These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Alternate Character Interpretation: Given the Grey and Grey Morality of the Halo universe, this trope is prevalent in both heroes and villains. Characters in the universe that are the most prone to debate are John-117, Dr. Catherine Halsey, Thel 'Vadam, Colonel James Ackerson, and invoked on Admiral Preston Cole.
This only applies to Expanded Universe, not game canon. Dr. Halsey is the closest to Grey and Grey Morality within the games and she is beyond reproach since the only thing that would make her actions questionable was the fact she never explained why she did things because it is All In The Manual.
The new Glasslands novel is half dedicated to pressing the view of Halsey being a psychopath on the reader; personal opinion varies heavily on if it succeeded, as the people who called Halsey out on her controversial projects willingly allowed, no, approved of them, helped bring them about, were ultimately saved by them, and did just as horrible things on their own. It even glossed over some established canon (namely, Cortana's creation and her reasons for cloning the children) in an attempt to make her more controversial.
Best Level Ever: In Halo 1, there is The Assault on the Control Room, where you finally get to rampage all over the covenant with vehicles. Halo 2 has Gravemind (the level, not the thing made of corpses). Here' you get to rampage through what is effectively the covenant capital city gunning down everyone in your way in one long bloodbath while chasing down the resident Big Bad. Oh yeah, and partway through, some of the enemies start killing each other. Oh yeah, and there is so much Scenery Porn that you're either killing something or looking like a view straight out of a Final Fantasy CGI cutscene. Halo 3 has two; Tsavo Highway, which is going on a vehicle rampage against the covenant. The other one is a level called "The Covenant". At its climax, you get to rampage through enemy banshees and two giant enemy tank walkers!ODST has the Police Headquarters level which ends with an awesome last stand and an epic cutscene.
And then there's Midnight, the final level of Halo 4. Opening with a spaceship assualt course that wouldn't be out of place in Starfox, with some of the best music in the whole damn franchise, then fighting through a giant Forerunner spaceship, ending with a huge gutpunch in the level's final moments. And in the epilogue after it, if you completed the whole game on Legendary, you get to see part of the Master Chief's face.
The Prophet of Truth, Ord Casto, was one of the Big Bads of the Halo series and instigator of the attempted genocide of two species. After finding out that humans were the descendants of Forerunners, thus violating Covenant doctrine, Truth, along with his cohorts Mercy and Regret, decided to wipe out humanity rather than risk their species losing power. While originally more concerned with personal power instead of the Covenant religion, as time went on Truth became more and more devoted to the idea of procuring godhood for himself through the Great Journey, and took more drastic steps to make it a reality. Believing the Jiralhane (Brutes) to be more vicious and mindlessly devoted pawns than the Sangheili (Elites), Truth secretly ordered the genocide of the Sangheili race after ensuring the Jiralhane supplanted them. This triggered the Covenant Civil War. Cold-blooded and ruthless, Truth felt no loyalty or affection for his fellow Prophets. Truth prevented Covenant forces from saving Regret in order to use Regret's death for political gain, and allowed Mercy to die by the parasitic Flood for no reason at all. Even when having evidence that the Halo Rings were not devices to procure godhood but were instead weapons of mass destruction, Truth decided to activate all of them anyway, willing to risk the death of all life in the galaxy just to have the chance to become a god.
Police Commissioner Kinsler is a brutal thug and Dirty Cop who took advantage of the chaos caused by the Covenant's invasion of New Mombasa to carry out his crimes without repercussion. The first time Sadie encounters him, Kinsler reveals his intention to rape and kill her. When Sadie escaped from him with the help of Kinsler's driver, Mike Branley, Kinsler swore revenge on both of them. After Vergil, a subroutine of the AI that maintained New Mombasa's infrastructure, prevents Kinsler from killing Branley and recapturing Sadie, Kinsler responds by shutting the AI down. This has the effect of grinding New Mombasa's evacuation to a hault and causing many unnecessary deaths. Kinsler's final attempt to capture Sadie has him threatening to murder her father if Sadie doesn't willingly turn herself in. When Sadie arrives at Kinsler's private train car, Kinsler's having his corrupt officers fire into the crowd of panicked refugees to prevent them from escaping on his train. Once Sadie's in his clutches, Kinsler reveals that he already murdered her father by flooding his lab with argon and then tries to have his way with her again.
