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Halo
| Posted by jonchappell on Aug 24th 05 03:40 PM
Halo (its full title was Halo: Combat Evolved) was developed by Bungie  Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was ported from the Xbox to the PC by Gearbox Software (the creators of the Half-Life: Opposing Force expansion) in 2003.

Halo is a sci-fi first person shooter in which you play the role of Master Chief, a cyborg with a battle suit that contains an AI called Cortana. Cortana can communicate with Master Chief and infiltrate security systems. Master Chief has a choice of 8 weapons but can only carry 2 at a time which encourages strategy. These include pistols, shotguns, sniper rifles and flamethrowers (PC only).

Halo was originally planned for a PC release (as a real-time strategy game, no less) but Microsoft took over Bungie Studios and released the game exclusively for the Xbox platform in 2001. It was one of the most popular games for the console and Microsoft used this as leverage to sell more Xboxes.

Halo incorporates vehicles into both its single and multiplayer modes. The Warthog is one of the most popular vehicles and is a light jeep with a machine gun on the back that is operated by a second player. Other vehicles include the Scorpion tank and the Banshee flying vehicle. Some vehicles cannot be piloted such as the Pelican dropship that transports troops and supplies from one area to another.

Another feature of the game is that the player is equipped with a regenerating shield. It will reduce in power when the player is hit and regenerate when he is not attacked for a period of time. This encourages the player to duck out of battles at certain intervals instead of charging through, Rambo-style.

The Xbox version is LAN-only but the PC version can be played over the Internet with up to 16 players in one map. Game modes include Capture the Flag (CTF), Slayer (standard deathmatch), Oddball (players fight over a skull "ball") and King of the Hill (one player is the King with increased firepower and everyone else tries to kill him).

Gearbox later released Halo: Custom Edition as a free multiplayer-only add-on. This allows users to play on custom maps created by third parties. Whilst it is free, it requires a valid Halo CD key and CD in order to be used. Halo: Custom Edition is available for download from this site.
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