[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/halo_master-chief_7534.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:Name: John. Rank: Master Chief Petty Officer, UNSC Navy. Serial number: SPARTAN-117. Occupation: Kicking Alien Ass. Special notes: [[MemeticMutation Pretty cool guy, doesn't afraid of anything.]]]]

->''"[[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer Thought I'd try shooting my way out.]] [[LampshadeHanging Mix things up a little.]]"''
-->-- '''Master Chief''', [[LampshadeHanging summarizing the series]] in ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}''

Not to be confused with a HolyHalo, although [[RuleOfSymbolism the parallels are intentional]].

''Halo'' is a massive video game series and one of the premiere franchises exclusive to the {{Xbox}}. In the 26th century, Earth is at war with a powerful collective of alien races known as The Covenant, who share a fanatical religion and have declared humans a profane race to be wiped out. [[{{Creator/Bungie}} Bungie Studios]] created the game series and it has taken on a life of its own, with many ExpandedUniverse stories and other game genres. The first three FPS games form the main story with the main character, Master Chief, and his vital role in the war. There have also been several {{Novelization}}s, which forms the majority of the {{backstory}}, introducing and naming characters, events, and [[AllThereInTheManual other information that fill in gaps in and between the games.]]

The core of ''Halo'' gameplay revolves around the wrinkles it presents in the FirstPersonShooter formula.
* [[LimitedLoadout You can only carry two guns at a time]]; there is no HyperspaceArsenal to speak of (although in the first two games, the weapon you didn't have equipped was invisible to other players). The guns all have different purposes and performance, so adapting your loadout to fit the situation is a smart idea. There's no UniversalAmmo either: finding ammo for your assault rifle requires you to find another assault rifle. BlatantItemPlacement is also averted; you can grab any weapons dropped by anyone, even the enemies, so you'll never run out of guns.
* You have access to three different methods of attack: guns, PistolWhipping, and grenades. All three have their own dedicated controller buttons and all three can be used ''at all times'', with no delays for RealTimeWeaponChange. Melee attacks are a OneHitKill if delivered from behind (and decent damage from any other angle), while grenades come in "[[StuffBlowingUp standard frag]]" and "[[StickyBomb stick to the target before exploding]]" varieties, later entries to the series added "[[KillItWithFire sets things on fire]]," "[[SpikesOfDoom shoots spikes]]" and [[DeflectorShields "shield ]][[SuckingInLines drain"]] flavors. The available tactics are a lot broader when you've got three different triggers to pull.
* Vehicles are prevalent and are integrated seamlessly into gameplay: if you run across a jeep, or a hoverbike, or a tank, or even a SpacePlane, you can jump right in and the game [[CameraPerspectiveSwitch shifts instantly to a third-person perspective]], with no LoadingScreen or separate map or anything. Relatedly, many of the franchise's campaign levels are absoutely enormous, with some levels largely about driving from Point A to Point B while avoiding enemy fire. While it is possible to finish the level on foot (assuming there aren't any ramps to jump, high spots to get to or timed sections), it is in your best interest to use a vehicle whenever possible.
* Movement speed is a lot slower than older games (comparatively, you move about half as fast as prior FPS heroes; the series didn't get a "sprint" function until ''Reach''), partly to compensate for the inaccuracy of a joystick and partly for more "serious" gameplay. This is evident in how absolutely mandatory it is to pay attention to the SceneryPorn and navigate through any given location. You also have an extremely "floaty" jump, able to clear obstacles as tall as your character to facilitate some mild platforming.
* There is also an extreme amount of effort made both within the games and AllThereInTheManual to justify why the PlayerCharacter is able to be a OneManArmy and not just a blanket excuse of "he's just ''that'' badass." The short end is that your character is given some of the most cutting edge advanced technology available to enhance his [[TheGift natural talent]], extensive BioAugmentation, and TrainingFromHell, the foremost of which being the MJOLNIR PoweredArmor. Among the features of this armor include:
** DeflectorShields that can only absorb so much damage but will regenerate to max if you avoid fire for a few seconds. It effectively becomes RegeneratingHealth (the games vary on using an underlying life bar at all), giving you tactically unlimited HitPoints if you know when to retreat for a moment. This overcomes a common issue about players [[ResourcesManagementGameplay worrying about surviving a level with no way to recover lost health]].
** The HUD built into your helmet includes a motion sensor to help prevent yourself from being shot in the back or reveal enemies just out of sight (although is only useful against moving enemies and at a certain range, making snipers more threatening). It also justifies the use of waypoints to direct your movement through a level and not getting lost trying to find the exit. Of course it keeps the standard weapons loadout and shield/health bar as well.
** Customization features that vary wildly depending on the options presented in any given game. This ranges from DualWielding weapons to deployable tactical equipment to physical customization of the armor itself.

Of course, Bungie took advantage of these unique gameplay quirks to stage intense and frantic battles, increasing the emphasis on having the right guns, using all your attacks and knowing when to retreat and recharge your shields. As you can see, it's a gameplay style that is both twitchy and cerebral, with room for the guns-blazing approach ''and'' significant tactical depth. The style has been preserved, with only a few tweaks for the sequels (DualWielding, new or rebalanced weapons, new vehicles, some power-ups, etc) throughout the franchise... not to mention [[FollowTheLeader nearly every modern shooter game]] since. Its influence can be seen anywhere from ''ArmyOfTwo'' and ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar'' (which spins the RegeneratingHealth and TakeCover aspects into a core mechanic) to ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty'' and ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'' (two weapons, always-accessible melee) to... its own sequels, which, after ''Halo 3'', deliberately stepped back to the style of the original.

The plot is also fairly complex and alongside the gameplay sometimes requires you to engage in atypical combat. The music and voice acting are nothing to sneer at either. What has made the series so longlasting is the multiplayer component; starting with ''Halo 2'', the game connected through Xbox Live and brought to Console FPS the kind of multiplayer experience which previously could rarely if ever be obtained without a computer.

''Halo'' is one of the best-known {{Killer App}}s. When the original XBox was announced, there was a lot of skepticism from those who had already experienced the ConsoleWars and had no reason to believe the XBox would go anywhere. Their reasoning wasn't inaccurate: [[FourIsDeath Three Is Death]] in the console market, which (until then) had had trouble supporting even ''two'' consoles; and, as released, the XBox did not (seem to) have anything worth playing. (The fact the original Xbox was an ''American-made console'' didn't help, after the disaster the AtariJaguar was.) But once gamers got their grubby little hands on it, ''Halo'' singlehandedly kept Microsoft in the race, with Magazine/{{Edge}} [[CausticCritic Magazine]] even going so far as to call it "the most important launch game for any console, ever." All of its sequels have set "biggest-opening-day" records. The franchise as of October 2012 is [[http://www.strategyinformer.com/news/20536/halo-4-most-expensive-microsoft-title valued]] at a cool $3 billion.

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!Video games in the ''Halo'' series:
[[index]]
* ''VideoGame/HaloCombatEvolved'', which opens TheVerse and depicts the battle between the humans and the Covenant aboard the titular Forerunner ring.[[/index]]
** ''Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary'': A [[UpdatedRerelease rerelease]] of ''Combat Evolved'', debuting [[MilestoneCelebration ten years later]]. It uses the same engine from the original game, but adds [[ArtEvolution updated graphics]] and bonus content.
[[index]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}'', the sequel, which ([[TrailersAlwaysLie briefly]]) takes the battle to Earth and introduces a second protagonist, [[VillainProtagonist the Arbiter of the Covenant]].[[/index]]
** ''Halo 2: Anniversary'': An UpdatedRerelease marking the [[MilestoneCelebration ten year anniversary]] of ''Halo 2'', with updated graphics and bonus content. It will included with ''Halo: The Master Chief Collection'', a compilation of the first four main series games that is set for release on November 11, 2014.
[[index]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'', the conclusion of the original trilogy and the climax of the Covenant war.
* ''VideoGame/HaloWars'': A RealTimeStrategy spin-off developed not by Bungie but by [[VideoGame/AgeOfEmpires Ensemble Studios]]. It focuses on events at the start of the war.
* ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'', A side-story during ''Halo 2'' about a team of special-ops troopers. Features [[{{Series/Firefly}} Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin and Alan Tudyk]].
* ''VideoGame/HaloReach'', a prequel to the original revolving around [[DoomedByCanon the fall of the UNSC's second-most important planet]], Reach.
* ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}'', the first part of "The Reclaimer Saga"[[note]]Previously called "The Reclaimer Trilogy"[[/note]] continuing the Master Chief and Cortana's story.
* ''Halo: Spartan Assault'', a top-down action shooter taking place between ''Halo 3'' and ''4''.
* ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians'', the first on the {{Xbox One}}, set to release in Fall 2015.

''Reach'' was Bungie's last ''Halo'' project, with Microsoft opening "[[ArcNumber 343]] Industries" to take up the task of managing the ''Halo'' franchise. There are also several novels and various other media that make up the ExpandedUniverse.

!Halo Books:
* ''Literature/HaloTheFallOfReach'': A prequel to ''Combat Evolved'' and the book that spawned the expanded universe, written concurrently with the original game.
* ''Literature/HaloTheFlood'': A novelization of ''Combat Evolved'' which expands on the events on the first Halo ring.
* ''Literature/HaloFirstStrike'': Bridges the events of ''Combat Evolved'' and ''Halo 2''.
* ''Literature/HaloGhostsOfOnyx'': Continues the story of the characters from ''First Strike'' and introduces the SPARTAN-III program. Most of the events take place concurrently with ''Halo 2''.
* ''Literature/HaloContactHarvest'': A prequel that showcases first contact with the Covenant and the start of the Human-Covenant War.
* ''Literature/HaloTheColeProtocol'': A standalone story that focuses on a few events in the Outer Colonies early on in the Human-Covenant War.
* ''Literature/HaloEvolutions'': An anthology of short stories by several authors.
* Literature/TheForerunnerSaga: A trilogy of novels that document the fall of the Forerunner empire through the eyes of several characters.
** ''Literature/HaloCryptum'': Told by the Forerunner Bornstellar, who discovers the [[SealedGoodInACan Cryptum of the exiled Didact]].
** ''Literature/HaloPrimordium'': Told by the prehistoric human Chakas about his adventures on the 7th Halo ring.
** ''Literature/HaloSilentium'': Told by the Catalog, a Forerunner of the Juridical rate, about the war with the Flood and the activation of the Halo array.
* The Kilo-Five trilogy: A novel series bridging ''Halo 3'' and ''Halo 4''.
** ''Literature/HaloGlasslands'': A sequel to ''Ghosts of Onyx'' chronicling the UNSC's post-war efforts.
** ''Literature/HaloTheThursdayWar'': Depicts the opening salvos of the Sangheili civil war, and introduces [[CoolStarship the UNSC Infinity]] and the Covenant remnant.
** ''[[Literature/HaloMortalDictata Halo: Mortal Dictata]]'': The conclusion to the Kilo-Five story set in the outskirt human and Covenant worlds that deals mostly with the moral fallout of the SPARTAN-II program.
* ''Halo: Broken Circle'': An upcoming prequel about the beginning of the Covenant.

!Halo Comics
* ''ComicBook/HaloGraphicNovel'': Contains four supplementary stories taking place around the first two games, plus an extensive art gallery with contributions from the staff of Bungie, Marvel, and elsewhere.
* ''ComicBook/HaloUprising'': A four-issue series that bridges the gap between ''Halo 2'' and ''Halo 3''.
* ''ComicBook/HaloHelljumper'': A five-issue prequel to ''Halo 3: ODST''.
* ''ComicBook/HaloBloodLine'': A five-issue series about a black ops Spartan-II team.
* ''Halo: Fall of Reach'': A twelve-issue comic book adaptation of ''The Fall of Reach''.
* ''ComicBook/HaloInitiation'': A three-issue series detailing how ODST [[VideoGame/{{Halo 4}} Sarah Palmer]] became commander of the SPARTAN-[=IVs=], leading into ''Spartan Assault''.
* ''ComicBook/HaloEscalation'': A twelve-issue series about the impact of the events of ''Halo 4'' on the wider galaxy.

!Halo {{Alternate Reality Game}}s:
* ''ARG/ILoveBees'': A ''Halo 2'' viral marketing campaign which took place on an amateur beekeeper's personal website that had been taken over by [=AIs=] inadvertently sent back in time from 2552 all the way to 2004.
* ''Iris'': A ''Halo 3'' viral marketing campaign which centered on the Forerunners.

! Other ''Halo''-based works:
* ''Anime/HaloLegends'': An {{Anime}} MiniSeries.
* ''Film/Halo4ForwardUntoDawn'': A five part live-action film about freshman cadet Thomas Lasky, [[VideoGame/{{Halo 4}} the future co-commander of the UNSC Infinity]].
[[/index]]
* ''Halo'' Television Series: Announced at E3 2013. Thus far, the only known detail is that Creator/StevenSpielberg will be producing it as an exclusive to the XboxOne.
* ''Halo: Nightfall'': A five part live-action series produced by Ridley Scott set for release in 2014, starring ONI agent [[VideoGame/Halo5Guardians Jameson Locke]].
* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'': A FanWork that has since become a lucrative franchise in its own right, with Creator/RoosterTeeth being recruited by [[PromotedFanboy Bungie and 343i themselves]] to promote the newer games and reveal new features, as well as having EasterEgg [[{{Cameo}} Cameos]] in both ''Halo 3'' and ''Halo 4''. Grifball, the gametype they invented, was even made official, with its own icon, announcer line, and playlist.

There is also a fan game called ''HaloZero'', which has its own page, and a VideoGameDemake for the Atari 2600, [[http://members.shaw.ca/jeffv/halo2600.html playable here.]]

