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     " If you have an XBox, and somehow managed not to get this game, submit yourself for punishment. "

      Title: Halo by Microsoft

      Format: XBox First Person Shooter

      Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A

      The Hype: There's been a ton of hype over this game, especially since Bungie went from PC to Xbox with its platform. Now it's being hailed as the killer app for the XBox…The launch title that will make you want to buy an Xbox all by itself. It's a first person shooter with bonuses. Tons of enemies, massive levels, and vehicles to run around in, indoor and outdoor environs. The box promises much, friends and simians. Here's the real poop…

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: Absolutely stunning. The first time you go outside and see the planet Halo, you will take a few moments just to look around and see everything. It's that brilliant. The environments are lush and pretty. The characters are rendered wonderfully in their 3D glory. Vehicles and enemies look great. The indoor environments are good, but can get a little repetitive and boring. Your onscreen persona, although you'll see him very seldom, looks pretty cool in his power armor. Weapons look appropriate, both human and alien. Explosions look good. Basically it all looks good. 4.5 out of 5

      Sound: : The music is a good match to the action, but ultimately won't really catch you too much. They do have some great moments of dramatic sweeping scores. The voice over work on characters is great. The little grunt troops of the enemy shout "We're all gonna die!" when you show up guns a- blarin'. Nobody turns in a bad performance, even the incidentals. Sound effects are great too. Shootouts are great to listen to, and you can often tell which kinds of weapons are being used in the shoot out around the corner by listening to the sounds the weapons make. Screams of pain, chants of victory, it's a quality job all around. 4.5 out of 5

      Game Play: I can honestly say this is the best FPS I've played on a console. All of the first person shooter staples are here and done well. A ton of weapons, human ballistic and alien energy, are here for your enjoyment. Not to mention grenades, which have been implemented in the best possible way. Grenades are tossed on a separate button from your main weapon; meaning no switching to your grenades if you need one, just chuck one out. The weapons are a lot of fun to use, and each weapon has its effective targets/situations. The controls are nicely responsive, with separate looking and aiming controls. The addition of vehicles to the game is a real blast. Jumping into the saddle of a big ass assault tank, blasting the hell out of your opponents with the main turret? That's "gold," monkeys, "gold". The AI of the enemies and your own troops is excellent. They display realistic tactics, going for cover, running from grenades, etc. On the higher difficulties you may find yourself hard pressed to hit the bobbing and weaving alien elites. Essentially, this game's got it all, and it's all well done. 5 out of 5

      Level and Environment Designs: Well as I mentioned the outdoor environments look great. The indoors are not as impressive and tend to get a little boring after a good long while in them. Environments are interactive only in the fact that you can put bullet holes in them. Otherwise they're just pretty to look at. The levels are designed well, going from linear to expansive. Of course, they lose points for re-using several levels, simply putting them in reverse. Come on now guys, we can do better than that, can't we? Still it all comes off fairly well. 3.5 out of 5

      Multiplayer: Up to four players can duke it out for Halo Supremacy on 1 Xbox and out to 16 on a LAN? Oh hell yeah. The game features some good maps and several multiplayer modes. Not to mention cooperative play for the full game. The multiplayer maps work well, with some very interesting levels. Such as a level in which two ships stare at each other across space, and are only linked by teleporters. The best part is that they give you the ability to create your own multiplayer types. Want to make a match to see who's got the balls, and who can keep 'em longer? Do it! Bringing your fellow monkeys over for some four-player carnage. It will very well rival Goldeneye. 5 out of 5

      Replayability: Well considering I actually stopped writing this review for a bit to go play the game, I'd say it's got a good replayability. There are four difficulties, ranging from "Easy" to "Thank you sir, may I have another ass kicking?" You actually get extra scenes for beating levels on Legendary (the actual difficulty name). The ramped up difficulty actually does force you to play differently. Besides all that, the game is just plain fun, and a little addictive. Even people not big on first person shooters may find themselves involved in this. And with multiplayer, it's got great potential. 4.5 out of 5

      Story/Dramatics: If Halo could be said to have a failing, it would most likely be in the story section. Although there's nothing wrong with the story, it's a little bit cliched. It's a standard sci-fi story. I had to strictly convince one of the monkeys that they were not starring at Larry Niven's Ringworld, that it was Halo. Still though, the story holds together well and is used rather nicely. Basically, the humans are in a war with aliens. You are a genetically enhanced cyborg, death ninja, thing. You've been in cold storage while they tried to get you to the alien homeworld, where they'll turn you lose like a badger in a hole. Instead, your ship gets attacked and you end up on the big ring called Halo, which is of great interest to the aliens. So you're released to go forth and kick total ass. It's works really well for this game. The story isn't bad; it's just not original. 4 out of 5

      Instructions and Learning Curve: If you haven't played many FPS games, then you may have a little learning time. Generally though it's pretty easy to get. The XBox controller, huge though it may be, works well for this game. The instructions tell you how do everything you need to do. It gives you details on all the weapons you may be using. It also helps to fill in some of the backstory you may have missed. A good job done here. 4 out of 5

      Installation and Real System Requirements: Most of the load times consist of a small pause when you enter a new sector of the level. This definitely seems to be a good benchmark for future XBox games, we'll see if they manage to go beyond this. 4 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       This is an awesome first person shooter, and a definite benchmark for FPS and XBox games to come. It's got some story problems that keep it from being the greatest ever. Still when all is told, this game comes through as the killer app for the XBox.

      The Good: Great First Person Shooter action, great graphics, awesome gameplay

      The Bad: Rather cliched story, not particularly interactive environments. It doesn't do your laundry

      The Overall Ugly: : If you have an XBox, and somehow managed not to get this game, submit yourself for punishment. If you're considering the XBox, this game makes a powerful argument.

      What it's Worth: Oh fifty or so.

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