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Halo: Combat Evolved (PC)

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Published by: Microsoft / Genre: Action / Release date: 2003-10-10

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    10 Reviews
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      17.11.2011 13:04
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      Quite possibly the most overrated video game of all time.

      Halo, or to give its full title Halo: Combat Evolved was the first instalment in one of the most enduringly popular video game franchises of the decade. Its appeal has spawned numerous sequels, animated films and a whole wave of fervent adulation that I felt that I was missing out on something important.

      Strangely, it was some years after its initial launch that Halo was given a release on the PC. It was released as the flagship game to accompany the launch of Microsoft's answer to the Playstation, the first generation Xbox. It was odd that a company founded entirely on a market of PC users should shun them, but they finally relented and it got a peep through its Windows (pun completely intended).

      I had briefly played Halo on a friend's Xbox, and hadn't given it enough time to judge it fairly. This was almost entirely down to my apathy towards FPS games on consoles, as thumbsticks do not lend themselves to the genre at all - after playing any FPS with a mouse and keyboard, switching to the clunky imprecision of a gamepad is like giving yourself instant dyspraxia. Timing was poor on Microsoft's part, as I had just finished Valve's bona fide classic Half-Life 2, and, hungry for more sci-fi based adrenalin-fuelled action, sunk my teeth into Halo. Shame that when I did it felt like I'd lost a few molars, and that a trip to the dentist would've been more enjoyable than this lazy, underwhelming snore-fest.

      ~Premise and Plot~
      The premise of Halo is a simple one. In the far future, a mysterious pennanular alien world (the 'Halo' which lends its name to the series) has been discovered by humans and space marines (how original...) have been sent there to check it out. Unfortunately, it is populated by two species of warring aliens, and that's where the combat begins. You play the role of the now-iconic 'Masterchief' - a seven feet tall, armour-plated genetically enhanced warrior, which sounds awesome but translates into being very lame. This is where Halo first falls down; the developers have sunk quite a bit of time into creating this fictional universe and its back stories, but the lore doesn't tie in with the gaming experience. Legends abound of the Masterchief's super-human abilities, such as holding off 20,000 enemies almost single handed, or flipping over an upturned tank to save some crew members, but you never get to experience anything like this...

      ~Gameplay and Design~
      The game starts as your huge spaceship comes under attack from aliens. The first scene is quite tense, as I had no idea what to expect. However, when the aliens land, all sense of danger and threat vanishes in a puff of garishly coloured idiocy. The aliens, known by the impressive title 'The Covenant' do not live up to their biblical-sounding name. They are garish, cartoonish, chunky and totally non-threatening. The smallest of them utter thoroughly silly Pingu-esque noises and waddle around like neon-coloured space penguins, and the larger ones are so cumbersome they are sitting ducks. So much for the Covenant, then.

      The next species of aliens, The Flood, are a little better, essentially being mindless zombies that will charge at your relentlessly, exploding in a cloud of toxic gunk that will strip your armour away. However, compared to the terrifying, screeching fast headcrab zombies of Half-life 2, they're a breeze to overcome.

      Guns and weaponry are central to any FPS, and this has an array of them. One nice feature is that you can only carry two weapons at a time, forcing you to think tactically and change them as the scenario requires. However, the audio and physics are a real let down here. Never once did I feel as if the weapons to hand packed any kind of punch, as the sound effects are tinny and underwhelming. The alien weaponry is gaudy and plastic looking, and the whole thing feels like quite tacky. The shotgun doesn't give out the mighty boom one would expect from it, it sounds more like someone crunching on a mouthful of Skips (maybe my PC speakers were to blame, but Doom 2 sounded better than this)

      For a heavily armoured, genetically optimised warrior, the Masterchief is rubbish. Given the back story I described above, one would expect him to be a one-man army. One grenade will bring him down. You can swing your rifle at your enemies like a club, but it's incerdibly lame. you can only take out the weakest enemy if his back is turned to you; pretty poor show for a man who can supposedly shift thirty tons of tanks with his bare strength. And any elements of danger left over from the appearance of the Disney-esque aliens is gone with the health regeneration system. Been peppered with gunfire and close to death? No need to panic, just hide behind a rock for three seconds and watch it all come back. This sloppy system was later used in the Call of Duty series, much to its detriment.

