Half-Life 2 Episode One

Published Date
01 - Aug - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Aug - 2006
Half-Life 2 Episode One
If you haven't played Half Life 2 before reading this review, you haven't lived yet, and probably won't understand a thing. Make sure you play HL2 before playing HL2:EP1

I hate it! This whole episodic release thing, that is. What's with this whole Episode 1, 2 and 3 thing? Waiting for Star Wars was bad enough, without Valve doing their Lucas impressions!

I finished Half Life 2 in two sittings-that's how much I love this series from Valve. However, at the end of it all, I was left speechless: "How could they end it like that? What were they smoking? Arrrrrrgh!"

Anyway, rants about the ending of HL2 apart, I had to wait three days to get my hands on a decent enough graphics card before I was willing to fire Half Life 2: Episode 1 (HL2:EP1) up. I played it on a AMD Athlon 64 3200 , 1 GB DDR 400 RAM with a ATI Radeon X1900 XT-told you I waited for a good card!

I had the volume up high and was waiting eagerly for an explanation of how Alyx Vance and I had survived that time stopping explosion-it never came…

I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't played this yet, but suffice to say, I was more confused about the events of the end of Half Life 2 after watching the beginning of Episode 1!

Anyway, on to the game! It's typical Half Life 2, the only difference being that you start with the Gravity Gun from the get go. Of course it takes awhile before you get any more weapons, so it's all defying the laws of physics till then! The story is spelt out in the many screenshots of this review, and it involves some good graphics, amazing voice acting and very nice looking character models. The inclusion of HDR (High Dynamic Range) into HL2's Source engine means that the lighting is spectacular.
If she likes me,how  come      4. I can't resist throwing my old             
everyone else is touching her?      computer away

2. She's happy to see me again.   5. then i get a car throw back    Do I get a big hug?                              at me for my trouble                                                           
3. Typical of dads; they always    6. She loves the stupid                     
spoil the romance!                        Dog more than me

7. We go for drive;turns out to 
be a rollecoaster of a ride
. A big guy tries to butt in on our

9. The next guy gets his brains
splattered on the wall  

10. I save the world again,
temporarily though......

11. She's scared! I use my gun
barrel to calm her down 
. Darkness and bugs should mark
her happier

13. Whoops,no more tacos for
breakfast from now on     

  That's a  big  fly. Rocket-
propelled-flyswatter time!

15. Is it me or is this deja vu?
Stop copy-pasting code!
There's Barney,and he found
my crowbar.Oh joy!

17. Strider, strider burning bright.
A fight at last

There goes City 17;time for
Episode 2,and lunch

Alyx and Dog (her pet robot) are back with you, and Alyx is a big help throughout HL2:EP1. Alyx, as usual, is integral to the storyline, and you just cannot get past a lot of doors without her and her magic Combine-force-field-door-shorter-outer. She's not invincible though, so don't leave her standing around fighting Antlions while you cower in a corner!

Rating : 7/10
Developer : Valve

Towards the end you meet up with Barney again, but only for a short while. There are some characters that remind you of Half Life 2, and, in fact, I swear there's one scene in HL2EP1 that's identical to a scene in the beginning of HL2-see screenshot 15 and see if it rings any bells! All the characters are more believable though, but only because they swear a little every now and then-a lot better than the squeaky-clean HL2 dialog!

Maps And Graphics
If you've played HL2, you'll remember Ravenholm and Highway 17, and also City 17-HL2:EP1 takes place only in City 17. The maps are pretty standard, the secrets and puzzles easy to find and solve, and path finding is a snap. The new maps are not nearly as vast as HL2, which is a good or bad thing- depending solely on what you prefer. I just preferred getting lost in the HL2 maps, which made the whole experience more realistic-especially since I'm geographically challenged in real life anyway!

The graphics, however, are superb, and are a lot better than in Half Life 2-just the addition of HDR makes a world of a difference.  

All the same, and you don't find them all in Episode 1. As I mentioned earlier, you start with the Gravity Gun (GG), then find the pistol and submachine guns after you kill a few Combine soldiers. When you finally meet Barney, he hands you the infamous crowbar, making some really corny, yet hilarious remarks about it. As it turns out, the only weapons you need are the GG, the shotgun and the missile launcher-you can easily finish a game using only these.

To tell you the story, we'll use screenshots, but you should know that it's nothing as vast and engrossing as HL2, and is over before you know it. It took me 3 hours to finish Episode 1, and it shouldn't take even first time Half Lifers more than 6 hours to finish it. But, then again, how much more can you expect from a $20 (Rs 900) episode?

I was very disappointed by the usage of time though, and I felt a lot more should have happened in those 3 hours that I was playing. Overall, just the Ravenholm level in HL2-which sent shivers down my spine the first time I played it-was more entertaining than this entire episode. Overall, I'll give Episode 1 a rating of 7/10, because it was way too short and was pale in comparison to Half Life 2.

Of course you should also know that I will be one of the first to download and buy Episode 2 when it's released!

Team DigitTeam Digit

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