Check out the [[Characters/{{Halo}} character sheet]].
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!!TheVerse of ''Halo'' provides examples of the following tropes:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Halo General]]
* AbnormalAmmo: The Needler, Needle rifle, and related weapons shoot pink to purple crystals that detonate a few seconds after impact.
** The weaponry wielded by Promethean Knights utilize hard-light ammunition. Some of it can completely disintegrate even MJOLNIR armor.
* AdaptationalAttractiveness: Captain Keyes looks ''much'' younger in ''HaloReach'' and ''Anniversary'' than he did in the original ''Combat Evolved''.
* [[spoiler:AdvancedAncientHumans: As revealed in Literature/TheForerunnerSaga and ''Halo 4'', humanity used to be nearly on par with the Forerunners themselves.]]
** [[spoiler:The Forerunners themselves were originally tended to be this trope, but that was later retconned away.]]
* AerithAndBob: Not so much for any characters (the Covenant notwithstanding), but for UNSC ship names. The ones from the games are poetic and [[CloudCuckooLander a little bit weird]]: ''Pillar of Autumn'', ''Spirit of Fire'', ''Aegis Fate'', ''In Amber Clad'', ''Forward Unto Dawn'', and ''Say My Name''. But ships from the novels tend to have (more) normal names like ''Leviathan'', ''Fairweather'', ''Gettysburg'', ''Texas'', and (eventually) ''[[DirtyHarry Do You Feel Lucky?]]''. The odd ship names are very likely a nod to [[Creator/IainBanks Iain M. Banks]]'s [[Literature/TheCulture Culture]] universe [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ships_%28The_Culture%29 and the shipnames of the Culture]], a setting which also has giant ringworlds. This trope's prevalence in ''Halo'' really [[DependingOnTheWriter depends on the writer]]. For example, ''Literature/HaloEvolutions'' had a story called "Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian" written by former Bungie staffer Frankie O'Connor, taking place in a ship called "The Heart of Midlothian."
* AggressiveNegotiations: A Grunt nervously pulls this and starts the entire war.
* AIIsACrapshoot: There is an actual, InUniverse term for this- Rampancy. AIs in the Haloverse (at least those of human origin) generally have this happen about seven years into their lifetime, at which point they are usually destroyed.
* AKA47: Sniper Rifle System 99D-S2 Anti-Matériel bears a heavy resemblance to the South African made NTW-20, manufactured by the Mechem division of the DENEL group, sharing many of the same features; chambering for the 14.5 x 114mm round, the stock, carrying handle/scope guard and the muzzle brake.
** According to Robert [=McLees=], the [=MA5B=]/C Assault rifle is [[AvertedTrope NOT]] based off of the Belgian FN 2000, though he grudgingly admits that people would think that after comparing the two
--->"I don't know when the images of the FN F2000 appeared, but I didn't see them until three or four months after the game shipped, and I thought 'Oh great. Now everyone's going to think I swiped the design from Fabrique National.' It was surreal to see how close the Halo assault rifle was to its real-life counterpart... and it was all totally by accident."
---->--'''Robert [=McLees=],Writer and Keeper of the Halo Story Bible'''
* AliensAreBastards: Zigzagged with the Covenant. Though many of its members are shown to be absolute bastards to both humanity and each other, most of the Covenant isn't evil, they're just being manipulated, coerced, or enslaved by the Prophets (and even they're not ''completely'' evil). Even the Brutes, the most [[BloodKnight brutal and violent of the races]], have some decent people. The Flood ''are'' evil, but there's an implication that the Gravemind genuinely thinks that it's doing the right thing by assimilating everyone ([[spoiler:though TheForerunnerSaga implies its true purpose is far more malevolent]]). [[spoiler: By the time of the second game, a combination of the Prophets' backstabbing of the Elites and revelations about the Halos' true purpose causes many members of the Covenant to rebel and join with humanity.]]
** Even [[spoiler:the Covenant remnant, which still seek to wipe out humanity,]] somewhat avoids this; they're motivated by a mix of misguided religiosity and genuine concern about [[spoiler:humanity's intent towards the rest of the galaxy]], with its lesser members likely coerced into the whole venture.
* AliensInCardiff: Thus far, the Covenant has not been mentioned as having invaded New York, Tokyo, L.A or any of the other usual cities. The Kenyan city of New Mombassa and Cleveland, on the other hand...
** Why waste time invading a city with no Forerunner artifacts? [[ApocalypseHow Let it burn,]] [[NuclearOption let it burn]], [[DeathFromAbove let it burn...]]
** However, New Mombasa ''is'' treated as the future financial metropolis of the world, not as obscure as it is today. The Covenant ''were'' looking for a Forerunner artifact there too. Similarly, they Colonel Ackerson told them there was an artifact in Cleveland, so they would invade it and not destroy it; and hopefully his brother (who lived there) would be able to escape.
* AliensSpeakingEnglish: In the first game, you can sometimes hear the cowardly Grunts shout things like "he's everywhere!" and "run for your lives!" when you attack them. They're the only Covenant who speak English in that game, with the official explanation being that the UNSC hadn't quite finished translating the other Covenant languages yet.
** In the other Bungie games (with the exception of ''Reach''), the Brutes and Elites will also shout at you in English, presumably because the Mark-VI has updated translation software, due to Cortana accessing a Covenant lexicon aboard the ''Ascendent Justice''.
* AllThereInTheManual: Think Halo is just some generic thoughtless ASpaceMarineIsYou ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}''-clone? [[http://www.halopedian.com/Main_Page Think again.]] There's ''tons'' of supplemental material for the multimedia universe, often including ''the actual manuals''.
* AlternateRealityGame - ''ILoveBees''. Also IRIS for ''Halo 3'', Hell, simply visiting Bungie.net can also qualify, due to their love of PaintingTheMedium, or hiding clues to future projects in unassuming places.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Flood, except for their [[BlueAndOrangeMorality master]].
* AndIMustScream '''Jenkins''' and [[spoiler:Keyes when the Flood begins to absorb him. [[SurvivalMantra Reciting his name, rank, and number]] was his only way to fight. It didn't last.]]
* AngryBlackMan: "Who needs a Johnson beatdown?"
* TheAntichrist: The Covenant sees all Spartans, especially the Master Chief, as this to the point that they translate 'Spartan' as 'Demon'.
* ArbitraryMinimumRange: Tanks without a side gunner are unable to shoot an opponent boarding them without hurting themselves.
* ArchaeologicalArmsRace: The covenant and the humans are pretty keen to get their hands on any forerunner technology they can find.
* ArcNumber: [[RuleOfSeven Seven]].
** And its powers, especially 7^3 (343), 7^4 (2401) and 7^6 ('''117'''649).
** If you start counting at 0, like programmers do, the powers of 7 are 1,7,49,343,2401,etc. The 4th one is 343, the 5th is 2401. [[spoiler: Which has a strong correlation with which Monitors live at which installations.]]
** 9 also is used heavily, though not as much as 7.
* ArtifactTitle: ''ODST'', and most of the ExpandedUniverse don't actually feature the Halos. A Halo Installation is present in ''Reach'', but only in multiplayer[[note]]and the [[spoiler: ShotForShotRemake of the first game's opening shown at the end]][[/note]].
** Except the ''Origins'' episode of ''HaloLegends'', which explains the creation of the very first Halo, so of course it does have a Halo in it.
** Buck mentioned in an ODST promotional trailer highlighting the characters that the Rookie is only a rookie ''to the team''. He has had plenty of experience and you don't become an ODST without it.
* ArtificialBrilliance: The series is widely renowned for its very impressive enemy AI. However...
* ArtificialStupidity: The allied AI was never nearly so advanced.
* TheAtoner: The Arbiter, though he grows out of it.
** Ghost from ''Prototype''
** [[spoiler: Mendicant Bias, after the Forerunner-Flood War.]]
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Elite Zealots and Ultras > all lower ranks. The method of climbing the ranks for Elites is [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority by kills;]] literally, the more enemies you kill, the higher up you go in ranks, ''and nothing else matters''.
** Some of the upper-level UNSC members, specifically Captain Jacob Keyes and Admiral Preston Cole. ''Especially'' Admiral Cole. ''The Cole Protocol'', the in-universe biography ''The Impossible Life and Possible Death of Preston J. Cole'', he will rock your shit.
* {{Badass}}: The Master Chief. Full stop.
** There are many, many others, however:
** Thel'Vadam, also known as Supreme Commander of the Fleet of Particular Justice, also known as the Arbiter.
** Rtas "Half-Jaw" 'Vadum, Shipmaster of the Fleet of Retribution and Special Operations Commander of the Covenant.
** Any Spartan, ODST, Hunter, or Elite.
** Cole, Lord Hood, and both Commanders Keyes.
** Sgt Johnson.
** Guilty Spark, in his own way.
* BadassBaritone: The Arbiter
* BadassCreed: The unit motto of the 105th Orbital Drop Shock Troopers is "Feet first into hell," hence their moniker "Helljumpers". ''HaloReach'' gives us an additional tidbit:
-->"[[ItsRainingMen Jumping into hell isn't the job]], [[KillEmAll making sure it's crowded when you get there is]]."
* BadassCrew: The Spartans.
** The ODST Squad in ''ODST'' also count.
** Noble Team In Reach.
** The Elites and Hunters.
* BadassNormal: Sgt. Johnson. ([[spoiler: But he's actually a Spartan.]])
** Marvin Mobuto: What he does is so badass, the Master Chief himself says "I didn't know you, Sarge, but I sure as hell wish I had. You must have been one hard-core son of a bitch." In the book ''The Flood'', halfway through the Library, Master Chief is almost overwhelmed by the huge numbers of Flood as he fights his way to the Index Room. Then, he finds the corpse of Sgt.Mobuto, a very normal Marine who was, in spite of his lack of Spartan training, energy shielding and so on used by the Master Chief, still managed to get within a few rooms of retrieving the Index.
** Sgt. Forge [[spoiler:He fights The Arbiter with a knife and wins.]] According to the ''Halo Wars'' timeline, he also gets into a brawl with one of the Spirits Spartan-[=II=]s and appears to have held his own.) Those Spartan-[=IIs=] are the same ones who are able to [[CurbStompBattle defeat]] multiple Helljumpers unarmored. At the [[TykeBomb tender age of 14]].
** Every single member of the ODST squad.
*** The squad with the RedBaron "Helljumpers."
*** Sadie Endesha from the same game probably also counts.
** Miranda Keyes: Takes down two Brutes by herself and wounds several others with just a shotgun and a pistol.
* BigBadEnsemble: In the first trilogy, your top enemies are:
** The Covenant, lead by the Prophet of Truth, is a religious, genocidal coalition of ScaryDogmaticAliens bent on (unknowingly) causing intergalactic extermination by activating the Halo Array, as a means to "begin the [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence Great Journey]]".
** The Flood are a parasitic, mutated virus, represented by the Gravemind, that seek to literally feed on every organic species in the universe.
** The Sentinels, spearheaded by their Monitors (i.e. 343 Guilty Spark), were created to contain the Flood, as well as anyone else that sought to prevent the firing of the Halo rings, and wished to steal the rings' activation indexes for their own purposes (the two go hand in hand).
* BiggerBad:
** In the first trilogy, whilst Humanity is fighting the Covenant in a decades-spanning war, both forces discover the Flood is a greater threat to life in the known galaxy.
** From ''Halo 4'', the Forerunners and their Prometheans (specifically the Didact) are seen as a greater threat.
** By the last book of ''The Forerunner Saga'', [[spoiler:the Precursors]] are known to be the greatest threat to all life in the galaxy [[spoiler:having progenated all other species and now wishing their ultimate subjugation and destruction as the Flood]].
* BigDumbObject: The titular Halo installations.
* BiologicalWeaponsSolveEverything: The first trilogy can be loosely interpreted to end this way. The eponymous Halos are installations which can wipe out all life within a certain radius, meant to "starve" [[TheVirus The Flood]]. The Halos aren't biological weapons themselves, but they're clearly built to target certain forms of life (plants and most animals are left untouched, but anything sapient is toast).
* BlackAndGrayMorality
** The [[TheFederation UNSC]] is fundamentally benevolent, but somewhat heavy-handed with its colonies, and willing to resort to questionable methods for survival.
** The [[TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized Insurrectionists]] had legitimate grievances with the UNSC's aforementioned heavy-handedness, but extremist elements pushed them towards terrorism.
** The [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Covenant's]] ruling caste is highly corrupt (and in some cases, possibly borderline insane), and the [[KillerSpaceMonkey Brutes]] are [[BloodKnight aggressive and violent by nature]], but the rest are either [[CorruptChurch misguided by religious fervor]], [[CannonFodder expendable slaves for all intents and purposes]], [[ActualPacifist just tagging along to fix stuff]], otherwise coerced into serving the Covenant, or simply [[PunchClockVillain mercenaries with no real grudge against humans]].
*** The Prophet of Truth, on the other hand, seems like a definite OmnicidalManiac in the games. [[DoubleSubversion However]], [[AllInTheManual in the books]], his conversations and inner monologue make it clear that he believes that learning the truth about the Forerunners and the Halos would destroy the Covenant and bring about a deadly civil war. [[spoiler:[[JerkassHasAPoint He was right.]]]]
** The [[{{Precursors}} Forerunners]] genuinely wished to protect the galaxy and its inhabitants, but they grew complacent because of their extremely advanced technology, and when [[TheVirus the Flood]] came knocking, they could only fulfill their duty as Guardians of the younger species of the galaxy by taking the Flood with themselves in a desperate last resort plan -- which could be interpreted as a HeroicSacrifice or the cost of their foolishness, depending on how idealistic/cynical one is.
** The [[ZombieApocalypse Flood]] had killed and infected trillions of people, but their leading hive mind, [[EldritchAbomination Gravemind]], [[OrangeAndBlueMorality sincerely believes]] that he simply [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans bring peace and prosperity]] to a galaxy which simply doesn't understand the Flood due to ignorance and fear.
*** While that is never explicitly said, there are many allusions to it, particularly after it becomes clear to it that it has lost:
--->'''Gravemind:''' Do I take life or give it? Who is victim, and who is foe?
--->'''Gravemind:''' Resignation is my virtue; like water I ebb, and flow. Defeat is simply the addition of time to a sentence I never deserved... but you imposed.
* BoardingPod: In ''Combat Evolved'' the Covenant attach these to the ''Autumn's'' lifeboat launch tubes and board through them. Seen again in ''2'' when the Prophet of Regret attacks Earth, sending pods to board and blow up three of the Super MAC stations guarding the planet. The Chief stops the destruction of one of them.
* BookEnds: [[spoiler: REACH CAMPAIGN SPOILERS AHOY. The first stage of Halo: Combat Evolved is the Pillar of Autumn. The final mission of Halo: Reach is also the Pillar of Autumn (not counting the Lone Wolf bonus mission). That being said, the final cutscene of Reach is also the first cutscene of Combat Evolved.]]
** [[spoiler: Master Chief's involvement in the games starts when he emerges out of a cryotube and shortly thereafter places Cortana in his helmet. His role ends when he removes Cortana from his helmet and enters a cryotube.]]
* BroadStrokes: The games themselves are remaining internally consistent but the ExpandedUniverse has been set up for a great deal of rearrangement of facts and details. This is partly because the official canon policy is that when new material and old material conflict, [[{{Retcon}} the new material wins]].
* TheBrute: Take a wild guess...
* BeneathTheMask Cortana , and every Ai that is secretly Rampant
* CainAndAbel: Mendicant Bias and Offensive Bias. [[spoiler:Except it's Abel (Offensive) who defeats Cain, by leading him into a trap.]]
* CapitalLettersAreMagic: Standard formula for a Halo enemy, faction or MacGuffin; capitalise a regular English word. The Covenant, Halo, The Flood, The Librarian, The Index, The Arbiter, The Great Journey, The Ark, The Didact, The Composer...
* CharacterExaggeration: The Covenant's potential to "[[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt glass]]" entire planets is subject to a strong degree of exaggeration {{In-Universe}}. While they certainly have the capacity to reduce an entire planet's surface to glass using their energy weapons, it is a very lengthy process, and [[AwesomeButImpractical though impressive, is rarely worth the time it takes]], leading the Covenant to focus on glassing major population centers and doing a few other token sweeps. With atmospheric convection, the destruction is equally deadly if less absolute. For their part, the Covenant boast of their ability to cleanse entire planets, while reports to the UNSC exaggerate the destructive potential to galvanize humanity into action. This is backed up by information from one of the datapads in ''HaloReach'', saying that the Covenant do not have the resources to glass an entire planet and wage a multi-system war at the same time, and that to '''entirely''' glass Earth would require about thirty years of continuous bombardment by a fleet of equal size to that possessed by the UNSC.
** Then again, said datapad was written only about a year into the war, when the Covenant were still only committing a relatively small percent of their fleet to the war effort; another datapad written around the fifth year of the war gives a conservative estimate of about one to over three ''centuries'' just to re-terraform ''four'' colony worlds.
* CentrifugalGravity: On the Halos themselves.
** It is stated in The Flood that the Halo's do not spin fast enough to rely on Centrifugal Gravity.
** Other novels do state that this is the type of atificial gravity found on most UNSC ships.
* ChainsawGripBFG: Spartans can wield machine gun and plasma cannon turrets like this after ripping them off their mounts.
* TheChosenOne: Master Chief has been set up within the games and in the expanded universe as being a particularly special spartan.
* ColdSniper: Romeo and Linda.
** Seemingly subverted with Jun-266, who in the Reach teaser actually comes off as fairly friendly and chatty...then you read his profile which describes him as having [[http://www.bungie.net/projects/reach/article.aspx?ucc=personnel&cid=24522 "an unhealthy emotional detachment in regards to the consequences of his actions?]]. So it seems to be played straight.
* ColonCancer: ''Halo: Combat Evolved: Anniversary Edition.''
* CommandRoster: A Bungie [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bs2TPo7z0sM ViDoc]] for ''Reach'' spells it out fairly well.
** Carter "Noble 1:" TheCaptain
** Kat "Noble 2:" TheEngineer[=/=]PlayfulHacker[=/=]TheCracker
** Jun "Noble 3:" ColdSniper
** Emil "Noble 4:" The Marine (Appears to be HotBlooded)
** Jorge "Noble 5:" The Security Officer (The residential "tank" who also seems to carry the excess supplies)
** "[[NoNameGiven Noble 6]]:" SixthRanger, new to the team and player character
* CoolShip: The ''Pillar of Autumn'', ''In Amber Clad'', ''Forward Unto Dawn'', ''Truth and Reconcilliation'', ''Shadow of Intent'', ''Spirit of Fire'' from ''Halo Wars'', and a slew of others from the novels. They also make AGoodNameForARockBand. And then you have the funny variations for freighters: ''This End Up'', ''Contents Under Pressure'', ''Bulk Discount'', ''Horn of Plenty'', or ''Wholesale Price''.
** Humorously enough, there is an actual band called "Pillar of Autumn" that got their name from the ship.
* ContinuityNod: Quite a few of them. Regret's carrier being able to jump inside Earth's atmosphere in ''Halo 2'' is probably a nod towards the scene in ''First Strike'' in which Cortana discovers that this can be done by making the ''Ascendant Justice'' enter slipspace within a gas giant.
** ''The Package'' has the Master Chief interact with [[spoiler: Dr. Halsey]] face to face and she acts exactly like Cortana, right down to telling him "Don't make a promise to a girl if you know you can't keep it."
* ContinuityDrift: ''Halo'' canon has been experiencing this, though it's up in the air if some of the retcons are justified or not.
** This mainly applies to the books, which by official policy are only canon if they do not contradict the games, even if the book comes out first. The most major game retcons were [[spoiler:Johnson and the Arbiter]] surviving Halo: Combat Evolved, despite Cortana confirming everyone except Master Chief was dead at the end, which is justifiable given how important those two were through the rest of the game series.
** Another notable retcon from the books is that in ''The Fall of Reach'', Hunters are first encountered on Sigma Octanus in 2552, and the Elites were hypothesized but not confirmed until the battle of Reach. However, as mentioned in the Retcon entry below, other media showed that humanity had been fighting them since pretty much the beginning of the war; the 2010 reprint eliminates any mention of either species being newly encountered.
* CorpseLand: Before you encounter ''The Flood'', you'll come across areas filled with ravaged covenant corpses.
* CosmicDeadline: It's AllThereInTheManual, but the UNSC-Covenant war drags on from 2525 to 2552, with the campaign over Harvest alone taking at least six years. The UNSC is constantly said to be on the road to defeat from Day One, losing colony after colony to the Covenant for a full 27 years, with the Spartans being in active service basically the entire time. Everything hits the fan at a breakneck pace right at the end though, as within the span of July to December 2552 (just ''six months''):
