Review #1: Halo Combat Evolved | Teen Ink

Review #1: Halo Combat Evolved

November 8, 2018
By otisboy67 BRONZE, Westbrough, Massachusetts
otisboy67 BRONZE, Westbrough, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"How 'bout no!" Dr Evil

Halo Combat Evolved

The screen goes black you hear the chorus starts singing and that famous tune starts playing. At the time you had no idea what you're getting into then you the Halo ring and you have the options to go into The campaign, multiplayer, your profile, settings, credits and quit. You move the analog stick and you hit the A button to start the campaign. Yes as most of you know I will be talking about the game that kicked off basically every FPS from the 2000’s. Call Of Duty (or CoD) and the oh so popular battlefield series to name a few, Halo Combat Evolved or Halo CE as most Halo fans call it. It was the first game in the series and kicked off one of the most popular video games series of all time. It’s Halo if you haven't guessed already. This game has a huge fan base loved by critics and gamers alike. Does this 17-year-old game hold up to time?

The competition/backstory

With the millions of dollars Sony, Nintendo and in the past Sega the big boy of tech Microsoft wanted to throw their hat into the ring Introducing the Xbox Coming out on November 15, 2001, on the same day as Halo CE. This game ( Halo CE) already was a console seller (a game that people would buy a console for just to play that game.) and that was a really good thing considering is competition  was the PlayStation 2 which is the best selling video game console of all time and had classics as God of War (1 and 2), Spider-man 2, GTA San Andreas and Jurassic Park Operation Genesis and the Gamecube with games as Smash Bros Melee,Luigi’s Mansion, Sonic Adventure 2 and Spider-man 2 (as well). Now back to Halo Made by a small company called Bungie. It instantly blew up and the aftermath was incredible, But we will not be talking about the aftermath today. Today we will be taking a look at the game that started it all

  The story/the missions

The game starts with a spaceship called The Pillar of Autumn with laser shots shooting at the ship and a mysterious huge space ring just floating below the ship and this is the ring that got the games it's named “Halo”. We later see the captain of the ship Jacob Keyes, Now one thing I dislike about this character in this storyline we are told throughout the game that he is a legendary Caption with many victories against the Covenant (don’t worry you’ll meet them soon enough) and the inventor of the “Keyes Loop” but we never see this in him at all during the game he never really does anything except to move the plot forward and add some extra missions where you have to save him (there is 2 missions where you save him out of  I think 10 missions) He never really shows the cool and epic guy we are spouses to believe he is. And then Keyes get informed by a handy AI known as Cortana a Purple (later turned blue) “smart” AI and the main player in this story. She tells The Caption that the covenant is boarding the ship.

Now the covenant the the bad guys of the story and the main enemies you fight (yes i said enemies as in multiple guys you can shoot and kill) They are a group of  very religious aliens (the Elites,the grunts,the jackals,hunters and added later in Halo 2 The brutes and prophets.) Imagine the kingdoms of the middle ages with laser guns and really high technology in the year 2549. And then Keyes tell Cortana the wake the Chief. And then yours pulled away to a first person view and then we are introduced to the Master Chief and unlike   we are told he is a legendary icon and a sparkle of hope in the quickly losing war against the covenant and he quickly proves it very fast after a tutorial explosions start going off and the covenant breakthrough and you run all the way to the bridge get a gun and start going to town wiping up covenant left and right.

After that parade, you hop into an escape pod Because She gonna Blow! And you land right onto the mysterious ring and also right into the second mission called “Halo”. Now this mission is all about you (the Master Chief) finding and rescuing your fellow marines from the covenant trying to hunt them down unlucky for the chief and you all your marines that were on your escape pod all sadly perished you get some guns rescue (the best character), Sergeant Avery Johnson and you get a warthog (basically a big jeep with a railgun/minigun attached to the back also really oversimplified) here's is a reason why some people love this game Exploration you can almost go anywhere on the level you are playing no kill timers no invisible walls nothing, me and thousands of others have gotten lost on these maps and you get rewarded for this to you can get things called skulls which lets you customize this game difficulty by turning things off, upgrading weapons you think of it Bungie has made it and you drive around rescuing them, other survivors,,,. Now just a mention here the controls to drive the warthog are more like GTA than they are like Forza so that was a bit confusing for me at first. Then you are informed that THE PRINCESS HAS BEEN CAPTURED oh sorry I meant our good caption Keyes has been taken prisoner by the covenant which really confused me as there has been no previous record of the covenant taking prisoners before (in the other lore because this is the first game after all) so why did they take him as a POW (prisoner of war) and not just kill him off there? Anyway, that’s our cue for the 3rd mission and one of my favorites “Truth and Reconciliation”.  

