Not to be confused with a Holy Halo
, although the parallels are intentional
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. Bungie Studios
created the game series and it has taken on a life of its own, with many Expanded Universe
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 Novelizations
, which forms the majority of the backstory
, introducing and naming characters, events, and other information that fill in gaps in and between the games.
The core of Halo
gameplay revolves around the wrinkles it presents in the First-Person Shooter
- You can only carry two guns at a time; there is no Hyperspace Arsenal 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 Universal Ammo either: finding ammo for your assault rifle requires you to find another assault rifle. Blatant Item Placement 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, Pistol-Whipping, and grenades. All three have their own dedicated controller buttons and all three can be used at all times, with no delays for Real Time Weapon Change. Melee attacks are a One-Hit Kill if delivered from behind (and decent damage from any other angle), while grenades come in "standard frag" and "stick to the target before exploding" varieties, later entries to the series added "sets things on fire," "shoots spikes" and "shield 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 Space Plane, you can jump right in and the game shifts instantly to a third-person perspective, with no Loading Screen or separate map or anything. As a consequence, many of the franchise's campaign levels are absolutely 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 Scenery Porn 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 All There in the Manual to justify why the Player Character is able to be a One-Man Army 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 natural talent, extensive Bio-Augmentation, and Training from Hell, the foremost of which being the MJOLNIR Powered Armor. Among the features of this armor include:
- Deflector Shields that can only absorb so much damage but will regenerate to max if you avoid fire for a few seconds. It effectively becomes Regenerating Health (the games vary on using an underlying life bar at all), giving you tactically unlimited Hit Points if you know when to retreat for a moment. This overcomes a common issue about players 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 Dual Wielding 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 (Dual Wielding
, new or rebalanced weapons, new vehicles, some power-ups, etc) throughout the franchise... not to mention nearly every modern shooter game
since. Its influence can be seen anywhere from Army of Two
and Gears of War
(which spins the Regenerating Health
and Take Cover
aspects into a core mechanic) to Call of Duty
and Left 4 Dead
(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 Apps
. When the original Xbox
was announced, there was a lot of skepticism from those who had already experienced the Console Wars
and had no reason to believe the Xbox
would go anywhere. Their reasoning wasn't inaccurate: 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 Atari Jaguar
was.) But once gamers got their grubby little hands on it, Halo
singlehandedly kept Microsoft in the race, with Edge 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 valued
at a cool $3 billion.
Video games in the Halo series:
- Halo 3, the conclusion of the original trilogy and the climax of the Covenant war.
- Halo Wars: A Real-Time Strategy spin-off developed not by Bungie but by Ensemble Studios. It focuses on events at the start of the war.
- Halo 3: ODST, A side-story during Halo 2 about a team of special-ops troopers. Features Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin and Alan Tudyk.
- Halo: Reach, a prequel to the original revolving around the fall of the UNSC's second-most important planet, Reach.
- Halo 4, the first part of "The Reclaimer Saga"note continuing the Master Chief and Cortana's story.
- Halo: Spartan Assault, a top-down action shooter taking place between Halo 3 and 4.
- Halo: Spartan Strike, a top-down action shooter revolving around the struggle for a Forerunner artifact known as "The Conduit", originally set for release in December 2014, but later delayed to 2015.
- Halo 5: Guardians, the first on the Xbox One, set to release in Fall 2015.
was Bungie's last Halo
project, with Microsoft opening "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 Expanded Universe
- Halo: The Fall of Reach: A prequel to Combat Evolved and the book that spawned the expanded universe, written concurrently with the original game.
- Halo: The Flood: A novelization of Combat Evolved which expands on the events on the first Halo ring.
- Halo: First Strike: Bridges the events of Combat Evolved and Halo 2.
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx: 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.
- Halo: Contact Harvest: A prequel that showcases first contact with the Covenant and the start of the Human-Covenant War.
- Halo: The Cole Protocol: A standalone story that focuses on a few events in the Outer Colonies early on in the Human-Covenant War.
