Zero Punctuation: Half-Life

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Great, now I have an excuse to get passed that bit outside in the sand >.>

If your scrounging for games to review right now, maybe you should do a couple downloadable titles. There's an interesting one I'm playing for the PS3 called Closure. I guess it'd fit in the big headed black and white artsy type game but it's a puzzle based game revolving around controlling light; what is lit exists and anything in shadow does not.

If it sounds like something that may interest you, I'd suggest trying the short version they released on newgrounds a few years back. The story of that one was actually pretty powerful.

I like retro reviews more than his usual stuff. G-Man joke in the end was priceless.

I agree. One of the best shooter games ever.

Yahtzee Croshaw:

This week, it's time for that game.

Watch Video

Oh boy, wait til the Valve/Half-Life haters get in on this thread

I never made it past the jumping section after the Scrotum Crab boss. Didn't really understand what I was suppose to do, and the jump pack wasn't the easiest thing to use with a laptop.


Now that made my day. I must say I enjoy the retrospectives more than some of modern title reviews.

because alot of games today are shit :P

More because those games are handpicked for being good. 4 games out of 14 years of gaming is a lot smaller ratio than 50 new games every year.

Whelp, I didn't expect that.
Now I feel left out, I don't actually like halflife D:

You know, the only thing that ever bothers me doing replays of old games is your ladder complaint. That really annoys me.
But other than that, the jumping bits really don't bother me at all. I've always been very good at them and I'm one of the very few freaks who actually enjoyed Xen. And the older graphics don't bother me in the slightest. I notice the difference, obviously, but they don't bother me or make me constantly think about them.

Whelp, I didn't expect that.
Now I feel left out, I don't actually like halflife D:

Then you are evil and must therefore be culled from the herd before you breed, because that's what you get for having an opinion on the internet.

Ah, satire, how I love thee.

Great review, I always love how pertinent your analysis is on retro games.
I thought half-life's controls were very clunky. I finished HL1 for the first time and got halfway 'cross HL2 a few weeks ago and it always felt like Gordon was moving along on some pretty cheap roller-skates.
Love the interactive story though, mostly because it never really interrupts the actual game unlike in games such as Mass Effect or the Witcher where you get caught in pseudo-interactive cutscenes. Although waiting for people to be done talking in Half-Life can be pretty tedious, it never lasts too long but sometimes long enough to be irritating.
Come to think of it, one of the complaints adressed at MW3 was the fact that you couldn't advance until someone had come to open the door for you, maybe that's something they picked up from HL?

captcha: do you mean that one Motörhead song?


Now that made my day. I must say I enjoy the retrospectives more than some of modern title reviews.

because alot of games today are shit :P

So were alot of 'retro' games :D

I played Half Life for about half an hour or so. I rode the long boring train ride in, I messed about with the broken machine then I started doing jumping puzzles and just thought fuck it, I'm bored with this now.

Well at least I got a few laughs out of Yahtzee's review.

I wonder is it a coincidence that the first footage in ages of Black mesa just came out for a while there? I would love to hear yhatzees take on that mod once it comes out.

I always figured Freeman was treated as the third coming of Jesus in HL2 because the resistance had basically co-opted him as a symbol, mostly due to his name.

I haven't played the first one, but I'm currently sitting on the second one (actually just stopped playing for a few minutes to watch ZP ...).
And what strikes me as odd is that many of the things Yahtzee complains about in "modern", "realistic" shooters actually come from HL2, a game he fucking worships.

I started the game with a bunch of things in the back of my mind that I heard about the game, such as the great story, the great storytelling, the fact that there's no cutscenes etc.

Now the story is as clichéd and tired as you can get. Earth gets overrun, Messiah arrives, Earth gets taken back (I s'pose, currently I'm branded "Anti-Citizen One" and haven't taken back much). I've never felt really invested; HL2 is not a game I keep playing because I breathlessly wait for the next crazy turn or development the story will take.
And the fact that the cutscenes don't cut to a scene but force me to watch the tedious dialogue without ever leaving the perspective of Gordon, thus making him even more of a non-character than he already is doesn't improve matters much.
And they ARE cutscenes; in Nova Prospekt, at the end, I was shooting round after round of my pistol in Mossmanns back, but I couldn't change a thing. That's a cutscene; a cutscene that's depending on you watching what is important to watch instead of showing you.

And Gordon is not a character, he's, to paraphrase YZ talking about Mario, a tool the Resistance use to ward off evil.
The other characters in the story tell you where to go and what to do, and then you simply follow their orders; I don't feel like I'm pushing the Combine back or doing anything worthwhile, I'm just trudging from Point A to Point B while shooting hordes of baddies while everyone else merrily plots along.
Even fucking CoD 4 made me feel like I'm making more of an impact than HL2.

Don't get me wrong, the shooting is fun, and the graphics are great, and it is fun to mindlessly drive along the highway and blast people away or send a bunch of Antlions to eat everything I don't like, but I just can't understand all the hype around the game.

But maybe the first part was better, if some of the comments here are to be trusted.

I'm glad to see a Half Life retrospective without someone going all fan boy over it, some people can't except that some games just don't age well(not saying this about Half life just games in general)

You made some solid points that after I played the game a few weeks ago on steam I started to notice, during the first scene on the train I was so absorbed on the looks of the game and the background I kinda fell in to a trance and it seemed to fly by.

The when I replayed it I got bored and opened up Google in a new window and came on the escapist, but apart from that I did enjoy the game, if you can get past a few elements of game play being dated you can still enjoy yourself.

