Trade in. Get paid. Go shopping
Just ship to us for free.
We are unable to process your trade-in order.
About the product
- New weapons; new levels; solve a variety of puzzles; first-person shooter
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
As Gordon Freeman, a young research associate in the Anomalous Materials Laboratory of the Black Mesa Federal Research Facility, your mission is to investigate a strange crystalline being. You find yourself battling not only the alien monsters but also the government troops sent in to keep the crisis under wraps. Sophisticated monsters and creative technologies make this game a winner.
A major goal in any game is to create the illusion of reality, a fact that is especially true for first-person shooters. The whole point of the genre is to put you, literally, in the role of the protagonist. In light of this, it's surprising that so many games have stuck to a blueprint that breaks the illusion at every possible opportunity, with text-based mission briefings, jarring level transitions, and weapons and power-ups scattered around like decorative furniture. But Valve Software has obviously spent a lot of time studying the mistakes of the past. The result is Half-Life, the closest thing to a revolutionary step the genre has ever taken. Through a series of subtle and artistic design decisions, Half-Life creates a reality that is self-contained, believable, and thoroughly engaging. And while it may be surprising that no game has utilized any of these ideas in the past, it's clear that any future shooter will be remiss to overlook them.
The plot of the game is typical (in fact, it's little more than an elaborate version of Doom). You are Gordon Freeman, scientist at the Black Mesa Research Facility, involved in some mysterious experiments. These experiments go awry, and foul creatures begin taking over the complex. It gets more complicated, but there's no need to ruin the surprises that await. Suffice it to say that Half-Life isn't a great game because of its story; it's a great game because of how it presents that story. From the opening moments of the game to the final showdown (and even beyond) all hell is continually breaking loose, and there is never a moment where you are not seeing things through Freeman's eyes. There are scripted events in the game. There are opening and closing scenes. But they all occur naturally within the game environment. It may sound simple, but it goes a long way toward helping create a believable world.
Weapon, ammunition, and health placement follows the same philosophy. You'll hardly ever come across an item that is just bobbing and spinning in place like some gift from the heavens. Valve has done a good job of justifying the typical health and armor meters. Freeman is wearing a hazard suit, used by researchers involved in dangerous experiments. To regain health and armor energy, you must fill up at power stations. These are almost always located in logical places, usually near areas where dangerous work would be performed. There are no power-ups to be found. Weapons and ammo are taken from supply closets or the corpses of fallen security guards and soldiers. Even the more experimental weapons have their proper place - in the weapons research department of the facility. And late in the game, once you've left the research facility, the supply of ammo and first aid kits is believably scarce.
There are no levels in Half-Life, or, more specifically, it lacks the concept of levels and episodes we've come to expect. The game is a continual stream of locations from beginning to end. You can move back and forth at will (with only a few exceptions), as can those who are pursuing you. And though the brief loading time between zones is the one artifact that breaks the flow of the game, the transitions are thankfully brief.
The attention to detail doesn't just stop with the basic structure. The game is full of surprises, continually throwing new obstacles and challenges in your path. There is a wide variety of textures, lending a distinct look to every area. The numerous scripted events bolster the illusion of reality, and you'll come across detailed scenes that are continually suspenseful. The gameplay is very puzzle-oriented, but the puzzles hardly seem to be superficial obstacles. Whether you're repairing a reactor or finding some way to dispose of a massive locked door, the puzzles always seem plausible in the world Valve has created.
The alien enemies are well designed and occasionally border on the terrifying. From the basic headcrab (which resembles a cross between Alien's facehugger and X-COM Apocalypse's brainsucker) to monstrosities a hundred times its size, the enemies truly look like organic beings. There are human enemies in the game, and these display a level of artificial intelligence that is remarkable. While many a game's idea of excellent AI is simply monsters that can make it through a doorway to follow you, Half-Life's antagonists act in a manner that is frighteningly realistic. They won't follow you through a doorway - they'll just lob a few grenades to where you're hiding and be done with it.
The weapons look and sound great, ranging from the realistic combat shotguns and grenade launchers, to the science-fictional, high-powered particle accelerators. The level design is diverse (owing a nod of thanks to Jedi Knight), including the expansive research facility, some great outdoor areas, and foreign locales that are best left to be discovered on your own. Suffice to say, it never gets repetitive.
