Halo: Combat Evolved (also referred to as Halo: CE, Halo 1, or simply Halo) is a 2001 military science fiction first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie and published by Microsoft. The first game of the Halo franchise, it was released on November 15, 2001, as an exclusive launch title for the Xbox gaming system, and is considered the platform’s “killer app”. More than five million copies were sold worldwide by November 2005. Microsoft released versions of the game for Microsoft Windows and OS X in 2003, and the surrounding storyline was adapted and elaborated into a series of novels, comic books, and live-action Web shorts. The game was later released as an Xbox Original for download onto an Xbox 360 hard drive.
Halo is set in the twenty-sixth century, with the player assuming the role of the Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced supersoldier. The player is accompanied by Cortana, an artificial intelligence who occupies the Master Chief’s neural interface. Players battle various aliens as they attempt to uncover the secrets of the eponymous Halo, a ring-shaped artificial world. The game has been commended for elements such as its story, the variety of strategies players can employ, and its multiplayer mode; however, the repetitive nature of its level design was criticized by some reviewers.
Halo has been praised as one of the best and most important video games of all time, and was ranked by IGN as the fourth-best first-person shooter ever made. The game’s popularity has led to labels such as “Halo clone” and “Halo killer”, applied respectively to games either similar to or anticipated to be better than it. In addition, the game inspired and was used in the fan-created Red vs. Blue video series, which is credited as the “first big success” of machinima (the technique of using real-time 3D engines, often from video games, to create animated films). A high-definition remake, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, was released on the 10th anniversary of the original game’s launch, and was rereleased as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection on November 11, 2014, for the Xbox One.
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