The Halo Series of Video Games
The story of Halo
Halo Series: The Story behind it
A lone Orbital Drop Shock Trooper scours the African City of Mombasa in search for his missing teammates and struggles to find clues and evidence that can lead to the whereabouts of the rest of the orbital drop shock troopers.
This is a scene from science fiction video game Halo, created by Bungie, which has catapulted off to great success after its first release November 15, 2001. To date, the game has captured the interest of millions and has led to the production of more Halo game series, novels, spin-offs and merchandise, all of which were widely received by its followers with much enthusiasm and excitement.
Owned by Microsoft Studios and under the 343 Industries management, the storyline of Halo is centered on the interstellar war between humans and the Covenants, a theocratic alliance of aliens. Halo series is considered as one of the best video game console first-person shooter, making it a must have for all game enthusiast. Its first release Halo: Combat Evolved was an extreme success that it helped kick off the second the sequel Halo 2, consequently, the third installment Halo 3 broke sales records in history, with its 170 million worth of copies sold within the first 24 hours. Interestingly the series spin-off, Halo: Reach, went on to break Halo 3’s record with 200 million worth of copies on the first day. Currently the Halo Series have had nine installments and four Spin-off series, including the Halo 3 – ODST, which was set in the period between Halo 2 and Halo 3.
In the effort of trying to understand the fascination of millions of people in the Halo Series, let us try to understand the story behind the series that many find so exciting.
About 100,00 thousand years before the Halo events began, there lived an ancient race of sentient called the Forerunners who ruled the galaxy for 20,000 including the planets Earth, Reach, Sigma Octanus IV, Arcadia, Harvest, Sanghelios, Janjur Qom, and Kholo. The forerunners were an advanced and intelligent life form who overthrew their makers, the Precursor, except for one called “The Timeless One”, which they kept locked in a time bolt on Charum Hakkor. As a dominant species at the time, the Forerunners spanned their empire to over three million inhabited fertilized worlds. They were an empire free of conflict that it reached a point of disarmament, this led to the vulnerability of the race and finally the downfall of the sentient life against the attacks of the parasitic aliens called the Floods.
Details of how the Forerunners and the Flood first came into contact is not available, but when the Forerunners realized the massive threat that these parasites could be to their race, they decided to use Biohazards to control and stop the alien invasion. This however, proved to be ineffective as the Flood were an intelligent parasite, which can adapt to its environment. Unable to defeat the parasites, the Forerunners realized that the only way to exterminate them was to develop massive Halo Installations designed to starve and ultimately wipe the Flood out from existence by killing all sentient life with sufficient biomass, except for a few species that will be safely stored in The Ark. The use of the Hallo Array caused great conflict among the Forerunners, which caused a civil war among the race. Ultimately, they were convinced that this was the only way to destroy the Flood and before they activated the Halo Array disappeared from the galaxy, the Forerunners named humanity as their successors calling them the “Reclaimer”.
Tens of thousands years later, come the 26th century, The humanity has already colonized many worlds, under the United Nations Space Command or The UNSC, they are now able to travel between worlds through “slipspace” travel which is faster than light. Due to a civil war, UNSC develops an elite orbital drop shock troopers, super soldiers called “The Spartans” to take control over the situation and become guardians of peace. In the year 2525, the human colony was attacked by an alliance of alien race called “The Covenant” who declares humanity as heretics who do not honor their gods, the Forerunners.
The Covenant arrived planet Reach, the last major stronghold of humanity outside earth, by 2052. The UNSC and the last orbital drop shock troopers, Spartans were unsuccessful in stopping them from invading the planet. To save the rest of humanity, the ODST tried to lure the Covenants away from earth, and accidentally reached the Halo Installation through a random coordinate selection. Unfortunately, the Covenants ship destroyed the Installation on its pursuit to the Spartans and accidentally released the Flood that was imprisoned inside. Detonating their ships’ engine to destroy the Halo and preventing the escape of the Flood. Without much choice, the orbital drop shock troopers return to earth with the Covenants in their tails.
