Halo: Combat Evolved 1.0

The original installment of the insanely popular first-person shooter game

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    6.9 (1167)
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  • Works under:

    Windows Vista / Windows XP / Windows 2000 / Windows ME / Windows 98 SE / Windows 98

  • Program available in:In English
  • Program license:Trial version

Halo: Combat Evolved is a highly regarded first-person shooter that was developed by Bungie. Many attribute the partial success of the first Xbox to its having had Halo to offer to console gamers, so it's likely that Microsoft released its successors to that system at least in part because of the game. Halo is considered by fans to be exemplary when it comes to offering satisfying FPS single-player gameplay, with many praising the artificial intelligence on display in particular.

The PC port of the game was done by Gearbox Software, and they did an admirable job of translating it. Although Halo was undoubtedly designed with thumbsticks in mind, it plays superbly with the mouse and keyboard setup that many PC gamers will naturally gravitate toward. In fact, some might think that it plays too well with such controls, with the mouse being such an accurate aiming device that the game's difficulty is definitely lessened compared to playing on the console. Fortunately, Bungie was good about offering a variety of difficulty levels, and the game's "Legendary" setting will likely provide some challenge even for FPS veterans.

Halo is an older game, but some excellent art direction helps it to stand up visually even today. Even modern PCs of modest power will run the game very smoothly at high resolutions, and gamers with high-end rigs are likely to be able to pour on the anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering which help so much with improving image quality. Played when down-sampled from a higher resolution, in fact, the game can look genuinely stunning at times, showing off as it does to great effect the work of Bungie's talented art department.

The action holds up even better. Halo bears the signs of a game that went through loads of internal testing and tuning before it was unleashed upon the world, as gun play is as satisfying as one would hope. The Flood and other enemies make for great targets, too, sometimes seeming truly alive as they scramble to organize and take down the player-controlled Master Chief.

To gamers used to the modern warfare-influenced offerings that so crowd today's FPS market, Halo's science-fiction setting should feel like a breath of fresh air. Bungie's creation is famous for the lore and back story that support it, and even players new to this unique world will quickly feel right at home in it. Even for those who have already played later games in the series, this classic is well worth checking out.


  • A true classic of the FPS genre that is strong across the board.
  • The PC port is more than serviceable and serves to show off this console-spawned game to great effect.


  • May be a little dated in terms of gameplay for some.

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