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Happy Halloween!

In honor of Halloween here are a few lame Halloween Jokes:

What is a vampire's favorite holiday?

What do you call someone who puts poison in a person's corn flakes?
A cereal killer...

Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers?
No, they eat the fingers separately...

Videogame wise there will be 27 hours of a spooky Halo 3 Infection playlist. Enjoy!

Top 5 Spooky Games to Play on Halloween

5. Eternal Darkness

4. Doom 3

3. Silent Hill

2. Resident Evil 4

1. Resident Evil: Code Veronica

EXIT Xbox Live Arcade Mini Reveiw

Exit follows Mr. Esc as he attempts to help adults, children, and injured people find an escape to natural disaster situations. There are over 220 levels and of course the standard 200 achievement points.

The game is a worthy and interesting platformer / puzzler. It's graphics and artistic style are great and the sound/music offering is above average from an xbox live title. There are plenty of levels and lasting appeal, but Exit does suffer from its flaws. The biggest flaw is in its gameplay. Mr. Esc moves very slowly and methodically...this is all well and good, except it is extremely frustrating when you have to restart a level (and then methodically and slowly move to exactly where you were prior to your mistake) while this makes the game more challenging it also makes it frustrating and exceedingly tedious. There is a major need for an undo/rewind button in this game! On the other hand, each different scenario does a really good job offering something new: new items, new people to rescue, electricity hazards, etc. which keeps the gameplay fresh.

Category Breakdown:

Gameplay: 8
Graphics: 10
Sound: 8
Lasting Appeal: 7

Average: 82.50 %

Ultimately, Exit definitely gives you your money's worth for a unique live arcade puzzling game. Furthermore, since it originated on PSP it has great pick up and play gameplay where you can sort of pick away at the 220 levels. In long play sessions, the frustration of restarting levels and the slow moving Mr. Esc may weigh on you, but ultimately the game is worth a try and if you like the demo, it's worthy of a purchase.

Verdict: 82%

Showcase: Rock Band Xbox 360 / PS3

After playing the Guitar Hero III demo this week, let me assure everyone out there that Rock Band will be a FAR superior experience. While Guitar Hero III looks great, plays great, etc. it is ultimately Guitar Hero II with a facelift and some new tracks. If that warrants your $60-100 so be it. Rock Band stands to offer the same great Harmonix Guitar Action that they invented back in Guitar Hero I, plus expand it with new experiences such as drumming and singing. Plus who doesn't want to make their own Rock God with the customizable character features?

The Orange Box XBOX360 Review

Let's sum this review up:
5 Games in 1! Ok 3 are very similar. 3 UNIQUE Games in 1!
Half Life 2 is a classic at this point and won tons of awards. Even if you've beaten it like I have, there's still new content with the new episodes and even incentive to experience the main quest again to unlock achievements. Portal is one of the most unique game experiences I've had recently and Team Fortress 2 is a very balanced and fun multiplayer experience.

Gameplay: 10/10
Pros: With 5 games there has to be one that you find yourself drawn to the most. For me, that's Portal and Team Fortress 2, but you may be a more story driven Half-Life 2 person. The controls are solid (and pretty similar) across all the games and the gameplay is extraordinary. In fact, my only complaint with the whole package is that there's plenty of Half-Life 2 action and not nearly enough Portal and Team Fortress. Portal is over way too fast and Team Fortress could use some more maps, but is wanting more really a fault?

Graphics: 9/10
Pros: Team Fortress 2 looks so sick! I love the cell-shaded/cartoon/looney tunes look. The animation is also absolutely top-notch. Team Fortress really steals the show in the graphics dept. Portal is truly an impressive technical feat and I still can't entirely fathom how it all works...incredible. The Half Life 2 series still has fantastic facial animations.
Cons: Half Life 2 is showing its age somewhat but it is a 3 year old game.

Sound/Music: 8/10
Pros: Fantastic voicework throughout all the games with good sound effects and the classic Half Life mood music.
Cons: There is not nearly enough music and much of the time it feels vacant. While this is probably on purpose, it accentuates sound effects which can be annoying and loud.

Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Pros: 99 Achievements, 5 different games, 9 classes in multiplayer to master and hours upon hours of gameplay.
Cons: People may get bored with the Half-Life story/gameplay before finishing out everything. Only 6 maps in multiplayer.

Average: 92.50%
Tilt: +0.50%

Ultimately, you can't really NOT recommend this game. It is after all only $60 for 5 games. So maybe all 5 games aren't full fledged $60 titles, but they are all pretty substantial and Half-Life 2 for Xbox was $50 only a few years ago. It's a phenomenal deal and as long as you don't hate games from the First Person Perspective, you'll find something to love in the Orange Box. The Orange Box is certainly one of the best game compilations ever.

Verdict: 93%

Showcase: Street Fighter II HD Remix & Street Fighter IV

Capcom has done it! I'm actually excited for not 1 new street fighter game, but 2. When was the last time I anticipated a Street Fighter game? Probably back when I was 10ish and waiting for SFII Championship Edition on Genesis. Kudos to Capcom for getting me excited for SF IV and SFII HD Remix. I hope the stylized visuals of SF IV make it into the final game, but I KNOW that HD Remix will be the SFII I've been waiting for. Check out these gorgeous makeovers:

Storked Reviewed and Recommended on Casual Games Galore

Got a review for Storked the other day from Casual Games Galore. Bottom line- they recommend it! Only real complaint was about the font and level select interface:

Lows: The writing on the interface is a bit hard to read (it's a fun font though). Also I had a bit of a hard time at first when choosing the level to play, I played the first one twice as I expected it to move to the next one by itself. :) After I realized the idea behind the menu I no longer had any problems.

My favorite quote from the review is:
"Relaxation at its best."

but enough of me pasting praise here. You can read the review here.

Metal Gears Solid 2 - Story Explanation

No, I am not going to delve into every aspect of the Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty Story, but I will attempt to defend this highly criticized story. The big deal with MGS2 is two-fold: 1- You play the majority of the game as Raiden and not Snake and 2- The ending/VR thing with Raiden at the end makes little sense. The reason for the confusion and ambiguity - PostModernism. Postmodernism is blatantly present throughout Metal Gear Solid 2. Largely influenced by the disillusionment induced by the WW2, postmodernism tends to refer to a cultural, intellectual, or artistic state lacking a clear central hierarchy or organizing principle and embodying extreme complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity, and interconnectedness or interreferentiality. Now having a nonsensical plot is not an argument for PostModernism, but take for instance the ambiguity of Raiden himself. Raiden is a character in MGS2, but we also learn that he has played through VR missions and Shadow Moses (or MGS1) as Snake. In fact, his codename is changed from Snake to Raiden at the start of his mission. The parallels between Raiden's experience and the players is certainly there. Raiden not only represents the videogame player, he could very well be the video game player/you. This type of contradiction and ambiguity is present in nearly all postmodern works. Another huge aspect of the MGS2 story is Deconstruction which is a central theme in many postmodern works. I will let wikipedia explain:

"In its original use, a "deconstruction" is an important textual "occurrence" described and analyzed by many postmodern authors and philosophers. They argue that aspects in the text itself would undermine its own authority or assumptions and that internal contradictions would erase boundaries or categories which the work relied on or asserted. Poststructuralists beginning with Jacques Derrida, who coined the term, argued that the existence of deconstructions implied that there was no intrinsic essence to a text, merely the contrast of difference. This is analogous to the scientific idea that only the variations are real, that there is no established norm to a genetic population, or the idea that the difference in perception between black and white is the context. A deconstruction is created when the "deeper" substance of text opposes the text's more "superficial" form."

