[[quoteright:255:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/halo-combat-evolved-001_7852.png]]

->''"I think we're [[Franchise/{{Halo}} just getting started]]."''
-->--'''The Master Chief''', ''Halo: Combat Evolved''

'''''Halo: Combat Evolved''''' (released on November 15, 2001) introduced the ''{{Franchise/Halo}}'' series from relatively HumbleBeginnings. Humanity has been losing a war against [[ScaryDogmaticAliens the Covenant]] for the last 27 years, and the game starts following a devastating defeat at a major Earth colony, Reach, and the crew of the warship the ''Pillar of Autumn''. The game opens InMediasRes as the warship comes under attack, and is forced to make a crash landing on a mysterious ring-shaped Covenant-worshiped megastructure known as Halo.

The player controls the Master Chief, [[LastOfHisKind one of the last]] of a group of specially raised and trained cyborg SuperSoldiers: the Spartans. He is taken out of stasis during the attack on the ship, and his mission is to protect the survivors, find out what Halo is and what the Covenant want with it. Master Chief is the [[TheStoic quiet]] type but the AI program "Cortana" linked into his [[PoweredArmor battle suit]] does most of the talking and [[VoiceWithAnInternetConnection provides plenty of tech support.]] Together they eventually uncover an [[SealedEvilInACan ancient threat aboard the Halo]] which [[FromBadToWorse makes the Covenant look like a church picnic]]. The Halo itself has a much more malevolent purpose...

This FirstPersonShooter was the big title used to launch the {{Xbox}} console. Its superior graphics, interesting story and engaging gameplay made it a hit with critics and gamers alike, and it was hugely influential in bringing the concept of LAN parties, which was later expanded upon with ''{{Halo 2}}'' being the KillerApp for online gaming for the Xbox. The seamless integration of vehicles, the very expansive levels and the constant rotation of weapon types gave it a unique experience.

A port to Windows and Mac OS was released several years later courtesy of Gearbox Software, which added native online multiplayer without tunneling utilities, the Fuel Rod Gun (strangely treated as an energy weapon) and Flamethrower weapons for multiplayer, as well as the Banshee and a new Warthog with a rocket turret as multiplayer vehicles along with the usual computer gaming features (enhanced graphics, mods, and so forth). The original release was not particularly designed for modification, however, and so they released a separate ''Halo: Custom Edition'' with some engine optimizations, exclusively used for multiplayer. It has its own separate download and installer, but requires a CD key from the retail version as well as having a CD check.

After many rumours of a [[VideoGameRemake remake]] [[MilestoneCelebration for its tenth anniversary]], '''''Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary''''' was released on November 15, 2011. The intended goal of the remake is to update the graphics, but otherwise replicate the gameplay and story ''exactly'': the campaign mode uses the original ''Halo'' engine for gameplay with a new, toggle-able graphics layer on top. The remake's multiplayer is run out of ''VideoGame/HaloReach'', using a set of playlists that have been balanced to replicate the feel of ''Combat Evolved''. The disc also comes with access to the Anniversary Map Pack, a new set of ''Reach'' maps that includes fan favorites from ''Halo 2'' and ''Halo PC'' in addition to most of the maps from ''Combat Evolved''.

----
!!''Halo: Combat Evolved'' contains examples of:

* AbandonShip: The first level, featuring the crew doing a staged evacuation of the ''Pillar of Autumn'' while holding back Covenant boarders. Of course, after evacuating the only location to land on is the Halo ring itself, setting the stage for the rest of the game.
* AffablyEvil: [[spoiler:343 Guilty Spark]].
* AIIsACrapshoot: Cortana is on your side. [[spoiler:343 Guilty Spark, on the other hand...]]
* AlienSky: anytime you have a decent view of the sky, you will find the gas giant planet, Threshold. Also the ring itself curves up and away in opposite directions. Oddly enough, if you look closely at the ring in the distance, you will see an obvious lighting error.
* AllThereInTheManual: The events of Reach and many other elements of the war with the Covenant were explained in the ExpandedUniverse novels. ''Halo: Reach'' is a direct prequel to this game.
