Review by AOFlaherty

"Here little alien....taste my crowbar!"

I have always been a big fan of first person shooters. Ever since playing Doom back in '94 the genre has had me completely hooked. There's something about seeing the action from a persons actual point of view that gives these games unprecedented realism over others. And Half-Life is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best game of this type.
Half-life is very story driven, and is very much a single player game. Now, it does have multi-player modes, but if multi-player Half-Life is what you want, buy Counterstrike. This is all about being stuck in a huge complex, against horrible monsters with a crowbar. And guns. BIG guns.....
But I'm getting ahead of myself here. What exactly is Half-Life all about? Well, you take on the role of this scientist dude called Gordon Freeman who, like the rest of us, has a very bad day at work. Although, probably unlike us, his bad day involves inter-dimensional travel gone wrong, and it's not long before the aliens pour into the complex and people start to die. So this inevitably means it's up to you to get out a shotgun and send them all back where they came from.
Half-Life plays just like your regular first person shooter, and, well to be honest, looks like your regular first person shooter. But this is not what sets the world alight. It's the way that the game creates a hostile environment that constantly keeps you on your toes which is a complete work of genius. This - helped by the fact that the game is essentially one great big level - gives a great sense of realism and dread. Aliens teleporting out of nowhere right in your face, the military popping in thinking they're amazing, scientists and guards getting slaughtered in comical fashions, and great puzzles combine to give one of the best games I have ever played. And I've played a lot of games...

Graphics - Pretty versatile: - they work well on low end machines and a beastly graphics card can make them look rather spectacular - especially if you make use of the graphical update supplied with Half-Life: Blue Shift.

Performance - The game bangs along at a fair old pace, no noticeable slowdown or graphical glitches - but then I am playing it on an 866 MHz PC with an Nvidia Geforce 2 graphics card.

Sound - The SFX is great! You can hear gunfire and military commands elsewhere whilst crawling about, listen into conversations, all the aliens make disgusting noises, machinery sounds pretty realistic, people talk to you and the weapons sound as you would expect. The music sounds a bit generic and dull though, but you can hardly hear it anyway.

Gameplay - Superb. Standard gameplay mechanisms enhanced by superb environments to navigate, enemies with great AI to blow apart, and clever interaction with different characters.

Lifespan - It's huge, plays great and draws you right into the plot. It may be a tad on the easy side, but with superb add-on packs and loads of mods to download, you're going to be in front of that PC for a long time....

Overall - Great game - but then everybody knows that anyway. A classic.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/08/01, Updated 11/08/01

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