I just hate how if you criticize it one bit you might be executed for blaspheme. Just because it set the standard for shooters does not mean people have to defend it with there life, and here is something what Nintendo have been doing for years. They released a game 10-20 years ago that was amazing at the time but then became dated after a few years(*cough Super Mario 64 cough*) and people get so lost in nostalgia they start over looking all the faults in the game and start flaming every critic that points out said faults.

And Half Life has the same problem, it's a good game and it redefined and generation of PC gaming, but now it's getting like your old beloved family dog, it's getting on and can't do as much as it used to and it just sits there in the corner and it's back legs and starting to give in but we just sit there doing nothing because we are to in love(like a friend) to let go.

If you disagree with me please do not start picking faults out with my evidence I presented during this post, this is my honest opinion and I'm not forcing it down your neck and expecting you to agree with me I do like the game, but I just don't feel the love I did for it over a decade ago.

my standard for shooters at the time was quake 2, so i missed the whole half life train in the day, when it might have been more relevant, i did play it a year or two back and i found it ok but yea it was looking pretty meh, i found the end levels mostly annoying, like really annoying, think i god moded the rest of the game just to finish it.

half life 2 ep1 and 2 i loved to death however.

the amount of hours i sank into q2 dm, with mods, wo mods, just practicing trick jumping with friends, the terror the bfg caused, rocket arena, runes mod, playing the single player in co op nightmare mode, all the skins you could download for your character, and how the game could sync your clients so easily most of the time.

i do not think i was even aware there were other games in my quake 2 days :P, same for asherions call when that came out that just ate years of my life after the several i spent on quake 2.

I've always felt that Half-Life was better watched than played. All of those subtle background details were great... but the game mechanics were shitty, even for their day. Gameplay-wise, Quake did everything better a few years prior. Story-wise, Half-Life was on the cutting edge.

It was a rather good review. I played through the entire series not too long ago and had a decent amount of fun with it. The only thing that really bugged me about it was how all of the soldiers were total douchebags, though I found their behavior rather amusing.

Though to be frank, I found myself liking the dude's wrench from Opposing Force much more than I did the crowbar. :P

In a bit of a self indulgent mood are we Mr Croshaw? ;)


I liked Half-Life! And I also liked Bulletstorm!

I really wanted to like Kane & Lynch 2, but it gave me diarrhea... and a head-ache.

I don't blame Watchmen for ruining the 90s, I blame the Dark Knight Returns for that.

Watchmen added a complex narrative structure that only appeared in comics in the early 2000s.

Whenever I think about Half-Life, I think of the "Freeman's Mind" machinima that portrays Gordan Freeman as a borderline socipath, it's funny as hell.

I also liked the last few lines of the review, which sums up that the Dark Age of comic books should be blamed not on, say, Watchmen, but the people trying to rip it off.

Hmm, I dunno about the great interactive storytelling. I liked Half Life, don't get me wrong. But I didn't see much of that great conspiracy story. I guess I didn't look hard enough, but I don't think that's such a great excuse. I like story in my games. But HL and HL2 apparently assume that if I don't bother scrape every inch of the level looking for newspaper clippings, I must not want to hear anything about that whole alien invasion that the NPCs assume you know all about. Making the story optional to follow is one thing, hiding it is another.

Side note, I'd reached the boss in HL1, but after his third form or so I didn't know how to damage him and gave up. And I'd always thought the accountant I kept seeing behind doors in HL1 was just a joke. When I played HL2 I had no idea he was really a reality warper that 'saved' you from Xen. But that bit of missed story is because I didn't finish the game properly, so I can't fault it for that.

Still just about the best game I've ever played.

True that. Just played it couple months ago again, for the gazillionth time, and oh boy do i still enjoy it.

I've always enjoyed these reviews, but I must admit that I enjoy this slightly more analytical approach even more. I don't find them as fun as some of the earlier reviews, but more insightful and interesting.

I'm rather late to the Half-Life party. I started playing it for the first ever time a few months ago. I'm about halfway through now. Sure, it's aged, but I can still see what makes it so well received. The pacing is perfect, and I actually love the jumping sections. And everything just works so well...erm, apart from the problems with ladders and ledges Yahtzee mentioned- but that's minor in the grand scheme of things.

Kind of surprised there hasn't been any word on Theatrhythm...oh wait, no I'm not. Although a video comparing it to Rhythm Thief would be neat.

As for this one, great review. I actually haven't played Half Life 1 and when I do get the chance to it'll likely be the PS2 version since I'm just completely lack confidence in any PC I use to provide any kind of good gaming experience.

If they had toned down the jumping puzzles a bit the game would have been better.
That's about the only honest complaint I can come up with for the original.

Dear Yahtzee:

I know that you're basically guaranteed to ignore me, but since it's my birthday where I live when your next video goes up, would you kindly say 'happy birthday you tosser' or something?

Love, James (who also lives in Australia)

pouch mounted gun want.

Yes, all right. I preordered the book. Can you stop reminding me now, please? ._. With every review I grow more impatient of its release.

its interesting that he mentions the shooting the legs for the effect because i did something similar where i killed people mid-dialog to see if the dead body on the ground would continue talking funny bug that one.

A retrospective review, nice.

I first played half-life 1 in 2007 (about 9 years after it launched) and thought it was excellent (even without modern graphics and nostalgia). The atmosphere, simple but effective controls and interesting method of storytelling makes it one of my favourite games.

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