Halo: Combat Evolved

aka: Blam!, Guangyun: Zui Hou Yizhan, Halo: El Combate ha Evolucionado, Halo: Kampf um die Zukunft, Monkey Nuts
Moby ID: 5368

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 91% (based on 112 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 416 ratings with 26 reviews)

Repetitive and shallow FPS that can't hold a candle to the classics of the genre

The Good
Halo has three stand-out features: enemy AI, teammates, and controllable vehicles.

Much has been said about the AI of the Covenant. Indeed, after Half-Life's marines, Halo's Covenant have perhaps the most advanced and interesting behavior patterns I've seen in an FPS. Although after a while they begin repeating themselves, it was a nice feeling at first to deal with organized groups of enemies that actually employed some tactics. Stronger aliens would elegantly side-step, take cover, and generally behave in a smart, believable way. Smaller ones would block your attacks with shields or try to compensate strength with quantity. Perhaps the most memorable enemies are the Grunts, who get easily demoralized, running away at the sight of a defeated Covenant leader.

The marines will actually help you in this game, fighting on your side. It is a somewhat welcome change from the usual "lone hero saves the world" philosophy. Don't get too excited, though: the AI of your teammates is just functional, far from being revolutionary. But at least those allies are not completely useless, they won't throw bombs at you or get killed at the first opportunity.

I absolutely agree with the other reviewer here on MobyGames: praising the character AI in Halo only reveals the general weak state of AI routines in games. Halo did what every first-person shooter should have done. That is not to say that the AI in this game is amazing. After a short time, you'll learn to predict enemy patterns, their AI being less of an obstacle than their high endurance.

The best feature of Halo are the vehicles. That could be the saving grace of the game for those who have the patience to endure the rest of its gameplay. Vehicle segments are the only ones that feel genuinely exciting. While driving the Warthog is just moderately fun, things change when you get hold of cool alien technology. Hovering or flying around while shooting at poor unsuspecting Grunts or destroying the same vehicle controlled by a fearsome Elite warrior is very fun. Vehicle levels are usually large, and the choice of strategies is quite vast. Getting our of a damaged vehicle and quickly occupying another one before an enemy gets there certainly belongs to the most entertaining moments Halo has to offer.

What else? The weapons work reasonably well. There is just enough variety and balance to try out different stuff - though in the end, I found that aliens take a while to kill no matter what you are using. Naturally, rocket launchers and alike shred them to pieces instantly, but the other weapons inflict more or less the same damage. The feeling of using human and alien technology at once is quite rewarding, though. The two-weapon system, which forces you to choose instead of just grabbing whatever is available, is a good idea. I also liked the implementation of grenades: they were easy to find, easy to use, and caused considerable damage that made me choose them over other approaches from time to time. Melee attacks also work well, and were actually more useful than they usually are in this type of games.

The Bad
Halo is, at best, an average FPS with fundamental, unforgivable weaknesses. The level design is among the worst I have ever seen in a FPS. Indoor locations of Halo consist of identically-looking rooms and corridors that were put together without any care or attention to detail. Most of them were designed with such crudeness that I almost couldn't believe they made it into the final product. Outdoor locations are slightly better, but only because they are outdoors. Natural components are more interesting than the plain, yawn-inducing materials they chose for the indoor locations.

The level of detail is disastrously low. Every room is as bland as possible. Those rooms are just rectangles, mathematical constructions without any soul. At one point, you explore an alien battle cruiser. What can you say about it? That it consists of dozens of identically-looking purple corridors. Nothing else! There are hardly any objects in the rooms, and if there are, they repeat themselves verbatim, copy-paste style, ad nauseam. Those rooms serve no purpose and are simply there, dull and tiresome.

Ignoring this as a small flaw would be, in my opinion, equivalent to forgetting what makes first-person shooters enjoyable and immersive in the first place. When I play an FPS, I want to be a part of its world. It doesn't depend on the premise that much. The premise of Halo is not bad: a mysterious planet, alien civilization, two different alien races, place of religious worship, etc. It's the execution that is horrible. Just before Halo, I played Blood II; it hardly has a better premise, but the colorful locations make it actually more entertaining than this miserable collection endless corridors.

Halo destroys a long, respectable tradition of FPS design philosophy. What we loved doing in those great FPSs of the past is no longer there. It is really amazing how "successfully" the game eliminates from its gameplay nearly everything that made shooters involving. Forget interactivity. Forget destructible environments. Forget secret areas. Forget puzzles of any kind. Forget different goals and objectives in every location. Forget humor, forget setpieces, even forget boss battles! It is as if Duke Nukem 3D got forbidden, Half-Life was released on the moon, and No One Lives Forever never saw the light of the day. Even Doom had by far more variety and depth than Halo. I can only imagine that lack of knowledge of FPS history and the game's initially console-only origins greatly contributed to its popularity. Then again, the console-exclusive GoldenEye 007, released four years earlier, beats Halo in every respect.

With the exception of vehicles, which is really the only gameplay element Halo does convincingly, the entire game consists of shooting waves upon waves of enemies. Sure, the AI is good, but how many times do you want to shoot the same mechanically appearing Covenant group? At what point does it become tedious and boring to outsmart yet another Elite and finish off yet another fleeing Grunt? By the time the Flood enters the scene, you are already bored. But the Flood finishes the deal. I wouldn't be hurt by their primitive AI if they had anything else to offer, but the poor bastards aren't even scary.

Everything else in Halo is average. The plot is a rather ordinary science fiction tale that has been done many times before. Cutscenes are competently made, but something is missing in the presentation, something that would give it more personality and appeal. You don't really feel the grandeur of a mysterious alien civilization. Emotions run low in this story, leaving you cold and indifferent. The story greatly lacks detail and therefore can't compete with good sci-fi material. For example, we learn nothing about the different races that constitute the Covenant. The whole idea of the Flood and the ways to stop it is contrived and unconvincing. The dialog is completely unremarkable as well. At its best, it's just "normal"; at its worst, it becomes corny, with occasional awkward, badly done comic relief.

The funniest (well, actually, saddest) part of it all is how Master Chief became the first video game character to make it into Madame Tussaud's museum. Think of your favorite video game characters and now think that Master Chief, of all people, got this honor! I vote to immediately replace him with Lo Wang from Shadow Warrior. At least he is funnier and has more personality.

The Bottom Line
Halo has a solid premise, controllable vehicles, and good enemy AI. But all this means little compared to its glaring flaws. Repetitive gameplay and awful level design kill this game. Halo feels like a fancy AI-testing held in amateurish 3D constructions with no appeal whatsoever, resulting in a shallow and ultimately boring experience.

Windows · by Unicorn Lynx (181794) · 2014


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

Good but very, very over-rated.

