back to article Valve's Half-Life

I’m not a fan of modern first-person shooters, which is a shame because there used to be a massive soft spot in my heart for Half-Life and its head crabs. When then small, independent developer Value announced it was basing its first game around the exploits of a theoretical physicist, most gamers were understandably …

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  1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Devil

    Memories

    Yup I wasted so much time on Half Life and mods, still do :S

    Thankfully Half Life Goldsource still has a modding community much like Quake and Doom so you can still find gems.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Half Life

    Best game.... ever!

    1. P. Lee Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Half Life

      Better than hl2?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Half Life

        If I search my soul ... no, Half-Life 2 raises the bar waaay higher.

        Obligatory Follow the thoughts of Dr. Gordon Freeman, a 27 year old physicist and neurotic individual. (Youtube says 'Viewer discretion advised' ... LOLWHAT?)

      2. Brangdon

        Re: Half Life

        Half Life 2 has better graphics, physics and modelling, but in the ways that matter Half Life 1 is better. HL2 level design suffers more from feeling linear. One cares about the characters less (to the point where I'd use squad members to set off traps because they were worth less than bullets). In HL1 one generally has sense of one's goal (eg, get to the surface); in HL2 you are just wandering around looking for the single exit.

        Seriously. I've played both games many times and as long as you can put up with the poorer graphics, HL1 is better.

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: Half Life

          The thing is - to fully appreciate HL2 you must come from an Eastern European country, like Poland or Russia or Ukraine. Those cars, trains, buildings' architecture - for me it's like being brought back into my childhood street play, only I no longer need to imagine aliens, enemy soldiers and post-end-of-the-world decay - it's already there. What's more - no one threatens to report me to my schoolmaster if I break something or put some stuff on the rail track in front of a train!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Half Life

            At first I thought "That's depressing." Then I remembered using Google Streetview to look at the street and house I lived in back in 1977. Then I started crying.

  3. AlexV

    Black Mesa Source

    If you fancy revisiting (or visiting, if you missed it the first time round) it, there's now http://release.blackmesasource.com/

    The same game, but brought up to date a bit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Black Mesa Source

      Been playing this for a while now off and on, but I keep getting triggering problems.

      I don't remember ever getting stuck when playing it originally, but it's being a pain in the bum right now. :/

      1. pPPPP

        Re: Black Mesa Source

        I played it last week up to the end (at at least as far as it goes). I recall there being one obvious bug but a reload of a save sorted it.

        Can't knock it seeing as it's free though.

        I've played all of the half life series several times from start to finish over the years. Somehow it's a game you can still go back to. Unlike a lot of games where I get bored before I reach the end.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Black Mesa Source

      I got a few bugs and crashes, but given that it;s a fan-made mod, those can be forgiven. Relly, there's no excuse for not going and downloading Black Mesa right now, except for the fact that it's a multi-gigabyte download.

      Can't wait for the second half with the Xen levels...

  4. Peter 26

    If Half-Life had of failed, we probably wouldn't have Valve and Steam. Imagine a world without that, not pretty.

    1. yossarianuk
      Linux

      I can

      Being a Linux user we have had that world - i've somehow managed though

      I do use steam for Civ5 through however, which I should add is far faster (i.e Civ5 is) in Wine than in real Windows7 - the graphics are much faster and the turn it takes between goes is about 25% faster in wine than in real windows also....

      By the sounds of it though I won't have to wait long (and have faster games than Windows users...)

      Can't wait to see benchmarks for Valve games Linux Vs Win8.....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        Re: I can

        Do you think maybe you could comment on the game rather than finding a flimsy excuse to start a schoolyard competition about whose OS is better?

        I mean, seriously?

  5. Arrrggghh-otron

    Office time waster

    Multiplayer Half-Life was fired up whenever there was a slow day at the office. Nothing like hearing a coworker shouting in frustration at being decamped... bloody campers...

  6. Katie Saucey

    Arrrg!! etc

    I can remember buying a 4mb monster 3d card specifically for HL. I'm not old I'm not old...

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Arrrg!! etc

      ".....a 4mb monster 3d card...." I had a 4MB Voodoo, can't remember which brand, had it running fine with a 1MB 2D card. Then I upgraded the 2D card for an ATi 8MB card (Rage Pro?) which gave me all types of problems connected to the 4MB Voodoo and the Voodoo died! And the ATi was cr*p at 3D compared to the Voodoo. I was half-way through HL at the time and rushed out to buy a then only recently released Voodoo2 card just so I could finish HL in full 3D glory.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. asdf Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Arrrg!! etc

      Bah your not old unless you remember being floored by the state of the art 3D graphics in the Dire Straits money for nothing music video.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Arrrg!! etc

        Hysterically bad polygon count today but in 1985 this was new and exciting to the general public.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAD6Obi7Cag

    4. Neil Hunt
      Thumb Up

      Re: Arrrg!! etc

      Me too! I still have the card floating around. A Voodoo graphics accellerator card will come back and be useful again won't it? My newer video card only has about a Gig of memory more than the accellerator!

