Half-Life is a science fiction first-person shooter computer game developed by Valve Software, first released by Sierra Studios on November 19, 1998. In Half-Life, players assume the role of Dr. Gordon Freeman, a recently MIT graduated theoretical physicist who must fight his way out of a secret underground research facility whose research and experiments into teleportation technology have gone wrong.
The first official expansion pack for Half-Life. It features the same setting as the original, with the twist that the player is cast not as Gordon Freeman, but as Corporal Adrian Shephard, a U.S. Marine sent into Black Mesa Research Facility, and one of Gordon Freeman's adversaries in the original game.
Half-Life: Blue Shift is the second stand-alone expansion pack for Half-Life, developed by Gearbox Software and released on June 12, 2001. Blue Shift returns to the setting and timeline of the original story, but with a different player character: a Black Mesa security guard Barney Calhoun. As Barney, the player attempts to escape the alien invasion caused by the resonance cascade and the ensuing military cover-up.
Half-Life was ported to the PS2 by Gearbox Software and released at the end of 2001. This port had a significant overhaul in terms of both character models, weapons, and more advanced and extended levels and general map geometry. Also added in is a head-to-head play and a co-op expansion called Half-Life: Decay that allowed players to play as the two female scientists Dr. Cross and Dr. Green at Black Mesa. Another interesting feature allowed players to use a USB mouse and keyboard, a feature unmatched on the platform.
A port for Sega Dreamcast was completed, but never commercially released.
[img id= width=/www align=right link=false]Half-Life 2 is a science fiction first-person shooter and sequel to the highly acclaimed Half-Life. It was developed by Valve Software Corporation and was released on November 16, 2004, following a five-year development cycle.
Taking place in and around the fictional City 17, Half-Life 2 follows the adventures of scientist Gordon Freeman. Dr. Freeman is thrust into a dystopian environment in which the aftermath of the Black Mesa Incident has come to bear fully upon human society. Freeman is forced to fight against increasingly unfavorable odds in order to survive. In his struggle, he is joined by various allies, including former Black Mesa colleagues, oppressed citizens of City 17, and the Vortigaunts.
This edition of Half-Life 2 includes the game on a limited edition DVD-ROM and some exclusive extras, including Counter-Strike: Source, Half-Life: Source, Limited Edition T-Shirt, and a Half-lIfe 2 Prima Book.
Included with the Collector's Edition and Game of the Year editions of Half-Life 2, as well as a stand-alone Steam install, Half-Life: Source is a remake of the original title with the new and improved Source engine.
It was heavily criticized because the graphics were still based on the same original textures (not even the improved Blue Shift textures were used) resulting in the game looking closer to the original than to Half-Life 2. A fan-made project is in the works for a real Half-Life remake (see Black Mesa)
Originally designed to be a Half-Life 2 level, in between 'Highway 17' and 'Sandtraps', 'Lost Coast' was released in 2005 as a free download for all Half-Life 2 owners. It is a playable technology demo meant to showcase the new HDR lighting features introduced into the Source engine.
Half-Life 2: Episode One is the first of a trilogy of episodes for Half-Life 2. It was developed by the Valve and released on June 1, 2006. The episode is a stand-alone game and does not require the original game.
The episode takes place immediately after the end of Half-Life 2, in and around the war-torn setting of City 17. Episode One continues to follow scientist Gordon Freeman and his companion Alyx Vance as they deal with humanity's continuing struggle against the Combine invasion.
Half-Life 2: Episode Two is the second installment in Valve Corporation's series of episodes for the computer game Half-Life 2. Released on October 10th, 2007, either as a stand-alone Steam install or part of 'The Orange Box' release, it continues Valve's method of orienting each episode around a particular theme or set of technologies; Episode Two focuses on expansive environments, travel and less linear play.
Following the closing events of Episode One, it sees Gordon Freeman and the series' other major players moving away from City 17 to the surrounding countryside.
Portal was first made available as a stand-alone download from Steam, or bundled with 'The Orange Box'.
The game consists primarily of a series of puzzles that must be solved by teleporting the player's character and other simple objects using the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device ("Portal Gun" for short), a unit that can create an inter-spatial portal between flat planes.
Released in October 2007, The Orange Box includes the new Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Team Fortress 2, and Portal, as well as 2004's Half-Life 2 and 2006's Half-Life 2: Episode One, which is handy if you aren't up to speed with what Gordon Freeman's been doing over the past few years. And if you already own those, you can transfer the ownership of the older titles to your friends.
In the Orange Box, you get Half-Life 2, HL2: Episode One, HL2: Episode Two, Portal, and the online Team Fortress 2. Five great unique games all in one box. It's easy to see why this is such a huge hit.
Though the content is as good as on the Xbox 360, the PS3 version of The Orange Box has noticeable problem with inexplicable frame rate issues that see to happen randomly, whether there's nothing on the screen or in the middle of a big battle.
In addition, the PS3's loading times are longer than the Xbox 360's, and they're frequent enough to be noticeable.
This fan-made project is an attempt to bring Half-Life: Decay to the PC. Decay was a co-op game set in the same Half-Life storyline, but involving two female doctors from the Black Mesa research facility. It was only found on the PS2's version of Half-Life.
Half-Life: Decay from the PS2:
This release is in beta testing. For more info, visit this website.
This fan-made project, still unreleased, is a complete conversion of the original Half-Life but with Half-Life 2 high resolution textures and physics. Valve's previous attempt at a remake (Half-Life: Source) was not well received because of it still used the original textures, but Black Mesa is getting all its levels re-built from scratch.
It is planned as the last episode in the currently planned story arc, although not necessarily the end of the Half-Life franchise. According to Valve, plot details have not been finalized as of February 2008, and the game is also not expected to be released for some time.
During a February 2008 interview, David Speyrer, chief developer of Episode Two, explained the reasons behind the delay: "There are always things we want to do that we can't because of the constraints of either the story or the arc we've laid out for the gameplay - or just time. So we shelve them and carry on. Ideas fly around here quite a bit, so we have this huge laundry list of things to try for the next thing..."
Every Half-Life series title and compilation that added new content, mods, and more story to the Half-Life universe. All North American releases are included, but only the most common EU/UK/PAL versions are.
I've also left out Half-Life: Counter-Strike and Team Fortress series. Even though they are usually bundled with Half-Life editions, neither of them are from the true Half-Life universe.