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In 2007, Valve Corporation released a compilation of 5 games on one disc, The Orange Box. With Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 episode 1, Half-Life episode 2, Portal and Team Fortress. It was a bargain price to pay to play the cracking Half-Life 2. A journey and adventure with lots of questions and enemies. Get ready to explore!
Back history: Gordon Freeman, a scientist at the Black Mesa Research Facility, located in a place called City 17, and other scientists accidentally cause an inter-dimensional instability known as a resonance cascade, when doing an experiment on an alien crystal sample goes wrong. Aliens entered through the rift and Freeman fights against them and government cover up units. After reaching the research facilities other complex, the scientists help Freeman to transport to the aliens world. Destroying the alien keeping the rift open, Freeman is taken away by a strange person known as G-Man. Impressed by Freeman's battling qualities and never accepting defeat attitude, G-Man offers him a job before placing him into stasis.
After this war, another enemy took interest at the instability at Black Mesa and invaded Earth. This enemy is called the Combine and forced Humanity to surrender at the end of the "Seven hour war". City 17 is now the base and home of the huge Combine Citadel, who employ a brutal police state on humanity. However, a rebel group of humans and Vortigaunts are working together in an attempt to find freedom. This group sees Freeman as their saviour, the hero of humanity.
Half-Life 2 and both episodes: 20years after those events, Half-Life2 starts.
Gordon Freeman is bought out of stasis by this mysterious G-Man and sends him on a train to City 17. Upon arrival, he manages to escape the combine forces and joins the resistance crew, set up by a former Black Mesa worker and Alyx Vance, the daughter of one of Freemans former workmate, Dr Eli Vance. You are trying to get to Black Mesa East but the teleport fails and so you set out on a journey through the City's old canal system. You reach Black Mesa East but it comes under attack, forcing you to fight the Combine.
This is the start of a thrilling adventure set in the futuristic world, with humanity under threat and only you, as Dr Gordon Freeman, can battle it out with the Combine and understand who is this G-Man and what does he want?!
Both Episodes 1&2 are just as exciting and enthralling, as you escape the City restraints and head into a more wild area. With bigger and badder enemies, the Combine only have you in their sights. Spoilers would ruin this game, so won't divulge the storyline. Play it and witness this great game for yourself, you won't be disappointed.
Team fortress 2: This is just a multi-player first person shooter.
Portal: A first person puzzle platform game. Can't really describe the game without spoiling it but it is a unique game.
Visuals: Half-Life 2 came out in 2004, with the episodes coming out 2006 & 07 respectively. You think there would be a massive jump in graphics, but there really isn't. This down to the fact that Half-Life 2 was so beautifully created in 04, it could easily stand up and beat any competition a few years later. The environments through out the 3 games, are uniquely drawn to make each area you visit so alive and yet have that feeling of humanity being destroyed, hanging in the air. The aliens are drawn with that scare factor and evil feel. The headcrabs really are creepy, but once you are used to them, I think they look like dead turkeys ready for Christmas dinner. I probably try to think this, as they really do scare me! In Half-Life 2, there is such a creepy place called Ravenholm. I recommend that you don't play this in the dark as its one of the most scariest part of a game I have ever played. Really does make me shiver when thinking of it now! This is a well drawn and stunning game, truly one of the best visually games from the early 2000's.
Audio: The soundtrack has the futuristic feel, so it keeps in with the game on the whole. It does have the slower songs when the story calls for it and mixes it up really well. A game so expansive and well written as Half-Life 2 and the Episodes needed a great soundtrack and this really does deliver.
Gameplay: This is a first person shooter, with a range of weapons and tools to use at your advantage. One of the coolest weapons is called the Gravity Gun, which you use to move boxes, or fire them at the Combine if you like, to move anything that's laying around to make your own path way and also to pick up other items, like the saw heads which you can aim at the enemy and save up your ammo. There are puzzles along the way that you need to use your Gravity Gun to solve.
This is a linear game, which means you can only stick to the storyline and where the paths take you . You can't just go off and explore, or go back to an area you once was. You stick to the story and to be honest, it's such a great story, you would not want to just go and wander. The action doesn't stop.
Conclusion: For 5 games, you can get this compilation at a steal. Even just for the Half-Life games alone, the price is so low! A brilliantly written game, with beautiful graphics and flawless gameplay. The only disappointment I have is with Valve itself. They made these superb games in what feels a lifetime ago and we are still waiting to know what happened next after the dramatic ending of Episode 2. It really does drive you crazy not knowing. This isn't your usual first person shooter, you need to think about it when planing what you need to do next. There are some areas which call for logic puzzles to be solved to advance, you can't just blow stuff up and expect to suddenly progress. This adds to the beauty of this game and what makes it a favourite among many gamers. Games that make you think and have action throughout, are games that true players want to experience. If you haven't experienced Half-Life yet, then you are missing out on one of the best games ever created.
As most other reviewers have pointed out, the Orange Box (a collection of projects from developer Valve) is insanely good value for what you get. Half Life 2, Half Life 2: Episode 1 & Episode 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2. To keep going on about value to money does a disservice to the quality of the games you get to play. Half life is one of the best shooter series' of all time and comes with all the add-ons in Episode 1 & 2. Portal is the most original game of the last 10 years and Team Fortress is a solid multiplayer shooter. The downside to the PS3 version of the Orange Box is that the load times are long (around 10-15 seconds) which from what i've read is much worse than other platforms. With a bit of patience though, this isnt really a problem at all.
*Half Life 2*
This is a FSP, in which you reprise the role of Dr. Gordon Freeman from Half Life and the game picks up after the events at Black Mesa in the first game. The Combine (a dimension-crossing galactic empire) are harvesting Earths resources and have intalled a brutal police state. You shoot your way across city, swamp, mines and abandoned towns to bring down this regime. The storys is interesting and characters are well animated and interesting, especially your main companion Alyx Vance. The graphics are good for a game that is now quite old and the combat is sharp and enjoyable. With zombie aliens as well as the combine trying to kill you there are pleanty of tense and enjoyable moment. Levels are interesting and provide a mix of environments, with some driving sections added to liven things up. This is a fantastic FPS that many would have missed when is was released on PC in 2004. A must play.
Half Life 2: Episode 1
The story picks up imediately after Half Life 2. The City 17 Citadel reactor is going to explode (due to events in Half Life 2) and you and Alyx Vance must first fight your way into the Citadel to stabilise the core, then help survivors escape the area. All the game mechanics and control system are the same as in Half life 2 and the story is again interesting and intriguing. The main advances from Half Life 2 are improved lighting, better facial animations and improved enemy AI in combat. This is a fanstastic expansion pack providing hours more gaming.
Half Life2: Episode 2
The story picks up from the end of Episode 2. You and Alyx must this time work to stop a huge cross-dimentional portal being opened to allow thousands of new Combine soldiers onto Earth. New ememies called Hunters provide a challenge in combat and there is a greater proportion of driving sections. Other than these minor tweaks Episode 2 is the same as Episode 1 as that were developed together. Again this is in interesting continuation of the story and provides plenty more gaming.
Brilliantly original game based around puzzle solving using a portal gun. The portal gun shoots two portals and walking though one means you come out of the other. You contoll Chell, a research subject in the Aperture Science testing facility. You travel from room to room, using your portal gun to activate switches of energy plates to get to the next room. Soon you escape these test chambers and go after GLaDOS, the computer mind which runs Aperture Science. A short game, but a very intersting one, I really enjoyed playing Portal.
Team Fortress 2
This is on online multiplayer FPS where two teams (Red and Blue) compete in capture the flag, control point, payload (destroy ememy base) and deathmatch modes. There are nine classes in the game: Scout, Soldier, Pyro, Demoman, Heavy, Engineer, Medic, Sniper and Spy. Each class has unique abilities and weapons leading to a strategic multiplayer experience. The combat is solid and enjoyable though to be honest I haven't spent much time playign Team Fortress, as I have been busy playing the other games.
A no-brainer for PS3 owners - BUY THIS GAME.
You may be familiar with a critically acclaimed series of games called Half-Life. It was made by a developer called Valve. Their first game was Half-Life. Critics said that it 'revolutionised the FPS genre' and it hasn't aged at all. Since then, Valve has made several more fantastic games. So, they've decided to package five of these games onto one CD, and called it 'The Orange Box'. It is available on PS3, PC and Xbox 360. Here is my review of the PS3 version.
