Half-Life: Blue Shift is developed by Gearbox Software and it’s an expansion pack for Valve’s science fiction first-person shooter video game - Half-Life. Published by Sierra Entertainment, the game was released on the 12th of June, 2001 and was the second expansion pack released for Half-Life.
Half-Life: Blue Shift uses Valve’s GoldSrc engine, which is a heavily modified Quake engine. The game was first announced in the Q2 of 2000 to be released as a Dreamcast port of the original version, but was later canceled, and the final product was brought to the PC.
Half-Life: Blue Shift - The train at the beginning of the game
Like the first expansion pack from Gearbox Software – Opposing Force, Blue Shift is set in the same events and time as the original Half-Life, but the player sees the story from the eyes of a security guard named Barney Calhoun. After the game begins he rides a train into Black Mesa to reach his work place. After stepping out of the train, it is clearly visible how Gordon Freeman passes across you in a different one. Gordon Freeman is a scientist involved in the catastrophic event that occurs later in Blue Shift, and is the played character in the original Half-Life.
Half-Life: Blue Shift - Gordon Freeman seen in the tram that passes by
After Barney Coulhound reaches his work place, he is instructed to assist in a malfunctioning elevator. This is where Gordon Freeman’s actions from the original Half-Life take place, resulting in a “Resonance Cascade”, opening a portal between an unknown dimension and Earth. While Coulhound is in the elevator he was assigned to fix, the catastrophic event took place causing massive quakes and damage to the Black Mesa Research Facility, after which the elevator fell down deep into the depths of the Facility. The player takes control of the character when Barney Calhoun regains consciousness, and finds himself at the bottom of the Research Facility.
Half-Life: Blue Shift - At the elevetor where the catastrophic event takes place
Since Blue Shift is an expansion pack for Half-Life, the game-play is pretty much the same. The plot is divided by chapters, in the beginning of which the title flashes on the screen. The player has to solve partially involved puzzles, while he fights different enemies through scripted sequences used to explain the story. Half-Life: Blue Shift also involves a non-player character that the player has to constantly escort him to save places and keep him of enemies. This is seen for the first time in the Half-Life Series. Blue Shift doesn’t have any connection to the story-line in Opposing Force, because there are no characters seen from there.
Half-Life: Blue Shift - Dr Rosenberg: Non-player character
Because the Dreamcast version was canceled, Gearbox announced that the models developed for it will be included in a Half-Life High Definition Pack for the PC that can be applied to all Half-Life games. The size of the textures in the HD pack are increased, the polygons of some models are doubled, and even all the weapons are improved, which makes the Retail Blue Shift Expansion a double score for all users.
Half-Life: Blue Shift - High Definition Pack
If you have the original Half-Life, then you will find the Blue Shift Expansion to your liking, and the High Definition pack will definitely make you want to play the classic Half-Life again. If you however played Half-Life and Half-Life: Opposing Force a lot, you will find Blue Shift to be a bit dull, because of its short length and similar game play, but if you love the story of the original half-life anyway, you will definitely be happy to see it from the eyes of a security guard – to see what it will be if you were one of those guards that you noticed when you played from the perspective of Gordon Freeman.