Machinima / The Codex
machinima series released during 2005, the Codex was created by Edgeworks Entertainment, headed by Alexander Winn and Ryan Luther. Consisting of twenty episodes, it focuses on the Covenant invasion of a human planet named Ariaos II in order to recover a Forerunner artifact called the Codex. The human resistance is lead by two teams of Spartan II supersoldiers, Red Team and Blue Team. Notable characters on that side include Jack Foster, a wild and optimistic soldier, Candice McKenzie, a more reserved and precise soldier who has plenty of UST
with Jack, and the leader of the Spartans, the Chief
. Notable Covenant characters include the Praetor, the leader of all the Covenant military forces on Ariaos II, Anda Sofadee, female leader of the Special Forces, and the Cleric, the voice of the religious hierarchy of the Covenant. The Cleric does not particularly get along with the other two.
This series stands out among its peers for being extremely well written, as well as being set as close to Halo canon as possible and focusing more on action and drama, forgoing the humor that most Halo machinimas shoot for. It won six categories of the 2005 Rockets on Prisoner awards, and has a large international fan base. Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine, even blogged
Can be found here
, and on iTunes in podcast form. Also spawned a prequel series, called The Heretic. A sequel to it was planned called The Reclaimer, but Edgeworks decided against making it due to Microsoft's Content Usage Terms.
The Codex Series Contains Examples Of:
- Action Girl: Anda Sofadee, leader of the Covenant Special Forces, and Candice McKenzie, a Spartan II and leader of Blue Team.
- Anti-Villain: The Praetor has noble qualities that make him seem quite superior, at least on a moral perspective, to the Cleric, while maintaining a genuine and deeply personal faith in the religion of the Covenant. Had he ever found out the truth of the Great Journey, he easily would've sided with the humans as The Atoner - he's that noble.
- All There in the Manual: The Edgeworks Entertainment web-site contains a lot of info on the personal history of all characters. This includes names for many unnamed characters, training and areas of expertise, and general background information.
- All There in the Script: The official web-site gives the names of many characters who are not named in the series themselves.
- Artificial Intelligence: Lykurgus, the Spartans' AI.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The Praetor is this in spades. The Cleric reveals that he is as well when he duels the Praetor in the final episode.
- Badass Normal: Sergeant Henderson and his ODSTs.
- Beam Spam: The UNSC vs Covenant fleet battles in The Heretic are filled with plasma and laser fire arcing across the screen in swatches thick enough to almost blot out the action.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Even the other Spartans realize that Jack and McKenzie's constant head-butting covers a deeper attraction.
- Big Bad: The Cleric.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Jack, quite literally, runs screaming into the midst of the enemy army.
- Broad Strokes: Unlike other machinima series the Codex universe is explicitly set within the "real" universe of the Halo games and novels, but lets a few of the details slip through the cracks in order to create a story involving a second batch of SPARTAN II Super Soldiers that could not exist in official canon.
- The Cavalry: The UNSC Fleet, complete with announcement that "the cavalry has arrived."
- Church Militant: Since this is Halo, the Covenant itself displays this, though the Cleric and his Seraphim are quite a bit more zealous than most of them.
- Cold Sniper: Chris Hobart, the sniper on Red Team, is somewhat distant and quiet. Matt Caine, the sniper for Blue Team, turns this Up to Eleven: In the entire series he never says one single word.
- Continuity Nod: In their introduction in The Heretic, the prequel series, the Chief admonishes Jack for not treating the training exercise as he would a real battle, since in real life he would not charge blindly into the ranks of the enemy. Jack, however, says that he has no nowledge that he would not do such a thing.
- Death Seeker: Green 2, who is guilt ridden for having survived when his team died.
- If Jack weren't so damn good at surviving, he'd look like this.
- Doing It for the Art: The entire Codex series was conceived and completed before any of its production crew had completed college and was produced only on personal computer equipment and X-Box consoles. Copyright laws meant that Edgeworks Entertainment could make no profits off the sale of the videos themselves, and instead kept the site active and funded through "sponsorships." All videos are available for download regardless of whether or not you have sponsored.
- The Dragon: The Seraph Captain, head of the Seraphim, is this to the Cleric. Especially after he becomes the Praeceptor.
- Co-Dragons: Conversely, Erda Renadee and Anda Sofadee are the Praetor's two closest lieutenants.
- Elite Mook: The Seraphim
- Enemy Civil War: Throughout the series, the Cleric and the Praetor almost immediately turn increasingly argumentative and antagonistic to one another (mostly because of the Cleric being an ass), and try to one-up one another at every turn. At the end of the series, the Cleric and his Seraphim try to wrest control of the military from the Praetor. Anda Sofadee and her Special Operations troops side with the Praetor, keeping this a fairly even turn of events. The humans manage to dodge an enormous bullet as a result of the Elites' internal strife.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Chief's name is not revealed in either series, nor is the Praetor's. The Cleric was known only as "Cleric" in The Codex, but received a proper name in The Heretic.
- Everyone Can See It: Maybe not everyone, but it is apparent to most of the Spartan's that Jack and McKenzie have deep feelings for each other.
- Evil Versus Evil: The Praetor and the Cleric engage in this in the last episode of the series. The Praetor only counts as evil because he is helping the Covenant commit genocide by default, siding him with the bad guys despite his noble qualities.
