Halo: Combat Evolved is a game that is full of surprises. Anyone who has played the game will know that there are moments in the game that are genuinely memorable – moments that stay with you forever and will always inspire feelings of nostalgia. The fact that the game contains so many of these moments is a testament to how fantastic the game really is, even over 10 years later.
The first of these wonderful moments that you encounter in the game is the reveal of the Halo itself. After a whole level of crawling through vents and facing linear corridor-shooter style gameplay in Pillar of Autumn, the second level Halo suddenly opens up into a wide vista with trees, rocks and even a river. Leaving the escape pod and seeing the lens flare of the Chief’s visor against the ring arcing into the sky is nothing short of breathtaking.
The player is also introduced to the Forerunners and their architecture which establishes a theme in this game of things appearing out of place – rounding the corner and seeing the beam emitter tower immediately reminds the player that they are standing on an artificial world, a totally alien environment that appears natural but is in fact an ancient fortress with thousands of hidden rooms and structures. It is truly unearthly.
Another memorable moment is the ascent into the Covenant ship via Gravity Lift in the third level, Truth and Reconciliation. The role of the ship as an alien war machine is contrasted by the sudden tranquility upon entering the belly of the beast, creating a peaceful moment for the player to assess this new environment – and then the doors open. After a huge firefight there lies ahead a maze of purple corridors and white-blue hangars – the interior design of the ship makes it appear mysterious and otherworldly.
These are just a few of the moments in Halo: Combat Evolved that really stick with you, and there are many more both in Halo: CE and its sequels. Truly the only way to fully experience the magic is to play the game yourself and see where it takes you.