Admiral Cole. Who else would think of nuking a gas giant with 100 Shivas to turn it into a sun and then a supernova to wipe out several hundred Covenant warships?
A requirement for being an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. As the saying goes, "It takes a special kind of Crazy to be a Helljumper".
How Thom-B293 died? Picking up the nuke Kat had been carrying, using his Jetpack to carry it aboard the overhead Covenent Battlecruiser, then lobbing it into the ship's vehicle hanger, before walking out of the hanger as the nuke goes off, blowing up the entire ship and him with it.
Although Thom's death can come off as a Stupid Sacrifice when one considers that the nuke was powerful enough to destroy the ship wherever it was placed, so he could have just chucked into into the gravity lift and then scarpered.
He probably stayed aboard the ship to make sure the Covenant didn't, y'know, throw it back out.
Character Shilling: In addition to being a highly contentious character who many opine should've never reached her rank and command, Palmer is got her own featured spinoff game, and comic. Sgt. Johnson wasn't shilled this much.
Critical Backlash: Considering that Combat Evolved became known as the game that put the XBOX on the gaming map, the franchise as a whole has a few people going "Why does it get all this hype as the best shooter brand out there?"
Crosses the Line Twice: Shooting Grunts in the head? Cruel. Having the head explode with confetti popping out and children cheering? Hilarious.
There isn't one piece of music in this series that doesn't fall into this!
The option to adjust the volume of the music separately from other audio is a technical accreditation requirement for Xbox and Xbox 360 games, much like achievements. Halo games have a special waiver for this requirement, because the music is just that good.
Demonic Spiders: Jackal Snipers, Drones, Stealth Elites, Ranger Elites, Flood Stalker and Ranged forms. And to top it off, Flood Combat Forms in part 2 and 3 on Legendary, maybe Heroic. As usual, they overwhelm you by swarming from above, but with fewer places to hide, and now they can melee while wielding a weapon; a direct melee hit from them is instantly fatal on these difficulties. Flood Infection forms in these games can resurrect ungibbed corpses, grotesquely transform live victims in real-time in part 3, and are instant death if they touch you with your shields down (unlike the first game where you had a chance to shake them off). And God help you if you randomly run into a Combat Form with a Sniper Rifle in 2, who will be just as accurate as a Jackal and will hide in the darkest spot of the room.
In Halo Wars multiplayer, Gauss Hogs are this, with Gunner/Grenadier Hogs only being Goddamned Bats.
Halo 3: ODST introduces two new types of Demonic Spiders: Engineers and Drone Majors. The Engineers have the annoying habit of flying high above the battlefield while broadcasting an overshield to their allies in the area. They can only be easily killed with Sniper or energy weapons. The Drone Major sports recharging energy shields AND rapid-fire Brute plasma rifles. Did we mention that Drones are already almost impossible to hit due to their small size and the way in which they erratically fly around the screen? Bungie, you are NOT NICE PEOPLE!!!
It's telling that Drones were pulled from Firefight in Reach - although half the reason they were cut was because of the addition of Skirmishers, super-powered Jackals who can move as fast and jump as high as Drones. Plus they can carry rifles and use plasma overcharges! Fun!
Emile-A239 gained a great deal of popularity shortly after his first appearance. The fact that he etched a skull into his visor probably had something to do with it. His badass death scene only boosted that.
Escapist Character: John-117 was ranked the eighth greatest video game character of all time by Electronic Gaming Monthly, simply because he doesn't talk much and you can't see his face, so you can easily pretend it's really you inside the armour doing all those badass things.
Many of the people at the Halo Story Page are veterans at WMG, having previously been doing the same thing with the Marathon games.
Franchise Zombie: It was going to end with the second game, but Microsoft made them stretch it out. There have been four new games since, again, mostly due to Microsoft.
Fridge Brilliance: Spartans don't die, they're only missing in action, that is how you respawn when you die! Also, the Gravemind's quotes in Halo 3? You know where he calls you the 'child of my enemy?' Originally we thought it was because humanity were the inheritors of the Forerunner legacy. However new information reveals that thousands of years ago humanity repelled the flood and found a way to destroy them without firing the halo rings. This gravemind has the memories of its predecessor.
