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Half Life: Blue Shift is a PC expansion pack for the sci-fi based first-person shooter Half Life, developed in 2001 by Sierra Studios. After the release of the widely-acclaimed Half Life in 1999, two expansion packs were released which both followed parallel storylines to the events of the original game - Opposing Force and Blue Shift. In Half Life, you play as scientist Gordon Freeman who has to escape the Black Mesa Research Facility when it is overrun by aliens who enter through an accidentally opened portal to another dimension. Gordon has to evade the aliens and also a covert team of military operatives who have been sent to eradicate all evidence of the incident, including all the survivors.
In the Opposing Force expansion pack you play as one of the military operatives who is sent in to clean up the evidence of the incident, when your helicopter crashes leaving you stranded in the alien-ridden facility which you have to escape. In Blue Shift you play as security guard Barney who is trapped in an elevator when the incident occurs and the power cuts out causing to plummet to the depths opf Black Mesa. He must find his way to the surface and escape, killing both aliens and the military team who are out to kill the survivors.
The parallel storyline is a nice idea, and fans of Half Life will be pleased at the references to the original game and the occasional run-ins with Freeman throughout the game. However, the game is not too similar with plenty of different locations and different aliens as well so you don't feel as if you are just playing a rehash of Half-LIfe. The graphics are just as good as the original with plenty of intricate detail rendered, and the sound quality is also excellent with atmospheric music throughout. The gameplay is very good with fluid character movement and controls that are similar to most FPS games for the PC so they are easy to get to grips with. There is also a training level at the start of the game so you can get accustomed to the controls.
Blue Shift is only let down by some minor things. Like Opposing Force, it is quite a short game which is a little disappointing because it is really entertaining. Opposing Force was probably just under half the length of Half Life, and Blue Shift feels even shorter than that. Another thing is that it is inferior to the original game due to the fact that you do not get to play as Gordon Freeman with his iconic crowbar. However, viewed as a standalone game it is fantastic, and only let down by its short length. It is not as good as Half Life or even Opposing Force but it has a lot of things going for it and it is very entertaining. I recommend it to anyone who has not yet played it.
Half Life may not have been the first blockbuster FPS to appear in the gaming world by any means (that would be reserved for Doom), it was the first to feature a truly interactive story that was told while you were in control rather than cut scenes. It gave the game an incredibly realistic and mature feel and helped the game sell truckloads around the world from 1998 onwards. Along with a thriving mod scene that is still active in 2011, Valve released two official single player expansion packs for the game: Opposing Force and this, Blue Shift. This game featured the perspective of one Barney Calhoun, a security guard at the Black Mesa Facility. Like Freeman and Shephard, he gets caught up with the events of the Resonance Cascade and is forced to fight multiple alien creatures in order to escape the facility with his life!
As far as the gameplay goes, there's little here that hasn't already been seen in HL and OF - the controls are exactly the same, giving you total freedom of character movement throughout. The main tweak here is that unlike Freeman and Shephard who had special HEV based armour to protect them, you only have bulletproof vests to wear. These have to be picked of your fallen security guard comrades or found inside security lockers throughout the wrecked facility.
It has to be said that for an expansion pack, it is remarkably short. Opposing Force was essentially a whole new game and compared to it, Blue Force does come up looking like a half-baked effort from Valve and Sierra. If it takes you longer than 5 hours to complete this then you must've got stuck on the levels in Xen as this game is a breeze to get through. There are a lot of free mods out there that you can download which last a heck of a lot longer than this game - They Hunger, Poke646, Todesangst 1 & 2, Timeline etc. The fact the modding scene is doing better than this expansion pack isn't exactly a great sign.
Having said that, the game is solid and there isn't really anything wrong with it besides the length. It is a fun side adventure to the main storyline, and the character's popularity was sealed by his major expanded role in Half Life 2. The game also has a cool scene in an elevator when the Resonance Cascade occurs which is perhaps even more effective than Half Life's since you see your colleagues dying but are completely unable to help in any way!
When this was released, I would've said this was too expensive for its own good. Now that you can get this for pennies on the web, it's an entertaining diversion that while too short, is still a reasonably fun affair that put the true Barney into the spotlight. This game is best for 12 year olds and up.
