Half Life  
One of the greatest PC titles debuts on Ps2.

Carlito

Half-Life for Ps2 is finally here. Sierra has announced that the game will be released in U.S. on November 14th and will hit the shelves in the rest of the world on November 23rd.

When the game came out four years ago, it was a revolution in the genre of First Person Shooters. Half-Life, developed by Valve, introduced a cinematic attitude and an intriguing story worthy of a great adventure title. Recently, Volition followed Valve's teachings with the development of the wonderful Red Faction, another story-driven first person shooter.

The PC version of Half-Life sold about 2,000,000 units and won more than 50 important awards during the last years. In Half-Life the player takes the role of Gordon Freeman, a worker in the Black Mesa Research Facility. Everything starts from what looks like the usual working day. But after an experiment, Gordon realizes that something terrible is happening into the base. It’s the beginning of a nightmare made of disgusting aliens (actually, the most disgusting aliens ever seen in a videogame) and even more disgusting humans. All is narrated with a style worth of a good horror movie, also thanks to the talent of Marc Laidlaw, scriptwriter for Half-Life.

The Ps2 port of the game has been developed by Gearbox, the team behind the popular Half-Life expansion pack, Opposing Force. The game will feature enhanced high resolution graphics with excellent textures, characters built with a higher number of polygons and improved special effects. Everything should run smoothly at 50-60fps.

Speaking of controls, it seems that the developers did a nice job to create a good control system based on Dual Shock 2's analog joysticks. The L3 joystick is used to walk and run, the R3 joystick is the one to use if you want to take a look at the surroundings. The shoulder buttons are used to jump, duck and shoot (R1 button is primary fire while R2 button is secondary fire). But don’t worry. The developers didn’t forget all you little PC fans out there. The player can plug a USB keyboard and a USB mouse into the console and play the game exactly like on a Pc.

A FPS wouldn’t be a FPS without a consistent series of weapons. In Half-Life there are about 15 of them, each with his very particular “style”. The basic weapon, the equivalent of the Chainsaw in Doom, is a nice crowbar, extremely useful to kill little slimy aliens that want to eat your brain. There is the classic 9mm handgun, a powerful 357 magnum, a shotgun, a devastating Rocket Launcher, a Machine Gun, Grenades and many others you’ll find out by yourself playing the game.

The new Ps2 version of Half-Life will also include two new game modes. The Decay Mode is substantially an interesting two players cooperative game, a great long game into the game, in which the players should help each other to complete a series of difficult missions. The Deathmatch mode is the classic head to head combat, in which you choose an Arena and then fight against a friend in split screen. Unfortunately, this mode is two-players only, probably because the developers weren’t able to keep the game running at 60fps with four players on screen. Anyhow, Half-Life for Ps2 will support 16:9 TVs. In this way each player will play on a portion of screen similar to a 4:3 TV.

There is no doubt that November 14th will be a great day for Ps2 owners in U.S. Metal Gear Solid 2, probably the most awaited title in the history of videogames, and Half Life, Ps2 port of one of the greatest PC titles of all times, will be on the shelves on the very same day. Which one of these you’ll chose?


- Carlito (November 7th, 2001)