bottom Line
Definitely a good game, and it was certainly ahead of its time -- but that time was three years ago.

Windows · by Maury Markowitz (266) · 2003


The Good
The engine is a solidly built one, easy to pick up and get going and always offering more to adapt to. While the story is pretty much the stuff of late night direct to tv movies, the enemies are well-designed and fun to blow up, especially the later ones. Graphics are pretty good, with some decent environmental effects and very little fill-in. The game was made for multiplayer, and if it was released later during the online push it'd probably have more longevity, though with the release of Halo 2 this is kind of moot.

The Bad
Larry Niven, creator of the Ringworld novels, should have sued until the design staff was completely naked. The titular Halo is obviously porked from his novels and is underused as a plot point. Well. I suppose that's harsh since there really is no plot beyond variations of what we've seen in the movie Lifeforce and the game Space Hulk. It's an odd bird that games are relying more heavily on narratives and still skimping on any kind of story, but that's another discussion completely. As is, the main purpose the Halo has is to arch across the sky like the great Thong of the Universe.

I think my main problem with the game is ethical, read: Microsoft. Originally a Mac and PC game, this was another casualty of Microsoft's epic set of buyouts in an attempt to get exclusives for it's XBox console in the heat of the console war. Computer gamers were ripped a new one and XBox fanboys had a new rallying cry, giving the upper hand to the last company that needed one. Bungie changed it's tune from being a Mac enthusiast company to the usual party line of wanting to be on the cutting edge and allying itself with the right people. Make what you will of that.

The biggest complaint with the game is the artificial stretching out of the levels. Yeah, sure, the game features some long levels, but if you broke it down to the key architectural components some of the levels would be about 50 feet long. The two main offenders are the inside of the alien ship (and how) and the library. If you can keep track of which direction most of the enemy are coming from, cool. If not, both directions are gonna look the same and it may take a minute or two to sort it out. Not cool. With a lack of scripting to keep encounters fresh, the only thing that'll see you through to the end of the single-player campaign is the very fast and fluid gameplay. Really, it stands out post-Half-Life, but one very nice facet of a gem doesn't forgive the weaknesses everywhere else.

The Bottom Line
Are you chanting the XBox war cry? You already have this game on your shelf, then. Everybody else should give it a whirl, have a bit of fun with it, repeat until bored.

Xbox · by Vance (94) · 2004

An important step in the evolution of console gaming...

The Good
I still remember the first time I played Halo. Up until that point, I was a constant player of Counter-Strike, Quake 3, that sort of thing. But once the PS2 and Xbox hit the streets, I noticed a growing change in the air that, until Halo, took a little time to get used to. Anyway, the story goes, I went to a friends place and picked up an Xbox controller to play Halo co-op for the first time. This was my introduction to the series, and I still remember to this day how enjoyable and exciting it all was.

Flash forward to today, and you can see clearly how much Halo changed the way we play video games. Yes, there are others who played their part, but Halo can be credited for proving how effective 1st person shooters can be on a home console, especially with the right control pad at your fingertips.

The story itself won't become an instant classic, but at this point online functions weren't a norm, so a two player fire fight or a four player slayer match on one TV was more than enough to keep people entertained. Co-op, on the other hand, wasn't always available for games of this ilk, and that's where my enjoyment of Halo built up from. Playing by yourself can be fun, but completing the game on the Legendary setting without a friend to cover your back can be ... well, hard. Really hard. If you're a freak of nature and can do it with one hand behind your back while aiming with your nose on the thumbstick, then all the best for your future career at the petting zoo.

The Bad
I will say that the visuals were up and down at times. I won't compare it to the modern games available as of this review, but Halo holds up well for its age (compared to Goldeneye, which goes to show that even the best four player N64 games look more like SNES titles compared to the first Xbox era). Still, frame rate slow downs and a glitch or two still pop in and out at times, not that it will lower the enjoyment of the game.

The biggest complaint I hear about Halo (and to a degree, the two sequels since), is the fact that each level is just the same as the last, corridor after corridor, creature after creature. It all feels the same no matter how different it might look. I tend to agree with that, but only because if you compared it to Call of Duty, which gives you a number of other objectives that don't always include shooting, Halo really is just the same thing over each level. But, and here's the big but, when played at the hardest difficulty setting or with a friend, that factor can quickly slip by the wayside as the challenge builds across the story. And that, dear readers, is the ultimate strength of the game.

