The bubble shield is another item you can pick up and itís main use is of course defensive. Once you deploy it a translucent energy bubble forms all around you. You and enemies can pass through it but weapons fire cannot. This is perhaps best used when you feel that you are about to die. Throwing up the bubble shield can give your own personal shield time to recharge so you can stay fighting. However, keep in mind that enemies can pass through the shield and then fire weapons inside.
The one new equipment item that is sure to be the most popular among players is the energy drainer. Deploy this baby and any enemies inside its circle will have their personal energy shield drained which make for some easy kills. You can imagine waiting for a bunch of opponents to get to one place, then throwing down the energy drainer and then throwing in a grenade to take out all of them in one spot. You have to be careful, however, as the energy drainer will also affect your own personal shield if you are inside its circle.
One piece of new equipment we saw used but didnít play with ourselves is the trip mine. Basically you lay down the flat mine as an approaching vehicle come closing in on you. If the vehicle goes over the mine..well, you get the idea. Itís perhaps the least impressive of all the new items for us as the mine can be easily avoided.
The new items definitely add some strategy to the normal frag fest that the first two Halo games turned out to be. Certainly special items are no stranger to PC users for games like the Tribes and Battlefield series but itís refreshing to see that Bungie is willing to try some new ideas (for them anyway) to make Halo 3 multiplayer more lively.
As we said, the beta for Halo 3 does have a number of the classic weapons that Halo 1 and 2 had. You get three kinds of human rifles in the beta (assault, rifle and sniper). Several returning weapons can be dual wielded once again (sub machine gun, plasma pistol, plasma rifle). Oddly enough you canít dual wield the needler gun in Halo 3 (one of our personal favorite weapons to use in that mode in previous games in the series). You also get the Brute Shot grenade launcher back in the game Covenant weapons from Halo 2 like the Carbine and Beam Rifle are back in the Halo 3 beta and the frag and plasma grenades are back as well and our personal favorite weapon, the shotgun, still makes a mess of enemies from close up. The Halo 3 beta does not include the Covenant energy sword, unfortunately.