* AlternateRealityGame: The Cortana Letters, while not a true ARG, served as a foreshadowing of things to come in the promotion of subsequent installments. These were a series of e-mails sent from Bungie-controlled addresses (and a couple of hidden messages on the discs of other Bungie games) to notable Marathon fandom people, authored, apparently, by an AI entity named Cortana, intent on warning humanity about an impending alien invasion. Over the course of the letters, she shared details about "the humorless war machine" she has to share processing space with, and the religious zealots "whose main form of worship takes place at the altar of orbital bombardment", as well as the "unbroken ring" whose creators have simply vanished. While many of the details revealed in this way back in 1998-1999 have since changed significantly (particularly in terms of Cortana's own characterization), the Letters gave away quite a good chunk of the game's plot.
* AncientKeeper: 343 Guilty Spark.
* ArtificialBrilliance: The unit A.I. in ''Halo: Combat Evolved'' was quite a step up from its contemporaries, and was praised by critics as one of its best technical points. Much of the player base likewise found the challenge of "smart" enemies to be a huge appeal of the game's combat.
* BashBrothers: Hunters are always encountered in pairs.
** AngstySurvivingTwin: If you kill one, the other [[BerserkButton gets pissed]]. '''[[TurnsRed HARD.]]'''
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: Basically what [[spoiler: the Halo rings]] were designed to do.
* {{BFG}}: The Fuel Rod Cannon, especially when wielded by tiny Grunts. The weapon is unusable by the player in the Xbox version.
* BodyHorror: [[spoiler:Captain Keyes suffers this from the Flood]].
* BookEnds: The game begins and ends on the Pillar of Autumn.
* BoringButPractical: As you may learn from Jackals on Legendary, the plasma pistol is ''extremely'' useful when paired with a fast trigger finger. Semiauto fire + very short overheat + good against health AND shields = murder machine. The only gun that can compete with it for sheer damage output is the shotgun at close range. Plus you don't have to worry about chewing through batteries because it's the most common gun in the game!
* BossInMookClothing: Elite Zealots.
* BigBad: [[spoiler: 343 Guilty Spark.]]
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:The threat of The Flood and Halo is destroyed by the destruction of the ring. As a result, everyone on the ring was killed and Master Chief and Cortana are stuck in space, and the Covenant are still out there, headed for Earth.]]
* CaptainObvious: Cortana.
* CannonFodder: The Grunts.
* TheCaptain: Captain Keyes is running the show.
* CarFu: "Roadkill!"
** Almost to {{Exaggerated|Trope}} levels, given that even the slightest nudge from a vehicle is an instant death. This was a result of the limited physics engine at the time which had difficulty translating collision forces into damage, hence any hit was made lethal.
* CasualDangerDialogue: Behold, the following:
--> '''Cortana''': "This thing is falling apart!"
--> '''Master Chief''': "It'll hold."
--> '''Cortana''': "We're not going to make it!"
--> '''Master Chief''': "We'll make it."
--> '''Cortana''': "Pull up! Pull up!"
--> '''*Crash!*'''
--> '''Cortana''': "... You did that on purpose."
* CoOpMultiplayer: If Master Chief is the lone protagonist hero of the game, who is the carbon copy Player 2 is running around as? [[spoiler: In the Expanded Universe Novel of the Events Master Chief's fellow Blue Team member Linda is fatally injured but placed into Stasis with him.]]
** [[spoiler:{{Fanon}} has this as an alternate reality where [[HaloReach Noble Six]] [[ForWantOfANail didn't stay behind]] on Reach, or (more likely, considering the identical armor) where Linda didn't receive the fatal injury.]].
** Sadly, this mode has been removed in the PC port, presumably because it was split-screen-only and no split-screen mode was present at all.
** In the Pillar of Autumn there was a terminal in the cryo bay that shows the vital signs of the Master Chief in his cryotube. In Anniversary's co-op mode there are now two terminals. The second? It [[spoiler: identifies Linda as the inhabitant of the cryotube that the second player emerged from.]]
