Half-Life is a science fiction first-person shooter video game developed by Valve Corporation and was released in 1998 by Sierra Entertainment for Microsoft Windows. It was Valve's debut product and the first in the Half-Life series.
Players assume the role of Dr. Gordon Freeman, who must fight his way out of a secret research facility after a teleportation experiment goes disastrously wrong, fighting enemies and solving puzzles.
Why It Rocks
- It is one of the first FPS to feature alien invasion themes.
- Half-Life features no cutscenes; the player has uninterrupted control of Freeman, and the story is told through scripted sequences seen through his eyes.
- One of the most realistic first-person shooters.
- The crowbar is considered one of the most iconic weapons in video games.
- Many awesome weapons, both human and alien.
- Fight against some of the most dangerous aliens seen in a game, such as the iconic Headcrabs and Vortigaunts.
- Not only will you fight against aliens, but soldiers as well, which seek to eliminate the protagonist and scientists.
- You can get security guards and scientists to aid you. Security guards can open doors and kill enemies with their pistols, while scientists do the same thing but instead of killing enemies with a pistol, they heal you if necessary.
- It was later ported to the PS2 (and was going to be ported to the Dreamcast too) with updated graphics and more polygons were added to the characters' models.
- Fun multiplayer mode.
- Tau Cannon alternative fire pierces walls, which allows to take campers down. To add even more "pepper" and reasons to move faster, some maps have a shelter with a button which calls for an air strike which kills everyone outside the shelter.
- Even though online play service World Opponent Network was discontinued, you still can play the old version of Half-Life and its mods using WON2.
- Both expansion packs, Blue Shift (where you play as a Black Mesa security officer) and Opposing Force (where you play as a HECU soldier), have improved gameplay compared to the main game, and expanded the lore.
- Reloading weapons is a pain, since it causes you to have poor reflexes, making enemies such as sentries and headcrabs easy to get killed by.
- The "elevator glitch," which can cause the player to spawn inside the floor of an elevator at the start of a new level, instantly killing them. Worse still, the game tends to autosave right as this happens, meaning that if this is the only save file you bother keeping, you have to start the entire game again.
- The retail PC version no longer works on newer Windows systems.
- The controls are very floaty (mostly when strafing) and you can easily fall off certain platforms and die.
- Lots of things have been retconned because of Half-Life 2 and Half-Life: Alyx. Some notable examples are Gordon going from just starting his job at Black Mesa to working there for a long time and one of the top scientist there, NPCs becoming actual people in the game like Issac and Eli, retconning part of Barney's story, etc.
- Inconsistent framerate on PlayStation 2.
- Some cheap deaths.
- The final boss is rather terrible. The boss only has two attacks and one of them involves teleporting you to various rooms. He can spam this attack over and over and makes the boss a huge chore to fight. Its even worse in the Source Version where this is the only attack which he uses.
Half-Life received acclaim for its graphics, realistic gameplay, and seamless narrative. It won over fifty PC "Game of the Year" awards and is often considered one of the greatest games of all time. Over 20 years later, the game saw a fan remake known as Black Mesa, originally released as a mod for its sequel, Half-Life 2, before eventually becoming a standalone game and seeing a full release in March of 2020.
It influenced first-person shooters for years after its release, to which critics stated that: the history of the genre "breaks down pretty cleanly into pre-Half-Life and post-Half-Life eras."
People have also made messed up mods for the game on ModDB, such as SSH Mod Messup WTF & Crack-Life or on the company's virtual store, Steam, like Hunt Down The Freeman.
- The SFX effects (especially the generic Scientists grunts) in the game became a meme.