Widely regarded by PC gamers to be one of the finest games ever made, this legendary FPS should at least be tried by all gamers, like some form of compulsory gaming history lesson. If you're playing it for the first time, expect it to have aged like your grandad's wardrobe, but there's no denying the huge influence the game had. The first half hour's a bit cack though - *get's ripped away from keyboard by other Dealspwn staff*
Thanks to goonertillidie at HotUkDeals.
Developers: Black Mesa Modification Team
Publishers: Black Mesa Modification Team
It honestly feels ever so slightly wrong to have gotten Black Mesa for free. The incredibly dedicated team of modders who've been beavering way on this loving resculpting of Valve's groundbreaking original have, quite simply, done a fantastic job. We've been able to go back and revisit Gordon Freeman's worst day at the office for years, but never quite like this. So much more than a paint job, infinitely more valuable than a re-skin, Black Mesa actually puts Half-Life: Source to shame by taking Valve's source material (sorry!) and not only recreating it, but expanding upon it too.
First, a trip down memory lane. Black Mesa itself is undeniably the star of the show. It feels like a hive of activity, more densely populated than before, with the rooms decked out more realistically and in finer detail than the technology previously allowed for back in the last millennium. The subterranean chambers are now occupied by bustling scientists of both genders; the toxic sludge is given an eerie luminescence thanks to the Source engine's bloom; impressive cinematics abound, whether you pick up on them or not. Once again, just as when Half-Life first came out, there's a meticulousness to the aesthetic crafting that encourages the player to simply absorb everything that they possibly can. The appearance of a younger Eli Vance makes me so unbelievably happy that I almost choke up.
Everything comes with a sense of extreme nostalgia, for those who've played the game, married to a sense of progress. It's like a homecoming in a number of ways: you step back into Freeman's body so effortlessly, instantly recalling a hundred and one things you'd perhaps consigned to distant memory, and even as you do so you begin to realise that the Black Mesa team have subtly changed a few things.Click here to read more...
In a move that no-one was actually expecting, the makers of the long-awaited fan-made project Black Mesa Source have updated their website, placing a countdown in the faces of anyone who visits. After several years of development, the unofficial remake of Half Life will be released later this month.Click here to read more...
Much like Valve themselves, the Black Mesa: Source mod is taking its own sweet time to remake the original Half-Life using the Source engine. However, two snippets of gameplay footage new have hit the internet over the last 24 hours, slightly quenching our thirst for new details.
Note that they're apparently based on 'older builds,' so temper your expectations accordingly.Click here to read more...
This week we take a look at the past six months, some of the highlights, some of the disappointments. We talk about our recent top ten and some of the games that didn't quite make the list, and look forward to a future six months that are rammed with promising games.
PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 22, Recorded: July 19th, 2012
Some of the things that get covered this week:
...and much, much more.
Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be quite a few instances of strong language.
Click the banner at the top to play the file, or right click and select 'Save Link As' to download the file onto your hard drive.
We came to the conclusion in the latest episode of the PWNCAST that there really aren't too many shooters at all these days. Far from it. But that perhaps the genre hasn't advanced very much in the last few years. Stagnation is always a worry and, although we've seen some attempting to fly the flag for new experiences (DX:HR, Metro 2033, Bioshock to name a few), there are precious few FPS titles out there that really stand out. Something that discussed in an opinion piece earlier today.
The annals of the past, however, are rife with curious titles, when the FPS was a pioneering genre rather than a symbol of our industry treading water, when games weren't automatically compared with Call of Duty. With this in mind, this Tuesday we take a look back at some FPS franchises we'd really like to see make a comeback.
Honourable Mentions: Doom, Battlefield: Vietnam, System Shock, Painkiller, Unreal Tournament
Ah Soldier of Fortune. The game that let you blow the limbs off of people. Raven can occasionally be a bit inconsistent, but they always manage to deliver entertaining games. True the sequel was rushed, and then less said about the third (non-Raven) instalment the better, but John Mullins' first adventure ushered in supreme tactical choices. You could shoot the guns out of people's hands, kneecap virtual neo-Nazis, make every shot count thanks to the highly controversial "gore zones". Also, John Mullins' moustache is amazing.