- Halo: Evolutions: An anthology of short stories by several authors.
- The Forerunner Saga: A trilogy of novels that document the fall of the Forerunner empire through the eyes of several characters.
- The Kilo-Five trilogy: A novel series bridging Halo 3 and Halo 4.
- Halo: Glasslands: A sequel to Ghosts of Onyx chronicling the UNSC's post-war efforts.
- Halo: The Thursday War: Depicts the opening salvos of the Sangheili civil war, and introduces the UNSC Infinity and the Covenant remnant.
- 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: A story detailing San'Shyuum political intrigue and Sangheili rebellion at the beginning of the Covenant, then following up on their long term consequences during the Great Schism.
- Halo: New Blood: An upcoming novella detailing what happened to Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck after the events of ODST.
- Halo Graphic Novel: 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.
- Halo Uprising: A four-issue series that bridges the gap between Halo 2 and Halo 3.
- Halo Helljumper: A five-issue prequel to Halo 3: ODST.
- Halo Blood Line: 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.
- Halo Initiation: A three-issue series detailing how ODST Sarah Palmer became commander of the Infinity's SPARTAN-IVs, leading into Spartan Assault.
- Halo: Escalation: A on-going series about the impact of the events of Halo 4 on the wider galaxy.
- I Love Bees: 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:
- Halo Television Series: Announced at E3 2013. Thus far, the only known detail is that Steven Spielberg will be producing it as an exclusive to the Xbox One.
- Red vs. Blue: A Fan Work that has since become a lucrative franchise in its own right, with Rooster Teeth being recruited by Bungie and 343i themselves to promote the newer games and reveal new features, as well as having Easter Egg 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 Halo Zero
, which has its own page, and a Video Game Demake
for the Atari 2600, playable here.
Check out the character sheet
The Verse of Halo provides examples of the following tropes:
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- Apocalyptic Log: The Covenant is founded on one of these, except they thought it was holy writ.
- Badass Boast: 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.
- Brain Uploading: 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 only cloned her brain and had to make 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.
- Colonel Badass: 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.
- Convection Schmonvection: Averted in the case of Covenant 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...
- Covert Distress Code: The Spartans' classified distress call is a simple "Olly Olly Oxen Free".
- Cosmic Horror Story: The Forerunner Saga. Especially Silentium.
- Creative Sterility: 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 Halo: Cryptum, the Prophets are noted to be a scientifically-gifted species whose technology equals that of their prehistoric human allies, who were nearly a match for the Forerunner themselves.
- Darker and Edgier: 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 Halo: Evolutions 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 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 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.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: The Spartans have trouble adjusting to their new strength right after the augmentation, to the point where John-117 thinks that the Artificial Gravity in the ship's gym is broken since he can lift the heaviest weights without effort.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: 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.
- The Federation: The UNSC.
- Five-Man Band: In the novels, John's team normally goes like this:
- Foregone Conclusion: 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."
- Generation Xerox: 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. 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.
- Genius Bruiser: Spartans, Elites, and to a lesser extent Brutes. Hunters, too.
- Hand Wave: 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 PO 2 Polaski were able to commandeer a Pelican despite being separated from other UNSC forces on Halo.
- Heroic BSOD: Admiral Cole sure gets one when he fins out that his wife and the mother of his child, Lyra, is a high-level Insurrection operative.
- Honor Before Reason: 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.
- Hope Spot/Diabolus Ex Machina: 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. 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.
- I Did What I Had to Do: 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.
- The Last Dance: 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 Heroic BSOD... 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 Bad Ass Boast that angers them and drives them towards him, and ending with 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."
- Lightning Bruiser: 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 Heavy weapons specialist carries a massive 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.
- Macross Missile Massacre: 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.
- Made of Plasticine:
- A vehicular example is seen courtesy of the many starships in the series, especially the UNSC's vessels when confronted with 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 Lethal Joke Lightning Bruiser Cool Ship. It and its entire class were reputed as being Made of Iron, even if they sucked in the offensive department.
