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Video Game / Halo: Combat Evolved

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"I think we're just getting started."
The Master Chief, Halo: Combat Evolved

Halo: Combat Evolved (released on November 15, 2001) introduced the Halo series from relatively Humble Beginnings. Humanity has been losing a war against the Covenant for the last 27 years, with the game taking place right after humanity has just suffered a devastating defeat at their most important colony, Reach. The story begins In Medias Res as the human warship the Pillar of Autumn, which had just escaped Reach, comes under attack by Covenant pursuers and is forced to make a crash landing on a mysterious ring-shaped mega-structure worshiped by the Covenant, known as Halo.

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


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

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


After many rumours of a remake for its tenth anniversary, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary was released by 343 Industries on November 15, 2011. The intended goal of the remake was to update the graphics, but otherwise replicate the gameplay and story exactly: the campaign mode uses the original Halo engine for gameplay, with a new, togglable graphics layer on top. The remake's multiplayer is run out of Halo: Reach, using a set of playlists that have been balanced to replicate the feel of Combat Evolved. The disc also comes with access to the Anniversary Map Pack, a new set of Reach maps that includes fan favorites from Halo 2 and Halo PC in addition to most of the maps from Combat Evolved. There is also a fan-made mod for the Custom Edition that overhauls graphics and level layout, and adds in the weapons and enemies of the more modern Halo games; it has its own page here.

Three years later, the Anniversary version would see a rerelease on the Xbox One as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The single player version is the same as the Xbox 360 version from 2011 (complete with the switchable graphics), but the original game's multiplayer mode has also been restored, meaning the original game's multiplayer is playable on Xbox LIVE for the first time.

This game is also the only entry in the series to have an official novelization, Halo: The Flood.

Halo: Combat Evolved contains examples of:

