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“What does a mealworn grow into?” “A Super Mealworm, duh!”

October 26, 2008

“Well, well… open sesame.”

Sergeant Forge, in the Halo Wars trailer “Field Trip To Harvest”

Open, open… yes, I know this is late, but here are the two latest trailers that have fallen from the sky been released by the folks over at Bungie and Ensemble Studios about two of the most anticipated games next year(I hope); Halo 3: Recon, an expansion pack to Halo 3, and Halo Wars, the first ever RTS in the Halo franchise.

“Wow, what a bright light…”

First, Halo 3: Recon. Amid all the fan speculation running wild following the release of the first part of the trailer (known as “Keep It Clean”), Bungie waded into the Sea Of Fan Fever and doused everyone (me included, to a certain extent) with a hose that had a diameter twice that of Installation 04; no, the Master Chief isn’t in this game, and no, it’s not a new game we’re proposing.

The plus side, however, is that players get to take control of an ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper), those black-clad badass-from-head-to-toe near-SPARTAN II soldiers that almost every Halo player admires. Almost. The gameplay will also feature the aftermaths of what happened after the Prophet Of Regret busted up an entire city in Halo 2 with his escape route; everyone thought that New Mombasa was completely flattened after. While Halo 3 reveals otherwise, Halo 3: Recon will tell the story of how the city ended up being three-parts ginormous crater and one-part concrete ruins.

In short, it’s Halo 3 meets COD 4 in a bar. And they, well… nevermind.

“We’ll be having a welcome party for the Covenant right on that unstable, explosive-rigged cliff.”

Next up is Halo Wars’ “Field Trip To Harvest” trailer, in which the battle to retake Harvest has already ended. The Covenant are back to scrape away the glassed surface for Forerunner artifacts, and the UNSC, understandably, isn’t going to overlook this transgression on land they won back at almost three times its original worth, paid in blood by 2/3 of the UNSC fleet involved at the Battle of Harvest. As the UNSC ship Spirit Of Fire drops off dropships of all sizes ferrying troops and materials to the surface, our brave Sgt. Forge is right on the Covenant’s back, watching them as they unlock the proverbial and literal Gate o’ Doom. An Arbiter is present, and he disregards comments regarding an “infection”. You’ll have to take the risk, however, with all of Halo Wars’ campaign taking place on the ground.

Halo Wars, being one of the few RTS to hit the consoles, has me on the edge of my chair; first; they’re really hardware-intensive, and second, the control system has to be a miracle from heaven if they want to make the game a hit. But knowing Ensemble Studios (They have Age of Empires under their belt, after all), I’m definitely getting the game.

Well, hold on to your hats; the year is ending soon, and God knows if next year’s going to be good or bad beyond belief.

For this round of Character of the Post, the usual anime characters have been replaced by someone else; Sergeant Major Avery Jr. Johnson, one of the major characters in all three Halo games, and just a few more incidents shy of being the Master Chief’s sidekick. Present since Halo: Combat Evolved, Johnson is a tenacious and battle-hardened war veteran in against both the Insurrectionist that the UNSC faced early on during humanity’s expansion into space in the 26th century, and later against the fanatically-religious Covenant that would prove to be the deadliest enemy all mankind would have to face yet.

Born on Earth, specifically in Chicago, Illinois, Johnson’s life in his youth was largely calm, if a bit on the side of poverty; he would later join the UNSC Marin Corps as a sniper specialist, especially in the area of assassination of people the UNSC considered unsavory to its continued supremacy. A mistake in compassion, however, sees his fall from the specialists and later, he becomes a drill instructor stationed on, of all places,  Harvest. Naturally, wherever Johnson is, there will be action as well (just like in the Halo games), and what seems to be a simple investigation of disappearing cargo ships soon becomes humanity’s first contact with the Covenant; in a simple moment of misfiring and some political scheming, Johnson, with a bit of help, is forced to lead a large majority of Harvest’s population and its newly minted Colonial Militia off the planet before the Covenant glass it.

Johnson would later go on to fight both the dying Insurrectionists and the vicious war machine of the Covenant for the next three decades and more; he has seen enough combat to be ranked next to a SPARTAN-II in terms of combat experience. Small wonder then, that Johnson would go on the see action at Installation 04 against the Covenant and ever-virulent Flood during Halo: Combat Evolved, go on to triumph over both on his own, and survive Halo’s destruction to continue the fight alongside the Master Chief in a rescue operation and demolitions mission in First Strike, participate in action against the Covenant again on Earth and Installation 05 in Halo 2, and later in Installation 00, and finally on Installation 04, rebuilt, in Halo 3. He is, and will probably remain, one of the UNSC’s most experienced soldiers in all of its bloody conflicts, and will always be remembered as such.

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