Halo Reach skulls. Really, aside from a Halo Reach review, which we’ll have in full detail tomorrow, there’s not likely to be a larger topic for Halo Reach fans than learning the full list of skulls in Halo Reach and what effect one has on the gameplay. Fortunately for you, we have the full list of Halo Reach skulls right here in our grubby little hands, as well as the list of what each skull actually does. We figured you might want to read about these game-changing little goodies, so consider the wait and suspense finally over.
All told, Halo Reach has 13 skulls, a lucky or conspiratorial number depending on whom you ask. These 13 skulls are divided into two categories, Primary and Secondary, and three of the skulls (red, yellow and blue) can be tweaked by individual game owners to specify Elite, Spartan and Wave effects. The Primary skulls are nine in number, with the four Secondary skulls rounding-out the full roster of 13.
Bungie has spiced things up this time around, with some totally new skull entries for Halo Reach. Since well before the game’s Sept. 14 launch, gamers have discussed a rumored skull called “Cloud.” Well, the Cloud skull does exist in the Primary category, and its effect is to hide the motion-tracking sensor on the HUD. This definitely amps the need to pay close attention to your surroundings, as does the “Iron” skull, a Primary skull whose effects are for co-op campaigns reverting to the previous checkpoint upon both players’ death, and for single-player campaigns to not even get checkpoints — they have to restart the mission entirely upon dying.
The “Tough Luck” skull in Halo Reach is another Primary toughie, as it causes enemies to dodge and/or throw back your grenades, as is its grenade kin “Catch” skull (also a Primary), which causes enemies to toss their own grenades twice as often and twice as fast.
As in previous Halo games, most of the skulls in Halo Reach are designed like the ones above: with the purpose of making the game more challenging. The next few continue that trend and even crank it up a notch. Take, for example, the “Famine” skull, which causes weapons to drop with 50% less ammunition, or the “Mythic” skull, which gives all enemies twice as much health. Not tough enough for you? How about the “Thunderstorm” skull, which automatically upgrades all enemies’ rank?
But don’t worry, Bungie’s not done making your gaming life a true pain with the skulls in Halo Reach. For example, take a look at “Black Eye,” a skull that disables your shields from recharging at all unless you melee-attack an enemy. Oh, and how about the “Tilt” skull, which causes shields and armor to exchange properties?
Not to be outdone, the Secondary skulls are where things get really interesting — and in some cases just plain weird. Although they may only be four in number, the Secondary skulls really show Bungie’s desire to mess with the non-skulled Halo Reach experience. For instance, the “Blind” skull causes your HUD and weapons to become completely invisible to you, while the “Cowbell” skull makes the acceleration scale from explosions three times greater than normal. Maybe that’s not “weird” enough for you. Fine. Bungie also included the “IWHBYD.” skull, which absolutely turns the combat dialogue on its ear (you’ll hear some memorable quotes, for sure).
But the piece d’resistance, at least where oddball is concerned, is the “Grunt Birthday Party” skull, which makes Grunts explode like a plasma grenade any time they’re hit by a headshot. Sure, I like pounding those annoying critters in the noggin to begin with. But add that Grunt Birthday Party skull, and you’ve got a whole mess of fun on the way.
So there you have it: the full list of 13 Halo Reach skulls, plus a brief description of what each one does. Now, with this knowledge in hand, the only remaining question is: which Halo Reach skulls are you going to play with first?
— Jonas Allen