(Microsoft/Bungie, November 15, 2001)

It was only a matter of time but here is Halo: November 2004's Game of the Month! Sure, as I'm writing this, Halo is still a fairly new title on a pretty new game system but in such a short time the game has already become a classic! Heck, the game has sold around 5 million copies to several happy gamers worldwide. Since this is the big month when Halo 2 is finally coming out (after literally years of waiting) I thought it would be appropriate that we look back at why everybody's has jumped on the Halo bandwagon.

In the distance future there is a new war blewing between humans and a alien race called the Covenant. These aliens have already destroyed many of Earth's space colonies and they just attacked your orbiting battlestation. With the remaining humans lives in serious danger and the humans secret information about the where a bouts of Earth in jeopardy, you really have your work cut out for you. You play the role of the mysterious enigma Master Chief, a genetically enhanced super soldier awakened to guard and protect the secrets before it is too late. This sounds like a cool story but I have to warn you that I wasn't wowed right away.

Just ask anybody who knows me, I was not the biggest fan of these First Person type games (yeah, I even didn't play Goldeneye or Doom that much). I was really expecting some incredible things here from this popular First Person Shooter but after a few hour of playing in the Single player game I started to get bored with it. Maybe it was all walking through the nearly endless corridors and the overly huge environments plus the shooting the same enemies over and over wasn't too fun either. Maybe my expectations were just too high? Another thing that bugged me was the game's rather high learning curve. Halo uses the whole controller and it is going to take a bit of time to master all the game's button so you can do all the game's moves and techniques but once learned they all work pretty well.

So what changed my mind about Halo? The game did get much better for me further into the game when you get into some very heated fights with some highly intelligent aliens. These aliens won't stand there and get shot at, they often like to attack in groups, they shoot and move at the same time, if there is cover they will use it, plus these guys have multiple guns and vehicles to watch out for as well. Of course you can use all these tactics too. Because of the game's high artificial intelligent it really feels like you are part of a real war here. Halo also became more interesting when I learned more about the game's complex story line.

The single player is filled with great action but who could forget that this game comes with a very awesome multi-player mode as well. OK, most FPS games come with some form of multi-player mode but Halo's is one of the biggest I ever played. The multi-player has lots of cool modes like Team fights, Tags, Free for all, Capture the Flag, and many more. If you have a Cable Link and Router then why not hook up 4 TV's and have a massive up to 16 player (yes, I said 16 player!) Halo LAN (Local Area Network) party? Sure, all this sounds pretty expensive to set up multiple Televisions, Xboxes, and games but with so many Xbox owners already out there now I bet you are bound other gamers who are willing to help out, eh? You'll be glad you did!

Conclusion: Video:
As if all that wasn't enough Halo is also a graphical three dimensional powerhouse. This futurist universe is filled with tons of incredible large scale environments plus unlike other more dire FPS like Doom and Quake, the game's bright and colourful designs were a breath of fresh air. The game is still fairly violent though, don't get me wrong. Seeing a bloody friend go flying into the air after getting hit with well placed rocket launcher shot never gets boring. Halo is sure one sharp looking game! The game doesn't have too much background music other then a few tension inducing tracks but all the game's sound effects like gun fire, vehicles, and explosions all sound very real.

One of the best things about Halo here is that it really shows off the power of the Xbox. No, I just don't means how this game has graphics that wouldn't be possible on the PS2 and GameCube, I'm also talking about Halo uses the system's exclusive cable outlets to enhance the game play. Think about it, multi-player gaming on consoles before Halo came along where mostly confined to just split screen action on one TV. PC gamers have been enjoying LAN games like this for years and thanks to the success of Halo, if finally looks like we will be seeing a lot more of them on consoles now too. Halo is not only packed with nonstop FPS action but you also get some excellent graphics and sounds with a very unique storyline as well. If you love FPS games then Halo is a must play!

*Xbox Link compatible

overall rating: 95/100

Find Halo on eBay here!

For 1 to 16 players
Rated (M) for Mature
graphics: 9/10
sound: 9/10
gameplay: 9/10
replay: 10/10

(Ryan Genno) 2004

See the other Games of the Month