      There are vehicles to drive and fly too, but these handle so clumsily that frustration can soon kick in, although some of the levels are so vast that they're necessary to traverse them. The level design is incredibly poor throughout, with little in the way of surprises or innovation. The first level onboard the spaceship is just endless, homogenous corridors linked together with pauses for a firefight, and when you land on the surface of Halo it isn't much better. For an alien world, it looks remarkably like the Trough of Bowland with its plains, rocks and conifer. There are huge tracts of nothing to explore and the whole thing feels like a wander through an amateur Doom .wad pack.

      It's not without joy though. There is humour to be found in the chatter of the marines, and the draw-distances are impressive, especially when seeing the Halo system from orbit, or seeing it stretch out from the surface. Mulitplayer can be a laugh, especially the split-screen, but it's a bit limited. And I wouldn't bother with online play unless you're in the mood to hear rafts of American teenagers hurling insults at each other.

      ~Conclusion~
      This game is mostly dull. The level design is awful, the action is limp and non-threatening, and much of the graphics are gaudy and childish. This is essentially Quake 2 designed by Disney for an audience of 5 year olds. It's just about OK to play with your mates in the front room for a bit, but its multiplayer is far from the exciting, fraught twitchy gameplay of Counterstrike or the overtly cartoonish silliness of Team Fortress 2. I could only stomach the single-player campaign in doses of about twenty minutes as it was so dull.

      There has also been a lot of praise chucked at this game for its originality, which is baffling. It's a pretty safe amalgamation of Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Star Trek and any other sci-fi/action film, game or series you care to mention. And the Masterchief's design is a blatant rip-off of the space marine from Doom (who would chainsaw his head clean off his plagiarised shoulders, should they ever meet in a deathmatch arena)

      This is the flagship game for mindless fandom, of style over substance and hype over judgement. When compared to Half-life, Doom, or even the over-rated F.E.A.R, this is a pretty mediocre game at best.

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        18.09.2010 20:38

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        A Good solid First person

        So Halo has come to PC (from the XBox) and has bought some extra goodies with it. I've always had an uneasy relationship with the Halo franchise. To me it is not anywhere near as good or a fun as the timesplitters series nor has a deep and involving storyline as other FPS's. In my opion its run by the hype machine so I got this on my PC to see just how good it really was.

        In truth it is a great fps and I really enjoyed playing on it. Still not the best but it almost lives up to the hype. The combat is still far too slow in my humble opinion and needs to be sped up. The PC edition comes with new multi-player maps and a plamethrower weapon which is great fun.

        In fact online is where the game shines brightest. It was the first halo which you could play online and it does this well. you will need a good connection though.

        All in all this is a great fps if you like sci-fi shooters.

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        28.06.2009 18:16

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        not worth getting unless you really like the Halo story and want to try the first one.

        The succes of Halo and the sequals stems in part from the fact that it was one of the first first person shooters for the X-Box, while the story has great pottential the levels proved linear and often bland, the plot twists so hilariously over the top once you stop to think about it, the great thing is they dont allow you to stop and think about it because you're busy smacking aliens to death in a bloodrage.

        whit its over the top story and easy to master controlls it had a great burst of popularity wich allowed for several sequals, however in reality it is not truly that great.

        for multiplayer this game was awesome for the PC and there are still loads of active servers, the main problem whit multiplayer is that pistols are olmost hilariously overpowered

        If you want to shoot some aliens as a supersoldier in linear and sometimes confusing maps whit a well thought out but over the top backstory this game might be decent, however for those who want more than that it is simply not worth it.

