Half-Life 2: Episode One (2006)

Video Game  |  Action, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  1 June 2006 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.9/10 from 2,794 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 2 critic

Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance must escape City 17 following the explosion of its fusion reactor.


0Check in


Credited cast:
Dr. Eli Vance (voice)
Vortigaunt (voice) (as Lou Gossett jr.)
Alyx Vance (voice)
Michael Shapiro ...
G-Man / Barney Calhoun (voice)
Harry S. Robins ...
Citizens / Misc. characters (voice)
Mary Kae Irvin ...
Citizens / Misc. characters (voice)
Ellen McLain ...
Overwatch (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Judith Mossman- Spanish


The first of three in the episodic series that potentially make up what could be called Half-Life 3, Half-Life 2: Episode One takes place directly after the events of Half-Life 2. You play, again, as the famous Gordon Freeman, this time running away from the unstable Citadel, which is collapsing from the preceding events in Half-Life 2. With Alyx Vance at your side, you must battle through the remaining enemies left in City 17 in an attempt to escape almost certain peril. Written by MB

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Horror | Sci-Fi


M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

1 June 2006 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


See  »

Did You Know?


After Dog shows Alyx and Gordon his plan to hurl them across a canyon into the Citadel, Alyx asks "You did do the math, right?", to which Dog shakes his head. The head shake was not intended and was originally a bug with Dog's animation, however when play testers found it they said it was funny, so it was kept in. See more »


In level "Low Life" the player is trying to reach the surface via an underground parking lot. At level P5 antlions attack from underground burrows. However level P5 is not the ground floor. Under P5 is P6. See more »


[first lines]
Dr. Wallace Breen: Tell me, Dr. Freeman, if you can. You have destroyed so much. What is it, exactly, that you have created? Can you name even one thing? I thought not.
See more »


Follows Half-Life 2: Lost Coast (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The first excellent PC episode
1 November 2007 | by (Zaporozhye, Ukraine) – See all my reviews

PC Game: Half-Life 2 Episode One.

Genre: Sci-Fi First-Person Shooter.

Developer: Valve Software.

Publisher: Valve Software.

Release Date: 01.06.06.

Engine: Source.

Protagonist: Dr. Gordon Freeman.

Settings: City 17 and its outskirts, somewhere in Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Romania or Ukraine).

The episode takes place immediately after the end of Half-Life 2, in and around the war-torn setting of City 17. Episode One continues to follow scientist Gordon Freeman and his companion Alyx Vance as they deal with the events of HL2 and humanity's continuing struggle against the Combine.

The series of following events in HL2, Episode One starts out after the explosion of the Citadel's dark fusion reactor from which Gordon was extracted by the G-Man and Alyx Vance was left behind. As time stops, several Vortigaunts appear and rescue Alyx from the blast. The G-Man is then seen walking toward Gordon Freeman. As he opens his mouth to speak, he is distracted by blue lights and is separated from Gordon by another group of Vortigaunts - much to his displeasure. More Vortigaunts then surround and teleport Gordon.

Gordon wakes up outside the Citadel, buried under a pile of rubble. Dog removes these rocks, and Gordon is reunited with Alyx. Alyx contacts Eli Vance and Isaac Kleiner, who have managed to escape the city, and is informed that the Citadel's core is at risk of exploding at any moment. Kleiner states that the explosion could be large enough to level the whole of City 17, and that the only way for them to survive would be to re-enter the Citadel and slow the core's progression toward meltdown. Eli reluctantly agrees when he sees no other option. Alyx and Gordon re-enter the Citadel to try to stabilize the core.

As a direct continuation of HL2, no significant changes to the gameplay were undertaken. As in HL and HL2 players make their way through a linear series of levels, encountering various different enemies and allies. The gameplay is broken up between combat orientated challenges and puzzles; these include physics-based puzzles. Episode One also integrates tutorial like tasks into the story itself as in the previous games in order to familiarize the player to any new gameplay mechanics, such as the ability to re-program rollermines, without breaking immersion. Like HL2, the gravity gun continues to play a crucial function throughout the game, granting the player extensive use of physics in combat and puzzle-solving.

Enemies such as Stalkers and areas of the Citadel glimpsed at the end of HL2 are encountered and explored by the player. Other new additions include the Zombine, Combine pods and Hunters; the latter two introduced as set-up for Episode Two are only briefly interacted with. While new creatures were added, there were no additions to the game's current weapon arsenal.

While no entirely new locales were introduced for Episode One, large alterations were made to the appearance of both City 17 and the Citadel from the end of HL2 to reflect the changing shape of the world and to serve as a story reminder to the player how their actions have affected the greater whole. The Citadel has degenerated from the cold, alien and imposing fortress of the previous game to an extremely unstable state, providing a visual cue to remind the player of the catastrophic damage they inflicted, to allow for new gameplay elements that accentuate the new dangers that come with the Citadel's imminent collapse and to serve a thematic purpose in highlighting the weakening of the Combine's dominance. Likewise, City 17 has been altered to reflect the aftermath of the resistance's open rebellion, with vast swathes of destroyed buildings and the introduction of foes previously kept outside its confines in HL2 in order to further emphasise the scale of the uprising.

Commentary mode, a new feature tested in Half-Life Lost Coast, added to Episodes allowing for more replayability, I completed HL2 & HL2EP1 3 times each. Both Episode’s replays – with commentary on. Various Valve’s employees give monologues about juicy details of development process. Hugely entertaining.

Original score by Kelly Bailey consists of 10 tracks in .mp3 format.

Critical and public response to Episode One was broadly positive, with some reviewers praising the game for having more intricate, well-paced gameplay than the acclaimed HL2. The game's interactivity, particularly in the shape of the character of Alyx and her reactions to the player's actions and the events of the game, has also received praise. PC Gamer magazine gave an 85% in the US edition, summarizing that "...while this inaugural episode may not be the essential FPS that HL2 is, I can't imagine any shooter fan who'd want to miss it". The game received 90% in the UK edition, which directed particular praise on the balance between puzzle orientated and action orientated challenges throughout the game. Edge gave the game 8/10, praising the "deftness" with which the game was able to direct the player's eyes, and the strength of Alyx as a companion; concluding that "...in an interactive genre bound to the traditions of the pop-up gun and invisible hero, it simply doesn't get more sophisticated than this". Episode One earned an overall score of 87% on review collection websites Metacritic and Game Rankings. My rates (compared to 2006’s level, of course):

Gameplay: 9.5/10.

Graphics: 10/10.

Sound: 9.5/10.

Score (OST): 8/10.

Story: 9/10.

Controls & Interface: 9.5/10.

OVERALL: 9.5/10.

If you like this game I also recommend: Half-Life, Half-Life Uplink, Half-Life Opposing Force, Half-Life Blue Shift, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 Lost Coast, Half-Life 2 Episode Two, Portal, Half-Life 2 Episode Three, F.E.A.R., F.E.A.R. Extraction Point, Doom 3, SiN, SiN Episodes, Call Of Duty, Call Of Duty United Offensive.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Try my quiz KingofSting
Those Zombies are Annoying KingofSting
ash or snow? bargainmart2001
Breen? huupper
Noticed something awesome while playing pwood-3
Help Womble_Killer_63
Discuss Half-Life 2: Episode One (2006) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: