Lord Krunk Reviews: Halo - Combat Evolved


Looking through the 'Game Rack' I made in woodwork, I have noticed that I have not reviewed a great deal of the games that I own. However, one particular game stuck out for me, a game that has fallen under a great deal of controversy in the gaming industry, one whose hype knows no bounds, and whose franchise has profit margins larger than Ultrajoe's ego.

image
I am, of course, talking about Halo.

I was hoping to review the entire trilogy in one go, but I figured every reply would be 'tl;dr'. Therefore, I will release separate reviews, hopefully in its own successive trilogy.
Now, advice given to me in my last review states that I should shut up with the epic (in the true definition of the word) intro, so without further ado:

Lord Krunk Reviews: Halo - Combat Evolved

It is some time in the future, where a large offscreen battle has taken place between two warring factions: the Humans (us) and the Covenant - an army of religious warmongers from beyond the stars.
The last remaining humans in that battle, aboard a ship called the Pillar of Autumn, have blindly hyperspace jumped in a random direction, with the hopes of losing their attackers.
Knowing that the Covenant is in hot pursuit, and with little hope remaining for their survival, the Captain of the ship orders the awakening of the Master Chief, an experimental gravity-defying supersoldier, in order to aid them in their upcoming battle. However, the Captain seems to be more interested in the ring-like construct that floats nearby...

Halo: Combat Evolved is a rather engaging game in that it solidly refuses to hold back on the action and classic shock-tactics to maintain a generally fast pace and enemies that, while repetitively appearing, continue to be obscenely good fun to fight time and time again. The gameplay is handled quite well; I have had no issues with the controls, and they can be used with precision and ease. Anyone can assume the role of the Master Chief and feel like an awesome and powerful supersoldier (take, for example, my grandma), and I think that deserves kudos for that in particular. Not only is the one-man-run-and-gun bullet pumping a fun and worthwhile experience, but so are the driving segments. I must say, from an experienced gamers' point of view, that the Halo franchise are one of the only games that have made driving segments fun, and even its counterpart, Half-Life, never quite seemed to match up.
Which leads me to the scenery. You would think that being an FPS, you would be solely focused on killing things, but I rather enjoy stopping in an open space and viewing the gigantic planet hovering kilometers above my head, the eponymous ring that towers around me and the interesting architecture of Halo, The Covenant or the Humans of the future. While the graphics of Halo: Combat Evolved are certainly nowhere near that of today's games (and rightly so, considering its age), the art and scenery are beautiful.
Another interesting aspect of this game would have to be its simplicity. While other FPS's in the genre, such as Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Counter-Strike have similar looking weapons with names that are hard to remember or distinguish, Halo leans toward extremely distinguishable and simply named weapons and vehicles that are quite memorable. Weapons/vehicles/enemies are even colour-coded, decreasing the in-game confusion that so many games struggle to remove.
The music of Halo: Combat Evolved helps to place you in the shoes of the Master Chief quite significantly, and oozes atmosphere and a feeling of foreboding in many instances. A particular moment that sticks out musically is the end of the game, which involves you driving in a time limit, the world collapsing around you and the theme blaring in the background, quickening the pace and turning what could have easily been a disaster of a finale into a rather memorable, hectic and fun race against time. For best results, play through this scene on the Legendary difficulty.
This leads me to Halo's four difficulty settings: Easy, Normal, Heroic and Legendary. These difficulties are nicely and evenly distributed on the Scale of HardnessTM, and one can easily work out what difficulty is for them. Easy is for FPS beginners, or the type of person that enjoys charging into battle with security. Normal is still relatively simple, as you can still charge into battle, but you might want to watch your back and keep an eye out on your health/shield meters if you want to survive. Heroic is complex; you do not want to charge in without noting your surroundings and being prepared for any situation. Practice with your headshots; because they are the key to your survival. Legendary is frustrating, especially in particular levels, but do-able with patience, quick movements and a good game plan.
And finally, the multiplayer component of the game is amazingly good fun. It is also quite possibly the highlight of Halo: Combat Evolved, if not the highlight of the whole trilogy, and is excellent for parties, get-togethers and the like, provided that you have a lot of controllers, and possibly able to System Link. Fast paced and hectic, you will find yourself sweating when the going gets tough. Definitely worth a try, if you have a friend or two around (and if you can stand splitscreen for that matter).

image
As brief as it was, the tank part was awesome.

