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4.6 out of 5 stars
Halo: Combat Evolved
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101 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2002
Platform for Display: Xbox
Back in the fall of 2001, I didn't want to play the XBox. I thought that Bill Gates was trying to monopolize my beloved pastime, the holy hobby of video games. So I didn't play it, that is, until my friend made me play Halo in the Spring of 2002.
My mind was instantly changed.
Halo is not just another video game, it's more of an experience that on higher difficulty levels, you don't just play, you survive. The story is well-planned and well-paced, the weapons are oh-so-cool, the digital surround sound helps to hear behind you (online challengers don't stand a chance), the music is stirring and epic, and the graphics are simply jaw-dropping. Nothing I've played in the past year has put these essential components together quite like Bungie Studios has with Halo. Single player missions are a blast, and you actually feel like you are a super-soldier fighting an alien menace on a strange artificial ring-world in the middle of who-knows-where. But playing by yourself misses the thrill of this game completely.
Anyone with broadband access can use GameSpy Arcade, download the necessary components, cheaply purchase extra equipment, and go online to show the world what you are made of. Multiplayer separates the kids from the adults more than any other console game I have EVER played. To survive, you must be strategic, yet ruthless. You must know the levels, know how to hide, know how to shoot accurately, and know how to move effectively. Once you take some time to master these skills, you feel like you've accomplished something great...
Oh, and if you have friends with copies of Halo, use the biggest room you have to link up 4 XBoxes for 16-player deathmatches (the one catch, every 'Box has to have its own TV). Trust me, nothing brings friends together like 8-on-8 Team Combat. You run to the shotgun room to take care of the weapons cache, Friend #1 runs to the Rocket Launcher for heavy artillery, Friend #2 takes up a sniper position with Active Camouflage (think Predator), Friend #3 waits at the end of the bridge with Fragmentation Grenades, Friend #4 packs a Plasma Rifle to slow down enemies and destroy their shields, Friends #5 and #6 secure medical packs for the squad, while #7 and #8 go freelance and be bait/avengers. And that's just an example of the Slayer mode, where the most kills wins. You've got King of the Hill modes, Capture the Flag, Oddball (he/team that holds the ball for the longest amount of time wins), Races and more. And it's not just mindless killing, all these modes require team strategy and underatanding of the playing field terrain. The more you know about where you are, the better off you'll be when the scores are final.
The only way this can get any better is when Halo 2 comes out in 2003. By then, XBox Live (Microsoft's online game service) will be up to full steam, and who knows what the future could hold (besides the super-cool headset microphones that let you talk to squad members)...
If you own an XBox and don't own this game, shame on you. If you don't own a 'Box, buy one for THIS GAME. You'll thank me later.
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74 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2001
Platform for Display: Xbox
I played Halo in a 16-person multiplayer capture the flag competition at one of Microsoft's "Xbox Unleashed" parties. I also got to watch a decent player run through a few levels of the single player mode. The biggest issue with any first person shooter on a console is control. Honestly speaking, Halo's control is just not as good as the classic PC mouse and keyboard setup. And yet, for first person shooters on a console, Halo's control is a breakthrough. I, and many others around me, were surprised by how easy it was to adjust to Halo's control scheme. Furthermore, it is highly customizable, you can even adjust the sensitivity of at least one joy stick. I would not be surprised to see claims in the future that Halo's control is superior to the mouse keyboard combination.
Onto the graphics... Evil Empire or not, Microsoft delivered on the graphics in Halo. Halo is a sunny world with bright blue skies complete with drifting clouds. Jutting steel towers hiding vast underground complexes are set against a background of curved landscapes (another words, Halo's engine does curved surfaces and they are not afraid to show it off). All the character models look and move organically and the vehicles, though somewhat derivative of Star Wars, are very cool. I heard some complaints about frame rate from a guy on the losing team of our little competition, but I thought it played smoothly throughout.
Because of the noise at the party, I can't judge the audio, but I can tell you that the game would be worth it with no sound at all. Halo is packed with features, including, I'm told, new multiplayer game types and all the networking software needed to make hooking up your Xbox to a LAN, or directly to a cable modem, a snap. And last but not least, lets not forget that the fun factor is high, after all you even get to jump into vehicles and mow down everything in your path. Basically, I am willing to go out on a limb and say Halo looks like it will live up to, and maybe exceed, all the hype. Buy an Xbox so you can play this game.
