needs a whole life when Half Life's around?
by Mike Chasselwaite
9, 2006 - Do
you remember Dallas? The lame, soapy TV show that
featured the uber-rich Ewing family? Well, I never,
ever, watched it but I do recall the furor over the
Bobby Ewings shower scene in which the character
played by Patrick Duffy was rescued from the previous
seasons cliff hanger by the realization that
it was all just a bad dream. Yes, it was all just
a bad dream. Well, if you thought that was awful,
wait until you see how Gordon and Alyx survive the
explosion that occurred at the end of Half-Life 2.
Life 2: Episode One, may start off as appalling as
a Dallas episode but at least we have two things to
look forward to: Gordon and Alyx are still alive,
and secondly, the rest of the game kicks ass.
2: Episode One picks up where Half-Life 2 left off;
with Gordon and Alyx caught in an apparently deadly
explosion. As an episode, this isnt meant to
be compared to an actual Half-Life game. Its
much shorter and reuses many of the same environments,
weapons, enemies and moves. Its like an expansion
pack of sorts but it takes the story in a new direction.
It answers some questions and raises others which
will hopefully be explained in the following two Half-Life
2 episodes. This episode is the first part of a trilogy.
Instead of having to wait a few years and risk having
gamers lose interest in the series, the developers
thought it would be a good idea to break the next
game up into three different episodes so that we could
be enjoying some of it while the rest of it is still
in development. This isnt a good idea, its
a great idea. The game is fully realized. Its
easily the most refined game in the series. The only
regret youll have is that its too short.
and puzzle solving comprise the lions share
of the gameplay. At times, you will find yourself
engaged in both activities at the same time. The game
is definitely geared toward Half-Life veterans because
the gameplay is very challenging. Unlike the last
two versions, Episode One places an emphasis on co-op
play, but not with another human. Alyx is controlled
by the CPU and is a shining example of artificial
intelligence. She really acts like a real-life partner
by covering your ass and letting you get to work on
other tasks such as solving puzzles while she snuffs
the life out of those evil, alien Combines. You can
actually rely on her, and she wont get in your
way. Shes tough, hard to kill, is a great aim
and seems to have unlimited ammo. Whats more,
is that she offers plenty of narration which can be
pretty funny at times. I would have said conversation
but we all know that Gordon is the strong silent type
and doesnt engage in anything as un-cool as
talk. It feels good to have companionship and its
a new element that brings another dimension to the
series. Theres also the sexual tension between
the two characters that drives an interesting subplot.
this episode you are trapped in City 17 with an overheated
Citadel and an army of enemies including the Combines,
head crabs, striders and a genetically altered version
of the Combines called the Zombines which are essentially
alien zombies that run at you with live grenades.
You will have all of the same weapons as before such
as pistols, shotguns, grenades and the gravity gun
which is used to move objects for defensive, offensive
and puzzle-solving situations. Youre objective
is to get the hell out of the city before it implodes.
the last two games in the series, Episode One does
not include drivable vehicles. Virtually all of the
combat is urban based which involves moving from room
to room, building to building and street to street.
The progress is slow but you because the action is
so intense you arent really aware of how much
distance youve covered; youre more interested
in remaining alive. You wont miss the vehicles
and by the time that you might want a fresh gameplay
experience, the game is over.
One features many of the same locations featured in
the sequel but a new dynamic lighting feature makes
the environments even more spectacular than before.
You can actually see multiple light sources highlighting
different angles as well as large outdoor areas that
feature various sun-shaded regions. It helps to make
things more realistic than ever. The voice-acting
is top shelf and includes the talent of Hollywood
professionals such as Robert Guillaume and Michelle
Forbes. They not only sound great but thanks to the
excellent writing they actually have interesting things
to say. And thanks to the expressive facial animations,
they also look good saying it.
youre a Half-Life fan, you simply cant
ignore this one. If youre not a Half-Life fan,
prepare to become one.
new episode for one of the best-selling action games
of all time.
of over 18 million units sold worldwide
advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI)
detailed environments provide amazing gameplay settings
Actors: The most sophisticated in-game characters
Gameplay: Objects obey the laws of gravity, friction
story line will appeal to those seeking more than
another shooting gallery experience