Review by x MJ x

Reviewed: 12/09/03

A fun Half-Life mod. Combining FPS with RTS.

Natural Selection is a Half-Life modification that is different from the other mods like Counter-Strike and TFC.
''First-person strategy'' is what describes the game fully combining traditional FPS with RTS style resource gathering and unit control for one faction in the game.

The game is set in futuristic type maps that are infested by the alien team. The maps are dark and creepy with atmospheric lighting to set the mood. Some effects used to set the ambience are like steam, animated textures, holographic models and such. Structures in the maps fit the futuristic tone very well with structures like generators, electric towers and such. The building models of both teams are well modeled to and fit both teams very well. The player models are pretty good too the Marines are detailed with fancy visor helmets, body armor, and a holster belt that carries your sidearm. The Alien units are well modeled for the most part. A couple of them look like deform dinosaurs instead of aliens but it's still ok looking. The alien units are well varied such as a Flying Lerk, a vent climbing Skulk, a fast moving Fade, a tubby slow Gorge that builds your buildings, and a mighty Onos that is a size of a tank and tough to kill.

Some maps have background music to capture the feel of the situation. The music is well composed and never gets old when hearing it over and over again. You can always turn it off if you want. The sound effects are also good too such as the blast of your machine gun and such. Even when you move around with Marines your belt swooshes around, it's a nice little sound effect. Most building units have it's own unique sound effect and they all sound great.

Like in any FPS you can set your own controls to your liking. There's a little learning to be done to understand all the units hotkeys and to remember them on your keyboard. Learning the Commander hotkeys are pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

Like in a RTS you gain resource points by capturing resource nodes that are throughout the map. With these points you can buy additional buildings to further advance your team with guns, motion tracking, armor and other technologies. Marines follow the orders of the Commander that hops into the chair at the beginning of the game. When the commander drops buildings the Marines build them with their use key. Once it's built the building is active and ready for use. For the Aliens you use the resources to gestate into higher life forms or for the Gorge it can build chambers to further help your team out with abilities like Regeneration, Cloak, Adrenaline and so on. Also Aliens have 3 Hives throughout the maps with these hives you need them to further expand your teams abilities. You can only drop one chamber type per hive, so capturing hives is a must for the Aliens to win. Balancing is pretty well for both sides, no team has a advantage over the other. There different but yet balanced which what makes it a good game. To win you must use teamwork to defeat the opposition. Most people I play with have good teamwork skills and do what the commander says. The only problem is getting people to actually do what the commander says and when he says it. Remember he can see the whole map and you can't so doing what he say's is vital to winning. Also using your microphone is a plus making communication easier to your team. Only experience players should be commanders because they know what there doing. If your new then I suggest not being commander because your team will most likely curse you out then eject you from the seat. Being a good commander you need to know the hotkeys and have good micro managing skills. For Gorges it's less experience needed then a commander because they can just plop down buildings with there own personal resource points. Chamber selection is also important don't just put down any chamber that you like consult with your team and make a group decision. Putting down the wrong chamber can lead you to defeat. I seen it many times. The game depends on good players to make the right decisions.

Replay Value:
This game never gets old you can always have a good time playing it. If you get bored playing one team then you can join the other team and learn how to play that side and develop strategies and such. There's tons of servers out there playing Natural Selection so you can always find a game. New maps are always out so you won't get bored playing the same maps over and over. Also the developers are adding a new game mode called Natural Selection: Combat which will further give the game replay ability for a long time.

A excellent Half-Life mod that ranks up there with the likes of Counter-Strike and TFC. If you enjoy Half-Life mods then you'll love Natural Selection!

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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