My eldest son has gotten into the Halo series (thanks to Mega Blocks, no doubt), and he wants to go through the entire series with me. I’ve agreed, but I’ve refused to start with the first Halo game: Halo: Combat Evolved. We’re currently playing Halo 2, and whenever we play, without fail, he asks if we can please play the first game. My answer is always the same: I won’t play that damn Library ever again.
I never played Halo when it originally released for the OG Xbox. Some friends came to my house with their Xbox, showed us Halo like it was the most amazeballs thing ever. Basically, watching the two of them run around in circles shooting aliens looked rather boring. I lost all interest in the series at that point.
It wasn’t until I was assigned to review Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary that I finally took the Halo plunge, and plunge I did. It wasn’t long before I had all the Halo games in my library. I read all of the Halo novels, I’ve written numerous articles about its greatness, you name it. However, I will never write a single apology article about the Library level in the original game.
I was warned about the Library before I tackled my review. Other hardcore Halo friends pleaded with me to not judge the series based upon that one level. I wondered just how bad it could be.
Let me count the ways.
1. The Library has terrible level design. Master Chief follows 343-Guilty Spark down a corridor that runs in circles. The walls look the same. The crevices, nooks, crannies, doorways, etc. look the same. It’s so easy to get turned around, you could run all the way back the other way and you’d never know it. It’s not like 343-Guilty Spark will correct you. You have no idea if you’re even heading the right direction until the cut-scene with Cortana starts.
You could argue that all of the levels in Halo CE had similar design when it comes to running in circles. I can’t disagree with you there. But the other levels didn’t suffer from a few other afflictions the Library had.
2. It is a case of length for the sake of length. Even if you don’t get turned around, you will feel like you have because of how painfully long it is. You know a level is too long when even speedrunners complain about it. Well, the ones who run it without going out-of-bounds do.
But the real reason why the length is such a problem is because of the next affliction.
3. There are unlimited waves of Flood. Without a doubt, the Flood are the worst enemies Halo has to offer. They’re hard to kill, they’re strong, and they have this nasty habit of coming back to life. They’re also pouring out of every opening in the corridors, and they don’t stop. If you get turned around, you can’t mark the dead bodies to light your path because more Flood still comes from areas you’ve passed.
Master Chief is alone, and his only friend is a shotgun. Only problem is when the shotgun runs out of ammo or you have to reload just as fifty Flood charge you at once.
4. It’s not fun. This is not fun for anyone. I have yet to meet a soul who says that the Library isn’t that bad. I even wondered if time since the Xbox 360 version worsened my opinion. Perhaps it wasn’t as bad as I remember. A friend and I played Halo CE again with the Master Chief Collection for Xbox One, and I can assure you that yes, the Library is still bloody awful. Sorry, kiddo, but I will never play that level again.
It, like Dan Marino, should die of gonorrhea and rot in Hell.