Halo: Combat Evolved
Review by Korkskrew
"One of the most hyped games ever finally hits the PC... but is it any good?"
Halo, The XBox hit has finally arrived on the PC after a long wait. I personally have not played the XBox version, So this is not going to be a review that simply compares the two versions, and we wouldn't want that would we!
Halo is a first person shooter with a whole lot of action, a fantastic plot, superb gameplay and it simply has a general aura of 'coolness' to it that starts as soon as the game kicks off and only ends when the final credits roll their way down the screen. Anyways, on with the review...
Halo has fantastic gameplay and is very addictive because of this. It is no ordinary first person shooter, it has a very strong, gripping plot and many other perks that really add to the game, but even without these perks, I am sure that Halo would still be a great game, they just add to how great the game is!
One of my favourite things that add to this games greatness is the usage of vehicles, you can drive a whole range of them... from a 4 wheeled all terrain buggy mounted with a machine gun to an alien hovercraft with light plasma energy weapons!
The vehicles are controlled in a different way to how one would expect them to be controlled, rather than simply using directions to move them, you aim the mouse in the direction you want it to go and press forwards in that direction. At first this seems a bit weird, but when you get used to how it is done it becomes very easy to use.
One vehicle in the game, the 'Warthog' can man two extra people as well as the main character, one in the passenger seat who shoots whatever gun he has equipped, and one man in the back using the mounted machine gun (mounted machine gun with infinite bullets did I neglect to mention?) Just being able to drive around an war torn alien terrain with friendlies doing the dirty work for you is very fun... just imagine doing this in multiplayer, oh yes!
Another great thing about Halo is how there seems to be no scripted scenes at all and it is very non-linear, you can emerge from a base hidden deep in the ground to a war stricken landscape and an enemy craft can crash in front of you. You can jump into it and fly around shooting your enemies, jump out later and grab a buggy, get some allies to jump in with you and get some alien blasting done... or you could just ignore the crashed alien ship and wander the terrain battling the aliens with human troops to lend a hand, it really seems like you can do most anything!
The weapon system in the game is intuitive and realistic, you can only carry two weapons at a time and if you want to pick up another weapon... you simply replace one you already have with it. Which you must say is quite realistic, because I doubt even the guy from Doom would be able to carry a BFG, a rocket launcher and numerous other weapons at the same time!
A very small aspect about this game which I like quite a bit is how the firing of weapons and usage of grenades is done, to fire a weapon you (by default) just click the left mouse button, and to throw a grenade you click the right mouse button. A small addition to the game, but one that is in the long run quite useful.
Halo packs a beast of a storyline that grips you from start to finish, even things such as the location of the game are intriguing. The story starts off basically like this; a human ship named 'The Pillar of Autumn' is being attacked by a race of aliens called 'The Covenant'. Because of this the commander of the ship orders for the unfreezing of super-soldier Master Chief, a man kept in cryogenics for some unknown reason... also, the character that you control throughout the game! The humans try to battle The Covenant but end up having to crash land on a ring shaped planet, which is the namesake of this game, Halo. It is then that the story starts to heat up and get real interesting.
A refreshing story to experience indeed.
Although by no means ground breaking (come on, the game is 2 years old!) the graphics of Halo are great, nice to look at. The character designs are very well thought out and often quite interesting, the vehicles look real nice and when there is a full blown war on the screen and the graphics look as good as they do, you can't complain really! Nothing is graphically amazing in this game, but it is still very good.
The sound of Halo is well done and used greatly, it is used to build up atmosphere for tense situations, or to get the adrenaline pumping when you open a door to an epic room littered with various shapes and sizes of aliens who want your blood.
The voices of the characters in the game is done greatly and fits in very nicely with the game. The generic human troops are also voiced well and speak a whole manner of different accents, which I believe to be a small,but nice addition to the game. I must say though, my favourite voice in the game is that of the small Covenant aliens, quite a funny lifeform they are. Running away whilst yelping at the sight of a large human army and their high-pitched yells of fright add a small amount of humour to the game... well, they made me laugh anyways.
Play Time and Replayability
I finished Halo quite quickly, it only took a few hours to do it... but the reason for this was perhaps not that the game is short, in fact, it has quite an epic story to it... but perhaps it was because I could not stop playing it!
Although there are not really any real reasons for replayability, you will still want to replay this game after finishing it just to relive some of the moments from the game again, and to use some of the fantastic vehicles in the game!
If you haven't already got the XBox version (and finished it numerous times no doubt) go out and buy this now! Truly superb game... 9/10
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/29/03
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