Two years after the phenomenal success of Halo for the Xbox, Microsoft has finally ported this first-person alien shooter to Windows--just in time to promote the release of Halo 2 for Xbox. In Halo, you control the Master Chief, an enhanced soldier awakened from cryogenic sleep to save humankind from a nasty group of aliens called the Covenant. Although the PC version only adds a few maps and loses the cooperative mode, the impressive graphics, exciting gameplay, and variety of weapons and vehicles make Halo worth a try for any fans of first-person shooters.
The demo features two vehicles, a substantive single-player mission, and one multiplayer map that supports up to 16 players on the GameSpy network. Both enemy and friendly intelligence are realistic, and a unique (for two years ago) defense system with rechargeable shields allows for intense firefights that don't permanently cripple the Master Chief. Once learned, the mouse-steering system allows for some fancy driving. The environments look awesome, and a subtle soundtrack enhances the experience. Be warned that the listed system requirements are a bare minimum. Adjusting video settings may be necessary to improve performance on some systems.