October 7th, 2003

The arrival of an X-box has re-ignited some gaming passion in me. My brother bought it for me as a thank you, and I would like to publicly thank him back because it’s excellent.

More accurately, Halo is excellent. Very excellent.

When contrasted with some of the other games I have, Indiana Jones and the Emporer’s Tomb for instance, it becomes clear that one of the key reasons for it’s outstanding quality is the almost complete absence of any kind of irritating impediments between you and fun. Indiana Jones is tough to control because the thumb-sticks are mapped onto a too-steep pan function. Indy turns too quickly, and so when you need to jump him precisely onto, say, that crate over there, the slightest nudge of the stick will put him off target, and (probably) crashing to his death. No such problem with Halo. With Indy, there must be 10 operations required before you can start a game (why the default should be ‘new game’ instead of ‘continue saved game’when you load up, I don’t know) – Halo makes it feel like you’re straight in there.

Then there are the positive gameplay aspects of Halo. It’s the only game I can remember where I’ve felt some genuine fear, and haven’t wanted to play on… kinda. I’ve been playing with headphones, and when the jungle level is reached, the sound of rain dripping all around, and the increasing awareness that there’s something else out there, killing all the covenent before I get there is extremely creepy.

Anyway, Edge rated it 10/10, for only the fourth game in their 10 year history, and my already high respect for their judgement has increased.

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