Monday, October 8, 2012

Halo: Combat Evolved Unboxing and A Look Back

     Halo: Combat Evolved was released on November 15, 2001 as one of the original Xbox launch titles.  The game holds the distinction of having the highest Metacritic rating for an original Xbox game (97).

     Leading up to the launch of the original Xbox many felt that Dead or Alive 3 (aka DOA 3) would be the game that drove Xbox console sales.  Certainly DOA 3 was a great game and a system seller but Halo: Combat Evolved seemed to take everyone by surprise in terms of quality and entertainment value.

     The importance of this first entry into the Halo franchise cannot be over emphasized.  So what makes Halo: Combat Evolved so important?
  1. The graphics were arguably not the best amongst the launch titles.  That distinction would probably have to go to DOA 3.  That being said, Halo was no slouch in the graphics department.  Impressive draw distances coupled with vibrant colors and rich textures ensured that gamers would not mind staring at the screen for hours on end while completing Master Chief's story or partaking in the multi player offerings.
  2. Sound on the other hand was head and shoulders above any other launch title or most of the games that launched after it.  The use of 5.1 Dolby Digital was very well implemented.  Something as simple as footsteps had appropriate sound effects based on the surface that was being walked on.  The soundtrack by Martin O'Donnell created mood and atmosphere that immersed gamers even deeper into the Halo universe.
  3. Physics were also a strength of this game.  Explosions often had a very interesting effect on objects in the game world.  For a prime example of the physics in Halo: Combat Evolved check out
  4. The control scheme was also well executed.  It should be pointed out that up until Halo: Combat Evolved most first person shooter games were not very successful on consoles.  Halo changed all of that with a control scheme that most new players to the genre were able to pick up and have some success with but deep enough that players were rewarded for continually honing their skills.
  5. If gamers came for the story of Master Chief, then they stayed for the multi player.  Whether playing four player split screen on the same TV or using the game's LAN features the multi player struck a unique balance of strategy and skill.  The game also provided a healthy dose of match types as well as the ability to modify settings within those match types to keep things fresh.
     When we take all of these points into consideration it is easy to state that Halo: Combat Evolved was the most important original Xbox launch title.  But how important was the game to the original Xbox platform as a whole?

     The landscape of the video game market might be entirely different were it not for this game. Would the Xbox have had the commercial success that it did? The original Xbox was never the market leader during that generation of consoles. The Playstation 2 held that distinction. So, were it not for this system seller is it out of the realm of possibility that there might not have been an Xbox 360 console?  There would not have been Halo 2 which was a huge success for the Xbox Live service.  Halo has turned into a multi-billion dollar franchise for Microsoft.  The original Xbox and even the Xbox brand have benefited immensely from the success of Halo: Combat Evolved.

A Look Back Rating (1-10):                                                       10

     I have also created an unboxing video of Halo: Combat Evolved plus a rather comical unboxing video of the "official" strategy guide.

Halo: Combat Evolved Unboxing and A Look Back Video

Halo: Combat Evolved "Official" Strategy Guide Unboxing Video

     Disagree with my assessment of Halo: Combat Evolved?  Have something you want to add?  Please leave your comments below.

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