  • Abandon Ship: The first level, featuring the crew doing a staged evacuation of the Pillar of Autumn while holding back Covenant boarders. Of course, after evacuating the only location to land on is the Halo ring itself, setting the stage for the rest of the game.
  • Affably Evil: 343 Guilty Spark, who remains oh-so-polite even after he turns on you.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted by Cortana, who remains on your side. 343 Guilty Spark, on the other hand...
  • Alien Sky: Anytime you have a decent view of the sky, you will see the gas giant planet Threshold. Also, the ring itself curves up and away in opposite directions. Oddly enough, if you look closely at the ring in the distance, you will see an obvious lighting error.
  • All There in the Manual: The events of Reach and many other elements of the war with the Covenant were explained in the Expanded Universe novels, most notably Halo: The Fall of Reach. There's also Halo: Reach (not to be confused with the book), which is a direct prequel to this game.
  • Alternate Reality Game: The "Cortana Letters", while not a true ARG, served as a foreshadowing of things to come in the promotion of subsequent installments. These were a series of e-mails sent from Bungie-controlled addresses (and a couple of hidden messages on the discs of other Bungie games) to notable Marathon fandom people, authored by an AI entity named Cortana, intent on warning humanity about an impending alien invasion. Over the course of the letters, she shared details about "the humorless war machine" she has to share processing space with, and the religious zealots "whose main form of worship takes place at the altar of orbital bombardment", as well as the "unbroken ring" whose creators have simply vanished. While many of the details revealed in this way back in 1998-1999 have since changed significantly (particularly in terms of Cortana's own characterization), the Letters nonetheless gave away quite a good chunk of the game's plot.
  • Ancient Keeper: 343 Guilty Spark, the Monitor AI of Halo.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Flood gets introduced through a video recording from the helmet cam of a (deceased) Marine named Jenkins. If you read the novelization, though, you find out that Jenkins wasn't dead at all — he'd been turned into a combat form, but had somehow retained his consciousness, turning it into an And I Must Scream scenario.
  • Artificial Brilliance: The unit A.I. in Halo: Combat Evolved was quite a step up from its contemporaries, and was praised by critics as one of its best technical points. Much of the player base likewise found the challenge of "smart" enemies to be a huge appeal of the game's combat.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: Nuclear reactors are not bombs.
  • Bash Brothers: Hunters are always encountered in pairs. If you kill one, the other gets pissed. HARD.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Basically what the Halo rings were designed to do; specifically, they kill all sentient life in the galaxy in order to starve the Flood.
  • BFG: The Fuel Rod Gun, especially when wielded by tiny Grunts. The weapon is unusable by the player in the Xbox version.
  • Bleak Level: "343 Guilty Spark", which features few enemies and lots of wrecked equipment to drive home the creepiness factor. Most of the level is designed to confuse the hell out of players, playing initially more like a Horror game with guns than an FPS.
  • Body Horror: All victims of the Flood suffer this, especially Captain Keyes.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The game begins and ends on the Pillar of Autumn.
    • In a more general example, the last three levels of the game consist of most of the entire first half, but revisited in the opposite order of when you first came through them.
  • Boring, but Practical: As you may learn from Jackals on Legendary, the plasma pistol is extremely useful when paired with a fast trigger finger. Semiauto fire + very short overheat + good against health AND shields = murder machine. The only gun that can compete with it for sheer damage output is the shotgun at close range. Plus you don't have to worry about chewing through batteries because it's the most common gun in the game!
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Elite Zealots.
  • Big Bad: Unlike subsequent games, Halo 1 is notable for not having any; 343 Guilty Spark is the most personal enemy in the game, but he only controls the Sentinels.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The threat of the Flood and Halo is destroyed by the destruction of the ring. As a result, everyone still on the ring was killed, with Master Chief and Cortana seemingly the only two UNSC survivorsnote . Not only that, but humanity is still losing its war against the Covenant.
  • Captain Obvious: Cortana.
  • Cannon Fodder: The Grunts.
  • The Captain: Captain Keyes is running the show.
  • Car Fu: "Roadkill!" In fact, this is almost to Exaggerated levels, given that even the slightest nudge from a vehicle is an instant death. This was a result of the limited physics engine at the time which had difficulty translating collision forces into damage, hence any hit was made lethal.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Behold, the following:
    Cortana: "This thing is falling apart!"
    Master Chief: "It'll hold."
    Cortana: "We're not going to make it!"
    Master Chief: "We'll make it."
    Cortana: "Pull up! Pull up!"
    Cortana: "... You did that on purpose."
  • Chekhov's Gun: Captain Keyes mentions his 'neural lace' in the very first conversation the Chief has with him. The Chief is later forced to retrieve these implants to allow Cortana to trigger the Pillar of Autumn's reactor meltdown.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: One of the most popular features of the game, allowing for two identical Chiefs to fight through the campaign at the same time. Sadly, it was not available on the PC port, presumably for compatibility reasons (co-op was split-screen-only, but no split-screen mode was present in the PC version at all. Do the math).