I am generally quite skeptical about expansion pacts, but after the release of the brilliant Half Life add-on Opposing Force, which was both fairly lengthy and packed with superb set pieces, I was willing to take the ride with anything Valve wanted to release as part of their Half Life universe. Blue Shift, probably the least-known Half Life game, is a short but sweet expansion that offers another unique take on the Black Mesa scenario, although it is only going to truly satisfy those who are truly immersed in the HL story.
This time, the Black Mesa incident is tackled from the perspective of a lowly security guard, giving you yet ANOTHER look at the strange events that plagued the two characters of the previous games. Valve have here adhered to the notion that the engine needs no fine-tuning, and thankfully so, because Half Life had some of the strongest gameplay the FPS genre has ever seen, and it hasn't been tampered with one bit. All that BS adds is a few more nifty weapons, and the ability to choose between difficulties (not that the HL games have ever been hard). Like the previous games, it's a simple "survive from A-to-B by the skin of your teeth" scenario, but what I did like, despite the game's brevity (it can be beaten in 4-5 hours quite easily), is that it gives you a bit more of a chance to interact with Alien weaponry, and use it to lay waste to the Black Ops marines that try to take you down.
That said, this is in many ways a retread of the last two games, and so I can't give it a full five stars as a result; it doesn't manage the staggering set pieces that Opposing Force had and as a result doesn't manage to differentiate itself frequently enough. It isn't a game I play much, but it does boast a decent level of difficulty, and has the same creepy atmosphere that the other games have.
Released in 2001, Blue Shift is the second official expansion pack to the award winning first person shooter Half Life, placing you once again within the bowels of the Black Mesa Research Facility fighting off hordes of aliens as well as US Marines sent in to cover the whole thing up, but this time casting you in the role of a facility security guard, ake 'Barney Calhoun' from the original game.
As before, the levels are beautifully designed and varied whilst the gameplay is the usual mix of tense battles and inventive puzzles, and to be honest it feels little different from the original, especially considering that not only are there no new weapons or enemies to be found but the new foes and guns from the first expansion pack 'Opposing Force' are missing as well. The only new addition is a high definition pack which gives the graphics a rather impressive overhaul, but other than this Blue Shift is very much business as usual.
Despite the lack of new content the levels are exciting and the narrative as entertaining as ever, and the game is still great fun to play, although on the downside it does feel especially short when compared to both the original game and the Opposing Force add-on. In spite of these various drawbacks however Blue Shift is still a great experience, albeit one that is not nearly as good as it could have been.
Blue Shift is the second expansion pack to one of the most important first person shooters of all time, Half-Life. For those unfamiliar with Half-Life, here's a review bashed out by yours truly :)
Once again, the player is hurled into the chaos of the Black Mesa Incident and its subsequent government coverup, but this time, the player assumes the role of everyone's favourite security guard, Barney Calhoun.
Barney spends most of the game looking for a specific new, major NPC character, Dr. Rosenberg, in order to aid several Black Mesa Scientists to escape from the facility using some old antiquated teleportation technology. It's a tad more puzzle-based than the original game, which are a little tedious in places but don't really detract much from the gameplay. It's generally considered by most to be something of a cash-in however, mainly due to its failure to include any new guns or gameplay aspects. One thing it does include is a high-definition pack, which quite strongly increases the overall look of the game, specifically in its character models and gun skins, but in spite of this, it still doesn't really feel like a new game, or even a full expansion. It is very short.
In spite of its limitations, its an expansion to an already great game, with a truly timeless engine. Also, getting to play as a character seen in the original does add something of a new dimension to the plot, having occasional run-ins with the protagonist from the original, and hearing his name referenced a few times is a nice touch but sadly, none of it is a patch on its predecessor (of a surprising TWO years) Half Life: Opposing Force.
You can download this on steam for a few quid. Its not really worth paying for the retail version.
500 Mhz processor,
96 MB RAM,
16 MB video card
MUST HAVE ORIGINAL FULLY INSTALLED VERSION OF HALF-LIFE TO PLAY.
