Review by acidslayer57
"A Great and Innovative FPS"
When Half-life first came out I, very ignorantly, skipped it thinking it was just another FPS that some unknown developers just made to see if they could survive the gaming industry. If you ever have the chance to buy this game I suggest you do so. It was just...wrong...of me to skip such a wonderful game.
Half-life's gameplay is in a word: amazing. I don't think that it gets any better then this. The blend of story, action, and stealth amount to one of the best gaming experiences to date. The start of the game I admit was a little boring because of the ten-minute tram ride, but right after that I was on my way into the game easily as it eases you into it. With realistic challenges at the beginning, and hard and awe-inspiring puzzles and battles by the end everything flows nicely.
At the beginning you will only find a few weapons at your disposal, so you will want to use as little as possible. This makes a great survival feeling to the game, which to my surprise doesn't fade until the end of the game. The game humbles you by putting you at the mercy of tons of monsters instead of putting you as a secret agent that can handle anything.
It seems that right when you feels at home with the controls, the game throws tougher and tougher puzzles at you that, as said before, have a mixture of action and stealth in them. These two elements seems to sort of switch off so when you get board of one, the other gets put in. This makes the game varied and very interesting.
Although the amount of weapons in the game does not awe you, they do get the job done. They have the essential and typical weapons such as the pistol, shotgun and machine gun, but they also have other cool weapons you will never had heard of before. Some examples of these are the hornet gun, gauss rifle, and other strange weapons that I won't reveal.
The little amount of health you have can be overly challenging to utilize. Don't push your luck. You can only take a few hits by every monster. This also increases the survival/horror feel of the game, but dramatically increases the difficultly. I'm not one to bash on difficulty however. You will most likely die often which is why the game comes with quick saves so that saving doesn't hurt how the game plays. This slight but essential addition helps up the games score to a great level.
The intense and dramatic story puts you in the place of Gordon Freeman who is a scientist in the Black Mesa Complex where an experiment goes horribly wrong and ends up being the mission of Gordon to destroy.
This story, while it seems fairly generic and uninspired ends up being the story where others are compared. It is not the story that makes it great it's the way it is delivered. It has one huge ten-minute opening movie, but after that it is relatively cut-scene free. Everything about the story is told in game, while you can physically control the character. With that said, it is your choice to listen to it or not. If you want a bunch of hard random events that don't' make sense, that ultimately make this FPS mediocre, I suggest you go through the game without the story.
Some of the ways the story gets through to you are innovative and ingenious. This will be repeated in other shooters.
Graphics/ Sound: 9/10
Having state of the art circa '98 visuals the game' graphics cannot hold up to 03's massive machines. The visuals, however, are amazingly good and show a lot of detail not only in the character models, but in the backgrounds and scenery too.
Gun animations are fluid and show how much the developers cared about quality. The same goes with every other thing in the game.
The sound quality is great. In Half-life there is no music in the whole game. In my eyes, this is not a problem simply because music would actually take away from the game. This usually not being the case. In this game though the Sound effects take everything over. If all were not silent while creeping around trough Black Mesa, you would find that it would kill the atmosphere the developers worked so hard to make. With that said, the sound effects are very good and of quality.
Half-Life's worst category slips by with an 8. The reason being is its shortness. It can be beaten in a good 8-10 hours I'm sure. This is miraculously low, but still gets a good score because it is quite replayable. I found myself playing it again on normal and hard after beating it on easy. This difficulty setting cannot be implemented unless it is a good game. There is no problem there. Overall it's a short of a game that doesn't lack in replay value.
Buy Half-life now. It is the best shooter in the world. Also if you get bored with the game, there are about 15 great mods that will hold you over until Half Life 2 comes out.
Graphics/ Sound: 9
Final Score: 9.25 rounded down to 9
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/02/03, Updated 04/02/03
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