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The UNSC Marines in Halo: Combat Evolved bear several resemblances to the Colonial Marines from Aliens in terms of armor design and behavior (characteristics and personality). It is evident that Bungie clearly loved them and fashioned their own closely after them.
Both Sergeant Apone and Sergeant Johnson have a strikingly similar appearance. Both are tough-as-nails, gung-ho Sergeants with a penchant for playfully mocking their Marines and spouting humorous one-liners, and Johnson occasionally repeats Apone's lines. Bungie even admitted that Sergeant Johnson was inspired from Sergeant Apone.
The Colonial Marines' main weapon, the M41A Pulse Rifle, is equipped with a digital ammo counter and fires caseless ammunition. Similarly, the UNSC Marines' main rifles have digital ammo counters. Marines in both series have Helmet recorders.
Notice the similarities between the Facehugger and the Infection Form. Both are roughly the size of a football, their coloring is extremely similar, neither has visible eyes or mouths, both move around low to the ground on numerous long, thin appendages, and both have a ridged tail. Both are able to leap with appendages spread open in order to latch on to their soon-to-be-hosts.
When a Facehugger attaches to a host, it implants a Xenomorph embryo, which will eventually become a "Chestburster" and smash its way out of the victim. This tiny Xenomorph will grow very quickly into either a Warrior or a Queen. When the Flood attaches to a host, it will mutate and take over the host, transforming it into a Flood warrior (if adequate biomass is present). In the case of both aliens, the genetic make-up of the host will influence the genetic make-up of the resulting creature "born" from the parasitic process. For example, if a Xenomorph hatches from a human, it will adopt human characteristics, and if a Flood attaches to a human, it will retain the human host's characteristics.
The robot Ash describes the alien in the franchise's first film as "the perfect organism," while the Gravemind (as well as the artificial construct 032 Mendicant Bias) considers the Flood to be the perfect society—the last, most advanced stage of evolution. The "societies" of both species are governed by queen-bee-like leaders of a central hive-mind. In both societies, there appear to be no internal divisions or opposing behaviors.
The headdresses worn by Sangheili Councilors closely resemble the Alien Queen's head, albeit smaller and narrower. In addition, both Halo's Covenant Empire and Aliens' titular species have caste systems. Whereas the Covenant's is based primarily on race and religion, the Aliens' is based on their different life stages and host species.
Vehicles and Structures
Several vehicles and structures within the Halo trilogy are inspired by the Alien franchise. One such example would be the Pelican dropship, which bears some resemblance in form and function to Aliens' UD4L Cheyenne dropship (shown in their descent to the surface of LV-426). The UD-4L has an armored personnel carrier loaded internally in its belly, and the Pelican is capable of holding various vehicles externally from under its tail-section. Both swoop in, drop the Marines off, and get out of Dodge.
In a cutscene from the Halo 3 Campaign level The Ark, a Pelican snaps off its frigate and plummets toward the eponymous construct below in almost exactly the same fashion as the UD-4L, when it deployed from the Sulaco starship in Aliens. Also,the Pelican cockpit seats are similar to the UD-4L as one is in the front right and the other is in the back left. In addition, the UNSC Frigates, such as the Forward Unto Dawn, the In Amber Clad, and the Aegis Fate, greatly resemble Sulaco, both in appearance and usage. The most obvious shared trait is that both of their profiles look like massive guns, a characteristic that the Sulaco is famous for.
In Aliens' fiction, "atmosphere processors" (above left and right) are set up by colonists in order to alter the atmosphere on new worlds, making them survivable by humans. This structure is prominent in the story, as it is the place where the colonists are cocooned and the Colonial Marines have their first "close encounter" with the Xenomorphs. The Forerunner Portal to the Ark is also a prominent set piece in Halo 3. The name and concept of the Atmosphere Processor is also similar to "Atmospheric Processors" used to terraform worlds in the Halo universe.
Several spoken lines heard in the Halo trilogy are taken from the Alien franchise. For example:
Halo: Combat Evolved
- Apone: All right, let's go people. The Corps ain't payin' us by the hour!
- Johnson: Hit it, Marines! Go! Go! Go! The Corps ain't payin' us by the hour!
