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: 7/10

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. Also, most weapons have an alternate fire which adds even more flexibility.
  • 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.
  • I like how the game alters the menu background as you progress.

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.
  • Breaking open crates with the crowbar ends up taking a lot of time in the game.

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.
  • The alien trampolines are very difficult to control properly and cause a lot of reloading from killing yourself on them.

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