* CopyAndPasteEnvironments: The game series is based on a psuedo [[WideOpenSandbox sandbox]]-style level design, with you having to traverse many locations that are basically identical in appearance. It is most noticeable in this game, which takes place entirely on Halo and you travel through several identical areas and some levels are prior levels done backwards.
* DeflectorShields: Master Chief, Elites, and the more powerful Sentinels are protected by these.
* DiscOneFinalDungeon: The Control Room.
* DisneyDeath: [[spoiler:Sergent Johnson gets Retconned into getting one. Even though, despite his fairly low screen time, Bungie did everything but show his actual death.]]
** [[spoiler:The Legendary ending shows him to be on the ring when it explodes. While this is non-canon, it would be very odd for a humorous non-canon ending to randomly kill off one of the few characters in the game for no apparent reason.]]
*** [[spoiler:It was stated to be his twin brother]]
* TheDogBitesBack: Marines do not tolerate treason - kill more than a couple of them and the rest will mutiny. And they're pretty formidable opponents, so keep them on your side.
* DrivesLikeCrazy: "Oooh, a Warthog! That turret looks sweet, I call it!" Yeah, you'll regret that decision pretty quickly.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: No [[TheBrute Brutes]] or [[BeePeople Drones]], you can't pick up [[LaserBlade energy swords]], you can't pick up fuel rod guns (in the Xbox version), no one can hijack enemy vehicles, and the pistol is [[SniperPistol incredibly powerful]].
* EarthShatteringKaboom: Granted, Halo is an artificial world but the last few levels have you trying to engineer one.
* EliteMooks: The Elites, obviously. In the level "Keyes" you begin fighting tougher, black-armored variants of them.
* ElitesAreMoreGlamorous: The Elites come in more varieties than any other enemy.
* EnemyChatter: "Wake up! Bad guys!" "He's here!" "Look out!" "Run away!" "Shoot you!" "Die Devil!" '''"HE'S UNSTOPPABLE!"'''
* EnemyDetectingRadar: Foes appear as red dots on your motion tracker, and friendlies appear as yellow dots.
* EscortMission: The last part of "The Truth and Reconciliation."
* ExactTimeToFailure: The last Warthog run through the Pillar of Autumn takes place whilst a number of nuclear reactors are in the process of undergoing a massive meltdown, followed by a huge explosion. Cortana helpfully places a very exact timer onto your HUD to show when the meltdown will occur.
** Interestingly, the time can actually halt and change throughout the section as the situation changes. This tends to suggest that the time displayed is actually Cortana's prediction of how much longer they have before they can leave in time to OutrunTheFireball rather than when the final detonation will occur.
* FailsafeFailure
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: The level Keyes. You'll never reach him in time to save him no matter how quickly you clear the level. Made all the worse due to InsurmountableWaistHeightFence below.
* FanRemake: The ''Halo: Custom Edition'' for PC allows a number of mods to be made to the single-player campaign. A CMT (custom map team) campaign has already been released with ''Halo 2'' and ''Halo 3'' weapons and enemies added to the game, and the CMT is currently working on a new version incorporating modern-quality graphics.
* FirstPersonGhost: Played straight in this game, and averted in the sequels.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: For the entire series. In the Control Room, you can see the ring that you're on (Installation 04 or Alpha Halo), but you can also clearly see six other rings in the hologram.
** Then Sgt. Johnson's Pre-battle speech on the ''Pillar of Autumn'' on ''Legendary Difficulty'' yeilds this
--> '''Sgt. Johnson''': I don't care if it's God's own [[FantasticNuke Anti-SOB-machine]] or a giant Hula Hoop; we're not going to let them have it!
* FrickinLaserBeams: Most of the Covenant weapons.
* HangingSeparately: The Humans and the Covenant, despite both being attacked by the Flood, they are unwilling to help each other. In fact the Covenant will even prioritize Master Chief, even when being attacked at that moment by the Flood. Justified in that the Covenant are waging a holy war against humanity, the Chief is seen as the anti-Christ, and some new aliens aren't goin to stop them from [[KillAllHumans killing some more soldiers]].
