Review by TechFalcon

"Not bad for an expansion of one of the greatest shooters ever"

Firstly, if you've never played Half-Life before, either buy it and play till you beat it, or put a television in the cave you apparently live in (To find out more about Half-Life, check out one of its million reviews on this page).

For those of you who have completed Half-Life and want more, Blue Shift is one way of getting it. In it, you play the role of a security guard at the Black Mesa Research Facility. Like Half-Life 1, it involves crawling through vents, helping scientists, and (naturally) killing lots of aliens and headcrab zombies.

Graphics: 9/10
I look at graphics by both their quality and age. Half-Life was released in 1998 on the already slightly aged Quake engine, and it still looked good. The Blue Shift package came with a High-Definition graphics patch that increased the poly count of almost all the models (this patch affected Half-Life and Opposing force as well). And let me tell you, these new models look DAMN good! They don't beat modern graphics, but they're close competition. (NOTE: This patch does not improve the animation of characters).

Sound: 7/10
Again with the first, the music is cool, but the quality of the voices sucks. Unfortunately, there isn't a high-def patch for that.

Story: 8/10
Basically, you have to survive. Just like HL1. That's not a bad thing, though. Both Blue Shift and Half-Life play out as events happen, just like in real life, so there isn't really a story.

Controls: 10/10
It's got the standard fps controls (same as HL1), which (I think) have gotten to the point where they can't improve them much more.

Gameplay: 5/10
This is the biggest drawback of this game. The scares in HL1 like headcrabs jumping at you in vent shafts were cool at first, but Blue Shift uses the excessively. Also, the game is way too short. I beat it in approximately four hours. No joke. And if you've played against me online, you know I suck at these games.

Some extra points are given for cool tie-ins between Blue Shift and HL1, such as:
-The guard knocking on the door in the beginning of the automated railcar in HL1 is the player's character in Blue Shift
-You get to see Gordon being dragged by the marines, after he gets captured and before he gets thrown into a trash compactor, from a vent grating.

There are a few others, but none I can think of at the moment.

In conclusion, I give this game a 7/10. If you want a really, really good single player expansion for Half-Life, I recommend checking out Half-Life: Opposing Force, but if you've beaten this, give Blue Shift a try. It's free to most owners of Half-Life 1 on Steam, anyway.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 08/26/05

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