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        13.03.2009 14:32
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        great story easy to play and addictive

        Halo Combat Evolved was released in 2003 for the PC and is an science fiction first person shooter game. It was originally made for the Xbox as a release game in 2001. You can play the game both single player and multiplayer.

        Game Play

        Set in the future , you play as the Master chief a genetically engineered super soldier, part of a secret military project known as the Spartan Project. The war with a collection of alien races know as the Convent has been fought for over 30 years, the war has since been magnified and is in full swing and Earth is losing the war even with the Spartans the war is not going well, after a crushing defeat at the colony world Reach you are aboard one of the surviving ships and end up having to abandon ship on a world known as Halo, here you have to fight of the Convent attacks and hold Halo at all costs.

        The cut scenes are very good and the story has been well written, there is also plenty of levels and weapons to use both Human and Alien, you can also use a wide variety of vehicles like warthogs, tanks and Convent flyers.

        Controls/Graphics

        The graphics are good and highly detailed and in 3D although at times the game runs slowly but not that noticeably the controls are easy to use and you can set them yourself.



        Difficulty

        The AI is very good and your allies are usually not that good so the game is quite hard to complete and it has plenty of levels.

        Multiplayer

        The multiplayer is good and has a wide variety of maps to play on, you can play up to 16 different players with all the main game types like death match, team death match and capture the flag.


        Value for Money

        A great game that is fun to play with a great story that is well told with good action, there is plenty of levels to play and the multiplayer is fun to play a game worth playing for anybody that likes games with a good plot and good action.

        Additional Information


        There has since been two sequels to the game made and a real time strategy game made on the series as well as several books based on the Halo Universe. Unlike the Xbox version of the game you can not play it co-operative with is a big down point for the game.



        System Requirements


        933 MHz processor
        Windows 98se/ME/2000/XP with 128 MB RAM
        1.2 GB HD Space
        Video card, 32 MB / 3D T&L capable
        DirectX 9.0 or later
        8X CD
        Sound card & speakers/headphones
        Online/Multiplayer requirements: 56.6 kbps modem

        Difficulty - 9 out of 10
        Game play - 10 out of 10
        Graphics - 9 out of 10
        Multiplayer - 8 out of 10
        Story - 10 out of 10
        Value - 9 out of 10
        Overall - 9 out of 10

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        21.08.2008 22:21

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        Like it.

        Halo PC is the inevitable PC version of the popular halo console game.

        It features for the same levels that the Xbox version had, and the same story. you are the master chief, it is upto you to defeat the evil aliens called the Covenant.

        The gameplay is not so remarkable on the PC as the style of game has been done many times before successfully on the PC, however it still plays well.

        If you have played halo on the Xbox you will still be able to enjoy the PC version as it features much improved graphics, and exclusive to the PC online play.

        The online play is fantastic, and as you can get mods for the PC version you can continue adding new content to your game.

        This game is still great, but not quite as amazing as it was when it first came out for the Xbox. You should be able to find this game for around £10.00 and even if you own the Xbox version you should consider it.

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        14.07.2008 22:47
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        Overall good game is good online and Lan play

        Halo: one of the best rated first person shooter games of the pre next gen gaming consoles and still remains largely popular.

        First thing you are in controll of the master chief a super soldier that has been trained from a child and has been augmented to improve speed power intelligence to basically make him super human. He is fitted in the MJOLNIR mark 2 suit which adds armor and gives him extra speed and power, The suit itself is so powerful that only the "spartans" can use them because of their augmentation they can handle the pressures that the suit puts on the body. The back story to the game comes from the halo novels.

        When you first start you go through the basic controlls of moving the cross hair and then the story begins.
        You are fighting against the Covenant a race of aliens looking to take over all life in the known universe. The crew encounter a huge disc (which happens to be called halo) and crash land on it finding that it has an atmosphere much like earths.
        The crew soon discover that the halo is actually a large weapon and send the master chief on a mission to try and stop the covenant activating the weapon.

