PC games: Halo - Combat Evolved

When Steve Jobs first announced Halo at the MacWorld Expo in New York in 1999, and showed some limited footage, it caused a huge buzz in the gaming community. The game was originally slated for the PC and Mac platforms, but Microsoft changed the plans when it acquired Bungie Studios in 2000. When Halo was finally released for Microsoft’s first foray into the console market, the Xbox, the title received widespread acclaim as one of the best FPS (first person shooter) titles ever played on a console.

The title has undergone some drastic changes since the original concept. Early in the development process, it was shifted from being an RTS (real time strategy) to an action title. Plus, to take full advantage of the newly-developed game engine, the third person view was soon changed to a first person mode. Bungie also decided to concentrate on the single player campaign because online multiplayer capabilities of consoles was yet to be seen.

Now, Bungie Studios has partnered with Gearbox Software to finally release the PC port of Halo, as Bungie is currently focused on expanding the Halo universe with other, yet-to-be-released titles.

Several new elements have been made available to the PC port, but only for the multiplayer mode -- the single player campaign remains the same as the Xbox version. As with most PC ports, Halo has been optimised to take full advantage of high-end graphic and sound cards, with resolutions of up to 1600x1200 and true 5.1 surround sound. New maps, weapons and vehicles complement these changes, making the Halo experience even more enjoyable.

Halo fans will be keen when they hear that vehicles -- previously only available in the single player campaign -- are now available in multiplayer mode as well. Two new weapons will also enhance the multiplayer experience. The Fuel Rod gun enables players to lob grenade-like rounds over obstacles and offers similar firepower to the Rocket Launcher. The Flamethrower is pretty straightforward: sight enemies and spray a short burst of fire, and they’re toast.

Gamers yet to experience the world of Halo should consider this title when it’s released. User-created mods will only ensure its longevity, allowing gamers to create their own unique maps and gameplay. We predict this will become one of the biggest-selling FPS titles available this year.

Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Bungie Studios, Gearbox Software

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Ryan Shaw

PC World
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