      ;-)

  7. Bassey

    Absolute classic

    It is the only game I have ever got to the end of and then played straight through again. Although 14 years ago now, I still recall being scared shitless as I crept down a corridor, with the lights flickering on and off, when the ceiling collapsed on top of me bringing aliens down all around, the lights went out and all I could see on the screen was barrel flare from the gunfire.

    Nobody had EVER made a game like that before.

    1. myob

      Re: Absolute classic

      Not sure about that never. Your description reminds me of my feelings about doom 2. I suppose I'm just too old.

      1. Locky Silver badge

        Re: Absolute classic

        Reminds me of Dungeon Master on the ST and it's random disk whur. Now that was terrifying

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Absolute classic

          Big thumbs up to Dungeon Master, best game ever. It took me 4 weeks to fight my way through back from halfway through level 4 (the one where the worms first appear), with just my feeble wizard Tiggy carrying the bones of the other 3 all the way back to level 2's resurrection altar. Lots of running and hiding, drive by fireballs and hack n slash - by the time she got through, she was about 4 levels higher as a fighter than my fighters!

          1. Alex Walsh

            Re: Absolute classic

            I still dig out Dungeon Master (although on emulator now) once or twice a year for a run through. Unlike my youth, I can now do it in one sitting with one character without dying. Still love it though :D

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Absolute classic

              I had a similar fear when playing Doom. A Gravis Ultrasound gave surround sound, and in a dark tunnel on level 5 I heard a weird grunting I hadn't heard before... by the time I actually encountered my first Pink Gorilla I was so nervous I shot a rocket at point blank range, with inevitable consequences.

              But yeah, the sequences in Half Life were a definite jump forward.

              1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
                Happy

                Re: Absolute classic

                Dave 126,

                I'm a bit old for this modern internet speak. What is "by the time I actually encountered my first Pink Gorilla" a euphemism for please?

                Actually, while you're at it, "I was so nervous I shot a rocket at point blank range, with inevitable consequences", sounds pretty dodgy too...

                I'm pretty sure I remember doing something similar. It was fun playing Doom in the dark, but those giant pink things made some nasty grunting noises, and it was a bit of a surprise when you first encountered them.

                What I often did was load up the rocket launcher, to deal with a big group of nasties, only to hear a loud sound behind me, jump, spin round to deal with it, and hit the fire button all at the same time. Ooops. Kaboom! It was very good when a door suddenly opened behind you somewhere, and you knew that something was creeping up on your. I think the sound was much better than the graphics. It was also the first game I played with 4.1 speakers, so you got that lovely deep boom from the sub-woofer as you fired your shotgun.

                1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                  Re: Absolute classic

                  ... well, I was originally going to write "... let off my rocket launcher..." but changed it in a bid to avoid innuendo. Evidently I failed!

                  Rocket launchers (or fuel barrels- and later, with the full game, Berserk!) would make some enemies perish with a lovely rib-cracking-gut-spilling noise, and the shotgun sound made my mate's kid brother run crying from the room, when the hi-fi I had run it run through was turned up too loud. Sorry mate.

                  The sound was good, and Doom was one of the first games I had that supported the Gravis natively. By the time Half Life appeared, I was a engineering student with a pricey PC (for CAD software, you understand) and I had made the mistake of buying John Romero's Daikatana because it would run under NT.4.

                  Half Life (dual booted Win98) restored my faith in FPShooters, though by then PlayStation Tekken and THPS in the lounge was more sociable.

                  1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
                    Happy

                    Re: Absolute classic

                    Save 126,

                    So what you're saying, is that you tried to avoid an innuendo, but slipped it in anyway...

                    But at least it wasnt a large one.

                    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                      I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that.

                      Sorry, that should be Dave, not Save. Typing on iPad is difficult.

                      My typing's become rather bad,

                      Since buying an Apple iPad.

                      It's lacking nice keys.

                      Or a stylus. Yes please!

                      I conclude they'll not sell, just a fad...

                      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                        Re: I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that.

                        Yeah, it didn't occur to me at the time that 'Pink Gorilla' might appear rude... trying to imagine what its Profanisaurus entry might be... Shit, now I've got Steve Ballmer in my head. Urgh!

                        Don't worry about Dave> Save... my phone normally makes me 'date'.

                        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
                          Happy

                          Re: I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that.

