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Halo PC refers to the version of Halo: Combat Evolved built for home computers including both the PC and Mac platforms. Halo: Combat Evolved was originally planned to be made for the Mac platform. Bungie changed platforms to the upcoming Xbox after being purchased by Microsoft in 2000. On September 30, 2003, Gearbox Software ported Halo for the PC and added a few extra features as well. Later, a Macintosh version of Halo was made, referred to as Halo Mac.
A demo was also released before the PC version. The game demos and videos that were included in the Xbox version were removed from the PC version.
Halo PC contained several new features that the Xbox version of Halo lacked, namely the ability to play the game in "Safe Mode." However, Safe Mode was not necessary for the Xbox version because the Xbox has a standard graphics card and does not slow down. The game comes with several exclusive multiplayer additions such as the six new multiplayer maps which are Timberland, Death Island, Gephyrophobia, Danger Canyon, Ice Fields and Infinity, discarded weapons from the Xbox version which are the Fuel Rod Gun and Flamethrower and vehicles such as the Banshees and Rocket Warthog.
The Xbox version did have its equal share of special features as well such as the ability to play split screen multiplayer and co-op in campaign. The PC version was also outfitted with an online multiplayer mode, and a year later with the stand alone custom edition for modding, with downloadable maps from many Internet websites. It was one of the most popular online shooters played until November 2004 before its sequel Halo 2 was released.
Halo PC garnered mixed reactions and received a score of 83% on Metacritic. GameSpot stated that it was "still an incredible action game ... [and] a true classic," awarding it 9.0 out of 10. It received a score of 8.2 out of 10 from IGN, who stated, "If you've played the game on the Xbox, there's not much for you here." Eurogamer called the game "a missed opportunity," but stated that the online multiplayer component was "a massive draw ... for Halo veterans."
- Some changes were made from the Xbox version in the graphics. Jackal shields are not different for Major and Minor, and do not change color as they get damaged (which were probably problems that the bitmaps and animations weren't loaded, from a release-time perspective), stationary shields have a different appearance, the reflection of some weapons reduced their strength, and Shades change as well.
- Halo was originally for the Mac, until Microsoft's acquisition of Bungie, which prompted the Xbox and PC versions.
- Halo PC can be played without the CD as of Patch 1.08.
- The product key for Halo PC can unlock a nameplate for your Spartan in Halo: Reach.
- The Double Vehicle Driving Glitch is a glitch that is unique to Halo PC and cannot be done on the Xbox version.
- The Microsoft Game Studios logo, as well as the Bungie logo, is featured on the front cover of the game, unlike the Xbox version, which only had Bungie's logo on the front cover.
- GameSpy, the service which provides Halo PC's internet multiplayer, shut down on May 31, 2014. Players are no longer be able to browse for internet multiplayer matches, but LAN and Direct IP are still functional.