Warning: this article contains spoilers.
If you are wondering what this Halo business is all about, be careful where you ask the question. A group full of gaming enthusiasts would not be the best place to start, as the only worse blunder you could make might be to go to a dinner party at George Lucas’s house and ask, “So what’s with this whole Star Wars thing?”
Okay, so maybe it wouldn’t be that bad, but Halo is definitely a divine title in the world of gaming, and has attained its popularity for very solid reasons, not least of which is an engaging story.
The original Halo: Combat Evolved had players take control of the series’ signature character—the Master Chief, Spartan 117. The last of a group of genetically altered super-soldiers, Master Chief is awakened aboard his ship to defend it against a host of soldiers from The Covenant, a conglomeration of alien species bent on the destruction of humanity. After escaping the ship he makes his way to an odd ring-shaped structure called Halo, which holds religious importance to the Covenant. He and his companion Cortana (an Artificial Intelligence, or AI) discover Halo is actually a weapon purposed to destroy The Flood, a rampant parasitic life-form, and their food source (all intelligent life). The Master Chief and Cortana destroy Halo to prevent the Covenant from activating it.
Halo 2 begins with The Covenant making an attack on Earth, and players again take control of Master Chief to defend his station and the planet. After stealing aboard a Covenant ship, he discovers the Covenant have found another Halo, and are planning to activate it. The Arbiter (a disgraced Covenant soldier) manages to stop the explosion, but learns that five other Halos have been awoken and are awaiting “remote activation,” while the Master Chief is on his way back to Earth aboard another Covenant ship.
Halo 3 brings the fight home, as The Covenant, The Flood, and humanity battle each other on Earth. The Master Chief makes his way to The Ark, where the leaders of The Covenant plan to remotely activate the rest of the Halos. He destroys The Ark and all chances of the rings ever being activated again, but is believed to be killed in the process until after the end credits, where he is shown to be adrift in deep space, alive and placing himself in cryo-freezing until he is found.
By Michael Marshall
More in-depth articles on each game are to come, so keep checking back!