Game Review: Halo

Geek Specs:
Title: Halo
Platform: X-box
Genre: Action
Developer: Bungie Studios
Publisher: Microsoft
Release: November 15, 2001

Introduction: With the dawn of a new gaming system giant, no one really know how successful the X-box will be. Only time will tell. But in the meantime, why not play the console for yourself by slamming in its highly anticipated release title, Halo.

Review: Halo is one of the most amazing first person shooter' to date. With the graphics provided by the Geforce 3 and the processing power of a Pentium III, Halo dishes out captivating screens sure to ensnare the X-box unbelievers. It blows other 1st person shooters away. But not only is it a fast and beautiful game, it also has a solid, classic Sci-fi storyline to draw from.

You begin the game aboard one of Earth's last remaining star ships, The Pillar of autumn. It is currently fleeing from pursuing alien forces known as the Covenant. They are attempting to lure the aliens away from Earth. You will receive briefing on the ship before tackling the ten missions laid before you. You will quickly learn about your armor and weaponry, which is very realistic, compared to similar titles.

One thing some people may not like is that you are only allowed to carry two weapons at a time. Fortunately, there is an array of weapons to choose from. The most effective and popular one being the assault rifle. It can carry sixty rounds and is fully automatic with a flashlight resting on the barrel. There is also a pistol, which is effective on minor enemies, but useless against more powerful swarms of elite enemies. Later on, you can acquire a sniper rifle, which is very handy from a distant position but useless close up. I think the best weapon in the game is the shotgun. Nothing could be more satisfying than charging directly up to a Covenant Grunt and blowing him away in a bloody frenzy. There are also alien weapons that you can combat with. Among them is the plasma pistol and rifle. These are fairly useless unless you have a lot of ammo. All Grunts carry them so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one. The more elite enemies, however, carry needlers, which blast your crew with explosive rounds. Sounds cool but is not very damaging. Last but not least in your inventory is the rocket launcher. It is a wonderfully powerful weapon, but definitely not made for close up combat. You will end up killing yourself and anything in near vacinity.

One of Halo's best features is the advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI). Enemies duck and cover in real-time, flank, and when all else fails charge. You also have a marine squad with you. They are separate entities, and really feel like other players in your team. You can also assign a real person to one of them in Co-op Mode and really kick some alien ass! I say "one" because Halo has many interesting features.

Another great addition to the already killer game is the Multiplayer Mode. Just hook-up four X-box' together by Ethernet cables and a hub, and you have one massive multiplayer slaughterfest. You and 15 friends can go head-to-head in many different styles of play, including Capture the Flag and Free-for-All. Then, throw in vehicles like the massive Scorpion tank and the all-terrain Warthog, and you have a killer multiplayer set up on your hands. Last but not least (in most cases) is the sound. From the haunting Gregorian chanting in the menu screen, to the pulsepounding score during the game, halo has one awesome soundtrack.

Conclusion: This is truly the most promising X-box game out there right now and I can give it no less than a perfect score.

Ratings: (scale of 0.0 - 5.0)

Gameplay: 5.0 Graphics: 5.0
Easy-to-master controls and nice plot development make Halo truly addictive. I couldn't get enough of it. Whatever genre your into Halo is sure to keep your blood pumping for a few hours. Supposed quick kill games with your friends turn into hours of Multiplayer games as you have dozens of modes to choose from. You can even create your own. Absolutely stunning graphics. Currently the best on X-box. There are only a few minor slow-downs and the framerate is nice and smooth for most of the game. I would imagine there are more problems when you hook up four X-box' and have sixteen people going at it though.

Sound: 5.0 Overall: 5.0
Good soundtrack, but that isn't the best part. Maybe you will notice some things the aliens and marines yell. Two are, "I get his gun" (after an alien kills you) and "I would have been your daddy but the dog beat me over the fence" (after a marine annihilates an alien). Truly excellent voice-overs. The sound only faults in the Multiplayer as there is no music at all. Just gunfire. Very promising game. I sense a sequel in the next year or so. Hopefully, we will see more great titles for the X-box in the future. For now, enjoy this game. It's time for a kick ass alien slaughter-fest!

Written by Gandalf


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