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Halo Press Shots analysis (LONG)
Posted By: SimplyDave <>Date: 3/23/01 7:21 a.m.

I've had as mu startup page for months now and I only just noticed that the Marine's head in the top left corner changes from left to right every so often. Chorus of "duh!"s please?

Firstly, major thanks to Char and the team for giving us access to the press pics. Massive resolutions, a 17" monitor and a photo package made this analysis possible.

1. halo_03.01.01_print_1

The Covenant Elite are an interesting species, although we've seen most of these things before I thought I'd try and amalgamate it all; Split hooves for feet, two fingers and a thumb for hands, double-knees, flexible necks and at this resolution we can see grey skin behind the helmet and muzzle-plate around the eyes, reminds me of Gork from Jedi Knight (the really big Sith Jedi with the tiny companion?) they come across as a mix between bipedal horses and snakes.
The hologram of the Shaft is *very* informative. Symbols for various things were already pointed out, but we can also make out information tags pointing to various parts of the structure. Red circular tags for the Covies maybe? The single turquoise tab on the left for our Marine? The "t"s and inverted "t"s denoting elevator access? Or are the "t"s part of the wall behind the hologram?
One last (recurring) thing, behind the Elite on the right's lower right knee, a glowing symbol on the wall. I feel like Deckard going over Leon's photos here.

2. halo_03.01.01_print_2

Here we can see that the Covie on the left is making full use of his physical advantages, maintaining a low profile without losing mobility while the one charging at the Marine is probably barreling quite fast (just think of the speeds a horse can get up to with the same leg configuration)
Love the muzzle-flash, case-less ammo, I think not.
In the background we see three triangular symbols surrounded by grey rectangles, doors to elevators perhaps?
Other than that, nothing remarkable... cept maybe the Marine's busted knee.

3. halo_03.01.01_print_3

At first I thought there wasn't anything to say about this image, the Marine can kneel down, whoop-de-doo. But then it occured to me that the profile of his rifle is raised, pointing down the gap in the floor. When has a game allowed you to position the weapons you carry? Is this player-controlled or simply good screenshot fodder?
No point enlarging the reflections on the Marine's mask, nothing to see here folks.
The bright circle centre left... activation switch maybe for whatever elevator platform raises up to fill that gap in the floor?
Also, if you raise the brighness and contrast I think the Marathon fans might see something on the wall behind the Marine... but nobody here'd be interested in that would they?
Marathon symbols in the architecture? So the Halo is not only connected to the Marathon Universe but built by somebody from it, like Durandal maybe? The symbol repeats above and bellow the rim of the gap...

4. halo_03.01.01_print_4

Activation pads on the floor for the hologram maybe? But why four? Four different destination choices for a teleporter pad? Why is the beam active? Is the Marine waiting to smoke someone on their way in? Again the reflections in the helmet aren't worth noting.

5. halo_03.01.01_print_5

At last some reflections on the helmet to comment on! But shouldn't the muzzle-flash remove all reflections when it's that intense? Nit-picking I suppose and not really a noticable fault. The shadow seems very blocky, the promise of anti-aliasing never held so much value until now.
Also, notice how nice and rounded the shell casings are from every angle? You have to wonder what the poly count of each one is. If you emptied a magazine in record time and looked down would the game slow down as it drew and worked out the trajectory of each and every one?

6. halo_03.01.01_print_6

This is simply a gorgeous screenshot, the purple haze at the base of the Shaft makes it seem deeper than it probably actually is. Is that an elevator platform middle-bottom? In which case the multitude of white circles are either light sources or activation switches for the various levels of the Shaft. Although, again, playing with brightness and contrast, the platform appears to be solid and the circles part of pincer-like structures that jut from the wall, perhaps this is what generates those pulses Matt said we'd be distracted by in the first mission at dusk, in which case, again, what are the pulses' purpose? Not as a weapon, as the Covies didn't build this place, and we're still no closer to guessing the purpose behind the construction of the Halo... intergalactic portal like in the Lost In Space movie? Science project?
Anyway, great Star Wars tribute here in this pic.

