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Humanity is the midst of a long war against an alien alliance called the Covenant who have been wiping out colony after colony. You 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 make 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 back-up. 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 than is picked up, it is a force field which quickly recharges itself after several seconds without taking damage, which emphasizes finding cover.

One of 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.


Halo: Combat Evolved Xbox It's getting dark
Halo: Combat Evolved Xbox No chance against the powerful weapon
Halo: Combat Evolved Xbox Icy world
Halo: Combat Evolved Xbox Nice scenery

Promo Images

Halo: Combat Evolved Screenshot Blowing up Jackals with a fragmentation grenade
Halo: Combat Evolved Screenshot
Halo: Combat Evolved Screenshot
Halo: Combat Evolved Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "最後一戰" -- Traditional Chinese spelling
  • "光晕:战斗进化" -- Simplified Chinese spelling
  • "Monkey Nuts" -- Working title
  • "Halo: Kampf um die Zukunft" -- German title
  • "Halo: El Combate ha Evolucionado" -- Spanish title
  • "Guangyun: Zui Hou Yizhan" -- Simplified Chinese title
  • "Blam!" -- Working title
  • "ヘイロー" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Solid gameplay engine, MILES AND MILES OF CLONED CORRIDORS Vance (101) unrated
A good (NOT great) game that is overhyped to the extreme *Legion* (144) 2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars
Same old levels, same old guns, same old enemies, then..back again. Gareth Day (9) 3.29 Stars3.29 Stars3.29 Stars3.29 Stars3.29 Stars
Try not to pay any attention to detail, and it's a fairly decent game. havoc of smeg (22212) 2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars
An important step in the evolution of console gaming... Kartanym (12718) 3.43 Stars3.43 Stars3.43 Stars3.43 Stars3.43 Stars
Not The Best FPS, But Hardly The Worst MasterMegid (902) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
To date, my all-time favourite game. Jeff Sinasac (407) 4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars
You MUST buy this game if you own an XBOX Daemion Blackfire (16) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
O.k, here is my real opinion on this classic game. AkibaTechno (254) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
Really good shooter, really really good. Thiago Oliveira (98) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

Critic Reviews Apr 23, 2002 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
PGNx Media May 23, 2002 10 out of 10 100
Gamestyle May 01, 2006 10 out of 10 100 Sep 15, 2002 99 out of 100 99
Digital Press - Classic Video Games Dec 10, 2003 9.5 out of 10 95 May 25, 2002 91 out of 100 91
X-Power May 10, 2002 9 out of 10 90 Dec 02, 2004 8.8 out of 10 88 Mar 08, 2002 17 out of 20 85
GamesFirst! Nov 18, 2001 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80


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1001 Video Games

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


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


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

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


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


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


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

Halo: Custom Edition

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


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


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


Halo was originally rated T for Teens.

References: Marathon

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


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


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


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

Voice acting

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

Windows and Macintosh versions

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


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

Related Web Sites

  • Halo: Combat Evolved (official website)
  • Beyond Fragging (An Apple Games article about the Mac version of Halo, with commentary being provided by Project Manager Marc Tardif and MacSoft President Peter Tante (November, 2003).)
  • Halo PC (Official Site - Bungie)
  • Halopedia (A wiki covering all Halo games)
  • Microsoft: Halo Website (Official website for Halo with overview of title. Includes link to Javascript pop-up window with screenshots, movies and more details on the title (only available through above link, no separate URL for pop-up).)
  • The Halo: Combat Evolved wikipedia page (Wikipedia's page on Halo: Combat Evolved.)
JPaterson (9534) added Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox) on Nov 17, 2001
Other platforms contributed by Kartanym (12718), kawaii (19) and Kabushi (257355)