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Half-Life
256px-Half-Life Cover Art
Developer(s) Valve Corporation(Microsoft Windows)

Gearbox Software(PlayStation 2)

Publisher(s) Sierra Entertainment
Distributor(s) Sierra Entertainment (retail)

Steam(online)

Writer(s) Marc Laidlaw
Composer(s) Kelly Bailey
Series Half-Life
Engine GoldSrc
Version Retail: 1.1.1.0 Steam: 1.1.2.1
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows,PlayStation 2
Release date(s) Microsoft Windows[1]
  • NA November 19, 1998
  • EU 1998

PlayStation 2[2]

  • NA November 11, 2001
  • EU November 30, 2001
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Rating(s) *ELSPA: 15+
Media/distribution CD, DVD, download
System requirements

Microsoft Windows*Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0, or higher

Half-LifeEdit

Half-Life is a science fiction first-person shooter video game developed by Valve Corporation, the company's debut product and the first in the Half-Life series. First released by Sierra Studios, the game was also released for the PlayStation 2.[2] In Half-Life, players assume the role of Dr. Gordon Freeman, a theoretical physicist who must fight his way out of a secret underground research facility whose research and experiments into teleportation technology have gone disastrously wrong.

Valve, set up by former Microsoft employees, had difficulty finding a publisher for the game, with many believing that it was "too ambitious" a project. Sierra On-Line eventually signed the game after expressing interest in making a 3D action game. The game had its first major public appearance at the 1997 Electronic Entertainment Expo. Designed for Windows, the game uses a heavily modified version of id Software's "Quake" game engine called GoldSrc.[1][3]

On its release, critics hailed its overall presentation and numerous scripted sequences, and it won over 50 PC Game of the Year awards.[4][5] Its gameplay influenced the design of first-person shooters for years after its release, and it is widely considered to be one of the greatest computer games of all time.[6][7] As of 16 November 2004, Half-Life sold eight million copies,[8] and 9.3 million copies by December 2008.[9] As of 14 July 2006, the Half-Life franchise has sold over 20 million units.[10] Half-Life was followed by the 2004 sequel Half-Life 2, which also received critical acclaim. Half-Life has had a notable cultural impact with its community mods and sequels spawning a large fanbase and cult following.

SynopsisEdit

[edit]SettingEdit

Most of the game is set in a remote desert area of New Mexico in the Black Mesa Research Facility, a fictional complex that bears many similarities to both the Los Alamos National Laboratory andArea 51, at some point between the years 2000 and 2009. The game's protagonist is the theoretical physicist Gordon Freeman, an MIT graduate. Freeman becomes one of the survivors of an experiment at Black Mesa that goes horribly wrong, when an unexpected "resonance cascade"—a fictitious phenomenon —rips dimensional seams, devastating the facility. Aliens from another dimension known as Xen subsequently enter the facility through these dimensional seams (an event known as the "Black Mesa incident").[11]

As Freeman tries to make his way out of the ruined facility, he soon discovers that he is caught between two sides: the hostile aliens and the Hazardous Environment Combat Unit, a United States Marine Corps Special Operations division dispatched to cover up the incident by eliminating the organisms, as well as Dr. Freeman and the other surviving Black Mesa personnel. Throughout the game, a mysterious figure known (but not actually referred to in-game) as the "G-Man" regularly appears, and seems to be monitoring Freeman's progress. Ultimately, Freeman uses the cooperation of surviving scientists and security officers to work his way towards the mysterious "Lambda Complex" of Black Mesa (signified with the Greek "λ" character), where a team of survivors teleport him to the alien world Xen to kill the Nihilanth, the semi-physical entity keeping Xen's side of the dimensional rift open.[11]

The game's plot was originally inspired by the video games Doom, Quake (both PC games produced by id Software), and Resident Evil (published by Capcom), Stephen King's short story/novella The Mist, and an episode of The Outer Limits called "The Borderland".[14] It was later developed by Valve's in-house writer and author, Marc Laidlaw, who wrote the books Dad's Nuke and The 37th Mandala.[15]

