We've been spending an extended amount of time playing through and exploring every nook and cranny of Microsoft's Xbox killer app Halo in recent weeks, and we thought you might enjoy hearing about what we've encountered in the areas of weapons, enemies, and vehicles. We only touch briefly upon each area, so as not to give away any of the game's many secrets, which you'll want to discover for yourself when the time comes.
Ever felt as if the number of weapons you could carry in a particular first-person shooter was unrealistic? In Halo, you can only carry two at a time, and that causes you to choose carefully. Luckily, you can pick up weapons from fallen enemies and comrades, but in doing so, it's important to know which are best.
The assault rifle is a marine's best friend. Many players keep this rifle as either their primary or backup weapon. The 60-round cartridge allows you to wade into combat without worrying about having to reload too quickly.
Voted the weapon that's most likely to be discarded, this pistol will only be useful if you've exhausted your weapons and find that there's nothing else nearby to pick up.
Holding down on the fire button will power up a shot potent enough to knock out the shields of a Covenant elite soldier, which can be extremely helpful. This is a weapon that you'll likely only use when you fight them or when there's nothing else available.
This energy weapon is extremely handy, and you'll use it often. Its battery lasts a decent amount of time, and you can fire off many shots in rapid succession before it momentarily overheats. This is a gun that you'll go searching through piles of bodies for.
The needler looks and sounds somewhat cooler than it actually is. It fires explosive glass shards that home in on enemies, but you need to get a lock on your target for it to be effective, which can sometimes be tough. It's good for shooting enemies before they duck for cover or in fights on open ground at a distance.
There are other weapons to be found in Halo, and they're all extremely useful, but we don't want to ruin the surprise of finding them by describing them for you here.
Though you'll encounter a great many foes throughout the legnth of Halo, your first wave of encounters will involve the Covenant. Their weapons are deadly and sophisticated, and their tactics are ruthless. Here, we'll look at some of the basic unit types--we wouldn't want to spoil the surprise of seeing some of the nastier creatures, for the first time.
The grunts are noteworthy for two reasons. The first reason is that they're the only species among the Covenant that speaks English. You'll hear them squeal, "There he is!" when one spots you, or "They're everywhere!" if you approach with a group of marines in tow. We've noticed about six different phrases so far, but there could be more. The second noteworthy fact about them is that they often toss plasma grenades, which you need to avoid at all costs. It is particularly humiliating when one of the grunts attaches one to your visor, because the only method of removal...hurts. If you can shoot these creatures before they throw any plasma grenades, you'll be able to stock up on this extremely valuable weapon by snagging their supply. Grunts tend to carry either the plasma pistol or the needler.
The Covenant elite possess an energy shield that appears to be very effective against conventional human firearms, but it's more vulnerable to energy weapons such as the plasma pistol and plasma rifle. The Covenant elite are the enemies that you'll save plasma grenades for throughout the first few stages of the game. If you can survive getting close enough to attach one to these guys, it's worth doing. They're pretty adept at dodging your fire, so proximity or luck is necessary. You'll meet the blue- and red-colored Covenant elite early in the game, but the more fearsome yellow sect doesn't appear until you're farther in. The blue and red creatures carry the excellent plasma rifle, while the yellow use a weapon that you'll come to fear.
Jackals are more of an annoyance than anything else and are gratefully fairly rare. They carry portable energy shields that they hide behind while they shoot at you through the slits. The shields make jackals a pain to dispatch, and they're very good at temporarily knocking out your suit's shields by issuing you a powered up shot from the plasma pistol.
That covers the standard units in Halo. We haven't even mentioned the hunters, but remember that name. You'll come to fear it like you do the DarkSim in Perfect Dark's multiplayer mode.
There are four vehicles available to you throughout Halo, and they are arguably one of the best aspects of the game. As such, we're only going to discuss the first one, the warthog.
The warthog takes some time to learn how to control properly, but once you have it down, it rides like a dream. It's nothing compared with the ghost and banshee, which we aren't going to reveal just yet, but you can definitely have a lot of fun with it. And, hey, it beats the hell out of walking.
If you're playing Halo's single-player mode, you'll be driving this attack buggy, while computer-controlled buddies man the gun turret or ride shotgun, picking off enemies from the passenger seat. Lose a buddy to enemy forces? If you drive up next to another marine, he'll jump into the open slot.
If you're playing Halo's multiplayer mode with a group of friends, you'll be able to select the driver's seat, passenger's seat, or gun turret while teammates man the other positions. In this mode, you participate in joust-style matches against your other friends.
This is the end of our look at the basics of Halo's weapons, enemies, and vehicles for now. Tune back in tomorrow for the second of our special three-day look at the game.