Also the monitors near obsessive insistence on firing the rings. They needed to be that way to prevent whoever was about to kill all life in the galaxy from having second thoughts.
In Halo: Reach, we are introduced to Brutes in a level where we are escorting civilians out of a city. Brutes are known for eating humans they've killed. So yeah.
You know the Arbiter, that snarky 7-foot alien buddy of yours that kicks ass? He's the one who, after Jorge died, called in the entire goddamn fleet to Reach. Essentially, the Arbiter/Thel 'Vadam helped murder most of Reach. Yeah.
Genius Bonus: Most of the UNSC rifles have a bullpup design, meaning the magazine is mounted behind the trigger and grip. This allows guns to be more accurate and powerful without making them significantly longer, possibly justifying their higher damage output than present-day guns.
GIFT: Like all online video games, Halo's online portion has had issues with GIFT utilizing Griefers. Unfortunately due to it's popularity, the GIFT has been placed at the forefront, to the point that they are actually Mis-blamed for "creating" it (see the Mis-blamed example below for more)
Goddamned Bats: Yanme'e, aka Drones/Buggers. To the point where Reach's Firefight leaves them out. They're still in Campaign, though, and just as annoying as ever.
Good Bad Bugs: Plenty existed in Reach, but don't worry, they were fixed. Bungie has revealed these at different points:
Look around any Video Game Message board and see a thread about what the Worst/Most Overrated/etc. game is and count how many people say Halo. Yeah this trope is very much in effect.
Halo is actually rather interesting with regards to this trope - in the early/mid 00s, Halo was the symbol of anything done wrong in First-Person Shooter and Video Games in general, and Fan Dumb of othertitles chased any Halo fans out of the board. Now, Call of Duty is "The cancer that's killing gaming", and Halo fans are actually allowed to practice in public.
It Was His Sled: It is quite impossible to hear about the series without hearing about the Flood, who were the major plot twist of the first game. The later released novelization of the first game was even called Halo: The Flood.
Following the announcement of the "Master Chief collection" for Xbox One (Which is a complication of Halos 1, 2, 3 and 4) some gaming outlets have described it as "All of the Halo games in one box!" Cue snarky fans going "All of the Halos! Except for Wars, ODST and Reach!"
The Prophet of Truth crosses this after killing Keyes, if he hadn't already, and Guilty Spark crosses over when he goes Rampant and fatally injures Johnson.
Arguably Truth's Moral Event Horizon came earlier when he ordered the Brutes to kill all the Elites.
The Gravemind crossed it when it tortured Cortana while aboard High Charity. When the Master Chief finally rescues her, Cortana says "You found me" with such pain in her voice that you can't help but both get a lump in your throat and swear that the Gravemind is going to pay for what it did.
Colonel James Ackerson's SPARTAN-III program to some readers, which functions entirely on We Have Reserves.
Misblamed: Halo's userbase has been misblamed for the creation of the "juvenile and unfriendly" gamer. Apparently people haven't heard of the theory of GIFT, which has been in existence long before Halo was even thought of. Halo just brought the issue to light if anything.
My Real Daddy: Bungie created the foundation for Halo but it was Eric Nylund's The Fall of Reach that expanded its universe. The Retcons that began to come about from Halo Wars and Halo: Reach caused a good segment of fans to cry foul over negating FoR's continuity.
The whole Covenant war could also qualify. As well as the fate that befell Durga in the I Love Bees audio drama.
Or what appeared to be the "kid" AI torn to pieces by the main AI in ILB.
The transmissions from Cortana, especially on the titular mission, where she goes rampant for a bit before you rescue her.
The report listing the possible side-effects of the augmentation process is not pleasant.
The Forerunner Saga amps it up with the Flood: in Primordium, several of the characters are trapped on a Halo where assimilated Forerunners, some still alive under the Flood's control, walk around like everyday business. Unused ones are reduced to fleshy puddles, assimilated ones have deformations and extra body parts (including heads), and one is even described as a snake with a Forerunner's face, who is still conscious and in constant pain.
