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Everyone who knows anything about video games knows already that "Halo" is arguably the best game still available on the system, and it came out more than two years ago.  In my reanalysis of this game, though, I have been trying to think...what makes this game so damned good?

It's certainly not the level design, although game reviewers around the country will tell you otherwise.  Really, the levels that your character, Master Chief, must traverse are sometimes so repetitive that one thinks the designers just rushed their way through things, especially as you are exploring the bases of the alien horde you are so bent on taking down.

Could it be the weapon selection?  It's incredible.  The sniper rifle in "Halo" is maybe the best video-game sniper weapon of all time.  So's the enemy A.I., which likes circling around you and tossing grenades at you for kicks.  Vehicle interaction, working with CPU-guided teammates, and boss characters are well done too.  The music seems to have been blessed with real care, and the cut scenes are amazing.

And that's all in the single player version.  Playing "Halo" with 15 other people, as you can do through XBConnect, a free online service that you have to dig up to use on your PC to connect remotely to other Xbox machines, is maybe the deathknell for all other console-based FPS games to date.  From the sheer joy of smoking fools with that sniper rifle, to capture-the-flag games marked by the ominous announcement "Double kill!", to tossing a grenade into a pack of unsuspecting enemies, I don't think you can beat all that "Halo" has going for it.

Let it be known that when "Halo 2" finally does hit store shelves, if it's almost as good as the first game then you can guarantee I won't be leaving my house for a month.

Rating:  Opening Weekend


Feedback?  Comments?  Salma Hayek's digits?


Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09