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Customer Review

on 19 June 2002
Half-Life is a slick, exciting and atmospheric FPS which delivers plenty of thrills and shocks. The storyline is compelling and the level design is always cunning, making clever use of space; often, you'll double back through the vents and tunnels of a previous area. Most of all, when some ghastly creature leaps out at you from the darkness it always makes you jump. This was deservedly a benchmark for intelligent design and plotting in a shooter and the action isn't half-bad either.
Graphics are excellent, I reckon. I have a feeling that PC owners, who often have a twitchy sensitivity to such things as frame rates and slowdown, may have things to say about them; as for me, Half-Life moves incredibly fast, sometimes too fast for me - some of the quicker PS2 games have a tendency to give me a headache. But it works very well, as do the sound and music which add greatly to the tension.
However, that's not to say that it's perfect. For one thing, towards the end it becomes impossibly hard. I reckon myself a veteran of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark on the N64 but this defeated me; happily there are cheats if you just want to beat the game. But once you have beaten the game, there is absolutely no more fun to be wrung out of this title.
You can play the game again as an alien; this doesn't work very well. In fact, replaying the game offers no opportunity to do things really differently. You can compete with a friend in 2-player deathmatches, on very small and dull levels, or you can play co-op missions in Decay mode. The latter mode is pretty good but not that compelling. There's never a feeling that you can pick this up for a quick blast without inviting a friend round or sitting through the whole (rather protracted) intro/credit sequence.
Pre-release publicity, and some magazine reviews, alluded to the 'Skirmish' mode, which was a deathmatch mode with computer-controlled bots for opponents. As far as I can tell, this doesn't exist, and really ought to.
Time has moved on since Half-Life was the state of the art and although this is an excellent FPS, with crisp, fast graphics and sweaty-palmed encounters with aliens, soldiers and helicopters, it lacks that something extra; the enduring replayability of the old N64 classics like Goldeneye, or the depth and intelligence of Deus Ex.
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