Goddamnit, is Black Mesa Source awesome?
Eventually. Of course, the servers were instantly flooded, once that counter everyone had been staring without blinking for six hours straight, ran out. Understandable, no probs, even though your rage grows every minute as mirror after mirror fails you. After a few hours the thing got sorted of course, and then you just had to wait for another couple of hours for the 3.07 Gb download to complete, but who cares when it’s something this unbelievable epic. Anyway I’m still seeding, and will continue doing so until my attention span runs out.
And it…is…satisfying as shit. It’s bloody great. It really is too bad they are giving it away, otherwise I’d have to throw money at them until they relinquished their oily little fingers off it. It really is everything I expected and a little more. All aspects of the original HL are there, and they are realised really, really, really well. Graphics are very cool, if by modern standards a bit outdated, music is excellent, sound-effects , game play, atmosphere, everything. Even the voice-acting, which I was a bit apprehensive about, works really well and is really proficient. It is more fun than punching other people’s crying children, combining the nostalgia of the classic HL universe with HL2s excellent engine and graphics (and physics of course), and as the best part, it is totally free and available for everyone. Like your mom. btw it’s about to get spoiled for you.
ERMAHGERD – BLARCH MERSARH!
Besides the basic conversion, the developers have actually added some new background characters and an insane amount of “lore-friendly” props and details. The Head-crabs are the same as ever, but the designs of the Vortigaunts and Zombies are slightly altered, and I have to admit I fucking love the new, more organic and grotesque looking zombies. I haven’t gotten too far yet, and I’m sure there’s more awesome details to be found, but so far it is bloody great. Even small tweaks, like not making the flashlight run out of battery seem to improve the overall experience, as well as not restricting the time Gordon can run. Also, for example, what was always a bit silly in HL2, was how you could not pick up a dead Head-crab and toss it around like the world’s most perverted rag-doll. Well, now you can. So before we get to the nit-picking part, to sum up: it could not be more awesome if it came with a life-size naked pin-up of Chell making out with Miranda from Mass Effect, an Oomph-Loompa as your personal indentured servant and a robot that dispenses beer and shoots dragons. So it’s pretty cool. Now, put on your douché-hat, and let’s get to the shitty bits!
The Shitty Bits
One thing I noticed after the immersive opening-episode in the Black Mesa Labs, is that there are so many fewer enemies than in the original. I am not sure if this was to take stress off the engine, or a deliberate choice (as the enemies are also a bittie tougher than before), but you do want to crank up the difficulty by one when you get started. The other kind of silly thing is that now Gordon can pick up objects, and throw them fast enough to nearly make a dent in the wall. He can easily throw shit halfway across the entire facility, and you really have to wonder whether his orange hazard-suit was downgraded between games.
And that’s it. Otherwise it’s pure gold. The world’s greatest theoretical physicist is back to show that the best kind of science is the dangerous, unpredictable and ethically dubious kind.
So grab your crowbar, download this sucker, never sleep again, and attack things shouting “Eat Science!”