Review by DConnoy

"Most likely, don't bother."

Half-Life: Blue Shift consists of the extra levels Gearbox Software was going to include in the Dreamcast version of Half-Life. With the DC version canned, it was probably a financial (suits screaming ''cut our losses!!!'') decision to release this extra content as an expansion to the PC game.

Unfortunately, Blue Shift is just extra levels. You won't be meeting any enemies that you didn't see already in the original Half-Life; in addition, there are no new weapons. In fact, most of the weapons from the later stages of Half-Life, like the energy-based weapons, aren't even present in Blue Shift since the game is so darned short. It's about a third, perhaps even a quarter of the length of Half-Life or Half-Life: Opposing Force. Add to this the fact that Blue Shift pretty much fails to do anything that Half-Life didn't do already, and it's hard to justify paying full price for it if you have the first two Half-Life single-player games. Sure, there are a few clever puzzles, and veterans of the first game will get a chuckle out of the ways that hapless security guard Barney Calhoun's bad day intertwines with Half-Life hero Gordon Freeman's quest, but just as it gets good... it's over. I can't emphasize enough how disappointed I felt when ''THE END'' appeared just as I thought the brown stuff was really going to hit the fan. There isn't even a final boss to speak of.

That being said, Half-Life: Opposing Force, the single-player expansion to Half-Life that's every bit as good as the original game, is included in this package. So if you don't have Opposing Force already, this is the ideal game to buy, as you get 1 1/3 games for the price of one, as well as the Half-Life HD (High Definition) pack.

Those who have made computer purchases recently will enjoy the HD pack, as it uses the resources of more powerful Pentium III or AMD Athlon systems to substantially increase polygon count and texture detail on characters and enemies. While the HD upgrade doesn't do much for the environment models, scientists get ID tags and much more realistic faces, and the aliens lots more nasty, pointy bits. Again, if you have Opposing Force already, $30 is a lot to ask for a graphics-only upgrade to two games, but in a world that spends $500 on a graphics card, I won't tell anyone what to do with their money.

In the end, Blue Shift is underdeveloped and just so damn short. If you don't have the superb Opposing Force already, this is the perfect way to obtain it, but I was expecting a new game at least as good and got a game as short and underdeveloped as this review. Consider yourself warned.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 06/23/01, Updated 06/23/01

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