Halo hello

Well, since that last posting I’ve learned much more about alternative lifestyles vis-a-vis video games than I ever imagined possible.

As I mentioned on my dusty, disused 1UP blog, I’ve been replaying the original Halo. Previously I’d played through the Mac version and it was okay, but playing it in its intended format — on a TV, with an Xbox controller, with a good sound system — has greatly enhanced the experience. Well, I fib, slightly. I’m actually playing on an HDTV, with an Xbox 360 controller, with good headphones. But the point stands. I think the headphones make the biggest difference; I never appreciated just how exceptional the game’s sound design is. But yes, it’s really good. Stupidly good. The music cues set the tone, but that’s obvious; the subtle elements actually impact the game more — the responses of Covenant to your actions, the effects of weapons and particles, and especially the wet, whispery sounds of the Flood. The fact that I can even describe sound effects as “wet and whispery” means they did something right.

Yes, I know it’s unfashionable for the sort of people who read this site to admit to liking Halo, but it’s actually very good! And I say this as someone who wants multiplayer gameplay to die in a fiery bus accident.

But wait, this post’s opening sentence doesn’t fit. Fear not; I shall deftly weave Halo and sexuality into a frothy mesh of interconnectedness:

Why does Cortana have a navel?

Thank you and good night.

40 thoughts on “Halo hello

  1. Why is she naked? Because the guys like her that way. No navel would just freak the target demographic out.

  2. I think the better question is “Why isn’t Cortana just a pair of disembodied talking breasts?”

  3. Ah, so you’ve never played ‘Sweater-Puppy Puppet Theatre’, have you? It’s great: all you need is a felt-tip pen, a few stick-on googly-eyes from a crafts store and a very understanding lady friend.

  4. You don’t think of good sound design in games until you hear it done well. Snatcher manages to mix every bad adventure game cliche with every bad anime cliche, but the sound is amazing, and it just draws you in.

    Conversely, if the best thing you can say about a game is the sound…

  5. Because she was modelled after a real woman. Well, “real” in the story, at least. And yes, it is bad enough that I know the answer to that, but it’s only worse when we realise that I don’t even own a copy of Halo, an Xbox, or any of the licensed books.

  6. I quite like the first half of Halo, right up until the level where you go to Halo’s control panel through an hour of boring corridors. And then do it again backwards.

  7. I just finished Halo for the first time yesterday and I honestly don’t understand all the hate it gets (especially from us OLD PEOPLE who remember Marathon) – it’s not great, but it’s pretty damn good. Honestly this game does for large, wide-open spaces what Marathon 2 did for nonlinear level design.

    My impressions of Halo 2 so far though: UNFAVORABLE. When you get stuck in the level geometry three times in the first level, that’s not cool. Props for being the first FPS I can think of where when you look down you actually see some fucking legs, though.

  8. No, there’s nothing wrong with Halo besides a few needlessly drawn-out levels. I think it’s hated because of what it represents: Streamlined console-focused design over PC-focuse d design, an excessively hyped game, the hook that Microsoft used to nose into the console space, a game favorited by outsides (i.e. the non-gaming people who used to pick on gaming nerds). It is a big target, and it’s not flawless, so it’s an easy target.

    But it’s so polished! The way you can move from in-close fighting to huge outdoor melees is still pretty impressive, but even more so considering the game’s vintage.

  9. I don’t really care for Halo; it is by no means a bad game, but I can’t understand all the love it gets. The characters are generic and boring, the plot is pretty dumb and the level design makes playing more than ten minutes a chore. Plus, and perhaps most egregiously in my book, there is no sense of impact. I feel like I’m shooting pillows that take way too long to die. Still, the game will always have my thanks for making grenades a large part of combat.

  10. I don’t understand that love either, but I do know it is the first FPS I cared about and actually played trough the end, whatever the reasons may be.

  11. I liked Halo, I loved Halo 2, but answer me this: does anybody else love the single player more than the multiplayer aspect of both??

    I mean, I loved that Halo 2 wasn’t that long of a game. I never got bored with it, and I still enjoy replaying through the campaign.

    But the multiplayer part of the game…I suck at it. It’s kind of like how I was so excited to play Starcraft online and consistently got my ass handed to me. I’d like to think I’m good at the single player part of Halo and Starcraft, but going against actual humans is painful even IF they aren’t lobbing profanities.

  12. Props for being the first FPS I can think of where when you look down you actually see some fucking legs, though.

    Sorry. Jurrasic Park: Survivor beat you to it.

  13. Played Halo, and it seemed like an average FPS to me. I didn’t play the multiplayer.

  14. I love Halo because of the story and the way the game (and the music, of course!) makes you feel like you’re really a part of this big, desperate conflict. It’s like playing through a really awesome action movie where, if you get sick of just shooting people, you can steal a vehicle and start running stuff over.

