haloNow Halo is hardly a game that one would consider a lost classic, but given the franchise’s popularity, and since Halo ODST hit stores this past week, now is a good time to take a look at this classic, if for no other reason than to see how far the series has come in the 8 years since Halo sold many an Xbox so long ago. You play as the Master Chief, humanity’s last and best hope against a collective of alien races known as the Covenant. Aided by your fellow crew members and a holographic artificial intelligence known as Cortanta, you blast your way through many covenant soldiers in an attempt to discover the secrets of the artificial planet/space station known as Halo.

Looking back, one has to wonder, what made Halo so popular? The game didn’t have any fancy cel-shaded graphics, huge-chested women, celebrity voice talent, RPG-like stat development features, merchandising tie-ins, or licensed soundtrack. Its story was familiar (stop the alien invasion) and it didn’t even have any online multiplayer (as this was released before Xbox Live), yet it managed to outsell even Super Smash brothers melee! As an first person shooter, Halo didn’t do anything that hadn’t been done before, so what was the big deal? Then it hit me, it was NOTHING. Halo didn’t have a gimmick. It just did what other FPS games did better than anything else at the time. From gameplay was fluid, the narrative flowed together throughout each level, the enemy A.I was intelligent, the vehicles handled well after you got used to them, and the splitscreen multiplayer was fun, and you could connect Xboxes together to bring in up to 16 players. Thanks to this solid first entry, Halo would soon take its place alongside Doom and Half-Life as one of the all time great FPS games.