The ending of Metal Gear Solid certainly toys with the reality of the universe and makes you aware that your character was involved in a VR game and that you are indeed playing a game based on a false reality. Sons of Liberty undermines its own authority and plays with both the player and character of Raiden in order to erase the boundary of game/reality even while making these contradiction all the more obvious. I think the quote above: "This is analogous to the scientific idea that only the variations are real, that there is no established norm to a genetic population" is a pretty good one sentence description of the theme (at least one of them) in Metal Gear Solid 2. Just something to consider.

Video Game Wisdom - Girlfriend vs. VG

A great man once said, “Video Games are better than my girlfriend because when I want to play a game, it NEVER has a headache.”

Top 5 Worst Video Game Sequels of All Time

All the included games in this list are Strict Sequels. All of them are the 2nd game in the series. The only exception is one...which IS the direct sequel to the prominent/defining game of the series.

5. Super Mario Bros 2 (NES)-

SMB2 while not a terrible game had absolutely nothing in common with the original Mario Bros. In fact, Mario and friends were just super imposed over the characters in the Japanese game: Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic (Dream Factory: Heart-Pounding Panic). The enemies are totally unfamiliar and many of the bosses such as Mouser and Wart have been completely dropped from subsequent Mario games, while Shyguy and Birdo have been added and originated in the good game, but off the wall sequel from Nintendo.

4. Toe Jam and Earl in Panic on Funkatron (Genesis)- This game didn't change from Japan to the US, but did completely depart with the original's style of gameplay and turned Toe Jam and Earl into a side-scrolling action game. The Graphics for this game actually look pretty good even to this day, but the gameplay and spirit just did not live up to the original.

3. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES)-
Another Game that screwed with the Original's formula, Zelda II took the classic Zelda gameplay found in the original, Link to the Past, Oracle of Ages/Seasons, Minish Cap, Phantom Hourglass, etc. and messed with it. The overhead view was used solely for traversing the land, while nearly all the action happened in a 2d action/platformer setting. This change is terrible and you completely lose the pleasure of solving puzzles, finidng hidden areas and traversing dungeons. It honestly doesn't even feel like a Zelda game.

2. Devil May Cry 2 (PS2) -
This is the most modern example on the list and with good reason (it was neck and neck with 1) as it was an absolute disappointment. On paper, DMC2 seemed to be the better game...2 characters to control, new abilities (running on walls, shooting behind your back...sick!), and improved graphics. What we got was a Diesel Jeans sponsored Dante, Simplistic gameplay, crappy weapons, larger plainer environments, easy difficulty and bosses, and an additional character with a 2nd disc that just rehashed the first. As a huge DMC fan, DMC2 is just an absolute letdown especially compared to the original and then excellent prequel DMC3.

1. Bond 007: Tomorrow Never Dies (PS1) -

Honestly, every game since Goldeneye 007 in the Bond Franchise has been a letdown, but this one takes the cake. It's a shining example of the business side of the game industry ruining a game (it isn't the last either). EA used it's money and power to take control of the Bond license and produced a mediocre game in hopes of selling copies on the license and popularity of Goldeneye/Bond alone. While it was smart of them to not attempt to replicate Rare's success and FPS formula (because the game would have been even more heavily slammed), the game still stands as the worst sequel of all time. Not only did the company change the gameplay in a detrimental way, but the graphics are worse, there's no multiplayer whatsoever, and is a shameless movie/license tie-in game. Awful.

Retro Review: Burning Rangers

The number of people who have played this game are few I'm sure, but as a Saturn owner this was one of the few titles that I look back foundly on. Burning Rangers had really good graphics for the time and amazing graphics for a Saturn game. More importantly, it was (still is) a unique gaming experience. The premise of the game is that you take control of a Burning Ranger who must rescue civilians from fiery deaths. You go around blasting fire with your water gun and collecting crystals in order to be able to send them to safety. But enough about the premise, just watch the video and you'll get the idea:

Gameplay: 8.5/10
Pros: Very fun to play, different and unique. Really exceptional controls for the time allowed you to perform jetpack acrobatics with ease. Great Boss Battles.
Cons: Horrible "flying mission" at the end of the game where you are basically playing a shootemup...a really bad shootemup- just frustrating. What makes that even worse is the fact that there are only 4 missions and this is how they expend some of that time.

