Halo: Combat Evolved Halo 2 Halo 3 Halo 3: ODST

Halo: Combat Evolved

(frequently referred to as simply Halo) is a first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie. The first game of the Halo series, it was released on November 15, 2001 as a launch title for the Xbox gaming system,[1] and is considered the platform's "killer app."[6] With more than five million copies sold worldwide as of November 9, 2005,[7] Microsoft released versions of the game for Microsoft Windows (ported by Gearbox Software) and Mac OS X in 2003, and the surrounding storyline was adapted and elaborated into a series of novels and comic books. The game was later released as an Xbox Original for download onto an Xbox 360 HDD.

In Halo's twenty-sixth century setting, the player assumes the role of the Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced "SPARTAN" super-soldier. The player is accompanied by Cortana, an artificial intelligence who occupies the Master Chief's neural interface. Players battle various aliens on foot and in vehicles as they attempt to uncover the secrets of the eponymous Halo, a ring-shaped structure. The game has been called "easy to learn",[8] and has been praised for its "engaging story".[9]

Many game magazines have praised Halo as one of the best[10] and most important[11] games of all time. The game's popularity has led to labels such as "Halo clone"[12] and "Halo killer", applied respectively to games either similar to or anticipated to be better than it.[13][14] In addition, the game inspired and was used in the fan-created Red vs. Blue video series, which is credited as the "first big success" of machinima[15]—the technique of using real-time 3D engines, often from video games, to create animated films



Halo takes place in a science fiction universe created by Bungie Studios specifically for the game. According to the story, the overpopulation of Earth and the realization of faster-than-light travel have caused the human race to colonize other planets. A keystone of these efforts is the planet Reach, an interstellar naval yard and a hub of scientific and military activity.[18] A secret military endeavor, dubbed the SPARTAN Project, was established on Reach to create an army of biologically-engineered, cyborg "super-soldiers". Thirty-two years before the beginning of the game, a technologically advanced collective of alien races, the Covenant, began to attack human settlements, declaring humanity an affront to their gods. The United Nations Space Command experienced a series of crushing defeats, and, although the super-soldiers of the SPARTAN-II Project fought effectively against the Covenant, they were unable to turn the tides of war.[18]

To prepare for a mission to discover the location of the Covenant's homeworld, SPARTAN-II soldiers were recalled to Reach for further augmentation. Two days before the mission was to begin, Covenant forces attacked Reach and destroyed the colony.[18] A starship, the Pillar of Autumn, survived the onslaught with the lead Spartan II, Master Chief, onboard. The ship initiated a random jump to slip space (similar to hyperspace),[35] hoping to lead the enemy away from Earth.[36] The game starts with the Pillar of Autumn encountering Halo.A

The titular Halo is an enormous, ring-shaped artificial space habitat/planet, which (according to Bungie Studios) has a diameter of ten thousand kilometers.[37] Halo sits at a Lagrange point between a planet and its moon. Centrifugal force created by the rotation of the station provides the ring's gravity.[38] Characters Main article: Characters of Halo

The player character is Master Chief Petty Officer John-117,[39] one of the few (see Halo: The Fall of Reach and its sequels for more information) surviving super-soldiers of the SPARTAN-II project, and the main character of the story. Accompanying the Master Chief is the Pillar of Autumn's feminine artificial intelligence construct, Cortana, who resides in a neural implant connected to his battle armor, codenamed MJOLNIR Mark V. The Pillar of Autumn's captain, Jacob Keyes, is also a major character. Playing a mainly antagonistic role in the game's events is 343 Guilty Spark, an eccentric artificial intelligence responsible for monitoring and maintaining Halo's systems. Plot

The story is presented through an instruction manual, scripted events and conversations during the game, and in-game cut scenes. The game begins as the Pillar of Autumn exits slip-space near a mysterious ring-shaped space station, called "Halo" by the enemy of the game, The Covenant.[40] A Covenant fleet attacks and heavily damages the Pillar of Autumn. Jacob Keyes initiates "The Cole Protocol",[41] a procedure designed to prevent the Covenant from learning the location of Earth. While Keyes prepares to land the ship on Halo, the Master Chief and Cortana escape via an escape pod, which crash lands on the ring. Cortana and the Chief are the only ones that survived the impact of the escape pod crash.

