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Halo hardcores flock to purchase much-anticipated second edition

Nov. 10, 2004

By ASHLEY HOLT, reporter

If large numbers of people were missing on campus on Tuesday, it may have been because some avid gamers were stationed in front of their televisions discovering the secrets of Halo 2, which was released in stores at midnight.

People crowded in hundreds in the parking lots of video game stores awaiting the release of the anticipated Halo 2.

Game Crazy video game store, located at 5201 Bosque Blvd., made Halo 2's release a special occasion for buyers. The bands Grimlock and Dr. Trock performed in the parking lot while gamers battled out a Halo tournament on four 27-inch televisions, the winner receiving a free Halo 2 game. The game usually sells for about $49.99.

"About 200 people showed up," Chris Smith, a manager of Game Crazy, said. "I was actually expecting less."

Smith said the majority of the people ranged between the ages of 18 and 25.

"I've been selling a lot of this game," he said.

Halo 2 offers an X Box Live feature where players can compete against other players nationally and internationally, while connected through the Internet.

Brandon Wells, a Longview senior, bought the game when it was released and has been playing for a majority of the time since. He hasn't used X Box Live yet but said he would rather play Halo 2 than any other video game because of this interactive capability.

"I like the fact that I can kick people's butt no matter where they are in the world," Wells said.

Halo 2 also offers more options and different weapons, giving it a leg up on its original version.

"You have a lot more options such as the weapons and the players," Wells said. "So far it's been awesome."

Ben Jones, a Dallas sophomore, agreed the weapons are different from the original game and commented on their improved balance.

"There isn't one weapon that's stronger than the other," he said. "There's a feature called dual-wheeled where you can fire any two one-handed weapons at once."

Jones said his favorite feature is the energy source, which is a sword he can "do cool stuff with."

"It really does live up to the hype," he said.

Jason Sirman, a Sugar Land senior, said he and about 15 of his friends played the new game until the early hours of Tuesday morning. He said the music is better in this game because it flows really well.

Halo 2's improved soundtrack features songs from Breaking Benjamin, Hoobastank and Incubus.

Sirman said the graphics are highly advanced and are what differentiate Halo 2 from its original.

"The graphics are better and look really cool," he said. "I'm not normally like this about video games, but this game just rocks."

Sirman said the game is a little more difficult as well as being more realistic than the original Halo. He gave examples of shots not equaling as many points and grenades having a smaller radius.

He added, "to be competitive at this one (Halo 2), you have to be decent at the first one."

Gamers at different skills have been allotting themselves various amounts of time to become accustomed to the game and hopefully conquer it.

"It might take me about a week to get good at it," Sirman said. However, consistent play can definitely play a factor in skill level, seeing as how Wells was seated in front of the game for three to four hours Tuesday.

Release of Halo 2 kept getting pushed back, which heightened the anticipation, according to Sirman. He had a copy of the game reserved and paid for.

Although it was waiting at the store for pick-up, the lines wrapping around the building posed as a potential obstacle in obtaining the game. Whichever way one gets the game, whether it be through long waiting lines, reserving a copy or permanently planting one's self on a friend's couch, it seems as though it can entertain for hours.

Entertainment editor Marion Hixon contributed to this report.