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  Preview: Halo - Combat Evolved
On 09/11/03 by James 'Sweetjimmy' Long

The day many of us have awaited is finally approaching. Bungie?s FPS masterpiece Halo will soon be visiting a PC game dealer near you. Well, it so happens that I?ve been playing an early beta edition of Halo for the last week. In all, I?m pretty happy with what?s taking place in this Xbox-to-PC port.
Halo has been available on the console market for about two years now and it?s still going strong. It has been called many things, ranging from the ?best game ever? to ?just another derivative shooter?. Personally I?d probably lean more towards the ?best game ever? side of the fence. Don?t think for a second though that I didn?t have any problems with the original Xbox title however.

Honestly, Halo doesn?t bring a whole lot to the table that you haven?t already seen before. What it does have though is a cartload of the best stuff you?ve seen in other places. In addition to that Halo refines it all into a
:: halo: combat evolved ::

:: halo: combat evolved ::

:: halo: combat evolved ::
seamless presentation of sound, motion, and vivid action. That is why I feel the Xbox version of this game was so good; it wasn?t necessarily the next evolutionary step in shooters but it was a conglomeration of all the things we found great in others spiced up with a few bonuses like vehicular combat and fantastically huge maps.

The beta build I?ve been playing on is unfinished and therefore it is quite difficuly for me to talk about the positives and the negatives as they will likely be resolved by the time the game goes gold. What I can talk about are the similarities this version has to its console counterpart.

First off, if anyone is worried about the graphics those worries are unfounded. While playing the game at a 800x600x32 resolution the grass texture covering the ground looks photo-realistic and lacks any pixilation whatsoever. For those of you who refuse to believe me check out the attached screenshots for your viewing pleasure.

The famous Halo bump-mapping is also there in full force. In fact, looking around at the structures you?d be hard pressed to find a surface that isn?t shiny, bump-mapped, or both. If you have no idea what I?m talking about here think about how it looks in real-life when you shine a flashlight at a textured wall. Shadows appear in relation to cracks and crevices in the walls texture. As you move the flashlight the shadows move as well. With bump-mapping you are able to accurately simulate this effect on flat polygons and the end result looks very nice!

The physics engine is brilliant as well. Personally I can?t wait to see what people do with this game but I?m sure that the old ?Warthog Jump? and
:: halo: combat evolved ::
:: halo: combat evolved ::
?Red vs. Blue? movies will be put to shame after this release. Grenades send bodies sprawling, rockets create major carcass hang-time, and jumping warthogs has never been better.

In fact I?m half convinced that the warthogs in this build I played have another hundred horsepower over their counterparts on the Xbox. They move substantially faster and move a whole lot better. The scorpion tank feels identical to its former self, as do the ghost and banshee vehicles. Gearbox would have won some brownie points with me had they beefed up the plasma cannons on the ghosts though and they are still weak just like they were on the Xbox version.

?What about the incredible Artificial Intelligence of the original?? I can hear you asking. It?s here and just as deadly as it was before. If you want a real challenge, play on the legendary setting and be prepared to taste plasma. I fully realize that I?m going to hear from the ?uberleet? crowd that beat Halo blindfolded, with only one hand on legendary and thought it was boring, but I think that this AI is some of the best I?ve seen. The nice thing about the difficulty settings in Halo is the fact that they don?t just make enemies more resilient to gunfire, increase their accuracy and multiply their numbers dramatically ? but rather the enemies actually become smarter too. I concede that I have no proof of this and it could just be my imagination but I swear that those coven drop-teams become bloodthirsty tacticians once you?ve graduated from ?normal? to ?legendary?.

Halo?s solid multiplayer is here and it?s better than before. I was able to play 1 vs. 1 with a friend on some of the new maps and a couple of the old ones too. While the lack of cooperative mode is a definite downer all the things that made the Xbox?s versus mode excellent is present and accounted for. Not only is there a grab-bag of different game types you can also custom-create your own game mode as your tastes suit you. How about capture-the-flag with only rocket launchers, warthogs, no radar, a limited number of lives per individual, and friendly fire set to active? No problem with this powerful set of game mode creation tools.

The new multiplayer maps are pretty cool and seem to be built around the idea of using team-based vehicular combat and capture the flag (that?s really the only way to play, right?). One map in particular was so gigantic that it would have taken a few minutes to run all the way across it.

In this PC edition Gearbox will be introducing two new weapons and one new vehicle. The new Warthog sports S-Mart?s top-of-the-line 3-barreled rocket launcher (this baby is assembled in Grand Rapids, Michigan, retails for about $1,199, features a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger). Don?t worry though, the original mini-gun warthog is still present and accounted for though. The bolt-launcher fires a green explosive projectile that is about the equivalent to the original Banshee?s missile weapon. In its current state there is no reload for the weapon but it uses battery life like the Covenent green-pea shooter (plasma pistol). It fires fairly rapidly but is vulnerable to overheating much like the Covenent blue-pea shooter plasma rifle.