Graphics: 9/10
Pros: Based on a modified version of the Nights engine, Burning Rangers is one of the best looking Saturn games ever to be released. Only Panzer Dragoon Saga & Guardian Heroes can compete, and only the Saga was 3D. Burning Rangers is one of the only 3D Saturn games to use Transparencies. The game focused on fire and the fire looked damn good.
Cons: In retrospect, the characters, levels, fire all still look fantastic, but the crystals and watersphere effect have to go.

Sound/Music: 9/10
Pros: Good Voiceacting and fantastic in game voice notifications. The Whoosh sound effect that symbolized a backdraft or fire hazard was exhilirating. Solid Soundtrack.
Cons: Corny theme song: "Burning Rangers Go!...etc." Over the top menu music.

Lasting Appeal: 6/10
Pros: Randomly generated civilians and civilian locations, backdrafts, etc. gave the game immediate replayability. Additional Rangers to Unlock. Great Gameplay.
Cons: ONLY 4 Missions! This game was way too short and worse was that the final Level sucked and was mostly flying around in the burning rangers stupid ship. While, the randomly generated stuff did squeeze a lot more out of the 4 missions, Burning Rangers leaves A LOT left to be desired. I could only imagine what a sequel could hold.

Average: 81.25%
Tilt: -1.25%

In this day and age, the length of this game is even more glaring. The sad thing is that the length of the game probably had a lot to due with the dying Saturn System and the need to squeeze as much revenue out of each game. I think Burning Rangers gameplay was a perfect fusion of classic platforming gameplay with new twists and 3D. Sonic Team actually did better with Burning Rangers than any 3D Sonic title I've played. Hopefully, the Nights Sequel will spur some sort of Burning Rangers sequel as well. One that's more than 4 missions long.

Verdict: 80%

Showcase: Storked!

It's only appropriate that this weeks showcase feature Storked, which was just released earlier in the week. Go ahead and try out the gamepage for all the info on the game and features. Or you could simply download the demo and just play it. There's more screenshots etc in both columns of the blog. Enjoy and more developing with Storked over the next couple weeks.

The Halo Trilogy - A Deeper Look

Part 2: Who is Master Chief Exactly?

Master Chief or John 117 is a genetically & technologically enhanced super soldier or Spartan II. We know that Dr. Catherine Hasley picked him and all the other kids out when they were young, replaced them with flash clones and then bred them to be Warriors. The Covenant calls him Demon and Monitors such as Guilty Spark call him Reclaimer. Those are the facts, but we can only guess as to what John’s face may look like, because I will divulge this spoiler…Halo 3 does not reveal John’s face or head sans Helmet…the closest you ever get to seeing him is the end of Halo 1.

I am actually very happy that Master Chief’s face is never revealed, because ultimately Master Chief is a symbol and Bungie let that symbol be all inclusive and up to the imagination. Wise choice if you ask me. It’s actually sort of a shame that they imply his race at the end of Halo 1 when his helmet is removed. It’s still very hard to say, but I recall that his head was somewhat fair in complexion. Master Chief since the very first Halo, has symbolized the Hope of Humanity against an overpowering foe. For the Covenant’s religion that meant he was labeled as a demon, but perhaps the more interesting name Master Chief has had since the very first game is “Reclaimer.”

Let’s look at the definition for reclaim:
1. to bring (uncultivated areas or wasteland) into a condition for cultivation or other use.
2. to recover (substances) in a pure or usable form from refuse, discarded articles, etc.
3. to bring back to a preferable manner of living, sound principles, ideas, etc.
4. to tame.