- The Covenant ships subvert this trope: while their shields are up, they are basically Made of Iron, and only MAC cannon rounds generally make a dent. Knock down the shields, though, and they can get blown apart with otherwise-useless Archer missiles.
- A more straight example comes from the descriptions of the effects of Covenant weaponry and Flood attacks on human UNSC Marines.
- And also averted for the 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.
- Meaningful Name / Ironic Nickname: 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 Running Gag 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 Shout-Out to Demolition Man.
- It's also often pronounced one-seventeen, 1:17 is 77 seconds and 7 is Bungie's Arc Number.
- The Metric System Is Here to Stay
- Naval Blockade: 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.
- Necessary Drawback: The Spartan I training program was a mixture of Training from Hell and chemical enhancements but didn't result in a significant battlefield improvement. The Spartan II's had Training from Hell, chemical enhancements, cybernetic augmentation, and a custom-built Powered Armor 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 Soldiers that could affect the tide of battle.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: During the fall of Reach, Admiral Whitcomb re-purposes one of the UNSC's new experimental 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 O.N.I. 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.
- Psychic Static: A way of fighting back the Flood if you ever get infested and Mind Raped.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: 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.
- Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: Or in the case of Admiral Cole, 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.
- Right Hand Versus Left Hand: The political machinations within the Covenant in Halo 2. The Expanded Universe 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 this communication. To put it short, Ackerson kidnaps one of Halsey's Spartans(Kurt) to help start his own 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 Mjolnir armor like the original Spartan II's. And everybody is in the dark about getting conned by somebody else.
- The Rival: Spartans and ODST generally don't get along.
- Rock Beats Laser: 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.
- Sacrificial Planet: Most of the story takes place in late 2552, after 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 the first Halo book and playable in the prequel Halo: Reach, where you are Doomed by Canon.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: 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.
- Shotgun Wedding: 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 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.
- Space Is an Ocean: 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.
- The Spartan Way: The training regimen of the SPARTANs as seen in the novels.
- Space Romans: The Elite culture is basically Imperial Japan IN SPACE.
- Super-Persistent Predator: Why humans call the Mgalekgolo "Hunters".
- Super Soldier: 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", and you no longer have any sex drive whatsoever. Who wants to volunteer?
- Super Toughness: The Spartan II's. Less so with the Spartan III's, who were elite cannon fodder with the less powerful SPI armor.
- Tempting Fate: 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."
- Three-Laws Compliant: 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.
- Time-Delayed Death: In Ghosts of Onyx, Dante, after a particularly hectic firefight, offhandedly mentions "I think they got me." 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 got augmented.
- Theme Naming: This series and Marathon are part of one. Durandal, Cortana... Here's betting their next series will have a character named Joyeuse in it.
- The War of Earthly Aggression: 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.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: 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 ODST with the character of Dutch, who is noted to be a deeply spiritual man and a student of religion and philosophy.
- Wham Episode: Halo: Cryptum, SO MUCH. You were wondering how humans and Forerunners first met 100,000 years ago? How about... 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 Halo 3 was actually intended to keep us in check.
- Wham Line: 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 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.
- About every time we learn something new about the Precursors, it turns out to be this.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: 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).
- You Keep Using That Word: The Cole Protocol calls MACs railguns. They're actually coilguns.
Halo Games by Bungie
- The All-Seeing A.I.: 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.
- Almighty Janitor: 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!
- Ancient Keeper: 343 Guilty Spark.
- Ascended Meme: In ODST, the location that played the 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.
- A Space Marine Is You: Seriously. Look at the checklist.
- Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Occationally, caused by the Marines' combat dialogue acting up.
- Attempted Rape: Commissioner Kinsler attempts to rape Sadie in the Audio Files' story. 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.
- Autobots, Rock Out!: It has the literal Rock Anthem for Saving the World that would play during more intense parts of the game.
- And Ominous Latin Chanting aplenty.
