With Halo 2’s removal from Xbox LIVE upon us, I thought with this piece I would share some of the memories I had with the game. I sank an incredible amount of hours in the game, and I hope some of my memories jog some of yours.
November 9, 2004. I was 16 years old and at this time I was getting out of school pretty late. I got home from school around 4:30pm each day, and I told my sister to pick up the game for me. I wasn’t old enough to pick it up by myself anyway. I got home and began playing the game that quite possibly changed the course of my life. I opened the game and fooled around with the campaign a little bit, but then quickly jumped on over to the online side of things. The first thing I did was play Rumble Pit. It was an 8 person free-for-all, and to my amazement I won my first game. I was really proud, because I never owned the first Halo. I only owned a GameCube up until the summer of 2004. I got an Xbox, because my family had just gotten high-speed internet, so online gaming was something I really wanted to do.
On the first day of Halo 2, only one or two friends played with me. It wasn’t like now where everyone had a system and played online. If online console gaming is considered niche now, it was extremely niche then. So, we did some custom games, but then started to do some matchmaking. At this time there was only Rumble Pit, Team Skirmish (4v4 games), Team Training (unranked 4v4), Big Team Battle (8v8), Head to Head, Minor Clanmatch (4v4) and Major Clanmatch (8v8), I believe. This is all off the top of my head, so I apologize if I am wrong about any details. For some reason we did a lot of Big Team Battle, but once I discovered Team Skirmish I never went back.
What was great about Halo 2 was that you had the initial Xbox LIVE friends list and your clan. This meant a potential of 200 buddies you can have (100 from each list.) Eventually, my few friends and I met some new friends through matchmaking, and formed a pretty cool clan. Unfortunately, like the 50 other clans I became a part of, the clan would crumble and I would never hear from them again. This first clan was fun while it lasted though.
One day the clan members and I created an awesome custom game. It was ‘Hide and Seek.’ My mind at the time was all about Halo 2, so at night before bed I would toss and turn thinking about the game. ‘Hide and Seek’ was a juggernaut game with a 6 minute time limit, full shields for the seeker, and the rule of no killing of the ‘seeker’ whatsoever. The juggernaut is chosen by random by the game, and he/she was the ‘seeker’ and was not to kill anyone while hiders hid anywhere on the map. After 1 minute, “5 minutes remaining” meant “ready or not here I come!” I thought it was genius, and I knew we had something great on our hands when our rooms of ‘Hide and Seek’ would flood to capacity every night. Most people don’t believe I was the first person to create this game, and maybe I’m not, but I definitely didn’t get it from anywhere other than my own imagination.
Created custom games on Halo 2 took some moderating and the cooperation of players. No killing meant no killing or you got the boot! A perfect example of having the cooperation of players were during ‘Zombie Games’ where if you died, you had to change over to the green team or become a ‘zombie.’ It was real lame when players didn’t follow the rules.
But you don’t want to hear about this stuff right? You want to hear about the glitches, cheats and bugs. First of all, standby switchers ruined matchmaking. The host of the game would discover they were host by pressing left(?) on the D-pad, then if they got it, all hell broke loose. The standby switcher would do something with his router, and lag up the whole game with him/her alone to kill everyone while they were on the blue screen of death. There was no way to get around it if you were a victim, and it sucked. Leveling and ranking up in the game was a game of chance. 50% of the time you would run into a cheater. At one point no matter how good you were, getting to level 16 was near impossible.
Another trick (which I admit I did a couple of times) was dummy glitching! I hope you all remember this one, because it was pretty fun, and funny. The only way to pull it off was you had to not be the host of the game, but the trick had nothing to do with tampering with the connection. Also, you had to be an Elite. You would hop in the passenger seat of the warthog and I believe press the X button and then constantly press the B button. This would have you exit the car, but because you keep pressing B, on your screen you would see yourself stay in the vehicle punching the front seat. Everyone else just sees an idiot standing there punching the air. A buddy of yours would drive you somewhere, and you weren’t allowed to move. You were invisible and invinceable to everyone, but your dummy body back where you started was vulnerable to die. Also, all you can do is punch, shoot, and grab stuff. The moment you moved you were teleported back to your dummy body. Killing people while you were invisible was fun, but the most effective use of this was grabbing a flag. Your driver would park the passenger seat near the flag, and you would grab the flag and begin moving. This would teleport you and the flag back to your dummy body for a quick score.
Standbying and dummy glitching were eventually patched, but super bouncing was on the rise. Each map had some way to jump and bounce super high. I accidentally discovered super bouncing on the map Zanzibar, and from that day on everyone seem to know what it was. I didn’t discover this, but it was a weird coincidence that I pulled off something so cryptic, and then suddenly every darn game had people super bouncing. People would get on top of maps with snipers and it was ridiculous. I don’t understand how people were able to discover how to super bounce, because it would be so complicated and different on each map. For example, on Zanzibar you have to go to one of the broken windows in the building, wedge yourself between a piece of glass by crouching, walk forward until the screen stops shaking, and then jump. It was weird.
Another new problem were modders. The new maps were out and people were modding their Xbox’s to cheat on the new maps. This was just as bad as standby switchers, because you couldn’t do anything about it. Dummy glitching and super bouncers you can get around, but there was no way you were winning a modded game. It was dumb. In Halo 2, it was either one problem or another. I still loved it though.
One of the most fun things I have ever done in Halo 2 was the sword lunging trick. A few buddies and I would explore the tops and barriers of all the maps with this trick. You would have to lock on to an enemy with the sword then press R and X, I believe. This would launch you past them to really high and far places. We would get to all sorts of high places and outsides of the maps. Too bad Halo 3 had no map exploration whatsoever… Speaking of button inputs, BXR anyone? That is all.
I have Halo 2 to thank for the beginning of my gaming night life. I was playing games until 6am some nights. Fortunately, I started school at 10am at this time, but it was still pretty late. I play games usually until 3am now and it’s due to the conditioning from Halo 2. Thanks!
I also have to thank Halo 2 for pushing me into the gaming industry. I loved EGM magazine and I remember that the writers would play Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow on Xbox LIVE. From then on I thought it would be so cool to play with these gaming journalists and it happened on Halo 2. Along with EGM, I played with the Frag Dolls, Xbox Nation writers, and even some Bungie people. I thought this was the most amazing thing ever. They were the people I looked up to, and playing with them solidified my goal to one day be a video game journalist. =P