Halo was the game that launched the XBox console into a gaming powerhouse. Bungies first person shooter is a classic and deserves a place in the halls of some of the best games of all time. Coming out originally on the XBox and more recently with the Halo Master Chief Collection on XBox One, Halo is still a fun game modern audiences will like. But what if you want to come back and play Halo today and don't have an original XBox or want to get an XBox One? In 2003 Bungie teamed up with Gearbox to launch Halo on PC and this version is completely playable and if you want to relive this classic sans an XBox, this version is where it's at.

I picked up Halo Combat Evolved on PC recently at Fry's Electronics for $20 and it came with a CD install disc, box, key and game manual. The installation was painless as you simply enter the key and the game installs quickly. The game comes all on one CD so it's not quite as long as Fallout 4 that has a hybrid DVD/Internet install process. After the game installs I recommend you install the latest Halo PC patch from 2014.


The 1.0.10 patch bumps the game version, strips out the CD play requirement, removes GameSpy and modernizes the game for Windows 7. After the game updated I maxed the video settings and reconfigured the default controls to something resembling a more modern shooter.

The games online multiplayer is still intact as I was able to browse Internet games and join a few. I wasn't the worst person playing which was odd as I expected the game to be rife with hackers and aimbots. The multiplayer felt just like I remember it and it's nice to see a few hundred people still having fun with it.

I never fully completed the original Halo as I really never owned it and only played it with friends a bit at a time. I've always liked the chill nature of the Halo story and the lush world is enjoyable to be in. The graphics are a bit dated now but after you are in the core gameplay itself is strong enough to keep you going. My only complaint about gameplay is that it's a bit one note. Go here, kill bad guys, go there and kill bad guys. The shooting is fun but so far into the game it's somewhat repetitive. The game only lets you save with checkpoints meaning that if you have only a few minutes to play here and there and you don't fully make it to a checkpoint you lose progress. This isn't a huge deal, but something I noticed as I stepped away a couple times.

There have been rumors flying for years that Microsoft would port Halo 3 and the like to modern PC's and bring the whole collection to Steam but so far this hasn't materialized. If you want to come back to Halo I'd suggest nabbing the box copies and playing those. Currently you can play Halo and Halo 2 on PC and whereas i'd love a modern port to Steam so far this is our best option to play outside the XBox ecosystem.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 02/16/2016 at 04:22pm

Another of the big features of Halo, that made it so fun, was the adaptive AI. You actually felt like you were playing against sentient creatures, taking cover from your fire, and trying to maneuver to better attack positions. The tension was palpable, and the details and fluidity of the environments (sounds and visuals) made for a beautiful, excitingly immersive experience. Seeing the arc of the mysterious Halo in the distance right from the beginning, and realizing that was what you were traversing on, gave you pause to just sit and imagine what was going on. Where some games are busy with forward progression and unnecessary clutter, Halo allowed for an appreciation of the environment. The vagueness of the story stirred the imagination, and was never over-sold to be more than it was ever really going to be.

Microsoft was smart to scoop Bungie up when they did. It's likely that Halo would have drifted into obscurity if it maintained it's initial path as a Mac exclusive. With the current struggles that they are facing with the XBone console, I'm sure you'll see more of those, and more importantly newer games, make the transition to the Windows 10 environment, a la Quantum Break.

Travis   Admin wrote on 02/16/2016 at 05:45pm

Wow, I'm impressed that there was a patch released in 2014. That's a long support cycle.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 02/17/2016 at 03:54am

> Another of the big features of Halo, that made it so fun, was the adaptive AI.

Yeah, you know they did a good job with this and even now the AI is pretty solid. I think the sounds they make and such heightens this more too and each bad guy type has it's own style and part in the caste system which adds to immersion. They never even talk about that it's just obvious from watching them act in the world.

> The vagueness of the story stirred the imagination, and was never over-sold to be more than it was ever really going to be.

This is a strength of Halo. Just enough to be good, not as much to be mysterious. They kind of wanted to do this later with Destiny and they didn't seem to pull it off as well.

That said, Halo is a fairly simple game and I think they were going for the same thing with Destiny. Both seem like games stripped down to those essential mechanics it's just that so many years later, maybe Destiny needed to be more?

> Microsoft was smart to scoop Bungie up when they did. It's likely that Halo would have drifted into obscurity if it maintained it's initial path as a Mac exclusive.

Yeah, would have been sad to be a Mac only game. That said, it seems to be tied exclusively to the XBox which honestly I consider sad for nearly the same reason. That said, Halo reaches a wider audience but just doesn't intersect with me much these days.

Do you think we may see a modern Halo running on PC anytime soon?

Travis   Admin wrote on 02/17/2016 at 04:14am

MS has been making a push for PC lately, so it's possible. I'm not sure how inclined they are to jump into Halo without Bungie, they may wait a bit, but I think they're trying to keep Windows in people's thoughts for gaming.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 02/17/2016 at 04:12pm

343 Industries seems to be doing a decent job with the Halo franchise, although I found Halo 4's campaign play to be less interesting (i.e. I didn't finish it), and I haven't played 5. The multiplayer has evolved to keep with the times, for better or worse. Bungie is great at making multiplayer shooters, but they fumble a bit when it comes to telling cohesive stories. They like to play with mystery, but they seem to do it without direction, so there isn't much of a payoff. Halo's stories are better discovered in the novels. Halo 3 ODST was one of the best Halo games, in terms of storytelling, I think because of the separation of the multiplayer aspect, and this is where I think Bungie has dropped the ball with Destiny. Creating a divided community from day one (Crucible vs PVE) was an unfortunate consequence of their design. It's not entirely their fault. I just don't think they know any other way, and the cost is too high to risk experimenting with better ideas.

I think you'll see all of Microsoft's first-party games come to PC very soon, at least the new stuff, with classics coming along the way. They obviously want to continue supporting PC, and I think it's smart.

Travis   Admin wrote on 02/17/2016 at 07:27pm

My previous comment should have read "I'm not sure how inclined they are to jump into bringing the older Halos to PC without Bungie"

343 would obviously be who to talk to for getting the newer ones.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 02/17/2016 at 08:13pm

They did the Master Chief Collection with 343 (and other studios), which was an upgrade of all the original games to HD. I'm sure they could handle PC ports (or remasters, or whatever you want to call it), given enough time. I doubt that Bungie will ever touch Halo again :(.

Travis   Admin wrote on 02/17/2016 at 08:36pm

Yeah that's a good point. I hadn't considered the MC collection.

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