** July 2552: Keyes becomes a captain at the Battle of Sigma Octanus.
** August-September 2552: [[HaloReach Reach]] [[TheFallOfReach falls]], the ''Autumn'' [[HaloCombatEvolved discovers the first Halo]], and the events of ''Literature/HaloFirstStrike'' take place.
** October-November 2552: The Covenant [[{{Halo2}} invade Earth, enter a civil war, and fight to secure Installation 05]].
** December 2552: The Covenant loyalists [[{{Halo3}} try to take over the Ark]]. The Prophets get killed, the Gravemind and its forces get destroyed, and the war ends.
* [[CrapsackWorld Crapsack Universe]]: "Welcome to the galaxy, mankind! Incidentally, our religion has decreed you to be a race of demons and we're going to genocide you now, no offense or anything. Oh, and don't mind the Gravemind over there, it hardly ever {{Mind Rape}}s anyone."
** Oh by the way, think that before the Covies and Flood, it was nice? Nope! You live in a semi-authoritarian government with rebellion just about everywhere in the outer and inner colonies, and both sides are willing to use nukes should it be effective.
** However it ''seems'' to be on its way to improving significantly now that [[spoiler: the Prophets have been overthrown and the war is finally over. Time will tell if the peace remains intact though...]]
* CrystalSpiresAndTogas - The Forerunner basically fit in this trope. There are crystals, sleek and ornamented structures, and lots and lots of spires. Their society model also fits in with this.
* DarkMessiah: Covenant Prophets in general, particularly the Prophet of Truth (a blackmailer and generally ne'er-do-good).
* DataCrystal: For storing [=AIs=].
* DeadMansTriggerFinger: An enemy killed by shooting often fires a couple rounds into the floor before dying.
* DeadPanSnarker: Sarina, in spades!
** Cortana too. Hell, even the Chief has his moments.
** Romeo, so very much.
* DefectorFromDecadence (The Arbiter and Elites)
* DeflectorShields: Used extensively by The Covenant, and to a more limited extent by the UNSC after reverse-engineering The Covenant's shield technology.
* DespotismJustifiesTheMeans: The three high Prophets discovered that the humans are the rightful inheritors of the Forerunners legacy, and this would undo Prophets rule over the Covenant. So they set out to eliminate humanity to maintain their rule.
* Determinator - The [=SPARTANs=], especially the Master Chief.
** By extension, the entire human race. We went from having an interstellar empire equivalent in size to the Covenant to nothing more than Earth and a few scattered colonies. We were still throwing literally everything we had at the covenant by the time they invaded earth. The Elites respected Humanity for its sheer determination and even before the civil war, wondered why we were never offered a chance to join the covenant. [[spoiler: Not to mention that we had already dragged our way back from a complete dismantlement of our society and a partial devolution after engaging in a disastrous war with the Forerunners, which still took years ages to finish. The Humans kept fighting until the last man on their last world. And this was after successfully winning a war with The Flood.]]
* DoomedHometown - The colony of Reach. Also, the homeworld of every single SPARTAN-III.
* DoomsdayDevice, DepopulationBomb - The Halos.
* DropPod - Human Entry Vehicles, the entire purpose of the ODST "Helljumpers." Elites are often dropped in similar Covenant pods.
* EarthShatteringKaboom - What happened to Alpha Halo. And the Ark. And Alpha Halo's replacement. And the titular planet in ''Ghosts of Onyx'': after nuclear warheads were set off in its core, it was revealed to be made of trillions of Sentinels. Forerunner worlds have a thing for getting blown up directly, or indirectly, by Spartans.
** Also from ''Ghost Of Onyx'', the so-called "Nova Bomb." (also a ChekhovsGun since it was mentioned in an earlier novel, but didn't become a factor until a later book.) The bomb was accidentally set off aboard a Covenant ship in orbit of a planet and it proceeded to instantly vaporize an entire separatist fleet of hundreds of ships (which had been preparing to totally crush the brutes), shatter a nearby moon to pieces, and burn off the entire atmosphere of the planet below it as well as scorching the entire near side into a hellscape. The weapon in question was perhaps the size of a mini van... and [[http://www.halopedian.com/Nova_bomb Halopedia's calculations]] put the thing's likely megaton yield at 1.2 ''billion''.
** In ''Halo Wars'', the crew of the UNSC ''Spirit of Fire'' destroys a Forerunner Shield World by overloading the ship's fusion core and sending it into its sun. The result is a Death Star-like explosion.
** In ''Halo Evolutions'', [[spoiler:Admiral Cole fires a hundred nuclear warheads into the gas giant Viperidae's core, turning it into a momentary star and decimating the Covenant fleet.]] Also a case of NoKillLikeOverkill and a possible HeroicSacrifice.
** While the glassing of the most human colonies doesn't technically count, it does render those planets uninhabitable.
* EarthThatUsedToBeBetter
* EldritchAbomination (Gravemind and the Flood.)
** [[spoiler: The last Precursor, who turns out to be a Gravemind himself]]
* ElectricBoogaloo: It goes ''Halo [Combat Evolved]'', ''Halo 2'', ''Halo 3'' (and expansion), and then ''Halo: Reach''.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: Master Chief, a.k.a. Master Chief Petty Officer [=SPARTAN=]-117, a.k.a. "John", the Arbiter, the Rookie in ''ODST'', and the Lieutenant in ''Reach''.
* EvilerThanThou: The Gravemind vs. the Prophet of Truth.
* EvilOverlord: Truth has shades of this, given that his underlings are religious zealots that believe they'll AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence if they ''murder the entire universe''.
* ExpandedUniverse: Anime, Literature, Live-Action shorts and a Film in development, among other things.
* ExpositionFairy: Cortana. Serina, in ''Halo Wars''. And to a much lesser extent, just about all the male AI units out there.
* ExtremelyShortTimespan: ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' begins on July 24th, 2552. In ''{{VideoGame/Halo 3}}'', the last battle is on December 11, 2552, with the war officially ending on March 3rd, 2553. The first five [[VideoGame/HaloWars first-person-shooter]] [[OverlyNarrowSuperlative games in the series]] take place during those five months.
** More than that, ''Halo 2'' and ''Halo 3: ODST'' take place during the same time. The fifth level in ''Halo 2'' (Metropolis) ends with a Covenant ship directly above New Mombasa jumping into slipspace; the first level of ''ODST'' starts with that very event.
* FaceFullOfAlienWingWong: The Flood is more of a "[[BodyHorror all of your internal organs turned into Alien Wing Wong]]" example.
* TheFaceless: Master Chief again. Same goes for the Rookie.
** In ''The Fall of Reach'' he's described [[spoiler: as having graying hair, and ghostly skin from wearing the armor all the time.]] Somehow, knowing that only makes him look more badass in-game.
** For those interested, we actually do now have an image of John 117 without his armor several decades before the ''Halo'' trilogy begins thanks to the graphic novels: http://www.halopedian.com/John-117.
*** Additionally, the Halo 3 trailer [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnYKHJz_6XY Starry Night]] shows Master Chief as a kid, although his face is darkened by the night.
*** The opening sequence of ''Halo 4'' shows the young Master Chief, presumably shortly after he "joined" the SPARTAN training. The freckled boy is sitting on his bed, arms wrapped around his knees, but you can still make out that the front of his shirt reads JOHN.
** ''A'' face is visible under '''just''' the right conditions [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3bQPHT6lrE in Halo 3]]. But it's actually the face of Marcus Lehto, the Creative Art Director at Bungie. The inclusion of his face in the Halo 3 beta was an easter egg, he's known for many within the series.
** The only image that Bungie has released thus far of an adult Master Chief without a helmet was their 2010 Christmas Card [[http://www.bungie.net/images/news/inline10/121710/Holiday_Card_2010.jpg ]] which shows the back of his head.
** Averted eventually with the Halo 4 "''Scanned''" trailer, where the Chief is shown as a child, and as a teenager, in full clarity, up until the point when he first dons his [=MJOLNIR=] armor.
** [[spoiler:And at the end of ''Halo 4'' on Legendary, his eyes are seen.]]
* FantasticRacism: All over the place; the Covenant in particular seems to have been deliberately designed so that each of its various species would be at each others' throats instead of the Prophets', with the hatreds lasting even after the collapse of the Covenant, with the Elites and Brutes in particular still waging massively destructive conflicts against each other. The Forerunners themselves, despite their ideology of being galactic guardians, treated other species in ways that were overly paternalistic ''at best'', such as suppressing their client species' native technological development and showing absolutely no mercy to anyone who challenged their rule. Additionally, the Human-Covenant War had plenty of racial hatred in it, even outside of the whole "kill all humans" thing, with the slurs to match. Indeed, even after the Elites turn against the Covenant and end up allying with humanity, there are still a lot of bad feelings on both sides, with ONI actively attempting to sabotage the Elite leader ''most favorably disposed'' to humanity , and various Elite-led groups who are ''still'' trying to finish what the Covenant started.
** However, one of the major plot threads in the second trilogy seems to be the Librarian's plans for humanity to become galactic caretakers who would actually be worthy of the title, and indeed, there are signs of increasing inter-species cooperation and toleration in general in the ''Halo 4'' era; Spartan Ops mentions several ex-Covenant refugees have been granted asylum on Earth, a number of reasonably thriving worlds with mixed human and Covenant populations have cropped up post-war, and ''Escalation'' shows that the UNSC and the Arbiter's faction are still working quite closely together, with humanity even sending the ''Infinity'' to escort the latter during his peace negotiations with the Brutes (itself a step up from the absolute hatred his faction held for them five years earlier, [[spoiler:despite the absolute failure of said negotiations]]).
* FantasticRankSystem: The Covenant have a completely different rank system, with different ranks existing for different races.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: The Covenant are a theocratic, imperialistic hegemony with a sword wielding warrior class. They name there weapons and vehicles with a Type-(Number) system. They fight a naval battle against Eaglelandish marines. Imperial Japan anyone?
* FastRoping: The ODST's do this in ''Uprising''.
* FixedForwardFacingWeapon: UNSC ships have a forward facing [[MagneticWeapons MAC cannon]] that acts as a primary weapon.
* FranchiseZombie
* GameChanger:
** In ''VideoGame/HaloCombatEvolved'', the war on the ring progresses in a military fashion, with humans beating back [[ScaryDogmaticAliens the Covenant]]. Then the ring turns out to have been carrying an EldritchAbomination, which is set free and proceeds to start infecting anyone it encounters. A later game changer is when the ring turns out to be a super weapon, which [[GoMadFromTheIsolation its insane curator]] is trying to fire [[WellIntentionedExtremist to contain the infection]].
** A meta one in ''{{VideoGame/Halo 2}}''. The game opens with Master Chief's bold defense of Earth. But the Covenant carrier flees and the second half of the game turns into a political plot playing as [[VillainProtagonist the Arbiter]].
** ''{{VideoGame/Halo 3}}'': Master Chief and the UNSC break a hole through the Covenant's defenses so that they can deactivate the Ark artifact on Earth. [[spoiler: The artifact turns out to not be the Ark, but a ''portal'' leading to the Ark, which is outside the Milky Way galaxy.]]
** ''{{VideoGame/Halo 4}}'': Master Chief and Cortana hurry to activate a satellite so that they can escape the abandoned planet they're trapped on and be rescued. [[spoiler: The satellite turns out to be [[SealedEvilInACan actually a containment pod of a Forerunner]], who breaks free and resumes his genocidal campaign on humanity.]]
** In ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' Dr. Halsey explains to NOBLE Team that on its current course humanity is doomed to extinction. The only solution lays in the Forerunner information she and Cortana have managed to decipher, explicitly calling it a Game Changer. This info reveals the location of Halo, and leads into the main trilogy, where the Covenant's resolve was broken when the Halo's true purpose was revealed.
*** Inverted with the previous events of the campaign. No matter what the UNSC tries to stop the Covenant on Reach, some new complication is revealed that just escalates the conflict. Destroyed their corvette attacking their base? Covenant Special Ops still got the data they were looking for. Infiltrated their radar dark zone? It turns out to be hiding an entire Covenant army. Destroyed their spire bases? Those turn out to be cloaking ''a Covenant super carrier''. [[spoiler: Destroy the super carrier? A fleet of hundreds more ships immediately arrive to take its place.]]
* GasMaskMooks: Grunts, since they are methane breathers.
* GratuitousIambicPentameter: The Gravemind speaks in trochaic [[ArcNumber septameter]].
* HeroAntagonist: Sesa 'Refumee's Heretics are disillusioned Grunts and Elites that found out the truth about Halo and formed a resistance movement against the Covenant, but remained an independent organization in their own right, centrally opposing the Covenant and attempting to sway more defectors to their cause.
** The Insurrectionists are this as well, though their [[TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized methods of combating the UNSC]] aren't as noble as [[DefectorFromDecadence their motives for wanting out of it]].
* HeroicSacrifice -[[spoiler: Sergeant John Forge in ''Halo Wars'']] The books contain several good examples, as well.
** [[spoiler:The Arbiter]] tries to do this early in ''Halo 2'', until [[spoiler:Tartarus rescues him at the last minute. Whoever holds the title is typically sent on suicide missions anyway, so it's to be expected.]]
** [[spoiler:Spartan Kurt 051 does this]] in ''Ghosts of Onyx'', [[spoiler:setting off a [=FENRIS=] nuke to prevent the Covenant from accesssing the Shield World.]]
** [[spoiler:Cmdr Keyes almost sacrifices herself and Johnson to prevent activation of the rings, but Truth guns her down himself.]]
** [[spoiler: In ''First Strike'', Vice Admiral Danforth Whitcomb and Lt. Harveson lured the entire Covenant fleet to the doomed Covenant Station''Unyielding Hierophant''. When it exploded, it destroyed over four hundred vessels, achieving one of the greatest UNSC military victories in the war, and delaying the invasion of Earth.]]
** [[http://www.halopedian.com/Thom-293 Thom-293]], best known for the ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKRlWLDWhGI Deliver Hope]]'' trailer, who saved Kat's life by delivering the tac-nuke to the Covenant ship. Noble Six, the protagonist of ''Halo Reach'', replaces him.
--->'''Carter:''' I'm not gonna lie to you, Lieutenant. You're stepping into some shoes the rest of the squad would rather leave unfilled.
** [[spoiler:In ''Halo: Reach'', Jorge has a sacrifice when he manually detonates a "Slipspace bomb" to destroy a Covenant supercarrier. Carter has a sacrifice when he flies a Pelican into a Scarab to save Emile and Six. The ''[[PlayerCharacter player]]'' has a sacrifice when he stays behind on Reach to cover the Pillar of Autumn's escape, which he only has to do in the first place because Emile is killed just before attempting to do the same thing. Reach is basically ''made of'' HeroicSacrifice.]]
* HighSpeedHijack: Starting with ''Halo 2'', enemies can hijack your vehicles in single-player, you can hijack theirs, and there's a medal for doing it to another player during a multiplayer game. [=SPARTAN-IIs=] can also hijack enemy vehicles in ''VideoGame/HaloWars''.
* HitAndRunTactics: You'll need these for dealing with ''Halo 2'''s final boss, even on Easy. Just take a look at what happens to your allies and decide if you want to repeat their performance.
** In ''Halo'' in general it was best to use your rechargeable shields to pick off enemies one by one, retreating when under too much fire. This allows you to wittle down their numbers slowly rather than taking the whole squad on at once. Particularly important in the first ''Halo'', where your health didn't recharge when your shields did.
* {{Hivemind}}: Gravemind. Its computing power rivaled the entire Forerunner empire's data capabilities. You also have the Proto-Gravemind that's present on the [[spoiler: Truth and Reconciliation with Keyes inside]], as well as the Proto-Graveminds which serve as Flood bases in ''Halo Wars.''
** ''Primordium'' shows that [[spoiler: Halo 007 is crawling with dormant ones.]] [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Thanks a lot, Didact!]]
** [[spoiler: The Timeless One is also Gravemind]]
* HoldingBackThePhlebotinum: Why the UNSC does not field their emerging [[DeflectorShields shield technology]] more widely. [[AllThereInTheManual According to Dr. Halsey's diary]] that accompanies the SpecialEdition of ''VideoGame/HaloReach'', humans have a very good understanding of shield technology now, but it is limited by two major related factors: size and power. As the volume of area to be shielded grows, the power requirements to maintain the shield increase exponentially. Shielding an entire starship would require several times more power than that ship can generate. However, shielding an infantryman or small vehicle has more modest power requirements, albiet still much more than an infantryman or small vehicle would typically have a power plant capable of producing. Humanity can make small enough power generators in the form of micro-fusion cells, but [[AwesomeButImpractical they are rarely cost-effective to produce]], making each one almost the cost of a small starship. However, the [[SuperSoldier SPARTAN-IIs]] already incorperate such a device into their PoweredArmor by necessity, making adding shields to their existing systems relatively trivial. As for The Covenant technology they reverse-engineered their shields from? Humanity still has no idea how '''those''' things are powered, and from all appearances [[ClarksThirdLaw lack an obvious power source altogether]].
* HugeGuyTinyGirl -- Chief and Cortana. Or Keyes. Or pretty much any other human character.
* HumanPopsicle: The Cryo sleep tubes used by the UNSC during space travel
* HumansAreSpecial - Hinted at strongly throughout the games, but ultimately confirmed in ''Cryptum''. [[spoiler: Humans were not actually related to the Forerunner, but were a seperate species that was active at the time of the Forerunner's war with the Flood. Humanity fought a war with the Forerunner [[GreyAndGrayMorality because they were forced to expand and the Forerunner perceived this as a threat]] and the Forerunner won. Humanity had also managed to discover a means to destroy the Flood, but because they were fighting the Forerunner at the time, they refused to give them that information and destroyed it when it became apparent they were going to lose. The Forerunner took the few surviving humans and "degraded" them to Stone Age levels of technology to preserve the species while trying to figure out how they were able to defeat the Flood, but were ultimately forced to fire the Halo rings. Afterwards, the few surviving Forerunner concluded from their errors in judgment that humans may have been the better choice to serve as the caretakers of the galaxy, and set up their systems to recognize humans as Reclaimers for when they eventually returned to space.]]
** Although, judging from Bornstellar and, to a lesser extent,[[spoiler: the Didact]],[[spoiler: most Forerunners wouldn't give a crap if Humans were all vaporized by the military. It would seem that pre-Flood War era, the only Forerunner who did give a crap was the Librarian.]]
* HumansAreWarriors - Many species of the Covenant believe it, especially the Sangheili, and the Gravemind believe that Humans are a greater threat to the Flood than the Covenant, who he only see as arrogant good-for-nothing fodder.
** This Trope is explored in the Halo Legends episode ''Origins'', remarking both the achievements that led humanity to be a growing civilization, and the unfathomable slaughter that war had caused upon them. After reviewing the story of both the Forerunners and Humanity, Cortana wonders whenever if warriors will ever be gone from the world... and, bitterly, she comes to the conclusion that they will never disappear, and that there would always be war.
* HumongousMecha - The Scarab.
* InsectoidAliens: The Drones.
* ItsRainingMen: The [=ODSTs=] , aka the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, aka the Helljumpers.
** And in ''Halo 3'', MC falls two kilometers, lands on his back, and is pretty much only stunned. Apparently, he survived it, because he surfed through the sky on a door from the Forerunners ship.
** Noble Six performs a similar act in [[HaloReach Reach]] and survives a fall from orbit. However, a cutscene in the level preceding this occurrence shows that s/he is wearing a Reentry Pack and in the following level s/he is favouring his/her arm and starts on low health, making this a justified instance of the trope.
* JackOfAllStats: Master Chief is this, as noted on the character page. In The Fall of Reach, Dr. Halsey notes that other SPARTANS are faster or stronger but Master Chief is the bravest and out of all of them (possibly in fact due to his wider and varied skill set and leadership skills) the best. According to Cortana, she chose him because he had something "the others didn't; luck. Was I wrong?"
* {{Jerkass}}: Romeo, and O'Brian from ''The Package''. He seems to regret it later though.
* KillerSpaceMonkey - Brutes, which the Spartans described as rabid gorillas.
