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The Halo E3 2000 Trailer was an in-engine cinematic trailer for Halo: Combat Evolved, shown at E3 2000. The events depicted in the trailer do not appear in the final game. Bungie also made a comedic advertisement "demonstrating" the Nvidia GeForce 2 GTS graphics card using the E3 engine to make the commercial.
A pair of Elites are depicted on patrol, watching a pair of Banshees fly away, when they suddenly get sniped by John-117, who has a different and more robotic voice than the final game. He then claims that a landing zone is clear, and a Pelican dropship flies in, putting down Marines (a squad comprised of Sergeant Stacker, Private Wang, and several unranked Marines: Geoff, Segur, McLees, and Laine), and a Warthog. They split into two teams, headed for the same destination. As they travel across Halo, they encounter native wildlife not included in the final game, namely a pack of Blind Wolves and a group of Thorn Beasts.
The group with the Warthog (McLees, Segur, and Geoff), get to the target first, spotting six Elites, four Ghosts, a Wraith, and what looks like a Spectre. Segur and Geoff attract their attention, drawing the Wraith into range of McLees' Warthog cannon, but Segur is killed by Needler rounds to the head and back. Stacker's group appears, flanking the Elites and killing all of them. They go in the Forerunner structure while Geoff and McLees guard the door. The three marines proceed into an underground chamber where they are soon ambushed and massacred by more Elites, the only Covenant alien featured in the trailer. One Elite in particular is depicted wielding an energy sword in one hand and a large Energy Shield on his other arm. It is possible that it was shrunken and transferred over to the Jackals in the final game. Wang is killed by the Elite with the sword, and Laine is killed on the ramp back to the door. Stacker is killed urging the remaining marines to fall back. McLees covers the door while Geoff takes a Ghost and flies off. McLees fails to kill the Major Elite running to a Ghost to pursue Geoff, and is shot by three Minor Elites. A wounded McLees detonates a grenade to take out the Minors before they can fly off in the Spectre vehicle, destroying all the vehicles there.
The Major Elite and two Banshees pursue Geoff and destroy his Ghost. Geoff is wounded, out of ammo, and about to be killed, when John-117 appears with an Energy Sword. John then impales the Elite with the Energy Sword. Geoff is evacuated while John-117 tells him that his fight is just beginning.
The camera pans over a mountainous landscape. At the top of a mountain, near an apparent Forerunner complex, two Elite Minors are patrolling back and forth. Two Banshees fly overhead.
Banshee Pilot: (translated) Beginning patrol.
Minor Elite 1: (translated) Good hunting.
The first Minor Elite walks over to the second.
Minor Elite 1: (translated) They will surely find them.
Minor Elite 2: (translated) You speak truly.
The first Elite turns and continues pacing. While its back is turned, the second Elite is shot in the head with a silenced bullet and collapses backward. The first Elite looks around, confused, then is shot in the head and falls forward.
Master Chief: Recon reporting. Hostiles have been neutralized.
Sergeant Stacker (COM): Say again? Over!
Master Chief: The drop zone is clear. I repeat, the drop zone is clear.
Sergeant Stacker: Understood. Lieutenant, let's get this thing moving.
The Pelican dropship accelerates over a body of water toward the mountains.
Lieutenant (COM): Hang tight, this may get a little rough.
The Pelican flies low between the mountains.
Sergeant Stacker: I want a quick, tight dispersal. If they catch us napping, this operation is as good as over!
Marines: Sir, yes sir!
Lieutenant (COM): Coming up on the insertion point.
Sergeant Stacker: Geoff, you get that 'Hog rolling as soon as we dust off. I need your team in position A.S.A.P.
Geoff: I'm all over it!
The Pelican lowers straight down and hovers several feet above the ground. The Warthog is detached from back of the dropship and the marines jump out of the aircraft's bay.
Lieutenant (COM): Warthog detached. Clear drop zone and advise.
Sergeant Stacker: Go, go, go!
McLees, Segur and Geoff climb into the Warthog.
Geoff: Let's roll.
Sergeant Stacker: Get the hell out of here, Lieutenant.
Lieutenant (COM): Good luck.
The Pelican takes off and flies over the Warthog.
Geoff (COM): See you at the rendezvous point.
Sergeant Stacker: Affirmative.
Stacker, Wang and Laine run along a mountain path toward their objective. The Warthog drives along the coast to the same location, pausing to avoid a herd/pack of Blind Wolves. The Warthog arrives at the Forerunner facility first. Geoff dismounts and approaches the facility on foot.
