(Halo) I went back

…and finished the first Halo this past weekend. (SPOILERS AHOY!)

I’ve had it on the PC for awhile but never got further than Truth and Reconciliation. So in anticipation of Halo 2 last week, I started hammering on the original on Xbox after renting it. Thanks to my faulty Xbox, I finished the original on Friday night because I didn’t want to waste more time with maps that wouldn’t load in Halo 2.

And the point of this post?

The Flood rule and The Library is easily one of the best levels in the original game. That’s some great edge of your chair blasting. Shotgun and Assault Rifle all the way through with a nice mix of each. Mike was absolutely right when he said there’s nothing better than zombies and aliens together as one. Two great tastes that are perfect for blasting to hell in large numbers with a shotgun.

The Maw was awesome too. The whole engine room bit is very nicely done, as simple as it is. The Warthog drive to freedom ruled too. The original is a great game and yes, the Master Chief DOES have personality. Definitely a great game experience.


Dude, I am very sorry to say you just lost all taste points with me. The Library was one of the WORST levels in recent gaming history. I really hope you are just being sarcastic.

Seriously… it’s the library! 4 floors of identical fights, one after another. Give me the beach landing level anyday.

How do you think it compares to Halo 2’s campaign? I think the shooting has a better feel in Halo 1, and the Maw is obviously a superior final level in every way compared to the final level in Halo 2.

It’s Gauntlet in an FPS. It’s not the best level in Halo, but it is a ton of fun.

It’s Gauntlet in an FPS. It’s not the best level in Halo, but it is a ton of fun.[/quote]

I would say that Serious Sam is Gauntlet in an FPS form. Anyway, I was ok with the library all the way to the third floor. Then, however, they seemingly decided just to add another floor. I guess they figured, “Hey, this level hasn’t gone on long enough!” so they just added another. Seriously, Halo was all about interesting levels to fight on, and Library was about as interesting as my socks.

And yes, Maw was a very good final level. But then, the Scorpion thing near the end of Halo 2 also is pretty cool, but definitally not as cool as escaping in the jeep.

I would say level-design wise is pretty stale. The level isn’t much to look at, and it feels REALLY straight forward.

However, it was one of my favorite levels. The action just keeped on coming, each way, and with the combination of low lighting, your flashflight, flood, those tunnels coming out of the roof, and really the whole ACTION part was just multipled by a half a dozen “awesome points”.

Yes, level got a bit tedious, but playing through on your first time was very fun and tense, though if you replayed that level it wasn’t overly fun.

Hey now, no Halo 2 spoilers in this thread. I haven’t played the campaign much at all in the new one simply because I’m tired of resetting my Xbox every time I need to load a new level. Cool?

As for The Library, I’m dead serious. It’s awesome. You’ve always got enough ammo or just barely enough to waste all the Flood you need to with the shotgun and I love how they just … keep… coming! Plus, once you get to the last level, the fight in the big open room against them to get to the controls or whatever is really cool. They’ve got rocket launchers and everything. Great stuff!

I mean, by that time I was ready to just bust loose with a lot of firepower and BOOM, along comes exactly that opportunity to shoot everything in sight while constantly moving and firing. I’ll tell you what else, that level is a great way to prep yourself for multiplayer play because you get a lot of time to get good with the controls.


When I first played Halo on the XBox, I thought the Library was one the most annoying, unimaginative levels I’d ever played. You walked through this facility, cross invisible triggers, and get attacked from all sides (which was doubly frustrating for me without a mouse to whirl around with).

Then you’d get to the end of a hallway, and the Monitor would say “please wait here!” while the game threw a few more waves of enemies at you. And then, when the last enemy was killed, the doors would magically open. And this went on for four never-ending floors. I hated it.

Today, I can understand how this sort of thing would appeal to people in a Painkiller sort of way, but Halo had so much good stuff in it that this just felt like a step backwards.

After finishing Halo 2, I honestly believe Bungie took some of these complaints into consideration. (There’s even a Library joke if you’re paying attention.) There are still moments where your progress is artifically halted, but there were several levels near the end where I was able to sneak or run by entire groups of enemies without fighting them. You’re free to kill every last creature if you want, but kudos to Bungie for giving players the freedom to make that choice for themselves this time around – it’s one of the main reasons I think Halo 2 is superior to the orginal.

I don’t like FPS games in general, but for what it’s worth, I thought the Library was good fun, and very tense.

I have to respectfully disagree. Halo and Halo 2 are, first and foremost, all about combat. Visceral, tactilely satisfying combat. Level design is largely eye candy. It affects gameplay only to the extent that it provides cover during the countless skirmishes the player engages in, but, overall, Halo and Halo 2 are all about combat.

