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Why We Love Halo: Combat Evolved's Pistol

Felix Kemp
Features, Halo: Combat Evolved, Why We Love

Why We Love Halo: Combat Evolved's Pistol

Halo: Combat Evolved is a classic for a multitude of reasons. For one, it almost single-handedly rescued the original Xbox from disaster, revolutionized what we came to expect from a console FPS, and delivered some of the finest moment-to-moment action and multiplayer. It's no mistake Halo went on to shatter sales records, reshape online gaming and establish itself as a mass-media property. And it all began here.

And while I love Halo for its bombastic action, its addictive multiplayer and sweeping space-opera strokes, what I remember most fondly from Combat Evolved was the chubby silver pistol you carried on your adventures. It's been almost a decade since we first crash-landed on the lost ring, when the Chief first plucked that hand-cannon from his hip, so I think it's only fitting we cast our gazes back to remember... Why We Love Halo: Combat Evolved's Pistol!

One-Shot, What!

Why We Love Halo: Combat Evolved's Pistol

The Assault Rifle might be the Chief's signature weapon, but it was always the trusty Pistol I turned to when times were rough. And by rough, I mean cowering behind a boulder on Legendary as Covenant bombard my position with plasma fire. The Pistol could drop a Grunt or Jackal with a single headshot, an Elite with three or four raps to the noggin, and even the mighty Hunter with a sole shell to the fleshy orange parts he so proudly displays between his turquoise armor-plating. Is it turquoise? It might just be blue, or perhaps a shade of lapis-lazuli.

The Pistol was a feared weapon on the competitive battlefield, too. It could kill a rival Spartan in just three shots if you aimed at the head, and its on-board scope, wired to your Spartan's optics, meant distance wasn't a problem. On maps such as 'Boarding Action', where you can teleport from each parallel Cruiser's exposed flank, the Pistol was a beast, that far-off shot and subsequent ping to your shields and health suggesting you hightail it to some cover. It was a much-loved but also much-maligned weapon, obviously overpowered but a joy to wield, nonetheless.

Would The Real Pistol, Please Stand Up?

Why We Love Halo: Combat Evolved's Pistol

In Combat Evolved's followup, Halo 2, the Pistol was replaced by the Magnum, a lesser version of the gun we all know and loved, with its reduced power and range compensated by the ability to dual-wield. Yes, you could rock two Pis - , I mean Magnums now, and while it was great fun to fire from the hip at dozens of Grunts like some futuristic John Woo character, I couldn't help but mourn the loss of the all-conquering Pistol.

Bungie recognised this, although while Halo 3's Pistol brought back the silver finish it, too, was a glorified pea-shooter. We were forced to wait until 2009, and the release of ODST, for a true resurrection. ODST's Pistol was a dream, a silenced, accurate death-machine which dropped Grunts, Jackals and even Brutes with no more than five whisper-quiet shots. With the ODST's reduced armory, skills and strength, the Pistol with the power of Combat Evolved allowed us to navigate the overrun streets of New Mombasa with our lives intact. Thank Bungie.

Did you mourn the loss of Combat Evolved's pistol as dramatically as we did? Or were you thankful to see the headshot-master removed and replaced with a lesser weapon? As always, sign off in the comments below!

Add a comment2 comments
Jonathan Lester  Dec. 19, 2010 at 14:44

Nice one, it's about time the best pistol ever (except maybe the MagSec) got a decent shout out. Halo CE's M6D was bloody brilliant, especially in multiplayer. The fact that newly-respawned players could instantly threaten campers and make a difference straight away provided excellent balance. I need a weapon!

I think Halo Reach got it right, balance-wise... but it's been shafted by the DMR for all but the closest engagements.

Out of interest, I'm almost certain that ODST's M6S is much less powerful than the original hand cannon. Still a nifty piece of kit, mind.

John  Dec. 19, 2010 at 14:51

I've never understood why people liked the original Halo pistol when it was such an incredibly unbalanced weapon, any time you have people favouring a pistol over sniper rifles for long range firefights there's clearly something very wrong with the design of the game.

The sniper rifle in the original Halo was reasonably well balanced, while it offered long range and deadly one shot kills no-one started with it, the shots were loud allowing you locate snipers by sound and it left a white trail allowing you to identify exactly where the sniper fired from. In comparison everyone started with the pistol so there was no shortage of them, its range was as good as the snipers (although with a lesser zoom) and while it was a little less powerful it didn't shout out to everyone advertising its owner's location. This led to utterly stupid firefights on large maps like Blood Gulch with players sniping each other across the map using pistols.

I'm surprised you've omitted the reincarnated version of the pistol which is undoubtedly the DMR, sure it may not look or sound the same but don't be fooled as this is the closest weapon there has been to the original pistol. Again in many gametypes most people start with one and it's prety powerful and accurate at range although not quite as accurate as the original pistol. I think the DMR is a good starting weapon for Firefight when you're up against increasinly heavily armed opponents but I think it's a poor choice of starting weapon for many of the competitive gametypes.

Thank Bungie they realised their stupid mistake with the pistol and in subsequent made the pistol behave like...well a pistol. Fingers crossed some day they'll finally sort out the Banshee which unlike it's Halo PC fuel rod counterpart has never been properly balanced and is a complete mess in Reach.



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