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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Half-Life- 13 years old but still hella fun.

     Today I'll be reviewing the legendary FPS Half-Life, made by Valve back in 1998. Before you go "omg 13 yers ago ffs revew new gaems", I've been wanting to do this review for a while, since Half-Life was probably my first shooter and definately one of my favourite games of all time.


     The game starts off with you playing the role of 27 year old Gordan Freeman, a scientist with a Ph.D in theoretical physics, as he heads toward his workplace: the Black Mesa research facility, stationed inside an abandoned missile lauch base. This makes it sound kinda like a Doctor Doom-esque evil lab and, well, thats because it sort of is. All kinda experiments go on at Black Mesa, but Gordan only has 1 job; to put on a "Hazard Suit" and put a strange crystal inside a big spinny-lightening-flashy thing.

The big spinny-lightening-flashy thing in question.

     Predictably, everything goes tits up and suddenly the whole facility is in a state of disrepair and aliens have appeared everywhere. Gordon wakes up, surprisingly unharmed, and stoically rips every alien in sight a second asshole. As you move closer to the surface in your desperate attempt to escape, however, it becomes clear that the government knows whats going on as soldiers are dropped into the facility. They're not there to help you, as they seem to be on a mission; kill everything. So, fighting aliens and soldiers like a complete badass, and rediscovering a creepy abandoned underground railway on the way, Gordon finally reaches the surface- only to be captured by soldiers. However, rather than "take you topside for questioning" they take all of your weapons and chuck you in a trash compactor as revenge for all the soldiers you killed before. You then have to climb out, find new weapons and escape from Black Mesa's waste treatment plant, and reach the surface again- quickly to discover that it to is also crawling with aliens and grunts. As you fight your way across the desert, you do some pretty epic things that are part of the day-job for Gordon, like take down several army helecopters and launch a satellite into orbit, supposedly stopping the aliens from teleporting in. Finally, you reach the heart of the facility- the Lambda Complex. This is where the teleportation research had taken place, and where you learn that the only way to stop the aliens is to teleport into the alien world, alone, and kill everything, including their giant floating leader.

All in an average days work for Gordon Freeman.

     After obviously succeeding in doing so, Gordon is whisked away by the mysterious "G-Man", a guy in a blue suit who has been watching you kill your way through the facility like a bespectacled Genghis Khan. He sounds kinda odd though, like English isnt his first language, and he gives you a choice; work for him and his superiors, or die. If you choose to work for him, you jump into a portal and the credits roll. However, if you dont, you are teleported back to the alien world, where an army awaits you- whilst you are unarmed. 

The G-Man's kinda creepy.

     The graphics, whilst almost laughable today, were mind blowing at a time when the original DOOM was thought to be "graphically advanced".  A couple of years ago, Valve ported the game to the source (HL2) engine: physics and dynamic shadows and water were included, and many textures spruced up- but the game still looked largely the same. However, a third party project named "Black Mesa Source" has been working on a complete remake of Half-Life with source graphics, and it looks simply stunning. Sadly, the remake has been in progress for nearly 6 years now and it's still far off from being finished- but when it is, I'll definately be one of the first to download it.


     The game has a wide variety of guns: from the legendary crowbar (Gordan Freeman's trademark weapon) to the radioactive tau cannon, there's a firearm to suit every occasion. The levels in the game are also highly varied, ranging from cramped labs to abandoned missile testing silos and scorching deserts. Being a 90s FPS, there are also a couple of "boss" aliens in the game, such as the Gargantua and the Tentacle.
     After recently replaying Half-Life for the first time in years, I was reminded why it had over 50 game of the year awards- the engaging combat, challenging gameplay (try completing it on hard, its rage inducing) and classical graphics make it as fun to play today as it was 13 years ago. You can grab it now on steam for only £6 ($10ish) and its totally worth every penny. I hope you enjoyed this review and, as always, if you like these things dont forget to leave a comment and follow me to show your support!



  1. This one has a big place in my heart. Countless hours playing it, this one of the first FPS i played. First one was Wolfenstein obviously :)

  2. Dude half life is always fun. Like goldeneye or somethin.

  3. oh half life was one of the greatest games ever

  4. I tried playing half life after everything good I've heard about it, but it's just not my cup of tea. I'm not a big fan of survival horrors.

  5. I don't know that game but I appreciated the Kanye West reference.

  6. My first shooter was duke nukem 3d. so the only thing half life had that was better was the graphics really. Half Life 2 on the other hand. i remember playing that for the first time and it was "wow". And after about 10 minutes of gameplay and you enter a old building for the first time with the sun showing the dust in the air thru the colored windows. That was just "wow" again. I still think HL2 got spectacular graphics 7 years later. I love that game. "we don't go to raveholm anymore"


    Oh man. Damn I am getting old. Thanks for reminding me! I do love the franchise more than any other game, though.

  8. Everyone seems to love it, I don't believe I bothered to finish the first time I played it through.

  9. I don't think graphics were that mind blowing. First Unreal got released the same year, and I think it looks better than Half-Life. Doom is 5 years older, so that comparison is kinda unfair.
    But yeah, great game.

    Mark: It's not a survival horror game, man. Just get past the first few levels. Those might seem kinda misleading.

  10. I spent so many hours on that thing, I really enjoyed the whole series.

  11. Half life is a classic. Anyone into gaming should give it a go.

  12. ROFL!!!!! I remember when Kanye did that "].

  13. Oh wow.
    I don't even know how many times I played this. What really surprises me is the fact that the graphics still don't look that bad.
    That game was way ahead of its time.

  14. Half life is a legendary game, i cant wait for episode 3 :O

  15. I still haven't played it, I know I should

  16. Before I played the game myself, me and my siblings used to watch our father play it for hours. We played this game instead of watching tv ;P