Halo: Evolution's Stomping On the Heel of a Fuss will make you absolutely terrified of Brutes. What do they do when they capture a human-held civilian area? Slaughter every man, woman, and child in it, leave their corpses to rot in the sun as casually as lawn gnomes, and keep the survivors penned up in their own filth, waiting to be let loose so the Brutes can hunt them, or for some bored ones to come over and play tug-of-war with their limbs. Rip. Then, they have a backyard barbecue with the remains, sitting around the campfire talking, laughing, and gnawing on somebody's leg.
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn has much nightmare fuel of its own, from Histati squad being stalked by a spec ops elite without their weapons, to the rain of bodies resulting from the destruction of the space elevator.
Player Punch: The deaths of many favorite characters, including Captain Keyes, Sergent Johnson, and Miranda Keyes.Halo Reach is really just one big Player Punch.
To add even more insult to injury, the game doesn't even actually useDirect X 10; it just runs a check as to whether you have it or not (unsurprising given that it was made for the first-gen Xbox, which used the equivalent of Direct X 8.1!). A simple hacker-made patch allows it to run normally in Windows XP.
Originally, Halo: Combat Evolved was supposed to be a PC game first. That this led to a backlash when the Halo series ultimately became, as the main page says, 'one of the premiere franchises exclusive to the Xbox' is, perhaps, understandable, especially when it was made clear by porting disasters.
Sci-Fi Ghetto: In 2011, Game Informer did a poll on what readers thought was the best military First-Person Shooter up to that point. They threw out the votes for Halo on grounds of it being a sci-fi shooter, not a military shooter. Apparently Game Informer hasn't heard of Military Science-Fiction.
Let's face it, no one's really cared too much for the Drones. Sure,they mightlook kind of cool, but everyone hates fighting them. They have by far the fewest named characters of all the Covenant races (i.e. one), they didn't even show up in Halo Wars, and the fans rejoiced when Bungie announced they wouldn't show up in Halo: Reach's Firefight mode. Their reputation isn't helped by the fact that pretty much the only notable actions their race has made in the EU is brutally murdering Lighter Than Some, one of the most sympathetic and likable characters in the series, and betraying Black Team solely For the Evulz (despite the fact that the betrayers had no interest in even working for the Covenant).
It would be hard to find someone who likes 343 Guilty Spark. You can't tell us you all didn't enjoy finally getting to shut him up at the end of Halo 3.
Scrappy Mechanic - Dual-wielding. Much was made of the new ability to use two guns at the same time in Halo 2... especially when players realized the Magnum ate through shields when paired up. As Bungie tries to give guns, grenades and melees equal standing in combat, they quickly responded: first by nerfing the Magnum in 2, then by making it so dual-wielded weapons did less damage in 3. ODST and Reach both only feature single-wield guns, and the Chief has straight-up forgotten how to dual-wield in 4.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Upon its original release, Halo's combat was praised for its incorporation of three elements in particular: a two-weapon limit, rechargeable shields, and dedicated buttons for instantly-accessible grenade throws and melee attacks. Individually, all these features had been seen before Halo, but they were far from predominant, especially when combined together in a single game like that. Now, they are pretty standard genre conventions among both console and PC FPSs, so these days it's common to hear the Halo series criticized for being "generic" rather than praised for these contributions.
Johnson's death, with the saddest music piece ever conceived by the soundtrack composers.
Miranda's death is just as tragic.
The Master Chief meeting the girl he made a Childhood Marriage Promise with during the First Battle of New Mombasa, only to realize that he can't tell her without compromising the UNSC and the fate of humanity.
From Evolutions: "Henry can have my ice cream."
From Contact Harvest, the epilogue.
Mack:But this winter won't last, darlin'. Not forever. And when new hands set to tending this earth they'll till my pieces under. Grind them into the veins of gold I've laid. Then the roots of all they plant will wind around us — keeping us close — for an eternal summer that will not fade.
The Forerunners' doom, specially when you read the terminals and watch Origins. Even Gravemind seemed to pity them.
After reading Cryptum, there is the possibility that you would cheer the Flood for destroying these bastards
Most of the Spartan deaths in the novels. There's also Kurt's death. Before he blows himself up, he sees every dead Spartan standing with him and they flash him the "Can-do" signal. Whether they were there or he was hallucinating is unclear, but still.