** In universe, Brutes are given the derisive nickname "[[Film/KingKong Baby Kongs]]" by UNSC forces, often just expressed as "[[MilitaryAlphabet Bravo Kilos]]".
* KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter: 500 years into the future, we have AI, FTL ships, and PoweredArmor, however, most of the UNSC's weapons and vehicles are just shinier versions of ours. Spartan Laser, MAC, and Gauss Cannon are exceptions of course.
** Not a bad thing though, UNSC weapons tend to be more effective against the Flood than the Covenant's. Pure Forms on the other hand...
** And energy weapons are more effective at draining energy shields.
* LargeAndInCharge - The Gravemind, being a collection of thousands of corpses, is insanely big.
* LargeHam - Truth and Gravemind are constantly contesting for the title. Sgt. Johnson and Rtas 'Vadum also do quite good jobs.
** In fact, most (if not all) NPC Elites fit this as well. How, considering their bizarre mouths, are they able to so epically chew the scenery at times?
*** I HAD HIM! ''"COMMANDER, YOU FOOL!'' '''A THOUSAND HELLS AWAIT YOU!!!'''"
** Elites aren't the surprising ones. SPARTAN-1337 manages to chew the scenery ''with a helmet on''.
* LegacyCharacter: The Arbiter.
* [[LethalJokeItem Lethal Joke Weapon]]: The Plasma Pistol and Needler, in a way. In a the hands of a Grunt or a Jackal (the most likely places to find them), they hardly do ScratchDamage except on the higher difficulties, but in the hands of a player the pistol alone has been the basis of several game-bending-if-not-[[GameBreaker breaking]] combos (such as the infamous [[FanNickname Noob Combo]] of Plasma Pistol/Battle Rifle in ''Halo 2''), and the Needler has the unique distinction of being the only Covenant weapon that is particularly effective against unshielded targets (at least until its ranged counterpart, the Needle Rifle, showed up in ''Halo: Reach;;).
* LimitedLoadout: TropeCodifier for the modern FirstPersonShooter. Because of Halo, "two guns, plus some accessories" [[FollowTheLeader became incredibly popular.]] The exact amount of firepower has changed throught the series, with [[GunsAkimbo duel wielding]] premiering in {{Halo 2}}, equipment and armor abilities debuting in {{Halo 3}} and HaloReach respectively, and the amount of grenades available to the player always in flux from one title to the next.
* LivingLegend: They call him Master Chief. And Halo 2 adds the Arbiter.
* MagneticWeapons:
** You've got the (novels only) M99 Stanchion, a coilgun sniper rifle that fires a .21-caliber round at 15 km/sec, capable of reducing anyone the round hits to LudicrousGibs from over 4 kilometers out.
** You've the ARC-920 Railgun in for infantry, which is powerful and accurate against enemies but poor against vehicles. Essentially a weaker Spartan Laser with no zoom.
** You've got the M68 Gauss Cannon, mounted as turrets and on some Warthogs, firing a 25 by 130 mm slug at around 13.5 km/sec, useful for punching through tanks(or [[OneHitKill one-shotting]] infantry).
** Then you've got the Magnetic Accelerator Cannon (MAC), the main weapon on UNSC ships, which fires a 600-ton shell at 30 km/sec, impacting with 64 kilotons per shot. It takes 3 shots to down a Covenant battlecruiser (likely more for the bigger carriers) and only one to put down a light cruiser or corvette.
** Lastly you've got the Super MAC, found only as part of space stations in geosynchronous orbit over Reach and Earth. These suckers fire a 3000-ton slug at 12,000 km/sec; with an impact force of 51.6 gigatons per shot, they're strong enough to punch clean through any Covenant vessel, even the 27 kilometer long supercarriers, shields and all, blow a big-ass hole through the ship, and keep going with enough force left over to punch through (or at least deal extreme damage to) ''another'' ship.
* MsFanservice: Cortana. Probably also the reason that they dialed down [[spoiler: Dr. Halsey]]'s apparent age from 60 to 20 AT MOST in ''The Package.''
** Notably averted in the first game though, where she's remarkably "unsexy", almost butch at least compared to her later incarnations.
* MissionControlIsOffItsMeds: 343 Guilty Spark, in his first appearances and only getting worse.
* MotherlyScientist: Dr. Catherine Halsey was much of a mother figure towards the Spartan children while at the same time administering the augmentations that killed or permanently disabled most of them. Worthy of note, however, is that her motherly treatment of them when not subjecting them to painful augmentations is believed to be a major contributor to the emotional stability of the [=SPARTAN-IIs=] compared to the [=SPARTAN-IIIs=].
* NoCampaignForTheWicked: Played straight for the most part in the story campaigns. For example, in ''Halo 2'', you get to play a Covenant soldier, but you only get to fight heretical Covenant forces, or the Flood. You never get a mission where you have to kill humans, and killing any human allies (aside from fighting with player characters playing Master Chief) causes them to attack you if you do it too much. Otherwise the games are told from the human's POV.
* NoOneCouldSurviveThat - How did Johnson make it off of Halo 04? And in the third game, the Chief swan-dives off of Truth's Forerunner dreadnought from orbit, but is mostly unscathed.
** The small crater where he landed includes a still glowing Forerunner door. Which he apparently used as a heat shield. Or surfing board.
** In ''First Strike'' it is revealed that Johnson was able to escape on a Pelican with a few others. Concept art shows that the Chief rode on a door to slow his descent. He could survive the heat with his armor as some Spartans in Fall of Reach survive reentry when they jump out of their damaged Pelican.
* OhCrap: The reaction of anyone, human or alien, after getting stuck with a plasma grenade.
* OminousFloatingSpaceship
* OminousLatinChanting: The main theme. It's wordless chanting though, the second game hints it may be the Prophet's language.
* OmnicidalManiac: The Covenant, particularly the Prophets.
** The Flood in general.
* OneManArmy: Master Chief.
** To a lesser extent, the refit ''Pillar of Autumn'', Capt. Jacob Keyes, commanding. Of course, we only see it in the books, but, still...
** Noble Six too. Used to eliminate entire militia groups solo for a living.
* TheOnlyOne: The Master Chief is one of a very small handful of surviving SPARTAN II {{Super Soldier}}s (and generally the only one available in his combat theater).
** Given the Expanded Universe material, [[{{retcon}}this is getting less and less true]]. Originally, only 75 candidates were conscripted and out of those, only 33 made it to the front lines. Chief was supposed to be the last living SPARTAN-II test subjects alive after the fall of Reach. However, 22 have been confirmed to be alive or genuinely MIA (Spartans KIA are listed as MIA to preserve morale). So only a third of the original 33 fully functional Spartans are confirmed to actually be dead.
* OralFixation: A pair, and actually quite prominent in the case of Sweet Williams Cigars. The brand is a favourite in the ''Halo'' Universe.
** Captain Keyes and his pipe, especially in the books. Given UNSC No-Smoking regulations inside ships, Keyes chews the tip to calm himself.
** Sergeant Major Avery Johnson, and his Sweet Williams Cigar. Chief Petty Officer Mendez in the books probably counts, too.
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: The Flood.
* PosthumousCharacter: The entire species of Forerunners is this, with their artifacts being all that's left of them. [[spoiler:Until ''Halo 4''.]]
* PoweredArmor: The [=SPARTANs=]'s MJOLNIR armor, as well as the armor worn by the Elites and Brutes (to a lesser degree). Rank and file Marines use powered exoskeletons to move heavy equipment, while the [=SPARTAN-IIIs=] wore semi-powered armor with a watered down version of active camouflage.
** Elite armor provides some physical enhancement, but Brute armor doesn't. Then again, [[LightningBruiser neither race need much enhancement]].
* PrecursorKillers - The Flood, which ironically didn't ''kill'' the Forerunners, but forced them to commit suicide with the Halos. And according to ''Cryptum'', [[spoiler: the Forerunners wiped out the Precursors.]]
** It is revealed that [[spoiler:The Flood are in fact the Precursors themselves who have mutated from Precursor remains, and are out to get their revenge on all their creation.]]
* {{Precursors}} - Double time! You've got the Forerunners, then it turns out that they had a forerunner race called, you guessed it, the Precursors.
* PrecursorWorship: The Covenant is based on the holiness of the Forerunners.
* {{Privateer}} - Unlike the other Covenant races, the Kig-Yar (Jackals) are not officially a part of it. Instead, they're paid mercenaries who have to, at least, pretend to believe in the holiness of the Forerunners. They operate their own ships and are allowed to raid non-Covenant ships and colonies.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy (The Elites and the Brutes, especially the former, less so for the latter)
** [[{{Deconstruction}} Deconstructed]] in the ''Halo Evolutions'' tale ''The Return''. Years after the end of the Human-Covenant war, and after the Elites are victorious from the Covenant Civil War, the entire race (including the protagonist, a Shipmaster) faces a spiritual crisis. Without the Prophets to lead them, without the knowledge of forerunner technology, without knowing what would their gods want, and without a worthy enemy to fight, the Elites don't know what to do now that everything they believed in was a lie.
** In this tale, the Brutes are also victims of the {{Deconstruction}}. The Brutes, after the deaths of their leaders, happily tinkered away with the equipment they were forbidden from using... but they were too savage, to the point the Brutes fought more among themselves than against the Elites.
** The Sangheili, a.k.a. the elites, have been oficially recognized by the UNSC in Latin as "Macto Cognatus"as a species name, or literally "I glorify my kin.
* PunyEarthlings (Played straight with the Elites, Brutes, Hunters, and most Flood forms. Averted when it comes to the Grunts, Jackals, and Drones.)
* RapeAsDrama: Strongly implied with the interactions between Cortana and Gravemind. [[spoiler: Confirmed in the story ''Human Weakness'' in ''Halo Evolutions''. This, along with making her live the experiences of individuals prior to being consumed by the Flood, and the Gravemind's constant {{breaking speech}}es that question not only her actions, but her very existence, drive Cortana to a tragically broken state by the time the Master Chief saves her.]]
** On the level "Cortana", a message plays on the crashed pelican which draws about as close a parallell as possible, given that the victim isn't corporeal.
--> '''Cortana''': I tried to stay hidden, but there was no escape! He cornered me, wrapped me tight... and brought me close...
* {{Retcon}} ''Lots'' of them. The books, video games and other media frequently contradict each other on the dates of the timeline, the history of the Covenant and the level of technology that humanity has. Official policy is that games trump books, and new material trumps old material.
** One particularly striking example was the incident involving Cortana, who [[spoiler: opted to stay behind in High Charity]] in ''Halo 2'' to detonate [[spoiler: the crashed In Amber Clad]]'s reactor to destroy said colony. The reason: it '''didn't have one of its own''' (not in-built, anyway). Then, in ''Halo 3'', when Chief returns there [[spoiler: to retrieve her]], he is instructed to ''detonate the colony's nuclear reactor'', which calls the validity of both a whole mission and a LARGE plot-point into question and could have been easily averted.
*** This is pretty easily explained. The entire reason Cortana wanted to detonate [[spoiler: In Amber Clad's]] reactor is that she knew it would destroy [[spoiler: Halo 05]], NOT High Charity, which was always powered by [[spoiler: the Forerunner Dreadnought within]], meaning any reactor it had would never be enough to do the job. They detonated it in Halo 3 in order to stop the Gravemind locally and temporarily, [[spoiler: then activated the incomplete replacement for Halo 04]] to finish the job for good.
** Some stories which takes place before the original ''Halo'' has neglected the fact that ''The Fall of Reach'' states that Spartan-[=IIs=] did not have energy shields until just before the Battle of Reach. In the case of ''Halo Wars'', Ensemble has admitted that this was merely a gameplay decision and that, canonically, Red Team never actually had energy shields...until the Essential Visual Guide changed all that by simply saying that they were actually field-testing an early prototype.
** ''The Package'' shows the UNSC ONI Prowlers having stealth field technology that puts the Elites' Active Camoflauge to shame, but in the novels they're just immune to sensors and painted black to hide in space. It also shows the Spartans dogfighting in space with ships that have energy shields, which should have been impossible due to when it takes place, see above.
** ''The Fall of Reach'' originally claimed that humanity had never encountered the Elites until they attacked Reach...but they're encountered by the SPARTAN-[=III=]s of Beta Company during Operation: TORPEDO in ''Ghosts of Onyx,'' by the crew of the "Spirit of Fire" in ''Halo Wars'', and by several SPARTAN-[=II=]s and marines in ''Halo Legends'', ''Halo: Evolutions'', and ''The Cole Protocol'', all of which took place long before the Battle of Reach. Finally, the 2010 re-release of ''The Fall of Reach'' eliminated any mention of the Elites being a newly encountered species, and the new "Adjunct" section outright showed several instances of direct Human-to-Elite contact taking place decades before the invasion of Reach.
*** Additionally, the events of ''First Strike'' was supposed to be the first time UNSC forces had ever engaged the Brutes, and then ''Contact Harvest'', ''Halo Legends'', ''Halo: Evolutions'', and ''Halo: Reach'' all showed that they had been fighting each other since the beginning of the war. Once again, the 2010 re-release eliminated any reference to them being a newly encountered species.
** Also, ''The Flood'' had Master Chief cutting and breaking the spinal cords of Hunters (supported by the fact that 1 pistol shot to the back would kill them), but ''Halo 2'' would establish that they're actually giant colonies of worm-eel aliens with no central nervous system.
*** Although they do have spine-like bracers running up their backs in ''Reach''.
** ''Halo: Reach'' (and the journal that came with the Limited/Legendary editions) reveals that Halsey already figured out that there were other Spartan programs other than her own before the events of ''Ghosts of Onyx'' (though she's not aware of the true nature of the S-III program until said book).
** ''Halo: Reach'' also shows [[spoiler:the Pillar of Autumn in drydock during the battle (which never happens in ''The Fall of Reach'', where it spends the entire fight up in space). Additionally, the game and Halsey's journal has it so that Cortana split herself before the battle, with the main fragment going with the Chief and the smaller piece staying with Halsey to translate a Forerunner artifact which would end up providing the main Cortana AI with the coordinates to Halo, seemingly invalidating the significance of the Sigma Octanus symbols from ''The Fall of Reach''...unless the information from the Reach artifact was what allowed Cortana to ''translate'' the Sigma Octanus symbols in the first place.]]
** ''Halo: Reach'' (see a theme here?) also extends the length of the titular battle from a single day to about a month. While the official explanation is that ONI kept the first stages of the battle secret, there are still some unresolved timeline discrepancies.
* RememberTheAlamo: Remember [[Literature/HaloContactHarvest Harvest]]. [[VideoGame/HaloReach Remember]] [[Literature/HaloTheFallOfReach Reach]].
** Nobody does seem to remember Harvest, in universe or otherwise, though.
* {{Retraux}} - the Atari 2600 port.
* RevisitingTheRoots: ''{{VideoGame/Halo 2}}'' and ''{{VideoGame/Halo 3}}'' added all sorts of fronds and foofaraw that, evidently, no one liked, because the GaidenGame (''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'') and prequel (''VideoGame/HaloReach'') deliberately scaled them back, hewing closer to the original gameplay model presented by ''VideoGame/HaloCombatEvolved''.
* RuleOfSymbolism - ''Halos'', ''the Covenant'', ''the Ark'', ''John 117'', ''the Flood'', etc. It helps that these are their names translated into the closest English equivalent.
* SaltTheEarth: Taken to its logical extreme with glassing; the Covenant render entire ''planets'' barren. And it's a lengthy process, requiring multiple ships carrying out the bombardment from space after receiving approval from a Prophet.
** Apparently, this is an exaggeration of scale. A full-scale glassing would require a lot of time and resources, including several Covenant fortress ships that would be otherwise better used elsewhere. Mostly, a glassing only turns the larger population centers and highways to glass, while large portions of untargeted area are burned out by convection (though even these lesser efforts are still effective in rendering the planet nigh-uninhabitable). It takes lots of time and effort (one data pad early in the war gave a conservative estimate of about one to over three centuries to just to re-terraform four worlds), but glassed planets ''can'' be rehabilitated, as in the case of Reach.
* ScaryDogmaticAliens - The Covenant are religious extremists.
* SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale: The Halo Extended Universe is ridiculously bad about this. The novels cite insanely light masses for ships. The 480'ish meter long titanium armored frigate for instance is given a loaded mass of just 4,000 tons. Some rough math says that this results in a ship that's not quite lighter then air, which is about 1.2 kilos per cubic meter, but seeing as the frigate works out to something like 1.8 kilos per cubic meter it's damn close. It gets even more insane when we consider that the ship is supposed to be armed with a main gun that fires ''600 ton slugs''.
** Then there's the SPARTAN-II armor, which supposedly weighs in at a metric ton, or 2200 pounds. A set of armor that weighs as much as a 2011 Chevy Camaro. In order for this to be true, it would need to be either much more bulky or made primarily of lead and gold. Plus, it's never explained how they don't sink into the ground when standing on one foot or destroy every ladder and staircase they ever use.
*** It's less glaring in more recent material from the expanded universe. Chief actually weighs in at about 1000 pounds in armor, the scaling of the UNSC fleet is justified in comparison to the Covenant's superior tech, and the weapon lore, MACs and plasma included, have been made reasonably realistic. Concessions to gameplay limitations aside, the technical stuff generally makes a surprising amount of sense lore-wise.
** The population numbers given in the ''Halo 3'' Bestiarum seems to be this for people who don't realize that they only refers to ''homeworld'' populations (hence why the number of Engineers is given only as "n/a", since they don't actually have a homeworld, not even an ersatz one like High Charity for the Prophets).
* SealedEvilInACan - The Flood. Twice. [[spoiler:The Didact on Requiem.]]
* SergeantRock - Forge and Johnson.
** Don't forget Sergeant Stacker. He's that white Sergeant who fought through the Battle of Reach, ''Halo: Combat Evolved'', ''Halo 2'', and ''Halo 3''. In ''Halo: CE'', he gets rescued by Master Chief in the second level, attacks the Silent Cartographer alongside MC, helps MC destroy the power cores, then manages to somehow escape. He then fights in the Battle of Mombasa, leads the Marines to attack the Prophet of Regret, and gets captured alongside Johnson and Sergeant Banks. Their response is to break free and capture a Scarab, before returning to Earth. After all that, he then enters Voi and leads Marines to destroy an entire Covenant anti-air battalion. Finally, he gets deployed onto the Ark alongside the rest of the Marines and MC. When his unit is killed, his response is to organize an impromptu armored division, destroy a Covenant division and a Scarab, assault the Citadel, then escape off the Ark safely to return to Earth.
*** And that isn't where his story ends. He is also present in Halo 4, having, through some coincidence, been assigned to the Infinity for the very voyage in which they find the Master Chief, reprising his role as a tank commander from Halo 3.
* ShoutOut - The Master Chief is John, Spartan #117 and is awakened from cryostasis at the start of the first game. The protagonist of ''Film/DemolitionMan'' is John Spartan, who was prisoner #117 of the cryogenic prison facility where he was kept for 40 years.
** There are also several shout-outs to ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}'', the series' spiritual predecessor, and the Greek historical angle is carried over as well.
** A lot of inspiration was taken from the ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' franchise, the Pelican drop ship is nearly identical to a ship with a similar purpose in ''Film/{{Aliens}}''.
*** Speaking of ''Aliens'', look at ''Halo's'' Sarge. Then look at Apone from ''Aliens''. Heck, look at the entire USCM from that movie and compare it to the UNSC from ''Halo''.
*** Even better, in the first game you could find a bulletin board on the ''Pillar of Autumn''. One of the signs on it is a lost pet sign for [[Film/{{Alien}} a cat named Jonesy]].
** A small one: in ''Halo Wars'', the hero unit Spartan [[Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy 42's]] real name is [[DouglasAdams Douglas]].
** Another in ''Halo Wars'': sometimes, when selecting or moving UNSC flamethrower [[KillItWithFire Hellbringers]], they will sing [[WebAnimation/HomestarRunner "Burninating the countryside!"]]
** Many of the achievemenets in ''Halo: Reach'' recall [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1yAf2pFJGM&feature=youtu.be moments in previous Halo games]].
** Many of the Daily and Weekly Challenges are quotes from well-known sci-fi names, such as "[[ElegantWeaponForAMoreCivilizedAge An Elegant Weapon/Not So Clumsy or Random]]" of Star Wars fame.
** "Foehammer", the call sign used by Pelican pilot Carol Rawley, is the English equivalent for the name of [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Gandalf's]] sword, Glamdring.
* SightedGunsAreLowTech: Many human weapons have them, but only a handful of Covenant ones do.