[edit]PlotEdit

Gordon Freeman arrives late for work at the Black Mesa Research Facility at 8:47 A.M., using its tram system. He acquires his Hazardous Environment suit before proceeding to the test chamber of the Anomalous Materials Lab, to assist in an experiment. He is tasked with pushing a non-standard specimen into the scanning beam of the Anti-Mass Spectrometer for analysis. This creates a sudden catastrophe (later referred to as the "Black Mesa incident") called a "resonance cascade",[16]opening a portal between Earth and a dimension called Xen.[17] Freeman is sporadically teleported there and catches glimpses of various alien life-forms, including a circle of Vortigaunts, shortly before blacking out.[17]

Freeman awakens in the ruined test chamber and surveys the destroyed lab, strewn with the bodies of scientists and security personnel. Finding survivors, Freeman learns that communication lines to the outside world are completely cut and is encouraged to head to the surface for help because of his suit. His journey consists of sidestepping Black Mesa's structural damage and defending himself against hostile Xen creatures suddenly teleporting into the area. Other survivors along the way claim that a rescue team has been dispatched, only to discover that the Hazardous Environment Combat Unit, which has taken control of Black Mesa, is killing both the organisms and the employees there as part of a government cover-up.[18]Freeman fights the Marines before reaching the surface of Black Mesa, where he learns that scientists from the Lambda Complex may have the means to resolve the problems created by the cascade. Gordon travels to the other end of the facility to assist them.[18] However, Gordon encounters several hurdles throughout the facility, such as reactivating a rocket engine test facility to destroy a trio of giant Tentacles,[19] using an aging railway system in order to launch a crucial satellite rocket,[20]and fighting a group of Black Ops soldiers,[21] before he is captured by Marines and dumped in a garbage compactor. Gordon escapes safely and makes his way to an older part of the facility where he discovers an extensive collection of specimens collected from Xen, long before the resonance cascade.[22]

Reaching the surface once more, Gordon finds that the area has become a warzone. Despite calling for reinforcements, the Marines are being overwhelmed by an alien military force.[23] By scaling cliffs and navigating destroyed buildings, Gordon reaches safety underground.[23] The Marines begin to pull out of Black Mesa and airstrikes begin. Meanwhile Gordon goes through underground water channels as aliens pick off the remaining Marines until [24] Freeman arrives at the Lambda Complex, in which scientists developed the teleportation technology that allowed them to travel to Xen in the first place. He also encounters another group of Black Ops.[25] After meeting the remaining personnel, Gordon is told that the satellite he launched failed to reverse the effects of the resonance cascade because an immensely powerful being on the other side of the rift is keeping it open. Gordon must kill this being to stop the Xenian invasion. The scientists activate the teleporter and Gordon is transported to Xen.[25]

Entering the borderworld Xen, Gordon encounters many of the organisms[26] that had been brought into Black Mesa, as well as the remains of HEV-wearing researchers that came before him. He fights against Gonarch, a huge headcrab with a large egg sac,[27] fights his way through an alien camp, and arrives at a massive alien factory, which is creating the Alien Grunt soldiers.[28] After fighting his way through levitating creatures, he finds a giant portal and enters it.[28] In a vast cave, Gordon confronts the Nihilanth, the entity maintaining the rift, and destroys it.[29] As the Nihilanth dies, it explodes in a giant green blast which knocks Gordon unconscious.

Freeman awakens, stripped of his gear, in the presence of the G-Man, who has been watching over Gordon, appearing at least once in each chapter. The G-Man praises Freeman's actions in Xen. He explains that his "employers", believing that Freeman has "limitless potential", have authorized him to offer Freeman a job. Should he refuse this offer, he will however be given a battle that he has "no chance of winning." The player can then choose to accept, in which case the screen goes black and the G-Man is heard to say, "Wisely done, Mr. Freeman. I will see you up ahead."[29] or to refuse and find themselves unarmed and surrounded by hordes of hostile creatures, as the G-man says, "Well, it looks like we won't be working together. No regrets, Mr. Freeman."

