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Published on February 13th, 2011 | by Charlie

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Do You Remember? – Half-Life

This is a segment of where we remind you guys of classic games you may have forgotten, those that should always be remembered, and games we wish we could either have a remake, be brought back to life as an arcade game or be given a sequel, or quite possibly something else, no matter what platform they were on. At the end of the article, I will tell you guys what I believe should be done with the game.

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I know what you’re thinking about this weeks “Do You Remember?”. “How can Charlie be writing an article on Half-Life? How can we not remember this game? This segment is supposed to be about games that we seem to have forgotten.” Wrong. This segment is about games that we seem to have forgotten AND games that should always be remembered. And Half-Life is certainly one of those games. I will be 100% honest. I have not even played the first Half-Life [Strike me down if you wish]. The reason being is because I haven’t got the money to buy it on Steam, and the fact that my laptop is terrible at running PC games. But once I have spare money, I will certainly be buying it. I have watched lots of footage for Half-Life 1, and I mean ALOT, so I know quite a bit from it. I have, however, played Half-Life 2, Episode One and Episode Two… and if I had played Half-Life 2 at the time of release, it would be my Game of the Year for that year. But we’re here to talk about the first Half-Life! So Half-Life is one of those games that if you haven’t even heard of the game, then you are not a true gamer. Set in the first decade of the 21st century somewhere in New Mexico, the game tells the story of Gordon Freeman, a theoretical physicist. After arriving late at the Black Mesa Research Facility, he enters into his Hazardous Environment suit (HEV suit), he heads over to the Anomalous Materials Lab, where he helps out in an experiment by placing a non-standard specimen into the scanning beam of the Anti-Mass Spectrometer. Of course, in a video game, everything goes horribly wrong, and something known as a “resonance cascade” occurs, in which portals open up from our world and into another. For a few brief moments, Gordon is teleported between the two worlds, before stopping back in the AML. After he escapes the lab, he finds bodies scattered all over the place. Cut off from the outside world, Freeman needs to reach the surface and try to call for help.

I know what you're thinking, but, uh....

There’s no doubt Half-Life took it’s inspiration from other games, but what’s so good about the game is how it can be scary with such simplicity. The entire game is shown to you through Gordon’s eyes, and every cutscene you see is played out in scripted events. Your suit is what tells you how much health you have left and how much shielding you have. If you die, you return back to the checkpoint. The enemies you fight in the game come from Xen; there are the “headcrabs” (also known as a “headhumper”) which will try to attack you by jumping on you, and to dead bodies, the headcrab reanimates their bodies, turning them into a new enemy known as the “headcrab zombies”. Another enemy you encounter is named the “barnicle”, which hang from the ceiling, lifting anything up that catches onto its long tounge. It’s not just aliens that are your threat though, as you encounter Hazardous Environment Combat Unit, and the black operations arrive at the facility, both with a mission to kill everything they see so that there are no witnesses, including each other. Throughout the facility, you encounter loads of guns that proove extremely useful, including a rocket launcher, MP5 submachine gun, and you can even use Xen creatures as weapons, such as the Snarks and Barnicles. Since its release in 1998, Half-Life has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Half-Life became so popular, that expansion packs were released, which all takes place during the same period of time as Half-Life.
  • Opposing Force (PC only) – This tells the story of Adrian Shephard, who is a HECU. The main goal is to kill the alien threat and kill any witnesses; however he ends up getting split up from his marines and has to fight his way through the facility, sometimes having to team up with Black Mesa employees.
  • Blue Shift (PC only) – This tells the story of Barney Calhoun, who is a Black Mesa security guard. After he is sent to help on the maintenance on a malfunctioning elevator, it’s not long before Gordon’s experiment goes wrong, and he too is caught up in the nightmare that occurs at Black Mesa (You may also remember Barney from Half-Life 2).
  • Decay (PS2 only) – This tells the story of two characters named Gina Cross and Colette Green. They arrive at the Anomalous Materials Labs at Black Mesa and report to Dr. Keller, who is preparing the specimen to be placed in the hands of Gordon Freeman, who of course puts the specimen in place. Cross and Green are sent to assist with the experiment, but of course when they do, the nightmare occurs at the Black Mesa facility, and they too are caught up in the disaster.

Honestly. I have a friend who look's just like him.

The game also recieved a sequel, Half-Life 2, alongside two more episodes. Half-Life also helped to the inspiration of Portal, which was released alongside Half-Life 2, it’s episodes and Team Fortress in “The Orange Box”. Now for the judgement. At this moment in time, a reboot would be totally out of the question, because the game is great as it is. A HD remake maybe? Well… ish. As for sequels, well Half-Life received expansion packs and Half-Life 2, alongside Episode One, and Episode Two…………. (do I even need to say what needs to go into these brackets?) (I’m going to say it anyway: VALVE! ANNOUNCE HALF LIFE 3 OR EPISODE 3 FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!) I suppose a Half-Life movie could be good, just as long as it’s not in the hands of Boll KG (look them up and see their films list). Half-Life is one franchise that should never be forgotten, and if you haven’t even heard of the game, then you are just not a true gamer. If you haven’t, then you need to buy it! If you don’t have the money, watch gameplay videos of it, or even watch the comedy shows “Freeman’s Mind“, “Barney’s Mind“, “Shepard’s Mind“, and Portals “Chell’s Mind“. YOU MUST! Half-Life was released in 1998 for Microsoft Windows (Steam) and 2001 for the Playstation 2.

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About the Author

Some say I should be a video game journalist, others say a video game designer. Shame you can't be both.



  • Manidoust101

    So are you not a true gamer by not playing the first?
    It’s 5 dollars on steam, I think you should afford that, next time your hungry, don’t order pizza, make pasta or something.

    Good article, but the true horror that came with half life was being alone, you were only with other people a few times, but you were always alone, always In a huge area.

    Good article

  • Half Life, one of the best, if not THE Best video game ever created. It was the first to have a truly great story (although ripped off from Steven King) that worked within the interactive nature of the game. And some of the scripted action sequences were truly amazing. The AI was years ahead of anybody else at the time. I remember playing and throwing grenades at the soldiers and having them jump for cover. It was awesome.

  • Well there are multiple ways to get HD Half-Life:

    1) High-Definition Pack for Half-Life

    2) Half-Life: Source which uses DX9 in locations throughout the game

    3) The Source engine powered “Black Mesa: Source” will be coming out at some point which is basically a full HD remake.

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