In the 90’s, a small Mac-only gaming company called Bungie released a first-person shooter (FPS) called Marathon. At the time, Mac users were experiencing a case of FPS-envy from PC owners who were playing games like Doom and Quake. Marathon transformed much of that envy to pride, as the game had great gameplay, a wonderful multi-player mode, and a terrific storyline. It’s this last point separates Bungie’s games from those of other gaming companies. Myth, Oni, and now Halo followed in the tradition of Marathon, the latest running on Microsoft’s new XBox gaming console platform (note: Bungie was bought by Microsoft in 2000).

I first saw a demo movie of Halo on the web several years ago. Halo took the gaming world by storm, but it took a couple more years for consumers to play the game. The wait was worth it. Halo is the best first-person shooter I’ve ever played.

This past Thanksgiving, I spent the last few days housesitting for Eric in San Francisco. I arrived on Thursday morning around 10:00 am and promptly fired up his XBox and Halo. 8 hours later at 6:00 pm, I went to Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt’s place with Randy. The next day, I woke up at 8:00 am and promptly played Halo for 19 hours straight. You heard that right, 19 hours straight! I had definitely contracted a serious case of Halodiction, more commonly known as Halo addiction.

There have been a number of glowing reviews of the game, so I won’t bore you with details of its awesome graphics or incredible sound. Those two points, along with the wonderful storyline, make the player feel immersed in a movie set. The game made me feel like I was in the Aliens world as the Master Chief, with Marines at my side to help me in battle. One great feature of the game your player isn’t tied down to walking or running on the battlegrounds. At your disposal are vehicles like the Warthog jeep (with room for two comfortably!), the Scorpion tank, the Ghost hovercraft or the Banshee airplane. You can drive, fly, or walk your way around the world. Incredible, absolutely incredible!

I went to sleep around 4:00 am on Saturday morning, fully intoxicated by Halo. It came to the point where my fingers were twitching, not uncontrollably, but in the instinctive pattern of playing Halo! When I walked around the house, I moved like the Master Chief moved around corners, peeking a little bit to the right and to the left before moving on. When I drove my car, I saw Halo playing before my eyes. I haven’t felt this way for a game since my Ultima or Wasteland days in the 80’s and early 90’s!

I finally finished the single player game on Saturday afternoon, after about 31 hours of gaming. 8 on Thursday, 19 on Friday, and 4 on Saturday. In the evening, Eric came back, and we played for 10 hours straight in cooperative mode. Co-op mode allows two people to play the entire Halo single player campaign together! The replayability of Halo is great because there are so many ways to make it through each level. When you add two players to the mix, it’s even more fun, because team tactics are now possible. Like I said before, absolutely incredible.

Halo is soooo good that it’ll will make you want to go out and buy an XBox. If you’re a fan of FPS games or consoles, get yourself an XBox and a copy of Halo. You won’t be disappointed, especially when you experience a bout of Halodiction for yourself!

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