Thursday, October 23, 2003

Angelic Thoughts

After two evenings preparing some semblence of a legal defense, in case I need one over the State cut-and-paste debacle, I finally got back to playing some serious Halo.

It's a serious grower this one. I turned down the resolution a bit further (down to 960x712, or something like that) and other than at checkpoints and loading transitions, the mostly erratic framerate has stabilised to more consistently playable levels.

The night started out at the beginning of Assault On The Control Room, which a hugely enjoyable section where there's a group of marines battling Covenant, with Ghosts, Shade fixed guns, Covenant tanks and infantry all slugging it out. A bit of quick work with a rocket launcher sorted most of it out, and then you get the opportunity to commandeer a Scorpion tank, and *really* let loose, in a massed combined arms battle. Probably my favourite section of the game so far. It's gratifying to blat Hunters with the Scorpion's main gun.

After this, the level design is almost cut and paste, with repeated sections, bunkers, followed by bridges, bunkers followed by bridges, and so on. It'd be tedious if the AI didn't provide a variety of challenge in the composition of enemies. There's lots of fun to be had, sneaking through a bunker crammed full of snoozing Grunts, boshing them on the back of the head with your weapon (as shooting them would wake up the rest) keeping out of sight of any patrolling Elites or Jackals, trying to eliminate as many of the Grunts as possible before being discovered. This is how games should do stealth sections.

Finally, the assault on the control room itself - crikey - what a set piece that is. Two Banshees, a handful of Ghosts, a Covenant tank, a couple of Hunters, and loads of assorted infantry plus half a dozen Shade guns. Talk about intense. Really rewarding once you beat it, too.

Following on immediately from that, we have The Flood. Oh god. If you've played the game, you'll know what I mean. If you don't, it's probably for the best. Thankfully, it was at this point Fleur told me it was time to go to bed.

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