"Natural Selection is a really fun game, and does have great potential"

Natural Selection is a Space-Themed First Person-Strategy mod for Half-Life, that is currently the most popular Third Party mod, and is actually probably one of the only third party Half-Life mods worth playing.

Story: N/A

This is an online only game, that is a mod to Half-Life. It pretty much has no overall Story that should be rated in anyway. It's pretty much a Marine team vs. a alien team in a strategic first person battle. There is no real story that needs to be discussed.

Gameplay: 8/10

Because this is an online only game you basically find a server and start playing. You can choose to be on the Marine team or the Alien team. There are also 2 modes of play. You can play Strategy or Combat. Strategy is a strategic first person shooter. When you play Strategy on the Marine team you have 1 player who is the Commander. If you have ever played a RTS then you should be familiar with what the commander has to do. The Commander plays like how you play Starcraft. You have to upgrade your Marines weapons, build structures and harvest resources from the resource nodes to buy new weapons and armor for your Marines. The rest of the team plays as Marines and protects the base, kills aliens and destroys the aliens hives. Basically for the commander its exactly like an RTS you can tell your Marines where to go and what to do, except the Marines don't have to listen to you because they are controlled by real people which makes things alot more interesting. On the Alien side of things, they play more by themselves, as the Marines play more as a team. The aliens have there own resources, unlike the Marines who share resources for the whole team. The aliens can transform into different lifeforms, and can even build structures. The alien lifeforms because very powerful, one can even eat marines completly. The Aliens have some unique special moves that helps them destroy the Marines and their commander. Overall the gameplay is pretty good, but it can become highly unbalanced at times, and in the current version of the game the Alien side seems to be slightly overpowered in the later parts of the game. However for a refreshing change of pace there is a Combat mode. I personally like Combat alot more then the regular Strategic mode. In Combat you play Marines VS Aliens and your objective is to destroy the other teams Command Center//Hive first. You get your own upgrades and can choose everything yourself instead of having a Commander do it for you. I like this mode better and its actually quite fun. especially when you play on custom maps. This mode however is also unbalanced, and the Aliens tend to win alot more then the Marines do. There are basically the average weapons for the Marine team. You start with a light machine gun, a pistol and a knife. However you can upgrade to a shotgun, a heavy machine gun or a grenade launcher, and you can also get welders for repairing and mines or grenades which are really fun to use. You can also get Jetpacks or heavy armor which really make it alot funner to play. The aliens have several unique abiltys for each lifeform that are really fun to use.

Graphics: 8/10

Considering it's a Half-Life mode and Half-Life is pretty old now the graphics are definetly the best out of all the mods for Half-Life. The characters look the best and everything runs the smoothest out of them all. Considering also that its using the Half-Life engine the graphics arn't all to bad.

Sound: 10/10

I really enjoy the sound in this game. The music has a very sci-fi feeling to it that actually makes you feel as if your in space, on a spaceship and other sorts of things. The guns also all sounds really cool, and the aliens make some pretty cool alien sounds. The aliens actually comunicate through making noises that the marines can hear. It's alot easier to tell what direction your enemies are coming from then it is it counterstrike. Most of the sounds in Natural Selection are all original. And the sound track is top-notch for its genre.

Replay Value: 9/10

Unlike most online FPS this one has something special... and that is its unique gameplay. It plays very differently from most other games you would see. And it will definetly keep you interested for a couple months. Even once you get tired of it, it is one of those games that you will always want to play a few weeks later once you have had a break from it. This game also has great potential. Considereing it is still in its BETA format there will still be alot of new features added to the game. And if this game gets onto the Source engine it will definetly be quite the amazing online experience.

Overall: 8.8/10

This game is definetly worth a look considering its free, all you need is the original Half-Life to play it. You can check it out on Steam or visit

www.natural-selection.org

to download it for free from their website. You should definetly try it out its worth playing, and should keep you interested for along time, especially if you like strategy and first person shooters.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/24/04


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