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79 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2002
Platform for Display: Xbox
Halo is one of the most graphically impressive games released in videogame history. The attention to detail is excellent. For instance, when using an assault rifle, you can see each clip as it is used. Incredible draw distances, outstanding cutscenes, and marvelous camera work contribute significantly.
In respect to audio, Halo outshines the competition. The sound effects are spectacular and the soundtrack is killer. In-game voice acting has never been so good. You can hear your allied marines chatter about the enemy, when they have been hit, where the enemy may be, etc etc. In addition, you can hear the frantic cries of the running enemy when you and your shotgun sneak up on them. Playing this game in Dolby Digital will give the gamer an unsurpassed gaming experience.
In actual gameplay, this is where Halo redefines first person shooters. No other console game has gone where Halo goes. Halo is comprised of 10 well-designed, surprisingly large levels, mixing indoor and outdoor environments, to give the gamer an experience which will not soon be forgotten. And this is no normal shooter either. You can play campaign mode single player or with a friend. This is the first game to have a great "co-op" mode. If you can't beat a level, call a friend and work together. Playing the 'single-player' mode with a friend makes the game a far more enjoyable experience.
The developers of Halo knew what they were doing when they included vehicles in the game. Throughout the game, you will use a variety of vehicles to help you defeat the enemy. Some are slow but powerful tanks, while others are quick hovercraft. Several of the vehicles allow more than 1 player to get in, thus letting 1 person drive while the other blast the enemy away.
However, where Halo really shines is in its multiplayer. With 4 players, 2v2 deathmatches are just a blast. However, with a Cable or DSL connection you will be able to play Halo online! You can play with up to sixteen players in pure madness. Of all the time I spend playing Halo, 90% of it is online. It is just incredible. It takes everything positive about console gaming and pulls the online gaming from traditional PC games to make Halo one of the most enjoyable games ever made.
Should you buy Halo? Absolutely! And don't worry about getting bored anytime soon. With friends and online play, you will be playing this one for months.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2002
Platform for Display: Xbox
A completely satisfying gaming experience. The graphics, sound, cinematics, plot and missions are all outstanding. The thing that puts this game way over the top is the AI. You have to use some serious strategy to make it through most of the battles. Smart enemies and sparse distribution of weapons, ammo, and power ups make it extremely challenging, but never overly frustrating. One of the last levels involves a battle with you versus two enemy tanks (each with the ability to take you out with one shot), four cloaked elite aliens, and three dozen other aliens in a huge frozen gorge between two mountains. Your strategy must be perfect. It takes about twenty minutes of play before you can advance to the level's checkpoint. You can't use the old "show yourself and all the enemies will line up and chase after you" deal. I had to sneak around and pick off the tanks with the rocket launcher, throw grenades to the left and attack on the right. Use an enemy hovercraft as a decoy and flank the turret gun....crazy stuff. It took me a dozen tries before I got by. Several of which I got down to the last line of defense and got killed by a stupid little grunt or killed myself with my own grenade during an ambush. Usually these kind of levels tick me off (i.e. the train in Bond). With this, I enjoyed it all.
Other things about the game that seemed annoying at first actually turned out to be very cool.
1) No boss monsters. The game is linear for the most part but each level ends usually ends with particularly challenging fight with either a ton of enemies or a few enemies in a very strategic position making it difficult to take them out.
2) Only seven different enemies. There's two races of bad guys, each with 3 or 4 different soldiers. Not a lot of variety, but more realistic. Each type of enemy has its own detailed AI. Example - One type charges you when they're out of ammo, the other runs away.
3) Weapons - First, you can only carry two at a time and there is virtually no ammo lying around. If you are low, you gotta kill something and steal its gun. Each weapon has different effects on each enemy. The shotgun takes out a Flood Elite with one shot but has virtually no effect on a Covenant. You need to have a solid strategy on which two guns to carry at any given point on a level. Again, more realistic. Unlike Bond where you can carry 5 or 6 weapons. Second, there are only seven different weapons but the whole "which gun, when" thought process keeps it interesting.
4) Saving - You don't save just anywhere. The levels are broken up into multiple checkpoints and the game saves after each checkpoint. Not really annoying, just different.