    • On a side note, if Master Chief is the lone protagonist hero of the game, who is the carbon copy Player 2 is running around as? The novels implied that co-op mode takes place in an alternate reality where Master Chief's fellow Blue Team member Linda, who was fatally injured but placed into stasis aboard the Autumn, was still in fighting shape. This was confirmed in the Anniversary remake. Remember how in the original game, there is a terminal in the Pillar of Autumn's cryo bay that shows the vital signs of the Master Chief in his cryotube? In Anniversary's co-op mode, there are now two terminals, with the second identifying Linda as the inhabitant of the cryotube that the second player emerged from.
  • Copy-and-Paste Environments: The game is based on a pseudo-sandbox-style level design, with you having to traverse many locations that are basically identical in appearance. While other Halo games are guilty of this, it is most noticeable here, since this game takes place entirely on Halo; you not only travel through several identical areas, but some levels are literally prior levels done backwards.
  • Deflector Shields: Master Chief, the Elites, and the Sentinels are protected by these.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The Control Room.
  • Disney Death: Sergeant Johnson's apparent death got retconned into being this in Halo: First Strike and Halo 2. Even though, despite his fairly low screen time, Bungie did everything but show his actual death.
    • The Legendary ending does show him to be on the ring when it explodes, but this was obviously non-canon; Bungie later jokingly stated that it was his twin brother instead.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Marines do not tolerate treason - kill more than a couple of them and the rest will mutiny. And they're pretty formidable opponents, so keep them on your side.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: No Brutes or Drones, you can't pick up energy swords, you can't pick up fuel rod guns (in the Xbox version), no one can hijack enemy vehicles (in fact the vehicles are indestructible, except for when the Covenant ones are occupied), and the pistol is stupidly powerful (though the pistols from Halo: Reach onward are no slouches either).
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Granted, Halo is an artificial world, but the last few levels have you trying to engineer one.
  • Elite Mooks: The Elites, obviously. In the level "Keyes" you begin fighting tougher, black-armored Special Operations variants who can do things like throw grenades.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The Elites come in more varieties than any other enemy. Also, the Master Chief himself is a highly elite Super Soldier.
  • Enemy Chatter: The Grunts always have something to say: "Wake up! Bad guys!" "He's here!" "Look out!" "Run away!" "Shoot you!" "Die Devil!" "HE'S UNSTOPPABLE!" "LEADER DEAD! RUN AWAY!" "GET IT OFF! GET IT OFF!" "OOH, AAH, GET IT OFF OF ME!!" "NO-HO-HO-HOOOOOO!!!"
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: Foes appear as red dots on your motion tracker, and friendlies appear as yellow dots.
  • Escort Mission: The last part of "The Truth and Reconciliation".
  • Exact Time to Failure: The last Warthog run through the Pillar of Autumn takes place whilst a number of nuclear reactors are in the process of undergoing a massive meltdown, followed by a huge explosion. Cortana helpfully places a very exact timer onto your HUD to show when the meltdown will occur.
    • Interestingly, the time can actually halt and change throughout the section as the situation changes. This tends to suggest that the time displayed is actually Cortana's prediction of how much longer they have to be able to Outrun the Fireball in time, rather than when the final detonation will actually occur.
  • Failsafe Failure: The last level has you deliberately engineering one.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The level "Keyes". You'll never reach the captain in time to save him no matter how quickly you clear the level. Made all the worse due to Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence below.
  • Fan Remake: The Halo: Custom Edition for PC allows a number of mods to be made to the single-player campaign. CMT (custom map team) campaigns have been released with content from the entire franchise, including new/reworked weapons, vehicles, enemies and mechanics alongside modern-quality graphics.
  • First-Person Ghost: The one game in the series where this is played straight.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There's one for the entire trilogy. In the Control Room, you can see a hologram of the ring that you're on (Installation 04 aka Alpha Halo), but you can also clearly see holograms of six other rings.
    • Sgt. Johnson's pre-battle speech on the Pillar of Autumn on Legendary difficulty yields this:
    Sgt. Johnson: Well, I don't care if it's God's own anti-son-of-a-bitch-machine or a giant hula hoop; we're not going to let them have it!
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Most of the Covenant weapons.
  • Genre Shift: The game starts as a Military Science-Fiction FPS where you're fighting against intelligent enemy aliens, but midway, it turns into Survival Horror once the Flood arrives.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Since the Flood is so dangerous, Halo is meant to wipe out absolutely all life in the galaxy in order to starve them out.
  • Hand Cannon: The Magnum pistol fires a .50 calibur explosive bullet.
  • Hanging Separately: The UNSC and the Covenant, despite both being attacked by both the Flood and Sentinels, are unwilling to help each other. In fact, Covenant enemies will prioritize Master Chief even when being attacked at that moment by the Flood. Justified in that the Covenant are waging a holy war against humanity, and the Chief is seen as their version of the Anti-Christ; neither these new aliens nor the robot servants of the gods they worship are going to stop them from killing some more humans.
  • Harder Than Hard: The Legendary difficulty setting. As it says in-game: "This is suicide."
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Hunters are nearly invincible unless you can shoot them in their orange weak spots, you hit them with enough grenades, or happen to have a rocket launcher. Or a tank.
  • Homage: The Halo worlds are a direct homage to Larry Niven's Ringworld books.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: The level "Keyes" has the character start literally in the hallway right next to the end point, but is inaccessible due to locked doors. You can actually see into the room through a metal grating.
    • Likewise, just down the hall is a hole in the ship which you must jump down to continue through the level, but is easily small enough a gap for someone like the Master Chief to make.