I would not normally have bought Half-Life: Blue Shift so early after it's release, but Electronics Boutique sent me a voucher so what choice did I have but to spend it? I had read a review of the game before I purchased it, and it remarked at how short it was. But the box also promised to update my current version of Half-Life, so I thought it would be worthwhile. It is difficult to get a decent game for £15, and this was also a standalone game, not an update. The game is not a classic in its own right. I did become stuck on some of the early sections, but once I found my way past these it was a fairly straightforward exercise. The entire game took me around 5 hours to complete. Once I had finished, I was expecting the game to continue and was ready for the next section, but this never appeared, only the ending credits. I was surprised, but then I felt it wasn't TOO bad value for only £15, considering what you get with some games today. The best sections of the game were definetly the links to the previous games. Seeing the specimen being delivered to the chamber and listening to the soldiers discussing various things was good. The storyline was actually quite good, as I was initially concerned with how they could extract more from the scenario. There are a group of scientists who want to escape, and the only way to do so is to ask good old Barney Calhoun to help them out. There is also a "new" assignment of weapons and creatures for Calhoun to wield and kill respectively. These essentially are the old weapons and monsters that have been given a makeover and different sounds. The effects are impressive, but unfortunately the game is stil tied down to an ageing game engine that has been present all the way through. The consistency of the game is good, which means menus are easy to navigate and use. However, as this game is standalone, it seems that Sierra plan to win over those who never bought the o
riginal game and want to try it for some of the cost. I think that most people that have bought it or will buy it will be more regular players, hence it seems more like an add-on. It also offers more online gaming options, which seems to be the way Sierra heads will all of it's Half-Life titles (with much success, it has to be said). The game is short, it is fun and it does make the older Half-Life games seem a little more attractive with the introduction of the new weapons, sounds and monsters. I probably would buy it again, but I have to say it would be for the update and not the actual game itself. My advice would be if you like Half-Life and have a few quid burning a hole in your pocket, buy it. If you haven't tried Half-Life, best to actually buy the original game than to buy this one.
Plenty of people have slagged off Half-Life:Blue Shift,calling it a commercial rip-off and cash-in. These people might be right, the RRP£ is a bit high when you find out how short this add-on really is, but I find it enjoyable and interesting. I also bought it second hand for £8 so I didn't feel "ripped-off". Blue Shift was originally an extra level for the PC->Dreamcast conversion. I bought a Dreamcast to play Half-Life, as I couldn't see myself spending £1000 on a PC. As time passed, the Dreamcast version slipped further into development hell. Eventually, it was canned which is a real shame as gold discs about floating about the development community. It seems really stupid that the game is finished but the publishers took the decision to not publish the game as the marketing and distribution costs were deemed unrecoverable following poor sales of many Dreamcast titles. But surely a game of Half-Life's calibre would sell very well on the DC. The DC community isn't THAT small, there are 10 million or so owners across the World. That's a decent market even if you sell to 1/10 DC owners. But luckily for me, I managed to build my own PC and ended up with a lovely high-end machine to play games and write Word articles. I was happy to hear about Blue Shift being released for the PC, cash-in or not! I really liked the original game very much, although it could have been a level or two shorter (it started rambling towards the end). Opposing Force suffered the same fate, it was a bit long and rambling. This is where I like Blue Shift, it only took me 4 hours to complete, but those were 4 enjoyable hours. The debate about long games has surfaced many times in the past year. Should a game be longer for the sake of being longer? Or should it be shorted and packed with higher quality moments? I prefer the short and sweet game, as opposed to the Final Fantasy "50 hours of boredom" type game. <
br>Playing as Barney the security guard gives a different perspective, and interaction between yourself and the scientists is interesting. It is short, before you know it you are outside the compound and the credits are rolling. You may feel "cheated" as it's short, but I enjoyed it and thought it was a worthwhile addition to the Half-Life universe. I enjoyed it more than Opposing Force. Just remember that Blue Shift was an add-on for the Dreamcast version, not really a game in it's own right. Something else that makes it a good purchase is the addition of a "high definition" graphics package, derived from the Dreamcast version. This updated the graphics, animation, AI (as if it needed updating!) and weapons of ALL version of Half-Life. This is very cool, and makes a welcome change to Half Life and Half Life:opposing force.
