The Halo became a standard feature in sacred art of the angel and of all heavenly beings by the 4th century C.E. The halo signifies divine radiance, and marks membership in the Kingdom of Light -- representing nearness to God.

The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Indians and Romans used halos to depict supernatural force, mystical states and superior intellect. In Egypt and Greece the halo was associated with the sun and with resurrection. In the Eleusinian mysteries the sacrificed and reborn god, usually Dionysus, was portrayed with a halo.

In Christian art the saints, Jesus and the Virgin Mary wear halos, as do the angels.

In the East, crowns and headdresses substitute for halos, but bear the same significance. A halo or crown also can be seen as the radiance of the crown chakra, which is prominent in persons of advanced spiritual development.

Halo is a first person shooter, or FPS, with some third person perspectives thrown in occasionally. It is exclusively for the Microsoft XBox, but will supposedly soon come out for the PC. It is developed by Bungie Software, famous for the Marathon series on Macintosh computers.

The Story So Far (from the manual)

The year is 2552. Planet Earth still exists, but overpopulation has forced many of her former residents to colonize other worlds. Fasther-than-light travel is now a reality, and Earth's unified government, through the United Nations Space Command, has put its full weight behind the colonization effort; millions of humans now live on habitable planets in other solar systems. A keystone in humanity's colonization efforts is the planet Reach, an interstellar naval yard that builds colony ships for civilians and warships for the UNSC's armed forces. Conveniently close to Earth, Reach is also a hub of scientific and military activity.

Thirty-two years ago, contact with the out colony Harvest was lost. A battlegroup sent to investigate was almost completely destroyed; only one badly damaged ship returned to Reach. Its crew told of a seemingly unstoppable alien warship that had effortlessly annihilated their forces.

This was humankind's first encounter with a group of aliens they eventually came to know as the Covenant, a collective of alien races united in their fanatical religious devotion. Covenant religious elders declared humanity an affront to the gods, and the Covenant warrior caste waged a holy war on upon humanity with gruesome diligence.

After a series of crushing defeats and obliterated colonies, UNSC Admiral Preston Cole established the Cole Protocol: no vessel may inadvertently lead the Covenant to Earth. When forced to withdraw, the ships must avoid Earth-bound vectors-even if that means jumping without proper navigational calculations. Vessels in danger of capture must self-destruct.

On Reach, a secret military project to create cyborg super-soldiers takes on new-found importance. The soldiers of the SPARTAN-II project rack up an impressive record against the Covenant in test deployments, but there are too few of them to turn the tide of the war.

Existing SPARTAN-II soldiers are recalled to Reach for further augmentation. The plan: board a Covenant vessel with the improved SPARTAN-IIs and learn the location of the Covenant home world. Two days before the mission begins, Covenant forces strike Reach and annihilate the colony. The Covenant are now on Earth's doorstep. One ship, the Pillar of Autumn, escapes with the last SPARTAN-II and makes a blind jump into deep space, hoping to lead the Covenant away from Earth.

Characters

The Covenant

  • Grunts-The smallest and weakest of the group. They throw grenades and are equipped with Plasma Pistols or Needlers early on, and the powerful Fuel Rod Gun in later levels. They are the only species that the humans have been able to translate thus far, so they will be the only species you can understand.

  • Jackals-Slightly better than Grunts, but only because they have shields that reflect all shots but those of the Plasma Pistol and Plasma Rifle. Fortunately, they are only equipped with Plasma Pistols themselves, but tend to use it's overcharge ability often.

  • Elites-The big bads of the Covenant. They can do everything you can do, they even have rechargable shields. They carry Plasma Rifles, Needles, and occasionally the one-hit, one-kill Plasma Sword. They are also known to use Active Camouflodge. Be wary of them, especially on the highest difficulty setting.
  • Hunters-The giant walking tanks of the Covenant. They come only equipped with Fuel Rod Guns. They are really strong and extremely durable, but have extremely weak spots in their armor if you know where to look.

Weapons

  • Pistol-Human pistol, has a 2X Zoom and head shots grant double damage.

  • Assault Rifle-Automatic weapon with a built in compass. The longer you fire the less accurate it becomes.

  • Shotgun-Amazingly powerful and can take out most foes in one shot at point blank range. You can also interupt the reload process to fire off what is already loaded if needed.

  • Sniper Rifle-Very powerful, comes with 2X and 10X zoom as well as a Night Vision scope.

  • Rocket Launcher-Extremely powerful, though slow-traveling missiles. Can zoom in 2X.

  • Plasma Pistol-Great weapon, fires rapidly and can be overcharged to fire a shot that disables any shields. Can overheat though.

  • Plasma Rifle-Great rapid-firing weapon, but don't fire too long or you'll overheat.