The Bottom Line
So yes, perhaps Halo was overhyped. Perfection certainly isn't a term I would use to describe this first chapter. But for all the problems that may (or may not) be described by other gamers, Halo's place among the most important titles of the past decade is as rock solid as it was back in 2003. Bungie, and indeed Microsoft, took a huge risk in releasing this game to an audience that, up until that point, were hungry for more Quake and Unreal than anything else. The fact that Halo went on to sell so many copies, as well as helping Microsoft find a place within the gaming industry elite, just goes to show that the risk was worth taking.

Without any true multiplayer options, or any online functions to speak of, Halo wouldn't go down as well today as it did five years ago. But for those who are yet to play it, or those simply interested in knowing how it all began, the campaign can be a rewarding experience. Picking up a cheap copy won't be difficult to find, or you could just as easily download the game from the Xbox Live marketplace. It's worth trying, even by today's standards.

Xbox · by Kartanym (12382) · 2008

[ View all 26 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

The Xbox version of Halo: Combat Evolved appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


The end of the PC demo features a 49 second infomercial-style video, narrated by Sgt. Johnson, which extolls the virtues of buying the full version. "Buy one! Heck, buy two!"


Halo went through many changes during its development. As originally conceived, it was a real-time tactical game for Windows, something like a sci-fi version of Myth. The focus shifted toward direct control of one of the individual units and it became a third person shooter and work began on a Macintosh version as well. This is how the game was originally announced.

After Microsoft bought Bungie, Halo was shifted to being an Xbox exclusive. Around the same time, it became a first person game, with Bungie saying there wasn't any way to get precise aiming to work in third person. Many of the art assets changed too, with the Master Chief's armor in the game as shipped looking quite different than the original trailer. Eventually, Halo was ported back to its original platforms of Windows and Macintosh bearing no resemblance to how it started.


Beat the game in Legendary difficulty and you get an additional funny cutscene at the end.


Halo has a strange enemy hidden in the game code called the Engineer. You can only access it using a mod chip. It's a pink, blobby thing that just sort of floats around. It's the same creature as seen in one of the earliest videos of the game, the one with the marines going into the huge building.


  • If you look closely at the shotgun shells taken out when Master Chief reloads, you'll see there are hippo heads pictured on them.
  • If you highlight the "Edit Gametypes" section in the multiplayer section of this game, you come across an image of Master Chief with text that, to the reader, seems to be schematics for each of his body parts. If you look closely, some of the text aren't schematics, but text: Text on Head/Gun: "UV Protectant Sun Visor for Protection from Elements". Text on Upper Right Leg: "Sometimes I give myself the creeps, sometimes my mind plays tricks on me" (lyrics from the Green Day song "Basket Case"). Text on Lower Right Leg: "Hydraulic Suspension Thigh Pads with cool Kevlar crap". Text on Left Leg: "Directional Locks MJOLNIR cyborg dealer parts". Text on Arm: "Action/Reload see may flexible joint system". Text on Torso: "All your base are belong to us".

Halo: Custom Edition

On May 5th, 2004, Halo: Custom Edition was released for free. It is a multiplayer only, 170MB standalone version of Halo PC which enables gamers to play user created content created with the halo editing kit. It requires the original cd and a valid key to play. Download it here.


Halo is used to film the machinima web series Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles, which is currently in its fifteenth season.


As of July 2017, there are a total of twenty-one Halo tie-in novels. The first three being: Fall of Reach (prequel), The Flood (novelization of the game), and First Strike (successor).


Halo was originally rated T for Teens.

References: Marathon

  • At the center of the Halo logo, you can see the Marathon logo (Marathon being the FPS series Bungie was previously famous for). The Marathon logo can also be seen in several places throughout the game, including on the hull of the human battleship, on Captain Keye's uniform, and on several of the doors found around Halo. The character design of 343 Guilty Spark, one of the game's pivotal characters, also strongly resembles the Marathon logo.
  • The cyborg Master Chief wears a suit of Mjolnir battle armor. The hero of the Marathon series was a Mjolnir class cyborg.
  • The alien grunts sometimes scream out "They're everywhere!" in combat. The human civilians from Marathon would also scream the same thing during the alien invasion.
  • Certain weapons have similar names and appearances in both games, such as the SPNKR rocket launcher.
  • Both games have very whimsical chapter names, like "Wait! It Gets Worse!" or "Fourth Floor: Tools, Guns, Keys to Superweapon" in Halo or "Kill Your Television" or "You Think You're Badass? You're Going to Die Badass!" in Marathon.
  • Rampancy, or "When AIs go nuts and rebel against humanity", played a major part of Marathon's story. If you kill the command crew in Halo's opening level, Cortana will complain that you've gone Rampant and will sic the Marines on you.
  • The hero of the Marathon series spend most of his time taking orders from Durandal, a megalomaniacal A.I. named after a mythological sword who had few qualms about breaking a few eggs (using humans as expendable pawns) to make an omelet (liberating a slave race). The hero of Halo spends most of his time taking orders from Cortana, an A.I. named after a mythical sword who's beginning to show signs her ego is expanding, and who has few qualms about breaking a few eggs (destroying Halo and killing the marines on it) to make an omelet (saving Earth).
  • Much of the dialog of the "Grunt" characters is taken from the Human characters in the first Marathon: "Thank God it's you" was spoken by characters called "Exploding Bobs", which were sythetic Humans who would run at the player and explode. The line "They're Everywhere" was spoken by frightened Humans the player would come across.
  • The architecture in Halo is very similar to Jjaro architecture - the Jjaro were an equally ancient race in Marathon.