7. halo_03.01.01_print_7

I love this image, I used it as wallpaper as soon as I saw it and everyone wanted to know what game it was from. The omni-present Warthog (don't know about you guys but I'd rather see how fast the tank moves and what kind of firepower the massive quad-tracked artillery piece has) seems to have had a turn for the worse, worse still for the Grunts that're going to get crushed by it.
Things worth noting that might seem obvious; The stars are visible in the sky, lovely. The blend between the horizon and the Ring isn't as great as it has been in past images but like I could do better? Somebody mentionned petrified trees, now *that's* attention to detail people. Fragments of rock and a cloud of dust, screenshot flavoring or in-game effects? Also, lens-flare coming from the underside of the Warthog... uh, right.
AI-wise, is the Grunt on the right smart enough to realise that to avoid being crushed he's best getting as close to the petrified tree as he can or was he already running towards the sound of the Warthog's engine when it flipped over the tree?
Two last things, the streched shadow of the Hog on the grass (bottom-right corner) shows time of day but why no shadows under the tree? And the Marine's head and the front wheels show that this was probably an intentional "accident", that he drove deliberately parallel to the tree and then swerved into it to cause the roll.

8. halo_03.01.01_print_8

Anyone notice how flat the horizon is here? Depending on just how far away the edge of the Halo is, shouldn't it be inclined upwards. Anyway, respect on those waves, they're just a perfect detailed touch.
Other nice touches, seperately modelled undercarriage and suspension for the Hog, ammo belt for the mini-gun, tusks at the front (for goreing rammed victims maybe? How delightfully morbid) and a winch. Anyone else want a working winch? Pipe-dream.
Finally, does the Marine actually have something in his hands? Steering column, wheel, anything? I think I see a wheel, but the resolution isn't *that* good. We can't have everything I know, but with all the demand for fpp and tpp while on the ground, what about those of us who like fpp in our driving games?

9. halo_03.01.01_print_9

Our best look at the Grunts. What are you all on about? They have guns, they're going to be cannon-fodder. Save the bitching until you've mown down half a dozen of them with the Hog's mini-gun and enjoy it rather than bemoaning the fact you won't always be up against hard-ass Covie Elites.
Physically they seem like easy targets (easy enough), stumpy legs, flat-based feet (see the one on the left), three "toes", long arms, does anyone else count six fingers and a thumb? Maybe just the texture makes it look that way. Purple skin, dorsal fin and rebreather aparatus. They'd probably make very good heavy-weapon support crews. Steady on their feet, big carry capacity, and able to work underwater (I'd assume if they're using rebreathing aparatus anyway) however, their armor plating leaves a bit to be desired... mainly a gut shot. Any thoughts on the symbol on the chest plate? Their species identifier? Rank? Recharge socket?
One final detail... the planet above the base. It seems distorted, which would lead me to preclude a sky-map stuck on a half sphere overhead. I'm sure once you're inside the game you won't notice though. We'll all be too busy making those Grunt's dance!

I must say in parting that those trees in one of the latest two screenshots do look like some of the best trees I've ever seen in a video-game. Now show us the best tank ever seen in a video game, and then show us the best artwork for a PC game packaging ever seen in a store, and then show us the greatest installation screen ever seen on a home PC, and finally let us play the greatest game ever devised (and it was devised originally) for a PC.


Message Index


Halo Press Shots analysis (LONG)SimplyDave 3/23/01 7:21 a.m.
     Re: Halo Press Shots analysis (LONG)Lixtrim 3/23/01 3:08 p.m.
     Re: Halo Press Shots analysis (LONG)NevinNiven 3/23/01 5:21 p.m.
           Re: Halo Press Shots analysis (LONG)SimplyDave 3/26/01 2:49 a.m.
     Re: Reflectionmnemesis 3/23/01 8:42 p.m.
     More analysis (not quite as long)Morgan 3/24/01 10:06 a.m.
     More analysis (not quite as long)Morgan 3/24/01 10:09 a.m.

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