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The Halo Trilogy features equipment that is immediately activated upon collection; these are known as power-ups. Halo 3 introduced equipment items that can be collected and carried by a player; these items could be activated at any time with a button press. When the term "equipment" is used, it usually refers to the items introduced in Halo 3.
Halo: Reach features a retooled equipment system, called "Armor Abilities". While in Halo 3 each piece of equipment could be used only once, Armor Abilities are reusable, with a cool-down time between each use. A player can only have one Armor Ability at a time. Players select which one they want to use in the loadout menu before spawning. They can also be spawned in Forge mode for players to pick up and use. Power-ups from the Halo Trilogy is still available in Halo: Reach through its Forge mode.
Halo: Combat Evolved
The Active Camouflage provides a player temporary invisibility and the Overshield triples the strength of a player's shield. In the campaign modes, overshields are only depleted when damaged. In multiplayer, overshields gradually lose strength over time. The Master Chief also had a flashlight, but it could only be used for a limited amount of time before it needed to recharge.
Halo 2 featured both the power-ups as well. Halo 2 also introduced new and improved power-ups.
When playing as the Master Chief, the flashlight can now be used with unlimited time. When playing as the Arbiter, the flashlight is replaced with an Active Camouflage system that may be used for a certain amount of time, depending on each game difficulty.
The Overshield and Active Camouflage are also present, but only in Multiplayer mode.
Halo 3 introduced new kinds of equipment items known as deployable equipment. These items are immediately picked up when a player walks over them. The player can carry these items, and deploy them at any time with the button X. Only one equipment item can be carried at a time, however (though power-ups do not count toward this limit). The items appear in both Multiplayer and Campaign; in the latter, Brutes can use Equipment as well.
All playable characters are equipped with flashlights on their weapons, when in Campaign. However in multiplayer players can't use the flashlight, which can be a disadvantage in darkened areas. The Arbiter no longer has ability to use built-in cloaking during gameplay (although it appears so on the cutscene on the Arrival, and on the final chapter of the campaign, where he "warps" on to the warthog in single-player).
Halo 3: ODST
The equipment from Halo 3 is still present in Halo 3: ODST, but not usable for players. Brutes, however, can still carry and use it. Strangely, Brutes can sometimes be seen using UNSC Trip Mines against humans.
Halo: Combat Evolved
Available in Campaign and Multiplayer:
Custom maps only:
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- In the January 2008 issue of EGM, in an interview with Brian Jarrard and Tyson Green, it was revealed that there was a piece of equipment cut from the final game known as The Vortex. It was said to be deployed the same as a Power Drain, but would instead create a mini black hole that would "suck" in any object within range, and diverting its course into the black hole, and away from your face. It was even able to affect nearby objects such as the Fusion Coil and even other players. The design was cut due to the fact that it was too "expensive" from a networking and performance standpoint.
- In the McFarlane Toys Series 5 action figures, equipment models are included, and it should be noted that they can all be moved in some way as if they were activated; for example, the Bubble Shield can be folded into a way that allows it to stand by itself.
- In Forge, players often set equipment items to Instant Respawn, resulting in various interesting effects. Among other things, Instant Respawn Trip Mines can be used to overload a map. Overloading makes some forged objects disappear and disables all stage elements such as lifts and Guardian turrets. However, the effects will only last for the duration of that particular game; saving a map after overloading it will not preserve the effects. Instant Respawn Overshields can make the player invincible, so long as the player continues to stand on the Overshield (the player, however, can still be killed by assassination).
- There is a glitch in Halo 3 multiplayer in which you can take camouflage and overshield like regular equipment. Although they can't be activated and will be dropped once the player is killed.