The only problems with Half-Life are the results of it being so ambitious. The fact that all of the humans in the game look like clones takes from the otherwise realistic atmosphere. The diversity of the levels and puzzles will undoubtedly leave you thinking some areas were better than others. But complaints that arise are simply a reaction to the fact that the game is so close to ideal. Half-Life is an exceptional single-player game and a solid multiplayer game (though the upcoming Team Fortress add-on may make it even better). It takes the tried-and-true one step further but ends up leaps and bounds ahead of the rest. --Ron Dulin
--Copyright ©1998 GameSpot Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of GameSpot is prohibited. -- GameSpot Review
Top customer reviews
The Bad: Graphics look hideous these days, newer gamers will hate this due to all the flaws that stick out, to many "mazy" levels
Man O' man does this bring back a lot of good memories. I remember almost dying because my mom's computer couldn't run HL1. I begged her to get the computer upgraded (at the time not even knowing how this was possible or the cost) she just wouldn't do it. All I could do was stare at videos and screenshots until I thought would be forever *da-da-da!* until I heard about the PS2 port! I was so excited I babysat my bratty sisters for a whole summer and laid down $200 smackeroonies on a used PS2, but to my luck HL was no where to be seen. It turns out not many copies of the game were made so they were scarce. Settling with a rental I finally was able to play the game, but it was starting to feel old because I didn't get ahold of it until late 2003. Realizing that I was missing out on a lot AT THE TIME I wound up losing my save and being so angry never touched the game again. Four years later I can finally play the game again thanks to Steam (I actually ordered the HL1 Anthology off of EBgames for $20) and I DEFINITELY realized what I missed now that I have finally been able to finish the game.
Half-Life used the Quake II engine at the time which was fighting against the Unreal engine technically. While Half-Life never looked as good as Unreal Valve pulled some strings and did some custom stuff with the physics, water, and lighting effects that wasn't originally in the Q2 engine. HL isn't just your regular run & gun shooter the story is told all in real time by running into certain characters and by just progressing you get an idea of what's going on without much dialog. This was revolutionary at the time and so were the weapons, graphics, sound, physics, and enemies. The game has your usual weapons like machine guns with grenade launchers, pistols, revolvers etc. but HL has some weapons up it's sleeve that were never seen before. Those such weapons happen to be a laser guided rocket launcher (you guide it with your mouse!) I remember people buzzing about this weapons back in the day and it's still pretty cool. You also have the Bee Gun which is a weird slimy thing that shoots killer bees, you have some strange electricity guns, mines, laser mines, satchel charges etc.
The enemies were also something never seen before like the Head Crabs, Head Crab Zombies, the Ichthyosaur, the Vortigaunts etc. The game also had HUGE bosses which was amazing back in the day and seemed very epic. The game was dark, creepy, and very hard as well. Most shooters back in the late 90's were just run & gun nonsense in dark tunnels, military complexes etc. Half-Life is not innocent and does do this, but there are other places to see like climbing a HUGE canyon and looking out over the *ugly* vista that looks like the Grand Canyon. Today it looks like someone slapped a low-res JPEG image in the background, but in the late 90's things like this seemed like you were staring over a GrindLift in Gears of War 2. Half-Life was just so real and so amazing back in it's day that it really kind of shocks you how such an old game can still make that kind of impact.
The game also consists of a lot of maze like halls that you can get easily lost in and I found this the main problem with HL. Some of the puzzles were a bit confusing to do and navigating the endless halls calls for a much needed walkthrough. While the level design is excellent and you pretty much know where to go there are those occasional moments that make you wander around the whole area a few times and look in every nook and cranny wondering what switch you missed or what do you need to go through. Some neat things back in the day was being able to have the Blue Shift men help you and ask scientists to open doors for you. While this is standard these days this kind of AI was unknown to the late 90's PC gamers. This added to the realism and made you fee like you really are stuck in Black Mesa trying to fight off the alien invasion.
You're probably wondering what the story is right? Well it's simple really, Gordan Freeman (that's you) arrives in Anomalous Hazards as a regular employee and an experiment goes awry and Gordan must escape the facility and figure out the source of the alien invasion. The story, as I've already said, isn't told through cut scenes, but rather in real time while you play. This helps add to the experience, but of course may bore most younger PC gamers who are used to FEAR, Crysis, CoD etc. Half-Life is for the hardcore old school PC shooter fans only and really takes cunning skill to finish. The game will give you less and less health as you go and you'll have to figure out how to take out a room of 10 bad guys with only 2 health. While this isn't impossible it can be done and requires precise skill (thus only for hardcore fans).
