Halo: Combat Evolved
One day Bungie are going to have a major hit on their hands and they won't know what hit them. Responsible for a trilogy of Marathon games (popular Doom clones for beleaguered Mac owners) and two Myth titles, the Bungie boys haven't been afraid to follow their own path. Starting out developing games for the Apple Mac - hardly the most lucrative market - Bungie are relative newcomers to the PC. Their first PC game Abuse barely shook the world back in 1996, although since then Myth: The Fallen Lords and Myth II: Soulblighter have increased their standing among PC gamers, but still, compared to the likes of iD and Westwood they're still small fry.
However, all that is about to change with Halo - they've picked up the game developers rule book, ripped out the chapter on level design and thrown it away. Halo has not one level but a big 'ringworld' on which players are free to roam, whether on foot, in ground-based vehicles, in the air or under water. There will be missions, of course, but we're promised a game whereby the enemy will work on a dynamic level, defending where you choose to attack and probably catching you out in the process.
As a multiplayer game, Halo will be reminiscent and no doubt better than Starsiege Vibes, offering two very different sides, an impossible array of vehicles and weapons, gun emplacements and seamless indoor and outdoor areas. In fact the multiplayer game will be so big that players will have to specialise in various roles to achieve maximum effectiveness. Whether you choose to be a straight ground-based grunt, a pilot, or any number of roles is up to you. Unlike Team Fortress, where you choose a role beforehand, everyone starts off the same. Slack-jawed silence - that's the response of most people who have seen Halo in action. We talk of course about the graphics. Curves? Pah! You may think Quake III Arena is the best engine money can license but you'd almost certainly be wrong. Bungie have moved beyond today's standard of real-time shadowing and intrusive lens flare. In Halo not only will you find skeletal animation, scaleable mesh technology and reflective surfaces, but multiplayer texture mapping, true deformable terrain and inverse kinetics (You've lost me now -Ed). In other words you'll see realistic body movement, explosions leaving craters, buildings slowly crumbling and warped images of yourself in the reflection of a jeep's wheel arch. The physics too: spent casings thrown into the air and rolling down slopes; wheels moving independently across a number of surfaces and the spray of gravel (each particle texture-mapped) as your wheels struggle for purchase.
Just one of the little things to look out for will be the interface -something Bungie's previous games are hardly noted for. One aspect is giving team commands: you don't have to go through three sub-menus to get your troops to do anything. There won't even be a button for 'Look out!', you'll just point to the incoming threat and your comrades will spring into action.
Have we told you enough? No? Well, we shall leave the rest for a future issue. More than any other game, Halo's in-game screenshots speak for themselves. Which is why we've made them big. Just for you.
Download Halo: Combat Evolved
PC compatible, P-100
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features: Single game mode
- Aliens versus Predator
- Deus Ex: Game of the Year
- Half-Life: Opposing Force
- Hitman: Codename 47
- Quake III: Team Arena
- Serious Sam
- Unreal Tournament
2019-01-25 Halo: Combat Evolved game added.