* HarderThanHard: The Legendary difficulty setting. As it says ingame: "This is suicide".
* HeavilyArmoredMook: Hunters are nearly invincible unless you can shoot them in their orange weak spots, or you hit them with enough grenades, or happen to have a [[{{BFG}} rocket launcher]]. [[TankGoodness Or a tank.]]
* InsurmountableWaistHeightFence: The level Keyes has the character start literally in the hallway right next to the end point, but is inaccessible due to locked doors. You can actually see into the room through a metal grating.
* InvisibleMonsters: Elites with active camouflage.
** [[spoiler:And, in one very unexpected and terrifying late-game encounter, [[OhCrap about a dozen Flood Combat Forms!]]]]
* JustifiedTutorial: You're taught how to control your character under the pretext of a post-hypersleep examination. This is skipped entirely in co-op or on higher difficulties.
* LaserBlade: Gold-armored Elites use these, and can waste you with one hit.
* LawOfChromaticSuperiority: Higher ranks of each enemy type are distinguished by the color of their armor. For example, red Grunts are better than orange grunts. In later games, this was modified so that higher ranking enemy types had very different-looking armor altogether.
* LeftTheBackgroundMusicOn: In one of the cut-scenes, some Marines are heading into battle while generic Music/HeavyMetal plays. One of them asks "Why do we always have to listen to the old stuff?" and their sergeant replies that it is part of Earth's culture.
** {{Word Of God}} says that Bungie originally planned to license Steppenwolf's 'Magic Carpet Ride' or Rolling Stones' 'Paint It Black' for this scene, but was vetoed, resulting in the generic electric guitar.
* LevelInReverse: Half the game is you moving into areas to fight the Covenant, the other half is you pulling back to escape the Flood.
* LimitedLoadout: TropeCodifier for the modern FirstPersonShooter. Master Chief can wield any two of the game's eight weapons and four of each of the two types of grenades at once. [[QuickMelee Melee attacks]] are an option too.
* MarathonLevel: "Assault on the Control Room." "The Library" can also feel like this.
* MechaMooks: The Sentinels.
* MeleeATrois: The later missions feature a four-way conflict between the humans, the Covenant, Halo's sentinels, and the Flood.
* MooksButNoBosses: Not counting the ReactorBoss mentioned below, this trope is played straight.
* NoNameGiven: The player character is never referred to by name, only by his rank.
* NonCombatantImmunity: Until you get a weapon in "The Pillar of Autumn," you never directly engage Covenant soldiers.
* NothingIsScarier: You fight virtually no enemies during the beginning of "343 Guilty Spark," in order to build suspense.
* OneWordTitle: Bungie intended for the game's title to be just "''Halo''" alone, but as explained below, a [[PublisherChosenTitle Publisher Chosen Subtitle]] was added.
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: The Flood count as '''Type PS.'''
* OutrunTheFireball: [[spoiler: Master Chief has to race THROUGH the Pillar of Autumn, while it's exploding.]]
* {{Overheating}}: Covenant plasma weapons will overheat if fired continuously.
* PlotCoupon: The Index.
* PoweredArmor: Master Chief's Mjolnir Mark V suit.
* PrecursorKillers: The Flood. More accurately, the Forerunner killed themselves and almost all other life in the galaxy in order to stop the Flood.
* PsychoStrings / DroneOfDread: Typically used in music associated with the Flood, such as Shadows (Between Beams), Suite Autumn (Suite Fall), What Once was Lost (Unfortunate Discovery), Lament for Pvt. Jenkins (Private Service), Trace Amounts (Bad Dream), Library Suite (Dewey Decimate), and Alien Corridors (Xenoarcheology). The ''Anniversary'' remastered tracks especially turn up the horror factor.
