Halo 3 Beta: The Highs and Lows

It's going to be very strange indeed when the sound of Spartan Laser fire finally stops blaring from our corner of the office next week. It's been a fun few weeks caning post-work Slayer sessions and arguing in the pub over who's the best Warthog driver, but alas, it's time to grin and bear the wait until Halo 3 arrives on September 26.

Gadgets and Gizmos
For all the controversy surrounding Bungie's inclusion of equipment into multiplayer, we think Halo 3's new gadgets went down fantastically well. Bubble Shields, Power Drainers and Portable Grav Lifts all added to the gameplay without giving you a direct advantage - and they're good fun to use as well.

The violent, pulsating explosion of the Power Drainer just has to be loved, and there's nothing better at disturbing a fight than dropping the metallic ball right in the middle.

The Bubble Shield was far less disruptive to the Halo formula than the community predicted. Of course it's more of a last-ditch defensive tool than something you can use to get the upper hand on your opponent, but then of course the shield added new strategy to Territories and Crazy King.

Even in these beta stages the weapons proved to be incredibly well balanced as well (apart from perhaps a little tweaking between the combine and battle rifle). Everything of the Spiker-variety is a fantastic addition to the Halo universe - if only for the satisfying sound effect of a hundred white hot nails plunging into your victim's face.

We know it has to get old, we really do, but we can't ever see sticking people with Spiker grenades being any less hilarious in two years than it is now.

Dual-wielded Spikers are simply known as "the death sticks" in the GamesRadar office, but they're nothing compared to the outright awesome-ness of the revamped Needler.

Unless you're an excellent grenade marksman, have a shotgun in the enemy's face or a decent gadget up your sleeve, there's little chance you'll beat a Needler in a one-on-one fight. Then again, it's of no use when it comes to big-man scuffles. Please don't change the Needler, Bungie. We love it.