** Surprisingly averted with a few of the Forerunner weapons; their two shotgun-esque guns, the Scattershot and Boltshot, both seem to have them.
* SigilSpam: Not so prevalent in most of the games, but in ''Halo: Reach'' the UNSC and the Covenant put their logo on basically everything.
* ''SemperFi'': UNSC marines. The ODSTs also quote this.
* SlaveMooks: The Grunts and Flood Combat/Carrier forms work as this.
* SpaceFighter: The Seraphs and Longswords. Rarely seen on camera but in the {{novelization}}s they are threats to be reckoned with.
* SpaceMarine: Both straight with Master Chief, and averted with the real space marines.
** Although John's actually in the Navy. Rank of [[CaptainObvious Master Chief Petty Officer]]. While not ''technically'' a Space Marine, he qualifies in other ways. This is also true of the other Spartans, being either commissioned (Lieutenant, Captain, etc.) or non-commissioned (Petty Officer 1st Class, Master Chief Petty Officer) officers, the Spartans are closer to Navy SEALS. The UNSC specifically trains a Marine Corps, and the more accurate Space Marine in the Halo series would be the ODSTs; they have the armor, operate in space (their whole job is being dropped from orbit into battlefields) and work as a squad contrasting the often solitary operation of most Spartans.
* SparseListOfRules: The Cole Protocol is the UNSC's most important naval code, since it lists the actions they are not allowed to do to prevent the Covenant from discovering Earth. However several rules are often ignored because they're just technicalities. We only hear one of those, Subsection 7: "No captured Covenant vessel can be brought back to human space without a thorough search for tracking devices." (Useless because the Covenant self-destruct all their vessels in danger of capture. Or try to; John and his fellow [=SPARTANs=] manage to grab one in ''Literature/HaloFirstStrike''.)
* StarfishAliens - Engineers, Hunters (colonies of wormlike organisms in humanoid armor), Drones (insectoids with a HiveMind), Flood Infection Forms, the Gravemind, and Flood Pure Forms.
* TheStarscream - Some hints in ''Halo 2'', as well as most of the ExpandedUniverse stories since then have implied that Regret was this with regards to Truth.
** This is confirmed in ''The Cole Protocol'', when Regret realizes he'll be offed by the Prophet of Truth as soon as he finds no use for him, so he tries to get his own agenda fulfilled before Truth does. [[spoiler: Then the Chief punched him to death, and Truth didn't bother helping his fellow Prophet.]]
* StandardSciFiArmy: Naturally. Infantry dominate (from Light to Elite, and of course the Super Soldiers), although both sides use field aircraft and at least one Armored vehicle. Halo Wars expands on this, giving the UNSC Heavy and Elite infantry (the Hellbringers and Helljumpers respectively), APC's, and Anti-aircraft units. Several of the Covenant vehicles are effectively Technicals, being repurposed mining equipment.
* StandardSciFiSetting
* StateSec: The Office of Naval Intelligence, they do some morally questionable actions for the sake of the UNSC's survival.
* SuicideMission: Occurs throughout the series, such as the Arbiter's first mission in ''Halo 2.'' The opening cinematic describes the ODST's mission to board the Covenant carrier while still in the air over New Mombosa as 'suicide mission'. And [=SPARTAN IIIs=] are expendable, intended to be sent on suicide missions.
* SuperPrototype: Inverted with the Arbiter armour, which has a cloaking system inferior to the modern Elite armour. Ditto with the novel ''Ghosts of Onyx''- the SPARTAN III's had the inferior Semi-Powered Infiltration armour, which lacked the shielding and strength-enhancements of the MJOLNIR suits in favor of some camouflage ability. Played straight with the Master Chief's armor in the first and second games, however - it is markedly superior to the 'standard' MJOLNIR suit due to improvements in shielding and the AI support system that Cortana represents.
** Master Chief himself, and by extension the SPARTAN-IIs compared to the III's and IV's. In Halo 4 we get to see just how bigger he is.
* SurvivalMantra: [[TearJerker "Keyes, Jacob. Captain. Service number 01928-19912-JK."]]
* ThemeNaming: Not the characters, however. Until ''Halo Wars'' broke the pattern, all UNSC vehicles in the games smaller than a full-size spaceship were named after animals, while Covenant vehicles were named after spooks. Most of the small craft are still named/nicknamed after animals, while space fighters tend to be named after swords.
** And even then ''Halo Wars'' only broke the pattern with the ShoutOut Cyclops and appropriately named Gremlin.
** Covenant spacecraft names are generally religious allusions, such as the ''Truth and Reconciliation'' or the ''Long Night of Solace''. UNSC ships are named based on importance to the plot - unimportant ships, if given a name at all, have perfunctory one-word names such as the ''Iroquois'' or the ''Savannah'', while more important ones have poetic names like ''Pillar of Autumn'' or ''Forward Unto Dawn''.
** See also Meaningful Name, above.
* TronLines: A common feature for Forerunner technology, especially weapons. Also some Covenant tech, appropriately.
* {{Tykebomb}}: The [=SPARTANs=] began training when they were six.
** [[http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/halo/images/5/50/John-117_fighting_ODST_team.png Quite literally after they got their augmentations]].
* TragicMonster - Captain Keyes, mutated into a Flood "proto-Gravemind" form. MC puts Keyes out of his misery when he retrieves the neural implants.
** [[spoiler: Jenkins, too, in ''The Flood''.]]
* TrueCompanions: Quite a few examples. Spartans (both [[LaserGuidedTykebomb Type-II]] and [[SuperSoldier Type-III]]) are trained together from childhood and quickly become like family. [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Sangheili/Elites]] refer to each other as "brother" and are hardly ever seen without another of their kind nearby. And the squad in ''ODST'' becomes pretty tight-knit as the game's events progress, even though the opening cinematic establishes that each member of the squad is a replacement from another squad.
* UniverseBible: Bungie literally calls it the ''Halo Story Bible''.
* UpdatedRerelease / VideoGameRemake: ''[[HaloCombatEvolved Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary]]'' is a bit of both. The single-player mode actually runs on the original ''Halo: Combat Evolved'' engine, but with updated graphics using resources taken from ''HaloReach''. The multi-player mode, on the other hand, has been rebuilt from the ground up using the ''HaloReach'' engine.
* VirtualGhost: Cortana, who is based on the mind of Dr. Catherine Halsey.
* TheVirus: The Flood
* WeDoTheImpossible: Master Chief
** Spartans in general really, it's even said to be the "short definition of a Spartan."
*** After ''Halo 3: ODST'' it is now common knowledge that the [=ODSTs=] are held to just below the standard Spartans are; considering everything you have to fight in that game, without the Spartan's enhanced speed, jump, health, melee damage and life saving shields, it's a fair point to make that [=ODSTs=] get by on skill where the Spartans can survive just with their shields.
* TheWormThatWalks: Mgalekgolo/Hunters are a collection of worm/eel things called Lekgolo, combined to form a single entity with a single consciousness (single as in using "I, me, my" instead of "We, us, our").
* YouAreNumberSix: True to a certain extent with all Spartans, who are given numeric designations. Typically they will retain their personal name, suffixing the numeric designation to this.
** This trope is also '''literally''' true in ''Halo: Reach'' where the otherwise unnamed primary player character joins Noble Team as their new "number six."
* ZombieApocalypse: The Flood.
** Especially when you find out [[spoiler: The Flood have already completely infected/destroyed ''at least'' one other galaxy already, before the Forerunner even encountered them at the edge of the Milky Way.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Halo Books]]
* ApocalypticLog: The Covenant is founded on one of these, except they thought it was holy writ.
* BadassBoast: Nylund is particularly fond of these. Happens in ''First Strike'' (by VADM Whitcomb), ''Ghosts of Onyx'' (by Whitcomb again, through a recording) and ''The Impossible Life and the Possible Death of Preston J. Cole'' (by the title character), in all cases before the character who delivers the said boast destroys a large Covenant fleet.
* BrainUploading: Human Smart [=AIs=] are created this way. Dr. Halsey was smart enough to clone herself so she could create Cortana while keeping her own brain safely inside her skull where she needed it.
** Actually, she [[spoiler:only cloned her brain and had to make [[ArcNumber seven]] copies of it. Six of them didn't survive and the seventh one created Cortana. There's also a pretty good reference and allusion to Zeus and Athena too.]]
* ColonelBadass: Colonel Ackerson somewhat as withstood interrogations by Brutes and still managed to protect Earth before being decapitated. It seems that Colonel Deen was he managed to break a Covenant Siege behind enemy lines.
* ConvectionSchmonvection: Averted in the case of Covenant [[KillSat stategic glassing]]. Carefully placed Covenant warships in orbit rain beams of plasma down onto a planet's surface in a choreographed grid pattern. What does not die instantly from getting hit with the plasma will die somewhat less quickly from the convection as the atmosphere boils around them...
* CovertDistressCode: The Spartans' classified distress call is a simple "Olly Olly Oxen Free".
* CosmicHorrorStory: The Forerunner Saga. Especially [[spoiler: Silentium.]]
* CreativeSterility: The Covenant, though technologically superior, are only so because they depend on weapons and ships salvaged from the ruins of the ancient Forerunner race, which they slavishly copy with religious reverence. Humans are the only species capable of innovation, and often incorporate and improve upon captured Covenant tech. The Master Chief's energy shields are based on the similar Elite model, for instance.
** Though it's not so much that the Covenant are incapable of innovation as much as that they generally see even simply changing the settings on Forerunner technology as heretical. The Elites and the Prophets, for example, were already about as technologically advanced as 26th century humanity ''before'' they began messing around with Forerunner tech.
*** In ''Literature/HaloCryptum'', the Prophets are noted to be a scientifically-gifted species whose technology equals that of their [[spoiler:prehistoric human allies, who were nearly a match for the Forerunner themselves]].
* DarkerAndEdgier: The novels (particularly ''The Fall of Reach'') are much darker than the games, almost to the point of being a deconstruction. They don't shy away from just how horrible fighting a war against an unstoppable alien juggernaught would be or how awful your life would be if you were a SPARTAN-II . They also portray the amount of damage that the human body can take much more realistically, with soldiers dying from a single plasma rifle shot, etc.
** ''Especially'' the ''HaloEvolutions'' short-stories. Dear God, don't read "The ''Mona Lisa''" or "Stomping On the Heels of a Fuss" if you have a weak stomach. To elaborate, "Stomping" details [[spoiler:Brutes treating prisoners like chew-toys, living in a complex surrounded by a field of corpses, and eating humans around a campfire like freakin' hotdogs]], while "The ''Mona Lisa''" is [[spoiler:a graphic depiction of a Flood infestation. One Elite even stomps a human corpse into pulp simply to prevent it from being used by the Flood.]]
* DoesNotKnowHisOwnStrength: The Spartans have trouble adjusting to their new strength right after the augmentation, to the point where John-117 thinks that the ArtificialGravity in the ship's gym is broken since he can lift the heaviest weights without effort.
* FasterThanLightTravel: [[SubspaceOrHyperspace Slipstream space]], which is more-or-less shortcutting through another dimension. One of the reasons for Covenant space superiority was their greater ability to emerge from Slipspace at pinpoint locations, whereas UNSC exit points might be inaccurate by as many as 100,000 kilometers.
** Not only was the location more accurate, so was the timeframe. Travel time between stars didn't remain constant, and UNSC ships that departed at roughly the same time could arrive at their destination hours or even days apart, reason of which was not clear to the scientists but attributed to "eddies" in slipstream currents.
* TheFederation: The UNSC.
* FiveManBand: In the novels, John's team normally goes like this:
** TheHero: John
** TheLancer: Fred
** TheSmartGuy: Linda
** TheBigGuy: James/Joshua/Sam/Will
** TheChick: Kelly
* ForegoneConclusion: The title of the first book is ''Halo: The Fall of Reach''. Guess what happens.
** You know exactly what will happen in the Forerunner Trilogy.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Most famously, by Dr. Catherine Halsey in ''The Fall of Reach'', when describing John-117:
-->"This child could be more useful to the UNSC than a fleet of destroyers, a thousand Junior Grade Lieutenants ? Or even ''me''. In the end, that child may be the only thing that makes any difference."
* GenerationXerox: Well, if you consider having your brain cloned and then used to create an AI as having an offspring, Dr. Halsey and Cortana definitely qualify. [[spoiler: Particularly when we finally see Dr. Halsey in person in ''The Package''---she looks exactly like Cortana's hologram and says several of her lines word-for-word.]]
* GeniusBruiser: Spartans, Elites, and to a lesser extent Brutes. [[AllThereInTheManual Hunters, too]].
* HandWave: Though there is a decent-enough explanation for why Sgt. Johnson was able to resist getting nommed by the Flood, it's never really explained how he, Lt. Haverson, Cpl. Locklear, and PO2 Polaski were able to commandeer a Pelican despite being separated from other UNSC forces on Halo.
* HeroicBSOD: Admiral Cole sure gets one when he fins out that [[spoiler: his wife and the mother of his child, Lyra, is a high-level Insurrection operative.]]
* HonorBeforeReason: The Sangheili honor codes are well beyond the point of ridiculousness. Especially apparent in ''Halo: The Cole Protocol''.
** The various Human characters end up taking advantage of this.
* HopeSpot[=/=]DiabolusExMachina: In ''Ghosts of Onyx'', Admiral Patterson is down to one carrier and three destroyers, facing two damaged Covenant destroyers. One is taken out, leaving a single Covenant ship utterly defenseless. [[spoiler:And then a Covenant fleet 32 ships strong comes out of slipspace between the lone destroyer and the four UNSC ships, and promptly annihilates the human vessels.]]
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: Haverson kills an Engineer who just repaired John's armor in order to keep the Covenant from getting any data on it. He finds the act just as despicable as Cortana does, but stands by his decision.
* {{Jerkass}}: Antonio Silva hates the Spartans, especially the Master Chief due to John accidentally killing an ODST member a long time ago. Silva seems to have forgotten how this was a result of half a dozen of the best soldiers attacking a supposedly average fourteen year old.
* [[spoiler:TheLastDance]]: [[spoiler:Admiral Preston Cole. After being depended upon for so long in the Human-Covenant War by the UNSC (compared in ''The Impossible Life and Possible Death of Preston Cole'' as being in command of the battles of the Alamo, Termopylae, Stalingrad, and Cold Harbor, and repeating them over, and over), it was believed that he began to fall under the psychological strain, to the point it was speculated that he fell into another HeroicBSOD... but one that led him to face three hundred Covenant ships around a gas giant, killing plenty of them with slingshot maneuvers, using gravity as both a lure and a shield against the Covenant Plasma shots, mocking them with a BadAssBoast that angers them and drives them towards him, and ending with [[RememberWhenYouBlewUpASun an implosion using said goddamn gas giant into a sun]], killing all three hundred Covenant ships.]]
-->"Listen to me, Covenant. I am Vice Admiral Preston J. Cole commanding the human flagship, ''Everest''. You claim to be the holy and glorious inheritors of the universe? I spit on your so-called holiness. You dare judge us unfit? After I have personally sent more than three hundred of your vainglorious ships to hell? After kicking your collective butts off Harvest - not once - but twice? From where I sit, we are the worthy inheritors. You think otherwise, you can come and try to prove me wrong."
** [[spoiler:The best part? If the ONI officer reviewing Cole's life is correct, Cole [[BeyondTheImpossible SURVIVED by executing an in-atmosphere slip-space jump]], and is most likely finally living a life of peace far outside UNSC or Covenant space. [[EarnYourHappyEnding He deserves it.]]]]
* LightningBruiser: Kelly in the novels was always the fastest Spartan, even when they were children. Once she goes through augmentations, she's described as being so fast that nothing could touch her if she didn't allow them too. She can reliably reach speeds up to 62 KPH (roughly 38 miles an hour).
** Of course, ''all'' the Spartans are Lightning Bruisers compared to normal humans.
** Jorge-052, Noble Teams [[TheBigGuy Heavy weapons specialist]] carries a massive [[{{BFG}} Heavy Machine gun]] which would require an entire crew of regular humans to man and would probably be cumbersome in the hands of even the other Spartans. Jorge however doesn't seem to be slowed down by it in the slightest.
* MacrossMissileMassacre: UNSC ships of the line also carry ludicrous numbers of Archer missle pods that can produce this effect. Unfortunately they are not particularly effective against Covenant energy shielding. They are however ''very'' effective against unshielded Covenant ships.
* MacGuffin: The Forerunner Crystal in ''First Strike''.
* MadeOfPlasticine:
** A vehicular example is seen courtesy of the many starships in the series, especially the UNSC's vessels when confronted with [[KillItWithFire the Covenant's plasma weapons]]. It is basically unheard of for a ship to come out of an engagement without being gutted within an inch of its life and/or requiring several months' stay in drydock to fix the myriad of meltdowns and decompressions. Apparently, all that armour and structure is like so much tissue paper.
*** Averted for the ''Pillar of Autumn''; even in-universe it was described as basically being a [[LethalJokeCharacter Lethal Joke]] LightningBruiser CoolShip. It and its entire class were reputed as being MadeOfIron, even if they sucked in the offensive department.
*** The Covenant ships subvert this trope: while their shields are up, they are basically MadeOfIron, and only [[{{BFG}} MAC cannon]] rounds generally make a dent. Knock down the shields, though, and they can get blown apart with otherwise-useless [[MacrossMissileMassacre Archer missiles]].
** A more straight example comes from the descriptions of the effects of [[KillItWithFire Covenant weaponry]] and [[BodyHorror Flood attacks]] on human UNSC Marines.
*** And also averted for the [[SuperSoldier Spartans]] -- they repeatedly come back from injuries that would cripple or kill an ordinary human. Linda, in particular, came back to full fighting readiness after being ''clinically dead''.
* MeaningfulName / IronicNickname: The Prophet of Truch is a habitual liar and blackmailed the Prophet of Regret, The Prophet of Regret is impetuious and doesn't seem to regret his actions (except the ones the Prophet of Truth is blackmailing him for), and The Prophet of Mercy is completely merciless, to the point of psychopathy. According to ''Contact Harvest'', Regret used to be the Vice Minister of Tranquility and was known for his confrontational attitude, and Truth got his later position after blackmailing the Prophet of Restraint over his illegitimate children. This sort of thing seems to be a RunningGag throughout the Halo universe.
** Truth at least is intentional. He chose it to remind himself of his own lies and hypocrisy.
** The name "John-117" also may have meaning; from biblical references (various passages in the Book of John or in Revelations with the numbers "1" and "7" could be read as relating to ''Halo'''s plot) to a ShoutOut to ''Film/DemolitionMan''.
*** It's also often pronounced one-seventeen, 1:17 is 77 seconds and 7 is Bungie's ArcNumber.
* TheMetricSystemIsHereToStay
* NavalBlockade: The UNSC blockaded the 26 Draconis System in an effort to keep FTL drive components from being shipped out, leading to an incident that sparked the Insurrection.
* NecessaryDrawback: The Spartan I training program was a mixture of TrainingFromHell and chemical enhancements but didn't result in a significant battlefield improvement. The Spartan II's had TrainingFromHell, chemical enhancements, cybernetic augmentation, and a custom-built PoweredArmor but because of the high risk of deformities and death from the implants (low "graduation" numbers) it was deemed to not be cost efficient. Spartan III's (the subjects of Halo: Reach) were a balance between the previous programs to get higher numbers of {{Super Soldier}}s that could affect the tide of battle.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: During the fall of Reach, Admiral Whitcomb re-purposes one of the UNSC's new experimental [[EarthShatteringKaboom NOVA Bombs]] and leaves it booby trapped so that if the Covenant took it back to one of their planets, it'd induce massive casualties. By the time the bomb detonates however, the Covenant is fractured under civil war and ending up annihilating a major reorganizing fleet of the faction that ended up siding with Humanity.