- In the second game, an instrumental version of "Blow Me Away" plays when the Master Chief enters the Mausoleum of the Arbiter, where the Enemy Civil War is at its most epic. Cue the urge to kick ass and Chew Bubblegum.
- 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 Steve Vai shredding over the more intense themes.
- The Mjolnir Mix of the main theme yet.
- And then ODST pretty much blows everything that has come before away with a little thing called 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.
- Axe Crazy:
- 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 "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 Halo Wars
- Badass: The Master Chief. Also, the entire race of Elites, basically bipedal, evolved Land Sharks with energy shields.
- Badass Back: 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.
- Badass Boast: 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!
- 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.
Come out, so we may kill you! Heretic:
Heheheh... Get in line.
- Bash Brothers: Hunters always come in pairs of two. In most games, they're identical and equipped identically.
- The Battlestar: 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.
- The Mantle's Approach puts all other ships seen so far to utter and complete shame, being the former flagship for the greatest navy ever built. It's so large it needs its own teleportation grid, being 230 miles at its longest, and it's crewed by a total of one man.
- Beating A Dead Player: 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 In-Universe. It becomes slightly less funny when the Flood actually do get back up.
- Beehive Barrier: The Bubble Shield. Back again in Reach with a healing ability.
- Berserk Button. Don't try to destroy the Halo ring in front of 343 Guilty Spark. Just ask Sgt. Johnson.
- Or kill a Hunter in front of its partner.
- Big Damn Heroes: 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.
- Bilingual Bonus: 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.
- Bittersweet Ending: 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, detachable turrets, fuel rod gun, etc.
- Bolivian Army Ending: FireFight in ODST can only end in this.
- Book Ends: Master Chief begins the trilogy by climbing out of a cryochamber and ends it by climbing right back into another one.
- Border Patrol: 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.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: Brute Chieftains, Gold Elites (first game), Silver Elites (second game), and Hunters (second and third games).
- Butt Monkey: The Grunts. They get a lot of abuse, and are so funny at receiving it, too.
- Captain Obvious: Sometimes, randomized combat dialogue can lead to this.
Marine (in the middle of an enormous gun battle): The Covvies are shooting at us!
- Charged Attack: 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.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Index
- 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.
- Cliff Hanger: The first game ended with plenty of more story to tell, but still self-contained. Halo 2 has merely a pause in the story.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: On Legendary difficulty, most notably in the second game. Rapid-fire plasma pistols, faster-shooting plasma rifles, insta-death melees, Badass Back 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.
- Copy And Paste Environments:
- 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:
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 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.
- Cosmetic Award: 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...Extortionate.
- Cosmetically Different Sides: 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.
- Crew of One: Mostly.
- Averted only with the Warthog, sadly.
- Crunchtastic: "Killtacular", etc. from Kill Streaks
- Cutscene Incompetence: This affects the titular members of ODST, mostly because the game's Rashomon-style narrative leaves them in the interesting position of being both Player Characters and Non Player Characters, depending on whose flashback you're watching. If you, The Player, establish a habit of Crazy Awesome while playing as any given squad member, that squad member will not continue in similar style when the AI takes over again.
- Kat's death. I mean, really now?
- Darker and Edgier: 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 After the End and takes an Anyone Can Die approach to the main characters.
- Halo Reach feels more like a war movie, with Reach falling and almost all of Noble Team dying.
- Decoy Protagonist: The Rookie. If anything, Halo 3: ODST is the story of Buck, Dare, and the Superintendent/Virgil.
- ..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 One-Man Army Heroic Mime who really wants to get back to sleep.
- Halo: Reach implies that 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.
- Deflector Shields: 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...
- The Dragon: Tartarus.
- The entire Brute species in general in Halo 2, 3 and ODST.
- Degraded Boss: The Brute Chieftains fought as semi-standard enemies throughout Halo 3 are essentially weaker versions of Halo 2's final boss.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Noble Six is a killing machine that tends to go about it by herself/himself without any particular previous coordination. Sound familiar?