  • Invisible Monsters:
  • Justified Tutorial: You're taught how to control your character under the pretext of a post-cryosleep examination. This is skipped entirely in co-op or on higher difficulties.
  • Laser Blade: Most gold-armored Elite Zealots and some Stealth Elites have Energy Swords which can waste you with one hit on any difficulty higher than Easy (where you can tank a couple of hits before dying).
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Higher ranks of each enemy type are distinguished by the color of their armor. For example, red Grunts are better than orange grunts.
  • Left the Background Music On: In one of the cutscenes, some Marines are heading into battle while generic Heavy Metal plays. One of them asks "Why do we always have to listen to the old stuff?" and Sergeant Johnson replies that it is part of Earth's culture.
    • Word of God is that Bungie originally planned to license Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" or Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black" for this scene, but was vetoed, resulting in the generic electric guitar.
  • Level in Reverse: Half of the game is you moving into areas to fight the Covenant. The last third is you pulling back to escape the Flood.
  • Limited Loadout: Trope Codifier for the modern First-Person Shooter. Master Chief can wield any two of the game's eight weapons and four of each of the two types of grenades at once. Melee attacks with whatever's currently in your hands are always an option, too. Interestingly, compared to most later games which copied this trope from Halo, this game also had it go hand-in-hand with Throw-Away Guns: no one weapon was useful for every situation (the most general split being that Covenant plasma weapons cut through shields quickly but barely damaged people, while human kinetic weapons bounced off of shields but tore up people), and you would have to learn how to think ahead and know when to drop a weapon you like and/or are good with in favor of something with more plentiful ammo or which dealt with the current situation better.
  • Marathon Level: "Assault on the Control Room". "The Library" can also feel like this.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Sentinels, floating Forerunner drones that shoot lasers.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The later missions feature a four-way conflict between the UNSC, the Covenant, Halo's Sentinels, and the Flood.
  • Missing Mission Control: At the end of "Assault on the Control Room", Master Chief leaves Cortana behind to go and rescue Keyes, only returning two levels later. This is done so that the Chief's one constant companion is missing for your first encounter with the Flood.
  • Mooks but No Bosses: Not counting the Reactor Boss mentioned below, this trope is played straight.
  • No Name Given: John-117 is never referred to by name in this game, only by his rank.
  • Non-Combatant Immunity: Until you get a weapon in "The Pillar of Autumn," you never directly engage Covenant soldiers. That said, you can still take damage from stray shots.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: You fight virtually no enemies during the beginning of "343 Guilty Spark", in order to build suspense.
  • One-Word Title: Bungie intended for the game's title to be just "Halo" alone, but as explained below, a Publisher Chosen Subtitle was added.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Flood are Parasite Zombies; if one of their small, popcorn-like Infection Forms is able to latch on to an unshielded victim, said victim turns into a Combat Form armed with Combat Tentacles. These Combat Forms aren't just fast; they're also smart enough to use guns. And smart enough to hijack spaceships.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Master Chief has to race through the Pillar of Autumn while it's exploding.
  • Overheating: Covenant plasma weapons will overheat if fired continuously.
  • Plot Coupon: The Index, which is needed to activate Halo.
  • Powered Armor: Master Chief's MJOLNIR Mark V suit.
  • Precursor Killers: The Flood. More accurately, the Forerunners were forced to kill themselves and almost all other life in the galaxy in order to stop the Flood.
  • ''Psycho'' Strings/Drone of Dread: Typically used in music associated with the Flood, such as "Shadows (Between Beams)", "Suite Autumn (Suite Fall)", "What Once was Lost (Unfortunate Discovery)", "Lament for Pvt. Jenkins (Private Service)", "Trace Amounts (Bad Dream)", "Library Suite (Dewey Decimate)", "Devils.. Monsters (Demons and Heretics)" and "Alien Corridors (Xenoarcheology)". The Anniversary remastered tracks especially turn up the horror factor.
  • Reactor Boss/Unplanned Manual Detonation: Cortana sets a counter to detonate the Pillar of Autumn's engines... and 343 Guilty Spark stops it. Master Chief then has to do the job with rockets and grenades.
  • Redshirt: The ship crewmen from the first couple of levels. They have less health than even a Grunt, and are only armed with pistols (if at all). Some of them even wear red uniforms!
  • Redshirt Army: The UNSC Marines. Useless for almost everything except manning your Warthog's gun. Unless they have Sniper Rifles.
  • Regenerating Shield, Static Health: The only game in the series to play this 100% straight; later games went for full-on Regenerating Health or had the "shields" be replaced with something else noticeably weaker.
  • The Reveal: We have two regarding Halo's purpose. The first is that it's a containment facility designed to contain the Flood for study and research. The second is that Halo itself is a weapon that can kill all sentient life within 25,000 light years - and already has done so once before.
  • Salt the Earth: Taken Up to Eleven by the Halo arrays. They work by wiping out all sentient life within their range so as to deny the Flood any viable hosts.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Covenant.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: In the final mission, Cortana states that the Pillar of Autumn's self destruction will produce an explosion with a temperature of almost 100 million degrees (presumably Fahrenheit); this would be nearly 4 times as hot as the core of the sun. If this measurement is in Celsius, then 100 million degrees would be just enough to cause hydrogen to undergo nuclear fusion, which would create an explosion equal to a standard nuclear bomb that is nowhere near the explosion that destroys Halo.
