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Half-Life: Opposing Force on PC, Mac OS X, Linux

Expanding on the story of the original game, Half-Life Opposing Force is one of two main expansions for the PC version of Valve’s 1998 shooter Half-Life. The first game by Gearbox Software (best known today for Brothers in Arms and Borderlands), Opposing Force takes you through the story of Half-Life again, but this time in a different role. Instead of playing as scientist Gordon Freeman, you play as marine Adrian Shepard, one of the marines sent in to “rescue” the scientists. But Shepard and his squad are unaware that they are now part of a government cover-up that includes killing the scientists and erasing Black Mesa from history! It’s up to Shepard to now escape from the facility. But even with the interesting setup, is this expansion as good as the original Half-Life, one of the best shooters ever? Yes, Opposing Force is easily just as good as the original game. The game adds new enemies, weapons, dark humor (a staple of Valve games), and multiplayer modes to add on to the original game. Being released only about a year after Half-Life’s initial release, you can’t expect a major graphical upgrade. But Opposing Force still looks good in its many environments, both new and old. The GoldSrc engine (the engine used to run Half-Life and its expansions, Counter-Strike, CS: Condition Zero, and various other games) still holds up in creating really good environments, but still being simplistic enough to make all objectives clear and easy to navigate to. As for gameplay, a few things have been changed from the original. First off is the all-new training room, in the form of a boot camp. Arguably, this is the best training room in the Half-Life series. It is really enthralling and is full of references to the classic film Full Metal Jacket (with quotes like “What is your major malfunction?!”). Secondly, there are about 10 new weapons. Replacing the infamous crowbar are a wrench and a knife, with fit the feel of a marine. There’s also a “grappling hook” in the form of one of the alien Barnacles. There is also a desert eagle, sniper rifle, light machine gun, and a lot more. There are plenty of new weapons to kill all hostiles with. Thirdly, Opposing Force introduces squad mechanics. With squad classes like the medic, engineer, and grunt, players will be able to easily command a squad that is incredibly helpful. The single-player is shorter than Half-Life by only a few hours at most. But that still means it’s a lengthy game by modern standards. As for the games multiplayer, the only things added are the new weaponry from the campaign and a new capture the flag mode. The addition of this mode is really fun, but sadly not a lot of people play it. For only $5, you are really getting a lot of bang for your buck. A lengthy single-player campaign with new additions plus a new multiplayer make Half-Life Opposing Force as worthy a buy as the original game.

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