- Drop the Hammer: The gravity hammer. A big, scary Brute melee weapon that'll knock your enemies into the next county.
- Doomed by Canon: Reach. Energy projectors turn the surface of Reach to glass. The survival rate of you and your teammates in Halo: Reach is understandably slim.
- Doomed Hometown - The colony of Reach.
- Do Not Drop Your Weapon - Played straight with most enemies, making it all the more frustrating when you forgot that it was averted with the flood combat forms.
- Doppelgänger Attack - The Heretic leader's holo-drones.
- Dual Wielding - Added in Halo 2, kept in Halo 3, removed in ODST.
- And are still out as of Halo Reach.
- Easter Egg: Lots of them. One favorite is the Insulting Grunt.
Grunt: Hey, demon! The jerk store called and they're all out of YOU!
- Elevator Action Sequence - Seen on The Oracle, Regret, Quarantine Zone, etc.
- Elite Mooks - Zealot (gold) Elites, Spec-ops (black/purple) Elites, Ultra (silver) Elites, Honor Guard Elites, Spec-ops Grunts, Ultra Grunts, Brute Captains, Brute Chieftains, etc.
- Enemy Civil War - 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.
- Enemy Mine - 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 and again to stop Truth. Of course, some of these alliances are more lasting then others...
- Escort Mission - The final parts of ODST have you, 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 commentary revealed that there was a bug in earlier releases of the game where Keyes would shoot corpses just like any other marine in the game. Keyes has a Needler, though.
- Eternal September: Pre-Halo, Bungie had a small but very dedicated fan community, primarily drawn from previous Bungie titles like Marathon and 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 "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.
- Every Episode Ending: 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.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: Both Halo and Halo 3's endings.
- Everybody Lives: The end of Halo 3: ODST. Unless you count all the dead Covenant and the Superintendent, and the latter is debatable.
- Fake Static: "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."
- Fake Ultimate Mook: 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 Redshirts could dodge them with reasonable consistency. They majorly Took a Level in Badass in the sequels, though.
- In the sequels, they become a Boss in Mook Clothing. 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 One-Hit Kill you.
- Reach makes them 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 IWHBYD skull is active.
- She actually has a little bit of Gainaxing/Jiggle Physics 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.
- Fishing For Mooks: 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.
- Fission Mailed - Cortana's transmissions in Halo 3.
- Five-Man Band:
- From Halo: ODST:
- The SPARTANs of Halo: Reach are shaping up to be this, based on the most recent trailer.
- Reading the site changes things
- Five-Token Band: 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 at least sounds like he's black.
- Kat is Russian or Eastern European... And Jorge is Hungarian.
- Flavor Text: 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.
- Flunky Boss - 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 That One Boss 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, co-op mode usually makes the battle against Regret into a Curbstomp Battle 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 Legendary.
- Friendly Enemy: A few humorous non-canon Easter Eggs in the first game show Johnson is this to the Covenant. "This is it, baby. Hold me."
- Frontline General: High-ranking Sangheili are often seen battling with their men, due to them earning their ranks through Asskicking Equals Authority. Human generals are more practical, however, and remain safely in bases or command warships instead.
- Gameplay Ally Immortality: 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.
- Generican Empire - The United Nations Space Command and the Covenant.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar - The marines often make exclamations in military code: "Mike Foxtrot!" "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!" Do you sense a pattern here?
- Other more important NPC's can get away with saying "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.
- Glass Cannon - 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 Sprint, Evade, 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.
- Gravity Barrier - 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.
- Guns Akimbo - Introduced in Halo 2.
- Harder Than Hard: 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 protecting the elephant to the Last Exit. However to make it "easier" you do get to use a 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.
- Heroic Mime - 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.
- Homing Lasers: The charged Plasma Pistol shot.
- Homing Projectile: Besides missiles and rockets, the Needler is infamous for this in all games in the series.
- Humans Need Aliens:
- Humanity can only guarantee Pyrrhic victories at best against the Covenant, until circumstances cause 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.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: 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.
