Translation of Halo Review,|
Top of Games, 2/29/2000
Translated & Transcribed by Harry "Flower Power" Al-Shakarchi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The original can be found here.
There are games that were praised highly and already get awards long before their release. Halo surely is such a game. One award it received was that it's one of the "games that will change gaming" by Gamespot.com. That's not too far-fetched, Halo has a lot of potential, and not only in its graphics.
You're pretty much on your own as to what you do in this game, but there is of course a plot behind the whole thing. Halo helps to kill off the typical, boring plots we always get, it's quite a huge plot, but at first it only scratches the surface. Halo is set far in the future where humans have started to leave Earth to colonise other planets. After some time though they bump into the Covenant, a agressive group of alien races. These aliens slowly destroy human colonies on their way towards Earth. One of the last human ships tries to distract the Covenant from Earth by making them go a different direction. They meet on a ring shaped planet (called Halo) in a far-away galaxy which is circling a gas giant. The Covenant catch up with the humans and destroy their craft, but marines and equipment are saved. The Covenant land on Halo too, and guerilla warfare between the humans and aliens starts. There's more to the plot than this, the player will find out why the Covenant are moving towards Earth and much more.
From the plot to the question why people are raving about Halo. Well, Halo has 1. excellent freedom of movement and 2. a excellent presentation of the world you're in.
1. Excellent freedom of movement
As you step onto the strange planet you can do anything you want really. It's only roughly stated how you accomplish your missions and thus influence the background story. So there you are, in the open air of Halo equipped with various weaponry, vehicles and a few other humans (which you can't "use" right away, as the game progresses you can get new weapons, equipment and vehicles and bump into fellow marines). If you want you can get into a jeep, tell your team to get seated too, and then speed off past a hill. The physics of this game make everything so realistic, you can go over any hill, the movements on every single wheel on the jeep will be calculated - something only seen in racing games really, and new in 3D shooters. If you can't imagine this as being true, you can go download the official video of Halo. You can also sneak towards enemies and steal their craft. All in all, you can do what you want in this game, which is the goal of Bungie with this game.
Looking at the screenshots or the video for the first time will surely drop your jaw. Bungie is setting a standard for graphics with this game, and the animations are also great, using "inverse kinematics". This technique helps make movements realistic; for example,when the jeep crashes, the bodies of the marines are properly animated as in real life. The base of making a game are graphics, physics and physics engines for Bungie, and those will be done first. The graphics we see in screenshots is what we can expect in the game, but such graphics have a price. At least a fast Pentium II and a graphics accelerator of the TNT2 generation is needed for getting the most out of this game.
As said, Bungie concentrates first on the engines. After that they do the multiplayer, where weapons and equipment have to be balanced. Bungie is doing just that at this time. Multiplayer will be the highlight of Halo, and the game is simply made for such a gameplay. We can already see ourselves fighting exciting battles, where you and 2 friends sit in a jeep, a driver, one riding shotgun and the other at the gatling gun mounted on the jeep, driving over hills shooting at the enemy. But this is no stupid deathmatch, something which won't exist in this game; rather, you will be playing CTF and other interesting multiplayer games. The choice of multiplayer games in Halo will be big, big enough to make Tribes players become Halo players.
The last step in this game would be making this game solo-playable. Bungie has yet to do this, thus nothing much is really known about it. But how the campaign may go can be said already: there won't be any levels, but instead a huge "level" where the player can move around in. How Bungie will make the loading sequence is yet to be decided. So you're on this huge level, with missions to fulfill, sometimes alone and sometimes with teams. Be it indoor, outdoor or both. Your fellow teammates will be AI controlled, and Bungie is doing their very best to make them realistic in the way they behave.
At this time there is no other game in development with such potential as Halo, not only from the graphics but also the "inner" side to this game. Sadly, the release date is quite far off, Q4 2000/Q1 2001 is the anticipated time. If we look at how games are pushed back these days, we might even have to wait for sping or summer 2001...
|Intellectual © halo.bungie.org, 2000|