* PublisherChosenTitle: As Bungie's Jaime Griesemer explained in a retrospective ''Magazine/{{Edge}}'' article, the developers didn't come up with the "Combat Evolved" part of the title:
-->"Microsoft marketing thought ''Halo'' was not a good name for a videogame brand. It wasn't descriptive like all the military games we were competing with. We told them ''Halo'' was the name. The compromise was they could add a subtitle. Everyone at Bungie hated it. But it turned out to be a very sticky label and has now entered the gaming lexiconů so I guess in hindsight it was a good compromise. But the real name of the game is just ''Halo''."
* ReactorBoss / UnplannedManualDetonation: [[spoiler: Cortana sets a counter to detonate the Pillar of Autumn's engines... and 343 Guilty Spark stops it. Master Chief then does it with rockets and grenades.]]
* {{Redshirt}}: The ship crewmen from the first couple of levels. They have less health than even a Grunt, and are armed with pistols (if at all). They even wear red (and yellow, and orange, and blue, and on the bridge, even black) uniforms.
* RedshirtArmy: The UNSC Marines. Useless for almost everything except manning your Warthog's gun.
** [[GameBreaker Unless they have sniper rifles.]] This was toned down in the sequels, to prevent players from handing [=NPCs=] the weapon and breezing through the levels.
* TheReveal: We have two regarding Halo's purpose. The first was that it's a containment facility designed to prevent the Flood from escaping. The second is that Halo itself is a weapon that can and has killed all sentient life within 25,000 light years.
* ScaryDogmaticAliens: The Covenant.
* SealedCastInAMultipack: If you play co-op, this is how both players begin the game. Otherwise it is simply SealedBadassInACan.
* SequelHook: Master Chief muses at the end that this is only the beginning of something bigger. After the credits you can see Guilty Spark humming to himself, flying through space.
* ShieldBearingMook: Jackals.
* ShoutOut: Many to Bungie's older FirstPersonShooter series ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}'', to which Halo is a SpiritualSuccessor. As Matt Seoll (who ran Bungie PR from the ''Marathon'' era up through the first ''Halo'' title) said, "Anyone will be able to enjoy Halo, but the ones who will enjoy it the most will be the old-school fans."
** Also, the "Bandanna" skull in the Anniversary release is a shout out to VideoGame/MetalGearSolid, where Snake can get a bandanna that gives infinite ammo.
* SniperPistol: The human pistol. It's the single most practical weapon in the game, with a much higher accuracy and stopping-power than the so-called "assault rifle".
* SnipingMission: The first part of "The Truth and Reconciliation."
* SoleSurvivor: [[spoiler: You are the only human left alive who was on Halo by the end of the game. This is retconned in the novels.]]
* SpiritualSuccessor: To the ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}'' trilogy. Pretty much every single bit of human tech, signage or terminology (as well as the related gameplay mechanics) except for the appearance and gameplay functionality of the MJOLNIR armour was lifted wholesale from Marathon and into Halo.
* StandardFPSGuns: This game features a fairly standard lineup.
* StickyBomb: Plasma grenades. Most enemies panic when stuck with one of these.
* StockFootage: Due to a coding error, Sgt. Johnson drives a Warthog behind Sgt. Johnson in his introductory speech. Anniversary, built on the same code, kept it.
** The Legendary ending is supposed to feature his twin brother, so it was probably him we saw.
* TankGoodness: The Scorpion tank is an unstoppable force.
* TheoryOfNarrativeCausality: After concluding they need to self-destruct the Autumn to prevent Halo from being fired, Cortana states they need to retrieve the activation code from Captain Keyes' neural implant. Yet, when the self-destruct sequence is cancelled by Guilty Spark in the final level, the Chief just asks if they could destroy the engine manually. Getting Keyes' neural implant was never necessary to begin with, and the entire Keyes level (along with the first half of the last) ''could'' have just been skipped if they decided to do it that way from the start.
* TheUnfought: [[spoiler:Guilty Spark]] again.
* TimedMission: The final level, "The Maw."
* TractorBeam: The Gravity Lift that allows passage in and out of the ''Truth and Reconciliation.''
* VillainDecay: [[spoiler:Starting with the events following TheReveal, the Covenant gets hit with this hard.]]
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler:Guilty Spark]].