And yet, while Halo: Combat Evolved has many excellent aspects, there are also many aspects which drops the fun of the game, and thus are rather disappointing.
Firstly, while lacking in plot holes (so far), Halo has been done before. While creative and innovative (to an extent) in its features and design, you just can't help but have pangs of déjà vu at many intervals in the game. Zombies? Check. Evil aliens? Check. At least one kind of super-weapon or super-device? Check. One of the main flaws of Halo are the clichés, which are unfortunately prominent throughout the game. Also in the field of creativity (or therein lack of) is the issue regarding copy-paste environments. The first six levels are quite diverse and distinguishable (Assault on the Control Room being rather repetitive, however), the final four are pretty much repetitive backtracking through some of the previous levels, and can get quite annoying. The final level subverts this somewhat, but is still pretty similar to the first.
Halo also disappoints in regard to characters and voice acting. While some characters are fun to listen to (Sgt. Johnson, Foehammer), there are some badly voiced characters with unintentionally humorous dialogue. And then there are some characters that are downright annoying (Cortana), which doesn't help.
The game has its issues regarding glitches and technical flaws (some scenes can make a 360 lag. A 360!), but the AI stands out as a big issue that really needs to be fixed. I have had problems with my allies chucking grenades at me, shooting me when I am standing in front of an enemy constantly, and some not quite getting the hint that they should stick with me if they want to survive. While fixable, a game so renowned should not need fixing this much.
The final issue I have with the game (and with the entire trilogy, in fact), is the problem with Bungie's persistence to port the game to the PC way too late. By the time it came out it was too late, and Halo found itself vastly outshone by similar games of the genre.

image
They never included the Flamethrower in the Xbox version. I hate that with a vengeance.

Halo is, essentially, something that has been done many times before, but the way it is executed is with style. I must say that nothing quite matches the feeling of taking down two Covenant Hunters with an Assault Rifle on Legendary.
All in all, Halo: Combat Evolved, while having many harsh issues, is still a game worth playing. Looking around the shops the other day, I found a few copies for AUS$5, which makes me strongly suggest that you Buy It. Some may dislike this game, but being at that price, does it really make a difference?

Full comment in-bound in the morning, but I'm going to cover the short of it really quickly.

While the "voice" has been cleaned up, the flow of the piece still seems off. I don't know what possibly to suggest, aside from saying "proof-read through the review several times by reading it aloud." If you have other people around, ask them if you want to read it to them, and ask them if they have any questions.

Outside of that, the formatting is choppy-looking. The reason for this is the single spacing. Don't be afraid to double-space for paragraph beaks, which generally cleans up the formatting flow quite a bit. In your defense, sentence-structure is more solid. Just don't forget the importance of flow.

As far as review content, I would need a lot more sleep in my system to effectively comment, but don't be afraid to flesh out your points a little more. Especially where the flaws are concerned.

I did like how you've taken things from the last series of critiques into account. Don't be afraid to experiment with new styles and ideas.

More to come, but I enjoyed it for what I've read.

Excellent job. Back to your best.

Just pointing out a couple of sections:

Looking through the 'Game Rack' I made in woodwork, I have noticed that I have not reviewed a great deal of the games that I own. However, one particular game stuck out for me, a game that has fallen under a great deal of controversy in the gaming industry, one whose hype knows no bounds, and whose franchise has profit margins larger than Ultrajoe's ego.

I lol'd. Well done to you for snipping the intro back.

It is some time in the future, where a large offscreen battle has taken place between two warring factions: the Humans (us) and the Covenant - an army of religious warmongers from beyond the stars. -story paragraph snip!-

Very strong explanation of the story. Cut off the synopsis at just the right point. Great job.

This leads me to Halo's four difficulty settings: Easy, Normal, Heroic and Legendary. These difficulties are nicely and evenly distributed on the Scale of HardnessTM, and one can easily work out what difficulty is for them. Easy is for FPS beginners, or the type of person that enjoys charging into battle with security. Normal is still relatively simple, as you can still charge into battle, but you might want to watch your back and keep an eye out on your health/shield meters if you want to survive. Heroic is complex; you do not want to charge in without noting your surroundings and being prepared for any situation. Practice with your headshots; because they are the key to your survival. Legendary is frustrating, especially in particular levels, but do-able with patience, quick movements and a good game plan.

Difficulty is a bit hard to write about, and usually in the gameplay realm of a review, however you could talk about the differing enemy behaviour, scripting, why it's harder (genuine enemy skill, or just an extra 20 of them?) Alternatively, you could speak about legendary on it's own, and why finishing the game on it is such an achievement (as I keep hearing people say.)

