Half-Life

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Half-Life is a first-person shooter adventure game made by Valve. I didn't play Half-Life until long after it had been out, but I still found the game to be quite amazing.

Status

I own this game for Windows and have beaten it on easy difficulty.

Review

Overall: 8/10

Good

  • Though originally based on the Quake engine, the game greatly modified it to result in something spectacular.
  • The enemies have a lot of different character and different functions. They hide, attack, give away their positions, and generally scare the hell out of you.
  • The weapons feature a nice gradual increase in power that allows you to feel like you're becoming stronger as the game progresses, and each has its own function, benefits, and short comings.
  • Fitting scripted dialog into the engine makes the game feel more realistic.
  • The damaged research facility pitfalls are really well-made.
  • Several of the bosses are terrifying!
  • Despite its length, there are a lot of puzzles and unique sequences that help keep the game fresh all the way through.
  • The underwater sequences were well-made and scary to play.
  • The game's intro is a great way of introducing just how massive and dangerous Black Mesa can be.

Bad

  • The NPCs continue to talk even if you're out of earshot which means you can often miss dialogue.
  • Having only a couple skins to choose from for the scientists, and only a single guard skin, and having them all use the same voice, hurts the immersion.
  • All of the people in the game are male.
  • The head crabs that turn people into zombies seems like an uncreative melding of Alien and Doom.
  • The barnacles are a interesting hazard early on in the game, but they become rather annoying as they keep showing up. I like the idea of a monster you can bypass or trick into killing other monsters, but it slows down the game a lot.
  • I enjoy the game's music, but it's rarely used, and it makes the game seem rather empty.
  • The game doesn't seem to explain why the US military decides to kill every civilian in Black Mesa. I can think of my own reasons, but it would have made more sense to explicitly say they fear a zombie outbreak or something.
  • Early in the game, it feels like you spend far too much time underground. There is a hint at being on the surface, but you end up going back under ground again.
  • The "On a Rail" chapter has a lot of clever booby traps, but having to keep the cart with you the whole time really slows things down.
  • Xen is certainly an interesting section of the game and it's fun to see the aliens in their natural habitat, and jump around with different gravity, but it feels so odd, for some reason it never sits well with me.
  • The NPCs have a sort of flapping-head motion when they talk which, while funny, hurts immersion.
  • The crouch-jump and crouch-long-jump are both uncomfortable to use.
  • The training room is a bit too slow for my tastes.

Ugly

  • There are a couple minor bugs (like scientists sitting above or below chairs), and a couple serious bugs like when guards don't open doors they're supposed to. The minor bugs are often funny looking, but the serious bugs force you to reload from an earlier point and replay the section and hope it works the next time around.

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