Half-Life is a science fiction first-person shooter video game developed by Valve Corporation and it’s the predecessor to the successful Half-Life 2. Published by Sierra Studios, the game was first released in November 1998 for PC and in November 2001 for the Playstation 2 ported by Gearbox Software. Half-Life uses a heavily modified Quake Engine version, which was named “GoldSrc” or “Goldsource”, and was able to render in two application programming interfaces, which are Direct3D and OpenGL. The successor of the GoldSrc engine is the Source engine ran by Half-Life 2. Half-Life won over fifty “Game of the Year” awards since its release, and sold over twenty million copies.
Half-Life - Gordon Freeman
When Half-Life was first released in 1998 it was ground-breaking and an instant success, because of its solid game-play and great story-line. In half-life, the players take the role of a scientist named Gordon Freeman, who must battle with alien live forms on his way out of a secret underground laboratory, where teleportation experiments have failed, leading to catastrophic events. Gordon Freeman never speaks through the entire game and is never seen, since there are no cut-scenes in it.
Half-Life - Black Mesa Research Facility
When the game starts, Gordon appears to be in a train, late for work and heading to the Black Mesa Research Facility. While he is in the train traveling, a narrator welcomes the player and explains about Black Mesa. After Freeman arrives, the security guard opens the main gates for him to enter. He acquires a Hazardous Environment suit, and after that quickly proceeds to a test chamber, where scientists are waiting for him to assist in an experiment. Freeman’s task is to push some kind of a specimen into a scanning laser beam for analysis.
Half-Life - The Science Team - Before The Catastrophic Event
This creates a “Resonance Cascade”, which opens a portal between a dimension called “Xen” and the planet Earth. Gordon is then randomly teleported into “Xen” and catches a glimpse of the Alien Life forms from that dimension, after which he blacks out.When Gordon Freeman wakes up, that is where the disturbance and invasion takes place, and the great adventure begins.
Half-Life - Black Mesa Research Facility Test Chamber
Half-Life is a first person shooter where the player takes the perspective of Gordon Freeman from the beginning, to the very end. Half-Life is divided by chapters, in the beginning of which the current title displays on the screen. The different scenes and chapters require the player to battle with aliens and also human opponents, while solving various scripted sequences. The human opponents are military soldiers, who were sent there to eliminate all witnesses and alien life forms.
Half-Life - Military Soldiers
Half-Life was a ground-breaking game in its time, because Valve used scripted sequences for the events and puzzles in the game, and cinematic moments to describe the story line, unlike most of the shooters at the time. The Hazardous Environment Suit enables a HUD on the bottom of the screen that displays your health, energy and ammo status. Also there is another HUD displaying a weapon toggle menu at the top of the screen. It also allows the player to redeem his health and energy from sources on the wall, or from medical kits and energy bars which were spread on the ground. These items were scattered all over Black Mesa. Ammo-packs and weapons can be found in dead bodies, weapons crates, weapons lockers and other locations.
Half-Life - Submachine Gun
Most of the weapons that are included in Half-Life are modern-day weapons - like pistols, shotguns, rocket-launcher, submachine-gun with a grenade launcher attached and more. The game also features some fictional weapons such as “Snarks”, who we used to call “Alien Bugs” or “Bugs”. When the player throws a snark at his enemies, they start to eat them alive, but the player has to be aware that they can injure or kill him too. The most fun, original and iconic weapon in Half-Life is the Crowbar, which can be used for melee combat and to break objects which are in the player’s way. What makes the game realistic for its time is the great variety of environments and maps. Every next scene you step in will differ from the last one, and will always offer something new.
Half-Life - The original Crowbar Melee Weapon
The Multiplayer part of the game was very entertaining and solid. Back then, we used to spend hours and hours of game play killing each other. It was very simple actually – all the weapons were spread across the whole map and players were spawned at a random position every time they die. The objective was to make as much kills as you can, and as less deaths as you can.
Half-Life’s sequels are Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode I and Half-Life 2: Episode II, which continues the story-line with Gordon Freeman. Two Expansion packs in which the player takes the role of a Military soldier, and a Security Guard were also released for Half-Life titled – Half-Life: Opposing Force and Half-Life: Blue Shift and they followed the same story line as Half-Life, but from a different perspective. These expansion packs were developed by Gearbox Software, who was an outside developer.
Half-Life - Multiplayer Map - Crossfire
Overall Half-Life is one of the Best single-player sci-fi first person shooters ever to be born. Its variety and solid game-play will make you feel like you are inside the story, being a part of the catastrophic event with just one objective – Survive. After all, that is what Valve aimed for in the first place – Realism. If you haven’t played Half-Life before, it’s a good idea to get your hands on this great franchise, and start “Crowbaring”