Of all Master Chief’s names, Reclaimer certainly ends up fitting him the best. In fact, Reclaimer was really his only purpose. As a symbol and character, Master Chief had to die (and should have died...if only the promise of money and sequels didn't matter). I knew this going into Halo 3 and certainly felt that as a literary device, Master Chief’s purpose was to save humanity. After this purpose is complete, John 117 really had nothing else to live for, so it would have been appropriate that he sacrifice himself for his purpose. Spartan 117 brings back a preferable manner of living, sound principles, and ideas. The Covenant’s religious principles are dead, the parasitic flood is eradicated, and earth/humanity are saved. I wish he had died and that his death were a conscious and sacrificial choice. My hope was to have a scene like the “Believe” ads. Oh well.

Master Chief is truly a symbol of all the players who enjoy Halo. He is a hero and symbol of hope despite his face, identity, name (John Doe perhaps), race, or even gender. Bungie deliberately leaves John 117 as anonymous as possible and that’s a good thing.

Gaming Life Lessons: Pac-Man

Video Games have taught me a lot over the years.

Pac-Man taught me that round things must be eaten...and that they protect you from ghosts.

I have yet to be attacked by a ghost.

Storked Has Been Released!

I haven't really dedicated a post to the obvious, but if you haven't noticed Storked has been released! You can download the demo or purchase the game here on the blog (you'll find it on both the left/right columns). Now back to all the marketing that goes along with such a thing: submitting to portals, distributors, review sites, download sites, etc. Good news is that there has alredy been interest in nearly all of the above!

Top 5 Best Things about Storked

5. You can play any MP3 on your PC during gameplay with just a few simple mouse clicks.
4. Multiple Difficulty levels, infinite lives, rewind, etc. make the game approachable to everyone and it's completely family friendly. NO VIOLENCE, BAD LANGUAGE, ETC!
3. Level Editor allows you to make your own levels adding to the 100+ levels already in the game.
2. Milton's 6 Gadgets are particularly fun (especially the rocketpack)
1. 4 Unique Penguins who play completely different

Storked! Press Release


Graduate Games Releases Storked! The PC Puzzle & Platform Game

Graduate Games is proud to announce the immediate availability of Storked!, a family friendly PC puzzle and platforming game. Storked is puzzle-driven game with addictive game play, with over 100 challenging levels, 4 unique penguins to control, 6 wacky gadgets to utilize, and easy to learn gameplay. The Stork has had an unfortunate accident over the Antarctic and must rely on his flightless penguin pals to roll an egg to safety. Control 4 different penguins as you roll the egg through 3 different worlds and over 100 levels of frustration free gameplay!

Wilmington, Delaware -- October 8, 2007 -- Storked is a puzzle / platform game where you control four different penguins in their quest to protect an egg. The stork in charge of the egg has gotten into an unfortunate accident over the Antarctic and must rely on his flightless pals to roll the egg to safety. Each penguin’s abilities and strengths will be called upon in order to solve puzzles and get the egg to the Exit in over 100 wacky levels. The penguins will travel from the Arctic, through the temperate grasslands, dense jungle, and arid desert and interact with over 18 different wacky objects and gadgets along the way. With easy to learn controls, infinite lives, a rewind button, and quick restarts, Storked is a great game for every one of all ages.


Over 100 Levels with a Fully Featured Level Editor
3 unique worlds: Snow/Ice, Grass/Jungle, and Desert
3 different weather conditions: Snow, Rain, and Autumn
Over 18 puzzle objects to interact with including cannons, geysers, switches, magnets, boxes, and more
Fully Featured Level Editor! Make your own Levels and share them in our forum or download custom levels made by the community

Easy to learn and control

Extreme Customization: Create your own background pictures or use photos saved on your computer. Listen to your favorite music and MP3s as you play

4 different penguins with different abilities and specialties
Murray the Penguin is an athlete and can pitch snowballs
Milton is a nerd who can use 6 different gadgets including a rocketpack, diving mask, teleporter, jackhammer, and more
Tony is the brawny guardian of the group who can lift heavy boxes and hurl the egg over cliffs
Lilly is a Rock Hopper Penguin and is the only one who can jump over obstacles and reach higher echelons of the level.

