Run. Think. Shoot. Live
Half-Life is a special game, a special game in many ways that evolved the first-person shooter genre of its time. While all the other first-person shooters at the time only made you shoot enemies from level to level, Half-Life was a slower-paced game that had a story to it. You, the player are never interrupted with a cutscene and the first games to use the WASD keys for default controls.
Pros and Cons
A nice sci-fi story with lots of mystery built into it
Very fun gameplay with a ton of weapons to use
Great multiplayer that is still active
Amanizng old style graphics that are nice
The story is very vague on what it’s telling
Platforming is really bad
The game starts with Gorden Freeman, going to work at the Black Mesa base where he is about to perform an experiment. This experiment involves this alien crystal that can help scientists work these dimensional rifts. While Gorden is experimenting, something goes wrong, and an event known as the Resonance Cascade occurs. This causes dimensional rifts that open a portal between Earth and the planet Xen. The base is soon invaded by hostile alien creatures that seem to teleport at random.
The story for Half-Life is excellent, it manages to keep a sense of mystery the through the entire story. How the game shows off its plot by presenting itself to the player is something I enjoyed. While other games have of course done this, Half-Life is unique in its way by allowing us to customize how we view Gorden and his role.
The only issue with the story is that it’s very vague and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, it might cause confusion about what is really going on unless the player does some research. The only two major characters in the game are Gorden Freeman himself and The G-Man, who does appear at random bouts in the game. However, he only speaks to you at the end of the game and that’s it. The story is good but when you sum it up, it’s like Gordan wakes up and well, you play the game but stay mostly oblivious to what is going on. I'll emphasize again that this may not be a negative for everyone, but some players may want to look up information as they play to better understand the story.
The gameplay is very fast paced with its movement, if you played Quake, then this game should feel similar. You will start off with a crowbar as a weapon but will go on to get your hands on lots of guns. Mostly throughout the game you will be fighting enemies on your own but will get assistance from various people you meet throughout. Not everyone you meet will fight but may help to open specific doors allowing you to progress to the next area instead.
There are a few bosses in the game which are mostly giant enemies who are very hard to take out, with the expectation that the player should be using the terrain to their advantage when going against them. They can’t be taken out by the normal shoot and kill approach like regular enemies as each requires a certain method to be dealt with.
There are a variety of enemies in the game, from aliens and zombies to human soldiers for you to deal with. There are also a lot of weapons that you can use to help deal with enemies and each weapon felt unique and special for what they can do.
My favorite weapons are:
MP5 - I used this weapon a lot because it could take out enemies easily.
SPAS-1 - A shotgun that can help take out enemies in a shot or two.
.375 Magnum - My all-time favorite, a revolver that can often kill most enemies in one shot.
Half-Life also has a multiplayer mode that is still actually active to this day with a small player base. This is extremely impressive for a game that was released over twenty years ago! I was able to get a few matches and playing its Death Match mode is very fun. There is a normal Death Match and Team Death Match mode, so if you are looking to play some multiplayer, then there are a few dedicated servers out there that you can play on.
I do have one issue with Half-Life’s gameplay which was when platforming was required. Half-Life is not a platformer, but certain parts require platforming, and it is bad, and when I say it’s bad, it’s really bad. The game wants you to make use of the long jump mechanic later in the game with moving platforms. Coupled with the fact there are enemies around you that can and will do a lot of damage if you are not careful, things can get a little heated on what the game is trying to do. Xen is by far the worst offender when it comes to this issue, as the platformers are moving and there is not a lot of room for error. Although technically speaking, it is the only true level with platforming.
Graphics and Performance
The graphics for Half-Life are nice, with this old-like feel to them that feels very special to me. I tested the game on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, and 16 GB of RAM, I experienced zero issues while playing and the game should be able to run on low-end PCs.
Half-Life is a classic that everyone should play at least once in their lives as there is a lot to love about the game. This is not even a horror game, yet it managed to scare me thanks to the Head Crab enemies who enjoy performing jump scares. The game is priced at 11.49 CDN at full price and I think it’s worth picking up for that price. There is a lot of fun to be had in the game.