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Multiplayer Map Pack
Score: 9.3 / 10
Halo 2 is already the best game to ever
come out on the Xbox, particularly when you take into account the
amazingly addictive multiplayer Xbox Live action that, nearly a year
after its release, is still one of Xbox Liveís most-played titles on a
daily basis. Simply put, there are no console games on any system that
can rival the online popularity of Halo 2. And whatís Microsoftís encore
to the single biggest-selling title on its system? By giving Halo 2
gamers even more online goodness with the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack.
Nine new multiplayer maps are part of the pack, no matter if you play
online or offline. But of course, itís online where youíll be totally
enthralled with the new
environments, which will give Halo 2 gamers
who have memorized each and every facet and detail of the original 12
multiplayer maps a chance for some fresh, new maps to improve their
Only one catch with this release: the map pack costs $20US, which isnít
bad at all until you realize that all the maps will be released over
Xbox Live for free by the end of August. Already, four of the nine have
been dispersed to the public at no cost courtesy of the fine folks at
Mountain Dew through a deal with Microsoft thatís even sweeter than
their delicious beverages. And they'll be picking up the tab for all
gamers to have the maps for free.
So why would anybody want to actually purchase the map pack instead of
waiting? Well, thereís supposed to be the incentive of bonus material,
but the extra add-ons to the disc prove to be anything but a ďbonus.Ē
All you get is a behind-the-scenes documentary about the new maps, a new
Halo 2 movie, and the only part that actually qualifies somewhat as a
bonus, a Halo 2 enhancement update for Xbox Live.
But again, thatís something that is readily available over Xbox Live now
for free. So unless you are a Halo 2 gamer and donít have Xbox Live (not
that likely, because if you own Halo 2, 99.99% of you have Xbox Live)
and want an update for multiplayer gameplay on a single or system-linked
non-Live Xbox, or simply are so addicted to Halo 2 that you must play
theses maps as soon as possible, you might be better having a bit of
patience and waiting for the free updates that are now just a few short
The decision whether to buy or not to buy this disc falls into the same
category as does the decision for many of us when buying online music:
would you rather have an actual, physical disc that you can call your
own, or download it and have it only exist on your Xboxís hard drive?
Me, Iíd rather have the disc, but itís each individual Xbox ownerís
As a whole, the maps are all really good, although some are better than
others. Hereís a brief description of each (in alphabetical order):
Backwash: A foggy swamp is the setting for Backwash. Illuminating the
dimly lit map is the neon glow of a few structures filling the
medium-sized map. Best suited for Slayer games.
Containment: The largest new map, with two snow-capped, icy bases
serving as fortification for teams. Bungie recommends using this huge
new environment for Capture the Flag or Assault.
Elongation: As with many of the Halo 2 multiplayer maps, Elongation is
an update of a Halo map, this one being an update of Longest.
Particularly in appearance, Elongation has an almost Doom 3 feel to it.
In fact, except for being much brighter without the shadows to hide and
creep about in, Elongation could pass as a near replica of a Doom 3 map.
CTF or Assault use is recommended.
Gemini: Another homage map, this one based on the old-school Bungie
title Marathon and its Duality map. Not a big map on this hovering space
refuge, but plenty of room for a good Slayer match.
Relic: This mapís like the reality television show Survivor, Halo-style:
youíre on a small island, with a crashed Albatross Dropship strewn about
the sandy landscape. A medium-sized map that serves CTF and Assault
Sanctuary: My second-favorite new addition, Sanctuary is set among the
ruins of Delta Halo. With dangerously long tunnels and a spiral tower to
get trapped in and gun turrets that pepper fleeing enemies, Sanctuary
works well for not only CTF and Assault but rousing rounds of Team
Terminal: Another large map that uses a high-speed futuristic New
Mombasa train station (complete with a frequent visits from a high-speed
train that will smash you into a million pieces if you get in its path)
as its setting. Well-suited for large-scale Team Slayer matches.
Turf: My favorite of all the new maps, Turf borrows a lot of its
inspiration from Ubisoftís Tom Clancy series of games, with the Halo 2
city streets of Old Mombasa bringing urban warfare to the Halo 2 masses.
Using plenty of flanking and cover techniques goes a long way for
success on Turf.
Warlock: By far the most claustrophobic of the new maps, youíll be
constantly on the move and involved in fast-paced, intense
close-quartered combat on this map. Most Warlock contests in Team Slayer
donít last more than five minutes with frenzied killing constantly
If you had any doubts that Halo 2 is the ultimate Xbox Live title, this
map pack will make you a true believer. If you can wait a few weeks, all
these nine new maps can be yours for free. But if you like the physical
nature of owning a disc and just need to get these new maps as soon as
possible, go get the map pack, because you definitely wonít be
disappointed (although the ďbonusĒ material is a rather lame and
inconsequential waste of disc space).