Blue Shift was conceived as a free bonus for the Dreamcast version of Half-Life. The fact that it is has a price tag at all is a slap in the face. Half-Life is now a couple of years old, already has a add-on pack in the form of Opposing Force, hundreds of add-on maps and modifications downloadable from the internet (Counterstrike for example). Pretty much every potential player will already own the original – or a variant such as Games of The year edition, so why isn’t this a free download as well, or a coupon send off for registered users? Story wise it’s Black Mesa again – a return to the Black Mesa labs, alien invasions, sinister men with briefcases – only this time around you play a guard called Barney instead of Gordon Freeman. Is it good fun? Yes. Is it well put together? Yes. Does it do anything remotely new? No. If you’ve never play Half-Life the original game remains the best – and now a comes with a huge number of freebies including the original, superior, expansion pack. For die-hard Half-Life junkies this will provide around 3 hours of game play at most – we got through it in 2 without dying. You’ll know already if it is a good deal for you, but for me it is £15 too expensive.
Half Life was, and still is, one of the best games ever. Very original, a great story, well paced, realistic, decent multiplayer, fair graphics and sound etc etc... So it's natural that it should spawn a cash-in or two. Add-on packs are notoriously poor - Opposing Force was better than the average add-on, but far from the original's excellence. So it was with great hesitation that I bought Blue Shift. While I was pleased with it, i was also disappointed. Half Life is now, unfortunately, a spent slug. Blue Shift is a new episode for Half Life, but this time is also a stand-alone game. After playing a scientist-come-hero in the first game, a marine in the second, now you play a security guard. (Remember the guard knocking on the door during the first couple of minutes of Half Life? No of course you don't, but that's who you play this time round!) I really hope they don't follow this with Half Life: Gardener or Half-Life: Window Cleaner ... but they're running out of characters to choose... Immediately, you're thrown into the familiar world of the Black Mesa underground super-complex. After a very disappointing training course (purely the original course with a different-skinned hologram), you're plonked in the familiar transport carriage. You find yourself in Black Mesa as it is hit by the disaster, so off you trot to save the day... Actually, you don't - that's one thing I admire about Blue Shift, you want to escape not save the world, and to my great relief there is no silly alien boss to kill. On your way you'll bump into a few survivors, mostly those gourmless scientists, but thankfully there's less of the painstaking NPC-directing as seen in the previous two episodes. Naturally, a few puzzles must bar your way. These are often very simple, and only once did I find myself saying "what do i do next?" until the seen-it-before fundamentals of the puzzle suddenly dawn on you.
The levels are generally decent enough, and hold the original Half Life feel very well. It's a Half Life game, and you feel right at home. The game is very short though -- just as you seem to have finished act one, you are faced with the credits. No new tools or weapons are present (although they have new skins - more in a minute). There are no new enemies. There are no more things to do -- its all the same stuff over again, albeit with a very slightly different story. To my great displeasure, I found myself once again on that horrible alien planet Xen -- this was my greatest criticism of the first Half Life, although thankfully in Blue Shift you only have to spend a few minutes there, and it is far easier to trek across that the tedious Xen chapter of the original game. The graphics have been "improved" a little bit, with some prettier textures and different skins. But I'll get onto this properly in a moment. Sound-wise, Half Life's good sounds are still present, but not added to, although unforgivably there is no musical soundtrack. Oh dear, I don't want to sound so negative, honest! The Blue Shift episode is a decent addition to the Half Life saga, and is familiar and friendly. But it lacks anything fundamentally new, and is far too short and easy (please don't play the game on anything other than the so-called Hard setting). But the disc does not only contain this extra episode. The "High Definition Pack" changes the graphics in the original Half Life game and Opposing Force if you have it. A great idea, I thought, a new paint job for the ageing original graphics would be welcome, and would give me an excuse to play Half Life again. The new graphics are very disappointing, and actually make the game worse! The most obvious difference, I found, is a change of the security guards' skin. It now looks horribly cartoonish and I much prefer the original. The scient
ists have also been re-done with equally disappointing results - they look more cartoonish, too, and now their voices often don't suit the new skin. I may be wrong, but I think even the G-man has been re-painted with the same effect. One or two of the aliens benefit from a new skin, in particular the zombies, which now look far more ominous and realistic (not that I've seen many real zombies....) But the worst change made by this "high definition" pack is to the guns. When I first picked up the standard pistol I was amazed at how poor it was - while it acts and sounds just like it always has, it now looks horribly unrealistic and, again, cartoonish. I was annoyed again picking up the trusty submachinegun, my favourite weapon from the original game. Once more, it's been made to look horrible. Other guns are less affected, if at all, but the overall effect of the High Definition pack is negative in my opinion. So - is Blue Shift worth buying or not? Is it any good? Is it worth fifteen pounds? Well, despite giving the game two stars, I do recommend it. It's Half Life, afterall - the greatest game saga since the Dooms. Buy it and enjoy it as a Half Life episode - the same of an old formula, but still good enough for a day or two of gameplay. It will be over before you know it, and offers nothing substantial, but as far as add-on packs go it could be a lot worse. Alone I would give this episode three stars. The High Definition pack removes one of these stars -- I'm far from impressed with the new graphics. Ashamed as I am to say it, I don't want to play another Half Life episode until they take a chisel and sledgehammer to the core. Roll on Half Life 2, but please don't give me any more add-on packs.