  • Needler-Fires homing needles which attach to the target and then explode. Attach more than seven needles for a much bigger explosion.

  • Fragmentation Grenades-Shorter fuse than the Covenant counterpart, plus they bounce.
  • Plasma Grenades-Can stick to targets. Can set off other plasma grenades that lay nearby.

Weapons that were cut:

Vehicles at your service

  • Warthog-The all-terrain jeep. Get some marine buddies to hop in to shoot for you since you can't drive and shoot at the same time, but you can run over foes. Has a giant automatic gun on back with unlimited ammo. It's also indestructable and can be flipped indefinately.

  • Scorpian-The human tank. While driving you can fire it's all-powerful main cannon (which then takes a few seconds to recharge), or it's high powered automatic gun. Four buddies can also ride on the sides.

  • Ghost-A Covenant hovering vehicle. Seats one. Fires plasma bolts and can be destroyed.

  • Banshee-The Covenant fliers. Has a plasma weapon and a Fuel Rod Gun. Fun to fly, but easy to get killed in.

Other Vehicles

  • Pelican-Human dropship

  • Covenant Dropship

  • Wraith-The Covenant mortar tanks, very powerful.

  • Shadow-The Covenant equivalent of the Warthog, was removed from the game.

Levels

*Spoilers Section!*

These are extra species you will begin to encounter in level six.

  • Flood: Insection Form-Little buggers that swarm you. One shot from any gun kills them. You can generally ignore small amounts of them if you still have your shields.

  • Flood: Carrier Form-Giant exploding walking pods. You don't want to be near them when they go off. They can also set off nearby plasma grenades, and they release Insection Form Flood upon detonation.

  • Flood: Warrior Form-Comes in two types: human and Covenant. Generally the same, but the human type are slightly smaller. Both can use any weapon (including rocket launchers and shot guns) and can get back up after shot down. Sniper Rifle is useless against them.

  • Sentinels-Flying robots with a sem-powerful laser stream. They're your friends until level 8. Generally not too much to worry about as they typically have other people to fight and can't worry about you. One fully charged plasma pistol shot will take them out.

For more information, read the prequel novel, The Fall of Reach.

Deep in the Heart of Autumn
were silent spaces for fifty
of the ones that need no name

From this celestial bough
all but one did fall into
the pitless fires of reach

A soldier's ignominy
to have dreamt while brothers bled

But oh, for the rest of us
His shame was our salvation
- Author Unknown, 26th Century

Halo is currently (2002) the top of the line in first-person shooters. Developed for Microsoft's XBox by Bungie Software, there are some who say that it's more that the XBox was developed for Halo. I wouldn't be surprised if the requirements for Halo made it into the design process for the XBox, at the very least in the configuration of the controllers. Yes, the game is that good.

It also rather recently (October 2003) came out for the PC. Yay!

Update: This information is old. It's not the best game for the XBox anymore. Its sequel, Halo 2 is. I suggest playing both of them.

Update: While Halo 2 remains the best game for the XBox, it is now rather overshadowed by its big brother Halo 3, on the XBox 360.

Campaign Game

The year is 2552. Humanity is waging a losing fight against the Covenant, a coalition of several technologically advanced species. You play the role of Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, a member of the SPARTAN project, which took a bunch of 6 year olds and with careful biomedical and cybernetic alterations, turned them into super soldiers. He's usually just called Master Chief.

Various alterations were made, most importantly including a set of "shields" installed. When the game starts you awaken out of cryogenic freezing aboard the Pillar of Autumn, which having just arrived in the system containing "Halo", is under attack by Covenant forces, who are boarding the ship.

As you fight your way off the ship, to an escape pod which crash lands on the surface of Halo, you find out just how important those shields are. You fight alongside a bunch of Marines who die a lot easier than you do. A lot.

Stepping out of the crashed landing pod, being the only survivor, you finally actually see what Halo is. A massive structure spinning in space, Halo is like a miniature Ringworld. (Only 5,000 km in radius instead of 1 AU.) And it is stunning. The graphics are absolutely top of the line.

This is where things get really interesting. It's now up to you, with the help of any surviving Marines you run into, to find out what Halo is, and what it was built for. All of this, of course, before the Covenant can do the same thing, or before they kill you all.

So, off you go, trooping over hill and through dale, through snow and into various installations. And a'killing as you go.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the game is driving the vehicles. There's 4 types. The Warthog is like a 4x4 Jeep with a big chaingun in the back, which you'll need a 2nd player or a handy Marine to fire. If not, just zoom around and run over enemies.

There's the Scorpion, which is a big assed tank. Not much to say about that, it blows stuff up real good.

