Black Mesa is a community-made Half-Life remake to the Source engine, partly as a result of the badly ported and almost unchanged Half-Life: Source not living up to the fans' expectations. It was originally released as a Half-Life 2 mod on September 14th, 2012, and was later made available as a standalone game via Steam on May 5th, 2015. It contains the entirety of the Half-Life storyline ("Black Mesa Inbound" to "Endgame").
Why It Rocks
- Unlike Half-Life: Source, it is almost a complete remake of the critically acclaimed Half-Life, with impressive visuals and sounds, totally redesigned maps, new models, and dialogue recorded from scratch.
- Unique character models were created for Eli Vance and Isaac Kleiner, characters who were portrayed with Generic Scientist models in HL later retconned in HL2.
- Nicely challenging gameplay.
- Outstanding soundtrack by Joel Nielsen.
- It features a Deathmatch multiplayer mode, like the original game.
- Many qualities weapon-wise, mostly not present in the official games, such as:
- Unique sprinting animations while holding weapons in first-person view
- Different reloading animations for some firearms depending on whether the magazine is empty or not
- The player character's gloves and weapons can be dirtied by enemies' blood in close quarters combat.
- Various elements were corrected to match their real-life counterparts. For example, the U.S. Marines now use the appropriate LAV-25 vehicle, as opposed to the Bradley IFV seen in the original Half-Life (which is used by the U.S. Army in reality).
- The Marines in the current release sound much more human (similarly to HL's expansion pack Opposing Force) compared to the original Half-Life (as well as the 2012 release of Black Mesa), where they sounded sinister with radio effects on their whole dialogue.
- The part set in the outer world Xen is an incredible improvement in comparison to the original Half-Life.
- It initially lacked the Xen part, which has been delayed multiple times; it was eventually released in 2020, seven years after the original Black Mesa release.
- Due to the Source engine not having been updated since 2013, the Steam release has a few noticeable glitches.
- It lags in some areas on certain chapters, including the major update on Surface Tension’s expanded area; some players had frustration in trying to get the gameplay moving.