Frankly, we'd like to see Raven combine this dismemberment with the OTT stylings of Singularity. And maybe a marketing budget. That'd be nice.Click here to read more...
Bearded legend Gabe Newell recently made some odd comments about Ricochet 2, a game that Valve definitely isn't developing. Apparently a mix of 'positive and negative surprises' are holding it up, not to mention an unwillingness to tease the fanbase before they're good and ready to reveal. Considering Valve's love of the obtuse and coy, we can safely assume that he's talking about Half Life 3 or HL2 Episode 3... and why it's taking so damn long.Click here to read more...
Today's time-dependent clutch of Steam holiday deals include some great shooters, a not-so-great shooter, two excellent Double Fine games and an astounding 21st century Roguelike. Because time is of the essence, I'll leap straight into the links and prices of the latest highlights.
If you use The Hut's GAMEDAY code then you can cut their long running and excellent price of £9.93 by an extra pound! This takes it down to nearly £4 less than the next best.
At the risk of sounding pompous, it's hard to imagine a video game fan who hasn't already got their hands on the Orange Box; it's a practically essential purchase. Of course, Half Life 2 and the two accompanying episodes offer what many consider to be the most exquisite gaming moments ever but there is more to the Box than this. Packmates Team Fortress and Portal are also far from filler material, with the former offering some fantastic multiplayer action, while the latter is an incredibly clever single player puzzle adventure with a wicked sense of humour and some truly genius puzzles. Thanks to the gooner at HUKD!
Ignore the cynicism, it's Valentine's Weekend! Instead of 'Why We Love...', this week it's more of a 'Who We Love...' to get into the spirit of things. With that in mind, a few members of the team took the opportunity to show the world how they feel...
This Valentine's Day I only have eyes for a certain Drell mercenary. I have always been notoriously picky when it comes to matters of the heart but any human foolhardy enough to wish to woo this childish daydreamer now has an even more monumental task on his hands. For what mere mortal could compare to this handsome and exotic alien with the strength, skill, bravery and rapier mind of an assassin but the heart and soul of a tortured poet? Sure he is riddled by guilt and the angstiest of existential angst but he more than makes up for it with his fascinating, mysterious past, gentle manner and quiet capability.
We could go to a quiet little bar somewhere in the far flung reaches of the galaxy and he could call me "Siha" in that achingly melodic voice. And later, from our cosy little space ship (shhh, in this fantasy he's not dying ok?!) we could look back on that magical first Valentine's night and he could recall it exactly. How full the moons were, the way their light played upon my hair, how I squealed when he noticed a rare Kahjian bug nestled in it, how he told a slightly risqué turian joke and made me laugh until my ice brandy shot out of my nose... Every little detail. Every. single. tiny. little thing.
On second thoughts, I wonder whether Link is still available...
Today's major Steam saving is a 75% reduction of every Half Life Title and expansion pack... which have been lumped together including the mighty bundle of awesomeness that is the Half Life Complete Collection. Slightly less than seven British Pounds will net you every Half Life game ever made, including the original, it's incredible sequel, all of the Episodes and Blue Shift for starters. If you haven't yet played any of the games then it's high time you got involved. And shame on you.
Note that you can cherry pick individual Half Life games if you don't own the set! Click here to browse the full menu.
We're big Valve fans at Dealspwn, so it is with great pleasure that I inform you off a massive 79% saving on the Valve Complete Pack, which includes almost every game Valve has developed, from classics like Half-Life and Portal to popular mods-cum-full blown-titles like Counter Strike. It's a fantastic deal, and all for just £24.99. That's 22 games for almost half the price of a retail game! I could go on about the greatness of Half-Life 1 & 2, or the class and humour of Portal, or how damn addicting Left 4 Dead is. But I'll leave that for you to discover. Cheers.
