Review by MCJess

"Blue Shift, BS? Indeed..."

The latest title to emerge from the bowels of Sierra's prestigious series of first person shooters based on the original groundbreaking Half-Life defies the orthodox method of game reviewing. I've struggled mentally for a few hours trying to find a way to best explain this game that most benefits the reader and potential buyer, and I've finally devised a diabolical scheme (well, not really) to meet these conditions

Blue shift, the ''official stand alone'' expansion pack for the 1998 game of the year, Half Life.
For those of you who haven't had the blessing of playing the original, shame on you.

In the beginning...
Half Life was set in a complex called Black Mesa where you played Gordon Freeman, you're normal, ever-enthusiastic scientist.
To cut things short, it didn't turn out to be an average day for Freeman. Mechanical faults (or so we thought) caused the lift he was on to break down. Mutated life forms started to claw their way through the door, spewing some putrid gloop on his buddies, murdering them in the process.
Gordon went on to pick up a wrench (the infamous weapon you always see associated with HL) and continued his journey through hell.

And so began the saga. Freeman was left to fight for his life in an alien-esque fashion.
So why does the original have so much to do with Blue Shift? I hear you cry. Well the truth is, BS is nothing more than a counterpart to its original.
This time round you play a security guard by the name of Barney. He works at exactly the same complex, but now new areas are acessible, you have new weapons at your disposal and a great new suit.

The truth revealed
It's a rip off, plain and simple. BS (you know what I mean) brings nothing new to the series that the other expansions had already done, and infact plays worse.
The world around you is nothing new. I found myself identifying an immense amount of things from HL, which is cool the first time, but after awhile gets repetitively boring. The game is empty,quite bad to put it bluntly.
The developers basically rehashed the original with better graphics (there really is no difference, and I run a P4, 128MbRAM, Geforce2 64Mb video card etc...), a few more weapons, and supposedly a whole new game. What a lie this was.

And to make it worse, even the difficulty is pathetic. I'm not at all a veteran to the FPS genre and easily completed BS in under 3 hours, awful.
Now you must be wondering why I gave this game a 5 at all, well I'll tell you BS is a HL game, so if you haven't played the original, there are definitely things to take from it.

There must be something
Yes. The atmosphere is fantastic, always keeping you on edge. Aliens are everywhere, they worp from room to room, stalking you every step of the way.
The controls are as good as ever, customizable too. The reason this game is so easy if the familiarities.

Opposing force multi-player is also included in the pack, nowhere near as good as it's online brother, counter-strike, nonetheless a small bonus for those new to the series. At £15/$15 BS isn't too high priced, and I would definitely be worth the purchase if you've never played the original. But then again, for £20 (not sure in dollars), you could get HL, Opposing force, counterstrike and teamfortress, much more economic if you ask me.

Half the price, half the game, half the score...this is indeed Half Life: BS
Blue Shift is a disappointment. Nothing new is included here, it definitely doesn't redefine this already dying genre as it claims in the manual (PAL) and is ''pathetically'' easy.
Sort yourselves out Sierra, respect means everything in the gaming industry. They've already lost alot of that over the DC cancellation issue, and now with this god-awful excuse for a game, they'll need a miracle to come back from the putrid sewers from which they came...

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 10/01/01, Updated 10/01/01

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