MacSoft: Halo for Mac goes Gold Master

Destineer Inc. subsidiary MacSoft on Monday announced that its long-awaited Mac conversion of the popular first-person shooter Halo: Combat Evolved has reached Gold Master status, the final development milestone before the game is sent to duplication and ships.

MacSoft noted that the game will go into manufacturing on Friday, Dec. 5, and will begin shipping from Destineer's warehouse on Thursday, Dec. 11. The company anticipates that Halo for Macintosh will hit North American retail store shelves beginning the week of Dec. 14, with European retailers receiving the title later the same week.

Halo: Combat Evolved tells the story of the Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced human soldier of the future fighting a last-ditch defense against a fanatical alien cabal known as The Covenant, bent on the total annihilation of all humanity. The Master Chief's battle takes him to the surface of Halo, an engineered ringworld that may hold the secret to humanity's salvation.

The world's first public look at Halo occurred on the stage of Macworld Expo in New York in 1999, when Bungie CEO Alex Seropian shared the keynote stage with Steve Jobs to show off an early prototype version of the game. Bungie's acquisition by Microsoft ultimately led to Halo's development as a title exclusive to Microsoft's Xbox console, much to the chagrin of many Mac gamers. Bungie's promise to make Halo available for PC and Mac platforms ultimately came to fruition earlier this year thanks to the development efforts of Gearbox Software, which engineered the PC version of Halo, upon which the Mac version has been created. Mac game conversion studio Westlake Interactive has been hard at work on the Mac version of Halo for months.

Several key differences exist to differentiate Mac and PC versions of Halo from their Xbox counterpart. You can play with up to 15 other players online in multiplayer modes. The Mac and PC versions also support dramatically higher resolutions and new graphics effects on video cards that support vertex and pixel shading. New vehicles, a new weapon, new multiplayer maps and customizable multiplayer game modes round out the improvements.

Mac and PC users can play against each other in individual and team-based games like King of the Hill, Capture the Flag, Death Match, Race, Oddball and more. You can also fly the Covenant's Banshee vehicle in multiplayer games, or use a rocket-equipped Warthog (the all-terrain vehicle of choice for human military forces). Or you can control a Covenant Gun Turret. The new Fuel Rod Gun is a new weapon choice for players looking for more firepower.

Minimum system requirements call for a G4/800MHz or faster; Mac OS X v10.2.8 or higher; 256MB RAM; 32MB AGP video card (GeForce2 MX or ATI Radeon 7500 or better); 1.4GB hard disk space. Halo is available for pre-order for $49.99.

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