Who wants a Half Life movie? Anyone? No? Of course not. A mute protagonist and two dozen hours of physics-based puzzles wouldn't work as a film... and yet plenty of studio offers and wild rumours have been flying around over the years. Buffy creator Joss Whedon was erroneously rumoured to be slated for the directorship earlier this year... but Valve boss Gabe Newell has now stated that a Half Life film could only be produced in-house or not at all.
"There was a whole bunch of meetings with people from Hollywood. Directors down there wanted to make a Half-Life movie and stuff, so they'd bring in [writers who] would pitch us on their story. And their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of."
"That's when we started saying: 'Wow, the best thing we could ever do is to just not do this as a movie, or we'd have to make it ourselves."
Personally I'm a fan of the first option... but considering that hilarious and successful 'Meet The Team' shorts, Valve might have what it takes to pen a worthwhile script. [PC Gamer]
Would you watch a Half Life film? Want to pitch an idea? Should directors just stay the hell away from our beloved games... or am I being too harsh on the concept? Have your say in the comments!
In case you still were clinging to the sad delusiuon that the PSP Go is anything other than a miserably failed experiment into the future of downloadable digital media, Square Enix has delivered the final piece of evidence. Sorry.
We recently reviewed Square's upcoming Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep as the finest spinoff to date and a "fitting swan song for the PSP"... but PSP Go owners simply won't be able to play it. Square have confirmed that there are no plans for a downloadable release in the forseeable future- so sorry, Kingdom Hearts fans, but it's UMD or bust. [Kotaku]
Awww. A long slow bank holiday Sunday occasionally calls for a soft story, and luckily the Ithica University 'Tots On Bots' project has provided us with an absolute doozy. The aim of the research is to provide babies that suffer from physical disabilities with a means of getting around, using a Wii Fit Balance Board as the input mechanism for a motorised chair. Apparently even disabled children have an innate desire to move towards their intended objective, and the weight shift is picked up by the peripheral and allows them to explore their surroundings. Heartwarming, yes, but it's also great to see videogame tech powering an invention that could potentially revolutionise special needs education (if the study proves successful). Naturally a sonar system defends from untoward crashes, and a remote control allows parents to take over in a pinch.
Here's some robot-powered baby footage for your perusal.
The next time someone idiotically states that videogames are harmful, be sure to point them in this direction. And then ironically act out your favourite scene from Manhunt while they're vulnerable. [Engadget via GoNintendo]
Dealspwn Rating: 8/10
Developer: 4A Games
One question: aren’t games supposed to be fun? Metro 2033 is many things – well executed, atmospheric, psychopathically challenging – but fun isn’t a word that springs to mind.
It’s set – as you’ve probably guessed – in an underground system in 2033. The location this time is Moscow. The reason you’re living in the underground system? Chant it with me people: Nuclear war. Yes indeed, Metro 2033 is another – everybody! – post-apocalyptic first person shooter. What’s going on in games development world? Is it only Disney that’s allowed access to the colours? Enough of the greys and browns! Can’t we just once have a first-person shooter set in a meadow?
Sorry. I digress. You play Artyom, a 20-something man who was born in the last glory days of Moscow but raised underground, as one of the last band of survivors. You’ve never known life above ground and probably never will, since the apocalyptic event turned the surface poisonous. You’ve also never known life outside the station where you live, because of all the mutants and nasties and, indeed, Nazis that dwell there. As one of your colleagues says, if it is about survival of the fittest, then mankind has already lost.
Your station-bound status is about to change however, which is just as well, because otherwise this would be the most depressing game ever made AND the most tedious. With a new threat approaching, you’ve stumbled into the role of messenger and must get to another outpost of survivors and warn them. All together now, one more time - the fate of mankind is in your hands...
The games industry is full of exotic locales, picturesque towns and exciting cities. We take a peek at a few of the most popular tourist destinations of the gaming world, and give you a little taste of what fun you can expect. From sightseeing wonderlands to relaxing country getaways, there's sure to be something in here for everyone.
