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Publisher: MacSoft    Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.2.8    CPU: G4 @ 800 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Hard Disk: 1400 MB    Graphics: 32 MB VRAM

Halo: Combat Evolved
December 12, 2003 | Jean-Luc Dinsdale

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While the game’s single-player gameplay, graphics, and sound were almost completely unchanged in the Mac/PC port, Gearbox Software completely re-designed the multiplayer aspects of Halo to be more internet friendly. Gone is the co-operative multiplayer campaign; in its place are the standard three mode of online play – Slayer (deathmatch), King (of the hill), each with their own team variety, and Capture the Flag. In order to sweeten the deal, additional resources were also thrown into the multiplayer game. Online play now features access to all four of the vehicles seen in the single player game, plus two additional weapons – a Marine flamethrower and a Covenant fuel rod gun. Access to multiplayer games is granted through an in-game browser, which uses the Gamespy network to find, host, and play multiplayer games.

Given the game’s physics engine, variety of weapons, and use of vehicles, multiplayer is extremely fun. Each of the vehicles are well-balanced and even each other out – the lightweight Banshees carry little firepower but are extremely maneuverable while the Scorpions are slow-moving, but pack a wallop. The vehicles also leave their drivers fairly vulnerable to attack – one good throw hit with a sticky plasma bomb from a pedestrian could easily overturn a tank. As a result of the equipment being balanced out and the vehicles being so enjoyable to maneuver, gameplay is light, fun, and extremely competitive. Gamers will rarely, if ever, be at a disadvantage because they missed out nabbing the heavy artillery. The fine-tuned multiplayer game is way more fun than other multiplayers, such as America’s Army, and, quite frankly, manages to capture the same jubilant mood as the original Unreal Tournament. Thanks to the extensive use of vehicles, Mac users can finally enjoy Battlefield 1942-style gameplay!

If online play isn’t your bag, Halo’s single player mode offers four levels of difficulty for users to work their way through, and, even then, the game’s AI is so robust that players will never encounter exactly the same situation twice. Halo’s famed AI, however, is not available during online play, which is a disappointment.

Following in the tradition of well-produced, stylish, innovative and fun game releases, Bungie Studio’s Halo is a landmark first person shooter. Despite being several years old and showing its age in a couple places, the game is still incredibly fresh, and is a complete joy to play. Halo raises the bar on artificial intelligence, physics engines, graphical prowess and sound design, to a level that will probably not be reached by upcoming games for several years to come. While the single player game will keep players fascinated and challenged for hours on end, the multiplayer side brings a fresh new feel to the world of Mac online first person shooters.

Kudos to the programming brain trust over at Westlake Interactive for pouring their hearts and souls into this title. Not only is the port rock-solid, but their work on bringing pixel and vertex shading, as well as the proprietary Windows APIs used for the user interface and networking code, was monumental.

And, before our readers start sending the inevitable torrent of angry emails flooding my way, I urge any and all bitter and ungrateful gamers who still carry their grudge against Bungie after all these years, to stop for one second, put your emotions aside for a moment, and take a fresh, unbiased look at this game. Underneath the blue and white Microsoft logo you’ll find a game that was the heart and soul of the dedicated, talented, and extremely hard-working Bungie Studios team whose games you’ve enjoyed and relished for years. And for that reason alone, Halo is worth buying.


  • Amazing gameplay and great attention to detail
  • Revolutionary graphics, sound design, and AI
  • Most compelling single player game in a long time, extremely fun multiplayer


  • System requirements very high
  • FSAA not working correctly
  • Interior levels repetitive
  • No co-operative mode in multiplayer

    Halo: Combat Evolved
    Developer: Bungie Studios
    Publisher: MacSoft
    Mac Version: Westlake Interactive
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