                          Oh No! I can't believe you've just put an image of pink gorilla and Steve Ballmer into my head. And right before lunch too! Bleurgh!

                          The only 2 options at this point are suicide or oblivion drinking. Pass the vodka!

                          There ought to be a law against making comments like that on the internet. At least without a 'Not Safe for Brain' tag... I hope MI5 hunt you down, like the internet terrorist you are!

                          glug, glug, glug

                          glug, glug, glug

                          glug, glug, glug

          2. yossarianuk
            Thumb Up

            Re: Absolute classic

            Dungeon Master on the Amiga (not the crappy ST/PC version) was one of the greatest games of all time.

            I remember the sounds of the screamers haunting my childhood.

            At the age of 12 I used to sit up most of the night playing it, the moment when I first saw the dragon I nearly shat myself in fear.

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Absolute classic

      ".....Nobody had EVER made a game like that before." System Shock 2 came out a few months later (IIRC) and certainly scared the beejesus out of many a hardened gamer I knew!

  8. Bunker_Monkey
    Alien

    Classic - yet still no movie!

    Maybe cause Hollywood know they cannot do it justice! Thank god!

    However 'Digital Paintball Mod 2.1' for HL was an awesome mod and realism still are the benchmark for any MP game.. Counterstrike, and the rest are classics.. Black Mesa made me fall in love with it all over again :)

    Bring on HL 3!

    1. adnim Silver badge

      Re: Classic - yet still no movie!

      Hollywood couldn't do it justice.

      But maybe it's fan base could... http://youtu.be/NvgEx1g9dW4

      1. yossarianuk

        Re: Classic - yet still no movie!

        > Hollywood couldn't do it justice.

        When has that ever stopped them?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Team Fortress Classic

    TFC was our mod of choice, many nights at Uni playing that game while shouting to team-mates down the corridor to coordinate our attack. (1 Scout, 1 Sniper, 1 Heavy Weapons) Unstoppable.

    :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Team Fortress Classic

      TFC was awesome game, TFC2 was a disgrace to be related to TFC imho.

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Team Fortress Classic

      you never ran into the fire starting maniac that was me.

      "Boris has the flag and just gren jumped up the lift shaft." " dont be silly, pyros cant do...... oh they've capped"

      Too much time wasted on TFC

      And as for HL... whats it doing in the antique dept, when its still available via steam?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not exactly sure why this game is in "Antique Code Show"; it is still a very playable game - as are Opposing Force and Blue Shift. (Although when playing Half-Life I usually play Half-Life Source.)

    1. Jedit
      Boffin

      "I'm not exactly sure why this game is in "Antique Code Show""

      Because it's old now? Still being a playable game is meaningless - I've been playing Paradroid since 1985 and Wizball since 1987 and they're as good as they ever were. The great games are timeless.

  11. Zebidee
    Boffin

    Pah

    A whole year earlier came Blood - from Monolith.

    That had screams galore, and you could punt the severed heads of the zombies you had decapitated with the sawn off.

    Even had a LAN co-op story mode.

    Awesome range of weapons such has hairspray and lighter, flare gun, pitchfork etc.

  12. Greg J Preece

    Antique? Phht, please. How come we haven't seen Wing Commander on here?

    There are very few games that can transport you to another world in quite the same way and, for me, it wasn't until Battlefield 1942 that this realism was stepped up a notch with the introduction of vehicles.

    So Tribes went sailing past you too, then? Released way earlier, more complex gameplay and teamwork, basically better than all the Battlefield games put together. Pity the sequels were dogshit.

  13. Ragarath
    Facepalm

    What were you using before Lucy?

    Counterstrike was the first FPS I bothered to learn how to use a keyboard for.

    Please do not tell me you were using a joypad or even worse a joystick to play an FPS game?

    I cannot remember ever using anything but a KB to play an FPS. I guess you may have come from a console culture and for some reason when moving to a PC brought the inferior control tech with you ;)

  14. Alex Walsh

    The thing I remember about Half Life is the AI/scripted pretend AI. Right near the beginning when a squad of soldiers move up on you through an area of storage containers, they give covering fire as they advance on you. How unbelievably cool is/was that? I was blown away, literally and metaphorically :D

  15. 1Rafayal

    I remember reading a review for this in PC Gamer, one of the parting comments mentioned you should play this on hard the first time. So I did, took me ages to complete this game on that setting, but it was very rewarding to play.

    I am not sure I have played an FPS game that has quite reached the same level as Half-Life since then.

  16. Andy Farley
    Stop

    I'm sorry

    you don't love Half Life enough to write this review.

  17. Scarborough Dave

    Got all my old games

    HL is their favourite, compared to today's stuff still rates very well.

