Malik (4/20/04)

Halo: Combat Evolved (XBox)

From Bungie

For those unfamiliar with me; I was (and still am) a hater of Microsoft.  However, due to Star Wars: KotOR, I changed my ways.   Due to that, when this was written, I was still in a state of obsession with all things KOTOR.   Enjoy.

This review originally was presented on lazy.GEEKS (8/11/03)


Well, this is an oldie, but I only recently gave in to "The Power of X", so this one is a new game to me, who have spent much of our non-KOTOR gaming time trapped within Halo. Most of you know this game, but for those who never actually played it, I'll keep this short and to the point, since you already should know the basics...if you don't, you suck. 


An FPS with a story? Usually it turns out to be something simple along the lines of evil demons or aliens trying to kill you and that's it...Halo seems to start that way, but that's only the basic building point of the innovative and exciting story. The story contains enough plausible plot twists and surprises that will keep even the most easily disappointed game player (like myself...what can I say, I get bitchy easily) on the edge of their seats. It starts with you and your ship full of allies (humans...the space marines or something like that) trying to destroy the Covenant. The Covenant are a race (or multiple races) of aliens who are basically the standard requirement for a FPS. You hate them, they hate you. However, before long, I refuse to spoil this great story for the uninitiated, your friends start to become enemies, and your enemies are such small threats that you almost root for them. Since everyone is after everyone, and you'll be so accustomed to the strategies of the Covenant (making them the easiest to kill) you'll hope they win the fights versus your other foes. This story seem to start off similar to a standard Doom-type game, but soon takes on elements of 2001 and Resident Evil (not in that order). Before long, you will start realizing one important fact; you have no friends (unless you play co-op) and things are getting pretty damned scary. In a word, the story is "amazing". 


Can a console make graphics this nice?!? This is impossible. It looks too good to be a console game. But it is! Oh yeah! The graphics are flawless and the finer details (like if you shoot the wall, the blast mark or bullet holes remain) are perfect. I cannot say how impressed I am with Halo. And to think this was a launch a friend once told me, if this is a launch title, imagine the sequel. I think I'll cry for joy when the sequel arrives next spring. Even on a 4 player split-screen game, the graphics still look great in each and every split-screen. 


The voice overs are well done. The voice acting is not 100% perfect, but comes pretty darned close (the only game I think has better voice acting is KOTOR!). The other sounds are amazing. You will freak out when you hear some alien voices off in the distance, and you will just about crap your pants when you hear the soft sound of feet approaching. 

Best of all is the music. The unique blend of Gregorian-style chants with some classical music themes will leave you in tranquility when things are slow going, but the speed up in music when a battle starts will quickly get your adrenaline pumping. Flawless is the only other thing I can say to describe the music. 

Game Play 

FPS on console means poor aiming, right? Wrong! The controls are simply enough that when I played with some people who have no real concept of analogue controls (people who haven't played on consoles for a couple generations of consoles), they picked it up in only 30 or so minutes. The aiming is well controlled (no Medal of Honor jerky aiming here) and you can control your movement, aiming, and still fire your gun and throw grenades at the same time with no slow down to your character. Plus you still have a reload/action button, a melee attack button, a flashlight on button, and a couple of other buttons that require almost no effort to use. The Xbox controller was made for Halo. 

Also, while you're in a vehicle, the controls are still easy and intuitive (makes me think of Battlefield on the PC) and will keep you moving without having to think about, "What button do I want to push?". Best of all, you will have plenty of vehicles to use. Everything from jeeps, to flying craft. 

The only downside with this game is the limitation in the weapons. When it gets down to it, you will only have 8 or so weapons (not counting vehicle mounted ones). Most of these weapons are also pretty crappy for all but maybe one circumstance. The needler is crap, the plasma riffle tends to lack the coolness of the assault riffle, and the sniper riffle is usually impossible to use in single player as you are never given the chance to get a good vantage point. However, the rocket launcher is pretty sweet (especially in multiplayer), the assault riffle is impressive in it's stopping power, the plasma pistol is pretty cool, and the shotgun is insane (if you play co-op, be cautious of the other guy when using the shotgun...too many times have I found a friend dead on the end of my shotgun). 

The absolute best part of Halo is the many modes of multiplayer. You can go through everything from 2-player co-op (if you can go single player or co-op, go is the ideal way to play Halo) to something like 25 different multi-player games that can include up to 16 people on 4 Xboxes on a LAN. Split screen is actually really good, even with 4 players per screen. 

Long story short; the play modes, the controls, and the variety of actions and weapons won't leave you wanting more. 


Well, to be blunt; this is the best FPS on console and on PC that I've had the pleasure of selling out and playing. The story is actually very intriguing in single player/co-op mode, the graphics are brilliant, the audio is amazing, the variety of game play is great, and the controls are down-right perfect. This game truly lives up to the legend it has gained as the killer of all other FPS games. So, I have no choice but to give Halo, the bane of all Xbox haters, a 9.9/10 (it would get a 10 if only there were more weapons and more vehicles in multiplayer...which only gets the Warthog; the jeep like vehicle, but that's what Halo2 is for). If you haven't, play Halo, and if you have, you know how good it is.