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Escort Missions

You ever get the feeling that life is just one long series of Escort Missions?

Halo: Reach - Are We Going Here Again?

I loved the first Halo game. It quickly became my favorite first person shooter at the time (a title that had previously been held by the first Half-Life).  I’ve played all the way through it by myself at least six times, and in co-op at least three (I do have to admit, though, the Library, solo, on Legendary is the one level I’ve never been able to beat.  Damn grenade chain reactions…Grrr…).It wasn’t just that the game was very polished, although it was.  It wasn’t just that it had one of the most memorable ending sequences ever, although it did. I remember thinking: “What, a driving level? with a countdown? This is going to Suck.”  But it didn’t.  Somehow, it kept me riveted.My favorite thing was that I was obviously playing as a BadAss Hero.I still remember the first time I played the second level.  Master Chief was approaching a temple-structure where there were a lot of Marines.  They were moaning about how much trouble they were in.  They were channeling  Bill Paxton from Aliens.  I could hear “I need some back up now,” “I can’t fight this thing alone,” and “Taking heavy fire!”  And then one of them noticed Master Chief walking up.  Suddenly it was “ Wow! There he is!” and “The Cavalry has arrived!”I had no real idea about the character I was playing – he never spoke, I never saw his face, but I knew he – I was a BadAss Hero.  And it was a pleasure living up to that.I remember the first teaser for Halo 2. The Earth was under bombardment.  Master Chief, in high orbit, grabs a single rifle from an arms locker and hurls himself out of an airlock towards a Covenant ship below. The “I will figure out something on the way down” attitude was so obvious, I could read it through an opaque face-shield.  I couldn’t wait.I wish I had.Master Chief wasn’t a BadAss anymore.  He wasn’t even very important.  He was constantly having to be saved by an Elite that the first Halo’s Master Chief would have used as a broom, and worse: he got bitch-slapped by  Audrey 2 from Little Shop of Horrors).And then the ending: the “hero” – I had been reduced to playing Mario from Donkey Kong, complete with the platforming, only this time the monkey had the hammer and the “hero” had to be protected by Sgt. Johnson.The multiplayer, I’m told, got better. But the singe player campaign sure suffered, and by the time I finished the final boss fight, I was too pissed to care.I swore I wouldn’t buy Halo 3.  The trailer made Master Chief look so insignificant, cowering under a Covenant mothership. But I wanted to recapture that magic on my shiny new 360 console, so I caved in.  I finished the campaign, but I regretted it.I did buy Halo:ODST.  As a game, it was lame.  The hero was a complete wimp. It me hours to beat one pair of Hunters.  However, I’m actually glad I bought it, because as a partial Firefly) cast reunion piece, it was a lot of fun.Which brings us to Halo: Reach.  Bungie says (again) that they’ve done a lot of work on the single player campaign, and (again) that it will be better.  I wonder if it buying it would make me feel like a BadAss again… or more like a tool…