Halo 3 is one of those games that just give me good memories whenever I think of it.
Perhaps that’s just the nostalgia talking, but can you blame me? It was an entertaining game in many ways! We’re talking a campaign that is filled with memorable moments, multiplayer that was stupidly well designed, and, the topic of today, the Halo Forge, which allowed tons of creative ideas to flourish.
While Microsoft gave us Capture The Flag and Deathmatch, individual creators helped give birth to Grifball, Speed Halo, Cops N’Robbers, and more. Using the Forge, the theory was that you could create your own deathmatch maps, capture the flag maps, and more, but thanks to the creativity of gamers, we got a lot more than that. Want to exploit the game to escape a prison? Play Duck Hunt in Halo? Or maybe play sumo with Ghosts and Warthogs? You can do all that in more, in Custom Games that were simply a joy to play with friends. And today, I just wanted to talk about some of the games that I had great times with.
1. Garbage Man
Starting off with, in my opinion, one of the more simplistic game types, but undoubtedly one that’s just addicting to play, we got Trash Compactor.
With this gametype, the “Garbage Man” is outside the compactor, and he’s on a time limit. He needs to kill the inhabitants of the compactor, but the problem is, he doesn’t have the tools to do it himself, and if he goes in, he’s almost certainly dead. The solution? Push crates, fusion coils, vehicles, and more into the compactor, and hope to crush those unlucky enough to be inside. However, if any of those people survive for the full time limit, they win the game!
This is just one example of a gametype that takes the normal standards of Halo, and does something new with them. Of course, if you get hit by something fast enough, it’ll kill you, but having an entire game mode based around avoiding said objects? Man, that’s just fun. From the perspective of those trapped inside, as well as the Garbage Man who has to pray that they get hit, it’s just a ton of good fun.
2. Speed Halo
One of my personal favorites, in this particular gamemode, as one might guess, some players can get really, really fast.
So, there’s a zombie game mode, common to most of the games in the series, where one person, the zombie, has to infect, or kill, the other players, before time runs out. With this gametype, Speed Halo was born, where a lone zombie with a gravity hammer must chase down and kill the other players, who are only armed with a Warthog, or other vehicle of their choice. The catch? The whole map takes place on a steep, enclosed ramp with teleporters that loop from the bottom to the top. Because of this set up, the Warthog drivers end up gaining more and more speed, eventually tumbling, careening downhill, while the lone zombie does his best to try and hit them.
Speed Halo is ridiculous. Conceptually, it makes sense, but the extent to which it can go is an absolute joy to see.
3. Race Tracks
Perhaps a rather obvious choice, Forge was able to be used for many things in the Halo series- and of course, considering the fact that there ARE vehicles in the series, building race tracks was kind of the obvious progression.
Now, these race tracks could be designed in hugely different ways. One might have wide turns that have a large margin for error, but goes on forever. Another might rely on grav-lift jumps, while others have multiple path ways that branch off and rejoin each other. The creativity displayed by maps that designed race tracks from existing maps, or, even better; created their own race tracks from scratch, was a wonder to see, and a joy to race on.
Taking a simple mechanic of the series- grenade tossing, and making it something bigger, is the name of this game. Short, sweet, and to the point, Dodgeball is just what it sounds like.
Simply enough, you don’t have any weapons. Your small team starts off on one side of an arena, while the other team stats off on the other. Usually separated by a decently sized gap, there’s no way you’re jumping across, and instead, you’re given a basically unlimited supply of sticky grenades. So, as you might guess, you just chuck explosives through the air towards the other team hoping to nail one, and knock them out of the game. Kill the opposing team, and you win that round!
Dodgeball was the king of simple, but fun. It was extremely basic, but it provided yet another template for the Halo series that actual matchmaking just couldn’t provide. With that touch of Halo flair, explosives just blowing up everywhere, the simple game of Dodgeball got the FPS touch up it needed.
Okay, Jenga isn’t actually “Jenga” per se, but I’m sure you see where the inspiration comes from.
Where the original point of Jenga was to take away the most blocks you could without causing it to fall, the Halo version is all about knocking blocks away. Generally, there’s a stack of cinder blocks, a wall of crates, or other such perilous perch suspended in midair, for several players to make their home. Around them, there’s a bottomless pit- a pit that the opposing team, aims to knock them into. Using gravity cannons, they launch vehicles, crates, whatever they can at the opponents, but not with the goal of hitting them. Rather, by destroying the wall, the tower, whatever they’re perched upon, the goal is to send them into the abyss. Aiming is hard, however; and there’s a very real chance that, with luck and skill, the team on the Jenga tower will succeed!
This one was fun simply because it turned the First Person Shooter, Halo, into a First Person Platformer. Dodging debris, while simultaneously watching out for the crumbling floor beneath you, was a unique challenge that the series, and many of its custom games, simply doesn’t provide. From the perspective of the people who tear the towers down, it’s fun as well, simply because it’s just so satisfying sometimes, to watch a good hit just annihilate the hopes and dreams of your opponents.
6. Open Season
Okay, had to end it on this custom game, which, in my eyes, is what I think of most when I think of a Halo custom game.
High in the sky, you race around a narrow, circular race track using a Mongoose, speeding around until you reach the end. However, there’s a little wrench in your plans: a lone sniper is perched on a platform in the very center of the track, doing his best to take you out as best he can. Dodging bullets, navigating treacherous paths, the majority of the players simply have to try their best to reach the end, at which point, they are teleported to the center platform to take their revenge on the cruel sniper.
This custom game in particular was oftentimes devilishly hard, simply due to the difficulty of both navigating the course in question, as well as accounting for the skill of the player in the center. There’s a lot there that has the potential to go wrong, but that just made it all the more satisfying when some lucky person got through the gauntlet to win the game.
So, those were some of the custom games of the Halo Series that I LOVED playing with friends. If you’ve played these kinds of games before, which ones did you like? Have any good memories with similar custom games? Leave a comment below if you did! :)