You may or may not be aware last week about this time I finally launched my replay of all of the Half-Life games starting with the original Half-Life (you can find it here if you really want to). I played through the first three chapters and chalked it up as a night. Well, I'm pleased to report I played the next two chapters earlier tonight and now I'm ready to blog about it. It should be obvious there are spoilers for Half-Life, but just in case, there are spoilers for Half-Life.

When I last saw Gordon Freeman, he was listening to Eli Vance who was telling him to head to the surface to get help. Most of the dangers I faced in the first three levels were either alien in nature, or a product of the structural damage the facility experienced during the event. Of course as I played through Levels Four and Five, there was more of that. But there was also a new danger.

Scientist: Well, so much for the government, their idea of containment is to kill everyone associated with the project! Judging by your hazard suit I'd say you were part of what went wrong, isn't that right? Now look, if anyone can end this catastrophe it's the science team in the Lambda Complex at the opposite end of the base. With the transit system out I couldn't tell you how to get there, but there's an old decommissioned rail system somewhere through here, beyond the silo complex. If you can make it through the rocket test labs, you might be able to worm your way through the old tunnels to track down whatever's left of the Lambda team. You can trust them. You can trust all of us. Good luck.

As I wandered around the levels exploring the debris while looking for secret areas, I couldn't help but give pause to the random scientists I encountered along the way. Their tone certainly changed when compared to their demeanor prior to the event. There was a hint of fear in their voices - understandably so. But they were also concerned with how they would be viewed by the public. One of the scientist even admitted he wasn't sure if he wanted to go topside because of how the people would react if they knew what they were doing. Sounds nefarious, eh?

(Something tells me he isn't checking the smoke detector batteries.)

I never really viewed Half-Life as a scary game...and while it doesn't rank up there with the likes of Dead Space, I did find myself sitting on the edge of my chair and even jumped once. In my defense, I was crawling around in a ventilation duct when the batteries to my flashlight died. While I waited for my light batteries to recharge, I'm sitting there in the pitch black. And of course a head crab leaps from the darkness right at my face.

The highpoint of tonight's game play was the moment when you realize the military is hunting you down. You have your suspicions of course. You hear the military seize control of the internal public announcement system and make a few coarse announcements. You're following this scientist down a few flights of stairs when he runs into one of the military soldiers. The soldier raises his weapon and you hear the scientist yell, "Don't shoot. I'm with the science team!" His pleas fall on deaf ears as the solider opens fire. My first thought was maybe the soldier didn't recognize him, so I approached the same soldier and was greeted with the same warm welcome. Thankfully I was able to defend myself better than the scientist.

(All the king's horsemen couldn't put that scientist back together again.)


(I've heard of being struck by lightning, but never struck by light.)


(Okay, so I made it to the what?)


(I see you up there, G-Man!)



(The first time you witness the military eliminate an innocent civilian - this means war!)


(You're lucky this glass is crowbar proof.)


(Pre-cursor to Portal's sentry?)


(I never get tired of ripping off the vending machines.)


Speaking of defending yourself. I encountered a number of deadly turrets. Tripod turrets. Tripod turrets that reminded me a little bit of the sentries from Portal. Could there be some connection? Perhaps.

After this first encounter, everything goes downhill from there, as more and more soldiers pour into the facility. I made it to the roof, only to discover what looked like an Osprey deploying reinforcements. I managed to evade them, but man, they can be brutal. I forgot just how accurate they are with their grenade tosses.

The final thing I'll comment on is - I had a few more encounters with the G-Man. It did make me wonder about his presence. Several scientist call him the Administrator, but since I know him as the G-Man and I really don't remember how it all unfolds, I'll just have to patiently wait and see what happens. But the weird thing when I saw fact, every time I saw him...he looks very calm and calculating. Like none of this even bothers him. He's such a great character and I don't know anything about him...

Having finished two levels and having realized the military has been sent in to mop up all the survivors of the Black Mesa incident, I decided to retire for the evening. The game continues to provide an enjoyable experience and each time I play it I'm thankful I decided to tackle this series again.

Until the next chapter, enjoy the rest of your weekend!