- Iconic Logo: People wear T-shirts of a 2 or 3 inside the distinctive O in the title and it's obvious what game they play.
- Import Gaming - 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 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 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, there's a promise that from Halo 2 onwards Bungie would do their PAL conversions properly - and they did!
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: 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.
- Ink-Suit Actor: In ODST, "Buck" looks exactly like Nathan Fillion, and Dare bears a strong resemblance to Tricia Helfer.
- Innocent Innuendo: "Please enjoy my BRIGHT... BLUE... BALLS!" (Grunt suicide bomber)
- Insert Grenade Here: 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.
- Invincible Minor Minion: 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.
- It's Up to You: well, you are the Player Character after all.
- Jetpack: Make their debut in Halo: Reach.
- Joke Item: 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.
- Justified Tutorial - 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 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.
- Kick the Dog - Miranda Keyes' death at the hands of Truth, and potentially Johnson's death as well.
- Kill It with Fire - 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 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.
- King Mook - Sesa Refumee (the heretic leader), and Tartarus to some degree.
- Lampshade Hanging: 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 outï¿½mix things up a little."
- Late to the Tragedy - 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.
- Last of His Kind - Master Chief is the last of the Spartans after the fall of Reach. It turns out there are others, but that's never mentioned outside of supplementary materials.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority:
- Following in the tradition of Bungie's Marathon and 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 Boss In Mooks Clothing 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.
- Lead The Target
- Leit Motif - Although the composers said they weren't doing a "Peter and the Wolf" 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 riffs, ie they play in scenes unassociated with the character or location.
- Losing the Team Spirit: 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.
- Lower Deck Episode - Halo 3: ODST, dealing with some relatively normal, if Badass, soldiers fighting off Covenant.
- Lowered Monster Difficulty: The Brutes get weaker in every game (see Made of Iron 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 Elite Mook 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 Elite Mook 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.
- Made of Iron: 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).
- Misplaced Wildlife: Red-tailed hawk calls, etc.
- Misplaced Vegetation: Temperate plants, eg ivy and rhododendrons, in the African jungles.
- Mooks but No Bosses: With the exception of Halo 2, the games generally lack any traditional boss fights. The final fight against 343 Guilty Spark in Halo 3 is more of an interactive cutscene/Zero-Effort Boss, and the Covenant Field Marshall at the end of Halo: Reach is only marginally stronger than a regular Gold Elite. Halo 2 was widely criticized for its boss fights, so presumably Bungie decided that boss fights just weren't their thing.
- The Mothership: High Charity
- More Dakka: "Hold RB to detach turret."
- Musical Pastiche: 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)
- The Musketeer: Both Master Chief and the Arbiter can use an energy sword or a hammer as one of their two weapons.
- Neck Snap: 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 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 Made of Iron 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.
- Never Trust a Trailer: 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.
- Nicknaming the Enemy: 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.
- No Campaign for the Wicked: 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.
- No OSHA Compliance: High Charity and the Halos are full of bottomless pits and narrow catwalks.
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: Cortana
- Nothing Is Scarier: 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 One-Man Army 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 video log of them being attacked by... something. Something starts banging on all the doors in the room, and your motion tracker goes berserk.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Lord Hood is supposedly a British noble. Does Ron Perlman sound British to you?
- Not-So-Harmless Villain - 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.
- Not the Fall That Kills You: 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 invsible death barriers. This contradicts the cutscenes in Halo 2 and 3 where MC falls from orbit, or at least the stratosphere.
- Oddly Named Sequel: Halo 3: ODST technically takes place concurrent with Halo 2, but was built on Halo 3's engine.
- Once for Yes, Twice for No: The Superintendent Municipal AI in Halo 3: ODST.
- Orchestral Bombing: Even if you didn't have you own music playing, aerial sequences in 3 tended to be this.
- Pillar of Light: 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.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner
Truth: I! AM! TRUTH! THE VOICE OF THE COVENANT!