The newly added flamethrower isn?t really much to look at in its current state but if you get hit with it you?re dead meat. Make that dead AND very well done meat. While the range on this beast is laughable in comparison to the pistol it will set you ablaze and as of me writing this there is no way to quickly extinguish yourself. Perhaps jumping in some water would do the trick but the opportunity never presented itself.

According to Electronic Boutique, we should be seeing Halo on store shelves by the end of September. As many of the frequent readers of this site have already brought up it will be interesting to see how Halo holds up in a sea of excellent-looking, upcoming titles like Half-life 2, Max Payne 2, and Doom 3. Time will tell but I predict that despite Halo?s ripe old age of two it will still have a little something for everyone and fly off store shelves. And besides, by the look of things, Half-Life 2 won?t be coming out until November anyways. How should you be spending your time in the interim? Halo LAN parties that?s how!

#1 - Anon@ - 09/11/03 @ 04:36 AM EST
Forget this game man MICRSOFT has not announce RALLISPORT CHALLENGE 2 and MIDTOWN MADNESS 3 for PC MICROSOFT ass hole should bring more games for PC cause rockstar announce GTA3 and GTA vice city MICROSOFT should be nice with PC platform instead of bringing substandard and less game for PC
#2 - Anon@ - 09/11/03 @ 04:37 AM EST
Forget this game man MICRSOFT has not announce RALLISPORT CHALLENGE 2 and MIDTOWN MADNESS 3 for PC MICROSOFT ass hole should bring more games for PC cause rockstar announce GTA3 and GTA vice city for XBOX MICROSOFT should be nice with PC platform instead of bringing substandard and less game for PC
#3 - Anon@ - 09/11/03 @ 04:37 AM EST
Forget this game man MICRSOFT has not announce RALLISPORT CHALLENGE 2 and MIDTOWN MADNESS 3 for PC MICROSOFT ass hole should bring more games for PC cause rockstar announce GTA3 and GTA vice city for XBOX MICROSOFT should be nice with PC platform instead of bringing substandard and less game for PC
#4 - E-Z-STREET - 09/11/03 @ 05:49 AM EST
im not sure,but i think he wants you people to forget this game man!
#5 - Fin - 09/11/03 @ 06:40 AM EST
/me forgets
#6 - Shataan - 09/11/03 @ 07:02 AM EST
"While playing the game at a 800x600x32"

does anyone actually play at this low a rez anymore? LOL

" it will be interesting to see how Halo holds up in a sea of excellent-looking, upcoming titles "

/ with absolutely no new games coming or out at Halos release, it should do amazingly well, due to this fact, and let us not forget 3 to 4 years of hype. Last Edited on 09/11/03 @ 07:16 AM EST
#7 - Brain - 09/11/03 @ 07:23 AM EST
All I can say is...

#8 - BiomeXhanoid - 09/11/03 @ 07:56 AM EST
Si/s you... why would you want to also up the damage? :/
/ /
#9 - Tre_bumpn - 09/11/03 @ 08:56 AM EST
in/ shooter lies not in its ability to kill, but to slow down. My favorite trick is to semi-auto blast people from behind so I can melee them in the head before they can say "you bastard!".

Another fun trick is playing short range weapons king of the hill on Hang 'em High. If you teamates can't keep the attackers away you can use the plasma to slow their jump to a crawl, and watch them plummet to the ground below. Rather frustrating when your the guy trying to get on the hill though!
/ /
- E-Z-STREET- 09/11/03 @ 09:07 AM EST
the flame thrower is a good mid to short range weapon it shoots out a puff of fire rather than a stream of flame it stuns them instantly but sustained it will fry em!
- sweetjimmy- 09/11/03 @ 09:28 AM EST
6-if you are playing an unoptimized beta, it's likely you'll have to turn down the rez to help it run better. Well, that and I only have a 64M Ti 4200. If I was reviewing this game with a 9800 Pro, it may have been a little different.

/ 8/9- I've been playing this game for the last 2 years and I've never noticed that coven weapons stun! I guess I've always just been too partial to human weapons to notice. My bad
:( Last Edited on 09/11/03 @ 09:42 AM EST
#12TheOtherBob - 09/11/03 @ 10:46 AM EST
Nice write up, sweetjimmy, thanks....