** Though it is possible that if the fleet remained, they wouldn't have been desperate enough to side with the humans at all.
** Also note that those Elites hadn't sided humanity, and were still hell bent on annihilating us.
** If you consider [[StateSec O.N.I.]] [[NominalHero heroes]], their plot of fracturing the Elite society only created more forces who would take up The Didacts mission against humanity. And for causing Dr Halsey to side with them.
** Taking one of the Spartans to train to fight the Insurrection actually causes some of the suspicious parents to become part of the Insurrection. Although that may be more of a source of irony...
* {{Novelization}}: The first game has one, titled ''Halo: The Flood''.
* PsychicStatic: A way of fighting back the Flood if you ever get infested and [[MindRape Mind Raped.]]
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Haverson, despite outranking the Master Chief, willingly concedes command of the mission to the Spartan. Later when the mission changes and he retakes command, Haverson is still agrees to take them back to Reach even though he knows that Master Chief really only wants to go to check for surviving Spartans.
* RememberWhenYouBlewUpASun: Or in the case of Admiral Cole, [[spoiler: remember when you turned a gas giant into a sun and then it wiped out a hundreds-stong Covenant armada in a giant supernova?]]
** As a real-life Out-of-Universe inversion of the trope, there is a painting inside an ONI base in Australia called ''Admiral Cole's Last Stand'', described in ''Halo: First Strike''. The book was published nearly five years prior to ''Halo Evolutions'', but in-universe, it was ten years before the end of the war.
* RightHandVersusLeftHand: The political machinations within the Covenant in ''Halo 2''. The ExpandedUniverse shows that the UNSC is not wholly united either.
** Taken to a whole new extreme with the infighting at the Office of Naval Intelligence. There the right hand doesn't even know the left even exists. Even more blatant when you consider the context behind [[http://www.bungie.net/projects/reach/article.aspx?ucc=personnel&cid=24040 this]] communication. To put it short, Ackerson kidnaps one of Halsey's Spartans(Kurt) to help start his own [[CannonFodder Mass Produced]] Spartan unit to compete with Halsey's. Kurt then covertly spirits a number of those Spartans from the S-III companies in order to form his own secret team of Elite [=Spartan III's=] outfitted with [[PoweredArmor Mjolnir armor]] like the original Spartan II's. And everybody is in the dark about getting conned by somebody else.
* TheRival: Spartans and ODST generally don't get along.
* RockBeatsLaser: Used and/or subverted depending on certain circumstances. Human firearms can outperform Covenant energy weapons in some cases, such as against the Flood. Humans also tend to defeat the Covenant on ground battles. That said, in space combat the Covenant tend to have a massive advantage over the UNSC.
* SacrificialPlanet: Most of the story takes place in late 2552, after [[ScaryDogmaticAliens the Covenant]] destroyed the planet Reach during their war against humanity. The Covenant had already burned 800 human colonies in the twenty-seven years of war before, but Reach, being humanity's second most important military stronghold after Earth, is viewed to be the point-of-no-return, the point where humanity has been dealt a crippling blow and needs to land a killing strike on the Covenant right away before they destroy Earth. The Fall of Reach is described in [[Literature/HaloTheFallOfReach the first Halo book]] and playable in the prequel ''VideoGame/HaloReach'', where you are DoomedByCanon.
* ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem: The Office of Naval Intelligence has a very complicated relationship with both civilian and military law. They have classified orders to ensure the Cole Protocol is carried out fully. It states that all navigational data must be destroyed upon contact with the Covenant, but that leaves a flaw. The navigational officer. ONI's exact orders are to "destroy all navigational data stored digitally or organically." They ignore the orders of anybody who could or would stop them.
* ShotgunWedding: Admiral Cole, ''twice.'' Subverted both times--- it looks at first like he's being forced to marry Inna Valkov, his first wife and an admiral's daughter but it turns out that he ''wasn't'' the father of her son. His second wife, Lyrra, is also pregnant when they get married [[spoiler: which is too bad because she turns out to be a high-level Insurrection operative and the captain of the frigate that Cole has been hunting for years.]]
* SpaceIsAnOcean: Averted, as the ships use the 3-dimensional, zero-gravity nature of space to their advantage, such as by flipping the ''Pillar of Autum'' 180 degrees in order to point the majority of their point-defense guns at the Covenant ships attacking their underside.
* TheSpartanWay: The training regimen of the [=SPARTANs=] as seen in the novels.
* SpaceRomans: The Elite culture is basically Imperial Japan [[RecycledInSpace IN SPACE]].
* SuperPersistentPredator: Why humans call the Mgalekgolo "Hunters".
* SuperSoldier: The Spartans. You've been kidnapped by the army, kid, will never see your family again, and have been replaced by a clone that will die soon. You will have to go through grueling training and risky augmentation, then get stuffed into a suit of armour that makes people wonder if you're actually a robot, and have difficulty bonding with anyone not a SPARTAN II. Oh, and no one will ever know your real name, if you die you're listed as "MIA" or "WIA", [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and you no longer have any sex drive whatsoever]]. Who wants to volunteer?
** Further deconstructed in ''Ghosts of Onyx''. [[spoiler:The SPARTAN III's are prepubescent {{Laser Guided Tykebomb}}s assembled from thousands of orphans of Earth's lost colonies, and trained to assault and hopefully destroy Covenant installations ''en masse'' as mostly cannon fodder to slow the Covenant's advance. The first chapter of said novel details the carnage of one such mission, one that leaves only two survivors out of ''hundreds'', and renders one of them forever mute from Post Traumatic Stress. The worst part? [[ShootTheDog If it hadn't been done, humanity wouldn't have lasted long enough to become nearly extinct in ''Halo 3''.]]]]
* SuperToughness: The Spartan II's. Notably ''not'' the Spartan III's, who were elite cannon fodder.
* TemptingFate: Guess who kicks the crap out of Master Chief & Co. after the following statement:
---> '''Cortana''': "Also, be advised, Chief, that there are ceremonial guards in this temple - a race we have not encountered before. Roughly translated from Covenant dialects, they are called 'Brutes.' They shouldn't be a significant threat or they would have been used in previous military situations."
* ThreeLawsCompliant: Mentioned by name. The default setting of the AI constructs. Disabled for normal military use, since the laws would force the AI's to prevent soldiers from sacrificing or even risking their lives in war.
* TimeDelayedDeath: In ''Ghosts of Onyx'', Dante, after a particularly hectic firefight, offhandedly mentions "I think they got me." [[spoiler:''He then drops dead.'']] Upon closer inspection, it turns out that nearly ''half of his torso'' had been blown off or melted, and he didn't even notice.
* {{Tsundere}}: Sif in ''Contact Harvest'' is a textbook version.
* {{Tykebomb}}: The Spartans were drafted/kidnapped when they were six years old, and due to their training were better fighters than most adults. Then they [[UpToEleven got augmented]].
* ThemeNaming: This series and ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}'' are part of one. ''Durandal, Cortana...'' [[spoiler: Here's betting their next series will have a character named Joyeuse in it.]]
* TheWarOfEarthlyAggression: In the expanded universe, pre-contact with the Covenant, and continuing through the war, there was a huge ongoing rebellion movement in the Outer Colonies.
* OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions: Subverted. Dr. Halsey is specifically stated to be an atheist, suggesting this distinguishes her in some way from other human characters. This is later confirmed in [[Halo3ODST ODST]] with the character of Dutch, who is noted to be a deeply spiritual man and a student of religion and philosophy.
* WhamEpisode: ''Literature/HaloCryptum'', SO MUCH. You were wondering how humans and Forerunners first met 100,000 years ago? How about... [[spoiler: humans had an interstellar empire so large that it rivaled the Forerunners', until it was destroyed by the Forerunners for infringing on their territory while running away from the Flood, which humanity eventually ''defeated'' before falling themselves. That's right, ancient humanity were the first to find and fight the Flood (with the help of the Prophets). We even invented a cure for the Flood that DIDN'T involve the total annihilation of life in the galaxy, but it was destroyed (either out of human bitterness or Forerunner ignorance) when the Forerunners invaded, DEVOLVED OUR SPECIES and erased all traces of the earlier civilization, restricting us to our homeworld. The Librarian mentioned in ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'' was actually intended to keep us in check.]]
* WhamLine: Again, the ''Forerunner Saga'' is full of these. Often mentioned offhandedly, as, at the time, they are commonly known facts that seem to have no relevance. A big one is [[spoiler: offhandedly mentioning that humanity and the Forerunners were ''at war'' at one point, after which the Forerunner victors de-evolved us and confined us to earth]].
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: One of the female Spartans (it was Kelly) is mentioned to have dyed her hair blue in ''The Fall of Reach'', though by the end of the book it's gone back to its natural color.
** Cortana and Serina both have blue hair (and blue everything else).
* YouKeepUsingThatWord: ''The Cole Protocol'' calls [=MACs=] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railgun railguns]]. They're actually [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coilgun coilguns]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Halo Games by Bungie]]
* TheAllSeeingAI: Noteably averted, in all games including the first ''Halo: Combat Evolved''; Enemies are only aware of your last known position once they lose sight of you, so it's possible to flank and sneak up behind them in a firefight if you use walls as cover. One of the skulls in ''Halo 2'' makes the game harder by making enemies aware of your position at all times.
* AlmightyJanitor: Subverted and played straight with the Rookie. After learning he fought his way through war-torn Mombasa by himself for several hours, Dare thinks he's one of these. The truth is he was knocked out in his pod for most of it. However, it's perfectly possible to confirm her suspiciouns through gameplay. Heck, if you get all the audiologs, a cutscene changes so Rookie knows more about what's going on than Dare does! And Dare's the intelligence officer!
* AncientKeeper: 343 Guilty Spark.
* AscendedMeme: In ''ODST'', the location that played the [[OnceAnEpisode Siege Of Madrigal]] also had a short, looping animation of Marty O'Donnell dancing and little winged hearts flying everywhere. The heart effect is available as a purchasable "dying armor effect" (like Grunt Birthday Party confetti) in Reach.
* ASpaceMarineIsYou: Seriously. Look at the checklist.
* AttackAttackRetreatRetreat: Occationally, caused by the Marines' combat dialogue acting up.
-->'''Female Marine''': [[BadassBoast Not a tango in sight.]]
-->'''Male Marine''', less than a second later: [[OhCrap I see tangos...]] [[ZergRush lots of tangos!]]
* AttemptedRape: [[spoiler:Commissioner Kinsler]] attempts to rape [[spoiler:Sadie]] in the Audio Files' story. [[spoiler:He tries and fails three times, and the third failure gets him brutally ''torn to shreds'' by an angry mob that he had his men fire on.]]
* AutobotsRockOut: It has the literal [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO1y7WQfD9c Rock Anthem for Saving the World]] that would play during more intense parts of the game.
** ''And'' OminousLatinChanting aplenty.
** In the second game, an instrumental version of "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS6vwmrFxGo Blow Me Away]]" plays when the Master Chief enters the Mausoleum of the Arbiter, where the EnemyCivilWar is at its most epic. Cue the urge to kick ass and ChewBubblegum.
*** Cortana even tells you it'd be better to sit this one out and wait for the enemies to kill each other. But with this music it's just impossible to do.
** And not to mention that the second and third games had [[CrowningMomentofAwesome Steve Vai]] shredding over the more intense themes.
** The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a43xjc6iT9k Mjolnir Mix]] of the main theme yet.
** And then ODST pretty much blows everything that has come before away with a little thing called [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCVmzTGq4pA&feature=search Air Traffic Control]]: imagine that playing while fighting against hordes of Covenant air support hundreds of feet in the air on the edge of a skyscraper.
* AxeCrazy:
** Kinsler, the New Mombasa police commissioner featured in Sadie's Story, is a rephrehensible jackass, who is willing to sacrifice the safety of the citizens in his bid for payback as the city falls apart.
** According to his profile, Noble Team member Emile-239 seem to fit this rather well, apparently so brutal that his superiors are reluctant to field him against anything but aliens, for fear of his brutality giving the media real [[ObligatoryWarCrimeScene "excess"]] to comment on.
*** In at least one section of the game, we're told "He says he wants to win the war, but he really just wants the enemy to die."
** The Arbiter from ''VideoGame/HaloWars''
* {{Badass}}: The Master Chief. Also, the entire race of Elites, basically bipedal, evolved Land Sharks with energy shields.
** An oft-overlooked example is the [[strike:Australian Marine]] [[AwesomeAussie Private Chips Dubbo]] featured in all the Bungie Halo games, who gets some of the most badass lines in the entire series.
--->'''Private Chips Dubbo:''' S'alright, I'd hide from me too!
** And, of course, scar-faced, shotgun-wielding Sergeant Pete Stacker, who along with Dubbo is one of the only human characters to have survived all three games.
* BadassBack: Aka Cheating Bastard Back, the Jackal snipers. In games 2 and 3 the Hunters can melee you behind their back too, which is instant death on Legendary.
* BadassBoast: After being told that a message from the covenant keeps repeating, over and over, the word "Regret":
--->'''Johnson:''': Dear Humanity, we ''Regret'' being alien bastards! We ''Regret'' coming to Earth! And we most definitely ''Regret'' that the Corps just blew up our raggedy-ass fleet!
--->'''Pilots''': Oorah!
** The Heretic Leader in the same game speaks to the Arbiter and accompanying strike team through a hologram. It's short, but it implies a lot.
---> '''[[FanNickname Half-Jaw]]:''' Come out, so we may kill you! \\
'''Heretic:''' Heheheh... Get in line.
* BashBrothers: Hunters always come in pairs of two. In most games, they're identical and equipped identically.
* TheBattlestar: Any ship that figures into the main plot, such as the ''Pillar of Autumn'', the ''In Amber Clad'', or the ''Forward Unto Dawn''. In ''Halo 3'', the Separatist vessel ''Shadow of Intent'' takes the place of the Rebel Basestar. In ''Halo 4'', we get the massive ''Infinity'', which was originally constructed to be a last bastion of humanity should Earth fall, and is capable of launching entire ''flotillas of frigates'' from its internal bays.
* BeatingADeadPlayer: The infamous teabag in multiplayer. Additionally, campaign [=NPCs=] and enemies will occasionally shoot enemy corpses (including yours) and shout at them.
** During gameplay, Marines will occasionally shout "Get up, so I can kill you again", showing that this trope is in full force even InUniverse. It becomes slightly less funny when [[ZombieApocalypse the Flood actually]] ''[[ZombieApocalypse do]]'' [[ZombieApocalypse get back up]].
* BeehiveBarrier: The Bubble Shield. Back again in Reach with a healing ability.
* BerserkButton. Don't try to destroy the Halo ring in front of 343 Guilty Spark. Just ask [[spoiler:Sgt. Johnson]].
** Or kill a Hunter in front of its partner.
* BigDamnHeroes: Happens quite a lot during cutscenes, and sometimes you can do it yourself.
** In ''Halo 3'', when Johnson is beaten up to make him activate the rings, you have a good view of the large window behind Truth, with a small dropship growing larger in the distance.
* BilingualBonus: Regret refers to the Halo pulse as a "divine wind" in his sermon in Halo 2. In Japanese divine wind is ''kamikaze''. Considering that the activation of the Halo array is essentially a suicide attack... Well, he was more on the money than he knew.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:To the original trilogy; both humanity and the Covenant races have been badly mauled by their war, with most human colonies destroyed and billions of its people dead. Earth's defenses were badly mauled and many of its cities razed. The upside is that the war ends with the Covenant races freed from the Prophets' rule and humanity avoiding extinction and making peace with their former adversaries (with hope for future friendship), not to mention our heroes stopping the Flood from retaking the galaxy. The Chief and Cortana are presumed dead, but are actually floating in space in the back half of the ''Dawn'', with no way to get home.]]
* {{BFG}}: Spartan Laser, [[RemovableTurretGun detachable turrets]], fuel rod gun, etc.
* BolivianArmyEnding: [=FireFight=] in ODST can only end in this.
** [[spoiler: Halo: Reach]]
* BookEnds: [[spoiler:Master Chief begins the trilogy by climbing out of a cryochamber and ends it by climbing right back into another one.]]
* BorderPatrol: Invisible instant-death barriers prevent shortcutting or wandering out of bounds; some multiplayer maps, such as "Snowbound", have plausible border control devices.
** According to Bungie, the number of these (at least in campaign) are going to be reduced allowing the maps to be more explorable.
* BossInMookClothing: Brute Chieftains, Gold Elites (first game), Silver Elites (second game), and Hunters (second and third games).
** Enforcers in Halo 2.
* ButtMonkey: The Grunts. They get a lot of abuse, and are so funny at receiving it, too.
* CaptainObvious: Sometimes, randomized combat dialogue can lead to this.
--->'''Marine''' (in the middle of an enormous gun battle): The Covvies are shooting at us!
* ChargedAttack: The Plasma Pistol
** The Needler also counts. It would be virtually useless, despite the homing feature of the needles, except for the fact that once a target has enough needles in them, they simultaneously explode. So the needler can be useful, assuming a player can get enough needles in an opponent to cause the explosion.
** Also, the Spartan Laser.
** Reach adds the Plasma Launcher, which charges to fire more grenades, as well as an artillery target painter.
* ChekhovsGun: [[spoiler: The Index]]
** [[spoiler: So much so that it took three whole games, and traveling over '''250,000 Light years''' to actually get to ''using'' it.]]
** ''"I'm a thief... but I keep what I steal."''
** The Halos themselves. If a Galaxy destroying superweapon is found in the first game it will be fired by the end of the third game.
* CliffHanger: The first game ended with plenty of more story to tell, but still self-contained. ''Halo 2'' has merely a pause in the story.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: On Legendary difficulty, most notably in the second game. Rapid-fire plasma pistols, faster-shooting plasma rifles, insta-death melees, BadassBack sniper shots, attacks that allies and enemies can survive but are instantly fatal to the player (Two words: Beam Rifle), unfair vehicle damage allocation, X-ray vision, sniper-accurate grenade throws, stupid friendly AI, etc.
* CopyAndPasteEnvironments:
** In the original game, the last level is the first level backwards. The second-to-last level is the second level with different textures. The third level is one half going in, one half going out. The levels after the library are the same as the ones before the library. Except, well, backwards.
** Also, these are noticeable:
*** [[strike:The Library]] ''Every'' interior level in the original game.
*** The multiplayer map ''Death Island'' from the original game is essentially a remake of the level ''The Silent Cartographer''. All they did was replace the override with 1 base and the map room with another...
*** The Level Floodgate in ''Halo 3'' is pretty much the previous level, backwards. Except everything's apocalyptic, and the Covenant is replaced with the Flood.
*** There's also a slight subversion of this trope in the very end of ''Halo 3''. The control room to fire the Halo is almost identical to the one in the first game, hinting that all Halos are merely copies of each other.
**** Although, since this Halo is an exact replica of the one from the first game, it's not that much of a stretch.
**** Oh yeah, the collapsing structure that you are driving through? It's the framework for that same [[http://images.wikia.com/halo/images/4/41/IslandCompare.jpg island]] from Silent Cartographer.
*** Reach does this in the opposite way you'd expect: the multiplayer maps were designed first, and then tweaked to appear in the campaign.
*** Also in Reach, the campaign level "The Package"'s first half takes place in the same area as the previous level "ONI Sword Base", except it's set at night, all apocalyptic, partially-flooded, you have a Scorpion to make the outside areas go by faster, and the elevator is out indoors so you have to use maintainence tunnels.
* CosmeticAward: The multiplayer armor permutations in ''Halo 3''. Reach takes it a step further by forcing you to purchase them with in-game "cR". The prices are...[[OhCrap Extortionate.]]
** It's worth noting you can get cR by doing [[MoneyForNothing just about anything.]]
* CosmeticallyDifferentSides: Elites and Spartans (though quite possible on the same team) are the same aside from visually in the multiplayer. ''Reach'' is supposed to be avert the trope, making the Elites take more damage and have an ability to roll, while the Spartans have the ability to sprint and are smaller targets.
