news\ Sep 27, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Halo Legends will have fans 'gunning' for more

Halo Legends will have fans 'gunning' for more
By Dakota Grabowski

Microsoft and 343 Studios delivered an impactful collection of stories

To best describe Halo Legends, I’d like to refer to the Disney classic, Aladdin:

A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we're only dreaming

Sitting through the collection of seven animated shorts, it was clearly apparent that Microsoft has a lot of storytelling left to do with the Halo franchise. From the first short (Origins) to the last (The Package), Halo Legends is a riveting adventure with a wide variety of styles, tones and characters explored.

Spartan 1337 encounters Pluton in a comical piece on Halo

Origins I and Origins II are highly enlightening pieces that delve into the rich history of the Halo universe before the video game series ever took place. Taking a close look at the Forerunners and their fall from grace, Origins is the most informative of the seven films, which should be a huge selling point for fans who are craving the inner-knowledge on what exactly happened to the noble and peaceful Forerunners.

From Origins I & II we learn that war is an inevitable fate of all species from Cortana, who narrates both pieces. Succumbing to plague like Flood, the Forerunners hit reset on all galactic civilizations while making their own kind extinct. Detailing that “secrets tempt primal instinct,” Cortana explains the technology advancements of mankind and how they would finally unite under one banner to take down the Covenant. As the evidence displays, Origins I & II are at a slower pace.

Moving onto a more action-oriented short, The Duel showcases an Arbiter of sorts within a feudal Japan-like setting. For any fan who wants to get a glimpse at what female elites look like, The Duel is the first short they should watch as The Arbiter has a wife named Hahn that is much shorter in size and has hair; something that the males do not have. The Duel is about a great journey of The Arbiter from his high ranking position to his renegade actions that have the Covenant sending more than hundreds of soldiers (of all alien races) and vehicles to dispose of him for his turn.

The Arbiter at his best, duel-wielding plasma swords

The Duel is, perhaps, the most peculiar short due to that it has a grainy effect to it makes it look like a heat wave is occurring. The last five or so minutes concerns nonstop action to please the audience who are looking for sword combat, aggressive deaths and much more. The Arbiter from this storyline would give the Master Chief more than he could handle – he’s fast, he’s agile and swifter than a fox. It has to be said though; the elites in The Duel resemble King Koopa from the Mario feature film.

Taking it down a notch, Homecoming explores the shady background of the Spartan II program. Stealing children at a young age and cloning them, this look into what humanity had done to excel at warfare is disturbing at what could potentially happen in real life. The 80’s vibe that bleeds from the soundtrack is off-putting and the voice acting is weak; thus, Homecoming was a letdown, even though Daisy, the red Spartan, looked stunning throughout the piece.

On an even odder note, Odd One Out is a whacky spoof of the Halo universe. It’s not considered canonical since it features superheroes in a female and male protagonist who aid a clumsy Spartan that was tagged with the numbers 1337. After falling out of a Pelican in space, the Spartan lands on a strange planet where he encounters a large carnivorous dinosaur that resembles a Tyrannosaurus rex. Afterwards, encounters a giant super-soldier brute called Pluton and combats in the middle of the desert. Failing more than once, the superheroes assist in taking down the gargantuan brute.

Even after conflicts, the Spartans still come to the aid of the ODSTs

Obviously a comedy piece, Odd One Out was created by the Toei Animation Company, the studio behind Dragon Ball. The animation isn’t superior to any of the other shorts, but it does provide a humorous tone that should bring forth a few laughs as the dimwitted Spartan fails over and over again.

Following Odd One Out was Prototype, a slower and methodical piece that takes a look at the soul of a marine sergeant who lost all his troops in battle. Nicknamed Ghost, the sergeant must come to terms with his loss and find an inner peace for his shortcomings. The ending of this animation short focused on a large battle that displayed a wide variety of weapons from the arsenal of the prototype suit Ghost inhabits. The best way to describe Prototype would be, “All the soul is an obstacle, something to overcome.” It’s not necessarily sad, but it does prove its point.

The last two short films are aptly titled The Babysitter and The Package. The Babysitter allows the audience to discover the tension the Helljumpers (aka ODSTs) have for Spartans. The Package gives strict fans of the Master Chief time to see him in action as he retrieves a “package” from The Covenant with his select few Spartans. Both are action-oriented and attempt to excite the viewer with incredible gunfights, a wide range of martial arts, and the regular ole’ badassery of the Spartans. At the end of The Package, the Master Chief leaves his audience with these final words: “I have to be stronger.” If Halo Legends is any evidence on where Microsoft intends on going with the lore, they can only get better.

Finally, the extras are in-depth and provide a lot of “Making of” footage to coincide with each short film. In addition, there’s an extra titled “The Story Thus Far” that gives the viewer the rundown on the video game franchise and how far is has come since its debut.

Once the credits roll, Halo Legends leaves its massive fanbase begging for more. If Halo Reach is anywhere near as story-driven and impactful on the universe that Halo Legends was, then 2010 is going to be an amazing year for Bungie and Microsoft.

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