Sweat began to form over my palms. I shifted nervously in my gaming chair and tilted my headset’s mic closer to my mouth. “Are you sure about this?” I asked my friend Bubba, who was sitting in a chair twenty miles away in his own house, staring at the same Halo loading screen that I was in my house.
“We’ve got this,” he replied with utter assurance in his voice.
Thus began Bubba’s and my epic conquest in a match of Halo Doubles.
Though it sure didn’t start out epic.
A Halo Doubles match means that two players go up against another two players. These kinds of games always feel more intense to me than a regular 4v4 match or a Big Team Battle because every move you make matters. Every death you rack up counts for more against your team. The pressure to do well is insane.
Let me tell you now, I’m an enthusiastic Halo player, but I’m definitely not the best. Bubba convinced me to engage in the madness that is Doubles.
The game started, and right off the bat, the two players against us killed us like it was nothing. One of them had got his hands on a Needler, a gun that shoots tiny pink needles that stick into your armor and then explode. He annihilated the two of us.
Each kill was worth 10 points. The first team to 300 would win the match. Downing Bubba and I got the other team a 20-point lead.
They maintained that lead for a good long while. We killed them back, sure, but when they returned the favor, Bubba and I were back where we started. The slate-grey hallways of the map became claustrophobic as we didn’t know when an enemy player would pop up from around a corner.
I apologized to Bubba profusely every time I died. I felt like my mediocre playing skills were holding us back. He would always say in return, “We’ve got this.”
Eventually, the score was 270 to 250 in their favor.
That’s when (of course) one of them got their hands on a railgun.
A railgun has to be charged before it is fired, but when it is fired, an explosive bolt of energy lances out from the weapon that can kill a player in a single shot.
So this guy, I’ll call him Reginald (just for fun), came dashing around a corner and began firing at Bubba and I with this railgun. Blasts came rocketing from it, and I began jumping like a madman, trying to dodge the incoming fire. Bubba and I brought Reginald down with our puny assault rifles through sheer luck. The score was now 270-260.
Quick as a flash, I snatched up the railgun for myself. Bubba and I decided to hunker down right where we were now that we had decent firepower. The next time Reginald and his friend, who I shall call Frances, came running over, I was able to blast them both to oblivion with the railgun while Bubba distracted them. The score was now 270-280.
We were finally in the lead.
That didn’t last long though. The railgun ran out of ammo, and the next time one of them charged us, Bubba got downed. The score was now tied, 280-280.
When your teammate dies, they spawn at a different place on the map. Which means you’re separated. And if, while you’re all alone, the enemy team shows up to fight you, you have no chance in the world.
In a panic, I began sprinting around the map, practically screaming at Bubba over the headset, asking him to tell me where he spawned at so that we could join forces once again.
The map we were on was comprised of two levels, an upper and a lower. Bubba told me in a rush that he was on the lower level. We agreed to meet at the bottom of the ramp that connected the two levels.
I ran as fast as I could, sprinting down the hallways and keeping an eye on my motion tracker that would let me know if an enemy was nearby.
Just as I turned the corner that led to the top of the ramp, I saw one of the enemy team, let’s say it was Frances, sprinting down the ramp. Gunfire sounded, and I knew that Bubba and Frances were engaging in a gunfight. I continued sprinting, and just then, Reginald also came sprinting towards the ramp.
Reginald had not noticed I was running after him.
Bubba shouted in dismay as Frances continued hounding him with bullets.
I neared Reginald. His back was to me.
Bubba shouted in exultation. He had downed Frances in the one-on-one fight. But he didn’t know that Reginald was coming down for a fresh attack. 280-290.
Reginald took a running leap down the ramp.
I leapt after him.
[Pausing for a moment to give you some information. In Halo, when you melee someone, that means you hit them with your weapon, like a punch almost. If you press the melee button while you’re facing an opponent’s back, you perform an Assassination. It’s rather violent-looking, but at the same time, it’s totally bad-ass. Your perspective shifts from first-person to third, and you can watch as your character yanks your enemy backwards and shoves a combat knife down on them hard. If you press the melee button while you’re facing your opponent’s back and you’re in the air while you do it…well…]
I jammed my finger down on my melee button as Reginald and I were suspended in midair for a brief moment in time. The hit connected
While in midair, my character pulled out her combat knife and slammed it down on my opponent, performing the ultimate coup de grâce, an Air Assassination.
The final score was 280-300, in our favor.
I felt bad for Reginald and Frances. They were undeniably the better players. But I couldn’t help feeling a surge of exhilaration. Bubba and I had won.
All Bubba said was, “I told you so.”