Seeing that I have yet to play Halo on the Xbox.... yeah I know..... methinks I'll just wait for the pc version now....
/ /
#13 - sweetjimmy - 09/11/03 @ 11:28 AM EST
thank you, bob. :)
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#14 - [SOF]Blade_986 - 09/11/03 @ 11:48 AM EST
Is there no coop still? No coop=no sale from me..
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#15 - sweetjimmy - 09/11/03 @ 12:01 PM EST
Alas, in the beta I played there was no cooperative game mode. This late in the game I figure it's safe to assume that there will be no cooperative feature (aside from LAN-based team-versus mode)

I don't know what influenced the decision to leave it out (if it is, in fact, still missing when halo goes gold), but I doubt that they would have without an excellent reason.
/ / /
#16 - Houdini - 09/11/03 @ 12:02 PM EST
how the hell did sweetjimmy get to write a review up for this game and I havent been approached for my weekly humor article yet?
damn u jimmy!

good article though. GG just needs a way for all of us gamers here to connect in the gaming world.. i cannot wait for the day when i own Tre up with my kb/mouse.
/ / /
#17 - Anon@ - 09/11/03 @ 12:04 PM EST
There was co-op in the xbox version, so there better be co-op in the pc version too.
/ / /
#18 - deviAnt - 09/11/03 @ 12:11 PM EST
I think I read somewhere that there will NOT be any co-op in an interview with one of the developers. It's no big deal for me since I've beaten the game several times.
/ / /
#19 - E-Z-STREET - 09/11/03 @ 12:23 PM EST
im sure somewhere down the line with all the modding that will go on and on, someone will figure out a patch in order to play co-op (at least i hope so!)
/ / /
#20 - Bulldog - 09/11/03 @ 12:24 PM EST
Eh ... I doubt it would really be used much ... coop that is.
/ / /
#21 - nVidiot_Whore - 09/12/03 @ 07:40 PM EST
LOL.. Bulldog.. you nookular all those comments or what?
#22 - Bulldog - 09/12/03 @ 07:47 PM EST
I'm a fucking idiot, ignore me.
Or give me a gun to shoot myself with.
/ / / /
#23 - Jesse Edmunds - 09/12/03 @ 11:35 PM EST
/hands Bulldog a Desert Eagle

OK...I guess I'm going to have to rewrite my comment because of SOMEBODY WHO'S NAME STARTS WITH BULL AND ENDS WITH DOG. Eheh, jk Bulldog, it happens to the best of us.

Anybody got the hardware and connection to start a Game Gossip Halo Server when the full version of this comes out?
/ / /
#24 - Sadogoat - 09/13/03 @ 01:17 AM EST
I have to admit I've never been particularly interested in Halo - although I'll probably pick it up just to see what the fuss was all about.
#25 - Shataan - 09/13/03 @ 01:33 AM EST
lol I will never forget going onto a Halo Mac forum and debating forum posters and N.B. that Halo should have a 1st person view as well as 3rd pov. lol You would not believe the reaction I got.

Nor will I ever forget having my PC hacked by them muthas as well. ;0( Zealots. lol Halo PC won`t ever make a hardened Tribes vet change their religion, but if anything it will be a great curiousity tech demo, and skirmish game.

I am hoping we can get some of the Old AvP crowd together and have so/le>
#26 - [V]-LayzaN-[V] - 09/13/03 @ 07:17 AM EST

All that stuff about team play vehicular combat sounds mighty interesting!

/ *fires up wallet for release date*
/ /
#27 - BiomeXhanoid - 09/13/03 @ 09:59 AM EST
sweetjimmy: You'll find that every weapon serves a purpose, or can overcome a specific obstacle that has been set about (in both sp and multi).. even the "useless" weapons like Needler (portable grenade creater, long range tank pilot remover, medium range fortification breaching device) and even the "crappy" AR which has a very sepcific zone that if fired a specific way... is absolutely lethal.
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#28 - Anon@ - 09/23/03 @ 03:39 PM EST
They don't have coop mode because it would apparently require a significant rewriting of the net code. They've said it's possible they may release it later down the line in a patch though. They know how much everyone likes it.
/ /
#29 - Anon@ - 09/25/03 @ 07:01 PM EST
i've played the real deal and it kicks ASS MAN I WANT THE DEMO IF THERE IS ONE
- Anon@ 09/25/03 @ 07:02 PM EST
#31 - Anon@ - 09/25/03 @ 11:09 PM EST
ive play this on x box this looks wicked
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#32 - Anon@ - 09/30/03 @ 03:31 PM EST
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#33 - Anon@ - 09/30/03 @ 03:32 PM EST
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#34 - Anon@ - 03/05/04 @ 08:25 PM EST
#35Anon@ - 03/05/04 @ 08:26 PM EST
ftc video /halo sqwoting bear
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#36 - Anon@ - 03/16/04 @ 05:20 PM EST
halo iz da greatest so shut up u ppl tht think itz bad
#37 - xplosiv - 02/09/07 @ 05:51 PM EST
this game is toal ownage...i bought it to try out some fantasy/futuristic fps games and it is amazing

with the CE upgrade too it's halo ftw!

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