There’s plenty of fun to be had in Albion, the free love capital of gaming and the lothario’s holiday destination of choice. Nowhere else in the gaming world will you find locals of both sexes so easy or eager to please. A gift and a funny face and you’re in! Just be sure to bring a prophylactic or two: you don’t want to come back with an STD. Don’t worry if your conquests become overly clingy and start following you around and disrupting your holiday; after all, you can always have them sacrificed to the dark spirits and then spend the finder’s fee at duty free on the way back.
Cameras at the ready, people, as City 17 boasts some of the finest Eastern European architecture, with pre-WWII neo-classicist structures sitting in perfect harmony alongside Soviet modernist complexes, and the enormous, towering Citadel stretching up into the clouds. Of course, don’t expect to be able to take your photos home unless secreted somewhere inside your person, as Combine officials don’t look too kindly upon snap-happy tourists, or anyone for that matter. There’s plenty to do in the surrounding countryside, too, with the Ravenholm overnight stay proving so popular that most visitors simply decide to stay and are never seen again.
Paradise City is the petrolhead’s ultimate holiday locale, with winding mountain roads for taking in an afternoon in the convertible, a bustling seafront for cruising along leisurely, an abandoned quarry for testing out some sweet stunts and dozens of garages where you can pimp your ride. Do be wary at traffic lights, though, as several visitors have returned penniless from losing street races in which they didn't even realise they were taking part. It’s always sunny in Paradise City so no need to bring a brolly, and there are no traffic laws or police so you can carve up the road as fast as you like. I’d take out some insurance though first, as the occasional holidaymaker will ruin it for everyone by causing a 50-car pile-up just for a laugh. Be advised that you may have to sleep in your car though, as you won't be able to leave your vehicle, and pedestrians are strictly banned.
Fancy a holiday like no other? You should check out Rapture. The underwater paradise was built upon socio-economic laissez-faire policies, making it a haven for artists, scientists, philosophers and businessmen alike. From its art deco architecture to its bathysphere transport system, Rapture will blow your mind. You’ve never seen water this good, with perfect diving opportunities for deep-sea lovers. On a romantic getaway? Be sure to sample the ADAM: guaranteed to help you rise to the occasion, although be advised over-use can lead to addiction and insanity. Incidentally, watch out for wandering orphan drug-mules and overprotective drill enthusiasts.
Situated around the edge of Toluca Lake, right next to a large forest, Silent Hill is perfect for those city-dwellers looking to just get away from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. You won’t find big chain stores or franchises here as the town is almost entirely self-sufficient, and full of sheer, natural beauty. Silent Hill has had some bad press recently with some visitors complaining that the town was nothing like it was described in the promotional brochure, all empty and blanketed in thick fog with faulty electrics and unwholesome noises everywhere, but strangely enough most agency follow-ups are unable to find those in question. It does mean, though, that prices are dead cheap! Visitors are encouraged to partake in the town’s traditional ceremonies and rituals, and the town has been known to be a fond location for nudist holiday makers and bizarre circus acts.
Fancy trying your hand in a casino or two on holiday, getting in a game of golf or two at the Leaf Links or maybe even hitting up the Hyman Stadium for a demolition derby or rock gig? Vice City's perma-80s metropolis is certainly the place to be. As with any city, there'll be the occasional murder spree, but they only ever last for a minute or two. Why not take in a sweep of the city with the Tommy Vercetti Tour and visit all of the landmarks in his old empire. Grab a beer with washed-up members of Love Fist, check in on Ken Rosenberg’s offices in Washington Beach, and go on a delivery run with The Cherry Popper Ice Cream Factory van, just don’t sample the stuff. Or offer it to kids. Or try to smuggle any back with you.
Definitely the destination of choice for all you amateur athletes out there, Wuhu Island offers some of the finest sports around including its glorious 18 hole golf course, bowling alleys, airsports and an extensive array of water-based activities. Resort residents can also engage in a number of other activities such as table tennis, archery and swordplay. Be sure to bring a partner as although there are usually plenty of other residents you’re likely to see who’ll jump at the chance to join your baseball team should you ever create one, none of them will want to play Frisbee with you and you’ll feel sad and alone and probably want to drink a lot, only the resort doesn’t really offer a bar. Or beds for that matter.
