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Halo: Combat Evolved - A Look Back

Updated on June 6, 2016

Halo: Combat Evolved Game + Official Strategy Guide

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The First Halo Game

Halo: Combat Evolved was released on November 15, 2001 as one of the original Xbox launch titles. The game holds the distinction of having the highest Metacritic rating for an original Xbox game (97).

Leading up to the launch of the original Xbox many felt that Dead or Alive 3 (aka DOA 3) would be the game that drove Xbox console sales. Certainly DOA 3 was a great game and a system seller but Halo: Combat Evolved seemed to take everyone by surprise in terms of quality and entertainment value.

The importance of this first entry into the Halo franchise cannot be over emphasized. So what makes Halo: Combat Evolved so important?

  1. The graphics were arguably not the best amongst the launch titles. That distinction would probably have to go to DOA 3. That being said, Halo was no slouch in the graphics department. Impressive draw distances coupled with vibrant colors and rich textures ensured that gamers would not mind staring at the screen for hours on end while completing Master Chief's story or partaking in the multi player offerings.
  2. Sound on the other hand was head and shoulders above any other launch title or most of the games that launched after it. The use of 5.1 Dolby Digital was very well implemented. Something as simple as footsteps had appropriate sound effects based on the surface that was being walked on. The soundtrack by Martin O'Donnell created mood and atmosphere that immersed gamers even deeper into the Halo universe.
  3. Physics were also a strength of this game. Explosions often had a very interesting effect on objects in the game world. For a prime example of the physics in Halo: Combat Evolved check out the warthog jump video. The video can easily be found by simply searching the web for the phrase "warthog jump".
  4. The control scheme was also well executed. It should be pointed out that up until Halo: Combat Evolved most first person shooter games were not very successful on consoles. Halo changed all of that with a control scheme that most new players to the genre were able to pick up and have some success with but deep enough that players were rewarded for continually honing their skills.
  5. If gamers came for the story of Master Chief, then they stayed for the multi player. Whether playing four player split screen on the same TV or using the game's LAN features the multi player struck a unique balance of strategy and skill. The game also provided a healthy dose of match types as well as the ability to modify settings within those match types to keep things fresh.

Halo: Combat Evolved Quiz


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The Start Of A Franchise

When we take all of these points into consideration it is easy to state that Halo: Combat Evolved was the most important original Xbox launch title. But how important was the game to the original Xbox platform as a whole?

The landscape of the video game market might be entirely different were it not for this game. Would the Xbox have had the commercial success that it did? The original Xbox was never the market leader during that generation of consoles. The Playstation 2 held that distinction. So, were it not for this system seller is it out of the realm of possibility that there might not have been an Xbox 360 console? There certainly would not have been Halo 2 which was a huge success for the Xbox Live service. Halo has turned into a multi-billion dollar franchise for Microsoft. The original Xbox and even the Xbox brand have benefited immensely from the success of Halo: Combat Evolved.

One could make the case that the original Halo also paved the way for the success of the shooter genre on video game consoles. Prior to Halo, there were not many quality shooter games available on consoles. The genre had been dominated by the PC for years. Halo opened the door to a quality shooter experience using a video game controller instead of a mouse and keyboard.

A Look Back Rating (1-10): -------------------------------------------------------------------10

I have also created an unboxing video of Halo: Combat Evolved plus a rather comical unboxing video of the "official" strategy guide. Please take a look at the links below. Enjoy!

Halo: Combat Evolved Unboxing Embedded Video

Halo: Combat Evolved Unboxing The Guide Embedded Video

Roll The Credits

Disagree with my assessment of Halo: Combat Evolved? Have something you want to add? Please leave your comments below.

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    • atechwiz profile image
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      atechwiz 4 years ago

      Thamisgith, one of the nice things about Halo is that while it is a first person shooter it does not have the over top gore of a franchise like Call of Duty or Gears of War. I would be more comfortable with my kids playing Halo before either of those other two franchises.

    • Thamisgith profile image

      Thamisgith 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Cracking game. After years of PS, I got my kids an Xbox just so that they could play Halo. Obviously, I had to try it out myself to make sure that it was suitable.

    • atechwiz profile image
      Author

      atechwiz 4 years ago

      Ok. I was just curious if you had checked out any of the app based games that come with Windows 8.

    • profile image

      Raymond Buell 4 years ago

      No I haven't. Just Seven.

    • atechwiz profile image
      Author

      atechwiz 4 years ago

      Raymond, do you have any interest in Windows 8 operating system? Have you had a chance to use it at all?

    • profile image

      Raymond Buell 4 years ago

      Yeah I have the same feeling.

    • atechwiz profile image
      Author

      atechwiz 4 years ago

      PC gaming definitely has the advantage over consoles when it comes to mods as you have noted. Also, there are still certain genres that just don't seem to cross over all that well. I enjoy both. Hopefully you will be able to get yourself a 360 at some point all though I have a feeling that the next wave of consoles may be upon us soon.

    • profile image

      Raymond Buell 4 years ago

      I understand. I'm mainly only playing on the PC because my console is broke in a way that it will only work for a week or so and then I have to open it back up and repair it. There are pros and cons to PC/Console comparison. I like consoles for the same reason you do while PC's can have free mods to games that enhance the game or free games altogether. I completely understand what you mean about the settings and such. Looking forward to a 360 in the future when I can afford it. Right now money is tight.

    • atechwiz profile image
      Author

      atechwiz 4 years ago

      The 360 is a great console. You know, I used to be pretty into PC gaming but to be honest I got so tired of having to fine tune every single game's resolution and other graphics options. I could never afford a top of the line rig so consequently I was always running somewhat lower resolutions but was always at that point where I was not quite getting 30 fps because I could not stand the idea of dropping the graphics options even lower because then they look terrible. Then the other thing would be the game that would not run unless you update your video driver. With the consoles, you never have to worry about that. But I also get that there are some games you can only play or are best played on PC. I do play PC games, just not as much as console games.

    • profile image

      Raymond Buell 4 years ago

      Used to be the PS3 and here lately just the PC. Believe it or not, I've never owned an Xbox or 360. I played Halo 1-3 on friends. But after reading this article and recently finishing another Halo book (Contact Harvest), I think I will buy an 360 in the future when I can just to own the Halo series and play the upcoming Halo's.

    • atechwiz profile image
      Author

      atechwiz 4 years ago

      Raymond, what are your primary game platforms if you do not mind me asking?

    • profile image

      Raymond Buell 4 years ago

      I haven't seen too much about Halo 4 at all. I'm sure everyone who loves the Halo franchise is nervous about a different company making the new Halos, but you are right; so far they look capable of doing a good job.

    • atechwiz profile image
      Author

      atechwiz 4 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Raymond. I did not touch too much on the story in this hub but you are absolutely correct that the Halo franchise has a great storyline. I am about halfway through The Fall of Reach novel myself. Great stuff. Have you seen the new Halo 4 live action series Forward Unto Dawn? I am looking foward to the storyline in Halo 4 as well. Are the Prometheans all enemies or are some good? I was a little nervous about 343 taking the reins from Bungie but having seen what has been shown so far I think they are doing a great job.

    • profile image

      Raymond Buell 4 years ago

      I agree. A lot of people think Halo is just a big hype just because they didn't like it themselves. But I think the Halo franchise itself is a reason to own the Xbox consoles and as you said the first one lead the way. I particularly have enjoyed the story and even read some of the books. I think Halo: The Fall of Reach novel should be used as a screenplay guide and made into a movie.