5) Health - You have Shield and a Health meter. The shield depletes first, then the health. The cool thing is the shield regenerates after a few seconds if you aren't being hit. So basically, when your shield gets low, hide and wait for it to regenerate. Once the shield is gone, health drops quick. The shield will regenerate, but health stays low until you find a health pack (sparse). Not annoying, just different.
Other High Points
-A jeep with a huge Gatlin gun. Two marines can ride with you, one in the gunner seat and one in the passenger seat.
-A tank with a Gatlin and missile launcher. Four marines can ride along on top.
-A hovercraft with plasma cannons
- Mini-jet with plasma cannons and a plasma missile launcher.
-Cool death sequences.
-Melee attacks (pistol whipping, jamming the butt of rifle into the back of its neck, etc.)
-Sniper rifle with night vision.
-Motion tracker ala "Aliens"
-"Sticky" grenades
-Carcasses - When you kill something, the body will be there the rest of the game (no "fade away" ala Bond). You can continue to smack it with your gun and spray blood everywhere. If a grenade goes off nearby, all the carcasses fly in the air and land somewhere else.
Final thought:
You must try this game.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2001
Platform for Display: Xbox
All I can say is WOW! Just got my Xbox from preorder this morning and spent most of the day playing Halo. There are so many great things about this game, I hardly know where to begin.
First off, even though this is a console FPS (First Person Shooter) the controls are absolute dynamite. I have heard numerous criticisms of the Xbox controller and I can honestly say that I found it to be not only extremely comfortable but also amazingly precise. This game doesn't make you wish for a keyboard and mouse which is the first console FPS I can really say that about.
Second the polish on this game is absolutely top notch. The enemy AI is the best I have ever seen, the graphics are very detailed and smooth, and the game is just all around a blast to play. The single player mode alone is great, but the real fun is the campaign with a buddy co-op mode. My friend and I played this game for four hours straight together and we couldn't stop playing it was so much fun. The difficulty level is just perfect; challenging but not at all frustrating and because the AI is so good it keeps you coming back since no two encounters are alike.
All in all I can't say enough good things about this game. If you buy and Xbox (and you should) BUY this game.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2001
Platform for Display: Xbox
Being an avid PC First Person Shooter advocate of games such as Unreal Tournament, Halo for the Xbox was a gamble to me. I had read numerous reviews, all saying it was nice. It still bothered me, there was no keyboard and mouse, how could it be nice?
Needless to say, I picked up the Xbox and Halo a day after it was realeased in the US. I powered on the machine and threw in Halo. To my dismay, the game was alright on a controller. The learning curve was about thirty minutes to an hour for the control via the dual analog sticks, but after that, everything was smooth and precise.
The game itself is a modern console masterpiece. If you are a PC gamer, a console gamer, or both, pick up this game. The story is nice, the control is nice, the graphics are overpowering, the soundtrack kicks in at just the right times. Voice acting is also superb. Alright, so it is nice, that doesn't mean it is a masterpiece. Well, I am moving to that in a minute. AI, artificial intelligence is where the game becomes a masterpiece. AI on both sides, your marines, and the enemies (The Covenant and The Flood) are both amazing. It never feels like you are battling ET, these are full fledged strategic beings with energy weapons. They will strafe, hide behind obstacles, send out decoys, everything that you would do.
On a final note, Halo offers co-op mode. A buddy and yourself can play throughout the entire story together. To put it bluntly, this mode rocks! The game is a five star by itself. Then add a great co-op mode and the scale needs a few stars added to be able to keep up with Halo's gameplay
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2001
Platform for Display: Xbox
You are the ultimate commando - a cybernetically enhanced soldier representing the peak of human military evolution. You are efficient, skilled, and dangerous. A sci-fi shooter that takes place on a mysterious alien ring-world, Halo will have you battling through amazing indoor and outdoor environments, in vehicles, and on foot with the largest arsenal of futuristic weapons, vehicles, and combat roles of any shooter ever. Your situation: In a desperate attempt to keep a conquering alien race called the Covenant from finding Earth, you and a ragtag group of Marines flee to a distant uncharted system where you unexpectedly stumble across Halo, an enormous alien artifact in orbit between a gas giant and its moon.
Your objective: Uncover Halo's horrible secret, and destroy mankind's nemesis - the Covenant.