Most of you have probably played HL2 already and these games are pretty much completely different besides the content. You still have your hazard suit, most of the weapons are the same, but there is more stuff in HL1. About 40% of the weapons and enemies in HL1 aren't in HL2. HL2 is more realistic while HL1 is more of a sci-fi type game. Thankfully you can play HL2 without even touching HL1 (which I did), but HL1 explains a lot of things that aren't explained in HL2 and there are bits in HL2 that are for fans of HL1 that you normally wouldn't know about unless you played this game.
Now of course HL1 has a lot of flaws like floaty physics, being able to run 100mph, cheap deaths, poor graphics but these are flaws seen from age. If you were to warp back to 1998 the game was almost flawless. Now when it comes to upgrades and mods there is an endless ocean. There are a ton of amazing multiplayer and singe player mods available and I have spend hours and hours on most of them. You must go to FilePlanet.com and download these mods because they are super fun. HL1 also has a free hi-def pack that you can download to update the graphics a little bit. If you want to go even further pick up Half-Life: Source which uses HL2's engine to make things look more modern. I highly recommend the Source version for people who just can't stand "old graphics", but old school shooter fan should just get the hi-def pack just for nostalgia's sake.
The story is that you are silent protagonist Gordon Freeman (you'll feel like him by the end) and you work for Black Mesa, your standard super secret facility. Something goes horribly wrong and uh. The formula is very simple, but they execute it so well that other games have copied it and failed (Doom 3). Needless to say you need to fight your way out through the facility, on the desert (being chased by a helicopter), and everything else would just be a spoiler. There are no levels, no loading screens. Loading is seamless and happens during downtime.
Half Life 1 has simple controls and an optional tutorial level. There are buttons for jumping, crouching (sneaking), using your flashlight (that needs to be off to charge it), shooting, secondary shooting (for machine guns) and "using" things. The game is always in run mode and character speed seems to be fast. Too fast sometimes, but there is that sneak button that will slow you down.
But how is the first person shooting? There is a wide variety of guns and each has a certain joy and usefulness to them. Even the simple pistol is useful for lesser enemies 8 hours into the game. There is a shotgun, a machine gun with grenade launcher, grenades, explosives you detonate, wall sensors with explosives, a harpoon, a laser guided rocket launcher that once it launches you point your cursor and it will turn accordingly, lasers, homing missiles, head crabs and more. An amazing array that you continue to get even up to the final levels areas. To swap weapons you push 6 number keys and press some keys twice to access some weapons like the shotgun / machine gun / harpoon.
You start with a crowbar good for breaking grates, and destroying boxes. Destroying boxes is how you will find most items and ammo. Instead of just finding things scattered on the floor, on shelves or on a desk you need to bash open boxes to find the good stuff. You can also push or pull the boxes too which is nice for puzzle solving and platforming.
The enemies are just as diverse and each one requires you to think and act differently. Since I don't know the name of any enemy I'll fumble through this. The start enemies are lesser creatures that will start on the floor and jump at you. 2 shots from a pistol take them out. There are zombie-ish aliens that take a shotgun or two, but they are easy enough to avoid. Aliens that teleport in and beam electricity at you will cause you to hide, pudgy little alien crawler / hoppers will make you shoot from a distance because they will send out a small shockwave. Standard soldiers that will shoot machine guns, throw grenades and coordinate attacks against you like flanking. Ceiling huggers that are yucky red globs on the ceiling with long rope like tongues that when they catch you, you'll be pulled up and eaten... if you don't shoot them. Giant aliens with homing missiles too. There is a wide variety of enemies and bosses. I can't list them all.
The game also shines with its tricks and traps and will throw a puzzle or challenge at you to keep you thinking. But in this game it doesn't feel like a puzzle or a challenge. It seems natural. There can be a hidden turret where the fun is making your choice how to take it out... Grenade, explosive, shooting it and getting shot in the process, running by it or just not hitting the trip wire to start it in general. Wall sensor explosives, push and pull box puzzles, pushing buttons, hopping hanging boxes over a pit, conveyer belts, using a sky cannon to destroy walls, using turrets, on rails vehicles that you have a lot of control over, water puzzles, high jump pads and so on. There is a lot of variety and it's never the same thing twice.
To sum it up, this is a diverse and VERY FUN game. It has a sense of humor to it and you'll feel like you are Gordon Freeman through the game's well crafted immersion. Puzzles, shooting and challenges all melded together into one fantastic game and I can't say that too often.
Most recent customer reviews
i first played this game in 2000..Read more