Halo: Combat Evolved (Microsoft Xbox, 2001)
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|Halo: Combat Evolved is a 2001 military science fiction first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie and published by Microsoft Game Studios. The first game of the Halo franchise, it was released as a launch title for the Xbox gaming system on November 15, 2001. More than five million copies were sold worldwide by November 2005.
Halo is set in the twenty-sixth century, with the player assuming the role of the Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced supersoldier. The player is accompanied by Cortana, an artificial intelligence who occupies the Master Chief's neural interface. Players battle various aliens as they attempt to uncover the secrets of the eponymous Halo, a ring-shaped artificial world. The game has been commended for elements such as its story, the variety of strategies players can employ, and its multiplayer mode; however, the repetitive nature of its level design was criticized by some reviewers.
Halo has been praised as one of the greatest video games of all time, and was ranked by IGN as the fourth-best first-person shooter made. The game's popularity has led to labels such as "Halo clone" and "Halo killer", applied respectively to games either similar to or anticipated to be better than it. In addition, the game inspired and was used in the fan-created Red vs. Blue video series, which is credited as the "first big success" of machinima (the technique of using real-time 3D engines, often from video games, to create animated films).
A split screen mode allows two players to cooperatively play through Halo's campaign. The game also includes five competitive multiplayer modes, which all can be customized, for between two and 16 players; up to four players may play split-screen on one Xbox, and further players can join using a "System Link" feature that allows up to four Xbox consoles to be connected together into a local area network. Halo lacks artificially intelligent game bots, and was released before the launch of the Xbox Live online multiplayer service; therefore LAN parties are needed to reach the game's 16-player limit, a setup that was a first for a console game, but was often deemed impractical by critics. Aside from this limitation, Halo's multiplayer components were generally well received by critics, and it is widely considered one of the best multiplayer games of all time.
Halo received critical acclaim, according to video game aggregator Metacritc, based on reviews from 68 professional critics. Ste Curran's review for Edge praised the game as "the most important launch game for any console, ever" and commented, "GoldenEye was the standard for multiplayer console combat. It has been surpassed." GameSpot claimed that "Halo's single-player game is worth picking up an Xbox for alone," concluding, "Not only is this easily the best of the Xbox launch games, but it's easily one of the best shooters ever, on any platform." IGN remarked similarly, calling Halo a "can't miss, no-brainer, sure thing, five star, triple A game." AllGame editor Jonathan Licata praised Bungie for doing "a remarkable job with Halo, taking many successful elements from previous standouts in the genre to make one very playable game". Among the specific aspects that reviewers praised were the balance of weapons, the role of drivable vehicles, and the artificial intelligence of enemies.
|Publisher||Microsoft Game Studios|
|Game||Halo: Combat Evolved|
|Genre||First Person Shooter|
|Number of Players||1 - 4 (System Link 2 - 16)|
|ESRB Rating||M - Mature|
|ESRB Descriptor||Blood and Gore, Violence|
|Game Special Features||
|Game Series||Halo Series|
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