Flashback Feature: Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)

Welcome to another Flashback Feature post, and today we’ll be looking at a game that I completely forgot to do a flashback on, but finally remembered, Halo. The original Halo is one that started one of the most famous and critically acclaimed game franchises in the world, and today we’ll be looking at what started it all.

Halo is a sci-fi shooter that was released on November 15th 2001, being one of the launch titles for Microsoft’s Xbox. It was also released on the PC and has since been re-released on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Unsurprisingly Halo received some of the best critic ratings ever achieved in the gaming industry, with 97% from Metacritic, 9.7/10 from IGN.com and a 4/5 from Common Sense Media. These reviews really were well deserved due to the way Halo managed to kick-start one of the most successful franchises ever, and also made Microsoft’s new Xbox console much more appealing, due to the way it showed off it’s graphical and gameplay capabilities.

pillar of autumn
The opening cinematic on the Pillar of Autumn.


I won’t reveal too much about the story, but I will say what I can. Instantly, from the end of that god-forsaken tutorial, the game gets straight into the action, with the Pillar Of Autumn being attacked near to the ring-shaped space station, Halo. Straight away you (Master Chief) are given a weapon (which, for some reason isn’t loaded) and you join the fight to help out the ship’s security forces fight off Covenant forces which for some reason make rather comical noises when shot. After escaping the Pillar Of Autumn, you crash down on Halo, the only survivor from an escape pod full of soldiers, and in close proximity to more Covenant forces.

Despite all the realistic touches, Halo still has a bright a colourful side.


Straight away, you can see how, despite the game being released all the way back in 2001, that Halo is a very good looking game, with much better graphics than GameCube and PlayStation 2 games of the time. And, despite the rather annoying tutorial at the start, the game puts you straight into the action, which is something that should be a key factor in FPS games.

Now, despite Halo being set in some futuristic sci-fi world with unrealistic technology and alien empires, there are some very good realistic touches which help the game seem less out of touch with the real world. Such as the ability to only carry two guns at once, which is honestly a nice strategic touch. This also adds a fun challenge to the game and keeps you thinking, whereas in some games of the time, and even today, you don’t have to think twice about your actions and take the biggest gun you can find, so seeing something like this is refreshing. Halo also has some excellent AI and combat, which never really gets boring, in multiplayer or campaign, and due to this, the game has a lot of replay value, you could play the game over and over making different decisions each time, which can be a lot of fun.

The space station Halo has some amazing scenery.


In short, Halo: Combat evolved is one of the best shooters of the early 2000’s and one of the best games on the Xbox, a console which should’ve received more love. I highly recommend this game to any FPS fan.







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