Most of the Covenants ships were destroyed upon their entry to earth except for one under the command of the Prophet of Regret, which invades the African City of Mombasa. Before getting trapped and destroyed, Regret decides to escape through a slipspace portal followed by Master Chief who killed Regret in a different Halo Installation. This was also where Master Chief learned the destruction that the Halo could bring when activated so he ordered his men to cease firing the rings of the Halo Array. The Halo was left on standby but can still be activated from a remote location called “The Ark”.
The Earth faced a full-scale attack by the Covenants who were able to excavate a Forerunner artifact, which allowed them to create a slipspace portal leading to the Ark. Arbiter and the Master Chief were able to use the portal to travel and kill Truth, the last High Prophet. He also discovered that the installation is building a new Halo ring to replace the one destroyed by the Covenants. Master Chief activated the incomplete ring to stop the spreading of Flood infestation. Fortunately, the Ark lies outside of the Milky Way, thus sparing the galaxy from destruction but successfully destroying the Flood. The ship Arbiter was also spared from the explosion by escaping through the slipspace yet only half of it was able to get through the portal, leaving the Master Chief and Cortana drifting in space being trapped in the severed half of the ship, which did not make it through the portal. To save themselves, the Master chief decides to cryonically freeze Cortana and himself so that they can survive as they wait for rescue while drifting in space towards an unknown planet.
The games’ seemingly typical alien versus human and good versus evil plot, combined with its not so typical setting and characters has helped the game connect with a million gamers, which makes it one of the most successful game series ever. This high adrenalin alien and humanity combat is available for gamers using MAC, PC and Xbox platforms giving it a wider audience and followers, which consequently gave the main Halo series an iconic status stage. A film adaptation of Halo would have been as successful as the series; however, fans might have to wait for a few more years before that can be realized.
Halo, a popular science fictional video game franchise that is comprised of eight games, is dubbed to be the best first-person perspective shooting game console. The game revolves around an intergalactic war between humans and the Covenant, an alliance of aliens out to destroy humanity. Published by Microsoft Studios, the franchise runs in several platforms including Xbox, Xbox 360, Windows and Mac OS X.
Because they are fist person shooting games, most action is seen in the protagonist’s perspective. A player enters the world of Halo through the eyes of Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, a human turned super soldier, who was made by the United Nations Space Command to undergo psychological, biological and cybernetic enhancements in order to face the antagonists, the Covenant and the Flood.
The video game franchise is composed of Halo’s original trilogy and spin-offs. The game was first released on November 15, 2001 with the title Halo: Combat Evolved. As the first game in the series, it introduced the key facets in the franchise like the Master Chief, the Covenant, the Flood and the mysterious Halo rings. Introduced game play concepts introduced in this first game remained present all through out the franchise. An example of this is the ability, or more like a limitation, to carry a maximum of two weapons. This forces a player to contemplate wisely on his choice of weapon.
The second game in the trilogy is Halo 2 where the ability to dual-wield weapons was introduced. This means that the player can hold and fire two weapons at the same time. The third and final instalment to the original trilogy is Halo 3 where equipments, new vehicles and new weapons were introduced. Spin-offs of the trilogy were released to join the trilogy like the Halo 3 ODST, Halo Reach, and Halo Wars.
Halo 3 ODST has gained much popularity recently. Picking up where the trilogy left off, the human race is still at war with the Covenant. But unlike the trilogy, you no longer play the role of the cybernetically enhanced Master Chief and instead control a rookie human soldier who is part of an army known as ODST or Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. An incident causes your character to be separated from his squad. You explore the ruined city of New Mombassa while looking for your squad mates with the help of Mombassa’s city maintenance artificial intelligence called the Superintendent.
Halo ODST can be played in two modes, either campaign or multiplayer. Under multiplayer mode, the game has a cooperative game mode known as Firefight where you take on one wave of increasingly difficult enemies after the other. You try to survive as long as you can to earn more points.
The game has excellent visuals and brings a real atmosphere of a ruined city through its art design. The ODST game play, action, graphics and story was praised by critics and gamers alike. In 2009, Halo ODST was ranked eight best game of the year in Time and awarded bestfirst-person shooter game by Softpedia. All in all, Halo 3 ODST and the whole franchise are definite must haves for any gamer.
This section of our site is dedicated to these great games. Please navigate using the menu above or links below to get more information on the Halo Series.
To find out more about Halo ODST Click Here