Keyes survives the Autumn's crash landing, but is captured by the Covenant.[42] In the second and third levels of the game, the Master Chief and Cortana gather human survivors and rescue Captain Keyes, who is imprisoned on the Covenant ship Truth and Reconciliation. Once rescued, Keyes orders the Master Chief to beat the Covenant to Halo's control center and to discover its purpose.[43] The Master Chief and Cortana travel to a map room called the Silent Cartographer, which leads them to the control room.[44] There, Cortana enters the systems and, discovering something urgent, suddenly sends the Master Chief to find Captain Keyes, while she stays behind.[45] While searching for his commander, the Master Chief learns that the Covenant have accidentally released the Flood, a parasitic alien race capable of spreading itself by overwhelming and infesting other sentient life-forms. Keyes falls victim to them while looking for a cache of weapons. The release of the Flood prompts 343 Guilty Spark to recruit the Master Chief in retrieving the Index, a device that will activate Halo and prevent the Flood from spreading beyond the facility.

After the Master Chief retrieves and begins to use the Index, Cortana re-appears and warns him against the activation. She has discovered that Halo's defense system is a weapon designed to kill all sentient life in the galaxy, which the Flood need to spread.[46] When confronted with this information, 343 Guilty Spark states that the installation technically only has a maximum radius of twenty-five thousand light-years, but that its pulse would trigger other similar installations as well, killing all sentient life in the galaxy.[47]

While fighting the Flood, the Covenant, and Guilty Spark's Sentinels, the Master Chief and Cortana attempt to destroy Halo before 343 Guilty Spark activates it. Cortana discovers that the best way to destroy Halo is to cause the crashed Pillar of Autumn to self-destruct.[48] However, Captain Keyes' authorization is required to destroy the ship.[49] By the time that they reach Keyes, he has been infected and turned into a Brain Flood. The Master Chief retrieves Keyes' neural implants directly from his brain, and Cortana activates the Autumn's self-destruct sequence. However, 343 Guilty Spark reappears and deactivates the countdown, discovering the record of human history in the process.[50] The Master Chief manually causes the Pillar of Autumn's fusion reactors to begin to melt down, and the Master Chief and Cortana narrowly escape the destruction of the ring via a fighter.

Halo 2

is a first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie Studios. Released for the Xbox video game console on November 9, 2004,[1] the game is the second video game title in the Halo franchise and the sequel to 2001's critically-acclaimed Halo: Combat Evolved. A Windows Vista version of the game was released on May 17, 2007,[2] developed by an internal team at Microsoft Game Studios referred to as "Hired Gun". The game features a new game engine, as well as using the Havok physics engine; added weapons and vehicles, and new multiplayer maps. The player alternatively assumes the roles of the human Master Chief and the alien Arbiter in a 26th century conflict between the human UNSC and genocidal Covenant. Players fight enemies on foot, or with a collection of alien and human vehicles.[3]

After its initial release, Halo 2 was the most popular video game on Xbox Live,[4] holding that rank until the release of Gears of War for the Xbox 360 nearly two years later.[5][6] By June 20, 2006, more than 500 million games of Halo 2 had been played and more than 710 million hours have been spent playing it on Xbox Live;[7] by May 9, 2007, this number had risen to more than five million unique players on Xbox Live[8] As of November 2008, Halo 2 is the best-selling first-generation Xbox game[9] with 8.46 million copies sold worldwide,[10] with at least 6.3 million copies sold in the US alone.[11] Critical reception of the game was generally positive, with most publications lauding the strong multiplayer component; at the same time, the campaign was the focus of criticism for its cliffhanger ending.


Halo 2

takes place in a futuristic science fiction setting, where humans, under the auspices of the United Nations Space Command or UNSC, have developed faster-than-light slipspace travel and colonized numerous worlds.[3] According to the game's backstory, the outer colony world of Harvest was decimated by a collective of alien races known as the Covenant in 2525. Declaring humanity an affront to their gods, the Forerunners, the Covenant begin to systemically obliterate the humans with their superior technology. After the human bastion at the planet Reach is destroyed, a single ship, The Pillar of Autumn, follows protocol and initiates a random slipspace jump to lead the Covenant away from Earth. The crew discovers a Forerunner ringworld called Halo. Leading a guerilla insurgency on the ring's surface, the humans discover that the rings are weapons of last resort built to contain a terrifying parasite called the Flood. The human super-soldier Master Chief and his AI companion Cortana learn from Halo's AI, 343 Guilty Spark, that activation of the Halos will prevent the spread of the Flood by destroying all sentient life the parasite subsists on in the galaxy. Instead, the Master Chief evades Spark and his robots and detonates the Pillar of Autumn's engines, destroying the ring and preventing the escape of the Flood. The Master Chief, Cortana, and a handful of survivors race back to Earth to warn of an impending invasion by Covenant forces.[17]


Taking place shortly after the events of the novel Halo: First Strike, Halo 2 opens with the trial of an Elite commander aboard the Covenant's mobile city of High Charity. The Elite is stripped of his rank and branded a heretic for failing to stop the humans from destroying Halo. It is revealed that the Covenant's interest in Halo lies in the religious belief that the activation of the rings would bring about a "Great Journey", sweeping loyal Covenant to salvation.[18] At the same time as the Elite Commander is tortured by Tartarus, the Chieftain of the Brutes, the Master Chief and Sergeant Avery Johnson are commended for their actions at Halo during a recognition ceremony aboard a coilgun platform orbiting Earth. Lord Hood awards the soldiers alongside Commander Miranda Keyes, who accepts a medal on behalf of her deceased father, Captain Jacob Keyes.[19]

Shortly after the commencement of the ceremony, a Covenant fleet appears outside Earth's defensive perimeter. While the UNSC manages to repel most of the surprisingly small fleet, a single Covenant cruiser carrying an important member of the Covenant hierarchy, the High Prophet of Regret, flies through the orbital platforms to the city of New Mombasa, Kenya. The Master Chief clears the city of Covenant; with his fleet destroyed, Regret makes a hasty slipspace jump, and Keyes, Johnson, Cortana and the Master Chief follow aboard the ship In Amber Clad just as the slipspace rupture destroys much of the city. The crew exits slipspace to discover another Halo installation; realizing the danger the ring presents, the Master Chief is sent to kill Regret while Keyes and Johnson find Halo's key to activation, the Index.

Meanwhile, the disgraced Covenant commander is presented before the Prophet Hierarchs, who acknowledge that though the destruction of Halo was his fault, he is no heretic. The Prophets offer him the honored position of Arbiter so that he can continue to fight. On his first mission to kill a heretic, the Arbiter discovers 343 Guilty Spark, who the Covenant view as "oracles". Responding to Regret's distress call, High Charity and the Covenant fleet arrive at the new Halo, Installation 05, but not before Master Chief kills the Prophet. Bombarded from space, the Chief falls into a lake and is rescued by a mysterious tentacled creature.

The death of Regret sows seeds of discord among the races of the Covenant, as the Brutes are given the Elite's traditional job of protecting the Hierarchs. The Arbiter is sent to find Halo's Index and captures Johnson and Keyes before being confronted by Tartarus. The Brute reveals that the Prophets have ordered the annihilation of the Elites, and sends the Arbiter falling down a deep chasm. The Arbiter is saved by the tentacled creature and meets the Master Chief in the bowels of the installation. The creature, Gravemind, is the leader of the Flood on Installation 05. Gravemind reveals to the Arbiter that the Great Journey would destroy Flood, humans, and Covenant together. Gravemind sends the Arbiter and Master Chief to different places to stop Halo's activation. The Master Chief is teleported to High Charity, where a civil war has broken out among the Covenant; In Amber Clad crashes into the city, and Cortana realizes that Gravemind used them as a distraction to infest In Amber Clad and spread the Flood. As the parasite overruns the city, the Master Chief follows the Prophet of Truth aboard a Forerunner ship leaving the city; Cortana remains behind to destroy High Charity and Halo if Tartarus succeeds in activating the ring.[20]

