Halo: Combat Evolved
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.
- ヘイロー - Japanese spelling
- 光晕：战斗进化 - Simplified Chinese spelling
- 最後一戰 - Traditional Chinese spelling
- Console Generation Exclusives: Xbox
- Games made into books
- Games made into comics
- Games made into movies
- Halo series
- Launch title: Xbox (North America)
- Middleware: Bink Video
- Setting: Space station / Spaceship
- Technology: amBX
- Xbox Best of Classics releases
- Xbox Best of Platinum Hits releases
- Xbox Classics releases
- Xbox Platinum Hits releases
Credits (Xbox version)
185 People (107 developers, 78 thanks) · View all
|Assistant Art Director|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 91% (based on 112 ratings)
Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 405 ratings with 26 reviews)
The graphics are phenomenal, at or above the level of any other game on the market at the time I'm writing this. But it's the details that really make this my number one vote. Every leaf on every tree is individually rendered. Individual blades of grass actually tuft up from the ground - kneel in this grass and you'll get the sound of your knee depressing foliage, as opposed to the sound of your knee impacting any of the other surfaces in the game. The rushing water in streams is glorious to look at and listen to, the mist thrown from waterfalls, the dirt spray of a bullet hitting ground, or that cast up by a grenade detonation. (I served for four years in the infantry, and the grenade detonations in particular rang true to me). There is a level which occurs in a swamp, and the gently rippling water there looks incredible - not to mention the rain, and the bobbing lily pads. Trees actually sway in the breeze. When weapons strike rocks or trees, corresponding showers of stone or bark ensue. There were individual, 3d mushrooms growing at the edge of that swamp - adds nothing to game play, and some players might never notice it. But it builds realism, and that is something this game has in greater abundance than any other I've encountered.
The gameplay itself is wonderful. I know it's been done before (first in Goldeneye, I think, but possibly before that) but the zoom scopes on the weapons are a great deal of fun to use.
The plot is very original and engaging. It may seem a stereotypical mankind vs. alien fight at first, but as the tale progresses you learn that something a lot more sinister is going on behind the scenes.
The vocal acting is of great quality. Can't say that about a lot of games.
Wing Commander was the first game I remember to supply you with A.I. allies. This game gives you tons. Running onto the field of battle with 12 other marines, each with their own individual faces, voices, expressions and attitudes is intense. The detail here is incredible. There are different accents ringing out all over the battlefield.
The different vehicles are a lot of fun to drive. Spinning out in the warthog is a blast. Nice too, that your fellow soldiers will hop on back of the warthog to fire its machine gun, or take the passenger seat to snipe at enemies.
A co-operative mode is something many FPS games overlook. It's my favourite way to play, though, and this one has it.
You can carry only a maximum of 2 weapons and limited ammo. Nice change from the strange characters of other games who are presumably toting their arsenals around in invisible bags of holding.
Most of this is trivial, but if Xbox designers ever read this, here's how to make the game EVEN BETTER.
Firstly, there's only 10 missions. Now, I'm getting a lot of gameplay out of these missions, since if I die, I start over. But I'm on the 7th now and not looking forward to ending. The first release of DOOM had 24 missions. Heed.
In such a wonderful, dramatic, serious game, I thought the attempts at comic relief were unnecessary. Hollywood does this all the time (witness those two miniature punks in Willow, for instance). What I'm referring to here is the high-pitched voices of the grunts, and more to the point, the things they say. It does spoil the intensity of the action somewhat for me to see this tiny being running away screaming "Little people first!" Half of me takes pity and the other half wants to gun him down for saying something so stupid. If it's a serious game, keep it serious. Comedy should never be forced.
Minor thing, but the assault rifle is my favourite weapon to fire (with the force feedback in the controller it both feels and sounds quite authentic), but the rulebook tells you that the Covenant forces are more susceptible to plasma weapons. And since as soon as you kill a single Covenant member you have access to plasma weapons, I don't get to fire the ultra-cool assault rifle very often. (I could, but then I would be deliberately hindering my own progress).