Arbiter: And so... you must be silenced.
- Prepare to Die: The ODST's line "Prepare to Drop" was changed to this when the Slipspace explosion happened.
- The Promise:
"You know me. When I make a promise..."
"...You... keep it. I do know how to pick 'em."
- Psycho Strings: Musics associated with the Flood.
- Recurring Riff - 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".
- Red Eyes, Take Warning. 343 Guilty Spark turns red when he's really upset, and about to go Axe Crazy.
- Redshirt Army - The human Marines, though they Took a Level in Badass 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.
- Running Gag: The Rookie naps whenever he has free time.
- Scenery Porn: And how. Has some of (if not) the best sky boxes in videogames.
- Sequence Breaking - Common in the first two games, although Bungie tried to patch up the holes in the second, eg with instant-death Invisible Walls.
- Serial Escalation: 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.
- Shoo Out the Clowns - 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.
- Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: 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.
- Short Range Shotgun - 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).
- Slap-Slap-Kiss - Buck and Dare have this relationship.
- Sniper Rifle: All the Halo games feature these. The Bungie.net website hosts a 134-slide presentation all about the process of balancing the Halo 3 version of the weapon.
- Soft Water: 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.
- Soundtrack Dissonance - 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).
- Spiritual Successor (The series is made by Bungie, who also created the Marathon games. Red vs. Blue 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.
- The Stinger
- Stealth Pun - In ODST, you get the achievement "Audiophile" by listening to audio files.
- Sticky Bomb: Plasma Grenades
- Suicidal Overconfidence: Brutes in Halo 3, making them pretty easy shotgun fodder.
- Super Drowning Skills - Mostly averted, but in some places, such as on the level "Sierra 117", bodies of water are made instant-kill zones to prevent the player from Sequence Breaking or getting stuck.
- Supporting Leader: Buck fulfils this in ODST.
- Suspicious Videogame Generosity - 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.
- Swamps Are Evil - Guess where the Flood is discovered. Overall the atmosphere of that level in the first game.
- Tank Goodness: Some marines seem to hold this opinion of the Scorpion.
- Tentative Light
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Flipping an Elephantnote tank in Halo 3 elicits this response.
- In the third game, there is a glitch that allows you to 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?"
- The Squad: The main focus in Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach.
- Transformation Trauma - 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.
- Trope Codifier / Trope Maker: The original 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.
- Two-Part Trilogy: Halo 2 and 3, though it was in part because they ran out of time after finishing the engine.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: 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.
- Unexplained Recovery: 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 Halo Graphic Novel; 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."
- United Nations Is A Super Power: 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.
- Videogame Caring Potential (The common AI marines. Some may also feel very sorry for the 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. 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.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Plasma Grenade + Grunts = Hilarity Ensues. Also, smacking up enemy corpses after they're already dead. Also more hilarious if they run into their allies, making them a suicide bomber.
- "OH NO! NOT AGAIN!" * boom*
- And you can shoot specific limbs on the grunts. Watch them slowly try to limp away...
- 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 Viva Piñata, even mentioning that the Viva Pinata team sent them the actual audio file used in the game.
- Victorious Chorus: The Halo theme is sometimes used for victories.
- Virtual Paper Doll: 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). And how!
- Voice with an Internet Connection: Cortana.
- Walk It Off: Title dropped in the first level of the third game (after hitting the ground at terminal velocity).
- Wave Motion Gun - The Scarab's cannon, and the Fuel Rod Cannon somewhat.
- We Cannot Go On Without You: If Cpt. Keyes dies on "Truth and Reconciliation", it's Game Over}
- What the Hell, Player?: Shoot your commanding officer in the face, and your crewmates' reactions are, well, interesting to say the least.
- Weapon Tombstone: The live-action trailer for ODST features the 'Helmet, boots, rifle' field burial with the equipment updated appropriately.
- You Just Had to Say It: In Halo 1's third level.
- Your Mom: 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.
Oh. And your poet Eliot got it all wrong. This is the way the world ends.