"A short, lacking Half-Life mod"

The purpose of Half-Life: Blue Shift was to show how a guard on the Black Mesa team handled the disaster. While the game has good concepts to be a good mod, the game ended up falling pretty short of expectations, and things that would have made the game nearly flawless.

Story 10/10
You play as 'Barney' Calhoun, a security guard to the Black Mesa project. As you start your day at work, you notice that a lot of the scientists are having problems operating the machinery today. You are sent down to investigate and help the scientists with the matter. As you go down the elevator, everything turns black and screaming and alarms are going off, and out of no where, strange alien creatures begin to appear that are bent on killing everyone on the Black Mesa team. Not only that, but you have marines from the government also out to kill everyone who had any involvement with the Black Mesa project. Your objective is to get out alive. This scores a 10/10 because is still follows the story of Half-Life, and puts you in a good perspective of what the guard would be doing in that situation.

Graphics 8/10
If you have a good enough computer, and if you install the Half-Life HD pack, this game has some very nice and clean looking graphics. The character models are very solid, though a bit blocky, they are still good for an old game engine. The environments are very detailed, and extremely interactive, nearly everything you come across can be interacted with one way or another.

Sounds 8/10
The gun sounds are decent with the original Half-Life sounds, but with the HD pack, that’s the real deal sounds. With HD pack installed, the sounds of guns are much more realistic to how they truly sound in real life. I just wish that characters would be louder in this game, it could just be me, but it seems that the characters usually talk pretty low, and it's hard to hear what they say without cranking the volume.

Control 8/10
The controls are overall pretty solid and very straight forward. It uses the standard WASD setup to move, with keys like E to 'use', and 'R' to reload. The controls are overall responsive, and I had no immediate complaints with them.

Game play 6/10
The overall game play is what severely bogs this game down. The game play plays similar to the original Half-Life, with its share of alien and human enemies as you make your way across the game, as well as a good amount of mind-boggling puzzles. What made this game plop gameplay wise was the overall length of the game, and the arsenal of weaponry. I found absolutely no alien weaponry in this game, which some of the alien weapons are very good. Most of the time you are using your trusty handgun, a shotgun, or an assault rifle for the entire game, that’s pretty much it. Half-Life and even the Opposing Force expansion pack have WAY more weapons to pick up across your journey. The length is what even adds on top of the lacking weaponry. This is definitely a very short expansion pack, and could probably be beaten in 4-5 hours; maybe even less if you knew what you were doing. There are only 6 chapters in Blue-Shift, which aren't even very lengthy, compared to the frequent and long chapters of Half-Life, and Opposing Force. You also cannot interact or receive support from any of your other guards, and you are constantly alone. You'd expect to have some allies aid you, like in Opposing Force, at least the marines helped each other. In Blue-Shift, maybe you come across a fellow buddy to help you out once or twice.

Recommendations
If you are looking for a game that played similar to Half-Life, try Opposing Force, it's a much better and more developed expansion than Blue-Shift. Be sure to also try Counterstrike some amazing multiplayer. Which I may add, Blue-Shift has NONE! Last but not least, Half-Life 2, which looks like simply an amazing game.

Worth the Money?
I would not say it's an extreme must to try this game, unless you really want to see what the security guard would do during the Black Mesa incident. But if you are new to the Half-Life series, you will get it anyway if you buy the Half-Life Platinum Pack.

Final Words
Blue-Shift had a good concept with experiencing yet another side of a person in Half-Life. What would be next? The scientists take up arms? :P Either way, the lack of weaponry, length, and team play really is what killed this game. So I can only come to one conclusion: just kill the security guards and take their guns. Only good purpose :).


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/13/04


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