After spending several hours on Saturday playing through Resistance: Fall of Man on the PS3, I got to thinking about my apathy for Halo. Why was I so immersed in the former, yet so uninterested in the latter title.
I mean, all those people who revere Halo as the best game ever cant be wrong… right?
On Sunday afternoon I decided to turn back the clock and re-install Halo on my PC, where, thanks to the unrelenting march of technology, I’d be able to play it with all the detail and effects maxed out for what should be the ultimate Halo experience. That done, and after the initial scene setting, I found myself wandering the corridors of the ship with the intention of getting off. I had no idea where the exit was, but I could tell by the carefuly placed boxes and doors that wouldn’t open that I was being coaxed towards my goal. The trouble was that the spaceship corridors all looked identical, so occasionally I’d lose my bearings and end up back where I’d come from. Still, once I realised the mistake I was quickly back on track – it wasn’t as if I could really take a one way turn in this strangely linear maze of corridors.
On my way to the exit I happened upon other members of the crew who seemed relieved to see me – possibly because they were putting up a pretty half-hearted battle against some bald ewoks that had somehow gotten onboard. The other crew members frequently yelled something about “the covenant” as they ran about in a panic taking the occasional pot-shot at the bald ewoks, so in passing I dispatched of those that I saw with relative ease by way of helping out. I could not fathom why the other crew members were both scared of and unable to kill the bald ewoks.
Honestly, it was no wonder we had to abandon ship – there wasn’t the slightest bit of conviction in the fighting of the other crew members. I can only assume that the maintenance crews had a similarly poor attitude, as that would explain the sheer number of doors that wouldn’t open. Obviously they were broke – it’s not like I wouldn’t have clearance, being as the captain himself had already spoken to me that day and everybody appeared to know my name.
After wandering around for a while, killing the bald ewoks and the occasional humanoid in a flickering suit, I eventually triggered a cut scene of myself leaving the main ship in an escape pod that carried five or six people. There was no seat for my character, so I stood there looking stoic whilst the others contemplated their fate. It did strike me as odd that with the colossal scale of the ship we were leaving behind, the escape pods were severely lacking in terms of capacity.
No matter, I was off the sinking ship and on my way to terra firma.
The next thing that struck me as odd was that after the escape pod had crash landed, I was the sole survivor despite not taking a seat. Granted, I’d been knocked out, but I’d gotten away unscathed in comparison to my dead crew mates. It just goes to show that in some freak crashes you’re often better off if you haven’t buckled up. Still, as a matter of policy I’d always make use of the restraints provided in any emergency escape capsule.
The female voice that had offered some instruction to me onboard the ship advised that I should now go and hide in the hills because the covenant would be coming to look for survivors. As I emerged from the capsule I looked skyward to see trails in the sky belonging, I assume, to many more escape pods entering the atmosphere. Looks like the covenant would have a busy day ahead of them, looking for survivors.
As suggested I wandered up to the right of the greenery and hid behind a waterfall. To me that was pretty cunning. I even tried to crouch down low in the water, but it wasn’t deep enough to afford any more cover. A couple of flying machines passed overhead – I wasn’t sure if they’d been able to see me or not, but I did begin to think that with both myself and the covenant belonging to relatively advanced races, the use of thermal imaging cameras was probably a given.
I’ve watched enough Police Camera Action in my time to know that when there’s air support the bad guys are caught most of the time. Thus hiding under a waterfall was probably futile and just prolonging the agony. However, just in case they hadn’t spotted me, I stealthily made my way downstream to see if I could gain a vantage point.
Peering past some rocks by the stream, I could see that some bald ewoks and a big guy were guarding the escape pod full of dead crew that I’d vacated. Glancing skyward again I could see that there were still escape pods entering the atmosphere. Boy, the covenant sure were going to have to pull shifts and overtime to get enough ewoks and big guys to guard every escape pod that had landed.
If I hadn’t been seen before, I truly had been now – a pair of the flying machines suddenly appeared and took it in turns to swoop by and fire at me. I figured I was screwed, because the guys on the ground would know exactly where I was now and were probably already on their way to dispatch of me. Somehow I managed to take one of the flying machines down with rifle fire – I guess I’m just a good shot – and the other knew what was good for him and disappeared over the hill.
Oddly, the expected swarm of ground troops failed to materialise. Looks like when you’re a covenant soldier and you’re told to guard an escape pod full of dead people, you gorram guard that escape pod full of dead people like it’s the last thing you’ll ever do, because they hadn’t moved towards my position at all.
Using the cover of the trees I crept closer to the crash site to see if I could work out what was so important about guarding said site, but clumsily let myself get spotted by one of the bald ewoks. I killed him and his colleague for shooting at me, then dispatched of their big friend, too.
After briefly returning to the crash scene to see if I could glean more ammo or health, I headed off to the left of the area and crossed the river to confront a few more bald ewoks. Further up the hill there were some more of them accompanied by big guys, so I killed them too. Tell me again why these pussies were able to overwhelm our giant spaceship to the point where we had to abandon it?
Following the valley around I happened upon a heated battle between some other survivors and the covenant, flanking the latter and taking them out before regrouping with the others. I did try to get close enough to some of the other characters to see what kind of gun they were using in the hope of solving the mystery as to why I was the only one who could kill anything, but another covenant dropship quickly appeared to dispatch more lambs to the slaughter.
I killed them all before another one appeared and I killed the covenant left behind by that one, too.
Then – and this is important, this bit – I turned this weak-ass, boring, clichéd, piece of crap game off.
Oh, how in the name of hell does this represent the essence of gaming?
It is, quite clearly, a pile of bollocks. It’s not the age of it, either – TimeSplitters 2 came out on the PS2 just a few months after Halo on the original XBox and provided a varied, compelling storyline without the bald ewoks. It also looks better for its age than Halo, for a start. Oh my eyes! Never mind the frame rate.
Right, somebody – somebody in on the joke, please clear this up for me. It’s all just a big gag, isn’t it?
There’s no way that people seriously believe Halo is in any way worthy of even a fraction of the hype surrounding it.