Here it is, the system seller. Halo lets you infiltrate enemy bases, either with computer AI or with a friend. And not only on foot, but you can also jump in and out of military vehicles on the fly with no load times or pauses. Add to that an incredibly atmospheric and dynamic Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, and you have a must buy war fps/vehicular combat game.
Its true that a keyboard and mouse is best for games like these, but if you get used to playing with a gamepad, you will find the game more fun. At first when I played Quake 3 on ps2, it was hard, but after I got used to the controlling, it was easy. Everything seems hard at first, but give it some time and practice and you will see results. If you still cant play with a gamepad then wait till they come out with a keyboard and mouse for xbox. If you seen the movies for this game, you know that its really not only the graphics that make this game good, its the real life physics, animation, sound, story, and A.I. that makes this game so good.
* Huge Weapon Variety - Vanquish your enemies with a vast array of Human or Covenant weaponry ranging from the stealthy (semi-automatic pistols and needler guns) to the fierce (rocket launchers and flame throwers).
* Vehicle and Foot-Based Action - Tackle missions anyway you choose - be it storming an enemy base or taking the wheel or gunnery position of a variety of powerful vehicles. Vehicles range from stolen Covenant flyers to Human buggies and more.
* Indoor and Outdoor Combat - Fight seamlessly in Halo's ultra-realistic indoor and outdoor environments as you hunt the Covenant in a variety of single player missions and multiplayer battles.
* Intense Multiplayer Shoot-outs - Form a team, choose a role, and fight cooperatively with your friends, battle it out Deathmatch style via intense split screen, LAN-play or fight co-op with a friend through the single player missions.
* Incredible Mission Variety - Fight the Covenant in a variety of missions as you uncover the dark secrets of halo. Among your many objectives - attack enemy outposts, raid underground labs for advanced technology, rescue fallen comrades, steal alien vehicles and weaponry and snipe enemy forces.
* Reality Bending Special Effects - Halo features the most advanced graphic system on the most advanced gaming platform in the world. Gunfire rips off the screen, explosions light up a living room, and environments blur the line between your couch and fantasy.
* Rich Sci-Fi Experience - Halo transports gamers into a science fiction universe fresh out of a Hollywood movie. With a detailed twisting story line, complex characters and cunning enemies, Halo will fulfill every sci-fi enthusiastis
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2002
Platform for Display: Xbox
'Barnicles!! This game is Awesome!!! Halo is BY FAR THE BEST FPS (first person shooter) ever made!! If I could, I'd give this vid. game 6 out of five stars!! It's just that amazering!
But seriously, there are at least 20 great reasons that I can think of for you to buy this game. And here they are:
*Incredible game play and fun
*Gorgeous 3D environments and good character visuals
*Smarter AI (that's Artificial Intelligence, fer all'y'all newbies)
*A little bit of humor thrown in. Every game needs it!
*Seemless adrenaline (sorry, don't know exactly how to spell it) inducing action
*Ingenius control schemes
*Ingaging storyline
*Cooperative Play on the Missions is available!!!
*Well worth the price value
*Fitting Sound track (music)
*Around 26 fun-filled multiplayer modes
*Up to SIXTEEN people can play with a system hook-up thingy
*Characters that ya love to love and love to hate
*4 fantastical drivable vehicles, including a flying one
*4 difficulty levels
*Changeable suit color for Master Chief (multiplayer only)
*Can be played on the Internet
*Incredibly funny end cut-seen for the Legendary mode
*Hours and hours and hours of gameplay
*Very high replay value
So if you have an Xbox or are thinking of getting one I encourage young and old alike to buy Halo. (The ESRB Rating System rates a few vid. games a bit too harshly. Just compare this Mature rated game to R rated movies and you'll see the difference). Take my word for it, you most likely won't even need to rent Halo first before buying it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2002
Platform for Display: Xbox
Halo rules. That's about as good as I can put it. I really had my doubts about this game, since the hype behind it was enormous and since most console first-person shooters (FPSes), with the glaring exception of N64's GoldenEye, do not play well with console controllers. But I was truly surprised when I first played Halo.
The graphics are absolutely incredible. The lighting effects, especially from the Covenant troops' energy weapons, are awesome, and the outdoor environments are absolutely breathtaking. The control is quite intuitive, even for players used to playing FPSes on the computer with keyboard and mouse, and has a very short learning curve to pick up. The sound is PHENOMENAL when hooked up to a Dolby Digital-enabled home theater setup. I heard explosions and combat all around me through my speakers, and really felt immersed in the action.
