Review by maximus86

"A Great Adventure Game"

Half-Life, an adventure game in first person shooter mode has been hailed as the best game of the year by many magazines and web sites and we will see why I think the same and why this game is so good.

Personally, I prefer first person shooters with levels, so you can take breaks and in between levels you heal. But, nevertheless, I always give these types of games a try, because I guess it is more of a challenge. Instead of having a safe spot to save when the level is done, Half-Life doesn't have levels so you have to decide when is the right time to save. I auto save almost every time I kill an enemy just so I don't forget to when I'm really into the game and forget about the whole concept of saving.

But hey, it's a different type of action game, so I guess you have to get used to it.

Visuals: 10/10

If you got a great computer, and since most PC players do, then Half-Life will be a great game in terms of graphics. The monsters, marines, scientists, and everything else looks very detailed. The scientists you see do get repetitive and many of them look the same, but that's not enough to get the score down. And yes, of course the marines also look similar, but everybody knows the army has a uniform.

The water is not bad, and when you break boxes with that crowbar the wood comes out like it should. Some backgrounds are 2-D. For example when you get outside and you're standing in an open canyon and all you can see is gorges and mountains, than you will notice they are 2-D, but todays technology can't make everything 3-D, especially when you can see for miles on end.

Audio: 10/10

If I'm not mistaken(because I have not played this game in a long time), there is no in-game music in Half-Life. Instead you will be hearing the great sounds of gun fire, death, explosions, machines moving, people talking, helicopters flying, electricity...doing its thing, and so on. I love it when you can hear the radio chatter of the marines' walkie-talkies. It sounds so real and it means they are nearby.

The voice acting is well done. When characters talk, they talk like they mean it. They sound scared or excited when the time comes. As ironic as it is, you never hear Gordon Freeman's voice (the protagonist and the character you are playing as). The sound of guns is nicely and realistically done.

Gameplay: 9/10

As most of you are familiar as to how first person shooters play, I won't explain too much about that. There are many guns and explosives available to you during the whole game, some which are very hi-tech and do not yet exist, although the game takes place during present time era. There will be two main opponents you will combat: marines and aliens. There are many forms of aliens, and different ways to kill them quickly. Some are slow and most can only attack at close range, but there is this one type that can tele-port and sneak up behind you. The marines are and basically act like professional American marines.

Another important part of this game is problem solving and solving puzzles to get in to the next area or room. This can involve moving boxes, hitting switches, jumping gaps, and even ordering air strikes to destroy a wall. One particular time you have to jump on and stay on the pipes to get into the next room because the entire floor was destroyed, so if you fell, you died. There will be many of these situations with their unique problems and solutions. The learning curve will take about fifteen minutes to get used to, once you finish the tutorial, you should be all set and ready to go.

Boss fights are another thing to discuss. Since most games have it, it is only fair to say how good they are. The confrontations of boss fights in this game usually involve big monsters. So common sense will tell you that they can not be killed by guns and bullets, and if you try, you will quickly find out it doesn't work. A grenade might stun them, but won't do any damage. There is always a different way to destroy them, and that is another puzzle of its own. There aren't a lot of them, but when there are, they are usually long and might need you to use a walkthrough.

Story: 9/10

Half-Life starts off great, and keeps going great, right until the end. Without saying too much, you are Gordon Freeman, a regular scientist at a secret research facility somewhere in America. One day, you conduct an experiment that goes horribly wrong. Many have died, and suddenly you find out the marines have come...but not to help. Now you must use weaponry and intelligence to survive and make it out alive. During the game you will see a mysterious man in a suit, always observing you and walking away. A great story that leaves room for expansions and a sequel. There aren't any cut scenes, you will just have to watch what is going on around you and listen to your fellow scientists speaking to you. Although the game does have multiple endings, it is nothing to be excited about as you will decide the outcome in the very final part of the game and both of them are very similar to each other in movie footage, and they are only different in ending outcome.

The environments change often and there are lots of them. You will find yourself on mountainsides, underwater, indoors, on a dam, and even in another world. No location gets boring, because almost every place is different.

Replay Value: 8/10

The story mode of Half-Life is quite long and time consuming. It could take about 12-18 hours first time through on easy difficulty. There are three difficulties, and if you haven't guess them by now they are easy, medium, and hard. Half-Life comes with a multiplayer mode called Team Fortress, which you play online. It also leaves room for mods for the future. But since I should only review the stuff that comes with the game, I won't get into the mods.

Exact Score: 9.2

The Good
-amazing single player
-great sound
-great graphics
-amazing story

The Bad
-nothing much!

In the end, you get an great adventure game in the first person perspective with a great story and lots of room for mods for multiplayer and expansions for single player. If you love these kinds of games, then go out and buy it right away, because there will be more than one reason that you bought this game *hint hint Counterstrike*.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/25/02, Updated 09/21/02

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