Most Agreeable Moments – Halo: Combat Evolved

Playing through the original Halo again its hard to not be transported back to early in the new millenium.  It was the sort of game that made jaws drop at the time, from the way light reflected off of the shiny surfaces in a way I at least hadn’t thought possible on a console, to the sheer scale and scope of the titular Halo world, it just felt streets ahead of anything we’d seen on consoles before. Sure the Playstation 2 had been wowing us with some pretty great games, but something about Halo felt futuristic and special.  And with the controller in hand it was pretty clear that Halo was indeed Combat Evolved.

But while the seemingly perfect weapon balance and revolutionary control scheme were game changers – world beaters even – it was something far more simple that caught my attention. Mere moments an epic battle through the Pillar of Autumn, sheer seconds after you’re forced to crash land onto the mysterious Halo, an unassuming UNSC drop ship swoops into view and with it brings one of the most powerful and symbolic pieces of Halo ‘paraphernalia’ in the series decade-plus history.  And as you approach the precious four-wheeled cargo, the isolation and rapidly fading sense of hope that the vast alien landscape evokes abates,   As you slip behind the wheel of the greatest in military hardware suddenly it all feels like you could survive.  And as the explosive power of the rapid fire mounted gun on the rear of the vehicle leaves a lasting ringing in your ears, you know you’ll survive.

Welcome to the Warthog, Chief.  Welcome to the war.

There is no feeling quite like the first time you slide around a natural rock formation at speed, or send yourself and your passengers flying airborne over a canyon or a rapidly running river.  The way the rather pedestrian Volkswagen Kübelwagen lookalike handles is unforgettable, with its loose suspension and all-wheel drive making it feel more world rally championship than modern warfare, and its high speed making every moment behind the wheel feel like a desperate dash to save a life.  Hooning from skirmish to skirmish in the Warthog, while your adoring comrades take aim and rip through any grunt or elite covenant soldiers that get in your way, brought with it an almost unrivalled sense of power.  The Warthog turned the trained Spartan soldier into a feared guerrilla warrior, and to me, those first moments behind the wheel were the foundation of the Master Chief I came to know over following games.

As someone who fell off of the Halo wagon shortly after finishing the fight with Halo 3, I am pleasantly surprised by how many of my fond memories of a game that changed the way the world looked at console shooters have been proven true.  Everything from the roaring sound of the MA5 echoing through the compromised corridors of the Pillar of Autumn, to the strategic advantage on the battlefield provided for by the rather deceptively powerful covenant weapons, it all changed my expectation for what a console shooter, nay game, could and should be.  But it was the unassuming vehicle that are the basis for my fondest memories of the game, and there has been nothing in any shooter since that has quite matched the feeling of taking the battle to the convenant on all fours.  And it’s nice to know that these moments still make Halo the same special experience it was a good 14 years later.  Combat evolved, indeed.

Halo_Warthog

Did you have warm and fuzzy feelings taking control of the Warthog for the first time?  Or do you have a favourite video game moment?  Join the conversation in the comments below, or on Twitter using #MostAgreeableMoments.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Most Agreeable Moments – Halo: Combat Evolved

  1. lewispackwood

    I remember playing Halo for the first time – it was at an Xbox preview event that I went to with a friend a few months before the console’s launch. A lot of the launch games were fairly uninspiring – Fuzion Frenzy springs to mind – but Halo was clearly in a league of its own. Playing co-op with a friend was a blast, and when we found the Warthog… well, that was the moment I knew this game was something very special indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It certainly was. Two of my favourite shooters of that generation were early game changers – Red Faction and Halo – both mixing up the genre in different ways. It was a wonderful time for the genre really, and its the small things like the moment you go airborne in a Warthog, that made it feel very different and very special.

      On a side note, that original Xbox was a great system, wasn’t it!

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  2. My first introduction Halo: Combat Evolved was the multiplayer. I played hours of it at a friend’s house in high school, and my skill level went from completely awful to pretty good.

    Then I think I rented–remember when you could still do that?–or borrowed an Xbox and tried the campaign by myself. I will never forget the feel and physics of driving the warthog. I remember driving it around one of the first levels just for fun and launching it off jumps. I also was blown away that marines would talk to me, man the warthog’s turret and even drive. Bad driving didn’t stop the good times.

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  3. My experience with the game is similar to Astro Adam, except minus the renting/campaign part… so basically multiplayer only. That said, the Warthog definitely stood out and made Halo seem more than just the slicker, smoother version Goldeneye I initially thought it was.

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    • I oddly never associated it with Goldeneye, but coming straight off the amazing Red Faction on PS2 (one of my favourite shooters of that era), Halo just felt like a different beast. Not better necessarily. Just different. And it was moments like the first time behind the wheel of the Warthog that made it so.

      Liked by 1 person

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