"While it doesn't add anything new to the series, it is still fun while it lasts... and you get to play as Barney!"

Half-Life: Blue Shift is the second expansion pack for Half-Life and the third installment in the series. Blue Shift became popular for it's HD pack and the new addition to Opposing Force, which was Opposing Force: Capture The Flag. Blue Shift also came with the Opposing Force expansion pack for Half-Life. Now Half-Half: Blue Shift is finally obtainable off of steam for anyone who owns the original Half-Life game.

Story:
Half-Life: Blue Shift is yet another expansion to Half-Life and is yet another view of what happened during the Black Mesa incident. Originally you played as the scientist responsible for the incident, Gordon Freeman. You then played as Corporal Adrian Shephard in the expansion Half-Life: Opposing Force. Now you can play as the security guard, Barney Calhoun. Barney's point of view is interesting, but very short, and also plays very differently from the other two. Your main goal is instead of trying to "save the world" you are just trying to get the hell out of Black Mesa with some scientists. About halfway through the game you will find a scientist and then use his help to escape from Black Mesa.

Gameplay:
Blue Shift plays essentially the same as Half-Life. No new weapons are included, and none of the new weapons from Opposing Force make their way into Blue Shift. There is also less weapons at your disposal than in Half-Life. This is kind of disappointing because they could have taken the opportunity to add in some new cool weapons. There is also no new enemies and none of the new enemies from Opposing Force find their way into Blue Shift. Chronologically Blue Shift starts at the exact same time as Half-Life and ends around when Half-Life reaches it's mid-point. Opposing Force starts roughly a third into Half-Life and ends quite some time after Half-Life. So even though Blue Shift is the third game it actually happens before Opposing Force.

Also this time around instead of picking up battery cells and using HEV chargers you will only need to find either helmets or security vests. They are usually placed in areas, exactly when you need them the most. A helmet restores 40 armor and a vest restores 60 armor. Most of the puzzle solving is quite easy, and the enemies are not as challenging as they were in Half-Life and Opposing Force. There are however some fun and intense fights but they are much less than the other two. This game also contains a lot less memorable moments, and is less exciting all together. However it does have a similar Half-Life feel and does give you more background on Barney, who appears in Half-Life 2. The game also has no boss fights. Many remember Half-Life for it's fights against Gonarch and Nihilanth, however this particular game has no boss fights at all. The game is also too short, Blue Shift defines what you could call "short, but sweet". But when I say short I mean SHORT. I beat this game in 2 possibly 3 hours, however now that it is available as a free download if you own Half-Life 1, it doesn't sound all to bad.

Sound:
The sound in Blue Shift is somewhat dated, as the voice quality is noticeably lower than it should be for the year the game is being released in. However it is the same as Half-Life and Opposing Force. The contains similar music to Half-Life. Overall the music and sound is pretty good, and the new sounds that come with the High Definition Pack are a welcome change to the old glock and mp5 and shotgun sounds which are now replaced with the Berreta, M4A1 models and weapon sounds. The shotgun model is different and has new sounds but I am not sure what it is modeled after.

Value:
Blue Shift is not a long game, and the Opposing Force CTF no longer works, unless you download a mod for it. (PM me if you want it) But since Blue Shift is now a free download off of steam for owners of Half-Life 1, or Half-Life 2 silver and gold package owners, it's a pretty good bargain. Don't go out and buy Blue Shift if you still manage to find a retail package, because you can get it off steam with a Half-Life 1 CD key.

Score:
Gameplay: 7
Graphics: 9
Sound: 7
Value: 7
Tilt: 7

Overall: 7.4
If you want more story for Half-Life and want to know what happened to Barney, then this is a great game for you. Just remember that this game is not as exciting or thrilling as Half-Life and Opposing Force, but it is still a nice little romp through the Black Mesa facility that is worth checking out if your a fan of the Half-Life series.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 09/22/05


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