        Graphics

        This was groundbraking graphics when halo first come out now since that has been a few years naturally graphics have progressed into the realm that is HD. This game however does not dissapoint and can make stunning views and very large and gory battles

        Sound

        The music to this game is composed by Michael Salvatori and Martin O'Donnell, it really expresses the mood and tones of the scenes in the game. The sounds of the weapons are also produced very well.

        The game has different difficulty settings so the easiest setting can be played through for the rookies and if you find yourself getting better you can up the difficulty and make it a little more challenging.
        It also has a very good multiplayer so when you get together with a group of friends you can have a laugh and battle against each other to see who will become the victor. There is also online multiplayer where you can battle it out with people from all around the world to see if your as skillfull as you think you are.

        Overall its a very good game and even when you have completed it you can still have fun with it online or in lan play and it can bring countless hours of entertainment

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          01.03.2008 13:21

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          Nooooooooooooo

          OK so Halo is big, and its popular. You can buy all sorts of merchindice, books and comics, and theres an array of websites all based around this game. I don't see why.

          I recently finished Halo on the PC and was sorly dissapointed throughout. Now i know it's been a fair few years since it came out for the first time, so it has gathered some age, but even at the time i can't see it being as good as people make out. I collect and play retro games, and so i do believe i can understand when a game was good for its time.

          The story is a pretty weak one, involving a religious group of aliens and a ring planet called Halo. I hated the Aliens that you are fighting. Their a joke. The small ones just laugh and run around as if they belong in a childrens game. They are not what i would call worth adversaries. And it doesn't get any better as the game progresses.

          The landscapes are dull, and nothing ever seems to happen other then the endless repetion of 'go into a room, shoot them all, so to the next identical room, and repeat.'

          I can't stress how bored and annoyed i was with this game.

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          27.12.2007 13:33
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          Time to defend the universe!

          ---Intro----
          Halo is one of the more "alternative" first person shooters I have encountered. Basically, the Halo is an alien weapon in outer space. A floating ring the size of a planet. And quite frankly, it makes the atom bomb look like a toddler's toy. You have to stop the evil aliens from getting their claws on it, and thus insure the survival of the universe. This tasks rests on your shoulders, Master Chief.

          ---Gameplay----
          You start out aboard a ship. You are re-animated from a cryo-chamber to evacuate, erm, defend the ship. You can only carry two weapons at a time, so don't expect to be Rambo reincarnated.
          The aliens aren't quite as scary as one would expect, in fact, their a bit comical. But that doesn't mean they can't be a pain in the neck.
          That aside, the game is pretty darn good.

          You get to explore very large terrains, but at times it seems a bit too pre-determined. There are quite a few weapons available, both human and alien alike. My favourite gun has got to be the pistol. It features a scope and packs a punch that puts Rocky Balboa (Is it just me, or is this starting to sound like a Sylvester Stalone documentary?) to shame.

          My favourite part of the game is being able to jump into a Warthog (something between a Land Rover and a Beach Buggy) and drive around crushing whatever (or whoever) is unlucky enough to get caught off guard. You can also get a soldier or two to jump in alongside you and provide covering fire or even let one of them take the wheel (warning: not for the faint of heart, motion sick or those who have road rage issues :-)).

          ---Graphics and Sound----
          The graphics, while not revolutionary, will be enough to satisfy most gamers. The sound and music is binding and the storyline gripping. The aliens may sound funny (as in amusing) at times, but that just makes the game more fun to play.

          There isn't a lot of gore or blood, in fact, there's hardly any. So you don't have to worry about your ten-year old refusing to get out of YOUR bed.