And there is a lot of action in this game. Halo definitely puts the "shoot" back in first-person shooter. Intense battles with smart AI (on both the aliens that you fight against and the human marines you fight with) mark this game. The vehicles in the game are truly a highlight, as they are wickedly fun to fly and drive around. But the absolutele best feature in the game is the cooperative play mode. It is incredibly fun to play this game with a buddy, going through the missions and taking out the aliens together! Halo is definitely the best cooperative play game this year.
About the only weak point in the game is that is gets a little repetitive about three quarters of the way through. SPOILER ALERT: Fighting the constant onslaught of the Flood got a little boring after a while since they all started to look the same and you kept blasting away over and over and over again. Still, this was a short part of the game anyway, so it didn't really detract too much from this awesome game.
All in all, Halo is easily one of the top five console games of 2001, if not THE best console game of the year. A truly fun experience and a great way to blow off some steam from a hard day at work. This is the best reason right now to buy an Xbox. And if Halo is a sign of things to come, it looks like we're going to see some truly amazing games for the Xbox over the next few years...
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2001
Platform for Display: Xbox
(...) Well, not only is Halo by far the best FPS for a console I've ever played, it's the best FPS I've EVER played, and one of the best GAMES, period. If this is what we can expect from the Xbox, well, thank God I have one, that's all I can say.
Typically, no shooter can compare with the holiest of holys, Half-Life. Half-Life has been the pinnacle of what the genere was capable of, and nothing could ever quite match it.
'Till now, anyway.
Halo rolls everything you could want in a shooter all into one package, save online play. You want immense outdoor environments? Here you go. Tons of weapons? Okay, we'll let you use the human weapons AND the alien weapons, how's that? Good AI? Try this. On the hardest difficulty level, the enemies will position sqauds on either side of any given hidey-hole you're cowering in, toss a good number of grenades to flush you out, and mow you down from two different directions when you make a run for it. Should you somehow live through that, they'll regroup, laying down cover fire, and try to split up and circle around you, leaving the tougher troops to face you head-to-head while the smaller guys gang up and shoot you in the back while the others have you engaged.
What else, you say? Well, okay. Every game like this has a gimmick. Half-Life had the fact that you could take guards and scientists with you. Red Faction had the fact that you could blow holes in walls. Halo? Ohhh. Let's count 'em.
For one thing, you have your Marines. They will fight WITH you, and they're no slouches. They react to the fight, think quickly, and will follow your lead but take the initiative if it presents itself. Flush an enemy out, and most often they're waiting to take it down. Need to snipe some enemies? They'll hold off until you're finished, and back you up if the enemies get too close.
Next, there's the enemies. Each enemy has a very different way of attacking, be it head-on, defensive, swarming, bait-and-attack tactics, whatever. The alien weapons are actually no better than the human ones, but sometimes are preferrable given certain situations.
Then we have the plot. While it's a little simple and contrived early on, there are major plot twists down the pipe. When you finally find out what Halo actually is, not to mention who really lives there, you'll be impressed by the scope of the story to say the least. It's Sci-Fi, but it's good Sci-Fi.
Lastly, and easily the best, we have vehicles. LOTS of vehicles. Get in the Marine Warthog jeep and a Marine will jump in back, manning the cannon. If he gets taken out, you can jump in the back yourself and use the gun. If a friend is playing with you, have HIM drive while you shoot, or vice versa. In one instance, I was driving a tank while my friend rode on it with a Sniper Rifle. I'd shell an area, and he'd pick off stragglers with the rifle. You can steal enemy air fighters and use them in skirmishes, or use them to back up a buddy on the ground. If you distract the enemies by flying overhead, he can get closer unnoticed until it's too late for the enemies. Knock enemies out of stationary gun turrets and climb in yourself.
Enemy placement is randomized a bit, so no two battles are ever alike. Voice acting is quite good, graphics are beautiful and have NO slowdown at all, and the sounds have a great deal of OOMPH to them.
This game raises the standard for all shooters to come. This is American game making at it's pinnacle, and if you've ever wanted the ideal action game, here it is.
NO Xbox owner should be without this game!
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