Doing the Orange box review, I felt it wouldn't be right for those who haven't gotten to experience the perfection that is half life, without having played the first one. The first half life game was revolutionary in many aspects, the most being it was the very first game ever released to get out a mysterious storyline, and keep us begging for more, with no annoying cutscenes to interupt the game play, though being fair, they only replaced cutscenes with scenes where you can't do anything, but hop around and control your character.
You play as Gordon Freeman, an MIT graduate working as a scientist at the Black Mesa research and developement center, the first lab to have succesfully built a working teleporter. You're the guiney pig, essentially, and are sent into a test chamber to see if everything works properly; of course things go horrendously wrong, and chaos breaks free in the lab, and you begin the fun part of the game. In Halflife, you run around as a mute with a crowbar, and a gigantic arsenal of weapons, killing everything in sight, be it alien, or US government, which for some reason is pissed off that you found aliens, and comes to kill all of you. A traditional run and gun, Halflife was one of the first games to ever perfect this style of gaming, and as revolutionary as it was, there were some flaws. In Halflife, you couldn't help but notice that .. Wait.. There were no flaws! This game was absolutely perfect in every way. Mysterious story line, silent man in suit following you everywhere, innovative weapons, creative levels, actually difficult enemies (At least when the game first came out) And the fact that they trade marked the crowbar! Your first, most used, and best weapon ever. The crowbar becomes your best friend through-out half life, and after slicing up troves of zombies, aliens, or battle hardened marines, you'll appreciate that crowbar, more then you'll ever know. You fight on Earth, you also get to travel to the alien planet "Xen" and bring the fight to the aliens! Destroy them all! In conclusion to this brief summation of Halflife, the original, best, and continually best game ever made, at least in my opinion, this game kicked ass, and if you haven't played it yet, it probably sells for ten, or twenty bucks at your local game store, so give this classic shooter a try, it may have been made in '99, but even today, ten years later, it still remains one of the greatest games ever made, in the hearts and minds of gamers everywhere. A game you will cheriche forever, Halflife earns a solid 10/10 for it's awesomeness.
Also there's some multiplayer, standard fast pace Deathmatch, emulates absolutely none of the feeling from the single player game, but all of the challenge, as you die about every ten seconds.
If you've never played the game before, I suggest you watch this :
Half Life 2 :
Half life 2. If you've played halflife, then you'll know absolutely nothing about the storyline of Halflife 2, concidering the fact that, rather then being in your cold, concrete, castle in the cascades, you're now in the European eutopia of city 17. As the game begins, you get a little heart to heart with the "Gman" Or so he's been coined, the same man in the blue suit, with the brief case as was following you around in Halflife. Turns out some folks have been looking forward to your return! As you're the only person capable of fending off troves of enemies with an array of weapons you've never used before, at least you character hasn't..
The storyline of Half life 2 seems to have been set several years after Halflife, but the only few mentions of Halflife, are the mentions of Black Mesa, from one of the faceless scientists you met, and probably killed in the first game. Unfortunately for Half life 2, it had to come after Halflife, the most perfect game ever. I'm not saying it's a bad game, but seeing Half life 2 after the original, anything short of Jesus Christ himself coming down, and bowing before the game, would be a disappointment. You start off with no weapons, no health bar, and no idea what the hell is going on in the world around you, but you learn that the human race has been taken over by the Combine! An evil group of shadowy overlords, not dissimilar to NAZI's who have oppressed your people, and beat the human race into submission. But where did they come from you ask? And why exactly did they enslave the humans? Well, I'm sure there's some underlying tone to the game that I haven't quite grasped yet, but from playing through the game recently, there is absolutely no explanation as to who the Combine are, or where the hell they came from. The first complaint I have about this game, starts in the beginning, you gain some weapons, get your HEV suit (Hazardous Environment Suit), and start on your journey to some lab, that has been nicknamed "Black Mesa East". The first thing I must pick at, is the driving portions of the game. There are several, and you get your first taste of them right after going through a maze of sewers and tunnels to escape the Combine. The driving in this game is terrible, not because it was made poorly, but because it's so damned boring. You drive for a total of at least three hours throughout the game, and each session is almost identical to the ones before, the only changes being weapons added to your car, or boat, and new things to run over. You drive and drive till you finally make it to the base, and meet up with Alyx Vance, and Eli Vance. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention earlier, another problem I have, that contradictory to the first game, where every character you met was a male, there's now a spunky love interest involved in the game, by the name of Alyx, and throughout the game I was just praying she may take a stray bullet through the head, or be overwhelmed by aliens, or some other morbid fate, but she is just so terrible, and a stain on the game itself. (So sexist of me right?). You make it to the base, just in time to get the Gravity gun! A new gun! Which everyone seems to love. I have a love/hate relationship with the gravity gun, it's fun to use! It is, pick things up, throw them, etc. But at the same time, the fact that they made it's use essential to the game, made me hate it, because it could be replaced with a working set of arms. (And yes I know this review is sure to be flamed over me hating the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator, but I just dislike it greatly). The gameplay continues, and the team at Valve, and the game in general throw a curve ball at you! One thing I never expected, a horror section! Ravenholme. You'll probably hate this place, because you get stuck at every turn by some puzzle, but then feel stupid when you solve it because the solution was so obvious (Or maybe that's just me..) But if you can get past the initial frustration with some of the mazes, Ravenholme is one of my favorite sections of the game, and it should be yours too. You continue, helping a resistance group who is determined to bring down the Combine, and fight your way through more troves of cannon-fodder enemies, and at risk of going and spoiling your fun, and the ending which really isn't too surprising, but still is a great ending, and a great cliff-hanger, much like the first game, I'm going to stop going through the campaign. The gameplay in the campaign is stellar, interesting, hilariously, ridiculously awesome, and does a good job at emulating the action packed fun times of the first game! Except for the driving. Halflife 2 earns a well deserved 9.5/10, the only reason not a 10/10 being the driving. ***** you cars.
