Three Black Mesa Scientists Have An Awesome Meta-Conversation About Black Mesa: Source

Black Mesa: Source, the long-in-development mod/remake of the original Half-Life, is now available to play. For free.

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I'm really liking it. Much more than I was expecting to, in fact. It plays like a loving, alt-universe version of Half-Life, which is the best possible approach they could've taken. Rather than attempting to pull off a note-for-note remake, Carlos Montero and his crew of volunteers have made something that works much better: A true tribute, crafted with love.

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The opening tram-ride is good stuff, but it's what came immediately after it that clued me in to what Black Mesa was all about. Some cheeky banter (I particularly liked the second security guard's dig at Gordon's hair) immediately demonstrates that this isn't your father's (or well, older brother's) Black Mesa.

The conversation above, overheard between three Black Mesa scientists (including a woman!) sealed it for me. It is, of course, a meta-conversation about Black Mesa: Source itself. Lovely.

If you want to watch the whole opening sequence, I recorded myself walking through for the first time:


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What are you waiting for? Go download it!

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DISCUSSION

I've completed it and while I wouldn't quite recommend it as an outright substitute for the original Half-Life, it's nonetheless a professional product, with almost every instance of deviation from the original being a positive and appropriate contribution to what made Half-Life so great. A bit of the nostalgia was shot by reworking some of the voices (I miss the grunts in particular) and replacing the music, and some of the levels are abbreviated (Surface Tension in particular is missing a chunk), and I would actually say Black Mesa is an easier game than the original Half-Life; grunts in particular don't live long enough to do anything as clever as the originals, the stock pistol fires at a much higher rate, ammo for the magnum is far more plentiful and my health never fell below 90%. But the game will never feel like a stranger in your friends clothes, it will always feel like Half-Life. It's an appropriate and well made tribute. It may have built a reputation for being the Duke Nukem Forever mods, but unlike DNF, the released product is better than most any $50 game available today. And this sucker is free! It almost seems like a crime.