Halo is undoubtedly one of the best video game franchises of all time. The shooter series was first established in 2001 and has become one of the most successful modern game franchises. Unlike ultra-realistic series such as Call of Duty, Halo took a different approach. That helped it to establish a dedicated fan base and become the killer app for Xbox consoles.
But picking out the greatest moments is no simple task. With such a grand story and spectacular cutscenes, there are many memorable parts that leave a lasting impression. Yet, there are a few that stick out among the rest, the ones that every player remembers years later. This list takes into account all of the main Halo titles along with spin-offs and prequels of the last 19 years.
Here are the 10 greatest moments from the Halo games. Needless to say, spoilers abound!
10. Mombasa Streets in Halo 3: ODST
The second mission in Halo 3: ODST was something completely different for the franchise when it released in 2009. It had a far more open approach than many other campaign missions. Mombasa Streets also had a dark and foreboding atmosphere that hasn’t been replicated in the series since. Effectively setting the stage for the spin-off game, it gave players a snapshot of what to expect from it. This entire mission was one big unforgettable moment for fans.
9. Saying goodbye to Cortana in Halo 2
The relationship between Master Chief and Cortana has always been central in Halo. The two share an intense emotional bond that is more than friendship. When the two have to part ways at the end of Halo 2 (2004), it is a genuinely emotional moment. You can feel the feelings the two individuals have for each other. Seeing the pain when they have to part under such difficult circumstances makes it even more impactful.
8. Master Chief waking up in Halo 4
Halo 4 was something of a gamble for Microsoft in 2012. It was the first title developed by 343 Industries after Bungie left to work on Destiny. Making a good first impression was very important to keep fans on their side. Luckily, the opening level was a great return for Master Chief as he awoke from suspended animation. Once again battling Covenant forces, he crashes onto a Forerunner facility and learns about a new threat to himself and humanity.
7. Playing as the Arbiter in Halo 2
Halo 2 had a lot to live up to. Following the success of the first game, Microsoft and Bungie doubled down on the sequel. The result was a far more expansive and experimental experience. One of the biggest changes was that players could take on the role of a Covenant fighter in the campaign. Playing as the Arbiter was not only an interesting mechanic but gave a new perspective on the story.
6. Lone Wolf in Halo: Reach
Halo: Reach has split the fan base since its release in 2010. Some regard it as a great addition but others think it changed up the classic Halo formula a little too much. There’s no denying, though, that Lone Wolf was a memorable and lasting moment. Acting as the final campaign mission, it takes place after the credits. As the sole surviving member of Noble Team, the player is left to battle against a horde of Covenant. It is impossible to win and the level always ends in defeat. As you take more damage, your visor cracks and the world gets darker, signifying the struggle humanity faces.
5. The betrayal of 343 Guilty Spark in Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo: Combat Evolved has several interesting plot twists. One of the biggest and most impactful in the 2001 game is the betrayal of 343 Guilty Spark. The seemingly helpful robot is revealed to have a devious plan of his own. Rather than saving you and your fellow troops, he wants to destroy practically all life in the galaxy. The sudden revelation of what Halo is and what it is used for is a huge moment in the franchise.
4. Giving the Covenant back their bomb in Halo 2
Much of Halo 2 features memorable scenes and gameplay moments. But it is hard to move past one of the very first scenes. After the first campaign mission, Master Chief jumps from a station in space. The cutscene shows the super-soldier riding a bomb to its target, as explosions and ships blast off around him. It helped to show just what the game was capable of and how it had expanded in scale.
3. First contact in Halo: Combat Evolved
Although not the first level of Halo: Combat Evolved, the level called “Halo” is arguably one of the most memorable from the series. The early moments after crashing on the giant structure are breathtaking. Everything about the level is impressive. Whether it is the large open spaces, the stunning design, or the variety of weapons, vehicles, and enemies. As the second level in the original game, it gives players the first glimpse of the Halo ring. But it also introduced the Warthog, Banshees, and set the formula for every future game in the franchise.
2. Escaping the Ark in Halo 3
Halo is known for its ambitious and spectacle-laden missions. Every entry in the series features at least a couple of levels that have the potential to blow players away. That is no more true than in 2007’s Halo 3. During the final moments of the game, the player has to escape the Ark after defeating 343 Guilty Spark. This involves a daring drive across the structure as it blows apart from the inside. With a memorably musical score accompanying the dramatic on-screen action, it is the original trilogy at its very best.
1. Meeting the Flood in Halo: Combat Evolved
Throughout the first half of Halo: Combat Evolved, the Covenant were the main enemies. However, during the level 343 Guilty Spark, players meet the Flood for the first time. Not only was it a very cool plot twist, but these scary creatures were also introduced in a terrifying way. Watching the found footage of the Flood attacking Keyes and his team elevated the series to a new level.
What is your favorite moment from the Halo series? Tell us in the comments below!