This article is about the port of Halo: Combat Evolved for Windows PCs. For the Macintosh port, see Halo: Combat Evolved for Macintosh.
Halo PC refers to the version of Halo: Combat Evolved built for home computers. It was released on September 30 and December 14, 2003 by Gearbox Software and Westlake Interactive respectively. A demo was also released before the PC version. The game demos and videos that were included in the Xbox version were removed from the PC version.
To complement the release of Halo PC, a standalone, multiplayer-only custom edition for modding purposes was released on March 15, 2004 by Gearbox Software. Halo PC was one of the most popular online shooters played until November 2004 before Halo 2 was released.
Halo PC, for the most part, plays exactly like its Xbox version. As a computer-port, the PC version lacks the ability to play splitscreen in multiplayer and cooperative-play in campaign. It does, however, contain several new features, namely the ability to browse the multiplayer lobby for online matches, direct connection to server via IP address and the ability to run the game in "Safe Mode" (for computers that do not meet the PC requirements).
The game comes with several exclusive multiplayer additions such as the six new multiplayer maps which are Timberland, Death Island, Gephyrophobia, Danger Canyon, Ice Fields and Infinity, discarded weapons from the Xbox version which are the Fuel Rod Gun and Flamethrower and vehicles such as the Banshees and Rocket Warthog. With the 2014 release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the multiplayer component included for Halo: Combat Evolved was that of Halo PC, including all previously PC-exclusive maps, weapons and vehicles.
In April 2014, it was announced that the multiplayer lobby services of Halo PC and Halo Custom Edition would be rendered unusable by 31st May 2014 with the shutdown of GameSpy's multiplayer servers. In response of the shutdown, a new patch was developed and released by Bungie developer Roger Wolfson (also known as Sawnose) and a small group of Halo fans (Btcc22, Kornman00 and Technut) which will move the soon-to-be-shutdown GameSpy services to a non-GameSpy server.
Halo PC garnered mixed reactions and received a score of 83% on Metacritic. GameSpot stated that it was "still an incredible action game ... [and] a true classic", awarding it 9.0 out of 10. It received a score of 8.2 out of 10 from IGN, who stated, "If you've played the game on the Xbox, there's not much for you here." Eurogamer called the game "a missed opportunity", but stated that the online multiplayer component was "a massive draw ... for Halo veterans".