Halo: Combat Evolved, the first game in the long running franchise, was released in November 2001. This book is a homage to the last ten years of creators and fans alike who have lived within this game. The forward begins with “We’ve all explored these worlds together,” and this book is yet another path through this vast universe.

Chapter 1: Architects of the Past Detailed sketches and water colors of the different worlds showed how the settings of the games evolved over time. From the early years when the mythology wasn’t was thorough to now, where everything has a story and a past behind it. We can see how the artists drew ideas and themes from realistic places such as the rock formation of Las Vegas, or why the atmosphere is so thin in a particular location.

Chapter 2: We Are Their Instrument I loved seeing the finer points of Master Chief’s mortal enemies. The evolution of the ranking armor of the Elites from ten years ago to now is fascinating. And who doesn’t love seeing Grunts, period.

Chapter 3: Tools of Conquest One of the highlights of the Halo franchise is the enemy vehicles. What makes the Covenant so terrifying are the ships you have to sneak aboard, or the on land vehicles you want to highjack or destroy. The intricate detailing that goes into designing each of them is impressive.

Chapter 4: A Monument to All Your Sins The aliens of this universe are petrifying, plain and simple. Who would have though the Flood was based off of rotten fruits and vegetables? Though artist Robt McLees admits, “However, an early inspiration for the carrier form was my cousin’s infected thumb.” No need to say more.

Chapter 5: Welcome to the Corps This chapter focuses on the Marine world of the game, with synopsis on character such as Cortana and a review of all the weaponry. But one of the most iconic parts of the game is the amour. We are shown an overlook of the Spartans and ODST as well as the infamous vehicles Warthog and Scorpion.

Chapter 6: Folks Need Heroes The Master Chief, the central character in the Halo universe. Sketches, water colors, from rough concept ideas to two page spreads of this commanding, impressive character. The evolution of the suit, called “fittingly epic”.

Chapter 7: Homeworlds No story is complete with its setting. In Halo, each world is a character in itself, vast and complicated and without boundaries. Nothing I can say can give justice to the sweeping art of this last chapter.

Simply put, this book is a must have for every Halo fan. The little snippets of behind the scenes, the intricate details, its wroth every penny. The two page spreads of breathtaking art are reason alone to buy this book. Master Chief is referred to as a “hero for all ages”. Halo is a story first and foremost about over coming evil. For the past decade this story has been replayed over and over, appreciated and enveloped, and will continue to do so for decades to come.

“The Great Journey: HALO - The Art of Building Worlds” by Martin Robinson, foreword by Frank O’Conner, is on sale now from Titan Books.

5 Stars