And finally, the multiplayer component of the game is amazingly good fun. It is also quite possibly the highlight of Halo: Combat Evolved, if not the highlight of the whole trilogy, and is excellent for parties, get-togethers and the like, provided that you have a lot of controllers, and possibly able to System Link. Fast paced and hectic, you will find yourself sweating when the going gets tough. Definitely worth a try, if you have a friend or two around (and if you can stand splitscreen for that matter).

Lots of things you could talk about here; Are the weapons balanced or is there a tendency to only use one in particular? Are the maps and weapons varied? Any reason to use teamwork or are you better Ramboing it? Again, this section would be better expanded upon or left out altogether.

And also, little text-wally at the moment. How about some paragraph spaces?

I may be making mountains out of molehills here but they seem like important things to remember to me. Just remember to keep reading things through, seeing if they make sense, improving word flow etc.

I enjoyed the read very much, and would say it's probably your best yet. Good Work.

Long post is long and full of quotes

NewClassic:
Full comment in-bound in the morning, but I'm going to cover the short of it really quickly.

While the "voice" has been cleaned up, the flow of the piece still seems off. I don't know what possibly to suggest, aside from saying "proof-read through the review several times by reading it aloud." If you have other people around, ask them if you want to read it to them, and ask them if they have any questions.

Outside of that, the formatting is choppy-looking. The reason for this is the single spacing. Don't be afraid to double-space for paragraph beaks, which generally cleans up the formatting flow quite a bit. In your defense, sentence-structure is more solid. Just don't forget the importance of flow.

As far as review content, I would need a lot more sleep in my system to effectively comment, but don't be afraid to flesh out your points a little more. Especially where the flaws are concerned.

I did like how you've taken things from the last series of critiques into account. Don't be afraid to experiment with new styles and ideas.

More to come, but I enjoyed it for what I've read.

Thank you. I will take into account my formatting in the future, as it seems I have a few issues.

Novajam:
Excellent job. Back to your best.

Just pointing out a couple of sections:

Looking through the 'Game Rack' I made in woodwork, I have noticed that I have not reviewed a great deal of the games that I own. However, one particular game stuck out for me, a game that has fallen under a great deal of controversy in the gaming industry, one whose hype knows no bounds, and whose franchise has profit margins larger than Ultrajoe's ego.

I lol'd. Well done to you for snipping the intro back.

It is some time in the future, where a large offscreen battle has taken place between two warring factions: the Humans (us) and the Covenant - an army of religious warmongers from beyond the stars. -story paragraph snip!-

Very strong explanation of the story. Cut off the synopsis at just the right point. Great job.

This leads me to Halo's four difficulty settings: Easy, Normal, Heroic and Legendary. These difficulties are nicely and evenly distributed on the Scale of HardnessTM, and one can easily work out what difficulty is for them. Easy is for FPS beginners, or the type of person that enjoys charging into battle with security. Normal is still relatively simple, as you can still charge into battle, but you might want to watch your back and keep an eye out on your health/shield meters if you want to survive. Heroic is complex; you do not want to charge in without noting your surroundings and being prepared for any situation. Practice with your headshots; because they are the key to your survival. Legendary is frustrating, especially in particular levels, but do-able with patience, quick movements and a good game plan.

Difficulty is a bit hard to write about, and usually in the gameplay realm of a review, however you could talk about the differing enemy behaviour, scripting, why it's harder (genuine enemy skill, or just an extra 20 of them?) Alternatively, you could speak about legendary on it's own, and why finishing the game on it is such an achievement (as I keep hearing people say.)

And finally, the multiplayer component of the game is amazingly good fun. It is also quite possibly the highlight of Halo: Combat Evolved, if not the highlight of the whole trilogy, and is excellent for parties, get-togethers and the like, provided that you have a lot of controllers, and possibly able to System Link. Fast paced and hectic, you will find yourself sweating when the going gets tough. Definitely worth a try, if you have a friend or two around (and if you can stand splitscreen for that matter).

Lots of things you could talk about here; Are the weapons balanced or is there a tendency to only use one in particular? Are the maps and weapons varied? Any reason to use teamwork or are you better Ramboing it? Again, this section would be better expanded upon or left out altogether.

And also, little text-wally at the moment. How about some paragraph spaces?

I may be making mountains out of molehills here but they seem like important things to remember to me. Just remember to keep reading things through, seeing if they make sense, improving word flow etc.