That One Boss: The Halo series only has a few bosses, and generally they are pretty fun on Normal or Heroic, but on Legendary they all easily enter That One Boss territory (except 343 Guilty Spark)
The Prophet of Regret in Halo 2 rides around on a flying chair that makes him immune to all damage except melee attacks after you board his chair. His chair also has an instant death laser on it, the same one the Hunters use. As if that weren't enough, he's also guarded by a trio of Sangeili Honor Guards at all times, along with a bunch of grenade spamming Grunts. This alone wouldn't be so bad, but his mooks constantly respawn. You attack the Prophet, board his throne, punch him a few times and get kicked off the Prophet's chair after he teleports? BOOM! You just got hit with a One-Hit Kill energy sword by one of his Honor Guard. You dispatch a pair of Honor Guards with the Noob combo?. Turns out you spent too much time standing still, and a grenade just landed next you. You try to attack the Prophet only for him to teleport away? Well, turns out he teleported behind you. Instant death laser.
There's also the Heretic Leader in Halo 2. Equipped with a jetpack, near-instant-death dual Plasma Rifles, and holographic doppelgangers that can take almost as much damage as he can and do the same damage.
Tartarus in Halo 2 is also a bitch. He runs just as fast as you do and has a shield that makes him impervious to damage until you can take it down. This means most of the fight will consist of you running away while blindly firing plasma rifles until Johnson decides he wants to snipe him, at which point you have to get in and do as much damage as you can until he turns his shield back on. If you get caught on the scenery or pause for even a millisecond, he will One-Hit Kill you with his gravity hammer.
The Sangeili Field Marshall at the end of Halo: Reach also counts. By himself, he's tough, but manageable, with more health than an Elite Zealot and shields strong enough to withstand two charged plasma pistol shot. He'd be a pushover if it weren't for his squad of Elite Zealots. They distract you while he One-Hit Kill you with his Fuel Rod Gun. If you try to go directly for him, you'll get gunned down by the Zealots. Unlike every enemy in the game, melee with him is suicide since he will rip out an energy sword and One-Hit Kill you.
That One Level: The Library in Halo, High Charity in Halo 2, Cortana in Halo 3; levels where the Flood as the primary opponent seem to be the standard.
Regret. Regret. Regret. Tons of Sniper Jackals (and you thought Outskirts and Metropolis were bad), sometimes in cramped spaces, plus the sadistic gondola rides, designed to make you a sitting duck for Drones, Banshees, Rangers, and BFG-wielding Grunts. And That One Boss, the titular Prophet. You'll regret this, Bungie.
In Halo 4, many believe Infinity, Forerunner and Composer are nearly impossible on Legendary. While not the whole level itself, the part in Midnight where the player must make a break for a portal with Crawlers endlessly spawning until they pass through it pissed off many Legendary players.
A minor example, but still counts: Spec Ops Grunts. In Halo CE, they are about as badass as the lowly grunts can get, frequently armed with Needlers and Fuel Rod Guns and with a cloaking device. In Halo 2, they're still pretty lethal for grunts, but decidedly rarer than before, and also finding one with a heavy weapon is less common. They really start to go downhill in Halo 3/ODST, where the Brutes evidently fuse their rank with the Grunt Ultras, resulting in a grunt that is rare (usually seen "leading" groups of other grunts), has no cloak, never carries anything bigger than a plasma pistol - and can still be killed very easily with a simple headshot. By Reach, they are just used like standard grunts, their only defining features being their dark colouration and their tendency to only appear alongside Elite Zealots.
Truth turned into the old Prophet, Mercy, in Halo 3. He went from a silver-tongued, smooth-talking Machiavellian schemer into a raving lunatic with no method to his madness. Justified in that Truth was slowly going insane after interrogating Guilty Spark and learning that Halo was a weapon.
Woobie Species: Poor Engineers. Initially pacifist critters who just like fixing technology, late in the war many of them end up defecting to the UNSC because of how the Covenant has been mistreating them, such as having bombs strapped to them. And how has Bungie managed to design a species that's both Starfish Alienand cute??
Grunts could also qualify. They're just Slave Mooks that mostly have no real qualm with humanity. Usually they're too tiny and weak to be a threat. Usually. Plus they can be really funny to listen to, like here.
Similarly, the Hunters are a largely peaceful race who are working for the Covenant out of fear. If they don't, the Prophets will nuke their homeworld and most of their race with it.