Halo: Combat Evolved

Pros & Cons:
Pertaining to My short list below.

Full Pros & cons re-review coming soon...

This game changed first-person shooters forever, and started a fantastic series. It has great, sharp graphics (especially for the time); huge, wide open, non-linear levels; and some of the best gameplay in its genre. The only downside is that the framerate most often takes a hit in larger areas (which is pretty much the whole game), and a few of the last levels require you to backtrack (particularly a level called The Library) all the way to where you first started (while fighting loads of enemies). And because these levels are so large, it gets a bit frustrating, boring and repetitive. But these issues aren't enough to spoil the overall gameplay, and this is still considered to be one of the best first-person shooters ever.

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Content review for this game:
Pertaining to the ESRB rating.

Content sum up: This game is definitely not for kids under the age of 13, at least in my opinion, as it's just too intense. But for an "M" for Mature rated game, it's pretty mild, with tame blood effects, very little language, and it should have received a "T" for Teen rating. So, taking this and the moderately disturbing "Flood" into account, I recommend this game for ages 14+.

Full content re-review coming soon...

Blood and gore: When you shoot or hit an enemy, its blood hits the ground in wide, thin puddles, and lightly stain walls. Blood also does splatter—well, more like trickle. Most of the enemies in the game shed neon blue, purple or green blood, which isn't too offensive or graphic. However, humans in this game do shed red blood. It sheds the same as listed above, and again, it really isn't too graphic for an "M" for Mature rating. Also worth mentioning is that blood and bodies linger, and throughout the game you see many injured or dead soldiers lying on the ground. Most are visibly bloodied. There is no option to turn blood off.

Specific scene of blood & gore:

  • When Master Chief finally finds the person he's been looking for, he sees it's too late, as the Flood have completely taken over the person's body. It's turned the character into a large, tumorous mass, suspended in the room by tentacles from its body, with the only identifying (and remaining) mark being the embossed imprint of the character's body. Knowing he can do nothing for this character, Master Chief reaches into the mass, resulting in some crunchy sounds and flaky chunks, and pulls out the chip that was once embedded in the person's head, which contains secret codes that can't fall into the hands of the enemy.

Violence: Mankind can now travel the galaxy at faster than light speed, and many people have left earth and formed colonies on habitable planets. We lost contact with a group of these colonists, and sent a fleet of our ships to investigate. Only one made it back, and badly damaged. They told us that a fleet of what we now know to be the Covenant destroyed our entire armada with ease, and now they wish to wage war on us. To counteract these enemies, and protect the now secret location of earth, we have made a group of super-soldiers called SPARTAN. You (Master Chief) are one of these soldiers, and it's your mission to find the Covenant home world and strike at their heart. You soon find out that the Covenant have a weapon called Halo, and it's rumored to have enough power to destroy the entire universe. Time to stop the Covenant, and destroy Halo...

The main character has a variety of weapons at his disposal, from grenades and pistols to submachine guns and rocket launchers. You also have access to the aliens' weapons, and can knock enemies with the butt of your firearm. Many vehicles are granted to you throughout the game, and you are able to shoot and run over enemies with them. Also, you can shoot, hit, run over, and kill your fellow human soldiers, if you choose to do so, that is. The enemy consist solely of the alien Covenant, ranging from "grunts," who are small and have squeaky, comedic voices, to "Elites," who are over 8 feet tall, and wear full body armor. The overall gameplay is heart-pumping, stressful and intense, with you being put in almost insurmountable and impossible situations throughout. But overall, it really isn't too graphic or offensive, especially for a "M" for Mature game. And honestly it's hard to say how offensive the violence in this is, because it's all a bit over the top, and even cartoony—an enemy I am about to explain might change the "not too offensive issue" I was talking about...

They are called the "Flood," and are enemy both to the main character and the aliens. The Flood give the game an overall light horror feel; screaming and howling in spooky tones, giving the whole area a feeling of despair and hopelessness. They're symbiotic creatures, which means they take over the human and alien bodies as hosts. In their default form they resemble a shrimp-like creature that latches onto the bodies of it's victims, and takes over the DNA, resulting in a large, hideous mass forming from the remaining body. In their new form they have yellowish colored skin, and you can still see whatever remains of the human or alien body here and there. When you hit them they surprisingly break apart into dry, flaky chunks, and not bloody chunks like you would imagine. They're predominantly present in 5 of 10 levels. Last of all, another Flood enemy resembles a huge piece of mutated popcorn with legs; they carry the shrimp-like creatures I mentioned above in their bodies. They'll run at you, drop and then explode, leaving the smaller enemies to attack you.

Specific scene of violence:

  • While trying to find a main characters, Master Chief comes upon a strange door. When he opens it, he finds a human soldier's helmet lying near the bloodstained floor. He picks it up and uses its built-in audio/video recorder to play back what happened; it shows what the soldier saw up until the incident that caused his death. They (the soldier and his team) eventually come upon the same door Master Chief just came through, however (as this is earlier) it's sealed. When they unseal it, they have their first encounter with the Flood. The shrimp-like Flood start to attach to their bodies, killing most, including the soldier you've witnessed the recording from, resulting in it ending there.

Mild Language: (The ESRB didn't mention this in the rating) There are under a dozen uses of hell and God, two uses of d*mn, a** and screw (non-sexual), and one use of sh*t, bastard and God d*mn. Other than the main script, human soldiers will lightly use, d*mn, hell, bastard, a**, and b*tch as they fight the enemy.

Mild Suggestive themes: (The ESRB didn't mention this in their rating) One of the main characters is an AI construct, whose gender is female. You can see her overall figure quite clearly, as she has what looks like a skin-tight jumpsuit on.

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