Halo in a nutshell

Posted October 20th 2004

A handy Halo dictionary, in which major Halo terms are colourfully explained in Grunt-sized bites. (Caution: Spoilers)

Active camouflage: Nifty alien device that enables you to stroll through enemy ranks unseen, in order to stick a plasma grenade to the commanding Elite's rear end and thereby achieve comedy nirvana.

Assault on the Control Room: Name given to one of MC's missions, in which he visits a picturesque snow resort and does a great deal of interior decorating with Covenant blood and guts in a series of minimally furnished octagonal apartments.

Assault rifle: Woefully underpowered popgun issued to Marines. Only marginally more effective than hurling loose rocks and abuse. Presumably a replacement for the previous standard issue automatic potato gun.

Banshee: Great big purple thing able to whoosh about in the sky. Viewed by Master Chief as a mechanism for frying Elites in mid-air.

Captain Keyes: Silly old duffer in charge of the Pillar of Autumn. Rather good at getting captured. Also good at suicidally leaping out in front of the enemy when under cyborg escort protection. Later follows a brief career as Flood goo.

Carrier form: Bulbous Grunt-based Flood form packed with spores and suicidal tendencies. Keen on waddling up quietly behind you to explode inconsiderately.

Chain-gun: Big noisy thing on the back of a Warthog, sending out randomly directed bullets at an impressive rate of fire. Chiefly useful for ventilating the scenery and shooting allies in the back by accident.

Combat form: The main Flood form, responsible for maintaining the highest standards of gurgling. Not overly concerned about having appendages shot off.

Cortana: Honey-voiced AI dreamboat comfortably shacked up in Master Chief's battle suit after quitting her boring job with the Pillar of Autumn. Cute and sassy, and handy at foiling evil plans whipped up by insane hovering blue lights. Definitely one of the best things you could have that's blue.

Covenant: Alien collective intent on going around pointing at things and generally being unpleasant. Very keen on purple.

Cryo-bay: Master Chief's bedroom. Comes complete with servants to tune you up after a good kip.

Dropship: Funky airborne Covenant troop carrier featuring twin sandwich-maker compartments and pretty blue wavy effect down the middle. Rarely welcomed by UNSC Marines.

Echo 419: Master Chief's favourite Pelican, piloted by a confident American lady keen on delivering things.

Elite: Big alien fellow, generally angry due to his frightful dental bill. Best avoided. Catchphrase "Wort wort wort!", loosely translated as "Wa-hey! I spot lunch!". Favourite meal: plasma-fried cyborg.

Engineer: Cowardly onboard wrench-monkey who typically wants to go home. Wisely colour-coded in bright orange by the UNSC as a method of attracting enemy fire away from its Marines.

Flood: Mass of gurgling zombies reformed from unfortunate Marines or Covenant. Keen on lurking in dark places and leaping out unannounced. A fairly poor choice for dinner guests.

Frag grenade: Explosive device foolishly entrusted to Marines by the UNSC. Popular squad games include 'Fumble the Frag' and 'Wipeout'.

Ghost: Dangerously unstable hovering purple bathtub used by the Covenant, but also popularly used by Marines to kill Master Chief. Best blown to smithereens the moment you clap eyes on one.

Grunt: Ridiculous little fin-backed alien pixie, foolishly entrusted with plasma grenades and possessing inexplicable fondness for speaking in pidgin English. Specializes in panicking and running away. Basically a sack of ballast on legs.

343 Guilty Spark: Name given to one of MC's missions, in which his rust-proofing is given a severe testing in a nasty wet swamp, and which sees the start of a whole lot of unnecessary gurgling.

Halo: Big floaty ring knocked up by some race that had a lot of spare concrete hanging around. Showed good potential as a holiday resort until it was blown to pieces by a rampaging space-vandal. Also, name given to one of MC's missions, in which he crash lands there and has a splendid time roving among picturesque valleys and waterfalls, administering plentiful alien death to the sound of running streams and birdsong. Every cyborg's perfect holiday.

Hunter: Lumbering blue spiky-backed alien equipped with slow-firing cannon and protective shield that doubles as a barbecue table for Grunts. Displays carroty flesh to Master Chief's pistol far too often for its own good.

Jackal: Ugly skulking beak-nosed alien beastie distinguished by protective glowing dustbin lid and penchant for pointing. Always in need of a good firm whacking.

Keyes: Name given to one of MC's missions, in which he attempts to rescue the captain yet again, only to find that Keyes has forsaken the UNSC for a career with the Flood, who've offered him an attractive portfolio including an immediate field promotion to Head Monstrosity.

Marine: Khaki-clad UNSC bozo, usually armed with little more than a popgun and reinforced kneepads. Enjoys shouting and rolling around a lot. Popular with the Covenant as a form of casual target practice.

Master Chief: Oversized tin-plated cyborg hastily thawed out of the freezer by the UNSC as a last-ditch measure against the Covenant. Enjoys blasting things and generally wreaking havoc. Batteries included.

MC: Abbreviation of 'Master Chief', but equally interpretable as 'Maximum Carnage' or 'Mangler of Covenant'.

Medkit: Miraculous healing power in a box, considerately scattered all over Halo for the benefit of any visiting cyborgs.

Monitor: Irritating and vaguely insane hovering blue light, keen on dastardly plans that involve wiping out all life in the known galaxy.