The Arbiter is sent to the surface of Halo, where he rallies his allies to assault the Brute's position. With the help of Johnson, he confronts Tartarus in Halo's control room. When the Arbiter tries to convince Tartarus that the Prophets have betrayed them both, Tartarus angrily activates the ring, and a battle ensues. The Arbiter and Johnson manage to kill Tartarus while Keyes removes the Index. Instead of shutting down the ring entirely, the unexpected shutdown of the ring triggers a system-wide failsafe, putting Installation 05 and all the other rings on standby for activation from a remote location, which Guilty Spark refers to as "the Ark".[21] As Truth's ship arrives amidst a raging battle on Earth, Hood asks the Master Chief what he is doing aboard the ship. The Chief replies he is "finishing this fight". In a post-credits scene, Gravemind is seen arriving on High Charity, where Cortana agrees to answer the Flood intelligence's questions.

Halo 3

is a first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie for Xbox 360. The game is the third title in the Halo series and concludes the story arc that began in Halo: Combat Evolved and continued in Halo 2.[7] The game was released on September 25, 2007 in Australia, Brazil, India, New Zealand, North America, and Singapore;[4] September 26, 2007 in Europe; and September 27, 2007 in Japan. On the day before its official release, 4.2 million units of Halo 3 were in retail outlets.[8]

Halo 3's story centers on the interstellar war between 26th century humanity, led by the United Nations Space Command, and a collection of alien races known as the Covenant. The player assumes the role of the Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced supersoldier, as he wages war in defense of humanity, assisted by human Marines as well as an allied alien race called Elites, which is led by the Arbiter. The game features vehicles, weapons, and gameplay not present in previous titles of the series, as well as the addition of saved gameplay films, file sharing, and the Forge map editor; a utility which allows the player to perform modifications to multiplayer levels.

Halo 3 grossed US$300 million in its first week.[9] More than one million people played Halo 3 on Xbox Live in the first twenty hours.[10] As of January 3, 2008, Halo 3 has sold 8.1 million copies,[11] and was the best-selling video game of 2007 in the U.S.[12] Overall, the game was very well-received by critics, with the Forge and multiplayer offerings singled out as strong features. By March 2009 more than 1 billion online matches had been played.[13] A prequel to the game, Halo 3: ODST, was released worldwide on September 22, 2009.

The gameplay of Halo 3 builds upon the previous iterations of the franchise; it is a first-person shooter which takes place on foot, but also includes segments focused on vehicular combat. The balance of weapons and objects in the game was adjusted to better adhere to what Bungie Studios Multiplayer Designer Lars Bakken describes as the "Golden Triangle of Halo".[14] These are "weapons, grenades, and melee", which are available to a player in most situations. Halo 3 contains the ability to dual-wield, where a player forgoes grenades and melee attacks in favor of the combined firepower of two weapons simultaneously. Most weapons available in previous installments of the series return with minor cosmetic and power alterations. Unlike previous instalments, the player's secondary weapon is visible on their player model, holstered or slung across the player's back.[15] Halo 3 introduces "support weapons", which are exceptionally large, powerful, and cumbersome two-handed weapons which drastically limit the player's normal combat options and slow them significantly, but offer greatly increased firepower in return.[16] In addition to weapons, the game contains a new class of usable items called Equipment;[17] these items are found in the game world and have various effects and functions, ranging from defensive screens to shield regeneration and flares. Only one piece of equipment can be carried at a time.[18] The game's vehicular component has been expanded with new drivable and A.I.-only vehicles.[19][20]

Halo 3 also adds new features not directly related to gameplay. One such feature, known as Forge, is a map-editing tool that enables players to insert and remove game objects, such as weapons and crates, into existing multiplayer maps.[20] Almost all weapons, vehicles, and interactive objects can be placed and moved on maps with Forge.[21] Players can enter Forge games and edit and manipulate objects in real time. A budget limits the amount of objects that can be placed.[22] Another new feature are 'Saved films', which allows players to save up to 100 films of gameplay to their Xbox 360's hard drive,[23][24] viewing the action from any angle and at different speeds. The Saved Films are only game data (not an actual video) and this allows the file sizes to be smaller than a true recording. All games are recreated in real-time on the Xbox 360 using the Halo 3 engine.[25] Halo 3 offers a form of file sharing, where items such as saved films, screenshots, and custom variants can all be uploaded to the 'File Share'. Anyone can browse user created content that has been uploaded to Bungie's website on a personal computer and tag it to automatically download to their console next time they sign into Xbox Live on Halo 3.



