It had to happen, the Best game of 99 had to have some kind of Professional Expansion pack and here it is. I absolutely Loved the First, I played it till the end, and is quite possibly the only game of its kind that I have finished, that alone is a testament to how good it is.
I could not wait for Opposing Force (OF) when they announced it, and believe me, I had to be pulled away to review this, im just going to write as fast as possible to get back to it :o)
The story it that you're a Soldier on your way to Black Mesa when you get attacked by some aliens, we already know these but for the sake of the story, which is that you play a marine out to get freeman, we shall stick with it.
Well if you played the first, that's it, it's the same, after all if it aint broke done fix it!
But... there are a few other bits that are different, the enemies for one are different, ok, you may come across the ones we all know and hate from HL but later on the plot thickens to involve something a little bit different from HL.
Now, the levels are great, you start near the chopper that's crashed with little else than you and your clothes, you soon pick up a wrench, which replaces the crowbar from the first game, and start hacking away at the crabs that are nearby.
The weapon placement in the game is bloody good, many a time I have just run out of ammo and turned a corner to find exactly what I need, although sometimes the overuse of your guns can leave you in the shit every now and again. I did get to one place with only 1 point of health and a few grenades, just to find an alien was round the corner the other side of a broken bridge, now I ask you, why me?
Enemy placement is great, just when you think your plain sailing you hit a barrier of aliens, not content with taking the planet, the base and everything else, they have come to slaughter everyone, including you, which at time happens a lot.
The level design is top notch, now the puzzles in the levels are matched by their design, which means that every now and again you will come across a part of a level that needs to be thought about. These parts usually don't have any enemies nearby since the puzzles are hard enough without having something kick your arse while you stand there pondering you next move!
Don't get me wrong, theses always some way around everything, you usually have to stand back and take a look at everything first, but if you made it through the first without any cheating this should be a nice, but welcome challenge.
Once again, it's the same as HL, now if you never played HL, then go and get it you fools, your missing out on one hell of a good game, not to mention this expansion pack too.
Anyway interaction within the levels is you standard open doors, flick switches and kill enemies. But if you played the first you will know that a good friend called Barney was always there to help out, be it to kill the enemy or open doors otherwise locked, he was always by your side.
This time you are an army guy, so you expect some help from your fellow troopers, and you do get a little bit of help. If you come across a radio in the first game, it was not really useable, not you know what your doing, you can flick it on and contact your buddies, who will usually point you in the right direction or come to your aid.
In one part, you use the radio and a couple of guys break through a wall and proceed to torch open a door for you to continue your lovely adventure. Staying with you they then help you out when a rampaging horde of aliens decides that they are hard and need some action. Mainly with you.
As I said before, 'if it aint broke, don't fix it' and Gearbox haven't, maybe a tweak here and there and a little bit of change to the models and introducing some new ones, the graphics practically remain the same quality as HL.
Now I have been playing games in 16bit colour all my life, well since ever 16bit colour gaming has been around anyway. And to my surprise when my new GFX card (a TNT2 Ultra) displays it in 32bit colour I was amazed. Everything looks so bloody darn nice, and it's fast at 1024x768 to boot. No longer shall I buy any 16bit GFX card, oh well that the Voodoos out :), im staying with 32bit, I recommend this to anyone, it makes one hell of a difference!
The sound in the game is good, not that I get to hear a lot, my old cards getting a bit worn now and my investment in a better one will soon pay off, but the sound is great anyway. Authentic radio & weapon sounds, speech and all the weird sounds the aliens make, help the game to be as realistic as can be. Everything you expect to have some kind of sound will be there, and with 3D sound it just blows you away.
Well, what more can I say that doesn't tell you to go out and by this damn game, its good... no, its bloody good, its kicks ass and will have you hooked to the game even more, so stop reading this and go buy it, or read the rest then buy it, its all up to you, but just buy it.