Can I just say I love this mission it is so good! It starts off with you instead of getting the normal starting loadout (and AR and a Magnum) you get a Sniper Rifle and a Magnum complement of course ( also just saying you spawn in with an AR and magnum but you find and pick up a sniper  like 3 seconds into the mission) and you are given the choice to either be stealthy and you in guns a blazing and another reason me and millions of other people love these games you are given a choice for your strategy every mission and every fight is like a chess game you have to strategize agent your opponent and plan ahead, you always have multiple ways you can kill/defeat your opponent and it makes these games very fun. Anyway, you sneak onto the covenant ship called well “the Truth and Reconciliation” after killing all the guards and meeting then killing the Hunters. You get onto the ship and meat some invisible sword elites these guys are so hard to fight first off there is like 5-7 of them then they are all viable oh yeah and there swords and a one-shot kill! So after that you fight your way to the prions cells and free captain Keyes and he said and I quote “I overheard the gourds talking about this ring…” which makes sense 

sense on no levels First off the Covenant are aliens and we as humans speak English (or any other language you got your copy of the game in) so why would two covenant guards be casually speaking English? Should they be speaking in I don’t know to say their own language? Like I said before the Covenant are a very religious empire like almost all of their decisions are based on what there “gods” would want. So they think the humans should be massacred and be squashed like an ant because they are in the Covenant way for there “great salvation” they think humans are a lower species than them they think of us as the white humans thought of the natives when they first met them. So why would two Covenant gourds be talking in the main language of the lesser than spies than they are currently causing mass genocide against? Or who knows they could have given Keyes “how to speak in Covenant language” lessons while he was in prison who knows. Anyway, after that rant, he tells you and everyone else that Halo is a weapon and that firing it will give the covenant “great salvation” (yeah that same thing I was talking about earlier) Well there are completely WRONG the Halo ring’s real purpose is to Kill all sentient life in the universe. But no one knows that, but what the humans do know is “halo” is a weapon and they need to get it before the covenant.

Next up is the “silent cartographer” You get dropped of on a beach and hop into a warthog and doing what chief does best (killing aliens) and nothing really happens except you get a map to find your way around this floating ring in space. Next up “assault the control room”.

Now nothing happens except a few plot points/things that will come up later but basically, you storm the control room of the Halo ring but then you plug Cortana (she is   AI) into the mainframe and she goes nuts. Not coo-coo crazy nuts (even though I am questioning that because of Halo 5) but she just get so much knowledge about a lot of things but then you hear the ear screeching tune and panic theme of an unknown enemy and Cortana panics and yells at you to Get caption Keyes and save him. You start to question her but she just yells at you to go and you run out of the control room. Something very dangerous has been let out of its cage.

You get on a pelican and the pilot explains that Keyes and some men (including Sgt Johnson) to look at a weapons stash but they found not the kind of weapon they were looking for. This mission is more like a mission in a detective game than a 2000’s FPS and you see a bunch of covenant corpses and destruction the more and more you walk towards the “storage shed” you find a room with some UNSC bodies you then watch a camera a marine was holding and see the trade that was the first encounter with The flood all of those 20 (an estimate of who I could see in the cutscene)  men die (except Stg Johnson!) and Keyes was with them the footage cuts before you can see the full story but it’s clear this is what Cortana was talking about. Then you met them. Now that might not sound as intimidating as me and the games were saying they are but these are space zombies imagine the walking dead zombies on STEROIDS. The flood almost killed the entire universe once before and know they are back and they were only stopped with the activation of Halo witch if you remember if kills all sentient life in the universe and the only reason it worked is it killed off the floods food supply so they starved. After meeting and them killing a whole lot of them you escape to relay this information to your forces and also try and find out who is in charge. But before you can do that a floating light bulb thingy called 343 

Guilty Spark (the monitor of this installation as he tells you over and over again) and he goes on a rant and then teleports you away (without your permission) to “the library” which still haunts me to this day.