Frustration Free Gameplay
No time limits
Infinite Lives
Levels unlock based on your skill level, play that tricky level when you are ready
The game automatically saves your progress

For more information about Storked, visit

Pricing and Availability: Storked can be purchased from the Graduate Games web site for $19.95 USD. A free demo for Windows is available for download.

For additional information on the news that is the subject of this release (or for a screenshots, evaluation copy or demo), contact Mike Gnade or visit or You can also include details on product or demo availability, etc. here.

Extra Links:

Graduate Games:
Storked Gamepage & Screenshots:
Storked Demo:

Purchase Storked:
Buy Now:
Google Checkout:

About Graduate Games

Based in Wilmington, Delaware, Graduate Games was founded in 2006 as a small independent game developer. Graduate Games focuses on keeping classic 2D gaming alive and fresh with gameplay inspired by the 16-bit era of gaming. Copyright (C) 2006-2007 All Rights Reserved.


Michael Gnade, President of Graduate Games
Graduate Games

Stranglehold Xbox 360 Review

Stranglehold is a John Woo game through and through. It definitely does not tread new ground in either story or gameplay, but does a pretty good job fusing familiar elements from all of its influences.

Gameplay: 8/10
Pros: The gameplay is just plain fun. It's a mix of Max Payne Bullet Time gameplay with some pretty flashy new moves and situations. Face-Offs are nice gun duels that break up the monotony of running and diving. Story is serviceable if a little over the top and out there even for John Woo.
Cons: Enemies are retarded. They pretty much run straight at you and spawn from closets/doors strewn throughout the level. Deaths can be frustrating because it's due from an enemy spawning in a door behind you with a shotgun, rather than a lack of skill on your part. Interaction with the Environment can be difficult/frustrating.

Graphics: 8/10
Pros: Nearly everything is destructible and when stuff starts exploding in slow motion, it's a thing of beauty. There's a fantastic array of levels and locales. Animations, bullet effects, etc. are good.
Cons: Actual character models are somewhat blocky- this becomes more apparent during cutscenes where these characters try to exude emotion. Without all the bullet time effects this game would be standard issue in the graphics dept.

Sound/Music: 8/10
Pros: Voice Acting is top-notch and the visceral sound effects and music from Woo's movies make it into the game.
Cons: It would be nice to have the option of having the more authentic Cantonese or Mandarin soundtrack since the game take place mostly in Asia, but because of the sometimes feels like they are just in some US City Chinatown. It detracts from the authenticity of the story.

Lasting Appeal: 6/10
Pros: The single player experience is a nice ride while it lasts, Multiplayer and unlockables give you incentive to pop the disk back in for more.
Cons: The Multiplayer is action packed, but requires little skill and is completely forgettable. The single player game can be beaten in a few days making this a great rental, but a questionable purchase.

Average: 75.00%
Tilt: +/- 0.00%

For a licensed game, Stranglehold definitely delivers on its promise for John Woo style action. The super moves are flashy, and interacting with the environment (firing while riding roll carts/hanging from chandeliers/etc.) is great fun. If you've played Max Payne, you've got the basic controls/gameplay down, but Stranglehold gives you a lot of new wrinkles which keep you playing. It suffers in the replayability category, but is a fantastic rental. If you download the demo and love the gameplay than a purchase is probably the right decision for you, but otherwise save your bucks for something else.

Verdict: 75%

Bungie and Microsoft Split

I just have to pass along Bungie's Press Release:

Turns out the Rumors earlier this week ended up being true about Bungie leaving Microsoft. I actually think Microsoft/Bungie agreeing to the split was the smart move by Microsoft. This way you stay in good graces and don't have a massive Bungie talent exodus. Bungie is hoping that they'll be getting the cash from their next IP instead of Microsoft (which owns Halo). Bungie making Halo games is probably finished which means Halo 3 is definitely it from Bungie....and that's what really matters since if a FPS Halo Sequel comes out it will probably be done by a crappier/lesser studio. I don't look forward to that.