The Good
"Combat Evolved" describes things very well. The combat in HALO is indeed a step up from most FPS' and is challenging and fun (until The Flood shows up, see below).Enemies will duck and dive for cover, engage you in a variety of ways and generally put up a good fight. What may even be more amazing is that your own team is not entirely useless. It may be one of the actually ground-breaking features of Halo that your own team actually put up a good fight and help you out by making themselves useful. No standing around looking curiously at the primed grenade at their feet or running into your line of fire (well at least not too much). They actually engage and kill the enemy effectively! On the other hand, maybe this say more about the incredibly sad state of Ai in gaming than it say about the AI in Halo.

The vehicles are also very well done. It's immensely fun driving around in the Warthog with a gunner while fighting aliens or laying down the pain from a Banshee fighter. The Warthog, fun as it is, has somewhat odd driving characteristics though; it skids like Bambi on ice even when you drive on dry concrete.

Halo also has my favourite type of cut-scene: the in-game engine cut-scene. Not only that, they're also reasonably well directed with a certain flair that gives them a movie-like quality. No talking heads here.

One positive thing that actually surprised me was Master Chief himself. I had expected a DOOM-style mute hero but it turns out master Chief talks and actually has a personality. Granted, he doesn't have the "charm" and "charisma" of Duke Nukem but he's no Gordon Freeman-style mute either. I really don't care much for the personality-free protagonist style of Half-life and DOOM. It works in DOOM because there's really no-one around for your character to talk to but when there are people talking and addressing you and your character just says nothing it just gets a bit weird.

The Covenant is an interesting collection of alien races with unique traits. I almost feel bad every time I shoot a grunt. With their runt, short appearance, high pitched voices and the clumsy way they carry their weapons, especially when panicking, they have a very child-like appearance to them. In some ways the grunts are more disturbing than The Flood. Unfortunately we get to know almost nothing about the Covenant and its alien races other than "they want to kill all humans".

It's also a plus that there are no boss-fights, just increasingly difficult battles.

The Bad
The combat that was so fun against the Covenant goes right out the Window the moment The Flood rears its ugly head. What we have here is classic DOOM style enemies that has absolutely no combat awareness and who thinks that the old cavalry charge is the pinnacle of attack tactics. The only way by which the flood challenges the player is by sheer numbers. While we're on the topic of The Flood , that old standard-issue parasitic alien life-form that has been the staple of Sci-Fi since the 50's, they're just not very menacing or scary. I have a hard time picturing it as such a monumental threat to sentient life that such extreme measures that we are presented with are necessary. I mean, the basic form, which looks like a mildly mutated jellyfish, can probably be killed with a peashooter. System Shock 2 did this much better and The Flood pales in comparison to The Many.

The Flood also brings to light some lazy writing and plot holes (spoiler warning). How come The Flood is isolated on Halo? How did it survive for 100000(!) years without food? If the Forerunners managed to contain it why not just wipe out the last remaining colony instead of this monitor AI and containment protocol nonsense? Or did they keep them in some kind of storage for future use? Master Chief solves this problem elegantly by just destroying Halo but as we'll see in the sequels there are other colonies (collections?) of The Flood on other Halo-type installations. Really? Seriously, what the hell where they thinking? "Lets contain this extremely dangerous life-form in select installations across the galaxy and if the shit hits the fan lets just wipe out all OTHER life". Great plan guys, you really thought that one through.

When we are on the subject of the Forerunners we should not forget the impressive yet incredibly dull level architecture. Sure, the alien architecture is grand and immensely large (why so large? Where they 20 feet tall?) but it is also incredibly dull and boring. You'll be fighting through an endless line of dull, gray dimly lit rooms (that comes in very limited variety) all connected with the same type of zigzag corridor. While the symmetric design might make sense and be "realistic" it's also very, very boring. Quite a few times I just had to stop playing and go do something else for a while because I couldn't stand seeing yet another clone of room-design X. The interior room design also makes it very hard to keep track of where you are and where you are going. This is especially true in the part where you have to follow Guilty Spark. Most of the time I had no idea where that crazy AI was and I just followed the path where the monsters where since game-logic dictates that that is probably where I should be going. The Covenant levels are a bit better (they have colors!) but they suffer from even more and longer identical corridors that you have to fight your way through. Also, why does all aliens in all games design their ships and installations so that it is so very complicated to move from point A to point B, even when A and B are physically close? Halo suffers from this although at least it's nowhere near as bad as the stupidity that is Xen in Half-Life. They do make solid stuff though, the aliens. These installations has stood without maintenance for 100000 years and most of it works without a hitch. Amazing.

The Covenant is also a bit anonymous. Who are they? How did their religious worship of the Forerunners start? What are the specific of the different races? All we get is a few sentences in the manual and that's it and the only way you'll ever interact with them is in combat. The Kilrathi they aren't.

One final thing. Why can't Master Chief run?

The Bottom Line
If you take it for what it is, a very well-made FPS with a decent but also engaging story, you won't be disappointed. While not as revolutionary and ground-breaking as some might want you to think it's still a good game and if you can muster up the courage to stand the dull and repeated architecture you'll probably enjoy it.

Windows · by Lars Hansson (4) · 2010

Same old levels, same old guns, same old enemies, then..back again.

The Good
The graphics are good as is the size of the environment your in. The Needler weapon is a neat device. The ability to get into vehicles and use them to move around and destroy enemies.

The Bad
The same old enemies on loop. The lack of variety of weapons. The tedium of seemingly advancing but seeing the same old scenery again and again, then having to do the whole lot in reverse as you try to escape from the monotonous levels.

The Bottom Line
Good Co-op and multiplayer but as a single player game it is very weak. And boring.

Xbox · by Gareth Day (7) · 2004

A good (NOT great) game that is overhyped to the extreme

The Good
Halo has a loyal fanbase. The fanbase is so loyal that they are willing to ignore all of the game's shortcomings - and there are a few key ones.

There's plenty to like about Halo, though. For one, the game has some great visuals. Halo is eye-candy, and a real display of Xbox graphical power. Halo made me look at console games a little differently - as though maybe they can compete with PC games in terms of graphical goodness, finally.

Halo also did what Goldeneye 007 miserably failed to - make the first person shooter playable on a console gamepad. The dual-analog control scheme isn't as good as a PC mouse-and-keyboard setup, but it works surprisingly well. The left and right triggers handle the guns and grenades, and the sticks control smooth and responsive movement. Bungie deserves an award for doing what everyone else has not been able to.

Enemy AI is very good. The "smarter" enemies will take cover from gunfire, dodge shots and avoid grenades, and just generally act like they have some concept of self-preservation. However, while this is a step forward, they are still too easily outsmarted. Too often, an enemy will take cover, and remain behind cover until you flank him and let him have it. Still, while a few games (like Unreal's bots) have been able to accomplish similar AI tasks, it's great to see in the framework of a regular single-player game (as opposed to deathmatch bots).

