Originally released in 1998, the PC version of Half-Life changed first-person shooters forever by proving that a compelling story can be told within the genre. Prior to the game's release, first-person shooters were mindless action games. Half-Life, while containing its fair share of action, also contained plenty of exploration, puzzle, and story elements. Now released as a PlayStation2 game, Half-Life has never looked or played better. This version contains the outstanding single-player story mode, as well as a few new ones. While the new additions aren't so great, the story mode is one of the best escapades available on the PS2.
The game follows the adventures of Gordon Freeman, a young research associate at the Black Mesa Federal Research Facility. A typical day at the office goes completely awry as numerous alien life forms invade the facility. The fate of the facility, and quite possibly the world, is in the hands of an unlikely hero.
The graphics here trump the original's (understandable, as more than three years have passed). The character models have four times as many polygons, as well as smoother textures and animations. The sound is also very good, with some of the funniest voice acting yet heard in a game. Of course, the single-player gameplay is excellent, thanks to some very well-developed enemy artificial intelligence.
Unfortunately, the new modes aren't nearly as brilliant. Decay, the new cooperative mode, seems like an afterthought and pales in comparison to the cooperative modes in Perfect Dark and Halo. Deathmatches only support two players, which is incredibly lame considering many PS2 first-person shooters support four. Despite these flawed modes, the single-player story is so superb that it totally warrants a purchase. --Raymond M. Padilla
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