Stunning new Halo 2 screen unveiled

Bungie have just released one (count it!) new screenshot of Halo 2 - and it's the first we've seen of the game's underground levels.

You'll notice the Master Chief in the foreground is getting involved in a bit of twin gunplay action, with a submachine gun in his left hand and a plasma pistol in his right. Meanwhile, the soldier in the background (who is also wearing Master Chief-style armour) appears to have been hit by one of those incoming green blobs and is in the process of dropping both his shotgun and battle rifle.

Of course, the big question is: what exactly are those incoming plasma-style projectiles? They look broadly similar to the homing needles of the first game (which were purple) although only seem to fire in a straight line, without the homing mechanism. No doubt all will become clear in the coming weeks.

Regarding the recent screenshots, Bungie content manager Frank O'Connor says, "The combination of our new lightmapping and dynamic lighting gives stills an unearthly, painted-looking quality, yet still weirdly photorealistic. I love that aspect of the game's look - reminds me of how video games used to carry their own distinctive 'look' like Capcom SNES titles or the PC version of Doom."

[15/04/04 14:57]

In addition to the screenshot described above, Bungie have also just released a render of a posse of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, who fight alongside Master Chief in his battle against the Covenant. The ODSTs first appeared in from last year's E3 and, according to Bungie themselves, "these guys are tough and can kick plenty of Covenant butt".

Halo 2 is due to be released for Xbox in the autumn