Showcase: Halo 3 and Stat Integration is an addictive addition to Halo 3. Not only can you replay your recent games and analyze them in the game's can also track all your stats, service record, and recent game kill/death charts on The Integration is pretty seamless and it's just one of those additions that really goes a long way. If you have Halo 3, you should definitely check out Can't wait till Bungie Recommends starts incorporating User Generated Content. Bungie's website goes above and beyond the call of duty and is a definite bonus to a fantastic game. Give it a look if you haven't already.

Storked Will Be Released Next Week

Our Game Storked is 99% complete. We only have 2 more puzzles to create and then a quick level progression test and final once over and it's ready to go. Over the weekend, the final touches will be finished and the demo & retail version will be compiled. It should be available early next week, but if disaster strikes this could get pushed somewhat. Don't forget that tomorrow is your last day to sign up for $5 off our game when released by signing up for email subscriptions or registering in the Graduate Games Forum. It's like preodering...but both ways are free.

The Halo Trilogy - A Deeper Look

Part 1: Theme Overview

One of the characteristics that make Halo such a phenomenal game series is its story. Unlike a lot of action games and shooters, Halo’s story is not simply about the UNSC vs. the Covenant. It is about humanity’s struggle with religious zealots with vastly superior technology. While there are many intricacies within the grander story, the real fear and threat to humanity is in the faith and goal of the Covenant’s religion and it’s Great Journey. This conflict in a video game actually parallels a lot of the current fears in present day society in regards to terrorism. At least in the present day, the US and other Nations don’t have to worry about the threat of these extremists having superior technology.

While the Covenant regards Halos as religious sacred structures, the Halo narrative tells us otherwise. They are in fact weapons capable of wiping out all sentient life in the galaxy. Unlike real life, the Halo narrative verifies that the religiosity of the Covenant is misguided and wrong. While there are parallels between Muslim extremists and the Covenant, it should be very clear that Islam and all the religions of the world are as correct as the next religion. The real threat in both real life and the Halo series is not the religion, but the zealots and extremists who follow their beliefs blindly and literally.

There is nothing wrong with the Covenant’s belief in “The Great Journey,” in fact most of our own religions have similar ends (Heaven, Nirvana, etc.). The problem is in humanity’s (and in this case the covenant’s) capacity to understand the divine. Clearly the Covenant prophets have misinterpreted certain aspects of Forerunner technology, documentation, and history. This fact is highlighted by the Elites enlightenment and the resulting Covenant civil war in Halo 2. For the first time, the Elites question their religious hierarchy and instead of accepting these questions and pursuing their answers, the Prophets cast out the Elites. Perhaps if the Prophets listened to the Elites’ questions and worked towards the truth of their religion, there would be no need to ‘finish the fight’.

Discuss in Our Forums

Halo 3 Pop Quiz SATs

Question #1
Jackal : Beam Rifle :: Elite :
  1. Magnum
  2. Energy Sword
  3. Shotgun

  4. Spiker

  5. Mauler

highlight graphic below to see the answer:
The answer is B

Question #2
Guardian : Lockout ::

  1. Zanzibar : Last Resort
  2. Midship : Valhalla
  3. Tombstone : Hang Em High

  4. Derelict : Desolation

  5. Blood Gulch : High Ground

highlight graphic below to see the answer:
The answer is C

Question #3
Master Chief John 117: Spartan ::

  1. Brute : Arbiter
  2. Prophet : Truth
  3. Sergeant Johnson : Bad A$$
  4. Elite : Arbiter

  5. Tartarus : Brute

highlight graphic below to see the answer:
The answer is E

The Top 5 Best New Additions to Halo 3

5. Integration
4. Equipment
3. The Forge Map Editor
2. 4 Player Co-Op Campaign (with Scoring)
1. Videos Editor and File Share

Top 5 Best Halo 3 Multiplayer Maps (so far)

5. Valhalla
4. Epitaph
3. High Ground
2. Snowbound
1. Guardian

Top 5 Worst Things about Halo 3

5. Shotty pwns Sword now
4. Campaign is short
3. You Never have Enough Grenades (no flame grenades in matchmaking)
2. Not Enough Maps/Map Diversity in Matchmaking
1. Shotty Snipes in Team Slayer A LOT

