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!
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?
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!