"Join me, Luke, on the opposing side of the force"

Half Life Opposing Force, how bitter sweet thou art. For thou hath given me hours of enjoyment with great graphics, excellent control, and one of the most fun team based u games of all time. Yet thou endeth as soon as ye hath begun.. As you can see I have never read Shakespeare, but in this brilliant grammatically incorrect passage, you can see why I enjoy the review. This game really is a good installment to the Half Life series and takes the Co-op effort from the original game to an entirely new level. It still doesn’t outshine it’s predecessor though.

Graphics/Visuals: 9
Don’t whine to me about how this category should get a seven or lower because the graphics of Half Life suck. It’s not about drawing an uber realistic person, it’s about creativity in monster design, and how your co-soldiers face looks when he is dragged up into the ceiling by a huge monster. This game does look good. If you don’t notice it, go away. Once again, the developer Valve has outdone themselves by coming up with newer ways to make enemies look straight out of a Wes Craven movie. When you see the new creations in store for you, it will scare you. Your melee weapons actually look good in this game, and the new addition, the knife looks great shimmering in the light. That’s before you stab it into something’s head. The outdoor environments move together with ease, and the perfectly placed light sources allow for seamless movement between inside and outside environments. The camouflage of the special ops blends in with the environment, making it look more realistic. Over all, the graphics are darn tootin’ good.

Audio: 10
GRENADE!!! Clink, clank, clunk. Uh oh, I’m in for some trouble. The audio in this game is cinema quality. If you see a set of surround sound speakers for your computer, pick them up. I promise you won’t regret it. The roars coming from the monsters sound are as intimidating as the monsters themselves. By the end of the game, you will be able to predict an enemy Special-Ops attack with your eyes closed. The surround sound allows you to hear their footsteps and hunt them down from there. The gun explosions sound great, too. I’ve never fired a rocket launcher, but I have heard explosions of them, and this sounds accurate. The music, while still surprisingly rare, is great when it actually kicks in and will get your adrenaline pumping. The troops that you command sound fearful when you find them. But as you build up their trust, their voices seem more and more confident. By the end of the game, hearing a soldier scream will make you rush to him to heal his wounds. Grenades bouncing around will have you jumping for cover, and hearing the static of a radio will have you jumping for joy. All because you have become one with the audio quality. That’s right, assimilation into great games is good, especially games with audio like Opposing Force.

Gameplay: 8
Okay, this is what kept the game from a perfect ten. This may confuse you for a little bit, but hold your horses: the gameplay really is outstanding. From puzzles to combat, the game is fun to play and easy to enjoy. My only problem with the game is that it is too short. It’s even shorter than the last game, which was over quickly also. I can only recall completing a few puzzles, maybe three if I’m being generous. In a genre where running and gunning (a la Doom) has become kind of boring, this game doesn’t mix it up with enough puzzles. The good thing is, this game eases you into it. You’re not staring at your wrench scratching your head and wondering what to do. The game really eases newbies to the half life series in. The half life saga is more than most shooting games to date. The newest and most obvious installment in Opposing Force is the military squad action. It may not be headshot-and-you’re-dead Socom, but this game gets it right. You lead your squad (normally 3 or 4 other guys) into battle, using their cover to advance on enemy position. Or if you’re cruel, you can always just use them as bait and run by to the switch you need to hit. Another outstanding point of this game is the AI. If you expose yourself to the monsters, they will find you. It doesn’t matter where you hide. Inside warehouses, gun battles take place. If you get a hold of a sentry machine gun, don’t be surprised that after your first kill the enemies begin to avoid it’s shooting radius. The tactical operation of your enemies is also something to gawk at. It’s no longer the days of Goldeneye, where each enemy takes cover, but still doesn’t work as a team. The enemies use tactical strategies to lure you into their traps, or they might ambush you. You never know what to expect.

Replay Value: 2
Play the game once. Play it again. Play it a third time. Play the nonexistent mini-games Unless you loved the game so much you wanted to play it again. And again. And again (aka me). This game holds very little in the sense of replay value. Sure, the internet play is okay. But why play this online when Half Life games like Team Fortress Classic and Counterstrike do a much better job of the same thing. In the end, you can download a couple of mods, but it’s not gonna make HL: OF any better.

Rent or Buy: Buy
Or Download, that’s if you have the origional half life though. Otherwise, the game is worth it. Nowadays you can pick up HL, Opposing Force, CounterStrike, Team Fortress Classic, and Blue Shift all for about $40. That’s a good deal for all the software you get. So my advice is to go out, and give this game a chance. If you don’t like it, don’t listen to me again.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/29/02, Updated 11/29/02

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