Game Review: Half-Life

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Background: Long time ago, an alien race known as the Vortigons lived happily in their home world. Suddenly a space time rift was opened and an alien empire known as the Combine flooded into their home world. The Combine’s goal was to take over, to enslave the creatures and to exhaust their resources. Then they would leave that world and move on to another world and repeat this process until they have taken over everything. To escape them, the Vortigons and other creatures [known as race x] fled through an inter-dimensional portal to a border world known as Xen.

Plot: Fast-forward to 8:47 on May 16th in 2000’s, Gordon Freeman is riding a monorail tram, late on his way to work in the Black Mesa Research Facility. After putting on his HEV (Hazardous Environment Ventilation) suit, he goes down to the test chamber. His job is to help in the physical analysis of the Xen crystal GG-3883. During the analysis something goes wrong and a resonance cascade occurs and a portal from Earth to Xen opens up. The aliens in Xen want to put further distance from them and the Combine and use this chance to escape to Earth. Thousands of Xen aliens flood into the Black Mesa Compound. Gordon then wakes up, begins his attempt to kill the aliens and escapes from the compound. He travels through the office to meet one of the surviving science team members and he has been told to go through the rocket silos then to use the decommissioned rail lines to head to the waste management facility. From there, he needs to exit the waste management structure and go along the surface until he reaches the rocket launch site. The launching system is preset so the activation is all that is needed. While traveling through the facility Gordon hears that someone had called the military and a HECU (Hazardous Environment Combat Unit) unit had been dispatched. Soon he finds out that the soldiers are being called in to cover up the incident and are killing everything and everyone. Gordon and the aliens eventually overpower the soldiers and they hastily leave the compound leaving some of themselves behind. Now the government hires a mercenary black-ops team. The black-ops’ mission is to plant a nuclear bomb deep into the facility then blow it up. Gordon finally reaches the rocket launch site and launches the rocket but it ends up without closing the portal. He is told by another member of the science team to go to the Lambda Complex (λ) whereas plan b, they will make a portal to Xen from there he can deal with the alien holding the portal open. Soon Gordon arrives at the Lambda Complex. The remaining scientists and security guards arm him with HEV suit upgrades and experimental weapons. Then they open a portal to Xen and send him through. Black Mesa is soon after nuked. In Xen he defeats powerful aliens and finally battles with Nihilanth, a super alien who holds the portal to Earth and is the leader of the Xen aliens. After Gordon kills him, the portal to Earth closes and a mysterious man known as the G-Man offers him a job. Gordon accepts and is put into stasis in one of the far corners or the universe until further notice.

This game is one of my favorite games and I think others will enjoy playing it. Though it was released in 1998 it goes beyond standards for a modern day game. Even though the graphics aren’t the best, it has one of the most compelling story-lines ever. What really amazes me is that that even though there are thousands of science-fiction games which have you to fight aliens, this game takes one of the most cliche story themes and gives it a new depth that makes it so good! I really hope people will read this and want to check this game out. Of all the games out there, I have liked this one by far the absolute best.

Arjoneel Dhar, 7th Grade

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