Vehicles (like hovercraft and jeeps) add an extra dimension to the genre. Unlike Red Faction's vehicles (which were very limited and served little purpose), Halo's vehicles are a core part of the fun. The physics engine is pretty remarkable, and vehicles react like one would expect, as the physics are as real-world as possible (at least as real-world as a hovering vehicle can be).

The split-screen multiplayer feature, similar to Goldeneye, has many different modes. Vehicles add a twist to the standard multiplayer gunplay fare.

The Bad
The single player campaign starts strong, and ends strong. Everything in-between, however, is plagued with constant repetition. Many stages feature the SAME room, OVER and OVER again. Many stages feature the SAME room, OVER and OVER again. See how repetition is annoying? Too many Halo levels are similarly annoying. Traverse a room, kill what appears there. Go to the next room, it looks exactly the same, kill the enemies, move onward. You may think I'm exaggerating, but many of these rooms truly are exact clones of previous areas.

The storyline really isn't very strong. This is very disappointing, compared to previous Bungie games like the Marathon series. Some cutscenes between levels moves the story along, but in reality, there just isn't much there.

Split-screen multiplayer, while a nice addition, pales in comparison to even an average online-capable PC shooter. Of course, it may not be fair to compare a console shooter like Halo to such games, but when the fanboys call Halo the "GREATEST GAME EVER", it's prudent to take a step back and see where Halo comes up short (and there are plenty of shortcomings). 4-player split-screen is a good time, but in the end, it's not great - especially since the Xbox supports online play with shooters like Unreal Championship.

The Bottom Line
Halo is a good game. Compared to PC shooters, however, it's just middle-of-the-pack. There's nothing wrong with that, but it quite possibly is the most overrated game of the PS2-Xbox-Cube generation of consoles. Halo's sequel will have plenty of things to improve upon. Halo is worth owning and playing through, but it does not deserve any special merit.

Xbox · by *Legion* (136) · 2003

Halo is a bit overrated.

The Good
Halo is a fun fps with some really cool weapons like the shotgun and needler which are cool to use against all sort of enemies. Grenades are really useful and necessary in this game. Halo has some really beautiful graphics for the time and gives a you a really special feeling for example when you are running at open areas in snowy landscapes of two betrayals levels. The game offers good challenge for everyone on higher difficulties and has a descent variation of enemies. The game is not too short and will take for regular players up to 10 hours to finish. The vehicles in the game gives an extra taste and are fun to use.

The Bad
The problem with many weapons are that they can fire so little ammo before forcing you to reload, which is really annoying when you are surrounded by enemies. Grunts as enemies feels bad, even if it's a game it feels sad to shoot these afraid creatures who really do not want to battle and the game could have some more enemies, the variation is not big because zombie monsters use the same weapons as covenants.

Halo has lazy level design at some parts, for example the library level, which is clearly the worst in the game just uses the same textures over and over and that gives me an feeling that they just had to fill in something to make the game longer.

The Bottom Line
Halo is a good game, but after all a bit overrated. Still I recommend everyone who is friend of old fps to play it, because it really has some interesting elements and nice design.

Windows · by Johan Smedjebacka (5) · 2015

Never before has a first generation LAUNCH title been SO good

The Good
The graphics are simply stunning, yes i KNOW its just a GeForce powered pc but who cares it works for me.The gameplay is simple and follows a very well defined and accepted method (Move, shoot, survive). Multiplayer rocks.

The Bad
The level design falls over in places, with it being SO repetitive that you could be going backwards for all you know (library level anyone?!?!) The graphics do stumble and slow down on occasion, but as i said this is first gen launch material here!! Just look at how different Ridge Racer and Gran Turismo are (on both PS1 and PS2)

The Bottom Line
I was very dubious about this title, when i first heard it was being put exclusive on the Xbox. However my fears were unfounded when i first played the game. It was fun, instant action and graphically stunning. The multiplayer section is just awesome, and perfect for those nights in with ya mates and a few cans of lager (although i would recommend a giant Widescreen Sony WEGA TV to play it on). I know the Xbox has a lot of haters but give it chance, the price drop will make it too tempting an offer to people, and with games like Halo out already on it, who can blame Microsoft for trying!

Xbox · by Jason Walker (1695) · 2002

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

Really good shooter, really really good.

The Good
The graphics are amazing, sounds are really well done especially the soldier's voices (they speak many languages and swear etc.). The storyline is great, it doesn't make you ask what if? Atmosphere is really cool makes you wanna fight more, weapons are really cool and well balanced. Multiplayer is extremely fun especially with the tanks and other vehicles. The game controls go really well with the Xbox control, better than they would with PS2 controller.The maps are nice looking and things are strategically placed and well done. Vehicles are really fun to drive, the car runs like a racing game car. The main character/s look really cool and are a good concept! And the list goes on... This is a really great game; for a while it was the only reason to choose Xbox over PS2.

The Bad
It's really great, nothing to complain about. It can get slightly boring if you don't have Xbox live because the levels are so large. But that's not the game makers fault. The flood was a pain in the but to fight too, though exciting nonetheless.

The Bottom Line
Really great shooting game. There are some levels I'll never forget. Sniping is really fun. Very cool for multiplayer as well.

Xbox · by Thiago Oliveira (85) · 2003

Not The Best FPS, But Hardly The Worst

The Good
Halo is one of those games that was in development for a long time. What began as a third-person action/adventure for the Macintosh, became a Windows game. And then became a first person shooter for the Xbox. Love it or loathe it, Halo made the Xbox the success it is today.

In Halo, the last inhabitants are embroiled in a losing war with aliens known as “The Covenant”. They are a pious group that see humanity as a threat. A super solider known as the “Master Chief”, is the only hope of the Earth. In Halo you are the Master Chief. You are given a rude awaking when the fanatical aliens board your ship. From here you must fight you way past them, and escape the vessel, to land on the strange and ancient ring world known as Halo.

Halo is seen as a reward for the Covenant. The truth is soon revealed. And you know you must keep the aliens from using Halo at all costs. Or humanity will be lost.

Halo plays much like any other FPS. You explore levels kill enemies, find ammo, better weapons, etc. Health is unique in that you have a recharging shield, that protects your health, it must be drained first for you to die. The recharge takes time however. In combat you strafe, shoot, jump, and use grenades to flush out aliens. The most unique aspect of Halo’s gameplay comes from the use of vehicles. An all terrain vehicle known as the “Warthog”, a flying “Banshee”, “Ghost”, and tank like “Scorpion”. Are all at your disposal. Many vehicles can house many, and human troops will join you in the fight. And in COOP mode two human player can use the same vehicle…sweet!

