on 11 January 2012
Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox, PC) Review
Genre: First Person Shooter
Forget the idea that Bungie's last Halo title Halo Reach is the best in the series, because to find the best you must go back to the original. Back to Halo. Back to when shooters were based on health packs and generic corridors. Love it or hate it, the original Halo defined the future generation of shooters, and to this day, few of the recent big budget titles like Battlefield 3 and MW3 manage to live up to tge pure epic scale of Halo 1. Truly a masterpeice that fan's of the genre should experience.
It amazes me that people believe that the original has been outdated, and that the now iconic Master Cheif's first journey on the TV screen has not aged well. I can safely say to anyone taking IGN's word for it is wrong. Halo has not aged one bit. Well, to be honest, like every other game, Halo is far from perfect. The cheif jumps like hes in space, and the landing feels very soft. The gameplay may seem diffrent from modern shooters, as you cannot sprint, roll or do assainations. And finally, as to be expected from the earliest game in the series, graphics are not the most inpressive thing about the game. That said, some of the views and vista's are still very impressive, even to this day.
Now that all the bad points are out the way I can now tell you why this game is worth your money. Obviously, Halo re-envented the wheel of the FPS genre. The recharging sheild is not only a staple of the series, but also common for all big budget shooters. The game was also the first to feature third person vehicular combat, and in my opinion, that makes the series as fun as it is today.
The way the game only lets you carry two weapons at a time means that you must think what combination of guns will you choose to take down the on coming hostiles.
Speaking of guns, the variety here is impressive. Each gun has a diffrent feel to it. From the way you can charge up an attack with the plasma pistol, cure you spikes with the needler, or take down multiple bad guys with the rocket laucher. One problem, the infamous pistol is incredibally over powered. Fortunatly, realism has never mattered, and the most inportant thing about Halo is just how much fun it is. A game is nothing without a fun expereince to keep you playing.
The game can also be played in the four difficulty's, easy, normal, hard and legendary. If you are legend enough to complete the game on legendary, then the game gives you a special ending that I wont spoil! Halo also has quite a few top notch multiplayer games, including all the classic multiplayer games like slayer and death match, as well as co op in the campaign. So if you can get your mates over to give this classic another go, then you wont be stuck on what to do.
And of course, no game is complete without a fun story line. If you are wondering exactly why the series is called Halo, then experience this unforgetible storyline, complete with twists and lovable characters.
So, if you love great, classic inovative sci-fi shooters, you owe it to yourself to check out the best in the series, the orignal Halo. It really is that good.
on 30 August 2011
Whilst it's probably fair to say today that I'm not anything like approaching the hardcore gamer I used to be, I do recall christmas 2001 as one of the most exciting. The new xbox console (which had just been released.) and a selection of about 10 games was already out and I was waiting with a passionate deliverance for christmas day so I could get my claws into the new game well before all that halo hype that followed which of course had later exploded into a famous worldwide gaming brand; I wanted this new obscure game and I liked the cover art, and so when i did get hold of the game I played it each day for ten days and was consequently very difficult to put down and not finish in two. Halo: combat evolved had indeed been every bit as enjoyable as I had hoped it would be.
The graphics were the first thing that awestruck me, the step up in clarity and difference from my previous Playstation was exemplary and it didn't end there. As I played Halo I began to realize that everything put into this game was top notch, from the storyline and the excellent soundtrack to the Artificial AI and the fluidity of control in the master chief's movements. Even the booklet was clear and detailed it give descriptive information about the enemy without giving any of the storyline or best kept details away. The story was cleverly constructed with a gradual intensification which only unravelled secrets or unexpected discoveries at certain milestones in the game. Halo felt like an entirely different experience from most first person shooters available.
Halo was well advanced for it's time and the graphical standards were still in front of some games coming out in 2003/4, it also inspired numerous other similar games across the multi platform base. Halo had and still has the hallmarks of an instant classic game that inspired a great gaming series. The game has also been credited by some as the key to Microsoft's success with the first conceptual xbox console; and so I have come here then to reflect on one of my all time most memorable gaming experiences of my gaming life and continue to maintain to this day that Halo: Combat evolved is one of the best shooters I have ever played. The follow up's Halo 2, 3 and reach etc were all great in their own way but the original combat evolved shows us all where and why it all started.
