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HALO & HALO 2: ONLINE ACTION GAMING BROUGHT TO A NEW LEVEL

By Charles Hopkins Published 03/13/2006 | Games

Halo: Combat Evolved, or simply Halo, is a video game in the first-person shooter (FPS) genre, created by Microsofts Bungie Studios. It was first released for the Xbox game console in November 2001 and is widely considered one of the best FPS games ever, and only its sequel, Halo 2, has sold more units for the Xbox game console, prompting many observers to comment that Halo and Halo 2 have brought online action gaming to a new level.

Several features set Halo and Halo 2s gameplay apart from other FPS games. In this article, our aim is to determine what exactly it is about Halo and Halo 2 that has brought online action gaming to a new level. For the sake of simplicity, we take the games in sequential order, so first, a look at the standout features of Halo:

q       Halo was the first game to combine features such as recharging shields and a limited inventory of weapons, and has been widely imitated since its release

q       Graphically, too, Halo features some of the best console graphics of all times in the FPS genre. Outdoor locations are detailed, with almost no pixel breakup, and character models are portrayed using a very high polygon count

q       Another very impressive area is lighting effects, seen in such sequences as the sun coming through clouds, the shadows of the Covenant hordes, and the effects of the plasma weapons

q       Yet another standout factor for Halo is its atmospheric use of sound, particularly the sounds made by such enemy characters as Grunts, Elites and Hunters

q       Artificial intelligence is yet another of Halos strong points. For example, the Grunts panic when one of their superiors is killed and your soldiers can often decide when to take cover, return fire or stand ground, on their own

Halo 2, the sequel to Halo: Combat Evolved featured a newly built game engine and the Havok physics engine, new weapons and vehicles, new multiplayer maps, and a forward-looking storyline. Halo 2 was released for the Xbox game console on November 9, 2004. To cut to the heart of the matter, here is why Halo 2 is head and shoulders above the rest:

    Halo 2 is bigger, has more features, and is a more polished version of its predecessor. In addition, the gameplay is improved and the level designs are much better, though the controls are identical and the game feels like the original.

    However, you can use more than just one weapon to make several combinations. Also, there are a number of new weapons in Halo 2 including Covenant versions of rocket launchers and sniper rifles, as well as a new energy sword.

    Absent, however, is the health meter from Halo. In Halo 2, there is a recharging shield, which is crucial to your survival. The good news is that it recharges rapidly, so you can exit firefights and let it recover before you go back. In short, Halo 2 improves the excellent gameplay of the original and the result is an FPS with one of the best gameplays in recent times. 

    Also unlike the original, there isnt too much backtracking -- the game constantly moves forward. And the action in Halo 2 is truly mind-boggling. Each room is filled with enemies and taking them out is great fun. There are also a lot more vehicles in Halo 2 than there were in Halo.

    Graphically, everything in Halo 2 is sharper and better looking. The environments look more realistic than the hallways that predominate in Halo. The enemies, too, look far more real.

    The surround sound effects and music also make Halo 2 a thoroughly enjoyable experience, not to mention the well known Hollywood names that provide voice overs

    Finally, how can we not mention the multiplayer experience of Halo 2? Either offline in split screen mode or online via Xbox Live, Halo 2 is among the best multiplayer console games of all time. You can customize every aspect of the game from player color and symbols to starting weapons and much more.

In the end, no other FPS plays as well as Halo and Halo 2, and that is because of the games great gameplay, which truly has brought online action gaming to new levels. They stand among the best Xbox games so far, and are absolutely worth their price.