Halo 3, like its predecessors, is set in the fictional Halo universe, taking place during the year 2553. According to the backstory, humans developed faster-than-light travel (using a Shaw-Fujikawa engine attached to a regular space shuttle) and colonized hundreds of planets before encountering the alien Covenant in 2525.[36] The Covenant declares humanity an affront to their gods and began destroying human colonies by "glassing"—bombarding the planet with a barrage of plasma, turning its surface into glass. Despite efforts to keep the Covenant from finding Earth, a Covenant fleet discovers humanity's homeworld during Halo 2.[37] By the beginning of Halo 3, the Covenant have arrived in full force on Earth, with most human resistance crushed.

The titular 'Halo' refers to massive ringworlds several hundred kilometers in diameter that are scattered across the galaxy. These rings were constructed thousands of years ago by an enigmatic race known as the Forerunners as a weapon of last resort against the parasitic alien species known as the Flood. When activated, the seven Halos would destroy all sentient life in the galaxy, thereby depriving the Flood of its food.[38] The ringworlds were activated once in the distant past, and the Forerunners are believed to have perished.[39] In Halo: Combat Evolved, a small human ship fleeing the Covenant stumbled upon one of these ringworlds, Installation 04. The humans manage to destroy the ring, stopping the Flood once again; the Covenant, unaware of the destructive nature of the rings, attempt to fire another ring during Halo 2 in order to fulfill their religious prophecy.[40] One race in the Covenant, the Elites, learn the truth about the rings, and join forces with their onetime enemies, humanity, in order to stop the firing of the ring. Though they are successful, the unexpected shutdown of the installation triggers a failsafe protocol—all the rings are ready to fire from one single location, referred to as the Ark.[41] Still oblivious to the true nature of the rings, the Covenant High Prophet of Truth and the remaining loyalist Covenant proceed to head to Earth, where they believe the Ark is buried. Characters

From left, Miranda Keyes, Cortana, the Arbiter, Master Chief and Guilty Spark Main article: Characters of Halo

Halo 3's protagonist is the Master Chief, a surgically enhanced supersoldier who is one of the last surviving members of the SPARTAN Project, and one of humanity's greatest warriors. The Chief fights alongside the Arbiter, an Elite and disgraced commander whose race breaks free from the Covenant. Two new Elite characters, N’tho ‘Sraom and Usze ‘Taham, appear as the third and fourth players in co-op play.[42] Supporting characters that were introduced in previous games return; these includes Sergeant Major Avery Johnson, a veteran human commander, as well as Commander Miranda Keyes, who prevents the firing of Installation 05 in Halo 2.[43] The Forerunner Monitor 343 Guilty Spark, who tries and fails to stop the Master Chief from destroying its ringworld in Halo: Combat Evolved, also makes an appearance.[43] Filling an alternating antagonistic/helpful role to the player is the large Flood entity known as "Gravemind"; encountered during Halo 2, the leader of the Flood escapes from confinement on Halo by invading the Covenant mobile city of High Charity and capturing Cortana, a human-created A.I., in the process.[43] Plot

Taking place shortly after the events of the comic mini-series, Halo: Uprising,[44] Halo 3 begins with the Master Chief entering Earth's atmosphere and crashing to the ground in eastern Africa, where he is found by Sgt. Major Johnson and the Arbiter. The Chief, Johnson, and company fight their way out of the jungle and arrive at a UNSC outpost. Here, Commander Keyes and Lord Hood plan a last-ditch effort to stop the Covenant leader, the High Prophet of Truth, from activating a Forerunner artifact uncovered outside the ruins of the city of New Mombasa. The Chief is ordered to clear a way into the city of Voi and to destroy all anti-air Covenant defenses so Hood can lead the last of Earth's ships against the Prophet. Using the opening caused by the ground attack, Hood mounts an offensive against Truth's ship, but the Prophet activates the buried artifact which creates an enormous slipspace portal. As the human ships recover from the shock wave, Truth and his followers enter the portal, while a ship controlled by the Flood crash-lands nearby. Elite forces, allied with humanity, arrive and vitrify Flood-infected areas of Earth, neutralizing the parasitic threat. Following the cryptic message from the human artificial intelligence Cortana left aboard the Flood cruiser, the Chief, Arbiter, Elites, Johnson, Keyes and a handful of Marines follow Truth through the portal. Joining them is the Forerunner construct 343 Guilty Spark, who aids the Chief as he no longer has any function to fulfill after the destruction of his Halo installation in Halo: Combat Evolved.