Halflife 2, Episode 1 & 2 :
These games are meant to tide you over, and continue the storyline until Halflife 3 came out, and in such they've done a good job! I'm not going to go through the campaign with you, mainly because I'm lazy, but the storyline is continued, and continues to be creative, without being too cliche'd. But there was driving, which was lame.
Oh. My. God. This game, is the most original game I have ever seen in my days, and as an avid shooter fan, I was so enthralled in Portal, which is mostly a puzzle game, rather then a violent run and gun, that I stayed awake for almost an entire week straight to play it. You're a tester for a new product in the Aperture Science Center, to be mentioned in Halflife 2: Episode 2. A miniature portal gun! And the fun begins! You start without the freedom to use the gun to your own wims, but after the third or so stage, you recieve your own portal launcher! The gameplay in this game is almost indescribable, imagine jumping through a hole in the floor, to come out of a hole in the cieling, and being launched over a pit of acid, and two rocket turrets, determined to kill you, while a robot voice spouts witty commentary into your ear? If you can't, then go and buy Portal. Now. I'll wait. Anyways, the campaign is one of the best I've ever seen, despite the fact that it is a short game, Portal makes up for that fact, by giving you the most fun you'll ever see in such a small game. All in all this game took me maybe twelve hours to beat, but my goodness, they were the most fun I'd had all day. I refuse to ruin the ending, but it does have a catchy song! And a cool glitch if you can pull it off correctly, but the computer that has been guiding you throughout the game, seems to be rather intent on shoving rockets so far up your ass that if you burped, the flames from the thrust might come flaring out of your mouth.
Portal recieves, probably more so then any other game in this package, an 11/10, due to it's innovation, abstract, but creative and original storyline, and the song at the end. It's genius!
Team Fortress 2:
If you've ever played Team Fortress then you've played Team Fortress 2. For those of you who haven't played the classic Team Fortress, TF2 is essentially a remake, with more cartoon-ish graphics then the previous game. There is no single player, unless you count playing against bots as single player, and I don't, and is entirely based around killing people to death online. The only downfall to this game, is that the classes (And there are many) Are not customizable! I'd like to have a giant guy with a mini gun that spews thousands of shotgun shells a second, with ten billion health, and a giant stack of health packs to keep him alive! Because Team Fortress 2 is simply an online game, and that I'm VAC Banned because one of my asshat friends decided to hack on my account, I'll simply give you the information above, and an overview of all the classes, sound fair?
Heavy : Your heavy assault class (Go figure) A large austrian character, as he sounds like the Govenator, with a giant mini gun, and lots of health. Slow, unwieldy, but has the effect of putting a great white shark into a tank of bleeding cows.
Spy : ..Well the name really says it all, but spies can turn invisible, have a dart pistol, knife, ciggarettes, and the ability to destroy engineer inventions.
Engineer : They can build stuff! Particularly turrets, which are upgradable with the scavenged possessions of your mercilessly slaughtered adversaries, and portals, entrance portals and exit portals. Also ammo and health dispensers! Engineers are suseptible to spies mostly because "The spy's sappin' mah sentry!"
Medic : Syringe gun, and a healing beam.. Reminds me of the ghost busters, don't cross the streams!
Scout : Give a hoodlum a pistol, shotgun, a baseball bat, and a large doseage of Methanphetamine s, and you've got the scout, in a nutshell. Fast, low health, high damage output. Best used to grab the information
Demolition : My favorite class, you get to blow shit up! Grenade launchers are you specialty, pick your poison, impact grenades, or the kind that only detonate when you press the big red button. Also their taunt is awesome. Lift up your crotch plate while shouting in a scottish brogue "KABOOOM!!"
Pyro : I lied. This class is my favorite, at least in principle. Grab me a flamethrower and make crispy barbecue out of anything in your path! Burn them! BURN THEM ALL!! *Maniacle laughter fades out slowly*
Sniper : Well, again, the name is pretty self explanatory. You're an Australian guy with a big hunting rifle, and you're trying to desperately put a round through the face of anyone in your way.
Soldier : Unorthadox to say the least, rather then getting your traditional assault weapon, you toat around a giant rocket launcher on your back. Essentially the type of thing you might see in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, just more violent.
Team Fortress 2, unfortunately for it, only recieves an 8/10, due to the lack of campaign. If you want a game with a story, well this one's not for you. If you'd like a game where you run around, spouting witicism at your enemies, and blasting them with giant guns, this one is your game!
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the Orange Box, I'm sorry if I've offended anyone with my review, and sincerely regret having spoken out against the gravity gun, but my mind is made up, it's a great gun, and a POS at the same time. Until next week, bask in the glow, of the SEXYTIMEWALRUS
SPECIAL 360-HQ NOTE:
Next weeks review will be by Arvas, and it will be on Left 4 Dead. Look for it Sunday (5/24/09)...
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