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First of all, there's Half-Life 2. It's even better than its predecessor, and people have gone as far as calling it 'the best game ever'. That comment is, arguably, quite true. A gripping storyline, action-packed battles and clever puzzles make it totally fantastic.
Yet again, you control Gordon Freeman, a former scientist from the Black Mesa Research Facility. He accidentally caused a huge accident, opening a portal which let hundreds of deadly creatures into the facility. Luckily, Gordon managed to get into the portal and killed the monster holding it open. That all happened in Half-Life. But now, it's years later and he is awoken by the G-Man, who places him into a train on its way to City 17. It is a ruined city in Eastern Europe, controlled by the Combine. Gordon meets an old friend Barney, and finds himself heading to Doctor Kleiner's lab. He was a friend of Gordon's at Black Mesa. Before arriving, he is ambushed by the Metro Police but is saved by Alyx Vance. She's the daughter of Eli Vance, another Black Mesa scientist. They go to the Doctor's lab together and are both ready to be teleported to Eli's lab. Alyx's trip goes smoothly, but when it comes to Gordon's turn, Kleiner's 'pet' messes about with the controls. Gordon lands outside, so he has to go to the lab on foot. But it isn't just a quiet hike - along the way, he faces a countless number of dangerous aliens. Armed with just a crowbar and pistol, can he get there without being cut up into pieces?
There are two gameplay elements - combat and puzzles. Firstly, it isn't anything like some of the run-of-the-mill shooters you can get nowadays. Even now after the Bad Company 2 and Black Ops, the combat is excellent. You start off with the basics - a crowbar and pistol - but you soon have access to more advanced weaponry like a pulse rifle and crossbow. Overall, the combat is nearly flawless; the shooting is solid, the weapons are varied and the shoot-outs are extremely fun. Moving onto the puzzles now. These are what sets Half-Life 2 apart from other first-person shooters. A couple of hours into the game, you get the Zero-Point Energy Field Manipulator, or Gravity Gun. This can pick up and launch objects. I won't go into detail with this, but play it or watch videos and you'll understand why this makes the game so good.
To make the game even better, the graphics are breathtaking. There are some beautiful environments in the game - you'll stop and stare at some of the beautiful, ruined urban environments and rocky mountains. Everything is detailed. The characters also look realistic. Plus, the voice acting is absolutely flawless and the music is spectacular.
Overall Score: 10/10
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Things are just as good in Half-Life 2: Episode One and Two. These are expansions to Half-Life 2, continuing the story. I won't go into detail with these - gameplay wise, they're similar and I don't want to ruin the story. But in these, you get to search the dark underground of City 17, explore some beautiful forest areas and take part in an epic battle against massive aliens called Striders - probably the best part of any game, ever. It's worth getting the game just for that. The graphics and sound remain strong, and the storytelling is brilliant, in both episodes.
Episode One Overall Score: 8/10
Episode Two Overall Score: 10/10
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Take a break from Half-Life and enjoy Portal, a game focused on puzzles. Valve apparently made it as an experiment, but it turns out to be one of their best games.
Seriously, there's not much I can tell you about the storyline without giving any spoilers. But I can tell you that you control a test subject named Chell in Aperture Science Laboratories and you are talked to through speakers by someone, or something named GlaDOS.
The gameplay is unique. You hold the Portal Gun, a device which can fire blue and orange portals. It is pretty easy to use - fire a blue and orange portal in different places around the room. Step through the blue one and you come out through the orange, and vice-versa. It may sound simple and this is indeed the case in the first few levels but as you progress through the game, things get harder and much more complicated. Angular velocity soon comes into play - and buttons, turrets and dangerous hazards become involved.
The graphics are also great. You can't exactly called the environments varied, but they look quite realistic and catch your eye. The audio is, like the Half-Life games, spot on. The voice acting is superb, even if there is only one voice actor, Ellen McLain. She voices GLaDOS and does a spectacular job, putting lots of expression in here voice. The music is fantastic, too. Sometimes, it's fast and catchy but at other times it's slow and dramatic. The slow, dramatic music helps make Portal one of the most atmospheric games of recent times.
Overall, the game is brilliant but there is just one thing that holds it back from being flawless - it's short length. Portal only lasts four hours. However, you don't have too much to complain about. You're getting this with four other games for just a tenner and anyway, the game is so good that you shouldn't care too much.
