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GAME REVIEW - June 14, 2006

by Devon Varesko

Halo: Combat Evolved (PC)

My Rating: 9 out of 10

Halo: Combat Evolved

Halo: Combat Evolved is a futuristic science fiction FPS (First Person Shooter). Halo was originally released on the Xbox console system, and this is an adaptation of that game to the personal computer.

You play the role of a character known as "Master Chief", an elite warrior with the equipment to match. You start on a ship called "The Pillar of Autumn", where aliens soon attack you.

Then you see the Halo - where most of the game takes place. It's like a planet - but not. Apparently it was constructed by a long-forgotten alien race (which is different than the ones attacking your ship).

You will encounter a large number of enemies ranging from weird small aliens to large thick-armored aliens who are determined to see your demise. The landscape is covered with rivers, cliffs, rocks, snow in some places, grass, alien stuff, and more rocks. There is also an interesting plot that is revealed to you as you play through the game - something a lot of shooters lack.

Some cool features include cinematic cut scenes, tons of unique weapons and vehicles (including hovering and flying vehicles), and lots of multiplayer modes from team deathmatch to capture-the-flag.

The PC version also includes new weapons and vehicles not seen in the Xbox version, including a Warthog with a mounted rocket launcher (instead of just the usual mounted gattling gun). There is also a flamethrower - and many new multiplayer maps! The game allows up to 16 players at a time, which is plenty more than you would see at your average Xbox-party. Of course, a problem with that is that each player needs to own their own copy of the game and their own computer, whereas on the Xbox 4 people can use one console and game, as long as you have 4 controllers.

The downside to all of this, is that they never included a cooperative mode in this game, which leaves me very disappointed. However, I've beaten single player at least 3 times now because I think it's that good. Singleplayer offers 4 different difficulty levels: "Easy", "Normal", "Heroic", and "Legendary". I started playing it some more a couple days ago, and I'm now on the third level on Legendary mode (hardest mode). It takes a lot of strategy to get through it in this mode (in fact I doubt I'll ever get halfway through the game on Legendary).

Another nifty feature in this game is the ability to customize multiplayer games. You can select what weapons you want players to be able to use, frag limit, time limit, and lots more. This makes it so no game has to be the same, and offers plenty of variety depending on the game style you prefer. Don't like snipers? Disable them. Want to have a rocket-only match? You can do that too.

One other cool thing that sets this apart from the Xbox version, is the ability to use the "Banshee" in multiplayer games. This is the alien vehicle that you can fly, and shoots small plasma-looking guns as primary fire, and a large blast like the fuel rod for the secondary fire. It's probably most easily compared to the tank. Of course, it isn't quite as cool when it's shooting at you.

Probably the largest advantage that the PC version has is that you get a mouse and keyboard to control your movements, which also makes it easier to aim. The Xbox joysticks were very akward for movement and aiming.

The largest problem area with the game is that in singleplayer many of the maps are repetative. What I mean by that is they often re-use rooms and other objects in different places of the game, and it becomes quite noticeable. At least the rooms and objects are fairly unique in their own rights, so things could be worse - but you'll probably still have a sense of deja vu as you wander the singleplayer maps.

In summary, if you want to play cooperative mode or play with lots of you friends who don't own computers - get the Xbox version. If you want new maps, new weapons, new vehicles, and 16 player internet game play - get the PC version. Either way, I would suggest you get the game, it's one of the best Sci-Fi shooters out there.

Related Links:

Bungie Website for Halo: Combat Evolved

Microsoft Website for Halo: Combat Evolved

Microsoft Website for Halo (Xbox)

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