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LAN PARTY: Halo 2 makes its debut

College campuses nationwide were swept by a man-made disaster that lowered class attendance.

It was not a disease. It was not a drug, but it was still addictive. It was a DVD, but it wasn’t a movie. It was the release of Halo 2 for Microsoft’s X-Box.

The game’s predecessor, Halo, has been hailed as one of the best multiplayer first-person shooters (FPS) for a videogame console.

The game included a single-player mission mode that had a plotline with more depth than most action/adventure movies, and a multiplayer mode that topped all competition for its ingenuity in map design and types of competition.

From the Spring of 2003 to November 8, Eastern gamers reveled in the gaming experience made possible through network play.

With the capability of four X-Boxes (total of 16 players) connecting to compete in games of Capture the Flag or Slayer (“who can kill who” more), Halo was an instant success.

At the stroke of midnight, November 9, the original Halo was abandoned, and its progeny was welcomed with open arms.

Sophomore Zachary Royle left for King of Prussia mall at 9 p.m. to receive a copy of the special edition of the game, which included a DVD of the Making of Halo 2 documentary.

“Since the game wasn’t released until midnight, I waited for three hours at the head of what eventually became a very long line.”

Halo 2 has outdone its predecessor in every way. In the single-player missions, there is no longer one main character.

Originally, the “Master Chief,” a cyborg who fought for the humans, was the only playable character. Now, the “Arbiter,” an alien part of the Covenant Elite (aka “the bad guys”) is the character used for half of the missions.

The game’s plot ends questioning who is truly good or bad, and what is to be done about the crisis of the remaining six “Halos” waiting to destroy the galaxy. Not the most satisfying ending, but complex enough to deserve praise.

Of course, for the college gamer, nothing is more worthwhile than the community-driven multiplayer experience.

The numbers of weapons and vehicles have doubled, the maps are larger and more complex and now any player can customize their character to a degree that was never available in Halo.

Fortunately, it seems that students on the whole are still being responsible enough to stop playing when it is time for class, but the occasional late-night network game has not been uncommon.

Halo 2 is clearly the new choice of the college gamer.

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