Gaming with a Halo

posted by Jeff | Sunday, December 23, 2001, 12:58 AM | comments: 0

Despite being unemployed, I couldn't not buy an X-Box video game console. Microsoft has done a good job courting the right developers to make outstanding games. So far I've finished two of them. Munch's Oddysee was hands down the best platformer I've ever played, especially with regards to visuals. Halo is the other game, a first-person shooter.

Shooters are a little weird on a console because they're played on the PC with arrow keys and the mouse. Well, what do you know, using two analog joysticks is actually an even better way to do it. After I got used to it, I found it to be much better than the keyboard/mouse combo.

Let me say right now that I'm not a big shooter fan. Quake and the others bore me. I've played two other shooters I like, the first was Half-Life and the other was Max Payne. Half-Life in particular had a good story, even if it got really weird late in the game.

Halo is even better. I'd say that with a little bit of development, the game could be made into a movie. The premise is that you, and your fellow humans, are fighting these bastard aliens called "The Covenant." They get on board your ship and you end up landing on this giant ring. The ring is larger than a planet and has an organic environment along the inside. You're not sure what it's for, but the aliens are all over it, and seem to think it has some religious value. Your mission is to figure out what they're doing, stop it, and in the process figure out what the ring (which the bad guys call "Halo") does.

That means blowing shit up... lots of it. It means vehicle driving, lots of guns and a variety of ugly bad guys. You do all of this in what is easily the most beautiful environment ever made for a game. Some of the interior locations are boring, but when you're outside and look up into the sky to see the other end of the ring, it's pretty amazing.

So why am I all jazzed about it? Well, I played it tonight for, I'm not sure, many hours, because when the major plot twist happened, I had to know what was next. There is a classic movie element in this. Some things become familiar and wonderful, only to go sour later on.

If you like to blow shit up in a video game, this is the one. Buy it now.


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