After a few years of pure stubbornness, I’ve finally got my hands on an Xbox One. I bought the recently released S model with a copy of Gears of War 4, and whilst I love the Gears of War series, there’s no other franchise on Xbox that gets the blood pumping quite like Halo. From the tight gameplay to the epic soundtrack, it is a game series that can stand proudly among the best in existence. I immediately took the opportunity to play through the entire series, revisiting Halo 1 – 4, Reach and for the first time ever, Halo 5: Guardians. So to celebrate, here is a rundown of the ten best moments in the Halo franchise. For clarification, this will only be taking moments from the main FPS series; Halo Wars and Spartan Assault/Strike will not be included.
10. Giving The Covenant Back Their Bomb – Halo 2
At the start of Halo 2, The Covenant kick start their siege of Earth by attacking the Orbital Defense Stations surrounding the planet. The Master Chief is aboard the Cairo, on a race against time to find and deactivate a Covenant bomb threatening to annihilate the station. After successfully finding the bomb, the Chief doesn’t settle on merely deactivating it. He jumps out of an airlock, taking the bomb with him and launching it into a Covenant Assault Carrier, blowing the entire spacecraft up. It’s the perfect fist-pump moment to show off Chief’s heroic abilities!
9. Storming The Beach on ‘The Silent Cartographer’ – Halo: Combat Evolved
The fourth level on Halo: Combat Evolved brings lovely sunshine, crisp blue oceans and plenty of Covenant to shoot up on a sandy beach. Chief and a few UNSC marines storm the beach, taking on multiple Elites, Jackals and Grunts, before gunning it around the island in the now famous Warthog. It is one of the first occasions you get to hear the classic Halo theme tune, making it a quintessential Halo moment. If you wanted to show your friends what Halo is all about, look no further.
8. The End Of Noble Six – Halo: Reach
We all knew from the beginning of Halo: Reach that it wouldn’t end pleasantly. It was common knowledge at that point that Reach was the last bastion of humanity, brutally glassed by overwhelming Covenant forces. Noble Team sacrificed themselves to prevent further devastation, ending with the drawn out death of protagonist Noble Six in a sobering post-credits sequence. It was a necessary evil, paving the way for the lone warrior Master Chief to save the human race from extinction.
7. Playing As The Arbiter – Halo 2
Halo 2’s opening cinematic initially shows us the hierarchy of the Covenant, giving context to the first game’s events from the enemy’s perspective. We see Thel ‘Vadam, an Elite officer, shamed by the Covenant Prophet’s for his inability to safeguard Halo. Rather than killing him, the Prophet’s make Thel ‘Vadam the next Covenant Arbiter, a lethal warrior chosen to carry out the Prophet’s most dangerous tasks. Switching gameplay from the iconic Master Chief to the relatively unknown Arbiter was controversial at the time, but Arbiter has easily turned into a beloved character in the Halo universe.
6. Arrival Of The Flood – Halo: Combat Evolved
Love them or hate them (most hated them), The Flood were an iconic enemy in the earlier Halo games. Unlike the Covenant, who were cunning and tactical, The Flood have one goal: total infestation. Chief initially discovers The Flood through a visor recording of a fallen comrade. Much like a horror movie, we see soldiers die left, right and centre as The Flood take over. Once the cutscene is over, the room fills with the parasite, and Chief’s dead allies rise in a genuinely terrifying sequence.
5. Huge Dogfight – Halo: Reach
After three games and a smaller spin-off title, developer Bungie had settled nicely into a fairly predictable routine. Ground combat with vehicular sections thrown in here and there were tried and tested at this point, and why fix something that isn’t broken? But with Halo: Reach, Bungie took to the stars with the series’ first full space dogfight. Taking control of an impressive UNSC spacecraft, you take down tonnes of Covenant spacecrafts, from Banshees to Spectres. It was a great campaign level that was every bit thrilling as it was oddly serene.
4. ‘Assault On The Control Room’ – Halo: Combat Evolved
An entire campaign level sits proudly in this Top 10 list. ‘Assault on the Control Room‘ was a huge level boasting beautiful snow covered environments and tight corridors in Forerunner structures. Featuring a host of enemies from Hunters to the Covenant Wraith Tank, ‘Assault on the Control Room‘ is the only level in Combat Evolved to hand you a Scorpion Tank. Nothing comes close to the sheer joy of rampaging through hordes of Covenant in a near unstoppable behemoth, equipped with both rockets and a devastating machine gun.
3. Two Scarabs!? – Halo 3
‘The Covenant’ was a classic Halo campaign level. Sprawling in design, it featured some epic standout moments, culminating in a battle against not one, but two Covenant Scarabs. Facing against just one of the walking tanks is daunting enough, but when two drop down into the battlefield, you know you’re about to embark on one of your toughest challenges yet. Good luck, Chief!
2. Bringing Down The Kraken – Halo 5: Guardians
For much of the series, the Covenant Scarab was the largest enemy encounter in terms of sheer size. When Halo 5: Guardians came along, Spartan Locke and Fireteam Osiris are tasked with destroying the humungous Kraken. This machine dwarfs everything previously seen in the series, and only by flying up to the top can you make your way inside to bring it down, before making a swift escape.
1. The Great Escape – Halo 3
The most thrilling moment in the entire Halo series comes at the end of Halo 3, and the end of Bungie’s Master Chief trilogy. After activating Halo and destroying 343 Guilty Spark, Master Chief hops into a Warthog and races for his life. Seeing the environment collapse around you brings a real sense of anxiety as you run down hordes of Flood before leaping into the UNSC carrior Forward Unto Dawn. All of this is enhanced with a stunning score from Marty O’Donnell, ending the first trilogy on a huge high.
So there you have it! My top ten Halo moments. Do you think I’ve missed anything? What are your favourite Halo moments? Let me know!