If you hadn’t noticed from my many previous posts, the category even, I’m a huge Xbox fan. And what Xbox fan doesn’t appreciate a battle-filled round of Halo, the title that made the Xbox what it is today? While I’m still ever-so-slightly bitter about losing the original Halo to Microsoft Game Studios after the crowd-pleasing MacWorld 1999 demo, I’m quite glad it turned out as successful as it has. What was primed to be a noteworthy Mac game got transformed into an enormous console blockbuster, a milestone in gameplay and attention to detail demonstrating that Bungie simply “gets it” when it comes to games. It was, and still is, one of the top selling Xbox games, and Halo 2 is continually rising back up to top of Xbox Live charts.
I’m certainly excited over the upcoming release of Halo 3 for the Xbox 360, but I recently learned of a new spin on the Halo saga. Halo Wars aims to deliver a real time strategy version of Halo, allowing you to command massive armies of Spartan soldiers and vehicles, defending against Covenant invaders on a global scale — a “bigger picture” interpretation of the first-person action that fills Halo 1 through 3. Normally, I don’t get excited about anything other than first-person shooters; I like having a weapon displayed in the lower third of my TV screen and a straight-ahead view of the oncoming foes. Over the last few weeks, though, I’ve really started enjoying Company of Heroes on the PC, which is a World War II real-time strategy game. It got me thinking: If this game is fun, playing it in the Halo environment must really be impressive. Calling in Banshee air strikes while maneuvering squads of soldiers around in Warthogs makes Company of Heroes seem boring by comparison.
Over at the Halo Wars site, they provide a trailer of what’s in store. Although it doesn’t detail any of the gameplay, it is a great teaser, displaying dozens of UNSC allies and enemies, all with their signature vehicles and weapons ready and poised for battle. Sadly, the trailers are only available in Windows Media format (the obvious choice for a Microsoft affiliated game). I’ve taken the liberty of converting it to a more Mac- and iPod-friendly format, which you can download now.