  • Sealed Cast in a Multipack: If you play co-op, this is how both players begin the game. Otherwise it is simply Sealed Badass in a Can.
  • Sequel Hook: Master Chief muses at the end that this is only the beginning of something bigger. After the credits you can see Guilty Spark humming to himself, flying through space.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: Jackals, who carry energy shields vulnerable to plasma, and Hunters, who carry shields impervious to everything except heavy weapons.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Many to Bungie's older First-Person Shooter series Marathon, to which Halo is a Spiritual Successor. As Matt Seoll (who ran Bungie PR from the Marathon era up through the first Halo title) said, "Anyone will be able to enjoy Halo, but the ones who will enjoy it the most will be the old-school fans."
    • The "Bandanna" skull in the Anniversary release is a shout out to Metal Gear Solid, where Snake can get a bandanna that gives infinite ammo.
    • A notice at the back of the Pillar of Autumn's bridge mentions a missing cat named "Jonesy".
    • The opening scene is very reminiscent of Aliens.
  • Sniper Pistol: The M 6 D pistol, literally so, as it's one of only two scoped weapons in the game. It's the single most practical weapon in the game, with a much higher accuracy and stopping power than the so-called "Assault Rifle".
  • Sniping Mission: The first part of "The Truth and Reconciliation".
  • Sole Survivor: At the end of the game, you are the only human who manages to escape Halo. This was later retconned in the novel Halo: First Strike.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the Marathon trilogy. Pretty much every single bit of human tech, signage or terminology (as well as the related gameplay mechanics), except for the appearance and gameplay functionality of the MJOLNIR armour, was lifted wholesale from Marathon and into Halo.
  • Standard FPS Guns: This game features a fairly standard lineup when it comes to the human weapons. Even with the Covenant weapons, one of them is simply a plasma variant of the Assault Rifle.
  • Sticky Bomb: Plasma grenades. Most enemies panic when stuck with one of these.
    Covenant Grunt: "OOH, AAH, GET IT OFF OF ME!!" (BOOM!) "GET IT OFF!! GET IT OFF!!" (BOOM!)
  • Stock Footage: Due to a coding error, Sgt. Johnson drives a Warthog behind Sgt. Johnson in his introductory speech. Anniversary, built on the same code, kept itnote .
  • Tank Goodness: The Scorpion tank is an unstoppable force.
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: The main theme gets redone for many other tracks in the game. For instance, "Perilous Journey" gives it a slightly understated variation and a different time signature, while "Ambient Wonder" is, predictably, an ambient remix.
  • Theory of Narrative Causality: After concluding they need to self-destruct the Autumn to prevent Halo from being fired, Cortana states they need to retrieve the activation code from Captain Keyes' neural implant. Yet, when the self-destruct sequence is cancelled by Guilty Spark in the final level, the Chief just asks if they could destroy the engine manually. Getting Keyes' neural implant was never necessary to begin with, and the entire "Keyes" level (along with the first half of the last) could have just been skipped if they decided to do it that way from the start. To be fair (and this is brought up in the novelization The Flood), from "343 Guilty Spark'' on, the player is operating completely outside his chain of command, answering only to Cortana. Going to find Keyes may have been a matter of reporting on the current state of affairs, as well as potentially warning any surviving Marines about the far greater threat the Flood pose.
  • The Unfought: Guilty Spark again.
  • Timed Mission: The Warthog Run, aka the final section of the final level "The Maw".
  • Tractor Beam: The Gravity Lift that allows passage in and out of the Truth and Reconciliation.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • In "343 Guilty Spark", there is the Paranoid Marine, a Marine driven crazy by the (then un-encountered) Flood who will slowly shoot at the player when approached.
    • There is only one group of Flood Combat Forms that use active camouflage in the game, encountered if you stay too long inside the armoury in "The Maw".
  • Villain Decay: Starting with the events following The Reveal, the Covenant gets hit with this hard.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Guilty Spark, who only wants to fire Halo (and thus kill all sentient life in the galaxy) in order to stop the Flood.
  • Wham Episode: "343 Guilty Spark". The Flood appears, as an Outside-Context Problem.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Just as Chief is about to activate Halo, Cortana finally manages to free herself and angrily asks, "Do you know what he almost made you DO?!" Activating Halo rids the galaxy of the Flood by wiping out all of its food. That is, all life.
    • A more literal example: if the player betrays his teammates, they will tolerate one death before turning on him, often times yelling some version of this (ie "What the hell, dumbass?"). However, if the player kills Captain Keyes during "The Pillar of Autumn", Cortana will rather hilariously yell "What the hell?" before calling in marine security teams to kill you.
  • You Just Had to Say It: After you first enter the titular Covenant ship in "The Truth and Reconciliation", a marine comments that there might not be any Covenant on board. Immediately after, enemy contacts show up on the motion tracker. A second marine chides the first for tempting fate.
    UNSC Marine: What? There's no Covenant? Think maybe nobody's home.
    ''(Covenant attack in large groups)
    Second UNSC Marine: Contact! LOTS OF CONTACT!! 'No Covenant.' YA HAD TO OPEN YOUR MOUTH!!
  • Your Size May Vary: The Pillar of Autumn is at least three times bigger in the final set-piece than it should be, with you explicitly driving at least 3 km along its 1.17km spine to reach the Longsword space fighter. This happened due to the fact that the interior layout of the levels which take place on the Autumn were done before the exterior had been decided on and finalized. It's quite funny because in every other aspect of the game, Bungie went to excruciating detail in creating the scale of the game accurately.

