Review by RainingMetal
"Thrills and Chills through the Time Machine!"
Please take this review seriously even though I have only played this approximately 5 years after its release. I do understand the past and its generation, making this a game to be reckoned with in the (really) late 20th century. I for one, do enjoy FPSes (First Person Shooters), and this one did make a wonderful start on it, allowing the ones we know today practically exist! This isn't the first FPS as a whole (points to the Doom Series), but I think it is the first truly 3D FPS that I know of! Let's get started on our tour...
Most of the game takes place in the Arizona, in an enormous laboratory, Black Mesa. The entire game takes the player in the shoes of Doctor Gordon Freeman. Another day in his new job, he finds out that the Administrator of Black Mesa (he's not the shadowy individual with a Navy Blue Suit that carries his Briefcase, believe me) wants him to perform an exquisite experiment in a test chamber. The whole process becomes disastrous, as this opens a portal between Earth and an Alien world, Xen. While Gordon tries to get to the surface using any means necessary, Black Mesa calls in the Military to clean up the mess. Unfortunately, Gordon discovers that the Army is not only there to annihilate the beasts, but along with anyone connected to the project, including Gordon! At this time, people tell him to head to the Lambda sector in order to battle the Aliens and restore the peace to Black Mesa!
The Graphics are what are the most revolutionary in its time of creation. It introduces a well-done 3 Dimensional engine and graphics. FPSes base their functions on this one today, making this game look only average. The game can be upgraded to look better with a High-Definition Pack, adding new sounds as well. Half-Life also introduces geometric shapes into video games. Liquids here look realistic for a first shot, and destructible objects release smaller models. For example, if a Box is torn to bits, it will show some wooden splinters and pieces when it is destroyed. Speaking of violence, corpses of dead enemies often remain intact, unless they are blown up or if the corpses are beaten up. In the options menu, the resolution for the game can be toned up or down, making it look good for all computer monitors!
9/10 (Only because it came from the late 90s)
All sound comes correct from all of their sources. There are footstep sounds for all NPCs, along with the player too. There's some good voice acting too, but the Military Radio sounds can seem ridiculous for the communication that they use today, but the radios themselves sound great. There's a few music tracks here and there, although there's some that make William Hung's infamous performance on American Idol sound like the heavens, and there's also a few that might create nightmares. But those are just the minority of the total tracks present in this game.
Half-Life features advanced AI, even for today's standards. NPCs (friend or foe) are all able to open doors and use the environment, and they work together if they can. Some parts in the Single-Player mode use scripted scenes, and the mode itself is an uninterrupted sequence of action! This means that the whole story is not divided into missions, and that the inventory Gordon carries is always there in the next chapter. There's numerous weapons, typical, such as the SPAS-12 and Glock, to very original and bizzare, like an alien gun that shoots hornets! Gordon's trademark weapon is his Crowbar, his first to obtain. The maps are very well laid out for both gameplay platforming and realistic use, like catwalks. Gordon relies on his amount of Health and Armor to survive. He can refill these two substances with Charging Stations on walls or with individual items, such as Medkits and Batteries. Throughout the story is some puzzles that Gordon will have to solve in order to advance, such as preserving a Scientist to open a door, or the use of Boxes to climb a wall. I despise these, but they are very well done themselves. There are some bosses in the game that sometimes (and usually) mix in with the puzzle element. Simply speaking, it will take the activation of flammable gases and electricity rather than a barrage of rockets to take down a big alien. This makes a revolutionary start in the FPS genre.
Don't just ditch Half-Life for just another FPS that we have today! Without the knowledge of Half-Life, gaming history is woefully incomplete (the same applies to such games as Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros.). Along with the history is some official expansion games, such as Opposing Force and Blue Shift to see the story in other people's shoes. If that's not enough, there's hundreds of other fan-made mods available for download on the Internet, making this an endless treasury of fun and adventure!
This game had made a mark on the influence of FPSes of the present. Its sequel, Half-Life 2, is no exception, and has again, proven that its series is capable of changing the likes of FPSes forever! Even if it looks only like an average FPS today, please don't miss out on this gem, because this one is the root of them all!
9/10 (For its time)
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 01/24/07
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