Review by Dmar

"A pretty fun little shooter"

I'm sure many of you have heard of Halo for the X-Box or played it. Its known as quite a good looking, good playing engaging shooter, and its finally come to my favorite gaming system, the PC. However, this IS a PC game review, so I'm going to stick exclusively to the PC version.

Graphics - 7/10

Halo's graphics are pretty dang nice to look at, if not super-spectacular. Models are decent, until you start getting close to some of the human ones, but overall pretty good. Elites look dangerous (to a degree) and your everyday Grunt looks like a squat little alien built for dying. The biggest problem, though, is that this IS pretty hardware intensive. If you're running pretty much anything but close to the upper end of the hardware spectrum, you're going to have to turn things down. Heck, my Radeon 9600 Pro requires a significant trade-off to run as smoothly as it can. If you don't have a super card, though, don't fret. A surprising number of graphics cards CAN run the game if you're willing to turn things down, and it still looks reasonably well when its as low as it gets.

Sound - 7/10

Sound is pretty good, but nothing ground-breaking or new, really. Audio tracks are fun to listen to, and come in at the right times. Marines insult their victims and trade battle chatter, which CAN get annoying at times but is mostly fun to listen to. The alien Covenant tend to yell at you and each other, and in general make weird noises. Gun effects are nice and don't get on your nerves after firing your assault rifle for the bajillionth time.

Gameplay - 8/10

Halo is fun to play. If you're into the 1st person shooter category, you should at least give this game a spin at a friend's house or something. Of course, its nothing groundbreaking, but hey, what were you expecting? Fun vehicles, campaign is pretty interesting (not an RPG-level plot, but above most mindless ''kill em all'' games), plenty of varying environments, and the core of it all, the combat, is done smoothly. Battles are quite often very mobile, shifting from one region to another entirely as combatants scramble for cover. The campaign levels are well designed, with intense firefights, exploration, and AI-controlled Marines often backing you up. They're also surprisingly replayable, if you liked them the first time around. Good stock stuff.

Replayability - 7/10

Of course, if you know what's coming, the campaign loses much of its appeal. There ARE hard-core fanatics who will seriously enjoy playing a level over and over to get Legendary rank (you WILL die. A LOT.) but even if you're not all about the accomplishments, the campaign is fun to revisit because the levels are well-designed enough to be replayable over and over. If you're into multiplayer, though, there's infinite replayability here, so long as your patience with the game holds out. Plenty of modes to romp around in, from variations on deathmatch to classic capture the flag, and a few more.

Overall - 7/10

If you've played the X-Box version, don't expect much more out of this than what you've already seen. Its much easier to aim, of course, with a keyboard/mouse configuration, and staying maneuverable is also far easier than using two control sticks. If you're a first-timer, then you're in for a treat. Its a fun, engaging experience that'll likely keep you coming until you finish the campaign or it satisfies your need for carnage.

Rent or Buy?

Well, the question here is ''should I really buy this thing, or bum a copy or something?'' Or perhaps ''should I get it at ALL?'' It depends on your interest, of course. If you like this sort of games (1st person shooter) Halo is near the top of the bunch. If not really, or you only like some, give it a whirl then go out and contribute your money!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 10/13/03

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