Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
Big bag o' goodies!
on 19 December 2003
This is serious value gaming. Half-life is currently the best first person shooter (FPS) ever. Some people will say that other FPS games have surpassed it in terms of better graphics and a more 'realistic' setting, but they are missing the point. No other game has anywhere near the hold over the PC game world that Half-Life does, and probably will have, at least until Half Life 2 finally comes out.
I first played Half-Life back in the day on a AMD K6-2 300MHz machine with 64MB RAM, and a ATI Rage Pro graphics card. That was just about enough to play it at a resolution of 640 X 480 with a fair bit of chugging when the action got heavy. Play it now on an up to date machine and you can set the resolution as high as you want and the whole game flows as smoothly as silk, and looks lovely too. If anything the improvement in PC specifications has just allowed the game to show itself to it's full potential rather than making it look dated like most other games from the time it was released.
Watch the opening movie from Half-Life on a up to date system set at a high resolution and you are totally sucked in. The sound, if you have an EAX capable soundcard and decent speaker setup, is amazing, and the game music is perfection. The buzz you get from the music when you first put on your environmental hazard suit is unrivalled in any game, and that is just an unimportant bit near the beginning! This game will convince you that PC games only have a few, very short, steps to take to reach cinematic standards in visuals, sound, and storylines. Besides all this, the character you play 'Gordon Freeman' is the hardest geek scientist ever. Now that's special!
Half-Life is not perfect though. The later levels are a touch below the quality of the early to middle ones, but we can all live with that, especially as the game is not short.
'Opposing Forces' is a classy expansion of the game, having you now playing as one of the soldiers sent in to 'clean up' the situation in the Black Mesa facility after Gordon Freeman's little experiment went pear shaped. You pass through many of the same locations you went through as Gordon Freeman in the original game, but from a different perspective, which rounds out the whole experience quite well. Opposing Forces also has some of the most memorable fighting sequences of the Half-Life bunch. The 'black ops' guys that try to do you in proving to be something really special in terms of their 'intelligent' and aggressive tactics.
'Blue Shift' is the weakest of the pack, but still immensely playable. This time you play one of the 'Barney' security guards, and yes, you do see Gordon Freeman pass by at least once in the game, so there is that element of seeing things from yet another perspective. The big downer here is that Blue Shift is really quite short. But if you play through all three parts one after the other this will not matter.
Counter Strike, the last part of the package, is the multiplayer offspring of Half-Life that totally dominates the world of online gaming. Despite all the immense problems with cheats and foul mouthed kids who think they are god's gift to gaming, Counter Strike still proves to be the one game that most online FPS players want to play. Counter Strike will not appeal to everyone though. If you don't have a fast internet connection then it is a waste of time, you also have to get used to wasting a huge amount of time doing nothing as you will get cut down swiftly and savagely innumerable times before you become even remotely useful at playing it.
So there it is. Monster value package of Half-Life, Opposing Forces, and Blue Shift together, and the world's most popular online game as a bonus. The games will run on quite low spec machines, and are silky smooth on fast ones, and the whole thing has aged remarkably well. If you haven't already got this you better snap up this bargain now before it disappears!