This mission is designed for the flood the cramped corridors the almost endless waves of flood the chase you with no mercy are relent are one of the many reasons that make this mission so hard especially on Legendary the hardest difficulty in the game. On Legendary difficulty, the enemies have more health, powerful weapons, less game given weapon stashes (like crashed pelicans and other places where on lower difficulties will give you goodies like health packs, better weapons, and more ammo.) just showing how good Bungie is at seeing who you are fighting and (most of the time) makes them more fun by making them a tad more difficult adding more ways to strategize and sometimes adding in fun little easter eggs. Even though Bungie usually has good level design sometimes it can make a mission a little too hard (this is only the first and definitely not the last overpowered mission for the AI controlling the bad guys.) and also just look at Halo 2 that is really good but infamous for its terrible level design and just overpowered enemies (stupid jackal snipers) but back to Halo CE. This mission also has another thing running against it ’s the first all flood level even in halo. That's bad because we as a player still have no idea what works and does not against this new challenger that was kind of (as much as I love the flood) was added into the game for no reason. Bungie was just like “hey there buddy having fun killing aliens? Good here is some space zombies have fun!” so we as a player have spent 5 and a ¼ of just fighting covenant and now we have these other guys who fight nothing like we are used to with our alien friends. They charge at you until you are dead or they are, but after hours of raging and going through 3 controllers (not really) you beat the infamous “library” grab your key to activate Halo and you are back to the control room but someone is there waiting for you and you are going to have some explaining to do or rather she is.

You get “faaompt” back to the control room and as you plug in the key (the year is 2552 everything is going to be plugged into a port or something) and Cortana stops you and as you protest she “shhhs” you and explains what halo real purpose is and how we should probably blow this space ring to space ashes and after you fight off 343’s attempts to kill you and find another person to do the job but hey you're the Master Chief some floating light bulb can’t kill you so you burst your way  out of there fight some more destroy halo’s power generators make your way back towards the way you came in “assault the control room” and get teleported to try and use the “pillar of autumn”’s engine cores to blow up halo but for that your going to need caption Keyes’s caption code and for that you need his body/him and he is known to be on the now crashed “truth and reconciliation” so you teleport there you fight your way though to find a horrifying thing. Keyes had been converted to the flood but not like what we had seen before no he was now something called a proto gravemind. Now the flood being space zombies operate a central intelligence so they are zombies but they aren't dumb. The more and more humans, Covenant and other aliens they turn into a flood (via infection form) and they become a flood combat form they take the useful information from that life form and making the flood smarter and that shows when they can use guns operate vehicles (later games don’t worry) and many 

other things. then after gaining enough biomass, they can make a proto gravemind basically making them even smarter in this case Keyes here was chosen. After some more biomass is collected they can upgrade to a gravemind (not a proto like the real deal) then you guess it making them 200 IQ (not really no one knows their IQ) but you will meet a gravemind later. After some being shaken a bit (manly Cortana you're the chief) and you cut off the chip that allows him to do caption stuff and you get the code and fight your way back out of that old ship just to go to another one to blow it up.

So you go to that old ship and you fight throughout the flood trying to stop you get to the control room and put in the handprint when a familiar humming starts to sing you spin around to find no one? Then 343 Guilty Spark tells you that he can’t allow that making various demands as he goes but the main one he shut off you caption access and now you have to fight him while not him his sentinels and you also have to go to a core yourself put a grenade there to blow it up after that you can’t make it on foot so you get into a warthog and drive off but as you meet the spot where you are going to get picked up to get off the ring before it explodes the bad guys shoot her down and now you need to get to a longsword ship and get the heck outta of there. After a very famous warthog run you get to the ship just in time and take off with halo blowing up behind you. In a classic move by most games in the early 2000’s they end with a satisfying ending not really expecting a sequel needing to be made but unknown to them this games blew up and now the series is working on it 6th main storyline game.


Finishing the fight

This game I love and I really do think it stands up to time. I talked a lot about the story and it’s honestly really hard to talk about this series without explaining something else to make it less confusing and i didn’t even touch on how much this game changed gaming as a whole like for the first time a platformer wasn’t dominating the industry it was a FPS, but if you liked what you heard I really recommend getting into these games. No Xbox? There are books, graphic novels. and many other ways to love this universe. In the end, this game is really fun to play, the guns are fun to use, the enemies are fun to fight (most of the time) and the music is really good and capturing the moment perfectly and it really does deserve all the praise it has gotten and to be placed #19th on IGN’s best video game list of all time. So I say play it, the Anniversary edition is on Xbox 360 and it’s also on Halo The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One. So wake up from cryosleep and Murder some aliens because it’s time to play Halo. That's why I think this game is so awesome (sorry Act Man).               

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This article has 1 comment.

on Nov. 30 2018 at 10:08 am
thejrosen SILVER, Grafton, Massachusetts
5 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Great Job!