** Although the different body shapes between humans and Sangheili mean that scoring headshots on each is different, and there are some other profile-related differences.
* CrewOfOne: Mostly.
** Averted only with the Warthog, sadly.
*** The Mongoose as well.
* {{Crunchtastic}}: "Killtacular", etc. from {{Kill Streak}}s
* CutsceneIncompetence: This affects the titular members of ''ODST'', mostly because the game's [[TheRashomon Rashomon]]-style narrative leaves them in the interesting position of being both {{Player Character}}s ''and'' {{Non Player Character}}s, depending on whose {{flashback}} you're watching. If you, The Player, establish a habit of CrazyAwesome while playing as any given squad member, that squad member will ''not'' continue in similar style when the AI takes over again.
** [[spoiler: Kat's death. I mean, really now?]]
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''Halo 3'' is the darkest of the original trilogy, the first two games largely avoided the implications of just how many had died/were dying in the Covenant War, but this game has Earth AfterTheEnd and takes an AnyoneCanDie approach to the main characters.
** ''Halo Reach'' feels more like a war movie, with Reach falling and [[spoiler: almost all of Noble Team dying]].
* DecoyProtagonist: The Rookie. If anything, ''Halo 3: ODST'' is the story of Buck, Dare, and [[spoiler: the Superintendent/Virgil.]]
** [[spoiler: ..unless you get all the audio logs, which makes you the one who knows more about the story than Dare, the ''Intelligence Officer,'' and you also get access to a bazillion guns in secret caches all over the city, thus making you a OneManArmy HeroicMime who ''really'' wants to get back to sleep.]]
** Halo: Reach implies that [[spoiler:Noble Six was this to Master Chief in the series as a whole. Considering that Noble Six is completely customizable and is stated to have the same combat rating as Master Chief, this makes it one of the more sadistic examples.]]
* DeflectorShields: Used by Elites, some Brutes, and Tartarus, whose shield can only be taken out with a Beam Rifle.
** In ''Halo: Reach'', there is an armor ability that lets you, temporarily, have unbreakable shields. As soon as the shields run out, however...
* TheDragon: Tartarus.
** The entire Brute species in general in ''Halo 2'', ''3'' and ''ODST''.
* DegradedBoss: The Brute Chieftains fought as semi-standard enemies throughout ''Halo 3'' are essentially weaker versions of ''Halo 2'''s final boss.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Noble Six is a killing machine that tends to go about it by herself/himself without any particular previous coordination. [[PlayerCharacter Sound familiar?]]
* DropTheHammer: The gravity hammer. A big, scary Brute melee weapon that'll knock your enemies into the next county.
** Your allies, too!
* DoomedByCanon: Reach. Energy projectors turn the surface of Reach to glass. The survival rate of you and your teammates in Halo: Reach is understandably slim.
* DoomedHometown - The colony of Reach.
* DoNotDropYourWeapon - Played straight with most enemies, [[DamnYouMuscleMemory making it all the more frustrating when you forgot that it was averted with the flood combat forms.]]
* DoppelgangerAttack - The Heretic leader's holo-drones.
* DualWielding - Added in ''Halo 2'', kept in ''Halo 3'', removed in ''ODST''.
** And are still out as of Halo Reach.
-->'''Medic:''' [[CrowningMomentOfFunny Careful, I think you just strained a metaphor there.]]
* EasterEgg: Lots of them. One favorite is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqHttdEwn4o the Insulting Grunt]].
-->'''Grunt:''' Hey, demon! The jerk store called and they're all out of YOU!
** Then there's the Machinima/RedVsBlue [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waL8K2SGR1M "What's the Password" scene]] in ''Halo 3''.
--->"We need ammo!" "Well why don't you go ask your Brute buddies then?!"
* ElevatorActionSequence - Seen on The Oracle, Regret, Quarantine Zone, etc.
* EliteMooks - Zealot (gold) Elites, Spec-ops (black/purple) Elites, Ultra (silver) Elites, Honor Guard Elites, Spec-ops Grunts, Ultra Grunts, Brute Captains, Brute Chieftains, etc.
* EnemyCivilWar - The Covenant Civil War in Halo 2: Elites, Hunters and Grunts versus Brutes, Jackals and Drones. Beforehand, there was the Heretic uprising, with Spec-Ops Grunts, Elites and the Arbiter eradicating the defectee Grunts and Elites.
* EnemyMine - This quickly becomes a theme. The Elites join with the humans during the Covenant Civil War. Guilty Spark assists Master Chief after the destruction of his station. Even Gravemind lends a tentacle in his debut [[spoiler: and again to stop Truth.]] Of course, some of these alliances are more lasting then others...
* EscortMission - The final parts of ODST have you, [[spoiler:Buck, and Dare escorting the alien Engineer who's absorbed the Superintendent's data out of the data center, along a highway while it's inside a near-indestructible garbage truck, and finally defending it and yourselves while waiting for the rest of the squad.]] The escortee is relatively tough, though, so it's not as bad as some.
** The Escortee also offers the player some very useful buffs when they're in close proximity.
** Played much straighter in the "Shut Up and Get Behind Me... Sir" segment of the ''Truth and Reconciliation'' level in the first game, where the player has to escort Captain Jacob Keyes off a Covenant cruiser.
** Some [[WordOfGod commentary]] revealed that there was a bug in earlier releases of the game where Keyes would [[BeatingADeadPlayer shoot corpses]] just like any other marine in the game. [[EpicFail Keyes has a Needler, though.]]
* EternalSeptember: Pre-''Halo'', {{Creator/Bungie}} had a small but very dedicated fan community, primarily drawn from previous Bungie titles like ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Myth}}'', with whom they kept a very close relationship, hosting fan events, or attending events organized by fans. They even would release a few teasers into the fan community before any formal announcements had been made (such as with "[[http://marathon.bungie.org/story/cortana.html The Cortana Letters]]".) When ''Halo'' came onto the scene, the fan community experienced an explosion in population size, often completely bypassing the original "old school" community entirely and forming vast new communities which quickly overshadowed them in size and visability. The older Bungie community is still alive and active, but is now a small piece of a much larger whole.
* EveryEpisodeEnding: Of sorts- ''Halo CE'', ''Halo 2'', ''Halo 3'', ''ODST'' and ''Reach'' all have a driving sequence in their respective final level, some more prominent than others.
* EverybodysDeadDave: [[spoiler:Both ''Halo'' and ''Halo 3'''s endings]].
* EverybodyLives: [[spoiler: The end of ''Halo 3: ODST''. Unless you count all the dead Covenant and the Superintendent, and the latter is debatable.]]
* FakeStatic: "Dad, * chhhhkkk* , you're breaking up, I * chhhhkkk* can't hear you." "...Sadie, it's a video feed. I can see you making those noises."
* FakeUltimateMook: Hunters in ''Halo 1'' were just sad once you figured out their weak point and how to exploit it (one pistol shot to the orange bits and it's game over). Their cannon shots were powerful but easily dodged, and their melee attacks were so predictable that even the NPC {{Redshirt}}s could dodge them with reasonable consistency. They majorly TookALevelInBadass in the sequels, though.
** In the sequels, they become a BossInMookClothing. They can no longer be one-hit killed except with the sniper rifle, their armor completely deflects projectiles instead of simply reducing their damage (so you can ''only'' hurt them by shooting their weak point), their weak points are much harder to target (nearly impossible to get behind them now), and both their cannon and melee attacks can OneHitKill you.
** Reach makes them [[UpToEleven even more difficult]] by buffing their health and making them larger...
** ... and ''Halo 4'' tops that by only throwing them at you in extremely close quarters on a couple different occasions.
* {{Fanservice}}: Cortana. She's not naked, but welllll...
** Gets lampshaded occasionally by the Marines dialogue. Especially when the [[spoiler: IWHBYD]] skull is active.
** She actually has a little bit of {{Gainaxing}}/JigglePhysics in some of the ''Halo 3'' cutscenes.
** In every game in which she's featured, she is bare-bottomed, and the camera angles almost always manage to make that very visible in every cutscene she is featured in.
* FishingForMooks: Known as the Trap-door Spider Method, luring off single opponents and killing them out of the way of their fellows is often the only way to win in some circumstances when you are low on ammo.
* FissionMailed - Cortana's transmissions in ''Halo 3''.
* FiveManBand:
** From Halo: ODST:
*** TheHero - Buck
*** TheLancer - Romeo
*** TheBigGuy - Dutch
*** TheSmartGuy - Mickey
*** TheChick - Dare
*** TheSixthRanger - The Rookie
*** GuestStarPartyMember - [[spoiler: Virgil the Engineer]], Sgt. Johnson in multiplayer as a more literal usage of the phrase.
** The [=SPARTANs=] of Halo: Reach are shaping up to be this, based on [[http://xbox360.ign.com/dor/objects/14276699/halo-reach/videos/haloreach_trl_121309hi.html the most recent trailer]].
*** TheHero - Carter
*** TheLancer - Emile
*** TheBigGuy - Jorge
*** TheSmartGuy - Jun
*** TheChick - Kat
*** SixthRanger - Noble Six.
** Reading the site changes things
*** Kat's TheLancer (best friends with Carter), and TheSmartGuy (hacker)
*** Jorge also the TeamDad (SPARTAN-II)
*** Emile is the TokenEvilTeammate (AxeCrazy) Noble Six may also be considered this, it is suggested he's Ackersons "private grim reaper". A character known for being a ColonelBadass KnightTemplar.
* FiveTokenBand: Reach's Noble Team is a relatively mild form: Jun is apparently of Indian or Middle Eastern descent, Kat appears to be of Latin-American ancestry, and Emile [[TheFaceless at least sounds like he's black.]]
** Kat is Russian or Eastern European... And Jorge is Hungarian.
* FlavorText: The numerous customizable armor variants in Halo 3, Halo Reach and Halo 4 include text descriptions detailing their place of manufacture and intended specialized role - information that has no effect on gameplay effectiveness.
* FlunkyBoss - Regret and Tartarus. Tartarus isn't so bad as the Brute reinforcements only show up at two or three pre-scripted points in the fight, and every time they do you usually get a fresh squad of Elite reinforcements to help you. Regret, on the other hand, can reach ThatOneBoss status due to the endless waves of respawning Honor Guard Elites and Grunts coupled with the lack of good cover and necessity to charge right out into the open to melee damage the boss.
** On the other hand, [[BackToBackBadasses co-op mode]] usually makes the battle against Regret into a CurbstompBattle that lasts all of very quick. One guy on door duty and the other on face-punching. If you both have a heavy weapon (and you should, as they come by the dozens in the area), it usually breezes past, except on [[NintendoHard Legendary.]]
* FriendlyEnemy: A few humorous non-canon Easter Eggs in the first game show Johnson is this to the Covenant. "This is it, baby. Hold me."
* FrontlineGeneral: High-ranking Sangheili are often seen battling with their men, due to them earning their ranks through AsskickingEqualsAuthority. Human generals are more practical, however, and remain safely in bases or command warships instead.
* GameplayAllyImmortality: Averted in the 1st game, by simply ignoring it if a plot-critical character (ie. Sgt. Johnson) should happen to buy the farm. Played straight in all other members of the trilogy, as well as in ''ODST'' and "Reach".
** In the first game, if you look closely, Johnson is in every level with human [=NPCs=]. Combine that with the cutscene in the Library, he IS immortal. He just never gets up when you see him "die". Only when you get the next checkpoint does his dead body disappear.
* GenericanEmpire - The United Nations Space Command and the Covenant.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar - The marines often make exclamations in military code: "Mike Foxtrot!" "'''W'''hiskey '''T'''ango '''F'''oxtrot!" Do you sense a pattern here?
** Other more important NPC's can get away with saying [[CurseCutShort "mother..."]] There's clearly some sort of ban on profanity in the universe; the only time anyone even says "shit" is if you shoot David Cross's Marine character in the second game.
* GlassCannon - The Halo Reach version of the Scorpion. Its cannon will make mulch out of any vehicle with one hit and its large damage radius means that you have to miss by a fair margin to not kill someone you're shooting at. Downside? An enemy with just his grenade can kill it in an instant while boarding. With the addition of Armor abilities like [[SprintShoes Sprint]], Evade, [[IWantMyJetPack Jetpacks]], the Plasma pistols charged {{EMP}} make getting boarded a very common occurrence.
** Reachs Revenant is another example. It's powerful but leaves its operators exposed.
* GravityBarrier - Notoriously overused in the second game, where falling only a few meters in the wrong place is fatal.
** Hell, on the last level of ''Halo 2'', if you go to the bottom (during the final fight) and even CROUCH, you'll die.
* GunsAkimbo - Introduced in ''Halo 2''.
* HarderThanHard: Legendary difficulty. Halo 3 describes it as "Tremble as hordes of invincible alien monsters punish the slightest mistake with instant death... again and again." At least they're honest. One optional skull bonus basically boosts the difficulty by one more level, and turning on every skull, for all sorts of added difficulty, is nicknamed Mythic Difficulty.
** The legendary Recon multiplayer armor requires you to 4-man the final level of Halo 3 ODST, among other things. On Legendary. With Iron activated. Without using the scorpion tank or any of the warthogs, and you will wish you could use them, while [[EscortMission protecting the elephant]] to the Last Exit. However to make it "easier" you do get to use a [[MacrossMissileMassacre infinite ammo rocket launcher.]] (For the record, Iron is a skull that punishes a single death with utter failure. Good luck.)
*** The Vidmaster Challenge achievement "Annual" from Halo 3 also counts, as it has simiar conditions as ODST, but on the level Halo. The main difference is instead of using the warthog, or mongoose, you have to use ghosts.
* HeroicMime - The Rookie, which is repeatedly lampshaded. Subverted in ''Halo 1'' through ''3'' as neither the Arbiter or Master Chief speak when playing as them in First Person, but do say a few words in third person cutscenes. The other troopers in the ODST squad completely avert this trope, often speaking out both in and out of cutscenes while you're inside their head.
* HomingLasers: The charged PlasmaPistol shot.
* HomingProjectile: Besides missiles and rockets, the Needler is infamous for this in all games in the series.
* HumansNeedAliens:
** Humanity can only guarantee {{Pyrrhic victor|y}}ies at best against [[ScaryDogmaticAliens the Covenant]], until circumstances cause [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy the Elites]] to secede and ally with humanity. With their union the Covenant is defeated, but humanity rushes to rebuild itself quickly, because there is little guarantee that the Elites can protect them forever, especially since not all agreed with allying with humans in the first place.
** Inverted in the backstory. In prehistory humanity had an interstellar empire that beat back the Flood. They then tangled with the Forerunners and were forcibly devolved, only for the Forerunners to encounter the Flood and discover that without the humans, they were screwed.
* HyperspaceArsenal: Famously averted -- Master Chief can only carry two guns at a time. He can ''carry'' five guns, but not use them ''effectively''. But he should still be able to carry two one-handed guns and one two-handed gun.
* IconicLogo: People wear T-shirts of a 2 or 3 inside the distinctive O in the title and it's obvious what game they play.
* ImportGaming - The first Halo game suffers from a very strange PAL Xbox conversion. Most badly-optimised PAL conversions are universally 16.666% slower and less smooth than their NTSC counterparts. But the situation with PAL Halo isn't that simple:
** ''Framerates'': PAL Xboxs feature dashboard settings for both PAL 60Hz (allowing games to run as smoothly as their NTSC counterparts - usually 60fps or 30fps) and PAL 50Hz (for use with older [=TVs=] - so games run at 50fps or 25fps). But with Halo, setting the Xbox dashboard to 60Hz doesn't improve the framerate smoothness, just adds an annoying periodic stuttering effect where the game doubles-up frames (most noticable in the smooth camera flyby in levels' opening cutscenes). So Halo is one of the few Xbox games for which PAL 50Hz is preferable to PAL 60Hz (and of course NTSC 60Hz is preferable to both).
** ''Gameplay speed'':
*** The Maw countdown timer runs at the correct speed, whether in PAL 50 or PAL 60 modes.
*** By performing some informal tests (running straight between two specific rocks, throwing grenades directly upwards, and seeing how long it takes to fire a full assault rifle loadout into thin air) it seems that in PAL Halo, you run at the same speed as the PC/NTSC Xbox version, but grenades thrown are noticably slower to land and explode, and bullets are spat out at a slower rate.
** In [[http://forums.bungie.org/halo/archive5.pl?read=100138 this post on Halo.Bungie.org]], part of a discussion on why PAL and NTSC Xboxes couldn't be linked up into the same LAN game, one of the game's developers ("Matt") describes the use of "tags" to affect various properties of the gameplay speed. However, there's no comment on why they didn't [[http://forums.bungie.org/halo/archive5.pl?read=101186 optimise the game for PAL60Hz rather than PAL50Hz]] (as most other Xbox games did, and as flagship PAL Dreamcast titles had been doing as far back as 1999). Fortunately, [[http://forums.bungie.org/halo/archive5.pl?read=100571 there's a promise]] that from Halo 2 onwards Bungie would do their PAL conversions properly - and they did!
* IneffectualSympatheticVillain: The poor hapless cannon fodder Grunts often get this response, to the point where they became your Ineffectual Sympathetic Sidekicks about halfway through ''Halo 2''. Somewhat less so in ''Halo 3'', what with their annoying new kamikaze run of death ability.
* InkSuitActor: In ODST, "Buck" looks exactly like Nathan Fillion, and Dare bears a strong resemblance to Tricia Helfer.
* InnocentInnuendo: "Please enjoy my BRIGHT... BLUE... BALLS!" (Grunt suicide bomber)
* InsertGrenadeHere: In ''Halo 3's'' campaign and multiplayer, a player can latch onto the hull of a Scorpion or Wraith tank if they manage to get close enough; they then can smash through the armor and plant a grenade on the inside, destroying the tank.
** Feature first appeared in ''Halo 2''.
* InvincibleMinorMinion: A squad of these show up to kill you if you break the plot and kill your CO in the beginning of the first game.
* ItsUpToYou: well, you ''are'' the PlayerCharacter after all.
* {{Jetpack}}: Make their debut in ''Halo: Reach''.
* JokeItem: Several civilian vehicles can be driven in Reach, such as a forklift, which of course has no weapons and doesn't move fast enough to run over enemies. It can be placed in multiplayer maps, perhaps for incredibly slow-paced races, or driven on a Firefight map if you feel like fooling around and have a death wish.
** The forge exclusive golf club,tin cup also.
* JustifiedTutorial - ''Halo 1'' had you going through a mandatory check-up after getting out from cryo. ''Halo 2'' had a check up to see if your new suit worked. ''Halo 3'' had a "how many fingers do I have" simple field check. Service keeps getting more [[IncrediblyLamePun spartan]] with the games. In ''ODST'', the Rookie has to look around his pod in order to break out of it. ''Reach'' has Noble Six surveying the ground below before landing in the first mission.
* KickTheDog - [[spoiler: Miranda Keyes' death at the hands of Truth, and potentially Johnson's death as well.]]
** It wasn't so much the death, it was Truth's subsequent ReasonYouSuckSpeech.
* KillItWithFire - Flamethrower in the third game. Its range is short and it slows you down quit a bit, however, in close quarters it can ruin anyone's day. Also, the [[DemonicSpiders Flood Pure Forms]] pretty much die as soon as they're lit up.
** On higher difficulties they still have enough time to run up and hit you a couple times before they die. Which is made worse since they're on fire now. So yes, in close quarters the Flamethrower can ruin anyone's day. Often, though, your day is also ruined. For more controlled flames, the incendiary grenades were usually a better choice. Unless your aim was terrible.
* KingMook - Sesa Refumee (the heretic leader), and Tartarus to some degree.
* LampshadeHanging: When rescuing Cortana from High Charity near the end of Halo 3:
--> '''Cortana''' ''Got an escape plan?''
--> '''Master Chief''' ''"Thought I'd try shooting my way out�mix things up a little."''
* LateToTheTragedy - The ODST squad arrives at New Mombasa just as it's devastated by a jumping cruiser. While most of the squad jumps straight into the action that follows, the Rookie (who we play as the most) wakes up six hours later and spends most of his time trying to find the rest of the squad.
** Master Chief arrives on Earth in ''Halo 3'' after the Covenant has already ravaged the planet.
* LastOfHisKind - Master Chief is the last of the [[SuperSoldier Spartans]] after the fall of Reach. It turns out [[ThereIsAnother there are others,]] but that's never mentioned outside of [[AllThereInTheManual supplementary materials.]]
* LawOfChromaticSuperiority:
** Following in the tradition of Bungie's ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Oni}}'', enemies in ''Halo'' are color coded to denote rank; orange or blue for rookies, red for veterans, black for spec ops, and silver or gold for the super-tough BossInMooksClothing types.
** This is somewhat subverted by the Brutes in ''Halo 3''... of the dozen or so Brute variants, 6 are all armored in almost the exact same shade of blue (with only a very minor variance in shade to denote different ranks). That blue-armored Brute with the horned helmet could be either a low-level Brute Captain Minor, an extra-hard Brute Captain Ultra, or a Brute Bodyguard, and you have absolutely no way of knowing exactly which unless you've got an HD TV, are ''really'' good at telling the difference between very close off-shades of blue, and for some reason he's standing still long enough for you to examine his armor.
** Reach subverts it again. The old ranks are the same, but the new highest ranks...cycle back to red.
* LeadTheTarget