There's the Ghost, made by the Covenant. It is kind of a hover motorcycle, mounted with plasma guns. It's the fastest way to travel, and it's also the only vehicle which can strafe. Very fun.

And then there's the banshees. They are a small flying fighter craft. Not all too sturdy, but they do have a nice big plasma blaster, as well as a devastating fuel rod cannon. Boom! Strafing runs are always fun, and there are parts where you will have to dogfight with Covenant in other banshees.

The Campaign game has four different difficulty settings, Easy, Normal, Heroic, and Legendary. It can be done with either one or two players. Legendary *cannot* be done with a single player. I've seen people try. This is of course not true. The it cannot be done on legendary part, not the I've seen people try part.

I don't know what it is about this game, but I've gone to sleep for the night with people playing it, and woken up the next morning with them still playing. They were trying to beat the Legendary game IIRC. The game's like that. Its quite realistic, and has awesome graphics. But all of that fades besides the awesome might of its fun factor.

Most impressive is the AI. It's smart. Most of the time, it's smarter than me. On the harder settings these guys know what they're doing. And what they're doing is most likely killing you.

Multi-player

The XBox allows up to 4 Xboxes to be networked together over a LAN. It has four controllers max per XBox. This allows for the capability of up to 16 people playing at a time over a LAN.

This is not ideal. Honestly, the screen gets too small when you have to cut it into four, even if you're playing on a big screen television. Ideally, you only want 2 people per television. Gives you plenty of room.

There are a few types of games to be played. Slayer is just a regular deathmatch, the one with the most kills wins.

Capture the Flag is, well, capturing the other team's flag and bringing it back to yours. Just like every other CtF game.

The Race games have you running around trying to get through checkpoints before your opponents do. It's hard to get through checkpoints when you're dead.

King of the Hill is won by the player(s) are able to spend more time within a marked off section of the map. This is where grenades come in handy.

And there's Oddball. The winner is the one who spends the most time holding the "Oddball." Of course, you run slower and can't use your weapons while holding the Oddball.

There's a lot of customizations that can be made to the gametypes. Stuff like what kind of vehicles you can use to the types of weapons included, teams or free for all. Rocket Launchers and Tanks can be fun, but so can running around with just pistols of plasma guns.

I suck at multiplayer. At least compared to all of my friends who play this game WAY too much.


This game isn't perfect. Large sections of the last half of the campaign game are fairly repetitive. And as for the multiplayer, I honestly think they should have included a LOT more levels to choose from. I think there's only about 10 levels or so. (I'll update when I get a chance to count 'em.) And this does get tiring after a while, especially when you have some people who play it so much that they get to know them inside and out.

That having been said, this game still rocks. The gameplay is excellent, the sound effects are good, and the graphics are unequalled anywhere.

If you own an XBox and don't have this game, well, that's just silly. It's like those people who bought a Gamecube and didn't get Rogue Squadron. Why did they bother? Yes, I do know some of those people. Yes, you might be one. Go fix that. :)

It may not be the best game ever, as many people are claiming, but to date it certainly is the best game available for the system. Oh, and it is apparently going to be made available for PC and the Mac eventually, but no one, not even Bungie Software, knows exactly when.

Oh yes, I also forgot to mention one thing. Halo does have a really good storyline. It also has a book based upon said storyline. Read about it at Fall of Reach.


Sources:
www.gamerankings.com
www.bungie.com/products/halo/halo.htm (Check here for screenshots!
www.xboxs.com/XboxAu/
halo.bungie.org (A very good fansite)
Way too much time playing it.

A halo is also a type of brace used to stabilize the cervical spine (neck). This type of brace is used in complete c-spine fractures or after spinal surgery.

The brace consists of a metal ring which is attached to pins screwed into the skull. The ring is then connected to a rigid plastic vest with bars, preventing flexion, extension, or rotation of the neck.

Halo braces generally must be worn for at least six weeks, or until the bones are completely healed. Pin insertion is done under anesthesia, and the insertion sites must be cared for carefully to prevent infection. The vest is padded, and the skin underneath must be cared for to prevent pressure sores and skin breakdown. The skin should be washed gently, and no lotion or powder should be used under the appliance.

Patients in a halo brace are generally able to live a relatively normal life. They cannot drive a car, because the halo makes it impossible to turn their head, but otherwise there are surprisingly few restrictions.

High Altitude, Low Open - a method of parachute insertion used by military personnel whose desire/need to remain undetected overrides their perfectly normal desire to avoid risk. In general, it's just what the name implies - one leaves the aircraft at a high altitude, usually at night, and free-falls to the minimum safe height for parachute deployment. At that point, you pull the D-Ring and pray, like all other jumps.