on 9 February 2003
It is extremely difficult to put into words how great this game is and how it truly creates a believable world in which you are the last hope against a powerful, fanatical and aggressive alien pact. Several levels stand out as works of genius-levels 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and the final level are absolutely stunning while the rest are exceptional. The game goes against the conventions of videogaming (such as boss levels or increasingly powerful weaponry). The epic storyline that keeps you guessing as to the nature of the ring world, the mystery surrounding the ancient Forerunners and the various alien races of the Covenant, the integration of vehicles, alien or human into the gameplay, the balanced weapon set, the awesome variety of locales, the stunning and unique architecture of the alien world and Covenant ships, the amazing AI of the Covenant and your fellow marines, the sweeping vistas and sence of wonder when exploring and the constantly new and surprisingly appropriate for the situation quotes of your fellow marines. All of this adds to create the most compelling and elaborate game world in which you are a super soldier and the one true hope that the forlorn and scattered human troops have against the overpowering Covenant forces.
However, are the Flood really such a threat to all lifeforms? The game placed much emphasis on the terror caused by the Flood yet I found their appearance underwhelming. Surely an ancient and powerful race like the Forerunners would not go to such great lengths to contain and control a poxy knee high jellyfish-like creature!
The only other problem with Halo is that all other games will be made redundant once you have played this!
on 1 June 2002
you have team mates in quite a few of the levels but in all but one level [where you protect the captain] you can either kill or protect them and fight with them.
the A.I. is so good there's no leading them around while they face a wall or bang into stuff they all act as a real team: jumping into a vehicle when you do, storming a building together, in a fire fight running to save there buddies.
there's not meny weapons to pick up and your find yourself having one or two faves and sticking with them all through to the end of the game, plus only being able to have two guns on you at one time means you really choose wisely!
having your left arm to throw grenades means there's no changing weapons to use them e.g.: opening a door, spraying the room inside with gun-fire, and then quickly finally throwing in a grenade afterwards.
everything is done very realistically and tactics play a large part in the game: lets get my team mates to take out as much as they can before they all die and then i'll go in and finish off the rest!, going in the way front? ok, but be prepared for a big fire fight... take the back route and snipe them one by one for a easy kill, take on more than a few enemies at once with no cover and you die, jump into a gun emplacement and yes you've got bags of firepower but your a sitting duck for a air strike say.
one of my favourite parts in the game is where two aliens wearing stealth suits come into a room where you've just been stocking up on ammo, relaxing for a few seconds after a blood filled five minutes.... a door opens a little way off.... you only hear the little sound of the door opening.... you spin round.. "what was that?".... this is where you just fire into the room blind and see if you hit anything! [even with your torch on, its very hard to see these guys]
there's just so meny little details in the game to tell you all of them, like, if your able to hit a guy out of a speeder without damaging it you can then get in it and 'speed' off! lol
or in two player: say you drive the vehicle with player two on the back firing away as you go, then you get out while your team mate is still firing and he can cover you!
its been done with the upmost care in every way
one of the only gripes i have is that there is no long term smoke after affects like in Goldeneye/Perfect Dark, oh yes there's smoke coming out of your muzzle, burning spaceships lying on the ground after you've shot them down, grenade 'dust', atmospheric perspective [things in the distance you can hardly see], lens flares, real-time lighting affects on everything [a bad guy in a dark room only shows up when his gun is fired], to name but a few. but still no walking into a smoke filled room blind, which lets be truthful was one of the best things about one player Goldeneye.
on 7 August 2002
Plenty of other people have already highlighted Halo's good and bad points, so I won't labour them. The top-notch AI; the large, on the whole beautifully realised and deeply immersive world; ground-breaking and superbly implemented use of vehicles; the twist Bungie have wrought on the traditional FPS armoury (you can only have two guns at any one time), which works extremely well and promotes a far more tactical approach; and the plot, while pilfering liberally from a wide array of SF and horror film sources, is intriguing enough. Split-screen co-op is a blast and the XBox controller is also well implemented - tricky to get to grips with at first, but even a dedicated mouse+keyboard fan like myself was able to master it pretty quickly.
The bad? Some heavily repetitive level design - if The Library makes it through to the PC port in its current state I'll eat my hat (although Bungie do have the good grace, via chapter headings, to poke fun at the sheer relentless onslaught the player faces on that level). Multiplayer is not as fun as it should be, as the arenas are just too big even with four players (and the 16-player option - using 4 linked XBoxes - is just not feasible in your average home environment).