Speaking of multiplayer, like most FPS of today Halo packs in multiplayer fun as well. You can play on the internet, if you run your Xbox through your PC, this however is a little complicated, so most will likely just play via split screen, or better yet system link. Modes include standards like DeathMatch, CTF, and Domination. As well as less common COOP. In which two players can play the campaign together. This is great fun, more so than playing alone.

The Graphics are very good for early Xbox. Of course later games like Doom3, Half-Life 2, and Halo 2, put them to shame. The graphics are clean and crisp. Nice lighting effects here as well.

The Music is epic and grand when it needs be. And fast and rocking when it needs be. Halo’s score really puts it’s sequel down. The sound effect are top notch. And as one would expect from a newer game the voice overs are solid.

The Bad
Some levels don’t feel right. Such as the level in which you board a Covenant ship. The difficulty is unbalanced. Easy is too easy. And Hard is to hard.

The game ends with a driving stage, WTF? Oh and you know a sequel is coming. Even before Halo 2 was announced.

Halo also spawned a lot of crap ass games, like Darkwatch, Killzone, and Pariah. This is a very bad thing. Despite what others say.

The Bottom Line
Overall, Halo is an enjoyable game. And now is a Platinum Hit. You afford $20...right?

Xbox · by MasterMegid (723) · 2006

To date, my all-time favourite game.

The Good
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.

The Bad
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

Try not to pay any attention to detail, and it's a fairly decent game.

The Good
Halo probably has one of the most easily recognizable characters in the Master Chief. Show any gamer a picture of the Chief and ask who he is and they will say "that's Master Chief from the Halo games", whether they have played it or not. Another of halo's stand out characters is Cortana, the Pillar of autumns sparky, well humoured and very likeable AI. I think it forms a very good 'your brawn and my brain' partnership.

A particular delight for me was the Covenant weapons. They were pretty well designed and unique in that no two weapons were very alike, and with there own advantages. The needler fired needles that would explode if you got enough rounds into an enemy, the carbine with with handles a bit like a scope less sniper rifle and the plasma rifle were all stand out favorites for me.

The vehicles the covenant use were also particularly well done. For me, the two best were the ghost which is a fast hovering bike like number with a plasma machine gun on the nose and the wraith, a neat combination of a hover tank and a mortar.

The Bad
The repetitiveness. Halo:CE has flaws, and the single major flaw is its repetitiveness. And it is manifested in two ways. First off, and most significantly, is the repetitiveness of the level design, which is a bit like trying to tell the difference between Porches, 90% of the time you have to look very hard to be able to tell the difference between two indoor sections. It is so bad, that there are three different types if interiors that i can distinctly recall. Pillar of Autumn, covenant ship and Halo. Now, for me, that is not a good thing. Granted, the most of the game pretty much takes place on two of them, but you can't help go around each interior level thinking "errr, hav'nt i already been through here". I certainly did. The interiors are also note worthy because it's mostly corridor's. Only one or two rooms anywhere, and the rooms or corridor's never contain much, if anything. All they ever contain is wall displays or tables. No consoles, tools, not many chairs. Its all very bare. The second way the repetitiveness creeks in is the combat, in that it is mostly run and gun. More run and gun. And more run and gun. The only time your not running and gunning is when your not, is when your blowing up the Pillar of Autumn's engines. And that's IT. Combine it with the generic level design mentioned above, you become more acutely aware of both.

On a similar vein to the level design is that of the design when it come to the UNSC weapons and vehicles. Once again, they suffer from a lack of imagination. OK, the assault rifle has an electronic ammo counter on it, there is no particularly sci-fi-ish weapons in the UNSC armory, with is weird when you consider that the game takes place in 150 years time and your fighting with what is, pretty much, weaponry that woud'nt look out of place in current times. This is made stranger when you consider the effort Bungie put into the design of the Covenant weapons. It's the exact same with the the UNSC vehicles, its as if some one at Bungie said to there boss "boss, i've designed the Covenant stuff, but i can't be asked to do the UNSC stuff" and the boss replied "that's OK, don't bother, it's not like it matters, or anyone would notice" and at the last minute, cobbled together a couple of vehicles based on current vehicles. Just sheer laziness to me. And speaking of weapons, one of the little irritations that made it into most of the halo games is the severe lack of substantial amounts of ammo. It's alway's kill a few enemies, run out of ammo, switch to secondary weapon, kill a few more aliens, run out of ammo, run around looking for a new weapon whilst being shot at, find one, kill them, move on, rinse and repeat. Wait till your up against the hunter pair, you'll know then what it's like.

Halo does'nt get many points for story either. OK, were not exactly swamped in similar stories, but it is far from original or creative. I mean come on, religious aliens hell bent on wiping us out, and you single handily stop them. I could think of a few games in which 1) aliens want to wipe us out, 2) there using religion as an excuse to be crappy to humans and 3) you save the day all on your lonesome. Even outside of gaming, it's not very original. And to add insult to story telling injury, the characters don't, save for Cortana, shine to stand out. The Master Chief does'nt say enough to really stand out, Sergeant Johnson and Foehammer are just plain cliched and Captain Keyes is'nt around enough to make much of an impact. For me, Cortana is the ONLY stand out character.

I think i'll end this section off with a minor niggle. Objectives. Maybe it's just me, but going through the game, and the main trilogy for that matter, i got the feeling, that whilst your overall objective was pretty clear, some of the time is spent on objectives that either have no major point, get's switched to something else or scrapped all together. Could just be me.

The Bottom Line
If this came out now (2010), instead of in 2001, i would say not to expect a sequel. It does'nt have that much variety, some lazy design work and does'nt blow you away. But in spite of that, you can still have a bit of fun playing it. For me, Halo is a like a Arnold Schwarzenegger film. It's got a shallow plot, chances are Schwarzenegger's dialogue is being very mono syllable or dones'nt say much and is doing a cardboard character performance, but as long as you don't expect much from it, you can kind of enjoy it.

Xbox · by Starbuck the Third (22628) · 2010

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 (12419) · 2008

A Game for the change......

The Good
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!