Some of the dialogue spoken by the marines, comes directly from the film Aliens.


  • As of 2005, Halo is the best-selling Xbox game of all time. It has sold three and a half million copies.
  • On August 31, 2003 has Halo (Xbox) won the Gold-Award from the German VUD (Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland - Entertainment Software Association Germany) for selling more then 100,000 (but less then 200,000) units in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.


Many people believe that Halo takes place during a one-hundred-and-thiry-nine year gap in the Marathon timeline, in which the creators wrote "This century intentionally left blank. Seriously, nothing really happened."

Voice acting

Much of the dialogue spoken by the Covenant Elites is in fact dialogue by the human Sergeant, reversed, with some pitch alterations.

Windows and Macintosh versions

  • Gearbox took over programming of Halo PC and discovered that they can't use much of the existing networking code (for the XBox). They had to rewrite that entire section, delaying the title for PC by several months.
  • The PC version (and probably Mac, too) of Halo adds a few bonus features for the multiplayer mode, these include two weapons: a Flamethrower (which was scrapped from the game at the last minute) and a Fuel Rod Gun (the weapon that the Hunters use in the main game) as well as allowing you to use the Banshee and a rocket-launcher version of the Warthog.


  • 4Players
    • 2002– Best Xbox Action Game of the Year
    • 2002– Best Console Multiplayer Game of the Year
    • 2002 – #2 Best Xbox Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 2004 (Issue #236) – Year's Biggest Letdown
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • April 2002 - Game of the Year
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – Xbox Game of the Year (Readers' Choice)
    • 2001 – Xbox Action/Adventure Game of the Year
    • 2003 – #6 PC Game of the Year
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/2008 - One of the "10 Coolest Levels" (for the level "The Silent Cartographer". It combines all fun elements from the first person shooter genre into one level.)
  • Interactive Achievement Awards (Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences)
    • 2002 - Game of the Year
    • 2002 - Console Game of the Year,
    • 2002 - Console Action/Adventure Game of the Year
    • 2002 - Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering
  • PC Powerplay (Germany)
    • Issue 03/2005 - #1 Biggest Disappointment
    • Issue 12/2006 - #9 Hype Disappointment (was no longer impressive when it was ported two years after the console version)
  • Retro Gamer
    • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #18 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
  • Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland (VUD)
    • August 31, 2003 - Gold Award
  • Walk of Game
    • 2005 - Member

Information also contributed by ~~, Ace of Sevens, Alan Chan, BurningStickMan, Kartanym, Kasey Chang, Maw, MegaMegaMan, Ray Soderlund, Sciere, Xoleras, Zack Green and Zovni

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Halo 4
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Halo 3
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Halo 3: ODST
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Related Sites +

  • Beyond Fragging
    An Apple Games article about the Mac version of <em>Halo</em>, with commentary being provided by Project Manager Marc Tardif and MacSoft President Peter Tante (November, 2003).
  • Halo PC
    Official Site - Bungie
  • Halopedia
    A wiki covering all Halo games
  • Microsoft: Halo Website
    Official website for Halo with overview of title. Includes link to Javascript pop-up window with screenshots, movies and more details on the title (only available through above link, no separate URL for pop-up).
  • The Halo: Combat Evolved wikipedia page
    Wikipedia's page on Halo: Combat Evolved.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 5368


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by JPaterson.

Xbox 360 added by Kartanym. Windows added by kawaii. Macintosh added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: Istari, Kartanym, Unicorn Lynx, Entorphane, karttu, tarmo888, Kabushi, Pseudo_Intellectual, Zeppin, Paulus18950, Zaibatsu, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, FatherJack, yellowshirt.

Game added November 17th, 2001. Last modified February 22nd, 2023.