I enjoyed the read very much, and would say it's probably your best yet. Good Work.

Long post is long and full of quotes

Yes, I could have touched on a few subjects more, but I was trying to keep it on a 'need to know' basis. I would have also included a more fleshed-out description of multiplayer (such as lack of Xbox Live), but I decided not to, as I had a few issues regarding time over here. Also; I am planning subsequent reviews of the sequels which will touch on these issues in al larger detail.

Anyway; thanks for the help, and I will take your advice into account for my next review.

X-Box live was not the large gaming community then that it is now, so don't be concerned with the lack of Live.

But other than that, quite a nice review, it would be good to scale down the pictures a little bit, they were a tad too large.

Untamed Waters:
But other than that, quite a nice review, it would be good to scale down the pictures a little bit, they were a tad too large.

Yeah, I realised the first picture was way too big when I posted it. I blame the squareness.

the pistol and the sniper of halo man. weapons so awesome, they make blood come out of my eyes. once you figure out how to kill a hunter with one bullet and drop two grunts with one sniper bullet, the game is just so much more fun :)

now i think that despite how cool the covenant weaponry is, human weapons in halo really own. except plasma grenade. those are just so much fun.

and i hate the flood. they make the game so hectic. you're just running around all the time and i hate that. there is no planning or anything just split second decisions. especially in the library levels, where there is hardly any cover worth the name, you have to wait in narrow spaces and all you can do is grab the shotgun and the rocket launcher and hope for the best.

oh and there is this whole region in the game, when you're going underground, and all grunts are sleeping and elites keeping watch. that whole section can be done without firing a single bullet and just melee kills. my fav part of the whole game :)

I love you. No, seriously. This is possibly the most positive Halo review I've seen on Escapist. I won't bother pointing out your mistakes with teh story xD but yeah, very well written. I know it's a bit old (lol six months), but I still enjoyed reading it.

For the record, though, the Flood are a parasite ;P not zombies xD

Gah, beat me to it. All the recent hate threads are gonna force me to get off my butt (virtual butt?) and write a review for Halo 2 or something. I played both games for the first time fairly recently, and was surprised how well both games held up (which is apparently enough to qualify one for "Halo fanboy" status). I definitely agree about the level structure, with every level up to the Library being pure awesomesauce, and every level after being bland and repetitive (the less said about the actual Library level, the better).

Halo isn't a perfect game or anything, but I enjoyed it and Halo 2.

Ah, and the review was also excellent. I don't usually sit down and read these things out (let alone comment on them), but yours was smartly written and not too long. I might suggest more paragraphing, however. Right now it kind of looks like you either tried to paragraph and something messed up, or only put in a couple of paragraphs on purpose (which created the dreaded "wall of text".) It's just a format thing, I guess.

Wait?.......WHAT IS THIS??!!A review that gives out both the positive and the negative that ultimately lives up too one definite answer?YOU CAN'T DO THAT HERE!To be a user on the Escapist you have to be an elitist,elusive prick who blindly follows the one true Messiah(Yahtzee) to the video game promised land.It's almost like you have an opinion.....

I applaud thee, Lord Krunk, for stomaching all play modes and reviewing the crud out of this game.

****** stars out of ***** for this review. (thats 6 out of 5, imporoper fractions time!)

I thoroughly enjoyed it and while I don't have as many critiques as the others, I found it to be a very good review.

The one thing missing from this is the reason why I bought Halo CE in the first place: it's one of a fairly short list of completely co-opable games. Yes, you can play with other people in PVP, but you can also do the entire campaign splitscreen with a partner, and it's a blast (especially on Legendary)! Even if you don't review the co-op experience, it's worth mentioning that it exists, since there are definitely other people like me who are looking for games to play with a friend or spouse.

The only thing I disagree with, and it's definitely a YMMV thing, is that the later reverse-levels are repetitive/boring. I don't think they are, perhaps because they're markedly more difficult. Keyes may use the Truth & Reconciliation, but it has a bazillion flood, some of whom come out of the ceiling, making it a much tougher slog than the original T&R. And "Two Betrayals" is probably my favorite Halo level in the whole series because it has a little of everything-- indoor, outdoor, Flood, Covenant, Sentinels, sniping, run & gun, and both land and air vehicles.