The Bad
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

You MUST buy this game if you own an XBOX

The Good
Everything. No, just kidding. Well, sorta. I did like just about everything about this game. Graphically, this game kicks. It's one of the most beautiful games out there to date, period. Well, outside of Unreal 2003... and maybe the new Doom when it finally comes out. Outside of that, this game is everything and a bag of chips. As a first person shooter, it has everything that makes this game a classic and more. It has a fairly immersive story... action that will continually kick your ass (depending on the difficulty level you pick), and tons of weapons, vehicles, and troop interaction stuff that just make the game so worthwhile.
Take for example... the vehicles. Most shooting games don't even have vehicles. Halo has approximately 4 that you can fly or drive. And they all act as you would expect them to... everything from the aliens' Ghost to the Tank to the Jeep thing (I forgot the name of the vehicle :P)... it all feels ultra-realistic.
Another thing I really like about the game is that the difficulty actually matters, unlike some other games where there is little difference between normal and hard. In this game, when you pick Legendary (the hardest setting), the AI is spectacularly smart... and difficult to kill. And on easy... it's pathetically easy to kill the aliens. I like that. I also like the multi-player deathmatch options. Definitely a lot there to keep things interesting for quite a while. Also a lot of options for a lot of different arenas. I also liked the option of having cooperative hot-seat multi-player. This made legendary that much less-hard. The music in the game is definitely scored well. It gets more intense during particularly hectic moments of the game when you're supposed to be doing something quickly... or when you've been ambushed... or when you're just generally surrounded by a lot of bad guys. The sound effects were realistic too... everything from the assault rifle to the Covenant weapons sound authentic enough. And, once again... blood splatters galore :) I think it should be a rule, however, if you're going to make a FPS... you have to include blood splatters. It's just not a FPS without them.... Anyway... the environments are also particularly wonderful. The terrain is realistically multi-tiered... filled with plenty of architecture and wild-life and all-around "earthly" objects... it makes you feel like you're actually on another world.

The Bad
Well... I only had a few minor gripes about the game. I felt that there could have been more deathmatch options. Sure, capture the flag, and king of the hill was fun... but they could have had some original ones... and the inclusion of bots (AI enemies) in some deathmatches would have just made my day complete. But, like I said... that's a minor gripe. I would have also liked some more weapons. For example... one of the huge aliens in the game has a plasma launcher that I would have loved to have gotten my hands on. You get a smaller version of it with the plasma gun... but, it... really... didn't satisfy me. Other than that, I can't think of anything I didn't like about this game.

The Bottom Line
The best FPS for any console. End of story. No matter how much you want to try to kid yourself, this is the king of all first person shooters for any console. It reigns supreme. All other console shooters just say "Please, sir... don't hit me over the head with the butt of your rifle again. It hurts." when in its presence.

Xbox · by Daemion Blackfire (14) · 2002

One of the best Co-op experiences I've ever had!

The Good
The game is beautiful .... the texturing is top notch, the animations fluid, and the vehicle physics are amazingly cool. that said ... it was when I sat down with a friend to play 2 player Co-Op ....joy of joy!! Being a PC FPS gamer ... I was wary of the control scheme, but although not 'better' then the standard WASD setup, I had absolutely no problems with the controller.

Immersion factor is outstanding ... as the game lets you experience the events without the overemphasis on cut-scenes that many games take today.

The Bad
Some levels schemes seem a tad repetitive looks wise. I think some people confuse the fact that you actually revisit locations with using the same textures again, but .... never mind.

Some slow down occasionally ... but usually for good reason, and it never caused a real problem in the game.

The Bottom Line
The game is not very long, but it's a FPS .... so 10-15 hours is fine. Play on a harder difficulty level and you immediately feel the difference. Legendary is out right impossible, and I give many kudos to gamers that can make it through on that level. On the easier levels ... power gamers can easily do a sunset to sunrise marathon...

That said ... I've played through this game multiple times now and have even tinkered with the multiply.

Now, Halo's multiplayer aspect can't come close to PC gaming, but it is fun. Although, the best fun I've had in MP is playing with Rockets and Grenades and their ability to make various vehicles defy the laws of gravity.

When the Dreamcast launched, Soul Calibur was good enough to warrant the purchase of the console ... even if I never bought another game. I hold Halo in the same regard.

Highly recommended!

Xbox · by Pvax (2) · 2002

A fantastic 'smart' first person shooter-- miles ahead of everything before it.

The Good
The Basics: Xbox release title Halo, by Bungie, ported to the PC by Gearbox. Science fiction FPS which follows the Master Chief (player character) on the strange artificial world of Halo as he tries to stop the Covenant, a horde of aliens intent on destroying humanity.


Halo looked fantastic when it came out for the Xbox, still looked good when it came out for the PC almost two years later, and looks just as nice today. Alongside well crafted models and top-notch texturing, fancy effects such as projected textures for flashlights and specular mapping on metal surfaces make the game quite visually attractive. Character animation is fluid and believable.

The draw distance is fantastic. You can stand at one side of a large plain and see all the way to the other end without any fogging. This goes especially well with the maps, which generally have a good deal of interior and exterior design and are very, very large as FPS maps go.

There are also a lot of nice little touches here. There’s a great blurring effect with sniper zoom, real shadows cast by objects; Banshees leave behind fancy trails in the air, and when you get the invisibility power-up in multiplayer the player model doesn’t just go transparent; it becomes translucent, slightly warping what you can see through it, a really fantastic effect.

High display resolutions are supported. The only real way this field suffered in the port to the PC is that it runs just a bit slower than it really should, especially at low detail levels. Only people with fairly powerful computers will be able to get the most out of the game.

Score: 4.5/5


Halo’s sound effects are top notch. Every weapon has distinctive sounds that fit it perfectly; every enemy also has unique sounds, often voice clips also. Not only that, but their AI makes use of these speech clips perfectly; grunts will shout out to take cover when you throw a grenade their way, panic if they’re hit with a sticky grenade, etc. Your human allies have great voice acting that is also utilized flawlessly by the game. All the main characters are well acted throughout.

Halo also features a phenomenal musical score. It’s one of the best I’ve ever heard in a game. It’s the kind of score so good that you can just launch the game and sit back and listen to the main menu for five minutes. It never seems to intrude upon gameplay but always improves it.

Score: 5/5


Console ports’ weak point is almost always the interface. It’s rare when a game’s control scheme is successfully ported from a console controller to a mouse, keyboard and/or joystick system, despite the flexibility of the latter. Halo, however, does not fail in this aspect. Any FPS regular will be right at home here; the standard mouselook, WSAD movement control system works flawlessly and the game is very responsive to input. They didn’t fix what wasn’t broken with controlling vehicles, and the wonderfully intuitive navigation system works perfectly on the PC.

The game has some problems stability-wise. After first getting a report that the game was incompatible with my drivers, which were brand new, I had to frustratingly downgrade them; after that it ran fine, but crashes are not unheard of here. Unfortunately, they’re rarely pretty crashes either. While I’ve gotten a couple ‘clean’ crash to desktops, more often than not after a few hours of play the game would lock up cold on me. I have not, however, experienced any trouble with memory leaks.

The game’s utilization of technology is sound as far as graphical appeal goes, and it doesn’t actually require a great PC to run, but if you don’t have one it’ll look pretty bad and run quite slowly. It’s frustrating how steep the system requirements are for even the low-detail game, in fact; there’s no way the engine was optimized as much as it could have been.

