Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Half-Life on PC, Mac OS X, Linux, Dreamcast, PS2

“Good morning and welcome to the Black Mesa Transit System.” These words began an unskippable, 5-minute sequence that started the most influential game of the 1990s, and one of the best first-person shooters ever: Half-Life. Half-Life was released 15 years ago, and was easily one of the best shooters of the 90s. But, 15 years after its release, is Half-Life still good? To answer this question, I bought the game via the online video game distribution system Steam, played through the entire single-player, and spent various hours on the multiplayer. The short answer: yes. Half-Life is not only still good, but it’s still great. Storywise, this is where Half-Life succeeds the most, even today. The basic setup of Half-Life is nothing special, as it is really a reskin of Doom’s story. But, it’s the ENTIRE story that makes Half-Life special. In Half-Life, you play as Gordon Freeman, a theoretical physicist. At the start of Half-Life, you’re late for work at the Sector C Test Labs in the underground Black Mesa labs. When you get to the test labs, players must step in Gordon’s Mark IV HEV (hazardous environment) Suit and enter the test chamber for the latest test. However, the mysterious crystal you were testing backfires and opens a portal to an alien world called Xen. As Gordon, you must make your way to the surface, killing all manners of aliens in your way. However, Half-Life does something no other game does: no cutscenes. Half-Life's story is instead told using scripted sequences that keep the player in the game while still telling the story. The tram sequence at the beginning, and the following 30-minute sequence with you walking around the labs are great examples of this. The story may seem simple at first, but the story is full of twists and secrets they will keep you playing all the way to the end. As for gameplay, Half-Life’s gameplay is solid. The gameplay is a mix of first-person shooting, puzzle-solving, and platforming. The shooting is tense, as you fight various kinds of enemies with contemporary weaponry and alien weaponry. Puzzle-solving has you solving basic puzzles involving various levers and panels, while the platforming has you jumping from platform to platform. The gameplay is solid and varied enough to keep you interested. Half-Life’s single-player can (and most likely will) take you up to 12 hours to beat. However, Half-Life is an experience worth replaying over and over again. The multiplayer component is well made, and is full of servers using various fan-made maps and modes. While the multiplayer may not be as tactical as Counter-Strike, it’s still really fun and worth checking out. In short, Half-Life is still a great experience, even despite its age of 15 years.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback