Fight against countless enemies with a wide range of weapons as a genetically enhanced super soldier. Sounds like a recipe for success, but does it really deserve it’s popularity? Here are my thoughts on this game for the X-box.
Halo for the Xbox is a first person shooter set in the distant future. You play as the Master chief, a power-armored space marine. His ship is being attacked by a group of human-hating aliens called the covenant. Your ship jumped out of hyperspace right by some big floating ring world in space, and since your ship is going down, you and a bunch of regular marines land on it in escape pods.
Everyone dies in the chief’s escape pod except for him, a motif of the entire franchise. He spends the game running around the ring called Halo while trying to hook up with other surviving marines and stop the covenant from doing whatever they are doing. Since master chief hardly says a word, most of the exposition is done through your AI, Cortana. She’s a translucent female hologram with a spunky personality which is fine, but it makes me wonder why the military would choose a young, attractive looking woman as the avatar for their computer system. Aren‘t the soldiers pent up enough as it is?
About halfway through the game, the story takes a kind of horror twist when you learn that the ring holds a terrible secret. Apparently before humanity even existed, another race fought with a kind of parasitic life form called the Flood. These things infest sentient beings and basically turn them into mutant zombie monsters. The first time playing through, the game handled their introduction very well. Cortana freaks out and tells you to move you butt to where the covenant are doing something. You get there to discover signs of a fight all over the place and run into a hysterical marine who shoots himself. You find Sergeant Johnson’s helmet cam and see that his group were attacked by monsters.
As soon as you see what’s going on, the things start attacking you and quickly become a bigger threat than the covenant. After this point, the rest of the game consists of trying to destroy the ring while getting off of it. Rather than join the covenant in an unsteady truce, they continue to try to stop you at every turn, so you end up having to worry about two groups of enemies instead of just one. This does allow you several chances to just let the two sides fight each other while you watch, but it’s just as easy to run into the room with your guns blazing.