Overall Score: 10/10
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Getting fed up of single-player? Want a bit of multiplayer action? Then play Team Fortress 2. This is a class-based online-only FPS. It's one of the best online games you can find today.
There are two teams: red and blu. You play in one of these teams across various game modes and maps. There are nine classes: Scout, Soldier, Pyro, Demoman, Heavy, Engineer, Medic, Sniper and Spy. Each of these are split into one of three teams - offence, defence or support.
The graphics are unique - they have a cartoon-y style supposedly influenced by 'early 20th century commercial illustrations'. They are very smooth and is a nice change from the normal, realistic FPS style. And the audio? Well, it's loud. You can hear gunshots and shouts from everywhere.
If you want more information on the game, take a look at my PC review of Team Fortress 2 - there's not too much difference between the two versions. But there's something about that version that makes it better than the PS3 version. Somehow.
Overall Score: 8.5/10 (PS3 Version)
10/10 (PC Version)
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So, should you get The Orange Box? Definitely. You're getting five of the best games ever for just £10. What can be better? Admittedly, the PC version is a lot better - there are automatic updates for each of the games, making the experience better. But if you only have a PS3, it's certainly worth it.
Finally, a chance for console owners without powerful PCs to play Half Life 2. And what a bargain! The original game and two expansions, plus Portal and Team Fortress 2.
Exploration and shooting, wonderful physics, and a deep plot with lots of details. Every now and then you'll talk to NPCs and get little snippets of the resistance's story.
For a on-rails shooter the game feels open, and it's possible to get a bit lost if you have no sense of direction like me. If you're expecting a Halo-esque game be warned, this is a lot slower-paced and based around one man, a non-soldier, and his escape with a crowbar and small selection of firearms.
The graphics are very nice, even for an ageing game (first released on PC in 2004).
The main problem is the loading times. They are very long! Both when you start playing and every time you die. The game is of the old school quick save, low health, respawning in the thick of it style. When you die, sit through the loading screen, your attention wanders... Then suddenly you're back in the game, facing a wall, with 37% health, whoops dead again. There's also moments of slowdown which make precision aiming tricky at times, but this is rare. If you own both PS3 and 360, get it for the latter system!
But ultimately this is a bargain, worth the price for the small, perfectly formed puzzle adventure game Portal alone.
Ah, The Orange Box. Since its release in 2007 The Orange Box has rightly been sweeping up praise for being one of the best value games available. This is because The Orange Box is actually five standalone titles from top PC developer valve. Included is their flagship PC title from 2004; Half Life 2, two episodic follow ups Half Life 2: Episodes 1 and 2, the multiplayer shooter Team Fortress 2 and finally the sci-fi puzzle game Portal. Of these five games, HL2: Episode 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2 were new in 2007 with the release of the package. The package was released on the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
The biggest strength of The Orange Box is not just that it consists of five games but that it consists of five first class games. None of the titles found on the disk could be called filler; each could easily sell successfully as a solo title (and many have.)
Half Life 2 is the biggest game in this collection. While it shows its age a little now, six years after its original release, Half Life 2 is still an excellent game. So much of its appeal is its wonderful visual style which still looks great. Despite being slower paced than many shooters today, this is a really absorbing, story driven piece that should really be experienced by any gamers these days.
Half Life 2: Episode 1 and 2 come next. These followups are continuations of the original game, picking up where the main story left off. They're each shorter, about a quarter of the length of the main game but they advance graphically and add a little variation as well as character development. They're fun but really just stand alone expansion packs.
Portal was the surprise hit of The Orange Box. A first person puzzle game leads you through various scientific experiments where you are the test subject. Armed with a prototype portal gun you must create teleporting doors to solve complex scenarios. Portal is an excellent game that really forces you to think outside the box, easily the best title in the package.
Finally, there is Team Fortress 2. This is the multiplayer element and probably the only part of The Orange Box I don't care for. It is a team game played online. Each player chooses a character class from a selection of soldiers with different skills and weapons, then the usually first-person shooter games are played. I've never really cared for deathmatch or arena games but if you like Quake III, Unreal Tournament etc. then I'm sure you'll enjoy this.
