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Halo: Combat Evolved

Following the recent release of the Xbox, Halo: Combat evolved has been getting massive amounts of media hype.  Does it live up to hype?....HELL YES!  Originally made for the PC this Xbox port really shows what the Xbox has to offer.

You play the role of Master Chief, a Space Spartan (sort of like the marines of the future) who has just been awaken from a hybernetic chamber to help save your ship The Pillar of Autumn from an alien attack. You awaken to find that an alien species the Covenant have invaded your ship and are reeking havoc. A soldier awakens you and explains the full capabilities of your space suit. This suit is very durable and is capable and is equipped with an energy shield that recharges after a certain amount of damage. You stop the attack to find that your ship is on the verdge of blowing up. In a desperate attempt to save the lives of the ship the captain of the ship, Captain Keyes lands on what he thinks to be an abandon ring planet called Halo. On the way down Keyes gives you a chip to enter in to your suit. That chip contains an artificial guide who talks to you threw your suit. The guide's name is Cortona and she will talk to you and help you threw out the game. When you take a rough landing on the ring planet you notice that the world is populated with Covenant. There are 4 different species of covenant. Grunts (small aliens which are small aliens that are easy to dispose of alone, but deadly in packs), Elites (strong, tall aliens with a rechargeable energy shield), Jackals (medium sized covenant with a shield that generates from a wristband), and the very deadly and humoungous Hunters. These wont be the only enemies you encounter on your quest to save mankind. On later levels you will also encounter the Flood. A very deformed looking alien species that is very deadly. You may be over-whelmed by this, but don't fret there will be both human and covenant weapons and gernades to accamadate your destructive needs. Not only that but you actually have access to vehicles! This is the first FPS to use vehicles. The game gets better and more time consuming as you go along and there are many times in the game where you feel like pressing pause and say, "AWWWWEEESOOOOMEEE."

When you first pick up this game you'll be babbled with the controls. It can take from 15 minutes to an hour to fully understand the control layout. The game makes use of every button on the Xbox controller. It may seem over-whelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, it works great. The vehicle control too can be akward at first since it uses the left analong to actually accelerate and the right to turn. Again it takes a wile to get used to, but it's flawless after the learning curve. Once you get all the controls down pact you'll be entharled from start to finish. The game's fire-fights are intense and amazing. The game can also be quite challenging at times so you'll be having fun for a long time. There are 9 weapons and 4 vehicles to make the game unique and addictive.

Since the Xbox is equipped with a hard-drive, it's much more capable in the graphics department, and Halo uses every part of it. Sun glares, reflective surfaces, and glistening water is in here. The weapons, enemies and vehicles all have a crisp, furnished look about them and it's absolutely beautiful. There is the slight hiccup in the frame-rate though, but it only happens a handful of times in the game. The first level is very bland and seems too plain, but after that level everything is a joy to look at. Everything has a very sci-fi look about it, and it's very fitting for a sci-fi storyline. Definetley some of the best for not only the Xbox but gaming period.

Ever wondered what a covenant tank sounded like getting shot by a rocket launcher, while flying hover-craft zoomed above you while grunts in the background were getting popped in the head by a pistol? Of course you did, and that's in this game. There is just so much going on in the fire-fights and the sound of it is nothing short of unbelievable. All the enemies have differnt sounds. Grunts....grunt, Elites have a deep voiced howl, the jackals call to other jackals, and the the lumbering Hunters huff and puff when lunging at you. The music score is out of this world also, there are great drum beats, some cool techno beats, and a guitar riff that doesn't sound cheesy and actually fits with the situation. Great sound, you'll think you're in the game.

Remember the great multi-player in Goldeneye for the N64? Well this game has the best multi-player for a FPS since that game. Not only are there over 8 maps, 10 modes and vehicles for you and up to 3 friends to use in battles, but you can grab a buddy and play with each other! That's right you can go threw the entire campaign with a friend. One of you can hop into the warthog and drive while the other mans the attached macine gun in the back. Very unique and addictive. If you haven't done it yet you need to because it's probaly the best part of the game.

Lasting Appeal:
The campaign is lengthly with over 10 huge levels, but the game is extremely addictive so you'll finish the game in 10-12 hours.  There are four difficulty settings though, and the multi-player will keep you occupied long after the campaign is done with.  You can also go through the campaign with a friend in Cooperative play. 

This game boasts some of the best graphics, storyline, and sound ever. Great multiplayer that only Goldeneye could beat and 4 diffuculty settings. Argueabley the best Xbox game ever, one of the best games ever actually. There is no reason you shouldn't have this game if an Xbox graces your home.

-Blake Becker (GoinCommando)

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