I’ve also experienced problems with collision. Now and then you actually fall out of the map; vehicles can occasionally be driven through other objects. It’s good, but it’s far from perfect.

Score: 3.5/5

Single Player Gameplay/Balance

The single player campaign is a treat to play through and no doubt about that. The story is a bit weak at parts, but it’s generally quite engaging and the flawless voice acting and musical score help keep you completely immersed. From the moment you’re woken up on board the Pillar of Autumn, you’re IN the game.

There are plenty of weapons in the game, but you can only carry two at once, which makes for plenty of interesting tactical choices. Weapon balance is quite sound, but not perfect. The needler and assault rifle weapons are rather underpowered. Apart from that, I never noticed any problems. Placement of ammo and health packs was sensible.

Enemies are a real challenge to fight. They’re extremely intelligent, knocking Half-Life’s marines from the top spot as far as enemy AI goes. They’ll hurl grenades around corners, duck, dodge and jump out of your fire, sneak up on you from behind, and overall simulate real enemies trained for combat. The marines on your side are just as good; not only that, but thanks to well recorded and fantastically implemented voice acting, they’ll shout warnings when a grenade falls nearby, tell you to get out of their line of fire, et cetera. They’ll also take the gunner’s seat in vehicles, which is a big help

Vehicles are great, as mentioned before. There are plenty of human and covenant vehicles to play in and they’re all well balanced, well modeled, and easy to control.

The biggest complaint I have is with the level design, in that interiors are quite repetitive. Exterior worlds do not have this problem but the claustrophobic, dark metal tunnels do. After you’ve been through what seems like the same base for about the eighth time, it gets very tiring.

Score: 4.5/5

Multiplayer Gameplay/Balance

Multiplayer is fantastic from the beginning. The server search is powered by Gamespy, and whatever you think of their business, their game services are fast and reliable. There are several game modes, the usual suspects with FPS games, the most enjoyable being in my opinion capture the flag. There are a good deal of fun multiplayer maps to play on which have a couple secrets each but mostly just take a bit of getting used to and then eons of experience to master.

Vehicles are incredibly fun in multiplayer, especially running people over in the warthogs. You’ll occasionally get people complaining about this or that vehicle being ‘lame’ or ‘for noobs’ but in point of fact the balance is impeccable.

The PC version of the game features two new multiplayer weapons, the fuel rod gun and the flamethrower. The former is nice and useful; the latter is mostly just nice to play around with and very rarely get a kill.

Teamwork becomes crucial if you're playing against experienced players, which only makes the game funner. There is nothing quite like getting a successful flag capture with a handful of dedicated allies.

The many layers of tactics, well designed and balanced weapons, and fantastic vehicles make Halo a truly amazing game to play online. It has flaws, however. Most notably it lags a good deal more than games such as Unreal Tournament, Quake 3, etc. There’s also an annoying cap on the length of messages you send, which did not exist in the aforementioned games and I have a hard time believing is necessary. The game also messes up now and then on who killed who; if someone is shot out of their vehicle, jumps out and hits the ground alive but dies from the impact, for example, the game often reports that kill as the shooters’.

Score: 4.5/5

The Bad
There are no criteria for the game that fall below three out of five, but I will recap the problems it has:

-System requirements are too high for too low frame rates

-Some minor balance issues in single and multiplayer

-Rather unstable

-Lag issues in multiplayer

-Collision problems

-Repetitive interior levels

The Bottom Line
Halo is a masterpiece, and one that revolutionized first-person shooters. Many games have followed in its footsteps, notably Unreal Tournament 2004 with its vehicular multiplayer action, but Halo retains a unique glory of its own. It is a treasure; great to play through in single player and with potentialy endless hours of multiplayer enjoyment. This is easily one of the best first-person shooters ever made, and if you have a computer that can handle it, it is a must-buy.

Final Value: 4.5/5

Windows · by ShadowShrike (277) · 2003

WOW! What a wonderful ride!

The Good
I played halo on both platforms at the same time. I played it on the PC in Legendary settings and on Normal on the Xbox. I come from the PC and so it is not so easy for me to use a gamepad. There is no doubt that a mouse/keyboard is a better combination, but a gamepad works too if you allow the game to be more forgiving by using the Normal settings.

Plot: Very interesting, finally something that brings back memories from Wing Commander fight with the Kilrathi. It was interesting enough for me to consider buying Halo fiction. I loved the fact you got to meet TWO races, both the Covenant and the Flood.

AI: Amazing, especially in Legendary. You really have to think before you take your moves. There is no way you are going to survive by running and shooting everything,

Sound: If you got the right speakers, it is superb! Amazing work on the 5.1 Dolby digital.

Graphics: Considering it is a port, they are awesome. True, they are not as good (or even close) to Far Cry's, but they are good enough.

Action: This is what really rocks. There is always something going on. You move from challenge to challenge. It is hard to put it in words, but the game keeps you so much involved, which is a rare thing for an FPS. You can drive an APC, a tank, fly two types of crafts, use both human and alien weapons. WOW!!! So many tactical decisions that you have to make all the time. I don't think there was an FPS till Halo that offered that much.

The Bad
Performance: Obviously the game takes a ton of resources and it should not. It was not that much of a problem for me (CPU 3Ghz, Radeon 9700 PRO, etc.), but I did have to turn the resolution down to 1280x1024, something that I did not have to do with any other game from Halo's release date.

Level Design: This has been said by many people, certain levels are repetitive.

The Bottom Line
You can probably find Halo for $10 or less, I suggest you take the ride now!

Windows · by The Gay Elf (12) · 2006

Life in First-Person

The Good
- Ability to change difficulty mid-game. I couldn't get past a certain point in the final level, and I changed the difficulty setting right there.

  • The game runs on a whole variety of graphic cards and drivers. I had a computer that was pure crap, and it could run Halo. I used to believe in love, but these days, I tend to believe in Microsoft's ability to make games that run smoothly on Windows instead.

  • Great Gamepad support. My Gamepad from the days of "Monster Truck Madness 2" works perfectly here. Any Gamepad with two triggers, two shoulder buttons, and dual-analog layout should work.

  • Every weapon is memorable. As you play, you'll become familiar with each weapon's strengths and weaknesses. Since you are only allowed to carry two guns with you, you are constantly choosing the best weapons to pick up, based on the task at hand.

  • Flying a Banshee.

  • Driving a Jeep.

  • Driving a Jeep across the river.

  • Flipping a Jeep.

  • You can flip a Banshee too.

  • Watching Master Chief get inside a vehicle, switching to 3rd-person view.

  • Watching Master Chief get out of a vehicle, switching back to 1st-person view.