So why five stars? Despite its flaws, Halo possesses that intangible special something - consequently it gets under your skin in the same way as other recent shooter classics such as Deus Ex and Half-Life. A towering achievement. Roll on Christmas 2003 and Halo 2.
on 17 September 2002
Halo. This game is without doubt, the greatest videogame ever created. It's mix of complex and thoughtful plot, mind-blowing graphics, brilliant music and overall gameplay are sure to blow away anyone who plays it.
If, like me, you are a fan of sci-fi, you will adore this game. But even if you're not really into science fiction, you'll still find yourself gripping that Xbox pad, refusing to let go until you've wiped out the last little Covenant grunt.
To add to this, there is also a superb novel, Halo: The Fall of Reach, available to buy.
Halo... it demands to be bought!
on 2 April 2007
I am sure that you do not need me to go over why this is such a good game.
However, i shall have a go. i will be brief.
Halo is without a doubt one of the best games (top 5) i have ever played. For instance, even now, after getting the ps3 and completing resistance fall of man, I still think that halo is by no means outdated.
O, how i love playing through the levels on legendary in co-op mode, and the sensation you get when you see two hunters at the end of the corridor.
I love the frantic driving at the end of the maw and the satisfction you get when completing it with one second left of the clock. Also, when playing on the level halo, when you are faced with multiple dropships. Halo has provided me with some of my greatist gaming memories and i urge you, if you have not already, buy this game. You will not regret it.
In conclusion, i will give it a score.
Graphics: 9.5. Great visuals. getting slightly basic now, but some of the corridors set in the alien ships look outstanding.
Sound: 10. wow. This soundtrack has to be one of best in any game. ( nearly as good as deus ex and mgs.)
Gameplay: 10. In a word, fabulous. From driving frantically to shooting the crap out of everything that's not human. It is incredible
Lipespan: 9. This game will last you a fairly long time. 12 hours campaign, another for co-op, and some slayer, team slayer etc...
Unfortunately, there was no online play though.
In conclusion, i give the game 9.8 out of 10.
on 11 September 2004
Well... HALO, where do I start... 10 levels, close to 20 hours of game play for the moderately skilled games player (ands that's on normal, legendary will chew you up and spit out the fat!), one Master Chief and two guns. Sounds like your standard FPS...far from it, this isn't your average point and shoot foray. HALO encourages the player to use their environment for cover to battle against an intelligent foe.
The AI in HALO presents enemies that react realistically to your presence, shouting to alert nearby troops then tossing sticky plasma balls at you before diving for cover behind a nearby boulder. The enemies you face don't run blindly unto their death they use cover and fight, when in numbers they try to flank on your position, when alone they run away for backup.
The level design presents some large scale lush landscapes contrasted with the eerie sci-fi symmetrical architecture of the alien interiors that extend deep into HALO itself. These environments are brought to life with lush beaches, towering leafy trees, grassy hills all rendered beautifully up close and from afar, which is a testament to the power of the X-BOX GPU especially for first generation software.
Some people may have a problem with the repetitive architecture presented throughout many of the HALO's levels, especially prominent with 'the library'. Although this could also be seen as a master stroke in the level design as the repetition aids the player's path and knowledge of ones environment. This is essential for combat during the interior environments, given you a familiarity with new areas, which in turn means it's possible to use and refine your tactics for assault.
The B movie plot materialises as a surprisingly griping narrative that when fused wit the great level design for the most part keeps things moving swiftly on. HALO manages to deliver on all fronts and raps up with a satisfying ending.
One of the greatest testaments to HALO's quality is the replay value on offer. This is mainly due to the difficulty levels available (easy, normal, hard, and legendary) catering for all levels of gamer. Completing the game on normal is challenging enough, hard is where many will fall but legendary turns even the first levels into an epic struggle for victory.
on 28 May 2002
Where to begin.
Prior to purchase I had read a lot about Halo being just another FPS much the same as any other but wrapped up in a fancy package.
Having played and completed Halo I can say yeah it is a FPS and yes it hails from a long heritage of classics. But it is without a doubt a great game. It extends the genre in its own way and this makes a great difference to the overall enjoyment of the game.
The visual environment is superb. Beautiful in may ways. The Xbox shines in game and is testament to its power and capability.
I am a PC gamer by tradition and had never played a game through to the end on any console before Halo. It is compelling, frustrating and often painfully hard but always great fun.
One complaint, I longed for the daylight. There are times when you can't see sh*t and I found myself throwing the controller on the floor in disgust. Its only fleeting though because when you are sitting in your tank kicking alien ass it is all worth it.
