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"Each game previewed here will have its effect on the games industry and each will have its copy-cats..."

You will be able to lead your squad of marines into battle on a selection of the crème de la crème of the military's vehicles. Buggies, tanks and things that hover (a lot of the stuff in Halo is as yet, unnamed) are all included as standard with hopefully more to come. Physics are extremely accurate, buggy wheels bounce over each bump and suspension moves sensibly, the current physics are actually more accurate than most (or all) driving games out there. Vehicle controls are not going to be accurate however, to do so would be to take out part of the fun in the game as players would have to grapple with complicated controls, a simple control system using W, S, A, D should suffice for both running/walking around and driving vehicles.


Once Upon A Time…

The story that is running behind Halo is reminiscent of Quake 2. You and your marine chums are travelling through space on a mission to retrieve lost technology on the ring-world, The Covenant, the alien race in Halo, are already there. The marines and aliens then proceed to slog it out to retrieve the technology and get off the planet. The ring-world itself is rather strange, think of it as a planet turned inside out or perhaps the inside of the ring… The world stretches up into the horizon and goes right over your head to come down in front of you, its atmosphere is contained within the ring, you may have thought that it is possible to walk off the world, that's what the developers would have us think. Cunningly, a force field has been erected along the world's two edges making it not possible to fall off, 'containing' the atmosphere.

The fact is, Halo looks stunning and looks to be an utter joy to play. Various scripted parts in the game will be added to single-player giving at that much more playability and atmosphere, one example is that you see your team mates being shot down by a well placed alien sniper, leaving you to paddle about in your own pool of sweat, you will then run for cover safe, for now. Halo has picked up several "Best Of E3" awards and hopefully, deservedly so. Squad gaming in a beautiful environment in third and first person views fighting against a deadly alien race is in store for us in the coming months. Fingers crossed Halo will not turn into a computerized version of a fireworks display.


What we are seeing is a huge leap forward in the games industry, headed by three games that at least two of which will appear on the new consoles. The new generation of consoles are providing an influence to developers to push forward the boundaries of what they think they can do, a huge leap forward in both graphics and game development is being made, gaming and decent hardware will soon be available to the mass-market in America and the UK in the form of PlayStation 2, promoting more gaming events and pushing developers to produce better and better games with the PC'esque (if there was ever such a word) X-box from Microsoft to follow.

Each game previewed here will have its effect on the games industry and each will have its copy-cats, already Team Fortress 2 has a contender - Tribes 2, and while the original Tribes was there before TF2, it didn't exactly shake the games industry but did prove inspirational. Black & White is in a league of its own, the only similar sounding game is Big Blue Box Studios (a Lionhead satellite) new game utilising the Black & White graphics engine. Halo will undoubtedly create its own sub-genre with plenty of games following in its tracks. It is a developing trend that every year the PC games industry has at least one game that everyone starts drooling over, this year we have three and with a rather mediocre year of games behind us we can safely say we deserve all three games here. It is an exciting time for gamers and what better to end 2000 and start 2001 with three awesome games.

by Chris Wagg

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