Blue Shift is the third (but standalone!) episode set in the Half life universe, with Half-Life being the first, Opposing Force (OpForce) being the second and Blue Shift the third. All the action in these games takes place around the Black Mesa top-secret research facility, hidden deep underground somewhere in New Mexico, America, and in a strange alien world, referred to as Xen. Again, written by Gearbox (who did the excellent OpForce add-on) and produced by Valve (who did the original game) this completes what seems to be a trilogy before they announce Half-Life 2. In the first game, you played as the main protagonist – Gordon Freeman, a scientist who was directly involved in the “accident”. In Opposing Force, you played as a marine called Adrian Shepard who was called in to bring order to the Black Mesa Facility after “the accident” and in this new episode, you play Barney Calhoun, a security guard at the facility. Like the other two episodes, not only is the game named after a scientific phenomenon or theory, there’s also a rather lengthy, interactive introduction… You start your day in the Black Mesa, being told to kit up and go and operate the lift for some scientists. So, you get your kit, grab a gun, steal some extra ammo, and off you go. However, your path to the lift is not straightforward as power disruptions throughout the base has delayed the internal rail system, so you make your way there by foot. On arrival at the lift, the two scientists give you grief about being late! Bah! I’m in no mood for this! *shoots angry scientist* Hey! What’s this? Mission failed? Keep the scientists alive? Bah! Ungrateful gits! * RELOAD * On arrival at the lift, the two scientists give you grief about being late! Ah well – you shrug your shoulders, press the button, and the lift descends… All of a sudden, the power cuts out, the two scientists blame some people in the “Anomalous Mate
rials Lab” whatever that may be (see Half-Life for details). All of a sudden, the power cuts totally, and the lift falls. On a brief pause as the lift sops, you see what appear to be strange creatures firing lightning at other security guards. The comfort of your 9mm pistol suddenly shrinks. Again, with no warning, your lift plummets into the darkness, and you lose consciousness as it hits the bottom. When you regain consciousness, you have to find out what happened, and how you can escape, and so you step forward into the unknown… So far, so good – everything is present and correct in the Half-Life universe. You’re thinking that you should rush out and buy it now, right? Well, read on, because not is all what it seems. First of all, there are no new weapons, or enemies. That includes the new ones created for OpForce – you’ve got the same weapons and enemies as the original Half-Life. So, it’s not really that big a problem, is it? After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That may well be the case, but Half-Life is approaching somewhere near two and a half years in age. In the computer games industry, that’s a heck of a long time. Another thing you should know is that this episode is short. I mean very short. I bought it online, and had it delivered the day of release. It arrived mid afternoon one Friday, and by tea-time on the Saturday, the thing was completed, and that’s on hard level, and there were two points where I wasted about an hour of game time trying to solve / find out where to go next. I’m not the world’s best games player but I reckon I played it through in about seven hours. This has something to do with the fact that it was originally planned as an add-on to the Dreamcast version, but Valve decided it was unfair to keep it away from the loyal PC fan base, and so converted it for the PC. Now, I don’t mind short games, and to be fair it’s fairl
y cheap as a new release at £14.99, but at the same time, my rule of thumb is this (and this only applies to new releases, not to “full price” titles re-released on budget) good value for money is if you get about an hours worth of play per £1 you pay for a game. In this case, I paid £2 an hour, which, at the end of the day, I’m not too happy about. Is there anything positive I can say about the game? Well, yes! While you are playing the game, it is quite enjoyable, although not the challenge that the previous two episodes were. You do spend slightly too much time in the alien world, Xen, although this is a bad point that could be levelled at the two previous episodes as well. The characters you see around the facility seem to be more varied than in previous episodes and you don’t get the same phrases repeated again and again. Valve have included a new “high definition” pack with HL:BS which basically updates this and any previous HL episode with new, more detailed weapon, player and monster character skins. While it makes no difference to the actual game play of the games, it does set about addressing the problem of running a graphics engine that was already 2 years old when this game was released. There’s also some extra multiplayer stuff – some OpForce multiplayer stuff and the latest patch (22.214.171.124 I think) As with OpForce, there are times when you come across Gordon Freeeman (from the original episode) on your travels. While you can’t interact with him, it’s a nice touch that at least shows some attention to detail. So, how highly do I rate Blue Shift? Well, I’ve already said that it’s enjoyable while it lasts (but that’s the problem) and so I would say that if you take the same drop in overall quality that happened from Half-Life to OpForce, and applied it to the OpForce then you would end up with Blue Shift. I don’t think I would bu
y it again for £15 – instead, I would wait for a mate to complete it and then buy it off him for a tenner. In case I didn’t make it clear at the top of the opinion, you don’t need Half-Life to play this game, it’s “standalone” and playable without any previous episodes.
Half Life, as we all know, took players through the experience as a scientist caught in the middle of an experiment gone wrong. Next came Opposing Force, which put players in the boots of a soldier going in to obliterate all evidence of the aforementioned incident. Now comes Blue Shift, the latest angle on the same story. Blue Shift puts you in the shabby clothes of Black Mesa security guard Barney Calhoun and walks you through his experience of the events that day. The opening scene mirrors that of the original Half Life as you enter Black Mesa on a tram, however, this time you're on the opposite end of the facility. Barney's day seems to be cruising along just fine until a great power surge stops the elevator, followed by an explosion that sends it flying. Then, as if a careening elevator isn't enough to spoil a perfectly fine day, aliens start appearing out of thin air and killing everyone in sight. I hate it when that happens on the way to work. You might think that this redundant approach to a storyline would result in the same game time and time again. Don't worry, as Blue Shift actually offers more than the original Half Life. The difficulty has been upped, obstacles are not nearly as straightforward and require a little bit of cunning to push your way through. Some left me feeling a little stupid, after half an hour looking for a switch that didn't exist, I just needed to use a different route than the obvious looking one. To keep things fresh, the graphics have been updated a bit. The polygon count for models has doubled, really rounding out faces, shoulders and that big ugly hump on the aliens' backs, all while running at excellent framerates. The new High Definition models animate smoother than before. The textures and lighting also look good. However, don't go looking for new enemies or creatures, they arn't there, although I suppose since the game takes place at the same time as the
other games, new creatures would be a little out of place. Still, we've all been here and done this before, and some new scenery would really have helped. The AI has been vastly improved, because now aliens are smart enough to work as a team and surround you, making this single player adventure fairly challenging. In fact, if you chase them, they run, and if you run, they chase you. Sound simple enough, but you really don't find that kind of thinking much in first-person shooters, and it makes for a much better game. With every Blue Shift CD comes the latest Half Life patch (126.96.36.199), so no more waiting for that annoying download. There's also a High Definition update that will upgrade your other Half Life games (both Half-Life and Opposing) to the new and improved High Definition models. What's that? You don't have any other Half Life games to update ? Well, don't worry because you also get full versions of Opposing Force and the multiplayer Team Fortress Classic. So three games for the price of one. Nice. However, none of this stuff is very new. If you're a first-person shooter fan, you've likely played at least one of the many incarnations of Half-Life so far. Blue Shift is a solid package, for sure, but it really doesn't offer enough fresh material for the hardened Half Life veteran. But with the new challenges, updates and inclusion of Op Force, Blue Shift is a decent bundle. Just don't expect this new experience to be all that new.