  • Not letting your teammates down. The sniper rifle can zoom in 10x so it's kinda hard to miss. So you won't let your teammates down.

  • Sticking a plasma grenade to a powerful enemy.

  • Shooting a rocket launcher at a vehicle far away, and seeing it explode.

  • The pistol. Yeah the pistol. My roommate once said that "the pistol is actually a sniper rifle". You can zoom in like crazy and shoot stuff up with that pistol. That's a fine pistol. That's a pistol to write home about.

  • Watching, and hearing, your shield recharge.

  • Watching an enemy's shield being attacked (by you).

  • Picking up a med kit when your health is red (low). The screen will kind of light up a little, it's like being touched by an angel.

  • Turning on a flashlight in a dark corridor. The flashlight is so sweet, I don't wanna leave the dark areas.

  • Watching Master Chief reload his guns. I never get tired of that.

  • Listening to the subtle sound effect when you pick up a plasma grenade.

  • Walking around and noticing something on the ground that kinda looks like a plasma grenade, walking there, and confirming that it is indeed a plasma grenade.

  • Concise and powerful text notifications. These are shown in the top left corner (same position as another Microsoft classic, Age of Empires 2). You pick up grenades, text shows up. You pick up ammo, text shows up. You walk near a weapon, text shows up. The most amazing one is that whenever you reach a checkpoint, it says "Checkpoint... Done." It's an amazing feeling to see this after a long and challenging fight.

  • The environment is comprised of mountains, grass fields, trees, rivers, smooth-edged buildings, and the beautiful night sky. I was never an outdoor person. Wild is the wind, who cares. Halo showed me the beauty of the wilderness. Ever since playing Halo, I became OBSESSED with the great outdoors. I would spend everyday walking through forests and plains (didn't have to work at the time), looking for places that resemble the Halo levels. And I found a LOT of these places. I found places that looked almost exactly like the environment in Halo. Halo showed me that, when you're walking, something special happens. You see different things around you. As I was moving ahead, I saw brief glimpses of beauty. I saw this in the game. I saw this in real life.

To say that Halo turned me into an athletic person is an understatement. Halo changed the way I look at the world. Halo taught me how to walk. Before Halo, my life was sort of in a top-down view, I don't know. After Halo, my life is a life in first-person. The way it should be.

The Bad
Everything bad about this game has been wiped out with a single plasma grenade. You carry four grenades, so, yeah. YEAH.

People sometimes say "it's so beautiful, it hurts". I think I know what this means now. Now that I do have to work, all day long, often into the night, I will probably never relive the outdoor life that Halo inspired me to live. But hey, it's the memory that matters, right?

The Bottom Line
Using a Gamepad is much more fun than using a mouse. It's designed for the console controller, and the PC port didn't change that design.

Ignore the "easy" difficulty, the "hard" difficulty and the "legendary" difficulty. Those aren't fun. The Normal difficulty is where it's at.

It gets kind of scary too, so you may not wanna play it if you live alone. Enemies sneak up behind you and suddenly appear inside of buildings.

Windows · by Pagen HD (146) · 2013

O.k, here is my real opinion on this classic game.

The Good
The fact is, when I wrote my last review for Halo: Combat Evolved I flat out lied. UnicornLynx had recently written his own take on the game, out rightly condemning it as gimmicky, convoluted and full of terribly in cohesive elements. Eager to impress him I wrote my own take on the game, despite the fact that I have loved the Halo series for years. Recently, I've felt the emphasis on multiplayer has come at the expense of the campaign but the early years are something to be appreciated.

So, I wrote the review, condemning one of my favourite games. Lying in bed this morning I remembered something I usually tell people about games; "Don't take reviews as gospel, and don't base your opinion on other peoples. There may be enough elements in a game that appeal to you more than someone else. This means while others might think it's terrible, there is something about it that endears that game to you." There, I had totally back flipped on the philosophy I came up with in order to appease someone that has distinctly different tastes from me. However by that same measure just because Halo isn't some obscure adventure game from a Russian studio no one has ever heard of before doesn't mean it is terrible.

So, I apologise for intentionally deceiving people. Here is my real opinion on Halo: Combat Evolved.

I first played Halo in 2002. I was 13 and at the time I was still enjoying the back catalogue of bargain Nintendo 64 games that the market was awash with following the release of the GameCube. I was invited to a friends house (how the hell do I remember all of this?) and the first thing he did was fire up his new Xbox so we could play Halo. My jaw dropped. This was the most beautiful game I had ever seen in action. It was the first game I had ever gotten a real "next generation" feel from. I felt like this was meaningful progression.

So, Halo takes place immediately after the Pillar of Autumn comes out of hyperspace following the destruction of Planet Reach. The ship is assaulted by the mysterious Covenant of alien races that has some sort of issue with humanity being in their neck of the woods and you, as the cybernetically enhanced "Master Chief" manage to escape with the ship's AI loaded into your helmet.
You crash land on the mysterious Halo ring world that is simply floating mysteriously in space and embark on a mission of resistance and then escape when the tables turn later in the game.

Halo is a game that, instead of feeling like multiple parts thrown together in an in cohesive mass of good ideas, feels like an actual refined package. The HUD elements, movement and combat have all be refined beyond reproach. The recharging shield concept was pretty revelatory (pretty much every FPS uses a variation on it now) and the combination of pulse pounding combat and the ability to melee attack made for some awesome battles. Then there is the seamless integration of vehicular combat with the on foot shenanigans and expansive battle fields which render with very minimal impact on the frame rate of the game.

The story was complicated (for the time) and featured a cinematic quality soundtrack with very competent actors providing a voice for each character in the game. The way the exposition unfolds also has this grandiose, cinematic feel to it. I don't mean it's complicated like "Half Life" (vague and confusing) I mean the developers put a lot of effort into making Halo seem like a movie.

There are subtle elements like playing the game that are easy to miss. To begin with, when you look out into the distance on the Halo ring you can actually see it arcing up into the atmosphere. Below you is a vast sea that seams to stretch forever. The forerunner structures are huge and complicated and while this becomes a detriment later in the game the architecture is both beautiful and monolithic. Such care went into the conception of Halo, that is why it deserves such praise.

The Bad
To begin with, there are moments that just seem to go on forever. Covenant drop ships just seem to keep coming and you begin to silently ask the game to let you continue playing. This is irritating.

The huge waves of enemies are great, however occasionally you will get cheap shotted by some Grunt standing behind the Elite's with a plasma grenade or a bunch of needler shots. You will then consequently go flying into the air and back to the last checkpoint.

