Half Life 1 Holds Up, Seriously

Half Life 1 Holds Up

So I decided to play Half Life 1 again. And even though this game has been out for 22 years now(it was released November 19, 1998), Half Life 1 holds up. It’s still one of the best games I have ever played. It does not fail to instill dread in certain levels, it does not fail to provide action-packed sequences, and it does not fail to be a great game. It was one of the first games I’ve played, and I’ve never let it go since.

What is Half Life 1?

Half Life 1 is a first person video game developed by Valve Corporation in 1998. This was their first game ever made(damn they made this good of a game on their first try?). You play as this guy:

Gordon Freeman holding a crowbay

Valve Software (Steam version)

His name is Gordon Freeman. Quietly(he does not speak, at all) escape the fictional Black Mesa facility after an experiment gone horribly awry opens up portals all throughout the facility, causing aliens from the planet Xen to swarm in and make everyone’s day horrible, like hump-your-face-and-turn-you-into-a-zombie horrible.

Along they way you’ll meet all sorts of friendly folk(this was super awesome in 1998), from scientists who has 3 distinct models, to security guards who has 1 distinct model. They will help you along the way, or generally become a nuisance because AI wasn’t much of a thing back then. But still, very cool stuff!

You’ll also meet even “friendlier” folk, from:

Small, clawed beanbags:

A headcrab jumping on a player

Valve Software (Steam version)

Zombified scientists with small, clawed beanbags humping their face:

Two Headcrab zombies wandering about.

Valve Software (Steam version)

Big, even more clawed beanbags that spew small, clawed beanbags:

A Gonarch running towards the player.

Valve Software (Steam version)

Dog-like, uhhh, alien dogs with one eye:

A Houndeye looking at player.

Valve Software (Steam version)

A walking eye with hooves:

Three Vortigaunts preparing to fire.

Valve Software (Steam version)

…and many more! Seriously, there’s so many varieties of enemies in this game that I can’t list them all, and I’m pretty sure most of you reading this have played the game, or have seen it in some fashion.

The game is played in first person, meaning it is played through the protagonist’s eyes. This sets it up to be a genuinely scary experience. Coupled with the creepy atmosphere and dread-inducing music, this will probably scare you into not playing after the first sequence. The music alone still gets me to this very day.

You’ll also be able to equip all sorts of weapons, from the standard pistols, machine guns, and shotguns, to the not-so standard Gauss Rifles, a vacuum cleaner gun(don’t judge), and an arm that launches locusts. You just have to play the game to know what I mean, although most of my readers would already know what it is. *wink*


The Gman…

I remember when I first played this game, around 1999, I think. I always get scared of the game, that I can’t make it past the experiment portion of the game. Basically you just have to push a cart into a laser, and that triggers the whole sequence of events that led to this franchise having 2 main games, 2 spinoff stories for the first game, 2 episodes for the second game, and a LOT of mods and fan-made games.

So anyway, you push this cart, and s**t goes down, just like that. There’s a laser show, then it blacks out, you get teleported to a distant planet for like 10 seconds, and you blackout. When you wake up, the “test chamber”, as they call it, is in ruins, and the whole facility is in turmoil. This is the true start of Gordon’s adventures.

Now you might be wondering “Why did he put the header as “The Gman” if he will not talk about the Gman?” That’s because the experiment’s failure was caused by the Gman. You just started it for him. Now, who is the Gman?

A man in a blue suit.

Valve Software (Steam version)

He’s the Gman.

If you do a Google search on this guy, you won’t find a concrete answer as to who he really is. Some say he’s a government agent, tasked to sabotage the experiment(hence the “G”, as in Government Man), some say he is from another reality, some say he is another alien trying to save(or destroy?) humanity. I even read once that he is God himself(“G” as in Godman! *gasps*).

As far as I know, he’s some alien god who can transcend space time. Basically he can teleport. You’ll spot him around the facility as you go along in out-of-reach places, fixing his tie.

Oftentimes he just looks at you for a few seconds, then leaves behind another door or out of view. I won’t show where he can be found, it has to be you who’ll find him.

You already know what he looks like anyway. He plays a BIG part in the Half Life universe. In all 4 games, you will see him at least once.


Welcome to the Black Mesa Research Facility

First off, I just have to say how amazed I was when I first stepped foot onto the Black Mesa Research Facility. It was freaking huge! My 9 year old self can’t handle the sheer scope of how big the game’s location is. I desperately wanted to explore the whole facility, even though I can’t.

I mean just look at it. 4 legged machines that carry things, an extensive railway for its employees, a waste processing plant, living space for its employees, and more! It even has its own army, with its own barracks and equipment! Talk about big. My 9 year old self was completely overwhelmed.

Just look at it. Big, right?

 A headcrab jumping on a player

The Future: Half Life series

It’s been 13 years since Half Life 2: Episode 2 came out. That was the last game to ever come out in respect to the Half Life universe. Me, as an avid fan of this series, has been waiting since 2010 for a third installment to come out. But sadly it never came.

Every year’s that gone by, I am losing hope that a Half Life 3 would ever surface. Today, there is still a glimmer of hope that one day, Half Life 3 will resurface. They have released Half Life: Alyx for VR. That somehow gave me hope that one day, Gordon Freeman’s story will continue, and we can finally finish his adventure.

In conclusion…

This game was way ahead of its time in 1998. The graphics, the gameplay, the AI, the story, the characters, everything was beautifully done. For a game that is over 2 decades old and still gives me the same feeling I felt when I first touched this game, that’s something else. This game has never left my Steam account, and it is here to stay.

Wait, what’s that? You haven’t played this game yet??

Why not? You HAVE to try this game out. I’m fairly certain that you have played this game already, seeing as it’s 22 years old now. But if not, you can get this game online for your playing pleasure or as a collector’s item. I suggest getting them here:



  • For Ps2 (y’know, if you still have a Ps2)
  • For PC
  • And another PC version, This version has the main game plus the 2 spinoffs, which I’ll be talking about in another post!



(Hey, I just want you to know that I might earn that sweet, sweet money when you buy things through the links on this post. Click here for more info.)


Leave a comment if you wanna discuss everything Half Life. Thanks for reading! 😀

Readers Comments (4)

  1. One thing I liked about your site is the outlook. That’s black background makes it look all gamy and creepy at the same time which is one of the feelings you get while playing games. I also liked how you did a thorough job on every game you analysed including very old games, thereby spiking the interest of any reader. Thanks a lot for sharing your passion with us 

  2. Half life is a very old game but the level of interest then was really high. i love the game. The fact that i have learnt something really tangible from this post is very satisfying. The build of your website is nice and the simplicity of the color selection makes it so beautiful. Thank you very much.

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