  15. [i]I liked Halo, I loved Halo 2, but answer me this: does anybody else love the single player more than the multiplayer aspect of both??

    I mean, I loved that Halo 2 wasn’t that long of a game. I never got bored with it, and I still enjoy replaying through the campaign.
    Halo 1 is still the greatest of both Multi and Single Player games. It’s absolutely amazing. I’ve seriously played through the campaign on Legendary alone several times.
    Halo 2 is a multiplayer only mess. The single player was pretty much phoned in, just to make the multiplayer good. And it wasn’t as good as Halo 1’s multi.

  16. Is it better than Metroid Prime? I got permanently bored with Prime somewhere around the Phazon mines, and never touched the game again. Any game on the level of Prime, I won’t give a chance.

  17. I thought the first Halo was pretty good. I thought fighting the Flood was really uninteresting though.

  18. Nothing wrong with enjoying Halo! I think I fit into your site’s demographic pretty well (Chrono Trigger is my favorite game, and that’s how I got here in the first place), and I’ve played through Halo about five or six times, at least once on every difficulty. Legendary with a friend is a blast!

  19. It took me over 5 years to even give Halo a chance since I was introduced to it as multiplayer-only (and got my ass handed to me repeatedly). It took finding a used copy on sale for $7 for me to give it a second chance and my verdict on the single player is “its no Half-Life.”

  20. Well it *is* still Bungie after all, even wrapped in a swaddling of Microsoft and hype. Not surprising that the game is actually decent. If Sony keeps collapsing enough to finally push me into a 360 for next-gen, I may go back and give it a go.

    I’ve been getting myself sucked into some Myth mythology and other Bungie nostalgia lately anyway…

  21. You may be surprised, but Halo is actually one of the most popular games on the floor at Anime Festival of Orlando. They have a bunch of Japanese games there, but there’s also a 16 player Xbox w/Halo setup that gets lots of player attention.

  22. Extra: Anime Supercon in Fort Lauderdale is even crazier. Somehow, the game room they get set up is all PCs running Unreal Tournament 2004! And yet, that gets quite a few players as well.

  23. Seriously Parish, don’t you feel sometimes like an idiot whose life is being wasted away moving imaginary character through an imaginary virtual world to acomplish absolutely nothing for you or for the world at large except maybe use too much electricity. I mean, when exactly do you fuck your girlfriend and love her if you play so much fucking video games? The reason you are playing Halo now is because you are bored of the cutesy gay video games you usualy like. Also, video games are for retards. Grow up assholes.

  24. I know I shouldn’t even reply and that the little bundle of joy above is going to get deleted, but how about you spare us your neo-Thompson crusade, you sanctimonious jackass. No one here gives a crap.

    (My apologies, Parish. Feel free to delete this as you see fit.)

  25. Trick question: Did anyone actually play Jurassic Park: Survivor?

    That’s some classic gaming trivia right there though.

  26. re: Enjoying single player Halo more than multiplayer. Yes! Absolutely. Single player is all I care about. Multiplayer is a fun diversion if you turn the sound off on the headphones, but otherwise, people are such jerks and take it so seriously that it’s impossible to enjoy yourself. Miss one shot, one jump, one kill and everyone quickly turns on you, regardless of how many mistakes THEY made. There’s no fun in that.

  27. Halo and Metroid Prime are such different beasts it is really impossible to compare them, try as fans might. Personally MP is one of my favorite games, so I’m inclined to say Halo isn’t better, but a lot of people feel otherwise. It is definitely worth a play to see what your opinions are; I believe there is still a free demo of the PC version available if you are interested.

  28. Relatedly: woo hoo for downloadable Marathon on Live. I mean, not that I have an XBOX, but if I ever end up with one, I’m so there.

  29. Isn’t every Marathon currently free for download??

    I played Jurassic Park: Survivor. That is to say, the demo. This was back before my critic skills had been leveled up enough and I didn’t realize that big companies could release absolute shit. I remember not being able to get anywhere in the demo because even when you managed to get and aim firearms using the god awful controls, dinosaurs would still ruin your shit.

  30. Every Marathon is free, but I can say from personal experience that these versions cannot be played with a gamepad.

  31. The tide had turned so far against Halo single player in recent times I was starting to feel like something was wrong with everybody else. I still think it plays well, has decent enough graphics, and wonderful sounds and tunes. I do agree with the ever-present critiques of the Library.

    Now, feel free to discount everything I just wrote when I also let you know that I enjoyed Halo 2 single player! I did have the luxury of playing it after everyone’s immense disappointment at the “ending” had coursed through the internet tubes. I’m sure that improved my acceptance of it all.

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