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Power Member - Level 10
Last month, I finally got around to, and in turn, beat a 15 (soon to be 16 on November 8th) year old classic, the original Half-Life. A game that in my opinion still holds up remarkably well, Half-Life was a great experience. After the game's credits has rolled, I wondered how people had felt when they first played through this landmark title back in 1998. Valve's debut inspired me to get the blog machine cranking again, which I had been planning to do all along, where it not for Holiday craziness and school rearing its ugly head after the end of a nice holiday break. Without further ado, I present, the Half-Life Awards!
Most Annoying Enemy: Baby Headcrab
Did another enemy annoy me almost as much as baby headcrabs? Yes, but we'll talk about that later. Even though you only encounter this enemy in the Chapter Gonarch's Lair, in the amount of time it took to beat said chapter, the baby headcrabs managed to be a complete pain, running at you and biting at your ankles just like my chihuahuas. Even after I had defeated the matriarchal Gonarch, these annoying little pests caused me to lose a good portion of my health, for they managed to trap me in some rocks, and the only way to free myself was to whack them all with my crowbar. In fact, during this chapter, I think these just-born headcrabs caused more of my own deaths than the Gonarch herself!
Honorable Mention: Those Darn Ninjas!
Encountered more prominently throughout the game than the baby headcrabs, these darn ninjas were almost as annoying as the winner of this coveted award. Leaping from balcony to balcony, causing me to lose ammo with every shot that missed these darn ninjas were a bit tough to put down and they sneaked around and usually ended up right behind to you, ready to lower your shields. At least they didn't trap me and bite at my feet.
Best Weapon: .357 Magnum Revolver
The .357 Magnum Revolver is in my hands a weapon of mass destruction, and over the course of my Half-Life playthrough, it is probably the weapon that notched me the most kills. Like any weapon in a video game, it of course has its drawbacks, from slow reloading to high recoil, but it makes up for it with its immense stopping power. Good in almost any combat scenario, and capable of killing most of the Combine's infantry in one shot, the .357 is a beast. My only real complaint is that I started to run out of revolver ammo towards the end of the game, but then again, that is probably my own doing, for I used the revolver more than anything.
Creepiest Dude: The G-Man
Although I only encountered him twice throughout the game, the G-Man still managed to be one creepy dude, slinking around as he observed from behind locked doors and other unreachable places. Like most gamers, I had heard of the G-Man before I played Half-Life, as he was a staple of the Half-Life franchise. What I didn't expect, however, was to see him throughout the campaign. The first time I saw him, he was observing me with intent eyes behind a closed door. I caught a glimpse of him and walked towards the door, and attempted to open it. My attempt was futile, however, as he turned his back on me and disappeared into nearby darkness. Although I only saw him a couple of times, I was startled both times and his character was made even creepier considering how many times he was observing you in secret, (which can be seen here until the 50 second mark.) Of course, his devious reasons are all explained later on, but perhaps that is saved for a different award.
Most Disgusting Looking Thing: Nihilanth
It was already around one in the morning when I finally reached Half-Life's last chapter. What I wasn't expecting was to be greeted by one of the most disgusting creatures I had ever seen. The Nihilanth looked like something straight out of a twisted '80s B-movie. The ridiculously gargantuan head combined with a third arm sticking right out of its chest give the Nihilanth the go-ahead award. And my dislike for this grotesque monstrosity only grew stronger, as I entered the chapter with low levels of armor, health, and ammo, and was constantly killed trying to fight the Nihilanth, Hard as I tried, I couldn't figure out how to destroy it once and for all. I spent nearly two hours fighting the Nihilanth before its head finally split open like a banana. Either I'm really at bad at video games or the Nihilanth is a really hard boss. Whichever one is true, there is no denying how morbidly grotesque the Nihilanth looks.
Best Chapter: Blast Pit
Blast Pit had it all. In my opinion, the best chapter of the game, Blast Pit had you scurrying around trying to figure out how to stop the Tentacles that had emerged from the ground. The Tentacles also had a great little introduction as they pulled a poor old scientist deep down into their lair. Not only did Blast Pit have a great boss, it also had some great fights, puzzle-solving, and a general sense of tension as you raced to destroy those protruding green tentacles. Some tense moments were also to be found when one came within feet of those tentacles, as one stealthily tired to avoid from becoming a mere appetizer for one freaky-looking creature. And once you finally restored the oxygen, fuel, and power, it was satisfying to see the defeat of the tentacles at your hands, as you jumped from the end of this chapter to the beginning of the next.
Most Complicated Form of Transportation: Sector E Materials Transport
Featured prominently in the Chapter On A Rail, the Sector E Materials Transport is one of the most complicated ways to get around the Black Mesa Research Complex. In fact, most of my time in said chapter was spent trying to figure out where to go on the Materials Transport, as most of the time the directions were unclear. For the most part, I had no idea where to go and the transport railway had so many twists, turns and bends that it was hard to keep track of my location. Seemingly going around in circles over and over, upwards to an the hour was spent on this darn little trolley. Without the help of an, ahem, walkthrough, who knows how long I would have spent cruising around in the bowels of a research complex stowed away in New Mexico.
Best Moment: The Confrontation with the G-Man
Ah, the last couple minutes or so of Half-Life. In the concluding moments of the game, the G-Man makes himself and his motivations be known as he introduces himself. He explains that he has recommended Freeman's services to his "employers" and that in return, they have agreed to let the G-Man offer Freeman a job. What kind of job? Who knows? The real questions one might have had at this moment are: Who is this guy? Who are his employers? What do they want with me? Alas, those questions go unanswered, except for perhaps, the last, as the G-Man concedes that both he and his employers agree that Freeman has limitlesssss potential. Soon after the G-Man gives you a choice, accept the job and live, or deny the job and be terminated. The choice is yours to make. Once you step through the portal and accept the job (the canon ending), the last words you hear before the credits emerge from the G-Man's raspy voice as he commends Freeman, telling him "wisely done" and stating that he will see him "up ahead."
This moment set the stage perfectly for a sequel, and I can only imagine what the gamers of 1998 were thinking when they came to the conclusion of Freeman's first adventure. When will the sequel come out? What just happened? What assignment am I waiting for? What if I hadn't stepped through that portal? It took Valve a bit more than six years to release Half-Life 2 and it's hard to imagine what the wait must have felt like. That being said, Half-Life 2 currently sits in my Steam library, unplayed like many of my other games. When the time finally comes, I'm sure I'll have a blast playing through it and its subsequent episodes. And if Half-Life 2 and its episodes have endings anywhere close to Half-Life's it's not hard to see why Half-Life 3 is wanted so much. If you've never played Half-Life, it's never to late to do so.
Thanks for reading and I hoped you enjoyed it.