The game is done from a 1st person perspective, but when you mount a vehicle, suddenly you're in third person perspective. Forcing a change in perspective like that really attacks the reality base the game has laboured so hard and successfully to build. If I AM the main character I see out of the main character's eyes - to suddenly be looking at the back of my own head is confusing and only reminds me I'm playing a game. VERY BAD.
I could be wrong, but it seems to me that while you can play with up to 4 players (16 with multiple consoles) in a deathmatch, you can only play with 2 in co-op mode. Why the differentiation? Maybe it has to do with processor speed and reading that many input sources while simultaneously controlling so many A.I.s, but if not, what were the makers thinking? I would love to have a go at the enemy with 3 of my closest friends along for the ride.
When I look at a reflective surface (water, some of the more highly polished surfaces indoors), I don't see my own reflection. What am I, a frickin' vampire? With so much attention to detail, how was this overlooked? Likewise that beautiful water in the swamp I so praised earlier, does not accurately reflect the surrounding trees. It still looks great, but if you pause to compare the water's reflection with the overhangs, it doesn't match up.
While it is great that, in multi-player, when you look at another player you can see what weapon he has in his hand, you can't see what other weapon he's carrying. If he has a plasma rifle in-hand, but also has access to a rocket launcher, shouldn't that rocket launcher be slung over his shoulder? Minor details, but worthy details.
In the cutscenes the Master Chief is always displayed carrying an assault rifle, whether or not you still even possess an assault rifle.
I would have loved to have seen even more attention paid to the crazy sort of bullshit that occurs in battle. It would be nice if your fellow soldiers would just panic occasionally and fall down weeping. Or if an ammo clip you just inserted was occasionally inserted incorrectly and fell out of the weapon after firing a single round. Sadly, that sort of thing happens a lot more often than you would believe. (The ammo box on my old C9 used to fall off every 100 metres. Not fun). Or if grenades were occasionally duds. Combat is fraught with pathetic bullshit accidents. I would love to see some of them here.
While bark does fly from a tree when hit by a weapon, if you later examine that tree you will find it undamaged. Not even chipped. Again, defeats realism. Put enough damage onto that tree and I would love to see it collapse.
While I like that your fellow soldiers will fire the warthog's guns, why won't they drive it? These are trained marines.
The Bottom Line
As of the start of 2002, the most impressive first person shooter, if not the most impressive computer game, I have ever seen.
Xbox · by Jeff Sinasac (391) · 2002
Where to start. This game transformed everything known in the Fps genre. Everything was beautiful. Graphics were brilliant. Fantastic cutscenes, brilliant designs of enemys and top graphics. Overall. Music was brilliant, each song matched each part of the game and never disappointed. Sound effects were lovely, walking through the grass was brilliant. You could hear and see the effects. Lovely. Gameplay was also top notch, anyone who has played this and claim it sucks, try it multiplayer and legendary, even co-op. You will soon change your mind. This game did what over Fps shooters couldn't, stood out. Even the 2 weapon system limits worked. Everything was mindblowing. Bungie haven't made many games, but the ones they did kicked ass!
Rushed. Halo 2 will fix that, I'm sure.
The Bottom Line
Any Xbox or Pc owners, get this. You will not be disappointed.
Xbox · by Exeox (38) · 2004
I liked the fact that it would come to Pc users like me, who don't own a X-box and don't think about buying one only to play Halo.
No Co-op mode for the story, bad buy for party-lan members who like to quest together.
Graphics aren't that great, better game engine could have been used.
The Bottom Line
Good storyline for single player.
Bad, can't play it with your friends in storymode (X-box it was playable in Co-op mode)
Moves too slow for my taste.
I give this game an 8 out of a 10 (story is pretty good).
Windows · by Bigiboi (1) · 2003
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.
- At the center of the Halo logo, you can see the
Marathonlogo (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."
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.
- 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
- 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
Related Sites +
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).
Official Site - Bungie
A wiki covering all Halo games
Microsoft: Halo Website
- MobyGames ID: 5368
- Wikipedia (en)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by JPaterson.
Game added November 17th, 2001. Last modified October 13th, 2023.