* WhamEpisode: [[spoiler: 343 Guilty Spark. The Flood appears, as an OutsideContextVillain.]]
* YouJustHadToSayIt: After you first enter the titular Covenant ship in "Truth and Reconciliation," a marine comments that there might not be any Covenant on board. Immediately after, enemy contacts show up on the motion tracker. A second marine chides the first for tempting fate.
* YourSizeMayVary: The Pillar of Autumn is at least three times bigger in the final set-piece then it should be, with you explicitly driving at least 3 km to reach the Longsword space fighter. This happened due to the fact that the interior layout of the levels which take place on the Autumn were done before the exterior had been decided on and finalized.
** It's quite funny because in every other aspect of the game Bungie went to [[http://halo.bungie.org/misc/sloftus_scalecomparison/ excruciating detail]] in creating the scale of the game.

!! Tropes relating specifically to the remake, ''Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary'':
* ArcNumber: [[spoiler: Guilty Spark mentions offhand that the original plan was to build ''twelve'' Halo installations instead of seven...]]
* BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind: [[spoiler: One terminal has Captain Keyes struggling to remember who he is and fighting off the Flood infection. By the end, the voice of the Gravemind can be heard]].
* BottomlessMagazines: The purpose of the [[Franchise/MetalGear Bandanna]] Skull. Remember all that time you kept running out of ammo during "The Library"? Now, you never lose ammo when that skull is on. ''And you can still get achievements with it.''
* CallForward: The terminals in ''Anniversary'' details video logs kept by Guilty Spark. One in particular has him talking about how he hasn't heard from his counterpart [[VideoGame/{{Halo 2}} on Installation 5]] for some time, wondering if containment was breached...
* CanonWelding: The terminals interconnect a lot of the other games and EU together as the series has evolved significantly since the original game. Guilty Spark narrates most of them, with references to the other Monitors and things that showed up in later games.
* ContinuityNod: The terminal videos have several, including to the expanded universe.
** The Keyes terminal showing Keyes and his mental struggle with Gravemind is an expanded version of a scene that was in ''Halo: the Flood'', the novelization of the first game. A young Dr. Halsey also appears in flashbacks from Keyes' memories, and her appearance is similar to what she looks like in the ''Halo: Legends'' anime, with elements of her ''Reach'' design. His daughter also appears in this.
** Linda-058 can be seen on the cryo bay status monitor next to the Chief, a nod to ''Halo: The Fall of Reach'' and ''Halo: First Strike''.
* GoMadFromTheIsolation: The terminals show Guilty Spark going crazy over time. Can't blame the guy, though. I mean, if you had to stay inside a giant space ring for over 100,000 years, wouldn't you go a bit... insane?
* MilestoneCelebration: Ten years, seven games and a hell of a lot of ExpandedUniverse since then.
* ShotForShotRemake: ''Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary'' is identical in nearly every respects to the first game, the original game engine is used with a modern texturing engine overlapping it to give it new high-definition graphics and framerate. That means the game plays exactly the same (completes with a feature to toggle between the old and new graphics) and the cutscenes are similarly remastered (although, on close observation, it can be noticed that the cutscenes have been slightly modified from the original, such as character animation (most noticeable on the secret Legendary ending)). Because of that, it isn't quite up to par with contemporary next-generation graphics, it's about on par with ''{{Halo 3}}'' from 2007.
** The only actual changes is the inclusion of terminals hidden within the original levels containing videos that ties the franchise more closely together as well as potentially hinting towards the story of ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}'', as well as unlockable skulls that can be used to modify gameplay when replaying the levels.
* ShoutOut: The marine that Master Chief rescues at the life pod looks almost exactly like Marcus Fenix, the hero of ''GearsOfWar'', the Xbox 360's other major exclusive shooter franchise (he's noticeably missing if you examine the bodies at the crash site in the next level).
* UpdatedRerelease [=/=] VideoGameRemake: ''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 ''VideoGame/HaloReach''. The multi-player mode, on the other hand, has been rebuilt from the ground up using the ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' engine.