Games of Yore: Halflife 1

December 30th, 2009

halflife 1 screeny

Panic in the Black Mesa Compound!

Couple of weeks back, I was at the pub with some of my friends, discussing, as usual, geeky stuff over a cold beer. At some point that night we started talking about halflife 1, and I remembered how I never finished the game! I got stuck in the XEN world back then… Then a friend said: “Bet you could if you played it again today.. ” . This sounded like  somewhat of a challenge to me, so I thought I’d pick it up again soon and give it a try, which is how it made my “What am I playing list” 🙂

I started out as a strict adventure-game player, and Halflife 1 was actually the first shooter I dared to pick up. Before that, I had seen wolfenstein, and found that I was really BAD at shooters. Friends played quake and unreal. I did unreal once, but in god-mode, so I’m not counting that one. I was never able to keep up with quake and unreal in multi player, and quake was too fast for me at that time. With halflife, I was a bit older, and at that time, it looked so great, that I had to give it a try 🙂 Halflife starts of easy and has BIG training wheels 🙂

Halflife: Source

So last monday evening I picked up halflife: source from steam. “Blasphemer!” I hear you say, “Why Source” ! well they still sell the old version, and it’s the same price… But judging by the fact that the game is 11 years old by now, I thought I’d get the one with the engine upgrade.

Now what Valve did is take the old game, and strap it to the new engine! So all the models and textures are still genuine. What DID change was that every little model now has rag doll physics, which is not that big a deal, and water and smoke effects look better. Other then that, it’s really the same thing! And I don’t have to worry about the thing giving problems on a Quad-Core running Windows 7  on a DirectX 10 ATI GPU. First time I ran the original halflife was on a voodoo benshee on a 233Mhz cpu. 😉

The Game

Halflife 1 screeny


Today I finished it! According to steam I finished it in 11.3 hours. (hurray for winter holidays :-))  I was playing on easy, but still I found some parts hard! it seemed to me like the AI was faster than I remember it to be. Anywayz, it was a smooth ride this time around. Loads of ammo left. And I have to say it was enjoyable all over again. It’s a linear game and it’s simple, but the atmosphere is good. I’ll compare it to Halflife 2 to make my point:
Halflife’s story line is simple: There’s an experiment, it goes horribly wrong and strange entities start to appear. At first it’s you against the environment which gives a nice sense of survival. Further along, the game gives you a purpose. So you switch survival in your environment to defending yourself against enemies.

Both subjects are there in halflife 2, but I think they are presented in a too structured way. There are a lot of characters telling you what to do at different points. “That’s the passage to ravenholm, we don’t go through there anymore” … Well I guess I’ll end up there then… YEP! what a surprise…

Where halflife 1 gives you a very narrow situation, with only one entrance and one exit, it does feel like YOU are dealing with the situation. Halflife 2 however, feels more like you get pushed around, into situations where you really don’t want to be.  That’s my perception of it anyway 🙂 It’s like they spell it out a just a bit too much in halflife 2. Halflife 1 fits better in my adventure-game-raised brain. 🙂

The part where I got stuck last time was a bit of a tricky one. But as my friend said, I did get it this time around! Took me about 5 minutes I guess and it was a nice little puzzle 🙂 Feels good to get back there and solve it this time around.


Halflife 1 screeny


Halflife 1 is a good game, and really enjoyable I think. even today. The controls are a bit wonky. It’s like you’re on ice or something, which makes it hard to jump onto small surfaces. Quick-safe and quick-load make up for that 🙂 Don’t be ashamed to use them either. The game’s auto safe points are far apart.

I’m glad I finally finished it the whole way through, without cheating or god mode or whatever! 😀 Well if you’re bored, and are looking for some good’oll pass time, or you haven’t played it yet: Pick it up on steam. It’s cheap, and good fun 😉

Not really a review, but here ya go: 8/10

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