Traveling through the portal, the humans and Elites discover an immense artificial structure, the Ark, far beyond the edges of the Milky Way galaxy. Here Truth can activate all the Halos. The Chief and company activate the installation's map room to find Truth at the Ark's control room. During their journey, the Flood arrive en masse on the former Covenant Holy City High Charity, and begin infesting the installation. While attempting to gain access to The Ark' Control Room, Johnson is captured by Truth; the prophet needs a human to utilize the Forerunner technology. Attempting to rescue Johnson, Keyes is killed by the prophet, and Johnson is forced to activate the rings. The Flood leader Gravemind forges a temporary truce with the Chief and Arbiter in an effort to stop Truth. The Arbiter, Master Chief, and Flood forces arrive and overwhelm Truth's guards, rescuing Johnson and halting the installations' firing. After the Arbiter kills Truth, Gravemind turns on the Chief and Arbiter, who escape the Flood's grasp.

The Chief, Arbiter and Guilty Spark discover that the Ark is creating a new ringworld to replace the one previously destroyed. The Chief decides to activate only this new ring to eliminate the local Flood while sparing the galaxy at large. Before he can activate the ring, however, he needs an Activation Index. Knowing that Cortana acquired a copy of one on the first Halo, he rescues the AI from High Charity and creates a chain reaction to destroy the infested city and severely damage the Gravemind.

Arriving on the new Halo, Cortana warns that the Gravemind is trying to rebuild itself on the ring. The Chief, the Arbiter, and Johnson make their way to the control room, where they will activate Halo's weapon. Guilty Spark explains that because the ring is not yet complete, a premature activation will destroy it and the Ark. When Johnson ignores his warning, Guilty Spark kills him to protect "his" ring. The Chief destroys Guilty Spark, activates the ring, and escapes the ring's blast on a frigate, Forward Unto Dawn.

Only the front half of Forward Unto Dawn, carrying the Arbiter, makes it through the portal. Believing the Chief and Cortana to have perished, a memorial service is held for the fallen heroes of the human and Covenant war. After the memorial service, the Arbiter departs for his home planet, where the Elites are finally free of the Prophets' hegemony. Meanwhile, the rear half of Forward Unto Dawn floats in unknown space. Cortana drops a beacon, but realizes it may be years before they are rescued. The Chief enters cryonic sleep, telling Cortana to "wake me, when you need me." If the game is completed at the Legendary difficulty level, the scene continues to show the piece of Forward Unto Dawn drifting towards a mysterious planet.

Halo 3: ODST

Halo 3: ODST (originally known as Halo 3: Recon) is a first-person shooter video game, developed by Bungie and published by Microsoft. It was released on the Xbox 360 video game console exclusively on September 22, 2009, nearly two years after the initial release of Halo 3. Players assume the roles of elite human United Nations Space Command soldiers known as Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODSTs) during the events of Halo 2 and Halo 3. After the alliance of alien races known as the Covenant attacks Earth, the player explores the ruined city of New Mombasa to discover what happened to their missing teammates, separated from each other as they entered the city.

Bungie initially conceived ODST as a small side project to produce in the lull between Halo 3's completion and Halo: Reach. Instead of featuring recognizable characters such as the Master Chief from previous games, the developers focused on the ODSTs. Story director Joseph Staten penned a detective story utilizing film noir settings, design, and characters. Composer Martin O'Donnell abandoned his previous Halo themes to create a quieter, jazz-influenced sound. During development, the game grew in scope to that of a full-sized game.[2]

Upon release, ODST became the top-selling Xbox 360 game worldwide. The title received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the atmosphere, music, and story approach. Reviewers were divided on whether the relatively short campaign and included extras were enough to justify the game's US$60 price tag. The game was the top-selling title in the United States in September 2009 and has sold more than 2.5 million units worldwide.[3] It also topped the United Kingdom's all-format charts, accounting for 65 percent of sales for the week of its release.

