Review by popgapon88

"A must-have for evrery PC gamer!"

Half-Life is a game that became legendary before it was even released. It is a game that raised the level of the 3D-action genre and changed the attitude to First-Person Perspective games and PC games in total. It has been dubbed The Best Game of 1998 and received numerous awards which it completely deserved. Many gamers call it the best PC game ever. So, in case you missed the game for some reason or you have just purchased a PC and want a good game for a few weeks, I shall tell you about Half-Life, even though it will not be an easy task to describe such a masterpiece without leaving any of its advantages.
Here’s where the game gets the biggest score. At first sight it’s just another FPS. However, it seems so only in the first couple of minutes. At first it begins rather regularly: You walk around, you get a task, you go to complete it. But soon the game changes drastically. First of all, you are no uber-strong commando and you don’t have an arsenal in your pocket. That means you don’t just go around shooting everything and everyone, Serious Sam-style. No, it’s not like you can’t do it, you do get to use many guns, including a shotgun, a submachine gun and even a grenade launcher, but do it only if you want to shorten your lifetime. A rather large part of the game you’ll spend running from enemies or hiding from them. So, naturally, the game is a real challenge if you’re used to the shoot ‘n’ kill style of gameplay. But it doesn’t mean that Quakers will bash the game at once. On the contrary, this is a rare case when the gamer actually gets accustomed to the game, not the other way around. But, despite all of this, there is one thing that made Half-Life what it is: the atmosphere. The game is very dark and quiet. There are dozens of enemies after you, and your ammo is not what you would call a large supply. Basically, every five minutes of playing you’ll be jumping out of your seat and hiding under the table because you will get scared. Trust me, you will. Especially if you play it alone in a dark room at night.
In other words, in terms of gameplay this game is heavenly.
STORY: 10/10
After hearing about the gameplay one would think that the developers got carried away with it and completely left the story. But this game will be a pleasant surprise for everyone.
Together with Metal Gear Solid, Half-Life is the first game that showed how a video game can have a cinematic story with many surprises and plot twists. After a few seconds of playing you will forget who you are and where you are. You will be one with the game and the plot. After a few hours of playing you will feel like your in another world. Your ordinary life will seem dull and boring, you’ll need Half-Life like a drug.
In the game you play as Gordon Freeman, a scientist who has been transferred to a secret government research facility called Black Mesa. Gordon is an ordinary man, just like any other. At first the game seems like a 3D version of Theme Hospital: you walk around and talk to the other scientists, you go to tour dressing room, you meet your colleagues and so on. But after one of the experiments that Gordon takes part in fails, something strange and scary starts happening in the facility. Some grotesque creatures not from this world start infesting Black Mesa and attacking the researchers, making them mutate. You’d think that this is another one-man army action title, but it’s not. Gordon is no hero, he’s not even armed. The first 20 minutes of playing or so, the only weapon you have will be a crowbar, which is by far not the strongest defense against the creatures. This is what makes the game so atmospheric: the suspense and the fear. The hallways that were clear and safe just a moment ago can become your grave in a second.
The story is very well-written and it will keep you on the edge of your seat from the 10-minute intro till the final word of the ending credits. It’s flawless.
Unfortunately, here’s where the game gets you down a bit. The textures are of poor (relatively) quality and the character models don’t have too many polygons. In general the graphics are not the best you can find, but you have to remember that the game was made in 1998 when the standards were not as high as they are today.
SOUND: 10/10
The sound is perfect. It is one of the things that will make you scream of horror in many moments of the game. Every sound, from the moans of the monsters to Gordon’s screams and grunts, are made on the highest level possible. It’s pretty funny that few games in our time have reached the standards that Half-Life set several years ago.
In terms of sound this game is just perfect. It should be an example for every game developer.
This game takes about 20 hours to finish the game for the first time, and the time for replaying it and trying the higher difficulty levels is infinite. Half-Life is perfect for spending a few weeks of vacation (or just free time).
FINAL RECOMMENDATION: This is a must-have for every PC gamer. It doesn’t matter who you are and what you like. Half-Life among games is like the Bible among books: everyone has to see it for themselves.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 12/17/02, Updated 12/17/02

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