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FEATURED VOXPOP shandog137
So much more than war...
By shandog137
Posted on 04/18/14
The recent blog, Peace in the Era of Call of Duty  really made me think about war games that dig deeper than simply a kill streak reward. The first game that came to mind was Spec-Ops: The Line and although I haven’t played it, I began to wonder if it did the war genre as...

Halo Retrospective: Brush Up On The Chief's Earlier Adventures Before The Launch Of Halo 4

Posted on Monday, October 29 @ 14:30:00 Eastern by Alex_Osborn


We're just days away from the launch of Halo 4 and the fate of Microsoft's precious franchise lies in the hands of 343 Industries, an untested studio that has a whole lot of expectation to live up to. Our review for the game goes live later this week—November 1st to be exact—but before we give you our final verdict on the Chief's fourth adventure, let's take a look back at the earlier installments surrounding this iconic hero.

Since both Halo 3: ODST and Halo Wars don't offer much by way of set up for Halo 4, we won't bother delving into either of those titles. We're also going to be looking at these games in chronological order so we can provide you the most easily digestible rundown. As one might expect, we will be discussing SPOILER-filled content, so please keep that in mind. But before we get into the actual games, let's take a quick look at some of the major players...

Master Chief - Known also as John-117, this legendary super-soldier needs no introduction. After being abducted at just six years of age, John was trained by the UNSC to become a Spartan-II to squash the human rebellion going on in the galaxy. A several years later when John reaches his mid-teens, he undergoes significant augmentation, which many of his peers fail to survive. Now bigger, stronger, and more capable than ever, John goes on to fend off even greater threats (see The Covenant, The Flood) and become the most remarkable soldier in all the galaxy.

Cortana - This purple AI is Robin to Master Chief's Batman. With a mind-boggling level of knowledge, she serves as an incredible asset to not only John-117, but also the UNSC as a whole. Despite the fact that she's not an actual living being, she has an incredibly close relationship with John. Weird, we know. As one of many "smart" AIs, Cortana is based on the brain of another and begins to deteriorate after seven years of existence (rampancy). In her case, she is built off the brain of Dr. Halsey. Speaking of which...

Catherine Halsey - Not only does this woman possess the mind that Cortana is based on, she is also the UNSC scientist behind the Spartan-II program. If you put the pieces together, you'll soon realize that yes, she is the one to blame for the abduction of John and many other innocent children like him who were then bred to be killing machines—that is, if they managed to survive the training and augmentations. Regardless of her morally ambiguous pursuits, it was thanks to her that humanity could rely on super-soldiers to defend them from the existing perils that threaten their existence.

Jacob (Miranda) Keyes - As Captain of the UNSC, Jacob Keyes is an integral character in Halo: Combat Evolved. Before this, he was the Lieutenant who accompanied Dr. Halsey as she searched for suitable children to steal for the Spartan-II program. After rising the ranks, he became that Captain of the Pillar of Autumn, the ship that the Master Chief awakens on during the Covenant attack in the first installment in the series. He unfortunately faces a grueling fate... but we'll get to that. He has a daughter with Catherine Halsey named Miranda, who goes on to serve as a prominent leader in the UNSC.

Avery Johnson - Sergeant Johnson is undoubtedly the most memorable marine in all of Halo. This wise-cracking loudmouth of a soldier fights alongside the Chief in his pursuit against the Covenant and Flood. Created by Bungie as sort of a stereotypical, cigar-smoking soldier of African decent, Johnson is a bit one-dimensional, but adds a fun level of comedy and whimsy to a sometimes dark and sci-fi heavy plot. He sadly falls victim to the insidious Forerunner AI Guilty Spark, but we'll get to that.

The Covenant (and the Arbiter AND the Prophets) - The main antagonists of the Halo series, the Covenant, are marked by strong religious beliefs that motivate them to activate the Halo rings. Their religious leaders—the Prophets—guide the alien race in their quest to do so, calling it "The Great Journey." When one specific Elite soldier fails to stop the Master Chief (known by them as the "Demon") in destroying a Halo, he is sentenced to embark on a suicide mission as the Arbiter. To make a long story short, things don't turn out quite like the Covenant planned—again, we'll address that a bit later on.

The Flood (and the Gravemind) - This parasitic alien lifeform wreaks havoc on any and all life it comes across. The ancient civilation known as Forerunners were forced to wipe out themselves and all sentient life in the galaxy in an effort to effectively starve these horrifying creatures. Little good that did. In fact, the Halos were created for the sole purpose of keeping these guys at bay. The Gravemind is their leader of sorts, who serves as a central intelligence hub for the horrifying creatures.

The Forerunners (343 Guilty Spark) - We don't know a whole lot about this ancient civilization, but their handiwork strewn throughout the galaxy gives us clues on their existence. One such remnant is 343 Guilty Spark, a mischievous Forerunner AI that often proves to me more of a hinderance than an asset. He refers to the Master Chief as "Reclaimer" throughout the games, which is (not so) coincidentally the name of the new trilogy of games 343i is creating.

Next: The epic fight for the survival of all mankind begins...

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