          ---System Requirements----
          * Operating System: Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Second Edition, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), Microsoft Windows 2000, or Microsoft Windows XP.
          * Computer/Processor: 733 megahertz (MHz) processor.
          * DirectX: DirectX® 9.0 or later. (DirectX 9.0b is installed by Halo.)
          * Memory: 128 megabytes (MB) of RAM.
          * Hard Disk: 1.2 gigabytes (GB) of free hard disk space.
          * Video card: 32 MB with 3D Transform and Lighting capable.
          * CD: 8X.
          * Sound: Sound card, speakers, or headphones with multiplayer play.
          * *56.6 Kilobytes per second (KBps) modem or 10 MB network adapter. Multiplayer servers require broadband to run a server.
          * *Additionally, you must have an Internet Service provider (ISP) or a Local Area Network (LAN), if you want to play multi-player games.


          ---Final Word(s)----
          It didn't take me a long time to finish Halo (about a week if I remember correctly, but don't quote me on that). There are many more challenging games out there that may provide you with a longer experience. But all in all, it was fun while it lasted. In fact, I'd be eager to get my hands on Halo 2 if it wasn't for the fact that it was only being released for Vista.
          This game is fun to play, but don't expect to be glued to your seat for weeks on end.

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          17.04.2006 05:56
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          Bad conversion from Xbox

          The game that sent the xbox on its way to success has come to p.c, the question is, will it be as successfull....The answer is no. This is because even though Halo is a great game on the Xbox, on the p.c nothing has changed. It's still just your average predictable F.P.S that always follows the same strict principles. the gameplay is helped by the fact there is also an online option whicjh allows you to play capture the flag etc but sadly it doesnt make up for the fact that there are just so many other games on the p.c which are better online and offline. The p.c version, sadly, contains many bugs. I have a high performance p.c but I still found that the game dragged and occasionaly froze all together. If you really want to play this buy an Xbox and get it for Xbox.

