Hello gamers and welcome back!
Crowbarring Its Way Into the #24 position…
Next up on our list is one of Valve’s most beloved games of all time; the fondly remembered Half Life. Arguably one of the most successful debuts of all time, Half-Life made Valve a household name
nowhere and birthed a franchise that, to this day, has us clamoring for the oft-rumored third installment.
We join Half Life’s protagonist Dr. Gordon Freeman on his first day at Black Mesa, an experimental facility that has been playing with things best left alone. Dr. Freeman, a Theoretical Physicist, (who for some reason has a vast amount of weapons training) shows up to work a little late to find that something is going terribly wrong with the anti-mass spectrometer. If you’ve played Half-Life at all you’ll remember the iconic crowbar, wielded by Dr. Freeman throughout this game. It was definitely one of the fan favorite weapons. Who doesn’t like beating in some monster’s skull with a satisfying metallic clang and some accompanying splatter?
Half Life got a number of things right, and I’ll try to capture them here. Half Life wasn’t the first PC FPS, but it was definitely in that early pack and, If you ask me, leading it. It used a heavily modified version of the Quake 2 engine from id Software. One of the things I loved about Half Life that you never see anymore is that once you found or earned a weapon, that weapon was yours for the remainder of the game as long as you could find ammo.
While even more would come in Half-Life 2, you can find a number of really cool and effective weapons in Half-Life like the Glock 17 9mm , 357 Magnum, or, (my personal favorites), the Rocket Launcher and the Crossbow. In addition to these more standard weapon types, Half-Life brings you experimental weapons such as the Tau Cannon which shot organic-type material and was powered by depleted uranium. And don’t forget the Gluon Gun. I’m still not sure exactly what that thing is but damn was it awesome.
The look and feel of the game was unique for its time, especially the use of in-game footage to advance the story. This detail, to me, said that the company cared about shipping the best game possible without sacrifice.
Now, you’re probably thinking: “that sounds all cool and everything, but what the heck are we fighting?” It always felt to me that the experience was more about the game than the combat, even though there were plenty of enemies to fight. Head crabs were annoying, and the black ops team and the soldiers were like head crabs with legs and bodies. There was nothing more satisfying at the time then bashing in a head crab with the crowbar, though.
The Not so Good:
There isn’t much bad I can say about Half-Life, although the weapons, the graphics and the game play make the game feel dated today in 2015. Of course, it is nearly 17 years old at this point.
Everything Else :
This game is still playable after 17 years, and there have been at least 4 semi-authorized alternate games to use Half-Life’s engine and story line to create additional games. You have Half Life: Blue Shift, Opposing Force and the newer of them, Decay. These expansions allow you to play the same basic story, but with different character perspectives and multiple tweaks. Overall, with solid game play, a time-tested story and graphics, this game makes my top 5 of all time and deserves that place. This is one of the best overall games I have ever some across. Obviously, I give it a 5 out of 5.