8 ways Halo 3 was ahead of its time

The three-way bust-up between humans, the Covenant, and the Flood reached new heights in 2007 with the release of Halo 3, arguably the best entry in an outrageously successful sci-fi shooter series dating way back to 2001.

From its awesome collection of multiplayer maps, to its epic four-player co-op campaign, to the debut of versatile map-tweaker Forge, join us in celebrating the iconic Halo 3. Hail to the chief…

1. Battle a moving fortress

Your scrap with a Scarab is one of Halo 3’s most memorable moments. While Halo 2 introduced this mobile mining platform, Halo 3 gave you the chance to fight it, and there were loads of ways you could do so: disable it with leg shots on-foot; air-drop in from a Hornet; or manoeuvre behind in a Scorpion tank and blast its vulnerable core.

2. Use Equipment to get the drop on opponents

Where Halo 2 introduced dual wielding, Halo 3’s big addition was equipment. Deployed with X, you could throw down bullet-repelling bubble shields, lay mines to disrupt enemy vehicles, and even drop a gravity lift to get airborne in a hurry. These folded into the game naturally and gave Halo 3 an extra layer of strategy.

3. Fight alongside friends in four-player co-op

If you ever needed a little help in Halo 3’s campaign, it was nice to know you could call on not one, but three extra helpers. Riding in a Warthog convoy on Tsavo Highway was an unmatched thrill. The quadrupling of firepower really made a difference on legendary mode.

4. Anyone for Swords on Guardian?

Halo 3 had many great multiplayer maps and modes, but fans know one combination reigned above all others: Slayer on Guardian, energy swords only. The perfect size for close quarters confrontations, and with numerous avenues of approach, Guardian was the perfect setting for settling disputes.

5. Design your perfect map in Forge

Forge was originally designed as a means for players to customise, save, and share tweaks they’ve made to maps – the removal of a weapon, the change to a spawn point, etc. But Bungie expanded its scope significantly with downloadable map templates like Foundry and Sandbox. These days Forge is a fully fledged map editor, but it all started in Halo 3.

6. Ride multiplayer’s biggest vehicle

Until it was surpassed by Halo 4’s Mammoth, The M313 Elephant was the largest vehicle available in multiplayer. With top-mounted turrets, invincible armour, and even a garage, it was an absolute behemoth. Two of them roamed Sandtrap, giving each team a mobile platform (or if you used a little imagination, a pirate ship) on which to fight from.

7. Find dozens of cool Easter eggs

There were so many cool little details hidden away in Bungie’s masterpiece, from strange easter eggs, to game-changing unlockables. The most famous of these are probably the Skulls – 13 hidden items that could be found in nooks and crannies across the game’s campaign. Each one could be activated to alter your gameplay experience, but Grunt Birthday remains the best in our book.

8. Relive past glories in theatre mode

Theatre mode let you record your campaign and multiplayer sessions then obsess over them from any angle. You could zoom right in on the Master Chief’s spent bullet shells, which were each individually engraved with the world ‘Chief’, or just share that moment you sniped a grenade in mid-air with the Halo 3 community.