The advantages of this approach to aerial insertion are many. Your ferry aircraft can fly high enough to avoid ground fire or, even better, detection. You spend as little time as possible in the air, hanging from your highly-visible parachute, as a target. You have the ability to jump offset from your target, using your freefall time and altitude to translate to the target point (glide). Plus, it looks really cool on film, gives you maximal 'I'm a baaaaad-ass!' time in the air, and allows the Armed Forces to produce spiffy recruiting videos. Roninspoon reminds me of what may be the largest advantage - the distance that the jumpers can travel during drop means that their aircraft can sometimes remain in friendly or neutral airspace even when their landing point is, well, not so welcoming (and/or better yet, not so legal). This, 'spoon points out, is quite useful to those organizations that do covert-type stuff.

Of course, there are disadvantages as well. The high altitude means you must have more gear to survive the drop - for warmth, or if high enough, for breathing. The low opening means there is little to no margin for error - if something goes wrong, there probably is not enough time to do anything. Finally, dropping at night and/or over water to avoid detection on the ground may be effective, but increases the dangers to the jumper on landing.

For perhaps the ultimate in HALO jumping, read the opening chapter of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. No, not the movie.

Halo PC is the popular name for Gearbox Software's Windows port of the immensely popular XBOX video game "Halo:Combat Evolved" developed by Bungie Software and published by Microsoft.
Gearbox added a few extra multiplayer features which were not present in the original XBOX version:
Halo PC was received quite well despite the fact that the game had already been out for two years. Framerate issues and a lack of cooperative play turned many people away, however. All said and done, the game generally received scores of about 9 out of 10 from most gaming review publications.
Halos are an ice-based atmospheric effect formed by the interaction of sun- and moonlight with ice crystals randomly scattered in the high atmosphere. The main and most frequent halos are seen when these crystals are 6 km-12 km high in the stratosphere. The shapes of ice crystals and their apparent distance from the sun cause the particular halo effect seen by the viewer. The shape of the ice crystals is governed by the molecular structure of water and the temperature and turbulence in which the crystal forms.

Needle shaped crystals that form between -4 to -6° C create the most often seen halos.

  • 22º halo: The most common halo around the sun and the moon, this is also called the small ring.
  • 46º halo: Much rarer and less dim than the small ring, the 46º large ring occurs only about 2% of the times halos are reported. When the sun is between 15º and 27º, large rings can be confused with the supralateral arc effect.
  • circumscribed halo: Fairly common adjunct to the 22º halo that changes shape with the elevation of the sun.

Sector plate crystals (imagine two faceted cones connected at their bases with a thick faceted band around the middle) that form between -10 to -12° C make many of the rarer halos.

  • 9° halo: Easily mistaken for a corona, the 9° is only seen in conjunction with other halos.
  • 18° halo
  • 24º halo: This halo is hard to detect if it is in proximity to a 22º. Indications include unusually thick 22º halos, the presence of a double sequence of faint rainbow colors in a 22º, or a double red ring at the sharply defined inner edge of a 22º halo. It is the 24º halo that houses parhelia, upper tangent arcs, and lateral bows.

How do you know which one you’re seeing?
Unless you have the angular equivalent of perfect pitch, it’s useful to know how to tell degrees in the sky so you know which of the halos you’re seeing. One trick is to hold out your hand at arms length with your fingers spread out. The distance between your thumb and pinky finger is about 20º. Your closed fist subtends about 10º. Use these as guides for estimation.

Photographing and viewing halos
Looking at the sun is dangerous. If you want to see if there is a halo around the sun, hold your eyes so that the sun is in your peripheral vision, and move your hand over the sun. You’ll know when the light dims. Then you can safely look at the area of the sky around the sun. When photographing halos, position your camera so that something, e.g. a lamppost, a mountain, or a blimp, completely covers the sun.

Ha"lo (?), n.; pl. Halos(). [L. halos, acc. halo, Gr. a thrashing floor, also (from its round shape) the disk of the sun or moon, and later a halo round it; cf. Gr. to enfold, to roll round, L. volvere, and E. voluble.]

1.

A luminous circle, usually prismatically colored, round the sun or moon, and supposed to be caused by the refraction of light through crystals of ice in the atmosphere. Connected with halos there are often white bands, crosses, or arches, resulting from the same atmospheric conditions.

2.

A circle of light; especially, the bright ring represented in painting as surrounding the heads of saints and other holy persons; a glory; a nimbus.

3.

An ideal glory investing, or affecting one's perception of, an object.

4.

A colored circle around a nipple; an areola.

 

© Webster 1913.


Ha"lo, v. t. & i. [imp. & p. p. Haloed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Haloing.]

To form, or surround with, a halo; to encircle with, or as with, a halo.

The fire That haloed round his saintly brow. Sothey.

 

© Webster 1913.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.