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Halo: Combat Evolved

Halo: Combat Evolved is a video game in the first-person shooter (FPS) genre. Created by Microsoft-owned Bungie Studios, it was released exclusively for Microsoft's Xbox game console on November 15, 2001.

Almost two years later, on September 30, 2003, a port of Halo for Windows was released. An Apple Macintosh version was released on December 11, 2003.


Halo is a bestselling game for the Xbox, considered by many to be that platform's "must-have" game. Many consider Halo to be one of the best first-person shooters of all time. The usually harsh Edge magazine, for example, gave it a full score of ten out of ten. Nevertheless Halo has its weaknesses, some criticise it as too repetitive.

Prior to Bungie's takeover by Microsoft, the initial release of Halo was planned for the Macintosh and Windows platforms - in fact, the game was first previewed at the Macworld Conference & Expo, New York, in 1999. It was also originally planned as a real-time strategy game.

The game, similar to the Nintendo 64 game GoldenEye, was especially well received by those who played games exclusively or primarily on console systems.


Halo has several features that improve upon the FPS genre. One of the most exalted features is the use of vehicles, which the player can enter and exit seamlessly during play. These are the Warthog assault buggy, the Ghost landspeeder, the Banshee aircraft, and the Scorpion tank.

Another feature is the relatively advanced psychology for the AI-controlled enemies - the more cowardly types of enemies will run away screaming if the player detonates explosives near them, while even the more hardened enemy troops will take cover to allow their shields to regenerate. Other touches include enemies diving out of the way when the player tries to run them over in a vehicle, and the way some enemies continue firing at the player's last known position when they lose sight of him.

16 players can play together in one Halo game over a local area network, using four Xboxes that have been connected through an Ethernet hub. The game's seamless support for this type of play, as well as a few large maps that can comfortably hold up to 16 combatants, is a first for console games. The PC version of Halo adds online play, and also new vehicles and weapons for multiplayer.


Warning: Spoilers follow

Halo, like previous Bungie releases such as the Marathon series, has an intricate plot.

The Halo in the title refers to an artificial ringworld discovered by the warship which the central character, the Master Chief, is aboard. With the help of his fellow marines and the ship's artificial intelligence, Cortana, the Master Chief discovers some of the secrets of Halo while fighting off members of the Covenant, arch enemies of humanity who, presumably, wish to find Halo's secrets for themselves.

Along the way, the Covenant and the Master Chief release the Flood, a race of parasitic alien zombies. This in turn activates Halo's defense system, a pulse weapon that, when fired, would wipe out all animals in the galaxy large enough to be hosts for the Flood. Apparently, this system is designed to stop the Flood from spreading through the universe if they escape confinement from Halo.

Naturally, this would wipe out Humanity as well, and so the final levels of the game revolve around the Master Chief's attempts to destroy Halo before it fires.

The game leaves the story open to further developments, with the revelation that there are several Halo ringworlds in the galaxy.

Future developments

The next episode in the Halo story, Halo 2, is expected to be released in March of 2004.

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