By Robby Glade
For my first article here at IBIS, I felt like taking a trip down memory lane. Let’s remember back to November 2004. As many of you may remember, this was the month when Half Life 2 was finally released. After what seemed like years of delayed release dates and an entire month of tantalizing game play in Counter Strike: Source Beta, millions anxiously waited for their steam download to complete, or caused countless accidents rushing home from their local electronics retailer. HL2 proved to be one of the best FPS odysseys ever conceived and indisputably one of the most revolutionary games of all time.
As I walked through the impeccably constructed train station, I thought to myself, “Is this really happening. Is this even possible? Has Valve actually done something right? How did they not mess this up? After all, is this not the company that tried to convince me that Counter Strike: Condition Zero was a real game?” And, indeed, Valve had done something very right; something that would go on to win the only 11/10 ever awarded by Maximum PC.
Fate, however, is not without a sense of irony.
As with the release of a sequel to a great movie, I felt at the time that I should refresh my memory as to how the previous game ended. It had been a while since I had played the original Half Life, and I wanted to make sure I remembered all the details. But, I thought to myself, why replay the original masterpiece when I can replay it on this revolutionary source engine? Why deal with the obsolete graphics? I don’t have to deal with jagged edges any longer! I do not have to deal with Barney the cop lip-synching even worse than Ashlee Simpson! I have HALF LIFE: SOURCE!!
Unfortunately, for lack of a better phrase, it “sucked balls.”
It seemed Valve had resold me the exact same product I had purchased six years ago. The graphics were no better, and I even found that some of the old glitches appeared in the exact same places! (Like getting stuck in the floor at certain load points I remember all too vividly). What a disservice to the legend they had created. What a blatant disregard for the honor and spirit of Gordon Freeman. What a disgrace. With a profound disgust in my voice, I cussed out my monitor as my player model loaded in the wall at the beginning of “Office Complex.”
OK, so maybe I’m being a little too harsh on Valve. After all, making HL2 was tough enough as it was. Another entire game would be simply too much for them to handle. Besides, they would have just pushed back its release date another lifetime, knowing them. If only there were some other organization with enough time and resources to reconstruct the original Half Life from the ground up using the Source Engine. If only there were someone out there to take advantage of its increased polycount limits and new AI insight. Well I’m happy to inform you all that such an organization does exist. They’re called Black Mesa Source, and they kick ass.
It seems some people who are more knowledgeable and capable than I had the same gripes about Valve’s B.S. Since November of 2004 (that’s right, since HL: Source was released), a team of developers not at all affiliated with Valve has been hard at work creating Black Mesa: Source. They have recreated the digital world of Half Life from the ground up. From maps to models to music, these guys are advertising a finished product that practically rivals HL2 itself. And their efforts have not gone unnoticed; four times in a row, they’ve won the Best Upcoming Mod of the Year and are enjoying unbridled support from the online modding community who has even awarded them Mod DB Players Choice - Best Upcoming Mod twice.
Now here comes the best part about Black Mesa; it is a 100% free mod. That’s right, this amazing source mod will be released for free download: not the beta version, not a trial version, but the entire game. But realize that this is only a possibility because of the efforts of the gaming community. All too many times, projects such as this one have only made it halfway through development because their teams have just run out of time and money (let’s not forget about Goldeneye: source). So if you’re digging what they’re working on, by all means, support these guys!
Back Mesa Source releases THIS Friday, September 14th and has been greenlit to appear on STEAM.
You can check out the trailer below and comment on the next page!
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