Halo 3 Review

Halo 3 has its flaws, but delivers on so much more than the average game. Let's answer the major questions up front. Does Halo 3 live up to the hype? Yes. Does Halo 3 wrap up the Story of Master Chief? Yes. Is multiplayer better than Halo 2? Yes. Is Halo 3 a totally revolutionary and unique experience? Nope. Halo 3 is still Halo, both in look and style. It's a natural evolution of what was built in Halo 1 and 2. It adds plenty of new wrinkles, but the fan faithful will be instantly more familiar and skilled than newbies. Halo 3 is undoubtedly one of the biggest games ever and rightfully so since it's probably the best game of the year and will continue to be played and enjoyed for years to come.

Gameplay: 10/10
Pros: The same great gameplay we had from the first two Halos continues with great new additions such as independent reload, equipment, 2 new grenades, video recordings, the forge, 4 player co-op, shield doors, and more. Controls are great once you transition from X to RB for reloading and the AI is as smart and dynamic as ever. The trilogy definitely wraps up with a bang (literally) and while the ride itself is superb, the ending leaves a somewhat bitter aftertaste.
Cons: You rarely have enough grenades in both Campaign and Multiplayer. Shotty Snipes should not be in Team Slayer playlist. Campaign ending seems a little forced. Campaign is Gears of War Short.

Graphics: 10/10
Pros: One thing that cannot be emphasized enough about Halo is that the animation is absolutely phenomenal. Nothing beats being able to visually see that an enemy is mere shots away from death, or wielding a sword, plus there's the great addition of also being able to see an opponents holstered weapon on their back/side/etc. This all adds to the depth of Halo multi player and is also an example of the subtleties of Halo 3's graphics. The game has been polished with fine tooth comb. The HDR lighting is the best I've seen in a game, there's subtle motion blur when you whizz up an elevator, and the levels are gargantuan when compared to other great looking multi player games. Halo 3's graphics are a technical achievement. This becomes immediately apparent when you first watch a game film and zoom in/rotate/rewind a colossal explosion or snipe to the head. Breathtaking.
Cons: Screenshots don't do the game justice, but in pure screenshot comparison, Halo 3 lacks that WOW factor.

Sound/Music: 10/10
Pros: Amazing Orchestral Soundtrack that is both familiar and perfectly captures the essence and theme of the game. Great Voice actors are all back and the AI voices during campaign are as funny as ever. "Tank beats Everything!" is one of my favorites. Proximity Voice is back and the sound effects are all spot on. However, Halo 3 again surpasses other games in its attention to detail. If you don't believe me, stand near the water behind the base on Valhalla and listen to the serene moving water for yourself. When I heard it, I was shocked they took the time to put such a thing in. Fantastic!
Cons: Absolutely None

Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Pros: This one is probably the easiest to give a 10/10 in since the Forge gives near endless possibilities to multiplayer and the maps that shipped with the game. The theater also gives you the ability to share great moments in Halo 3 with others and analyze strategies and tactics or just scan a map to see where everything is located. Halo 2 multiplayer lives on still today 3 years later. Halo 3 will live on longer.
Cons: Included Multiplayer maps are not enough! Those downloadable maps cannot come soon enough.

Average: 100%
Tilt: +/- 0.00%

Halo 3 is a phenomenal value. You'll pay $60 for a game you'll be playing for 3 years straight. This game includes fantastic multiplayer, and a rewarding and exhilarating campaign mode like all great games over the past couple years. But it adds in features such as the video/theater and forge which are completely fresh, deep and more importantly add to the replayability and fun of the game. Halo 3 is the game of this Holiday season...and it's only September.

Verdict: 100%

A Halo Themed Week

For the opening week of the new blog features, we will of course be highlighting Halo 3 since it was widely anticipated and talked about frequently on this blog. Enjoy.