There are locations that tend to get repeated in the game and unfortunately these particular locations are some of the most boring locations imaginable. Long purple corridors that open into longer purple corridors with a bunch of locked doors or expansive Forerunner corridors that lead to additional Forerunner corridors. There are only two points in the game where this happens, but they are very tedious and depending on how many times you die can take up to half an hour to complete. Backtracking is a bit of a problem in Halo, just be warned.

The Bottom Line
So, I love Halo. I love it because of nostalgia and I love it because I appreciate the effort Bungie put into trying to make a really different style of FPS. The elements like seamless integration of on foot and vehicular combat, the recharging shield, expansive environments, aggressive AI of multiple enemy types, vastly different weapons and beautiful soundtrack all give Halo credibility as a true classic.

There are problems like any game; the frame rate dips now and then, the enemy AI will occasionally cheap shot you, environments drag sometimes and the flood are irritating (while still being necessary for the plot) however these problems are fairly minor compared to how enjoyable the rest of the game is.

This is a must have for Xbox owners.

Xbox · by AkibaTechno (238) · 2010

Bad game selling only because of the name.

The Good
The sound was okay.

The Bad
The graphic is really poor. Uphoted DX8 isn't enough. The porting from Xbox didn't go well.. The game seems to be made for gamepad, not keyboard and mouse.

The Bottom Line
Why not use state-of-the-art technology to make a good looking game.. It doesn't even use DX9!

If you want to play the game, play it on Xbox instead...

Windows · by Evilite (1) · 2003

This game is good, but not as good as people make it out to be.

The Good
This game is good. There is no denying it, but i found that while single player is certanly fun, playing on system link against your friends is much more fun. There are a ton of alien weapons, and some interesting and powerful vehicles. It definetely succeeds as a first-person shooter.

The Bad
There isn't much bad about this game other than the music, which got on my nerves, but that isn't much to worry about.

The Bottom Line
This is a good game to buy.

Xbox · by Jester236 (34) · 2004

No Co-op Storymode?

The Good
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.

The Bad
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.
Graphics average.
I give this game an 8 out of a 10 (story is pretty good).

Windows · by Bigiboi (1) · 2003

This game is the SHIT!! The multi-player is amazing!!

The Good
It was fun all around and there was never nothing to do! The graphics are good but there are a few problems. The setup is a lot better with the mouse and keyboard. Just the fact that it was on PC made it great. There are also no words to describe the great feeling that rushes through you when you run someone over in a Banshee online. There are also a lot more multi-player levels and they are so fun. Such as "death island" and "Timberland". They are very fun. But a fair warning, you really shouldn't get the game if you don't have Cable internet or DSL internet, because it will get very boring playing against AI the whole time. Well that about wraps it all up. This game is fun on internet, and on single player so GO BUY HALO!!!!!

The Bad
The graphics had high standards. I only have a Radeon 9000, so the graphics are not great. And when ever I try to change the resoulution my computer gets all messed up and restarts. If anyone has any advice talk to me. But, I am probably going to get a new video card soon anyway, so yup thats about all. I also recommend not getting the game if you have a radeon 9000 because it has serious problems.

The Bottom Line
Almost the exact same thing as on xbox except almost all the videos and cut scenes are different and all the sounds are a lot better! It is a fun Sci-Fi 1st person shooter with a great plot (Such a great plot that there are a few books out on it!). There are loads of easter eggs and fun things to do... WARTHOG JUMP! The single and multiplayers are soo much fun. But it doesn't cost pocket change buddy, its 50 big ones so, you better want it bad.

Windows · by smokices (2) · 2003

A finer gaming experience has never been crafted

The Good
Halo is for FPS fans, first and foremost. If gunning down aliens brings you no joy in life, please, begone. This is not the review for you. I know -- repetitive game design. I know, it wasn't that fun. Well, it's still a marvellous game insomuch as it creates and sustains atmosphere and tension. I seriously wanted to know how the story unfolded, something I can say about very few games. Diablo II is perhaps the only other game that springs to mind.

I could go on about the innovative weapon system -- two at a time -- but you know about that. Then there's the regenerative shielding! So much better than the standard DOOM scheme. But we all know all about these things.

One feature that often goes without notice but which is central to the effectiveness of Halo, is sophisticated enemy AI. In short, enemies have emotions. If they see you cut a swath through their comrades they will turn and flee, screaming their heads off in the process. Should we really take this for granted? Well, to disrespect Halo is certainly to do so. But I think it's one of the greatest things ever put into video games: enemies that know when they are being crushed and who respond accordingly.

Another beautiful thing about Halo is the mythic grandeur of the Forerunner installation. Exploring vast reaches of this ringworld, both inside and outdoors, imbues the game with a largeness of scale and level of intrigue unheard of in comparable games. If you buy into the mythos surrounding Halo, you really feel like you're on a grand structure orbiting light years from Earth, and that you ought to redouble your efforts to smack down the Covenant and Flood malefactors in your way.

The Bad
Halo is perfect as far as I'm concerned. If I had played it on the Xbox rather than the PC I'm sure I would have thought it a little more middling. But with your finely-tuned mouse you can pop off a few heads and feel great doing it.

If there's one thing I would have been really happy with, it would have been a cooler population of people playing online, after I'd gotten tired of the single player campaign. Unfortunately, back in 2003 (and perhaps still today), 95% of players are just idiots intent on killing killing killing, never getting into a fun game. Oh well, what can ya do.

The Bottom Line
Majestic, atmospheric, and grand. Halo kicks the hell out of most other FPSes, and certainly its peers from the 2002-2005 period.

Windows · by Chris Wright (85) · 2010

Worst game ever played.

The Good
Intro cinematics were cool.

The Bad
Demands too much PC resources.However, it performs really bad. Graphics are clumsy and response to controls has a few mSeconds delay. Realism is totally missing here. It looks like a pretty old game. Well, it is coming from XBox after all. It does so little with so much PC resources! Keep in mind I was using a top of the line PC. 2.0 GHzt CPU, More than enough HD, 1 GB DDR RAM, 128 MB GForce 4 NVidia, etc.

The Bottom Line
If you have played Soldier of Fortune and QuakeIII Arena, don't even try this. You will be way disappointed. It is a real shock for me to find out a Microsoft product so bad, so primitive for this times, so childish. They have a “LONG” way to go before they get to, at least, be able to compare to QuakeIII Arena or Soldier of FortuneII.

Windows · by Jorge Elosegui (1) · 2003

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Scaryfun, Patrick Bregger, nullnullnull, Yearman, Flu, Wizo, Big John WV, lights out party, Alaka, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), Jeanne, Cavalary, mikewwm8, shphhd, Alsy, Marko Poutiainen, Cantillon, Caliner, Jacob Gens, Parf, Venator, vedder, Xoleras, Jess T, katarn_88, piltdown_man, Emmanuel de Chezelles, Alaedrain, chirinea, Thomas Helsing.