Halo: Combat Evolved
Qty. Available: 4
November 06, 2001
Used Games Include game, cover art, and case. Bonus downloadable or
promotional content may have already been redeemed. Cleaning and repair was done as required.
Game data from previous use may be present, but can be overwritten or deleted.
Halo is a futuristic first-person shooter that casts you in the role of a genetically enhanced super-soldier known only by his rank, Master Chief. The game includes a ten-level campaign playable on four difficulty settings and three multiplayer options: two-player cooperative, four-player competitive via split-screen display, and four-player competitive via System Link. Notable features include rechargeable energy shields, allowing soldiers to quickly recover from enemy damage, and the ability to drive or pilot four types of vehicles. Master Chief will also be able to use ten types of weapons on the battlefield, from assault rifles and rocket launchers to plasma grenades and shotguns.
In the most obvious sense, the "Halo" is a space station built in the shape of an enormous rotating wheel. As the wheel spins, it creates centrifugal force that mimics gravity on its inner rim. An entire world exists inside this wheel, with huge developed structures and vast, open landscapes. But something else exists in the Halo as well -- something mysterious and powerful. All that is really known is that a force of alien invaders is desperate to find it and they are leaving death and destruction in the wake of their search. This mystery of Halo must be solved and the aliens must be vanquished, before they find what they are looking for and destroy us all.
Some of the basic themes and plot points in Halo may be familiar to gamers who have played Marathon, Bungie's successful first-person shooter which was released in 1992 for the Macintosh platform. Among other elements, Marathon is known for intelligent level design and a deep, intriguing story. Though Halo should not be considered a sequel to Marathon, the two share common plot elements and have related back-stories. Initial development of Halo was done simultaneously for the Macintosh, the PC, and the Xbox.
A Button = jump
B Button = melee attack
X Button = pick up, swap, reload weapon, action
Y Button = switch weapon
White Button = flashlight
Black Button = switch grenade
Left Thumbstick or D-Pad = move character
Left Thumbstick Button = crouch
Right Trigger = fire
Right Trigger (hold) = charge weapon
Left Trigger = throw grenade
Right Thumbstick Button = scope zoom
Start Button = pause
Back Button = go back ~ Keith Adams, All Game Guide
From the opening cinematic, it's clear Halo has an opportunity to be a remarkable game. Fans of first-person shooters will become immediately immersed, for Halo possesses an uncanny ability to reel you into its virtual world. The character detail and huge environments will aesthetically please both gamers and non-gamers alike. The animation on each Marine you encounter is remarkable, possessing almost endless moving parts and distinct facial features, while the lighting, textures, and massive landscapes prove Halo and the Xbox to be without equal on the console market.
The futuristic story revolves around the Marine Corps battling an enemy called Covenant over a supposed "super weapon" codenamed Halo. The ring in space where the game takes place contains its own ecosystem and environmental effects like rain and snow. At the start of each chapter, a letterboxed cut-scene will appear along with the chapter's title on the bottom right corner of the screen -- a nice cinematic touch that helps Halo move along more like a movie than a game.
After you land on Halo and trudge across the planet's surface, your aid Cortana (a holographic female companion who exists on a microchip in your armor) will warn you of incoming ships. Looking up across the vast landscape you'll notice dots in the sky moving closer: it's the enemy and they're landing. If you're feeling brave, you can stop and fight, but it's usually safer to wait until your marine friends arrive to aid you.
As with other console shooters, such as Medal of Honor and Perfect Dark, Halo incorporates stealth tactics, which involves sneaking up on unsuspecting foes without being detected. Fire a gun or walk too quickly and your cover may be blown. Fortunately, the dual analog setup is near perfect, rarely using the controller's face buttons and predominantly using its triggers, making for an ingeniously ergonomic design. Your fellow soldiers also display remarkable AI, shadowing your movements and crouching into position to fire on the next unsuspecting enemy. Many will even remember if you hit them with friendly fire, not trusting you to cross their path without drawing down on you.
Enemy AI is also strong. Enemy creatures range in variety and intelligence, as some will crouch behind rocks and hide behind walls, or occasionally be caught sleeping. Some of the less gifted will make humorous comments while fleeing a potentially dangerous situation, while others will meet you head on, seeking you out wherever you choose to hide.
The Warthog is one of a handful of vehicles that can be overtaken and used in Halo. From hovercraft to huge tanks, if you see a vehicle unoccupied, chances are you can drive it. Most impressive is the realistic physics involved in crashing into objects, enemies, and obstacles. Driving the tank and smashing into vehicles is pure fun, especially if there are enemies standing nearby. There are also several weapons to be found, though in the spirit of realism you can only carry two at a time. Most weapons replicate what has been previously done in the genre (such as the grenade, sniper rifle, shotgun, machine gun, and rocket launcher), but there are a few unique to Halo, such as the plasma grenade that sticks to whatever it lands on and the Half-Life-influenced Needler gun. The Needler fires its projectiles repeatedly, homing in on its target and then sticking to it, only to explode afterwards.
The multiplayer options are extensive, offering you split-screen action with up to four players in games ranging from cooperative Regular missions to competitive Tag to King of the Hill. Should you decide to mix it up a little, a game edit feature allows you to customize the rules of the multiplayer games. This is more than handicapping features such as time it takes to regenerate after being killed and walking a bit slower after every kill you make, but enables you to actually change the game's objectives. When finished, edit the name of the game and save it to the hard drive.
Those with an unlimited budget can network up to four Xboxes together to play with total of 16 players (or with four players, each with their own system, on four separate televisions). Fast and furious with seemingly no loss in frame rate or visual quality, the multiplayer games are highly addictive. The development team at Bungie has done a remarkable job with Halo, taking many successful elements from previous standouts in the genre to make one very playable game. ~ Jonathan Licata, All Game Guide