Half-Life 2
256px-Half-Life 2 cover

North American cover art, featuring seriesprotagonist Gordon Freeman

Developer(s) Valve Corporation(Microsoft Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360 & Mac OS X)

EA Games(PlayStation 3)

Publisher(s) Valve Corporation

Sierra Entertainment

Distributor(s) Valve Corporation

Vivendi Universal Games(former distributor) Electronic Arts (2005-present)

Composer(s) Kelly Bailey
Series Half-Life
Engine Source
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Xbox,Xbox 360, PlayStation 3,Mac OS X
Release date(s) Microsoft Windows[1]

November 16, 2004 Xbox[1]

  • NA November 15, 2005
  • EU November 18, 2005

Xbox 360[2]

  • NA October 10, 2007
  • EU October 19, 2007
  • AUS October 25, 2007
  • JP May 22, 2008

PlayStation 3[2]

  • NA December 11, 2007
  • EU December 14, 2007
  • AUS December 20, 2007

Mac OS X[3] May 26, 2010

Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s) *ACB: MA15+
Media/distribution Optical disc (standalone,The Orange Box),download (via Steam)
System requirements

See Development section for requirements matrix

Half-Life 2Edit

Half-Life 2 (stylized as HλLF-LIFE2, or simplified as λ2), the sequel to Half-Life, is a first-person shooter video game and a signature title in the Half-Life series. Developed by Valve Corporation, it was initially released on November 16, 2004, following a protracted five-year,[4] $40 million development cycle,[5] during which a substantial part of the project was leaked and distributed on the Internet.[6]

The game was developed alongside Valve's Steam software. It introduced the Source game engine and, because of Steam, is the first video game to require online product activation.[7][8]

Like its predecessor, Half-Life 2 was met with near-unanimous critical acclaim.[9][10] It was praised for its advanced physics, animation, sound, AI, graphics, and narrative. The game won 39 "Game of the Year" awards,[11] and a couple of publications have named it "Game of the Decade".[12][13][14][15] Over 6.5 million copies of Half-Life 2 were sold at retail by December 3, 2008, making it a bestselling PC game[16] (not including the number of sales via Steam).[17] As of February 9, 2011, Half-Life 2 has sold over 12 million copies.[18]

SynopsisEdit

[edit]Background and settingEdit

Half-Life 2 is a work of science fiction presenting a dystopian alternate history of Earth, where the resources of the planet, including the human race itself, are being harvested by an oppressive multidimensional empire, known as the Combine. The game is set around the fictitious City 17, somewhere in Eastern Europe, roughly 20 years after the events of Half-Life. During Half-Life, the scientists at the game's Black Mesa Research Facility cause an interdimensional instability, known in the series as a resonance cascade, which Gordon tries to resolve. However, by killing the overlord of the attacking "border-world", Xen, Gordon unwittingly widens the dimensional rift, which leads to disasters on Earth. This became known as the "Black Mesa Incident".[19]

Some time after the ending of Half-Life, this instability attracts the attention of the Combine, and they invade. Humanity surrenders at the conclusion of the resulting Seven Hour War. City 17 becomes the home of the gigantic Combine Citadel, and Dr. Wallace Breen, the Administrator of Black Mesa who had negotiated the surrender, is appointed representative and Administrator to supervise the survivors on behalf of the Combine. Unable to breed due to the Combine suppression field, humanity matures (i.e. no children remain, as seen in the first chapter).[20] The Combine implements a brutalpolice state of Civil Protection officers and Overwatch soldiers, and the underground Lambda Resistance forms.