Needler: Alien whack-job firing homing streams of stingy pink needles to potentially explosive effect. Offers ideal therapy after a hard day at the office.

Pelican: Chunky UNSC flyer, chiefly used for ferrying Marines to their certain deaths.

Pillar of Autumn: Ugly great UNSC space thing, happily destroyed by the Covenant who have much funkier designers. Comes ludicrously equipped with a Warthog stunt course to keep bored Marines happy. Merry-go-round and big-dipper also available.

Pistol: Improbably accurate pint-sized UNSC weapon with major stopping power and sniping ability. Somewhat unpopular with the Covenant, and ideal for rudely interrupting a Jackal in mid-point.

Plasma grenade: Delayed-action explosive alien beanbag with playful sticking ability. Chiefly used by Grunts, though often on their own squad. Looks good when placed on an Elite as an attractive uniform accessory.

Plasma pistol: Ubiquitous Covenant horseshoe of death, with special homing plasma ball option and satisfying fast-whack potential.

Plasma rifle: Heavy-duty alien blaster used by Elites, firing rapid pulses of plasma to form a playful stream of white-hot death. Tends to get a bit toasty; gloves recommended.

Plasma sword: Nasty slicing implement favoured by all the most fashionable Elites. Effectiveness against Master Chief somewhat limited on account of the owner being severely dead before getting close enough for a good swing.

Rocket launcher: Double-barrelled bringer of rockety death, ideal for explaining your feelings to a snivelling Jackal.

Sarge: Tough-talking Marine sergeant with impressive ability to pop up again and again even after being killed earlier. Possibly explained as the result of a secret cloning experiment, or a military family of identical octuplets.

Scorpion: Lumbering great UNSC tank designed for getting four outriding Marines killed as quickly as possible.

Sentinel: Automated hovering Monitor minion equipped with nasty laser for thinning out pesky Flood and cyborgs.

Shade: Clumsy alien gun turret sending out a random spray of pinkish light that tickles. Gunner supported by wavy plasma effect that also keeps the seat toasty. Usually manned by grunty fool and placed near a large drop.

Shotgun: Short-range UNSC blunderbuss useful for blasting Flood into little pieces. Best used with ear muffs.

Silly old duffer: See 'Captain Keyes'.

Sniper rifle: Long-range finger of death from out of the blue, responsible for many a splitting headache among the Covenant. Stealth aspect slightly undermined by a recoil that can be heard by everyone in a five-mile radius.

Spore: Annoying little Flood-buddy that wants to leap at you and go pop. Usually tags along with a lot of mates.

The Library: Name given to one of MC's missions, in which he wanders interminably through dimly lit and near-identical Flood infested passageways, only to find that there are actually no books there at all!

The Maw: Name given to one of MC's missions, in which he arranges to blow up Halo and finally gets to use the Warthog stunt course on the Pillar of Autumn, thoughtfully installed by the UNSC with this exact escape scenario in mind.

The Pillar of Autumn: Name given to one of MC's missions, in which he's rudely woken from a good sleep and shoved straight into the line of fire against marauding nasties without even being allowed a wash and a shave.

The Silent Cartographer: Name given to one of MC's missions, in which he takes a pleasant drive along the beach, pausing occasionally to administer harsh treatment to any alien beasties foolish enough to be playing in the sand.

The Truth and Reconciliation: Name given to one of MC's missions, in which his stealth work gets completely ruined by a bunch of Marines shining torches all over the place, and in which he foolishly risks his life for the sake of rescuing the tobacco-addled Captain Keyes.

Truth and Reconciliation: Snazzy Covenant space-faring cinema complex, kitted out with lush purple fittings and passageways. Now showing in Elite Theatre 1: the action blockbuster 'Roboman's Last Stand' (director's cut featuring extended plasma-death sequence and toasty sound effects in WortSurround™). Grunts are reminded that the cyborg images are not real, and the spontaneous use of needlers during a performance will not be tolerated. Showing in Jackal Theatre 1 for the 24th consecutive week by popular demand: the horror shocker 'Point of Death' (3D spectacles provided). Grunts are please requested not to flee during the scary bits. And showing in Grunt Theatre 1: the ever popular Earth classic 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs', with specially extended 'Hi-Ho' sequence for audience participation. Funny hats available at small extra charge. Please note that following the recent tragedy in what used to be Grunt Theatre 2, all Grunts are requested to leave their plasma grenades at the door.

Two Betrayals: Name given to one of MC's missions, in which he travels back through the snow resort visited earlier and disappointingly finds it overrun with an influx of low-grade gurgling tourists that have really brought the tone of the place down.

UNSC: Official military body of Earth responsible for seeing off alien nasties and sending feeble Marines off to be hopelessly slaughtered. Stands for United Nations Space Command, but could also be interpreted as Urgently Needing Super Cyborg.

Warthog: Agile UNSC dune-buggy good for bouncing around in, potentially enabling passengers to take an unwelcome second look at what they had for breakfast that morning. Thoughtfully includes a wild-firing chain-gun so Marines can accidentally shoot friendlies in the back that much faster.

Wraith: Unwieldy hovering artillery vehicle used by the Covenant, but viewed by Master Chief as a sort of oversized mobile Elite-toaster.