These are just a few we picked out for fun, but a memorable virtual world can make or break a game. Have you got a favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
A few game characters' brothers and sisters are out there looking for love...
It can be hard to find a date when you're the twin of a gaming icon. Nights spent all alone watching endless Friends re-runs or lying catatonic listening to William Shatner sing Common People on repeat; with dinner medallions from the microwave lasagne staining your crusty vest and sweatpants, and a half bottle of budget vodka for company - these things don't help the love-life one little bit.
We thought we'd lend a helping hand to some of the medium's forgotten siblings in their quest to find a soulmate by printing a few of their calling cards. It's time for these brothers and sisters to step out of their shadowy cocoons and blossom into the love bugs they were destined to be.
Larry's a tall and athletic fella with a penchant for digging, spelunking and hunting, much like his sister Lara. He's a perfect gentleman too, coming from good aristocratic stock, although you'd best steer clear of enquiring about the parents.
A huge fan of all things old and curious, our Larry's looking for a more mature woman, someone with a story or two to tell, preferably with strange and dubious links to mythological sects and texts. He's also a fan of old-school smoking jackets, luxury liners and racy point-and-click adventure games. But no photographers: they always Photoshop ridiculously-proportioned organs onto the poor lad. And who can live with that kind of pressure?
Brucie is something of a legend in that he's registered in the Guinness Book of Records as having the fastest legs in the world. More likely to be seen colourfully cavorting in drag in a Soho club than your local dingy bar, Bruce is all about having a good time and he's well known for it, always stealing his sister Chun's clothes. Male or female, fat or thin, it doesn't really matter and he doesn't care as long as they're up for a laugh.
Bruce can be quite exciteable and tends to jump up and down and giggle a lot whenever he wins anything - from an argument over shoes to a brawl in the street; but you'd never want to mess with him. He can decapitate an elephant with his thighs. He enjoys chop-socky movies, blue dresses and fighting electric, ginger, fuzzy Brazilians. No.....not in that way.
Betty is a bit of a wallflower who works really hard at the moment to balance two lives. By day she works as a PA for the editor-in-chief of a global fashion magazine and by night she does motion capture for her brother Gordon's new autobiographical movie. Most recently she played a rock.
Like her brother, though, she's a bit of a quiet one and remains fairly silent even when spoken to which can sometimes make conversation a little tricky. In the bedroom, however, she not adverse to a little experimentation - handcuffs, oils, a crowbar - but don't expect oral satisfaction unless you shower several times beforehand. She's paranoid about headcrabs you see.
Duchess Nukem, much like her brother the Duke, is a simple soul at heart, really. There are three things that she likes - guns, gaffs and guys. An entrepreneur of sorts, she runs an all-male escort agency, owns several Boy Booty strip clubs across America, and has starred in several sexploitation movies as herself.
A fearless champion of women's rights, she is also a sex symbol and role model for curvy women everywhere. Oh yeah, and she kills aliens too. But this towering ego hides a sensitive soul. Sure, being surrounded by men clothed only in a napkin or two and half a bottle of baby oil all day long can be fun, but there's no heart in it. She's in the market for a guy with a heart, but a heart that also enjoys a spot of jetpacking, motorbikes and Bruce Campbell movies.
Samantha Fisher (Sam to her friends....and even then it can be touch and go) doesn't suffer fools. Gorgeous she may be, but if you're the type of guy who thinks Krav Maga is a species of underwater crustacean then leave, now. She's the consummate professional and fearless in life and in love.
A keen traveller, Samantha's fluent in many languages, including Korean and Arabic. She's on the look out for a friend above all else; a wingman if you will. Someone who will always have her back. Someone who likes tight fitting spandex and wears glasses (she has a thing for guys in goggles). You might have to watch out for overprotective big brother Sam lurking in dark corners, though. He's a bit of a stealthy voyeur, that one.
