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Last Updated: Monday, 13 October, 2003, 09:24 GMT 10:24 UK
PC bugs undermine Halo shooter
By Alfred Hermida
BBC News Online reviewer

After a two-year wait, PC gamers can now experience one of the best games on the Xbox, the first person sci-fi shooter, Halo.

Screenshot from Halo
Definition is sharper on the PC version
The game puts you in the role of Master Chief, an all-action hero whose job it is to save humanity from an alien threat dubbed the Covenant.

The PC version of the game looks better than the console one, with sharper graphics and more importantly, the ability to play online against others.

But it is marred by a series of technical glitches which seriously undermine your enjoyment of the game.

Good looks

Halo: Combat Evolved by game developers Bungie has been one of the big successes on the Xbox console.

Its compelling storyline, smooth gameplay and engaging worlds have made it a favourite among gamers.

HALO PC MINIMUM SPECS
PC with 733 MHz equivalent or higher processor
128 MB of system RAM
1.2 GB available hard disk space
32MB T&L capable video card
8x speed or faster CD-ROM drive
Microsoft Windows 98SE/Me/XP/2000
But until now, only Xbox owners could enjoy one of the best first-person shooters around.

The PC version will expose the adventures of Master Chief to a wider audience, and there is much to commend the game.

It shares many of the same attributes that made the original version such a popular game.

The PC version does have some advantages over its Xbox rival. The game looks better, with more definition and detail.

Some aspects, like aiming, are more accurate using a keyboard and mouse combination than a console controller.

Perhaps the most attractive element is the multi-player option, which comes with new maps.

Now Halo fans can battle with each other, to prove they are the best of the best.

This gives the game a renewed lease of life, as it will appeal to those who have played their Xbox version to death.

Unfortunately, this great game is undermined by technical bugs.

Buggy nags

The AI in the game can be haphazard, with your team mates rushing into a room full of enemies or else stepping out in front of your line of fire.

Screenshot from Halo
The multiplayer element is a major attraction
And the game is likely to stretch all but the most powerful computers.

Even though the minimum specs for the game are a machine with a 733Mhz processor with 128 MB of RAM, it can be slow and jerky on a higher spec machine.

There are also minor nags that will annoy those who have played the Xbox version.

Picking up a new weapon takes several seconds, whereas on the console it was instantaneous.

Some of the weapons lack the accuracy and killing power of the console counterparts.

But the most serious problem comes with the multi-player option. The computer is prone to crash during gameplay when you change maps, even on a machine using Windows XP.

In one case, the crash led to the so-called "blue screen of death", something that I have found does not happen with XP.

Halo has much to recommend it. It remains one of the best games of its type that you can buy.

But the PC version lack of polish and it feels like it was rushed to get it into the shops.

Perhaps the developers should have taken more time over the code to ensure that everyone was able to experience pleasures of playing Halo without hitches.




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