Lord Krunk:
there are some badly voiced characters with unintentionally humorous dialogue. And then there are some characters that are downright annoying (Cortana), which doesn't help

You realise that the voice-actress that did Cortana also did Zoey? (of Left 4 Dead fame) Because of your, perhaps un-intentional, slight I now will simply have to hate you on principle. And we could have been such good friends...;)

Good review though! Look forward to the others!

L. Wrex

Lycaeus_Wrex:

Lord Krunk:
there are some badly voiced characters with unintentionally humorous dialogue. And then there are some characters that are downright annoying (Cortana), which doesn't help

You realise that the voice-actress that did Cortana also did Zoey? (of Left 4 Dead fame) Because of your, perhaps un-intentional, slight I now will simply have to hate you on principle. And we could have been such good friends...;)

It's not the voice that's the problem, it's the character; a woman's voice droning into your ear repetitively and constantly. I've already got a nagging mum, I'd rather there wasn't one in Halo. 5 minutes after getting her back in Halo 3, I realized what made the rest of the game so great.

Lord Krunk:

Lycaeus_Wrex:

Lord Krunk:
there are some badly voiced characters with unintentionally humorous dialogue. And then there are some characters that are downright annoying (Cortana), which doesn't help

You realise that the voice-actress that did Cortana also did Zoey? (of Left 4 Dead fame) Because of your, perhaps un-intentional, slight I now will simply have to hate you on principle. And we could have been such good friends...;)

It's not the voice that's the problem, it's the character; a woman's voice droning into your ear repetitively and constantly. I've already got a nagging mum, I'd rather there wasn't one in Halo. 5 minutes after getting her back in Halo 3, I realized what made the rest of the game so great.

Mr. Krunk I have review request. If you own the game and can be bothered to play it, can you review LoK:Blood Omen? It is an old game (older than Halo) and not common.

Jester Lord:
Mr. Krunk I have review request. If you own the game and can be bothered to play it, can you review LoK:Blood Omen? It is an old game (older than Halo) and not common.

Sorry, I don't own the game. I will, however, keep an eye out for it.

I really enjoyed that review, i couldnt have written it any better!

(On a seperate note)

madbird-valiant:
I love you. No, seriously. This is possibly the most positive Halo review I've seen on Escapist. I won't bother pointing out your mistakes with teh story xD but yeah, very well written. I know it's a bit old (lol six months), but I still enjoyed reading it.

For the record, though, the Flood are a parasite ;P not zombies xD

But doesnt the flood take over dead bodies?
Thus turning them into a sort of zombie? lol

Magical Hans:
I really enjoyed that review, i couldnt have written it any better!

(On a seperate note)

madbird-valiant:
I love you. No, seriously. This is possibly the most positive Halo review I've seen on Escapist. I won't bother pointing out your mistakes with teh story xD but yeah, very well written. I know it's a bit old (lol six months), but I still enjoyed reading it.

For the record, though, the Flood are a parasite ;P not zombies xD

But doesnt the flood take over dead bodies?
Thus turning them into a sort of zombie? lol

Yeah, but there's this whole bit about how they assimilate knowledge and require hosts (or "food," whichever you like) in order to properly spread. Their little Metroid bodies are very fragile.

I guess it depends on whether you consider any reanimated corpse a zombie or not, but not all the Flood are brainless (see also: Halo 2).

Personally I think Halo borrows a lot more from the Alien movies than any zombie games/films.

Magical Hans:
But doesnt the flood take over dead bodies?
Thus turning them into a sort of zombie? lol

Emphasis on "sort of". They don't really take over dead bodies, they just inhabit living creatures and use them for their own ends.

You need to mention that the PC version's multiplayer is catastrophically bad.

It's something I recommend everyone play though, just to see how badly Hal:CE's multplayer makes the jump from local to internet play.

Great review. I must say, you achieved what I thought was impossible. I actually want to get this now, maybe give Halo as a series a second chance.

To be fair to it though, I did only try Halo 3, and briefly. But I think I am willing to give it a go from the beginning now.

I'm sure my social life will thank you ...

I think that Halo, like GoldenEye before it, only got so much praise because it was a rare instance of a console FPS actually being good. I don't care at all for the series but loved your review. Well written. Oh and I feel your pain on the multiple playthrough issue. But it's worth it I feel so that you have some integrity as a reviewer as opposed to being someone who plays the first two or three levels and judges a game on that. Bad idea.

I really liked the controls. Using one button to throw a grenade and melee made things so much easier. I really like the pacing of the first level where the flood show up.

This was definitely one of my most played Xbox games, along with Halo2. ^^

They are just such a simple and fun FPS series...

 

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