Our latest issue is Halo-flavoured, as you may have deduced from the hunky shot of Master Chief on the front cover. Bungie's mega-franchise is many things to many people: some come for the campaign, others the multiplayer; some see the point of high velocity Warthog kills, others nurture a taste for Needler take-downs. Join Mike, Matt and Ed as they reflect on their favourite Halo moments.
My finest Halo moment was during the battle against the enormous Scarab tank in Halo 3 Legendary co-op. While more canny military strategists might have attempted a 'pincer' movement, both for a tactical advantage and anicely entomologically themed war story, instead I went for spectacle. Like a galactic Dukes of Hazzard remake, I decided that the secret to shutting down the giant robot's reactor core was to leap a Warthog with inch perfect precision onto its back.
Against all odds, it was, but my ambition far exceeded my ability, meaning it was allI could do to bail out onto the weapons platform's deck before the Warthog tumbled to the ground. Still, while it wasn't elegant it was effective and after a few swift melee attacks I'd disabled a two-storey high robo-spider, something my co-op buddies finally appreciated after about the fourteenth time I reminded them.
Confession time: I didn't actually own the original Xbox. At the time I was still a mad art student, which meant spending most of my money on acrylic paint and large sheets of steel, alongside a bunch of other less useful but equally expensive bits and bobs. I might not have been surfing the wave of innovation, but my younger brother certainly was: It was through him that I first discovered the joys of Xbox Live. For the best part of a year it was almost impossible to prise him away from Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory's online mode, but eventually I managed to hop into a game of Halo 2 with a couple of my brother's friends. At first I didn't really get the appeal - but then something magical happened. Capture the Flag on Zanzibar, to be precise.
We were on the offence, and I was driving the warthog. Clean drift through the rock formations, then straight through the archway. I took the left turn a little too hard, but swung it back around perfectly to get a straight run at the back door. The five seconds it took for the other guys to grab the flag and get back seemed to last forever, and my heart rate suddenly kicked things up a notch. After that, I honestly can't remember any of the details: Grenades were thrown; rockets were fired; people got shot. But none of that mattered - I'd managed to drive the Warthog back to our base, and the flag was ours. Three strangers cheered, and suddenly the hundreds of hours my brother had spent on Xbox Live made absolute sense.
I'm tempted to write something hideously contrived at this point about how Halo is memorable precisely because, y'know, it isn't memorable, a seething cauldron of AI and physics calculations that never produces the same results twice - goodness, it seems I already have. My top Halo moment is a stand-out instance of Bungie's sandbox design ethic. It came in some random hallway during the first third of the Halo 3 campaign. I know that spot very well: I must have died there around 50 times in the space of a couple of hours (playing on Legendary, in my defence).
It was pretty damn aggravating but somehow, I wasn't getting bored. No one attempt was entirely like the previous: sometimes I'd snipe through the infantry barricade by the door, only to get melee-rushed; sometimes I'd try luring Brutes into spike grenade traps under the walkways to the left and right; sometimes I'd charge in with dual SMGs ablazing, then throw down a Bubble shield and try to finish off the Covenant by dashing in and out with a pistol. And then, "it happened". Back-pedalling from a Brute with a Grav Hammer, I accidentally dropped a Grav Lift just as a grenade knocked a nearby crate sideways. The crate caught the edge of the Grav Lift and took off, bounced from the ceiling and came down squarely on the head of the hammer-wielder, killing him stone-dead.