You play a scientist who must make his way through a ruined underground scientific complex infested with danger.


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Credited cast:
Michael Shapiro ...
Security Guard Barney Calhoun / G-Man / Nihilanth / HECU Soldiers / Security Guards / Scientists (voice) (as Mike Shapiro)
Harry S. Robins ...
Smithers / Eli Vance / Scientists / HECU Soldiers (voice)
Kathy Levin ...
HEV Suit / Gina Cross / Black Mesa Transit System Announcer (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gina, Collette (PS2 Version) (voice)


A mysterious alien artifact has been recovered and brought to a top-secret research facility in the Black Mesa. When newcomer Dr. Gordon Freeman is assigned to physically test the artifact, things go very wrong when the artifact opens a destructive and unstable portal to Xen, a planet in a different dimension. Gordon blacks out, and awakes in a now crippled and ruined research facility. When Freeman and the survivors of this ordeal discover the portal has allowed its inhabitants-deadly alien creatures-to enter the facility, they realize that they must call the government for help. The government, however, already has plans to contain this incident by silencing the witnesses. Written by Kerwin Tsang <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Run, Think, Shoot, Live.


M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 November 1998 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


The hero Gordon Freeman does not say a word through out the game. See more »


Scientist: Freeman, you fool!
See more »


References Quake (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Until Half-Life 2 and Halo 2 came along, this was the best game ever made.
9 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As far as immersion goes, you simply couldn't have done any better than Half-Life. Half-Life pioneered many firsts in the genre when it was released in 1998. The biggest innovation is that the game NEVER shifts away from your perspective of the action. This means that there are no cutscenes, no early explanations of the backstory, and that your character cannot talk (giving you room to talk during the game, if you need to). Half-Life does NOT disappoint when it comes to fooling you into thinking that you're experiencing all of this in real life. Other innovations include seamless level transitions, having to reload your weapon occasionally, and a passable excuse for a heads-up display (since your character is a scientist, he must wear a hazard suit that comes equipped with HUD readers for health, shields, weapons, and ammo). The only thing I can think of that isn't realistic about Half-Life is the fact that you simply walk over objects to pick them up. However, since the game is pretty fast-paced, having to pick up items manually would have been quite frustrating in the heat of battle.

Of course, the gameplay isn't the only thing that Half-Life has to offer. The disturbingly realistic graphics and sound (for the time) also combine with the gameplay to further immerse you into the experience. Half-Life uses a heavily modified version of the already stunning Quake engine, which broke new ground in 1996 for creating realistic environments and characters with polygon-based true 3-D graphics. Half-Life has higher polygon counts, better lighting, and more detailed textures than in Quake, making the graphics that much more believable. To top that all off, a skeletal animation system makes for extremely realistic character animations. Overall, the graphics and animations are just so good, they even make Unreal's graphics look lame. I'm not joking around! This is as good as video games could look and sound at the time!

You've also got an excellent variety of weapons. In fact, there's probably more weapons than any other shooter at the time. You've got a crowbar (for melee combat), pistol, revolver, machinegun, shotgun, crossbow, rocket launcher, particle gun, flamethrower, alien arm (which shoots out lethal "bugs" and has an infinite ammo supply), grenades, pipebombs, laser trip mines, and a cute alien bug that runs up to enemies to bite the crap out of them. What more could you want?

But the most surprising aspect of all is that Half-Life didn't come from a high-profile developer at the time (like 3D Realms, id Software, or Raven Software). This amazing piece of work came from a newcoming developer that we didn't even know about at the time -- Kirkland, Washington-based Valve Software. But even if Valve wasn't a high-profile developer at the time, you could tell from this game that their goal was clearly to create the best game ever. You simply aren't a gamer if you don't at least try Half-Life. A definite 10 / 10 to this one!

19 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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