[edit]PlotEdit

The game begins as Gordon Freeman is brought out of stasis by the mysterious G-Man, who "inserts" him into a train nearing its destination: City 17 (Point Insertion).[21] After arriving at the station and eluding Combine forces, Gordon joins the Lambda Resistance, organized by fellow friends from Black Mesa, including Barney Calhoun, who is working undercover as a Combine CP officer; and Alyx Vance, the daughter of one of Gordon's former colleagues, Dr. Eli Vance. After a failed attempt to teleport Gordon to Black Mesa East from Dr. Kleiner's makeshift laboratory ("A Red Letter Day"),[22]Gordon, who is re-equipped with the HEV suit and a crowbar,[23] is forced to embark on foot through the city's old canal system (Route Kanal). After obtaining an airboat (Water Hazard), he eventually reaches Black Mesa East, several miles from the city. Gordon is reintroduced to Eli [24], and meets Dr. Judith Mossman. Alyx, who is glad to see him, introduces Gordon to D0g, her car-sized pet robot, and gives him the Gravity Gun. Later, Black Mesa East comes under Combine attack, and Eli and Mossman are captured and taken to the Combine prison Nova Prospekt. Gordon and Alyx are forced to take separate ways to Nova Prospekt; Gordon is to detour through the headcrab zombie-infested town of Ravenholm, with the help of its last survivor, Father Grigori ("We Don't Go To Ravenholm..."). After venturing through a mine and combating snipers, Gordon makes his way with a Tau cannon-rigged dune buggy along Highway 17, a crumbling coastal road. He eventually helps one of the resistance leaders, Colonel Odessa Cubbage, defend resistance points at New Little Odessa, and Lighthouse Point from an impending Combine assault.

After traveling past Lighthouse Point and crossing an antlion-infested beach (Sandtraps), Gordon storms Nova Prospekt where he is reunited with Alyx [25] They manage to locate Eli, and discover that Mossman is a Combine informant (Entanglement). Before they can stop her, she teleports herself and Eli back to City 17's Citadel. The Combine teleporter explodes as Gordon and Alyx use it to escape Nova Prospekt.

Rematerializing in Kleiner's lab, Gordon and Alyx learn that they were caught in what a shaken Dr. Kleiner calls "a very slow teleport," during which a week's time had passed.[26] During their absence, the Resistance, who heard about what had happened at Nova Prospekt, has mobilized against the Combine, turning City 17 into a warzone.[27] During the battle, Alyx is captured by the Combine and taken to the Citadel (Anticitizen One).[28]

After numerous battles across the city, a final bit of help from Dog and Barney ("Follow Freeman!"),[29] Gordon enters the Citadel to rescue Alyx and Eli. However, he is caught in a Combine Confiscation Field chamber that destroys all of his weapons except for the Gravity Gun; instead, the energy "backfires" and enhances the Gravity Gun's capabilities, allowing Gordon to escape and dispatch platoons of Citadel soldiers with ease (Our Benefactors). Eventually, Gordon is captured riding in a Combine transport pod and is taken to Dr. Breen's office, where he and Dr. Mossman are waiting with Eli and Alyx in captivity (Dark Energy). Dr. Breen begins to explain his plans for further conquest of the humans by the Combine, contrary to what he told Dr. Mossman. Angered, Dr. Mossman frees Gordon, Alyx, and Eli before they are beamed off-world. Dr. Breen tries to escape through a Dark Energy portal, but Gordon pursues him and destroys the reactor with the supercharged Gravity Gun.[30] Breen appears to be annihilated in the resulting explosion. Just before Gordon and Alyx are about to meet a similar fate, time suddenly stops. The G-Man reappears, and praises Gordon for his actions on the job before putting him back into stasis, apparently leaving Alyx to face the explosion alone.[31] Gordon and Alyx's fates are later revealed in Half-Life 2: Episode One.

CreditsEdit

Half-Life Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-Life_(video_game)

Half-Life 2 Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-Life_2

Half-Life (series) Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-Life_(series)

Half-Life Wikia: http://half-life.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

All information, citation, and reference can be found on these Wiki's.

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