Now as for the complete package; I have been putting off buying The Orange Box on the PS3 for quite some time now. There are a few good reasons for this, the first being that I have already bought The Orange Box on both the PC and the Xbox 360 and the second being that as a compilation of games, I've actually bought the centre piece of this anthology, Half Life 2 at least five times now. However, it is a testament to the value of this pack that it is well worth the cost for the new content alone. Which takes me to my main reason for putting off buying it on the PS3. When this version of The Orange Box was released, a large number of reviews cited some serious technical issues with the game. The most serious of these issues was that the newer games in the package were ported badly resulting in choppy framerates that bordered on the unplayable. Having retired my Xbox 360 after several years of hardware failures, I decided to bite the bullet and pick up The Orange Box on the PS3 and experience it first hand.
Firstly, the good. If your main interest in buying The Orange Box is to play Half Life 2 then you won't be disappointed. Unsurprisingly for a game from 2004, HL2 plays smoothly on the PS3 with a steady frame rate and no major technical gripes. Rendering at a native 720p with anti-aliasing to cut down on jagged edges (something the 360 version actually lacks) HL2 plays as well as you'd expect it to. Portal and Team Fortress occasionally seem to stumble but no worse than many other PS3 games and remain perfectly playable.
However, it is the HL2: Episodes where things start to go wrong. These add ons push the graphics of HL2's source engine and while the PS3 should be able to cope easily with them, it's clear they've been poorly optimised during development. They're playable for the most part but when things get busy on screen the framerate drops, occasionally your game will turn into a slide show and this makes it awkward to play.
While this issue is a major annoyance and it does detract from enjoying the game as much as possible, it's worth mentioning that it isn't constant. Episode 1 and 2 are still playable and they come bundled with three great games with no serious issues. If you're a PS3 and Xbox 360 owner who hasn't yet picked up a copy of The Orange Box then your best bet is to get the 360 version. However, if you've only got a PS3 then you shouldn't be too put off. The Orange Box is still five great games and it's worth your time.
The Orange box seemed like an ideal game (or games should I say?) that I could spend hours on wasting my time.
I had heard of the pretty famous Half Life 2 and even though I had played it before, never really got into them and didn't remember much. So that's the first thing I conquered. The disk contains Half Life 2, Half Life 2: Episode one and episode two.
The half life games on The Orange Box look amazing and play even more amazingly. The storyline is fantastic and I easily spent a good 3 days of my life on it, and I'm not going to review them since there are already much more in-depth reviews on this site for Half Life 2 and it would take to long.
Alongside Half Life on the disk is a game called Portal, this was my favourite of all 3/4 games. Portal is a puzzle based game where you have a portal gun and to complete the levels and objectives must shoot two different portals. When you step through one you come out of the other, this game makes you think of different ways in which you can complete levels. And, as with all Valve games, the graphics and game play is amazing.
The last game on the disk is Team Fortress 2. This is an online only game and after spending a few hours on I decided I didn't like, but, The Orange Box has great replayability if you do like Team Fortress 2 as you could spend hours online but, if like me, you don't like it, the main single player games do not offer much replayability once you have completed them.
The big advantage of The Orange Box is that you get 5 games for the price of basically one and at them time of purchase I ended up paying £39.99
Half Life 2: The Orange Box is one of the best value games you will ever play. There are five games in total included in this package each one of them a gem. There are a few minor problems but at this price it's an amazing deal.
Half Life 2 is one of the best first person shooters I have played. I believe it was the first of the modern shooters as we know them. Its use of physics was ground breaking when the game launched and it still holds up today. The gravity gun weapon is possibly one of my favourite weapons in video games.
The story in this game is great. You play as the silent protagonist Gordon Freeman as you try to survive against the hostile combine forces. The story progresses well and the difficulty scales well as you play through the story.
Team Fortress 2 is a great multiplayer experience. The cartoon style and character one liners make this a light hearted and funny experience. The only downside to the console version is that Valve have not supported the PS3 version with updates.
Portal is a good puzzler with a great sense of humour. After playing this I had an urge to collect cakes, the unlocks in portal.
Overall, this is a great package that you shouldn't miss out on.
