Also Known As: HL
Genre: 1st Person Shooter
Platform(s): PC/PS2
Allegiance: Valve/Sierra
Vintage: 1998
Rating: M
Intelligence Agency Report by: Dave K
You are Gordon Freeman, a Biophysicist at the Black Mesa Compound. After an experiment goes horribly wrong it’s up to you to set things right. You’ll be attacked by a vast array of strange creatures as well as fellow humans in your quest to find out what went wrong and why the help that was sent is trying to eliminate you.

Weapons Expert Report by: Dave K 
Story/Premise
Gameplay
Impact
Visual
Audio
10.00
9.50
9.50
9.00
10.00
Overall 9.75
(not an average)
Version Reviewed: PC There is a reason Half-Life is a step above all other first person shooters. Story. No other shooter has ever had the intricate and unique storyline offered by Half-Life. As a result, Half-Life is almost in a genre of it’s own as a first person shooter crossed with an action RPG such as Zelda or Knights of the Old Republic. It’s not a non-stop shoot ‘em up game where you rush through getting better and better guns to blow up more and more powerful monsters; it does that but quite gradually. You’re stuck with a crowbar as your weapon for quite a while at the beginning. Half-Life also has a lot of puzzles you need to solve as well as requiring some deft maneuvering. What makes this all the more exciting is that just about everything is a life or death situation. Health is a premium and you need to exercise caution when playing this game. 

When you’re playing Half-Life you must make sure you have the sound turned up, little snippets of conversation in adjacent rooms can give away clues to the story or clues to how to solve the next problem. Also the AI in this game is pretty smart, especially the Special Ops guys, they’ll try and flank you, but if you listen carefully you can get the better of them. 

The graphics of Half-Life are not the greatest for it’s time, but it’s not too bad when you consider that it was built on a heavily modified version of the aging Quake 2 Engine to get the best performance possible. If you have decent hardware it looks perfectly acceptable and on a PS2 it seems to fit right in. The Quake 2 Engine can have a slight lag in the control and while Valve did try to fix this, the PC version can have skips on slightly older computers, which may result in you falling to your death. Just open up the autosave and start again. Fortunately this problem doesn’t happen on the PS2. 

Multiplayer however is Half-Life’s major strong point. Everyone knows of the dozens of mods available for online multiplayer available for free download, such as Team Fortress ClassicDay of Defeat and the incredibly popular Counterstrike, which was so successful that it’s now for sale as a stand-alone, although it still is available for free download if you own Half-Life. With such a wide range of games for multiplayer all different and all good in their own way, you’ll still be using Half-Life long after you’ve beaten the single-player game. 

As quite possibly my most prized game in my enormous collection because of all it’s greatness, Half-Life comes highly recommended by me to just about anybody unless they dislike violence, which is the only reason to not play this game. Even after all these years since it came out, Half-Life is still one of the most sought after games on the market, and if you don’t have I would seriously suggest seeking it out for your own.