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            29.06.2004 18:40
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            Halo: Combat Evolved. There are several meanings of 'evolved' on Dictionary.com, but the ones I assume are used in the title of this game is "To develop or achieve gradually" or "To undergo gradual change". People often interpret evolution to mean that something changes for the better, and I think that is definitely the case of whoever came up with the title of this game. Immediately, you're launched into the thick of the action. The obligatory animated introduction indicates that the plot of the game is actually only a small part of a larger story. You are Master Chief, some kind of elite soldier who is called out of suspended animation to prepare for battle against an enemy called "The Covenant" when a huge ring-like artificial world called Halo is discovered. You are informed that "The Covenant" have beaten you to Halo, and with your ship under attack and heavily damaged, the ship's captain, Keyes, orders you to abandon ship and protect the controlling artificial intelligence construct, Cortana, at all costs. And so there you go, into the game proper. At first glance, the plot doesn't seem to be anything special, and to be honest, it's not really, is it? However, where Bungie have really excelled is that they still get you involved in the story using many different methods such as dribbling plot information to you, hinting at a larger picture etc. The first level is supposed to serve as some sort of tutorial level, but there's nothing really out of the ordinary about Halo that you need to have any sort of special teaching level. If you've played any kind of first person shooter (FPS) before, then you'll instantly be familiar with Halo's workings. Graphics. Halo is amazing to look at, irrespective of whether you're playing an indoor or outdoor level. The graphics engine itself provides and excellent level of detail and this has been used well
            by the graphics designers who have created a highly imaginative artificial alien world in which to set the game. If I have one complaint, it would be that, while there is plenty of graphical variety between each of the ten levels, there's actually very little within each of the levels. For example, due to the repetitive nature of the interior graphics, you find that it's quite easy to get disorientated simply because everything looks the same. While it isn't a criticism which can be leveled at outdoor levels, there are enough indoor levels to make it worth mentioning. Sound. The sound effects are above average for a game of this type, but where Halo really is outstanding is in the music department. This is going to sound really strange, but the music is almost film soundtrack-like in its quality. In other, similar games, the music is incidental and fairly bland. Halo's music is completely different (using classical sounding music rather than the obligatory rock) and is quite outstanding, at least in terms of 'game music'. Sometimes, during the game, the sound is too much though. There's one level where a character called 'Guilty Spark 343' explains quite a bit to you in terms of plot advancement, but you're so busy shooting horrible monsters that you can't actually hear what it's saying to you. I suppose this more of a design issue than a sound issue though. Gameplay. As the Master Chief (you're never referred to as anything other than "Master Chief" or a "Class Five"), it's obvious you're really very special; ordinary soldiers look upon you with awe and inquisitiveness when you appear. The reaction of the two people when they're ordered to break you out of hibernation indicates that this is a special occasion and that things can't be going well if this is the result. These little touches add little to the actual gameplay, but add loads to
            the atmosphere and involvement. Another point worth considering is that, throughout the game, you are left fairly clueless as to what's going on. That's not to say that you aren't told anything, because you are, but each time you learn a little about the game universe in which Halo is set, you will realise that there's so much more that's left unanswered. Why have The Covenant attacked humans without provocation? Who built Halo? Why is it abandoned, seemingly empty and in pristine condition? It's the depth of the story which keeps you interested, and keeps you playing. The actual lack of understanding at what's going on (until the later levels, of course) or gaps in the back story are not negative aspects, but show a depth of story which could be unrivalled in computer gaming. It's not all good though. The actual gameplay is horrendously bad and repetitive. There's rarely a moment where you're faced with a small number of enemy to defeat using skill or stealth. It's almost like a 10 year old game such as Doom where your only goal is to kill as many bad guys/monsters as possible. And that's it! This type of game doesn't appeal to me at all, irrespective of how it's dressed up. I prefer a bit of variety in gameplay and at times, some puzzles to solve to give the old grey matter a workout. There's nothing new to find either ? almost from the first level you're introduced to practically all your enemies and their weapons. Unlike other games of this type, you don't encounter new weapons later in the game, and it's strange that Bungie chose to give you access to most stuff from the early parts of the game. Performance. For a game that's over a year old, the performance issue was quite worrying. I wasn't playing with all the options turned up to full, but there was still a significant amount of slowdown in places despite the fact my processor sp
            eed is just short of 4 times the minimum speed, coupled with a brand new graphics card and lots of memory. Microsoft's Minimum Specifications: Operating System: Any Microsoft Operating system EXCEPT Windows 95 or Windows NT. Processor: 733 MHz processor. DirectX 9.0 or later and is included with Halo. Memory: 128 MB of RAM. Hard Disk: 1.2 GB of hard disk space. Video card: 32 MB with 3D Transform and Lighting capable. Sound: Standard soundcard. My Specifications (where different): Processor: 2500 MHz processor Memory: 512 MB Video Card: 256MB Radeon 9600 XT Overall. Good graphics and sound are icing on the cake, not something to build an entire game around. I was dreadfully disappointed by Halo ? three out of the five main 'pieces' (sound, plot and graphics) are excellent, but Halo fails spectacularly on the one piece where it really counts, namely gameplay. The multiplayer was fun for a very short time, but not enough to have me going back anymore than a few times. On a positive note, there is so much back story to Halo that there are novels out which deal with the Halo universe and can be found on Amazon. "Halo: The Fall of Reach", for example, deals with the events leading up to the start of the game and there are others which cover events during and after the game. There are plenty of sources of information on the game on the internet (try the unofficial http://halo.bungie.org/ for in-depth analyses of aspects of the Halo universe), and to be honest, if you're interested in the Halo universe, I'd have a look at those. If you are, then perhaps you'd be better spending four pounds on one of the books than thirty quid on the game. If the plot fails to excite you, then you may look elsewhere because it's the only reason to play this game. Microsoft and Bungie are telling fibs ? this isn't evolution at all!

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