Review by maximus86

"This Better Be the Last Half-Life Single Player Expansion"

Since its original release in 1998, Half-Life has proved to be one of the best first person shooters, therefore it has spawned two expansions relating around the Black Mesa Research Facility. Good expansions they both are, but I really hope this will be the last add-on of it's kind.

Visuals: 8/10

Just like in the original, the graphics are pretty much exactly the same. The soldiers, scientists and security guards are realistic and look good, but the engine the graphics run on is dated and aging slowly but surely. The environments are similar to the other expansions and not much was added. When you shoot a human, their blood will stain on the wall behind them, providing a nice realism to gore, and when you get shot or wounded, blood will fly out on the screen in full effect. Body parts will come off if you kill with an explosive. I did notice a couple new characters, a new, more bigger security guard and a scientist but aside from that there are no new character models.

Audio: 10/10

Aside from the great voice acting and great sound effects, Blue Shift has a small music portion in the game. At some points the music will set in but will eventually go away. It is actually pretty good music, but there is not much of it. What I noticed that was really good on the whole Half-Life series is that when someone is talking to you, and say your left ear is to the characters voice, then your left speaker will be projecting his voice while your right speaker will be quiet, and vice versa. In tight, metal quarters you will hear echoes and vibration of the sound. If someone is talking to you while you are in water,you will notice how the sound becomes different and just how it should be when you are in water. Great amount of work has been put into this department, and you can tell right away just how much.

Gameplay: 9/10

As seen on the main cover art of Blue Shift, you are a security guard in the Black Mesa center. Not much is different when you were Gordon or Adrian from Opposing Forces, but there is one small detail. As a security guard, you will use a different kind of armor. Instead of the power suit Gordon Freeman whore, you will wear a helmet(which gives 40 armor points) and a body armor(which gives 60 armor points. This should be used as a bonus, because it is not as easy to come by armor as it is with health.

Once again, you will be in a vast complex building requiring you to solve puzzles, fight bad guys, and survive to get on with the story. The Heads Up Display is similar to the other Half-Life games. You will have health and armor hit points, a flashlight icon showing how much power you have, and how much primary/secondary ammo you possess. The enemy AI is most of the time very good, but sometimes the marines will run past you without firing their gun or run around in circles. That doesn't happen often, but should be pointed out.

Story: 6/10

As mentioned before, you are a normal security guard in the facility. Once again, Valve puts you in a different perspective of the game. I honestly hope no more expansions involving this story gets released, because this is starting to get old now. What's next? Half-Life: G Man? I sure hope not.

Value: 3/10

Blue Shift is a short game compared to Opposing Force. It will take less than four hours to complete first time through, and obviously less after that. Maybe Valve and Gearbox is running out of ideas? Well, it's not that bad, it might actually be a good thing this game isn't so long.

Exact Score: 7.2

The Good
-graphics and audio
-yet another person's perspective

The Bad
-repetitive gameplay, especially if you played the previous two Half-Life games
-a bit too short for some people

So if you have Half-Life, and loved Opposing Force, and dearly want another expansion, then by all means get Blue Shift. If you are caught up in the latest Counterstrike craze, then I think you should stay with that since that will be much more fun than this game.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 09/02/02, Updated 09/03/02

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