Black Mesa: The Half-Life Port We’ve All Craved

 

I open the two large, red doors and take a breath, knowing that I, low on health, will certainly die if I enter here. I walk down the the dark, damp corridor. My heart is pounding, chest heaving, brain throbbing as I stalk the hallway, waiting for anything to go– BZZT-BZZT-BZZT! Three Vortigaunts appear out of nowhere, shooting me with their green spheres of doom. Moving right, I dodge the first volley and flee to cover. Pulling out my .357, I wait for a good shot. The Vortigaunts come closer and closer. I get ready, finger on the trigger. Closer… Closer… BANG!-BANG-BANG! I headshot all three and dash forward, hoping to find a First Aid Station. I run into hoard of headcrabs instead, being pelted by all of their tiny, yet deadly, bodies.

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After defeating the almost insurmountable swarm, I have no suit power and very little health. I am desperate for a First Aid Station. Looking around the corner, I see two Vortigaunts, headcrabs and a First Aid Station at the very end of the hallway. I rush forward, only to be hit in the chest. I watch in horror as my body falls and hits the floor before being swarmed by many, many headcrabs…

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Black Mesa is a Half-Life 1 port into the Source engine that was released by Crowbar Collective on May 5, 2015. This game is faithful to the original, down to each headcrab, hallway and resonance cascade. The graphics are nothing short of breathtaking, looking crisp and beautiful even on the lower settings. The developers did an amazing job on this game, even though there is occasional glitch and some slight problems with multiplayer games. The game is a work in progress, and is still in early access as of 8/23/2015, with updates happening on a regular basis to fix problems that arise. The developers are still working on the Xen levels, and I don’t expect them to be done for a while. Hopefully things will be resolved quickly to do justice to an amazing experience so far.

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This game was a long time incoming. For several years prior there was the Black Mesa mod, with only the levels up to the teleport to Xen. There were occasional updates, few and far between. Then, several months ago, news arrived that the mod would be coming to Steam as a full-fledged game, with Valve’s blessing and within a “short” amount of time. Tensions built, anticipation rose, hands stayed steady, waiting for when the time was right. When it came out in May, I was excited beyond even my wildest expectations. When it came out I bought it as soon as I could, and immediately afterward was plunged into a world of Vortigaunts, headcrabs and ignorant scientists.

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This is an amazing game in its own right, and deserves praise for its ability to give the player a satisfying play experience throughout the game. In addition to that impressive feat, it is fully accurate, perfectly bringing the original Half-Life, well … to life! It brought a beautiful game from a bygone era and gave it new energy. It allows those who played the original game to experience the wonder of the Half-Life universe again, and allows those who are just entering the world to play Half-Life with modern graphics. It is a blast to play, and is one of, if not the, best games I have ever played.

gareth.fuller
I am a High School Student who, amid his scrambling to overcome the oppressive forces known as procrastination and AP Course Work, has come to love writing game reviews. If you want to ask me a question, suggest a game for me to review or simply want to talk, ping me at any of the sites I have linked here.

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