Know any other game characters with a lovelorn twin? Fill up the comments section below with your recommendations.
More than just a Half Life vehicle, The Orange Box is truly an essential purchase for anyone who considers themselves a video game fan. All five of the games on the disc are well worth having in their own right and as a bundle it is a veritable box of delights!
The Hut are currently offering the disc for just £9.93, a fantastic deal that means you get five brilliant games for less than £2 a-piece! The next best price for The Orange Box is more than £3 more expensive: £13.37 from 101 CD.
Half Life's Gordon Freeman was recently voted the Greatest Game Hero of all time in a Gamespot mega poll. If you need your knowledge of the great man refreshed then how better than by playing through Half Life 2 and the two episodes included in The Orange Box? Each instalment is utterly gripping, loads of fun and beautifully presented.
Then of course there is the surprise gem of the set, Portal. This action puzzler is both hilarious and disturbing in equal measure. The gameplay is challenging but addictive and once you get into the zone you can blast through the stages until you once again hit a puzzle that fries your brain.
Team Fortress 2 is the game I have given the least time to but I can safely say that it is an excellent multiplayer romp, ideal for online shenanigans. The graphics are bold and unusual, the team focus can create some great, satisfying moments of joy and camaraderie and there is a really good range of classes to pick from.
Thanks to Adam2050 at Hotukdeals!
This week Gamespot announced that the winner of their "All Time Greatest Game Hero" is Half Life's Gordon Freeman winning 55.8% of the votes in the final. To celebrate, in addition to their weekend deal (25% off Red Faction games), Steam are now offering all Half Life games with a reduction of 55.8%. This makes the original Half Life just £2.63, and the Half Life Complete package that contains Half-Life, Half-Life: Blue Shift, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Team Fortress Classic and Half-Life: Opposing Force.
The science fiction fantasy series with first person shooter gameplay is so far composed of two full games, two episodic games and a handful of third party expansions. Every instalment in the Half Life saga has received lavish praise and it is no wonder that Mr. Freeman has won himself such an army of fans.
Working at his lab in the Black Mesa Research Facility, theoretical physicist Dr. Gordon Freeman accidentally opens a rift in the fabric of the universe creating a portal to distant universe Xen. Alien beings swarm through the opening, killing many and setting in motion the chain of events that shape the series.
Though famed for his crow-bar, in Half Life 2, Freeman gets his hands on the awesome gravity gun that has become the fanboy/girl dream weapon of choice. This and a whole host of other reasons ensure that this second game is even better than the original and Episode Two improves even further, so it is safe to assume that this is a series which will maintain its quality throughout further releases.
This weekend's Steam deal sees prices slashed by 66% on everything Half – Life, and 10% off Steam's Complete Valve Pack, which consists of some 20 different PC game titles - remember this offer expires on Monday the 17th of August.
So if you do not own a copy of Half Life 2, this is a good opportunity to add this classic first person shooter to your collection. You can buy a complete Half Life pack from Steam priced £9.17, which includes everything in the franchise, from the first and second editions, to Half Life 2 Deathmatch, and all expansions.
Of course still no word on Half Life 2's episode 3 although Valve CEO Gabe Newell assured frustrated Half Life fans that episode 3 was very much in the pipeline. He was reluctant to give out any concrete information aside from the fact it would not be released on PS3. Given that Half Life 2 took around six years to develop, lets hope episode 3 is worth the wait. However, anyone who already owns Half Life or Half Life 2 however can still buy the expansions independently from Steam - all at one third of their original price.
Alternatively, anyone looking to make a more substantial acquisition of new games might be interested to know that the Valve Complete Pack is down 10% from £52.99 to £47.69. The pack consists of pretty much everything you could possibly want from Valve including Left for Dead, the Half Life franchise and the Counter Strike series. However , although pretty good for someone who has just bought a PC, most people who've been gaming some time will probably find they own some, if not all of these titles already.
Thanks to Tickedon from hotukdeals