See, this is silly to me because the point of a shooter is to shoot things, not figure out ways to avoid shooting things. You’re the hero. Heroes don’t hide in the shadows and slip by the fight. They wade in and make things happen. The idea of not fighting in a game based around the very idea of blowing things up is just ludicrous to me. If you want to sneak around, there’s plenty of other games for that.

And to illustrate the point, at the end of Two Betrayals in Halo, you come up on a major fight between Covenant and Flood. I felt like I cheated the game by avoiding the battle entirely via scooting in on a Ghost and hopping in the Banshee and just flying away with nary a scratch. That was just not in tune with the rest of the game and its focus on “Combat Evolved”. Unless the tagline means evolution through avoiding combat which I don’t think it did.

I know this is a minority opinion I have of the original game but I really had a great time in The Library. It’s one cool piece of an entirely cool single-player game.


The Library does remove lots of the elements that make combat fun, making it too long for its lack of variety. On the Covenant levels, you might need a sniper rifle, or a plasma rifle, or a shotgun at various times. The two weapon limit comes into play and adds some tension and thought. Not so in The Library, where you just need a shotgun. You might need an assault rifle for dealing with pesky groups of infection forms, but that’s about it, so the two weapon limit is pointless there. It all is close combat, too. No sniping or creeping about for stealth kills.

Yeah, but up to that point, you really don’t get to use the shotgun at all. That’s the first place it’s available with ammo in quantity. So it’s perfect to put in a level based around it, especially since the one truth of the shooter is always “The Shotgun Rocks and it’s even better with zombie aliens!”

I mean, the only thing better than a shotgun is an autoshotty like the one in Soldier of Fortune 2. That thing is like strawberries and ice cream on a hot summer day.


I used the pistol to pop the cancer waddlers, plus assault for the scuttlers and shotty for everything else. Though the AR is viscerally entertaining for fighting the ordinary fighty flood.

One fantastically creepy way halo2 improves on the flood is the resuscitating of corpses by the scuttlers.

I don’t know how far in you are into Halo 2, but there are moments when you get access to the Covenant’s active camo. You’re free to use it or not. Does that somehow go against the purpose of a shooter? If so, why did Bungie put it in? When you find two factions fighting each other, should you storm right in or let them thin themselves out first? There’s nothing heroic about getting killed, you know. :)

Games like Painkiller are about shooting things and nothing else. And that’s cool if you want an arcade-style game. But games like Halo 2 aspire to more than that – they’re objective-based games that encourage you to think and find other ways of doing things. As a rule, I don’t think it’s ever silly when a developer gives you the freedom to enjoy a game in different ways. In fact, I think that’s as good as shooters get.

What level of difficulty did you play it at? Legendary completely changes the game for the better IMO. When I first played the game through on Normal, the library was easy and boring. Legendary made it much more tense and interesting. Still thought it was very lame in the design department tho.

It’s normally a tradeoff - if you just run past the enemies, often you can’t be sure they won’t come at you from behind. If you don’t care, then go for it. Or you can roleplay the Elektra style ‘leave nothing living to spread the deadly net of knowledge’ should you so desire.

Slight spoiler:
;sldkflaksdfahsdlfkbakbna;kgjbna;sbja;dsjbga;lsdghalksdg;laksjdhkajshasdAnother think i really like about H2 is having sidekicks with recharging shields - much more practicalsdlkfhasl; jnhwdfnsldk fg ;kljdalksgha;kldjfabnlksdghba;oszd;lgj;alkgjalkdfjg;ldfjg;ljdf;gljkdfg

I’m with ya Dave! One of my fondest Halo memories is shooting through the Library on Legendary in co-op.

Loved coordinating initial camp strategies to pinch the flood in a cross-attack during those several points of “locked-door” contention. Yelling out shotgun ammo dumps to each other, and generally swaying the flow of the flood attacks in and away from each other to set up counter assaults was just awesome!

Truly one of the few levels of the game that really forced teamwork and communication, a real highlight of the Halo experience. Such a great change of pace to face off with foes that require fleet-footed, trigger-happy duels versus the staple ‘hit-and-hide’ assaults against covenet elites. Halo was such a great package.

I look at the library a lot like I look at doom 3. Something that is fun but drags on too long with the same repetitive elements. I didn’t think it was horrible but I found it a lot more fun to fight covenant elites.

I didn’t care for the Library, largely because of the scripted spawn triggers and the enemies that pop out of thin air. The level designers do a better job of hiding the monster closets from the player on other levels (e.g. reinforcing via dropship), but it’s just a bit too obvious throughout the Library. Now if they had let you drive a Warthog through the library, that might have been entertaining.

  • Alan