Halo: Combat Evolved - Xbox

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Also for: PC, Power Mac
Viewed: 3D First-person Genre:
Shoot 'Em Up
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Bungie Soft. Co.: Bungie
Publishers: Microsoft (GB/US/GB)
Released: Nov 2001 (US)
14 Mar 2002 (GB)
Unknown (GB)
Ratings: 15+, ESRB Teen 13+ (T)
Connectivity: Xbox System Link Cable


If any game could convince a Microsoft-dissenter to want an Xbox, Halo is it. In the industry, it’s called a killer-app, a piece of software that is so good that people will buy the hardware just to use it. Halo is the best first-person shooter to arrive in a long time. Why is Halo so amazing? Read on and find out.

Halo’s got gameplay to spare. It’s like a cross between Half-Life and Quake 3. Halo charges you with the deadly mission of trying to destroy the Covenant, mankind’s greatest enemy. Players can use an assortment of alien and human technology to blast through the levels. Intelligent computer controlled officers are also on hand to help dish out the punishment. They actually respond to situations that you create. For example, if you park your jeep near them, they will automatically leap in.

Another exciting aspect of Halo is the graphics. New standards for visual lusciousness are being set here. The bump-mapping of textures makes them look scarily realistic. If you’re not careful, it’s very easy to let your guard down and come under fire while paying too much attention to the scenery. The lighting and particle effects are testament to the graphical horsepower of the Xbox.

One of Halo’s strongest points is it’s multi-player game, it’s easy to get into, but difficult to master: a true learning curve. Up to four players can take part in the action using just one console and TV screen. But multi-player doesn’t end there. It is painless to connect four consoles together and enjoy some brutal deathmatch action. Xbox looks like it can bring the exclusive LAN into the living room.

The controller works so well for movement and firing. Dual analogue controls for movement and looking around are probably the best way you can control an FPS on a console. It effectively means that you can move and look independently , then advanced techniques such as circle-strafing come into play.

Halo is something old and something new, something borrowed, but nothing to make you feel blue. All elements combine to produce a hugely impressive first-generation title. Excellent.