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 programmers greatly modified it to result in a rather impressive engine.
  • The enemies have some interesting AI. They do a good job of hiding, attacking, accidentally giving away their positions, and generally scaring 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 at the beginning of the game are really well-made and often gruesome.
  • 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.
  • It's nice to see the aliens in their natural habitat on Xen, and makes you feel like kind of a jerk for killing them.
  • The altered gravity on Xen makes from some interesting jumping puzzles.

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.
  • Every human character in the game is male except for the assassins. Would it have killed the developers to make a female scientist?
  • 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, allowing you to bypass them rather than waste bullets, but they over time they slow the game down and become annoying.
  • I enjoy the game's music, but it's so 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 something like, they fear a zombie outbreak.
  • It feels like you spend far too much time underground or in tunnels. Every now and then you surface for a few minutes, but then return to the rat maze.
  • The "On a Rail" chapter has a lot of clever booby traps, but having to keep the cart with you for such a long time slows the pacing to a crawl.
  • Although Xen has a lot of interesting aspects, something about it feels too unusual and odd to be enjoyable.
  • The NPCs have a sort of flapping-head motion when they talk which, while funny, hurts immersion.
  • The crouch-high-jump and crouch-long-jump are both uncomfortable to use on the keyboard.
  • There are a few too many instances of monsters appearing out of thin air for my tastes.
  • The training room is a bit too slow for my tastes.

Ugly

  • There are a couple serious bugs--like guards who don't open doors they're supposed to--which force you to reload from an earlier point and replay the section and hope it works the next time around. I once had to restart the game three times before the guard at the beginning would open the door to the testing chamber.

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