In some cases, Halo's Sergeant Johnson borrows military banter from other Aliens cast members.
- Hicks: All right people. Let's move like we got a purpose.
- Johnson: You heard the lady. Move like you got a purpose!
The following dialogue occurs in the Colonial Marines dropship as they head toward the colony, before meeting the Xenomorph.
- Frost: ...telling ya, I got a bad feeling about this drop.
- Crowe: You always say that, Frost. You always have a bad feeling about this drop.
The following discussion takes place in Halo: Combat Evolved before the UNSC Marines encounter the Flood for the first time.
- Mendoza: I've got a bad feeling about this.
- Johnson: Boy, you always got a bad feeling about something.
The following comical exchange in Halo 2 is a reference both to the exchange in Aliens and its replication in Halo: Combat Evolved.
- Grunt 1: Me have bad feeling about this.
- Grunt 2: You always have bad feeling! You had bad feeling about morning food nipple!
- Ferro: Stand by to initiate release sequencer. On my mark. Five. Four.
- Bumblebee Pilot: Heads up everyone, this is it. We’re entering the ring's atmosphere in five...
Notice the similarity between the three conversations below, the former being from Aliens and the latter two appearing in Halo: Combat Evolved. In particular, note the jargon that appears in all three.
- Hicks: Ferro, do you copy?
- Ferro: Standing by.
- Hicks: Prep for dust off. We’re gonna need immediate evac.
- Ferro: Roger. On our way.
- Gorman: (to Ferro) Immediate dust off on my clear, then stay on station.
- Ferro: In the pipe. Five by five.
During the Campaign level Halo:
- Cortana: We have survivors and need immediate dust off.
- Foehammer: Echo 419 staying on station, Foehammer out.
During The Maw:
- Cortana: Cortana to Echo 419. Come in, Echo 419.
- Foehammer: Roger, Cortana. I read you five by five.
- Foehammer: Affirmative. Echo 419 going on station.
The following dialogue occurs after the dropship sent to rescue the Colonial Marines crashes in spectacular fashion, when a Xenomorph butchers Ferro mid-flight.
- Hudson: Well, that's great. That's just fucking great, man! Now what the fuck are we supposed to do? We're in some real pretty shit now, man!
- Hicks: (grabs Hudson) Are you finished?
- (A moment of dialogue takes place between other characters.)
- Hudson: That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?
The following dialogue occurs in Halo: Combat Evolved, after the dropship pilot informs a group of Marines that she is taking fire and can't rescue them from the Covenant ship they are now trapped on.
- Marine: Oh man, we're trapped in here. We're screwed! We're screwed, man!
- Keyes: Stow the bellyaching soldier. Remember that you're a leatherneck.
Tension builds before a dramatic "last stand" scene in Aliens, as Hudson sees a lot of activity on his motion sensor and famously utters one of the better-known lines of the film.
- Hudson: There's movement all over the place!
When John-117 first emerges to the surface after his first bloody meeting with the Flood only to battle more of them on the surface, Foehammer says,
- Foehammer: I'm tracking movement all over the place!
The light blue poster reads, "LOST: CALICO CAT ANSWERS TO: Jonesey.", which alludes to a scene in Alien (the movie before Aliens) when Brett goes looking for the ship cat Jones by calling "Jonesy". However the Jonesy in Alien was not a calico.
During the Flood-themed levels in Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2 and Halo 3—most notably 343 Guilty Spark, Cortana and High Charity—visibility is limited, and close-quarters fighting is common, such that the player is forced to keep an eye on their motion sensor—a homage to Aliens. This was pointed out in The Art of Halo. The same is true, albeit to a lesser extent, of some areas in Halo 3's Floodgate.
Aliens' Ripley begins and ends two of the franchise's movies in cryo-stasis, much like John's beginning in Halo: Combat Evolved and ending in Halo 3. Both Ripley and John-117 begin their respective franchises in a large ship with other people, and both end up alone in a smaller shuttle with a non-human (Ripley with Jonesey and John with Cortana). Both characters also seem to be a rarity, in that they can survive encounters with the Xenomorphs and Flood, respectively.