Geoff (COM): Objective in sight: six hostiles, six vehicles.
Stacker's group run past a herd of Thorn Beasts, one of which roars.
Sergeant Stacker: Draw off what you can.
Geoff waves for Segur and McLees to come toward him. They leave the Warthog and run toward him.
Geoff: Segur, target infantry. McLees, target armor.
McLees: You set 'em up, I'll knock 'em down!
McLees returns to the Warthog and mans its turret. Geoff and Segur crest a rise and open fire on the Elites guarding the facility's entrance.
Geoff: Initiating contact.
The Elites return fire and a Wraith slowly makes its way toward the marines.
Geoff: That did it. Fall back!
As they turn to retreat, Segur is shot in the back repeatedly and killed. Geoff continues to distract the Wraith as it crests the rise and is destroyed by McLees using the Warthog's cannon turret. Stacker's group arrives and wipes out the rest of the Elites.
Sergeant Stacker: Report!
Geoff: We lost Segur.
Sergeant Stacker: Geoff, you and McLees keep this entrance clear. The rest of us are going down that hole to find whatever those blue bastards were after. Private Wang, you have point.
The doors open and the marines run into the facility. They make their way down a series of ramps to the facility's lower level.
Private Wang: Clear! No movement, no heat, no Covenant anywhere. Somethin' ain't right.
Sergeant Stacker: Hold up. And Wang? Put a sock in it, will ya?
Private Wang: All's I'm saying is, there's a lot of unlocked doors for somethin' that nobody's supposed to have been in in 100,000 years.
Sergeant Stacker: We got nothin' down the rabbit hole. See anything topside?
Geoff: Not a damn thing.
Private Wang: All clear. Looks like nobody's ho--
An Elite Major sneaks up behind Wang and spears him on the end of an Energy Sword, cutting off his sentence and lifting him off his feet.
Stacker and Laine open fire, but their shots are blocked by the Elite's arm shield. Numerous Elites push forward and pursue the humans.
Sergeant Stacker: Outnumbered! Attempting to disengage!
Geoff: Position is secure, we're coming in!
Laine is killed and falls off the ramp. Stacker shoots and kills one of the Elites.
Sergeant Stacker: Negative! Hold your position!
Geoff: No way, Sarge. Fifty meters and closing.
Sergeant Stacker: Geoff, get the hell out of here! That's an or--
Stacker is killed by heavy fire.
Geoff: Come on, let's move.
McLees: Go. I'll cover you.
Geoff gets in a Ghost and flees the facility. The Elite Major follows on another Ghost, and although McLees shoots at it, he is unable to stop it. He is then shot repeatedly by three Elite Minors.
McLees: Hey, stooges.
He holds out a fragmentation grenade. The Elite Minors turn toward him and growl with alarm. The grenade explodes, killing McLees and the Elites, and triggering a series of explosions which destroy two Ghosts and a Spectre. Two Banshees chase down Geoff, destroying his Ghost and leaving him wounded. The Elite Major dismounts from his Ghost and advances on the injured marine. Geoff raises his Assault Rifle, but it clicks as he pulls the trigger; he is out of ammunition.
Elite Major: (in English) Your destruction is the will of the Gods, and we are their instrument.
Geoff: Go to Hell!
The Elite levels its Plasma Rifle at Geoff's head, but is distracted by the sound of gunfire. Two Minor Elites are shown shooting at something off camera. John-117 then crests a ridge wielding an Energy Sword, having apparently killed the two Elite Minors and taken it from one of them. The Elite Major shoots him several times with the Plasma Rifle but the shots are absorbed by his shields. The Spartan charges the Elite and stabs it in the stomach. The Elite clutches its stomach, fires its rifle several more times, then collapses. The Pelican flies toward Geoff and John-117.
Master Chief: Can you walk?
Geoff: Cortana told us one of you was on board, but I didn't believe her.
Master Chief: Enemy airborne battalion inbound. Let's get you on board.
Geoff: You're staying?
Master Chief: Yes. My battle has just begun.
Noticeable Differences from the final version of Halo: Combat Evolved
- Sound effects for the weapons differ significantly, as do the visual effects used during their firing. Plasma rifles make longer tracer streaks and noises instead of the short-round plasma blasts.
- Halo is depicted as having an assortment of native wildlife.
- The Banshees depicted have tail flaps that act as a rudder for aerial steering.