  18. Zobbo
    Thumb Up

    Bf1942

    Can we have a review of BF1942 then? Loved that game. Also loved HL and CS and TFC (and I love TF2 but getting a bit old for the pace now). I played BF1942 forever. Also the Bf1942 Pirates Mod is the funniest mod I've ever seen.

    P.S. I think you put value instead of valve up there or my eyes are going.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bf1942

      BF1942 was great ... took me a bit to work out the name till I realized that 1942 was when WWII "started"

  19. Reboot_IT

    Classic - yet still no movie!

    Wasn't District 9 meant to be based loosely on HL? The only related thinkg I could see in the movie was the gravity gun and the prawns.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Classic - yet still no movie!

      Um... dunno. Peter Jackson, the producer of District 9, had been lined up to produce the Halo movie (after MicroSoft had paid Alex Garland $1million for a script), and Jackson wanted Neill Blomkamp to direct it. The movie studios didn't like MicroSoft's terms, so passed. Jackson and Blomkamp would later produce and direct District 9.

      Garland also wrote the script / edited Dredd 3D, which, like District 9, was filmed in South Africa.

      I've not heard of a District 9 / Half-Life link before, a link that I can see is that laboratory raid scene in the movie, but it is a trope that isn't uncommon in Sci-Fi. However, from Blomkamp's words, it seems likely he has had at heard of Half-Life:

      "I was genetically created to direct Halo ... The suits weren’t happy with the direction I was going. Thing was, though, I’d played Halo and I play videogames. I’m that generation more than they are and I know that my version of Halo would have been insanely cool ... I’ll never ever work with Fox ever again because of what happened to Halo – unless they pay me some ungodly amount of money and I have absolute fucking control." - Neill Blomkamp

    2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Classic - yet still no movie!

      The beginning of Avengers Assemble is IMHO an HL tribute/imitation...

  20. Shakje

    Compliment != complement

    Sorry for being a pedant

  21. Silverburn
    Black Helicopters

    HL3

    Just waiting for Hl2.3/3 to round it all off now...C'mon Gabe, get your finger out!

    helicopters...'cos the set peice with the apaches & the rocket launcher was great.

  22. Penguin
    Thumb Up

    I'll always remember when myself and a few friends were heavily into HL, one of my friends got a graphics card to improve the experience (still nothing compared to my beast of a Voodoo card). He was so proud of himself, dragged me over to show me how amazing Half Life looked, of course he felt very stupid when I went into the options menu and changed the Render from 'Software' to 'Direct3D'. He still gets occasionally ribbed for that to this day.

    My personal LAN poison of choice was Day of Defeat, I can even remember how excited I was when I realised you could deploy the bipod on the Bren gun. Deployable bipods and grappling hooks will always be the high watermark of FPS excellence.

  23. Roby

    No offence

    This is badly written, and I don't just mean the grammar mistakes. All of your articles seem like school homework pieces talking about what you did over the summer. They don't seem to have a point and lack any insight.

    1. Richard 81

      Re: No offence

      But still... no offence.

  24. MJI Silver badge

    Played it last night

    Got OB for Portal, played and completed HL2.

    So then bought HL pack from Steam

    Good games

  25. Tom 11

    Half a page??

    Lucy, come on! half-life was one of the most influential and ground breaking titles to have ever been released on PC, it deserves much more than the mild cap doffing you have given it!

  26. GavinC
    FAIL

    What, no G-Man?

    How can you write a Half-Life article and not even mention the G-Man?

  27. IR

    I remember thinking I'd completed the game, only to end up in the xen world.

    Once I accidentally sent a security guard into a room full of soldiers. Somehow he killed every single one!

  28. Triggerfish

    Evening shifts

    Haf life, quake and age of empires, the reason why those on evening shifts brought in screwdrivers, and the day only shifts suddenly found they had less ram in their computers.

  29. bep

    Great game

    What really got me into it though, was that they gave away a complete level which was not part of the game as a teaser; you got in on the free CDs stuck on the front of computer mags. After finishing that you really wanted to play the whole game, and the intro sequence was just a classic. I'm also surprised they haven't made a movie of it.

    1. Richard 81

      Re: Great game

      Yeah Uplink was good. Certainly got me hooked.

  30. Richard 81

    Pendant

    Unless the second shot is from a multiplayer map, it's a scene that never actually features in the game. I remember the screenshots on the box didn't actually look much the game itself either, since they came from a much earlier version.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Anyone who hasn't heard this:

    "Hello, Gordon, it's good to see y--" BLAM!

    ...hasn't really played HL.

  32. Spotfist
    Childcatcher

    Aaaaah

    What a short article :( always waiting for the antique code segment but only one page???? could have done with some padding here! Not like you're going to spoil it for anyone...

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