First of all let me just clarify, you are getting 5 games for less that £20. That is 5 full games, dont be fooled by the fact 3 of them are called half life 2. Every game in this pack has its own merits. Most people out there have at least tried Half life 1, and most peoprl know that it is a revered institution, when half life 2 was released it blew the competition out of the water just as the original did. With its slick graphics, superb sound, enjoyable game play it was all you could ask of a first person shooter and more. this winning formula has only been build upon by its sequals and now with the addition of the superb portal you get an excersise for your brain, with some mind bending puzzles this is sure to keep anyone entertained for a few hours. and last but not least, team fortress 2, the sequal to one of the most popular online games of its time and the new addition to the series is better than ever. with quirky graphics dont be fooled this is still a brutal and evry tactical online fps/rpg.
go and buy this pack now for an experience that will last and last.
I was extremely fortunate to purchase this game from play.com for the tiny price of £11.99.
I could have been considered as something as a half life 'noob' before buying this pack. I'm usually not a fan of First Person Shooter games. I normally think that they are mindless and repetitive. After the huge amount of hype surrounding these games (and the excellent price point) I decided to take the plunge and give it a go.
I've got to give alot of respect to the makers of this game (Valve I think), because unlike pretty much every other developer, they like to reward their customers by giving lots of bonus and back catalogue games with the latest release. This means that the Orange Box actually consists of 5 of the half life franchise games.
The gameplay itself is excellent, its been ages since I actually had the think while playing an FPS. Not only that, but the solutions I considered to some of the places I got stuck actually worked (unlike most games where there is just some obscure arbritrary solution).
The graphics in the game are also excellent, truly showing off the power of the next gen graphics systems.
One thing that should be mentioned is that many people have been saying that the PS3 version of this game has been cursed with bad porting bugs and problems. This may have been a problem at the beginning (and as such I cannot comment on that), but it certainly isnt a problem, what with the latest updates automatically being installed on the system when you first boot it up.
I would certainly recommend this game to anyone as it gives so much playability for what could be considered as the price of a budget title.
This is the best deal i have ever seen for a collection of excellent games. For £30.00 you get:
Half Life 2
Half Life 2 Episode 1
Half Life 2 Episode 2
Team Fortress 2
Now all these games are excellent. Half life series is absolute genius and in my opinion one of the best first person shooters around. They are full of action, suspense and pure enjoyment plus a great story.
You really cannot go wrong witht this orange box deal, even if it was only for two of the games listed it would still be worth the price due to the excellence of the games.
Portal is a fascinating game that is highly enjoyable and it too even has a story to go with it. Its great fun, opening portals to other places or even just mucking around on the game. I would recommend you to watch videos on portal so you get the ist of what its all about.
And team fortress 2 is a great online game. Look up videos for this as well as its great fun to play and is one of the best online shooting games.
So there you go, a fantastic deal at an unbeliavable price. If you are a fan of half life buy this, if not still buy it, cause at this price you cannot go wrong.
The Orange Box was bought after I traded in another game, I'd never initially think about buying this game for full price but after playing it, I disagree qith my earlier opinion.
Instantly I would have said, quality over quantity because there are 5 games on this one disc... but quality and quantity are evenly matched.
I'd heard about Half-Life on the PC but never being a huge PC gamer, I'd never got around to playing it and although this is the scond it doesn't matter as the storyline and gameplay is definately worth full value anyway.
Among having 1 full game and two added parts which combined adds up to an immense amount of gameplay as oppsed to other games you have to remember that there are still two other games on this disc.
Portal and Team fortress 2
Portal is a new way of gaming. It's basically a puzzle game with elements of First person shooter and an action adeventure where you have to think logically to advance through the levels using the portal device.
This game literally had me stumped at times and I had to sit back and logically think about what to do and how to do it - great fun.
Team Fortress 2 is an online mode and although it lacks a variety of modes and the servers are sometimes laggy, it focuses more on character classes such as Medic, Spy etc... all can be used in different ways for great fun.
Although this is a short review, the game itself will have you playing for hours on end, the graphics are not top dollar, but with so much gameplay and options, it wont exactly bother you, or at least it didn't me.
I would recommend this game to fans of the series and gamers who are looking for a different kind of game, also it's a game that is well worth the money as it will take you quite a while to complete.
My personal rating for The Orange Box is 4/5 with only the server issues of team fortress 2 and some laggy issues in Half Life that let it down.
Definately worth a purchase from the pre-owned section.