Halo has been a highly anticipated title for the Xbox (and previously it was
highly anticipated for the PC) with good reason. The first-person shooter is a great blend
of standard FPS play plus vehicular combat, all couched in an epic storyline of human
versus alien. What could be better than battling the "other"? Ill tell
you: Battling the "other" on a hovercraft.
The premise of Halo is pretty basic: Youve been sent to the ring-world,
Halo, to discover the secrets of the evil Covenant and destroy them. Along the way
youll infiltrate numerous alien bases and commandeer humand and alien vehicles and
weapons of a wide variety. Weapons range from automatic pistols and needler guns to pulse
rifles and rocket launchers. You can occupy either the gun or driver position on human
all-terrain vehicles, or steal a Covenant flyer and pulse cannon the aliens with their own
The environments of Halo are vast and seamlessly integrated. Youll be
blasting aliens on a mountain meadow, commandeer a buggy and lay waste to baddies on the
beach, then hop out and enter an alien fortress, all with no load times or delays. The
seamless environs work well with the story, which is continuous and twisting. Bungie, the
developers, promise us an engrossing plot that will appeal to hardcore sci-fi fans.
Halo supports multiplayer in either splitscreen, cooperative, or LAN modes. In
fact, two Xbox units can be connected via the crossover cable and eight players can
deathmatch using the four-player splitscreen on each Xbox. Cooperative mode allows two
players to experience the story together, working in tandem. This is a great attribute
that really extends the life of the story mode.
The visuals and graphics of Halo are truly impressive. The game features
immersive special video effects and amazing audio. Dialogue is yelled at you in the heat
of combat and there arent too many cinematic scenes where you do nothing. Everything
about this game is geared to get you inside it. The controls are intuitive and easy to
learn, although driving the vehicles is a little trickier. Still, I found them very easy
to get used to and was blowing away aliens in no time.
Overall, Halo was a lot of fun, and the demo I had at E3 made me only want
more. Other gamers enjoyed the game, too, as it was consistently one of the most crowded
areas of the whole show. Halo and Munchs Oddysee form the two-pronged Xbox
exclusive, must-have launch titles, and these are two very good reasons for owning the
system. Halo is a launch title for the Xbox, so well see it hit on November 8, 2001.