- An Elite Major uses the Energy Sword to kill one of the Marines. However, that particular rank never uses the Sword in the final version. An Elite Minor was also seen wielding the Energy Sword. In addition to those changes, the real game never appears to have the code for an Elite to lunge, the Elites always appear to swipe, or melee their opponents.
- The Assault Rifle used by the Marines appears to have a wood finish on various parts.
- The Marines are depicted to be much more efficient in combat than the final version of the game would prove, as they can take Elites down individually with an apparent lack of effort. Their armor and color of uniform also differs slightly, and their rangefinder eyepiece is red, instead of green.
- The Elites' design is slightly different in some scenes, where it has a lower jaw instead of the four mandibles. Although some of them have do have mandibles as we see in the games.
- The Major Elite that got impaled by John seemed to close his jaws to talk, but opened them to roar, something that in-game Elites never were capable to do.
- The Elite armors were much different than the one of the final game, as they lack energy shielding. The back of their gauntlets were also dark blue instead of yellow, their helmet fins were longer than usual Elites like the Spec Ops Elite, Stealth Elite and Zealot in the actual game, there were two Forerunner symbols adorning their backs, which are larger than the final game. Both their forearms had spikes, though only the left one has now.
- The legs of the Banshee pilots were more exposed.
- There is an early version of what appears to be the Spectre. It seemingly was meant to be in the game also, but didn't make the cut until Halo 2 came out. This is probably where the Shade turret came from, as there is one planted on top of the Spectre.
- The Banshees' engines sound like the Halo 2 Phantoms.
- John-117 uses an Energy Sword, which the player is unable to do until Halo 2, he has a robotic voice (as opposed to his deeper voice in the final game), and a radio antenna on his shoulder. When he is hit by enemy fire, his shields flicker blue instead of yellow.
- The Elite's Energy Shield was like that of a Jackal's personal shield although larger.
- The Elites also sound very different, with deep and rasping voices, and bear a noticeable resemblance to the noises made by the Flood in the final version.
- The Elite's Plasma Rifles seem to have more of a purple color.
- The Marines' Warthog is armed with some kind of light artillery piece. It may be an early version of the Gauss Cannon, which did not appear in the final cut of Halo. It is capable of knocking out a Wraith in two shots, rather than the LAAG in the shipping version. It also glows purple rather than yellow on the windshield and headlights.
- The only Covenant species seen in the trailer are Elites, no Grunts, Jackals, or Hunters.
- The Needler's projectiles don't glow. They are more like an explosive version of the Brute Spiker.
- The Elites hold the Plasma Rifle in a different way.
- The inside of the Pelican looks different.
- Some of the energy blasts seem to be from Covenant Carbines, which did not appear until Halo 2.
- Furthermore, one must notice that the red Elite speaking says: "Your destruction is the will of the Gods. And we are their instruments." Truth says this in one of the first cutscenes in Halo 3. (First cutscene on "Crow's Nest," only difference is that he says "For your destruction is the will of the Gods! And I? I am their instrument." Instead of "And we are their instruments.")
- The above quote ("Your destruction is the will of the Gods. And we are their instruments") is also featured in the novel The Fall of Reach as the first transmission ever made by the Covenant to the UNSC at Harvest.
- The trailer plays a few tracks that are very similar to tracks in Halo 3, particularly Greatest Journey.
- The Fragmentation Grenades' force which the dying Marine activates to kill the Elite is a lot stronger than the final version one.
- The Pelican in the trailer does not use the NATO phonetic Alphabet in its registration (i.e.: E419), instead it is just the number 79.
- When the dying Marine activates the grenade, it actually detonates the parked vehicles, though in the final version they would just flip around with no damage done.
- The Surviving Marine says to John at the end of the video, "You're Staying?" he then replies that his battle has just begun. This is never said in the final game, but it is the precursor for Halo 3's "Finish the Fight" tagline, which might mean that Bungie never forgot that they made the early Chief say this line and use it as a tribute.
- The Marines seem to run faster than in the final game.
- The Wraith's damage is a lot stronger on the version in the trailer than it is in the final game.
- Stacker is killed in the trailer, but he's seen later on in the released game, as well as in Halo 2 and Halo 3.
- The Wraith seems to have some kind of energy shield that sparks up where it is shot.
- Marines don't run out of ammo in the final version.
- The Marines are better drivers than in the final game, avoiding animals, while in the final game, Marines have a tendency to accidentally splatter John.
- Also, in the final game, Marines only use Ghosts during gameplay and a Warthog in the first cutscene.
- The Assault Rifles fire faster in the final version.