What can I say!? Probably the greatest games in PC gaming history. If you haven’t played these, you must really hate First Person Shooters or, else, you have a huge treat in store!
The original game spawned two successors “Opposing Force” and “Blue Shift”. They all cover the same incident at the Black Mesa Research Facility. The original is from the view of everyone’s favourite theoretical physicist, Gordon Freeman. O.F was from the view of one of the first troopers sent in to contain the “problem”, Adrian Shephard. B.S. Was from the view of one of Black Mesa’s security guards, Barney Calhoun.
Opposing Force was easily as good as it’s progenitor, especially in its use of NPC cooperative AI. Blue Shift was a rare “drop off” from Valve and it just felt short and unfinished. The three are usually bundled together as “Generations” and worth a play even with their dated graphics. That said, Valve revised Half-Life to use the Source engine built for the later games - Half-Life:Source. This is the one to get if you want a preamble to Half-Life 2.
Half-Life 2 didn’t just meet expectations, it blew them away. The original game ends with Gordon Freeman being put into some kind of suspended animation by the sinister “G-Man”. H-L2 opens with Gordon “waking up” on a train. Over a decade has passed and the problems at Black Mesa have lead to some “unforeseen consequences”. Earth is dominated by malevolent aliens who are imposing an oppressive regime to wipe out the human race by attrition.
This is the most cinematic game ever published. There are no cut scenes. The characters are the most believable ever assembled in a digital world. The Resistance is lead by scientists, many from Black Mesa. Barney Calhoun returns as a resistance “commander”. Gordon gains one of the few believable women in gaming, Alyx Vance, as his side kick. And, of course, there’s the “Grav Gun”.