If you havent yet bought this game and are thinking about it. I would say get it and get into it because it is a shinning example of FPS gaming. Love it. Combat Evolved.
And I STILL bring Halo out when my mates ask, and without a complaint (Said out loud, or inside my head!)
When you start playing, it doesn't seem too special. Sure, it has excellent graphics, good controls, a good enough story and plenty of atmosphere, but it's surely just a game well done, eh?
Well, NO! I will make the bad points first:
1) No bots in multiplayer. However, we still play this more than the highly touted TS2! After plenty of play (3players or more, if there are 2of you, just play co-operative missions!) you begin to realise just _how_ tactical and engaging this is. At a sleep-over we played for 8 hours straight, 3 on 3 system link multiplayer, and it was fantastic! The maps are very well thought out (Hang'em High is excellent, but we often play on Blood Gulch, Sidewinder and Battle Creek, all great!)
2) Repeated rooms later on. This is annoying in some ways, but In a way you can uderstand it. it makes sense that a construction has similar architecture all over!
Now I will deal with some complaint I have seen:
1) 'It gets boring after about the 10th time you play the game through'... Well, doesn't it say something that you eve nBOTHERED to play it 10 times through! Or more than once? Some games I just don't bother to complete. Some I just do once! And it is also quite a heafty single/co-op experience! It takes me and a mate about 10 hours to complete. We completed TS2 in 2 hours 20 minutes on normal (I think. We did it in 3 or 4 nights)
2) 'It has no atmosphere': I can name several points. Sometimes you are running through a downing ship, its weapons gone and trying to repel endless boarding parties, or running desperately for the hills, tryinf to avoid flying covenant patrols, or standing back to back with a mate in co-op as you first encounter the flood, mowing them down as they stumble towards you. Then you are running through a swamp, marines all around you go down under the weight of many tiny aliens. Or you are forced to drive a warthog against a strict time limit through the devastated remains of a ship you saw once teeming with life.
3) 'Not enough weapons, not enough enemies': I count 8 weapons (Pistol, sniper, bazooka, rifle, shotgun, needler, plasma pistol, plasma rifle), plus 2 typesof grenades (Sticky plasma grenades and normal frag) 4 types of covenants (Grunts, Jackals, Elites, Hunters, plus the special elites with swords), 4 types of Flood (Squidies, suicide spore things, zombies with guns, leaping zombies with tentacles), oh, plus 4 types of vehicle (Warthog jeep, Scorpion tank, ghost hover bike, banshee aircraft). Oh, plus the covenant are divided into 'ranks' (eg. brown, blue, red, gold etc). All the weapons are well balanced and have their uses (plasma weapons are limited in ammo, and overheat, but they temporarily 'stun' enemies (for a fraction of a second, in multiplayer this is noticeable under sustained fire), and pistols are charged, snipers are limited in magazine size, but powerful, needlers are weak, but guided and can stick into the enemy in huge numbers, pistols can snipe etc.
4) 'It's just boring, shoot, shoot, shoot!' Well, if you noticed, there are different ways to deal with each typeof enemy. Elites can recharge shields, but plasma grenades, one hit and they die. Grunts are best tackled with punches, to save bullets, as are jackals (or frag grenades for these) Special tactics are needed for hunters. Who had 2 vulnerable spots. On their back and one of the front, which is protected by a shield. Also, there is team combat, vehicular combat, a large range of levels (especially outdoor), air combat and at some points yuo can sneak into rooms and take out up to a dozen sleeping guards with the butt of your gun, sneak behind the awake elites, stick a grenade to each of them, collect the ammo and hopefully leave without them firing a shot! Also, on one level you get to sneak forward in the darkness, taking out enemy after enemy with a sniper rifle, then engage in a brief gunbattle with the survivors. After this there is the possibility of gaining the invisible powerup, sneaking down a canyon and throwing 2 grenades into the middle of the counterattack group-removing them. Then you take control of the guns around a grav-lift platform and try to hold off wave after wave of troops that land on it!
That is most of teh complaints I believe:) There is stunning depth to this game, I don't know how but it stays addictive and is the best money I ever spent on a videogame, IMHO (Just pipping Civ II and Goldeneye!) Many call Halo average. I would call perhaps medal of honour average. IMO, TS2 can't even compare, even though it is an excellent game.
The controls are exactly right, and some levels are pure genious. It is fantastically balanced, the AI deserves lots of mention (BUt I've gone on too long!), the varying style of play, graphics, pce, story, weapons, gameplay etc is just FANTASTIC. Definitely 5 star!