- Guns Akimbo: Exploiting the new features of Halo 2, including the ability to dual wield, resulted in almost every human character wielding two pistols at least once. Elites are often shown wielding two Plasma Rifles.
- This also allows for the appearance of more people than there actually are by having all of the Elites dual-wielding offscreen.
- The Hero: The Chief, nominally, but Jack does a lot of the major stunts.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Jack does this in the final episode, holding off waves of Elites while armed with only a shotgun so that a bomb may detonate and destroy the Codex.
- Jerkass: The Cleric, who will mock and criticize the Praetor no matter how well something goes because he disapproves of him placing a female in such a high rank. In his first appearance he goes from complementing the Praetor on taking the Codex with such minimal damage and loss of life to mocking the operation as sloppy as soon as Action Girl Sofadee is revealed to have been the actual commanding officer.
- The Lancer: Anda Sofadee is this to the Praetor. Jack and McKenzie compete to see who deserves the title on their side, as they each have skills that the Chief uses depending on the situation.
- Limited Palette: Apparently memories work this way.
- Lost Superweapon: The Codex. Its function is the same as the Ark's, to activate all seven Halos simultaneously. In their defense, this was written well before Halo 3.
- Ludicrous Precision: Lykurgus is fond of this, although he is an AI...
- Macross Missile Massacre: The UNSC fleet burst the rescue and immediately begins launching hundreds of missiles. Energy shields being what they are, this is less effective than it might have been otherwise, but that's strictly canon.
- Mauve Shirts: The ODSTs; some individual members are named and they appear in several episodes, but they don't receive detailed characterization, lack any identifying decals and get killed whenever a large bodycount is needed.
- Name's the Same: The Chief shares the same rank as the protagonist of the games proper, Master Chief Petty Officer, but is not the same character.
- Not So Different: The series itself invokes the trope. When the Praetor and the Chief are each giving a Rousing Speech to their respective armies the video keeps cutting back and forth between them, highlighting that they are both fighting for their beliefs, nation and greater purpose than their own survival.
- Old School Dogfight: The CGI space battles in The Heretic feature several shots of Longsword fighters and Covenant Scarabs duking it out.
- Power Glows: The Seraph Captain glows after he levels up and becomes the Praeceptor.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis! / Punctuated Pounding: SCREW! YOU! YOU! UGLY! ALIEN! BASTARD! (See also Punctuated Pounding)
- Red Shirts: Green Team, the Spartan team killed in the second episode of The Codex.
- Rousing Speech: The Chief and the Praetor each give one to their troops in Episode 18, at the same time, while the video cuts back and forth between them.
- Senseless Sacrifice: When Green 2 stays behind to give the other Spartans time to escape the time everybody spends standing still arguing about it is actually longer than the delay he causes.
- Single-Stroke Battle: When Green 2 and the Captain of the Seraphim square off the Spartan begins to unload his shotgun at the Elite, supplemented by a grenade, while the Captain slowly walks forward and kills him with a single stroke of his energy sword.
- Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: The Chief does this to the Covenant in Episode 15, rigging the base at Mount Jefferson to blow as the humans make their escape.
- Stupid Sacrifice: When Green 2 decides to stay behind to give the other Spartans time to escape their lead over the pursuing Elites was great enough that nobody had to stay behind at all.
- Super Soldier: The SPARTAN II's
- Survivor Guilt: Green 2, the only survivor of his teams massacre. This leads him to become a Death Seeker.
- Sword Fight: The duel between the Praetor and the Cleric in the final episode. One of the first instances, if not THE first instance, of an energy sword duel in machinima.
- Although in retrospect it looks much more awkward than Halos 3 and Reach's sword-clash mechanic, it also looks much more involved. It forced the machinimators to imply lots of the action, which they did well. Sorta like the shark in Jaws. Of course, at the time, the only thing anyone was thinking was "holy shit energy-sword fight".
- Talking to Himself: The list of voice actors for this series is somewhat small. Consequently, this trope takes place quite a bit. Particularly noteworthy in the case of the Cleric and the Captain of the Seraphim, who are both voiced by Alexander Winn, with the latter being The Dragon for the former.
- UST: There is quite a bit of this between Jack and Candace; fan opinion is split on whether it is genuine UST, or if they both know there are feelings but enjoy the banter.
- V-Formation Team Shot: The Evil version. The Seraphim just love posing in a line with either the Cleric or their Captain before them.
- Villain Protagonist: The Praetor qualifies for one of these. Despite his noble qualities, he is still committing genocide on the human race, after all.
- Villain with Good Publicity: The Cleric, being a cleric of the Covenant, is revered by all the soldiers of the Covenant. When the Preator fears the Cleric will try to kill the Foreman he has members of the Special Operations Elites covertly guard the engineer, but being constantly shadowed by combat soldiers leads the Foreman to fear that the Praetor is trying to kill him and he runs to the Cleric for help.
- Witty Banter: Jack and "Candy," and all the Spartans really, are a bit chatty.
- You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Jack calls Candice "Candy" because it infuriates her. When he calls her Candice, even she does a double take. He suddenly seems like he genuinely cares about her... or he could just be setting up another headlong rush through enemy fire with a shotgun. Like the UST example, this one is up for interpretation.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Once the Foreman gains entrance to the Codex the Cleric decides that his survival is no longer a strict necessity.
- You Shall Not Pass: Green 2 stays behind to buy time for the other Spartans to escape...at least, until the Captain of the Seraphim shows up.