Synopsis Setting

ODST takes place in the 26th century, when humans under the command of the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) are locked in a war with a theocratic alliance of alien races known as the Covenant. During the events of the 2004 video game Halo 2, the Covenant discovers the location of Earth and launch an assault on the city of New Mombasa in Africa. Though the UNSC manages to repel most of the fleet, a single ship lands above the city and eventually retreats via a slipspace jump, creating a shockwave that destroys a part of the city. While the rest of Halo 2's storyline follows the carrier to a ringworld called Halo, ODST focuses on the aftermath of the shockwave, where the Covenant still occupies the city. During the game the player can unlock audio files for an optional narrative called Sadie's Story, which tells the story of a civilian girl caught in the initial stages of the Covenant invasion and her quest to find her father.[17] Characters

The game's protagonist, the Rookie, is a young unnamed member of a special military unit, the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, known as ODSTs or Helljumpers. ODSTs often deploy in small, one-man Human Entry Vehicles (HEVs), launched from spaceships in the upper atmosphere.[18] The Rookie is assisted in finding his teammates by Mombasa's city maintenance artificial intelligence known as the Superintendent.[19][20] The Rookie's teammates are Buck, Dutch, Romeo, Mickey, and Dare,[21] a UNSC Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) agent in charge of the squad's operation.[22] Plot

The game begins with Dutch, Romeo, Mickey and the Rookie discussing plans for assaulting the Covenant Prophet of Regret's ship above New Mombasa. Buck arrives and introduces Dare. The team enter their HEVs and drop through the atmosphere toward the ship; at the last minute, Dare changes their trajectory to miss the carrier.[23] The Covenant ship enters slipspace, sending a shockwave toward the ODSTs; the Rookie's pod collides with another and crashes to the ground, knocking him unconscious for six hours.[24] He awakens and proceeds to find clues as to what happened to his squadmates. Along the way, he discovers clues and evidence of his squad's exploits while he was unconscious.

Buck awakens after the drop and fights through Covenant to find Dare. When he arrives at her pod he finds only her charred helmet. Romeo saves Buck from an Engineer and the two resolve to get out of the city. Dutch drops near a nature preserve and helps Marines while he goes to the city. Mickey commandeers a tank and fights his way along a Mombasa boulevard. Meeting up with Dutch, the two defend an ONI base from the Covenant, blowing a bridge to slow the enemy. However, they are quickly overrun and forced to destroy the facility to keep it from being captured. Fortunately, they are evacuated by a Pelican and they make contact with Buck, arranging a rendezvous at the police headquarters. However, when Buck and Romeo arrive, they see the Pelican get shot down and crash. They rescue Dutch and Mickey, but Romeo is seriously wounded in the fight. The squad hijacks a Phantom transport ship, but instead of leaving the city, Buck decides to turn back and find Dare.

Back in the city, the Rookie is assisted by the Superintendent, which leads him to Dare's position. She and the Rookie team up to reach the Superintendent's data core, which possesses crucial information on something underneath the city that the Covenant is looking for. After fighting through a large Covenant force, they reach the core to find an Engineer hiding within. Dare explains that the Engineers have been enslaved by the Covenant, and this particular one decided to defect to the humans. The alien had downloaded the Superintendent's data into itself and Dare's mission changes from destroying the AI, to escorting the alien to safety. The Rookie, Dare, and the Engineer reunite with Buck and manage to fight their way out of the city. As they fly away in the captured Phantom, the squad watches as the Covenant destroys New Mombasa to excavate the portal to the Ark.

In the epilogue, one month has passed, and the squad is keeping guard over the Engineer in a UNSC orbital station. Sergeant Johnson then arrives, informing the Engineer that he intends to ask it everything it knows about the Covenant and whatever it is they're looking for. If the game is completed at the Legendary difficulty level, a scene after shows the Prophet of Truth overseeing some Engineers uncovering a Forerunner artifact buried beneath the Superintendent's data core

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