Review by Stephen T
"Can we say "real"?"
Okay, I have wanted Half-Life sense day 1. The second I read about in PC gamer, I fell in love with the game's pictures, previews, reviews (etc.) And how did the game turn out? Almost perfect.
First of all, the gameplay isn't that of your typical action game. This game creates a real environment. Everything about the game just yells "you're actually hear!" or "can you say 'real'?" All flawlessly. You start the game as a normal office worker. You are asked to do a test to see if the chance of a resonance cascade is there. You go through your office complex, which is insanely real (you can see people tieing their shoes, pounding on soda machines, etc.). You can talk to scientists, mess around with equipment (set off alarms, blow up food in the microwave, mess with laptops), and explore nearly anything there. But then, when the cascade experiment goes wrong, you get hit with a bolt of electricity. One of the scariest intros ever. When you wake up, you'll find that the base has been trashed. Scientists in pools of blood lay dead on the floor. Machines are destroyed. Cabinants fall on dead bodies. Very freaky. The story line isn't excellent, but the way the story line is presented is above average. The graphics are exceptional. They are emersive and the animations are fluid. The only problem is that they aren't quite up to some standards today. They also look like crap without a good 3D card (with a 3D card, however, they are beautiful). They are very dark and decorant. That's a good thing, though. They are very nice.
The sound is absolutely outstanding, especially with a Sound Blaster Live card. The way the sound changes, the way it flows, the way you can hear people talk...just flawless. Back to the gameplay, though, I must say one thing. The enemy artificial intelligance is incredible. The aliens act like real aliens would (I've never seen aliens, but if aliens exist, they'd probably be like the ones in Half Life). They military AI, however, is OUTSTANDING!! It has to be the most real AI to date. They don't just walk into your fire. They dodge your attacks, provide cover fire for eachother and lobe granades at your hiding places. Real real real.
The replay value is poor for 1 player mode (but that's because 1 player mode is so LONG) but Multiplayer really cranks up the replay value. There may be some noticeable lag, but it's no huge problem. I love how you can make decals for shot marks! It's fun and can be done easily. Trust me. Multiplayer is worth checking out.
All in all, this is the revolutionary step in action games that we needed. Go buy this hot title right away. Can't wait for another game from Valve. They sure killed Quake with this one.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 07/05/02
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