The following article contains PLOT SPOILERS for the Halo series.
You have been warned!
Halo was the reason I bought an Xbox, and I played that game to death. It was the first time I really enjoyed a shooter on a console. Every aspect of the game felt polished to me, from the sleek combination of guns, melee, and grenades to the recharging shields and diverse enemies. Halo is a game I have fond memories of, and I am clearly not alone.
There are only two games I have purchased at midnight on release day: Halo 2 and Halo 3, and these are the games I wish to talk about today. Or, more specifically, their villains. The plots of the Halo games are a fascinating story of unstoppable parasitic organisms, genocidal alien races, and galaxy-spanning super weapons. That’s an awesome tapestry to place some amazing villains in, right? Right?
Take the Prophet of Truth as an example. This guy is Evil with a capital E. We know this because when his buddy, the Prophet of Mercy, is attacked by the Flood, Truth just LEAVES HIM TO DIE! I mean, Tartarus is right there ready to save Mercy, but Truth is like “Nah, leave him. It’s cool.” That kind of Evil deserves the capital letter.
On top of this, he tries to kill off half his military (the Elites) with the other half (the Brutes), when both are fanatically loyal. That’s some serious backstabbing! Not only does he leave his partner to die, but he screws over an entire race of loyal subjects while trying to commit genocide on all humanity.
Dude! That is some hardcore Evil right there. He must have a really good reason for doing this, right? Right?
After Halo 2, I analyzed the plot, trying to figure out where the next chapter would take us. Several facts refused to fit together, centering around Truth’s motivations.
Why try to wipe out humanity?
Why start a civil war inside the Covenant?
Why let Mercy die?
As much as I tried, I couldn’t get all three to mesh seamlessly. My chaotic brain started chugging out plot lines, each more ridiculous than the last. A lot of what Truth did seemed so counterproductive (i.e. wiping out humanity versus weakening his own military). Maybe the Prophets were just using the rest of the Covenant as part of some as-yet-unrevealed plan? Whatever it was, I was certain it’d be awesome.
When Halo 3 released, I was pumped. Ready to “Finish the Fight” as it were.
And … Truth turned out to be a religious nutjob with no depth.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Halo 3, not as much as the original, but it was still a fun game (except for that darn Cortana level, grrrr). I just had really wanted an awesome villain.
For all the buildup that Truth has (remember his speech about humans cowering in the dirt), he goes out like a wet noodle. Maybe it was my own fault for getting my hopes up, but I really wanted the villains in Halo to shine the same way the back story did. The galaxy-spanning world Bungie created is fertile soil for amazing adventures, as the Halo series has demonstrated with aplomb over the years.
It’s just a shame the villains weren’t up to the same standard of excellence.
Okay, Didact. You’re up next. You’ve done well so far. Let’s see what you’ve got in Halo 5.