* LeitMotif - Although the composers said they weren't doing a "Music/PeterAndTheWolf" approach, some characters and locations do have musical themes associated with them, such as the Delta Halo theme, the High Charity theme, the first part of "Enough Dead Heroes" (sort of Cortana's theme), the middle third of said piece (often heard when fighting Hunters), "Shadows" (the Flood's theme in the series), "The Last Spartan" (the MC's theme in the second and third games), the Arbiter's characteristic theme (aka "Falling Up"), and "Farthest Outpost" (the Ark theme). Many of these are also {{recurring riff}}s, ie they play in scenes unassociated with the character or location.
* LosingTheTeamSpirit: Killing the elites or brutes that are leading a group of grunts will temporarily throw them into panicked disarray. It can happen from time to time with low-ranking jackals as well in the first game, but they're usually disciplined enough to stand and fight.
* LowerDeckEpisode - ''Halo 3: ODST'', dealing with some relatively normal, if {{Badass}}, soldiers fighting off Covenant.
* LoweredMonsterDifficulty: The Brutes get weaker in every game (see MadeOfIron below as well). In Halo 2 they had no shields, yet could shrug off tons of damage and attempting to melee them was pretty much suicide. In Halo 3 they have shields, yet once those are gone they are pretty weak (outside of EliteMook versions) and they can be beat around in melee combat. In Reach they rarely have shields yet aren't much tougher than unshielded Halo 3 Brutes (and can be beat around just as easily), and even the EliteMook versions go down in a few headshots (bar the few that do have shields). This also coincides with them having less influence on the plot; they start off very important but by Reach they are just another type of {{Mook}}.
* MadeOfIron: In ''Halo 2'', Brutes were walking tanks who could soak several dozen hits from bullets or plasma fire before dropping. Headshots from high-powered semi-auto rifles were essential to beating them. Bungie received massive fan feedback that this was "lame", so in ''Halo 3'' Brutes have energy shields and play much more like Elites, dropping after a reasonable amount of fire from most weapons (although the Brute Chieftains are still massively tough, and can take almost 2 full clips of assault rifle fire to drop even after you break through their shielding).
* MisplacedWildlife: Red-tailed hawk calls, etc.
* MisplacedVegetation: Temperate plants, eg ivy and rhododendrons, in the African jungles.
* MooksButNoBosses: With the exception of ''Halo 2'', the games generally lack any traditional boss fights. The final fight against [[spoiler: 343 Guilty Spark]] in ''Halo 3'' is more of an interactive cutscene[=/=]ZeroEffortBoss, and [[spoiler: the Covenant Field Marshall]] at the end of ''Halo: Reach'' is only marginally stronger than a regular [[EliteMooks Gold Elite]]. ''Halo 2'' was widely criticized for its boss fights, so presumably Bungie decided that boss fights just weren't their thing.
* TheMothership: High Charity
* MoreDakka: "Hold RB to detach turret."
* MusicalPastiche: Some examples:
** Main theme => The Maw/Remembrance, The Last Spartan, the Arbiter's theme, the Delta Halo theme, etc.
** Arbiter's theme => High Charity => Intro of Finish the Fight
** The Last Spartan, superimposed on the main theme => Finish The Fight and Keep What You Steal
** Unforgotten and Heavy Price Paid => Rue and Woe/Heroes Also Fall
** On A Pale Horse => Leonidas/Leonidas Returns
** Beat of Heretic, Hero, and Delta Halo Theme melody=>Penance (heard during Delta Halo intro cutscene)
** Under Cover of Night => In Amber Clad => Farthest Outpost
** The Gun Pointed at the Head of the Universe => Impend, and the firet half of Heretic, Hero.
** Blow Me Away => Broken Gates/Out of Shadow (one version has the same intro as BMA)
* TheMusketeer: Both Master Chief and the Arbiter can use an energy sword or a hammer as one of their two weapons.
* NeckSnap: One of the standard assassination animations for Halo: Reach Multiplayer, when one falls on a player that is on the ground. Justified since Spartans have enough strength to pretty much turn any human skull into paste.
* {{Nerf}}: Most infamously to the pistol, which went from a powerful mini-sniper rifle in ''Halo: CE'' to a dual-wieldable shield-eater in ''Halo 2''... then it went to standard weak-ass FPS pistol land in the ''updated'' version of ''Halo 2'' (though it regained much of its usefulness in ''ODST'' and ''Reach''). Additionally, the later games noticeably weaken the Plasma Rifle as well as making it much less accurate (at least when the player's the one using it) to compensate for the fact you could now [[GunsAkimbo wield two at once]] (making it more of a Plasma submachine gun). The plasma pistol is likewise much weaker than its ''Halo: CE'' counterpart when not using overcharge shots.
** Elites in ''Halo 2'' are significantly weaker without their shields than they were in ''Halo 1''. In fact, an unshielded Elite in ''Halo 2'' can survive less damage than even a mid-level Grunt.
** In ''Halo 3'', the Brutes lose their MadeOfIron status, instead being dependent on energy shields and playing much more like Elites (although unshielded Brutes still have higher-than-average health and can take 15-30 assault rifle bullets (depending on class) to kill).
** Almost all weapons suffered this effect over the series.
*** Of the ''Halo 1'' weapons, the plasma rifle lost its stun effect, the needler lost range and homing ability in ''Halo 2'', the shotgun became much closer range, and the frag grenade became less powerful.
*** In ''Halo 3'', the rocket lost the homing ability from ''Halo 2''; the rockets fired became slower; the assault rifle holds less rounds; the plasma pistol constantly loses charge in its overcharged state; and the grenade inventory fell from four of each type to two of each type, and since the fourth grenade is not standard on any multiplayer map and rare in the campaign, this effectively drops your grenade total from eight to six.
* NeverTrustATrailer: In the Halo 1 trailer, we see Master Chief holding an Energy Sword, Marines driving a Warthog, a different Warthog mounted turret, Elite with an energy shield... Which most aren't available until Halo 2. Thanks, Bungie.
* NicknamingTheEnemy: Most alien names fit this trope: Grunts, Jackals, Brutes, Elites, Hunters, Buggers, Grubs, and Prophets are all nicknames given by humans to refer to the separate races that compose the coalition of aliens they're at war with. Even their vehicles (Ghosts, Wraiths, Banshees) are nicknamed.
* NoCampaignForTheWicked: Even when playing as the Covenant Elite in ''Halo 2'', you ''never'' fight against Human forces, instead spending those levels battling Covenant rebels and The Flood.
* NoOSHACompliance: ''High Charity'' and the Halos are full of bottomless pits and narrow catwalks.
* NotDistractedByTheSexy: Cortana
* NothingIsScarier: The first half of the level "343 Guilty Spark" consists of a small battle against the Covenant, running away from the facility you're going into - running ''toward'' the OneManArmy they call "The Demon". Then, the rest of the level plays out with next to no battles and almost complete silence. Just about the only other living thing you meet is a Marine who's so paranoid about something that all he does is huddle in a corner, shoot at anything that moves, and scream random things. The facility is obviously in disrepair, as well as blood all over the place, but it's not clear ''what'' caused it. Upon finding the remains of the squad you were looking for, you're treated to a [[ApocalypticLog video log]] of them being attacked by... something. Something starts banging on all the doors in the room, and your motion tracker goes berserk.
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: Lord Hood is supposedly a British noble. Does Ron Perlman sound British to you?
* NotSoHarmlessVillain - A gameplay example is basic Grunts. Somewhat comedic on their own, irritating in small groups and only dangerous in numbers, the game doesn't even count them as enemies for the purposes of plot advancement (in ''Reach'', for instance, dialogue triggered by killing all the enemies in the area will be audible even if grunts are still there). Then you kill their leader, and half of them flee, whilst the other half activate two plasma grenades in their hands and suicide bomb you.
* NotTheFallThatKillsYou: The first game has falling damage. In the latter two games, which lack falling damage, you still die instantly after falling a certain height (determined by a "fall timer") or through one of the anti-shortcut [[InvisibleWall invsible death barriers]]. This [[GameplayAndStorySegregation contradicts]] the cutscenes in ''Halo 2'' and ''3'' where MC falls from orbit, or at least the stratosphere.
** Or perhaps not - shielding cannot deflect impacts below a certain speed - this is why Spartan shields pop when they get stabbed during the assassination mechanic. So MC needs to hit at least terminal velocity before his shielding will protect him from fall damage.
* OddlyNamedSequel: ''Halo 3: ODST'' technically takes place concurrent with ''Halo 2'', but was built on ''Halo 3'''s engine.
* OnceForYesTwiceForNo: The Superintendent Municipal AI in ''Halo 3: ODST''.
* OrchestralBombing: Even if you didn't have you own music playing, aerial sequences in ''3'' tended to be this.
* PillarOfLight: When the Forerunner artifact underneath the former New Mombasa activates, it produces a huge pillar of light that rises and ends in a blinding flash. Also, this happens basically every time when a Forerunner artifact is activated. In Halo's control room, in the Apex site in Halo Wars, etc.
** "[[ArcWords This is the way the world ends]]."
* PreMortemOneLiner
-->'''Truth:''' I! AM! TRUTH! THE VOICE OF THE COVENANT!
-->'''Arbiter:''' And so... you must be silenced.
* PrepareToDie: The ODST's line "Prepare to Drop" was changed to this when the Slipspace explosion happened.
* ThePromise:
--> ''"You know me. When I make a promise..."''
--> ''"...You... keep it. I do know how to pick 'em."''
* PsychoStrings: Musics associated with the Flood.
* RecurringRiff - Countless examples, eg "A Walk In The Woods", "Rock Anthem For Saving The World", "On A Pale Horse", "Enough Dead Heroes", "Under Cover of Night", "High Charity", "The Last Spartan", and "Finish The Fight".
* RedEyesTakeWarning. 343 Guilty Spark turns red [[BerserkButton when he's really upset]], and about to go AxeCrazy.
* RedshirtArmy - The human Marines, though they TookALevelInBadass in the sequels (but even in the last game they still can't drive worth a crap).
** Indeed, Marines go from easily killed cannon fodder in ''Halo 1'' to serviceable NPC companions who can fight an Elite one-on-one and ''win'' in the sequels.
* RunningGag: The Rookie naps whenever he has free time.
* SceneryPorn: And how. Has some of (if not) the best sky boxes in videogames.
* SequenceBreaking - Common in the first two games, although Bungie tried to patch up the holes in the second, eg with instant-death {{Invisible Wall}}s.
* SerialEscalation: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCcmrL29WII Forge World]] in ''Reach'' is the biggest playing area Bungie has ever created, basically larger than any of the campaign levels they've made, including a remake of Blood Gulch nestled in a corner of it. Made specifically for Forge, it has over 150 Forge objects available, in addition to new Forge mechanics, such as making an object float in place, snapping to specific degrees, or nudging it by single coordinates. Bungie is so proud of it that they're shipping five maps made in Forge World on the disc.
* ShooOutTheClowns - In ''Halo:CE'' and ''Halo 3'', you are usually accompanied by UNSC Marines that lighten the mood with their chatter. Near the end of both games, when the Flood spreads and main characters begin to die, they are absent.
* ShortRangeLongRangeWeapon: Besides the usual "close range shotgun", the assault rifle in the first ''Halo'' is criminally inaccurate and essentially useless past about a couple dozen feet. This gets corrected in ''Halo 2'', where they give you what is functionally the same weapon but make it a small submachine gun instead (which can be dual wielded), and in ''Halo 3'', where the revamped assault rifle is more accurate but has a lower rate of fire and smaller magazine size as a a trade off, making it much more like a "modern day" standard FPS assault rifle.
* ShortRangeShotgun - The shotgun in the first game actually has a reasonable range, being effective up to a few dozen feet. However, in later games the shotgun's effective range is reduced to about a dozen feet, as it was balanced to match the plasma sword (a ''melee weapon'').
* SlapSlapKiss - Buck and Dare have this relationship.
* SniperRifle: All the ''Halo'' games feature these. The Bungie.net website hosts [[http://downloads.bungie.net/presentations/Griesemer_Jaime_DesignInDetail_Sniper.pdf a 134-slide presentation]] all about the process of balancing the ''Halo 3'' version of the weapon.
* SoftWater: Played straight at least twice, where MC jumps into a pool from the T R in the first game, and when he gets knocked into the lake during a cutscene in the second game, but subverted most other times, where of course, falling too far is instant death, water or not.
* SoundtrackDissonance - Intense battles with elevator music, anyone? Examples: several rooms in the Assault On The Control Room mission, where many of the enemies are sleeping when you first enter, but the music stays the same when they are alerted, the Cairo Station hangar battle with New Age style music, and the first mission of ''Halo 3'', which is anything but "A Walk In The Woods" (the name of one of the musics).
* SpiritualSuccessor (The series is made by Bungie, who also created the ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}'' games. ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' references this now and again.)
** To elaborate, the original Halo CE could just as well have been called "Marathon 4", due to the abundance of elements (technology, terminology, texture and weapon design, etc) lifted wholesale from the Marathon games and the game itself fitting neatly into the segment titled "This century intentionally left blank" in the official timeline of the Marathon setting. Subsequent installments reduced the connection between the two, the most important change being the clear delineation that the Forerunners are not related to the Jjarro in any way due to conflicting timelines.
** There are also several multiplayer ones. For example, Guardian is a spiritual successor to the Halo 2-era Lockout, Sword Base is a spiritual successor to both Prisoner and Boarding Action, etc.
* TheStinger
* StealthPun - In ODST, you get the achievement "Audiophile" by listening to audio files.
* StickyBomb: Plasma Grenades
* SuicidalOverconfidence: Brutes in ''Halo 3'', making them pretty easy shotgun fodder.
** Averted with the Grunts, who will commonly break ranks and flee if you kill their more powerful allies. But sometimes in ''Halo 3'', they will get desperate and [[TakingYouWithMe grab two plasma grenades, prime them, and charge at you screaming at the top of their lungs]].
* SuperDrowningSkills - Mostly averted, but in some places, such as on the level "Sierra 117", bodies of water are made [[BottomlessPits instant-kill zones]] to prevent the player from SequenceBreaking or [[{{Unwinnable}} getting stuck]].
* SupportingLeader: Buck fulfils this in ''ODST''.
* SuspiciousVideogameGenerosity - Just stumbled across a shiny new rocket launcher/fuel rod gun, plus a stack of spare rockets/rods? Yeah, you'll probably be seeing either a tank or a Hunter pretty soon.
* SwampsAreEvil - Guess where the Flood is discovered. Overall the atmosphere of that level in the first game.
* TankGoodness: Some marines seem to hold this opinion of the Scorpion.
* TentativeLight
* TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything: Flipping an Elephant[[note]]The Elephant tank is so large, heavy, and slow-moving, that you can't really cause it to flip by maneuvering or conventional means. It's almost always either due to a glitch.[[/note]] tank in Halo 3 elicits [[http://au.gamespot.com/users/BraindeadRacr/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25178371 this response.]]
** In the third game, there is a glitch that allows you to [[spoiler:save Sergeant Johnson from his scripted death in a cutscene late in the game. However, when you perform this glitch, he is now able to be infected by Flood.]] If this happens, he'll state "Aren't I supposed to be immune to this?"
* TheSquad: The main focus in ''Halo 3: ODST'' and ''Halo: Reach''.
* TransformationTrauma - The real-time assimilation of allies and enemies by the Flood in ''Halo 3''. At least you have a second to shoot the infection form off of them.
* TropeCodifier / TropeMaker: The original ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' didn't actually ''pioneer'' any of the unique gameplay features it's famous for (all of them, from vehicle sections, to radar, to limited inventory, to regenerating health, to melee attacks, to seperate buttons for firearms and grenades, had all been done before in previous PC FPS games), but it is unquestionably the game which combined them all into one package and popularized them to the point that most modern First Person Shooters now use most of them by default.
* TwoPartTrilogy: Halo 2 and 3, though it was in part because they ran out of time after finishing the engine.
* UnexpectedGameplayChange: Combat Evolved ends with a timed driving mission through an obstacle course.
** ''Halo 3'' repeats that, but is has become undeniably more perilous in nature since its ''Halo 1'' days.
** The Banshee and Hornet flying sequences may fit this too.
* UnexplainedRecovery: When Johnson shows up in ''Halo 2'', a Marine asks him how he got off Halo alive (the player saw him being overrun by Flood on video, and even if he lived the Halo exploded soon after.) His response? "That's classified." The actual answer is a major subplot in ''Halo: First Strike'' and in the ''HaloGraphicNovel''; [[spoiler:he's immune to the Flood as a side effect of his Spartan-I augmentations, which have been covered up as a fictional disease called "Boren's Syndrome. As for getting off the Halo, he fly off with a Pelican and regrouped with Chief to steal a Covenant starship."]]
* UnitedNationsIsASuperPower: The United Nations in Halo founded both the Unified Earth Government (UEG) and the UN Space Command (UNSC); the UEG absorbed its parent organization into one of its branches, but was itself eventually subsumed during the Human-Covenant War - by the UNSC, which now rules all of humanity in the Milky Way galaxy.
** It's also implied and at points shown that individual nations and cultures not only retain some degree of autonomy but are very much alive within the UNSC. Examples include mentions of the United Kingdom and the ''very'' Filipino Katagalugan colony on Mars.
* VideogameCaringPotential (The common AI marines. Some may also feel very sorry for the [[{{Mooks}} Grunts.]])
** Don't forget the Engineers. Simple creatures who take no hostile action against you, they provide energy shields to the Covenant, which can make killing them necessary but cruel. [[spoiler: Even if you don't kill them in ODST, the bombs strapped to them still detonate when you kill the Brute Captain leading the opposing Covenant.]]
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: Plasma Grenade + Grunts = HilarityEnsues. Also, smacking up enemy corpses after they're already dead. Also more hilarious if they run into their allies, making them a suicide bomber.
** [[NoodleIncident "OH NO! NOT AGAIN!"]] * boom*
** And you can shoot specific limbs on the grunts. Watch them slowly try to limp away...
*** Vehicles, anyone?
** The effect of the Grunt Birthday Party Skull, which causes confetti to pop out of a Grunt's head upon scoring a headshot, accompanied by the sound of small children shouting "Hooray!"
*** Bungie confirmed it to be a shout out to ''VivaPinata'', even mentioning that the ''Viva Pinata'' team sent them the actual audio file used in the game.
* VictoriousChorus: The ''Halo'' theme is sometimes used for victories.
* VirtualPaperDoll: In ''Halo 2'' multiplayer you could choose to be a Spartan or Elite. ''Halo 3'' added a range of customisation options for each. And ''Reach'' is playing this to the hilt, with an impressive number of unlockable items, which carry over to campaign (and vice versa). [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jgo3pFRQeO4 And how!]]
** AndYourRewardIsClothes: In ''Halo 3'' and ''Reach'' getting achievements gets you a better selection of armour.
* VoiceWithAnInternetConnection: Cortana.
* WalkItOff: Title dropped in the first level of the third game (after hitting the ground at terminal velocity).
* WaveMotionGun - The Scarab's cannon, and the Fuel Rod Cannon somewhat.
* WeCannotGoOnWithoutYou: If Cpt. Keyes dies on "Truth and Reconciliation", it's [[NonstandardGameOver Game Over]]}
* WhatTheHellPlayer: Shoot your commanding officer in the face, and your crewmates' reactions are, well, interesting to say the least.
* WeaponTombstone: The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzkL-vg8MHE&feature=related live-action trailer]] for ''ODST'' features the 'Helmet, boots, rifle' field burial with the equipment updated appropriately.
** A few of these can be seen by the [[http://www.halopedian.com/File:Memorial_pictures.PNG Hillside Memorial]] in the Halo 3 ending.
* YouJustHadToSayIt: In ''Halo 1'''s third level.
* YourMom: Avery Johnson makes reference to this, saying "I would have been your daddy but the dog beat me over the fence!" in the first game, which has been referenced throughout the series numerous times.
[[/folder]]

--> ''Oh. And your poet Eliot got it all wrong. '''This''' is the way the world ends.''
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