Tropes relating specifically to the remake, Halo: Combat Evolved: Anniversary:

  • Arc Number: Guilty Spark mentions offhand that the original plan was to build twelve Halo installations instead of seven...note 
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: One terminal has Captain Keyes struggling to remember who he is and fighting off the Flood infection. By the end, the voice of the Gravemind can be heard.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The purpose of the Bandanna Skull. Remember all that time you kept running out of ammo during "The Library"? Now, you never lose ammo when that skull is on. And you can still get achievements with it.
  • Call-Forward: The terminals in Anniversary are video logs kept by Guilty Spark. One in particular has him talking about how he hasn't heard from 2401 Penitent Tangent (the Monitor of Installation 05) for some time, and wondering if containment was breached.
  • Canon Welding: The terminals interconnect a lot of the other games and expanded universe together, as the series has evolved significantly since the original game. Guilty Spark narrates most of them, with references to the other Monitors and things that showed up in later games and novels.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The terminal videos have several, including to the expanded universe. In particular, Guilty Spark references a number of things from The Forerunner Saga novel trilogy.
    • The Keyes terminal showing Keyes and his mental struggle with the Proto-Gravemind is an expanded version of a scene that was in Halo: The Flood. A young Dr. Halsey also appears in flashbacks from Keyes' memories, and her appearance is similar to what she looks like in the Halo Legends anime, with elements of her Halo: Reach design. Their daughter, a major figure in the next two games, also makes an appearance.
    • Linda-058 can be seen on the cryo bay status monitor next to the Chief, a nod to Halo: The Fall of Reach and Halo: First Strike.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Keyes is shown in this as John finds him absorbed by the Flood.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: The terminals show Guilty Spark going crazy over time. Can't blame the guy, though. I mean, if you had to stay alone on a giant space ring for over 100,000 years, wouldn't you go a bit... insane?
  • Mind Rape: Terminal 9 shows the excruciating ordeal Keyes goes through as he tries to prevent the Flood from shifting through his memories for valuable intel.
  • Shot-for-Shot Remake: Anniversary is identical in nearly every respects to the first game; the original game engine is used with a modern texturing engine overlapping it to give it new high-definition graphics and framerate. That means the game plays exactly the same (complete with a feature to toggle between the old and new graphics on the fly) and the cutscenes are similarly remastered (although, on close observation, it can be noticed that the cutscenes have been slightly modified from the original, primarily in character animation - most noticeable on the secret Legendary ending). Because of that, it isn't quite up to par with then-contemporary next-generation graphics; instead, it's about on par with 2007's Halo 3
    • The only actual changes are the inclusion of terminals hidden within the original levels containing videos that tie the franchise more closely together as well as hint towards the story of the then-upcoming Halo 4, and unlockable skulls that can be used to modify gameplay when replaying the levels.
  • Shout-Out: The Marine that Master Chief rescues at the end of "The Pillar of Autumn" now looks almost exactly like Marcus Fenix, the hero of Gears of War, the Xbox 360's other major exclusive shooter franchise (and he's noticeably missing if you examine the bodies at the crash site in the next level).
  • Updated Re-release/Video Game Remake: Anniversary is a bit of both. The single-player mode actually runs on the original Halo: Combat Evolved engine, but with updated graphics using some assets taken from Halo: Reach alongside updated sound effects (excluding dialogue), redone cutscenes, and a remixed soundtrack. The multi-player mode, on the other hand, has been rebuilt from the ground up using the Reach engine. It was then upgraded further for Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

Alternative Title(s): Halo 1