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Black Mesa:

 301 pagad, Fri, 21st Sep '12 12:54:43 PM from perfidious Albion Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sneering Imperialist
No, I disagree. I distinctly remember there being many more fights between the two - and you'd often stumble upon sites where HECU squads had previously been massacred, particularly in On A Rail. Certainly during the actual fights, the HECU wouldn't come out on top all the time (particularly against Alien Grunts, thanks to their body armour).

I understand that a lot of the cuts the BM team made were because one of the level designers quit halfway through, though.

edited 21st Sep '12 12:55:29 PM by pagad

 302 CPF Mfan, Fri, 21st Sep '12 1:28:16 PM from A Whale's Vagina
I am serious. This is my serious face.
I saw a lot of corpses, but the HECU always won in the actual fights. They'd usually just use their grenade launchers on Alien Grunts or gang up on them. I recall them fighting Alien Grunts three times (once in Questionable Ethics, and twice in Surface Tension) and winning twice. They also always won when they fought Vorts (thrice in On A Rail, twice in Surface Tension), headcrabs (once in Power Up and again in On A Rail), and bullsquids (once in Questionable Ethics), and this isn't even counting the aliens that would get killed all the time by the HECU's turrets and airstrikes. Where specifically did you see the marines lose, aside from that one time they fought a Garg with a couple foot soldiers?

In Opposing Force they also usually won in fights against aliens, but only when they were allies. I'm not sure about the Black Ops.

This is the original game by the way. I do wish that there were more alien-marine fights in this game, but it doesn't break the atmosphere or anything.

edited 21st Sep '12 1:37:53 PM by CPFMfan

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 303 Ryuhza, Fri, 21st Sep '12 1:34:09 PM from San Diego, California Relationship Status: I know
M.T. (Alligator Season)
I remember I could subdue an alien grunt in Half Life one with only my crowbar, beating them so viciously that they couldn't move, and were soon made dead.

I don't think the same will be possible here, unfortunately.

 304 CPF Mfan, Fri, 21st Sep '12 1:37:42 PM from A Whale's Vagina
I am serious. This is my serious face.
The grunts are tough... unless you just use the grenade launcher or crossbow.
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 305 pagad, Fri, 21st Sep '12 3:22:34 PM from perfidious Albion Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sneering Imperialist
I think BM's Alien Grunts are actually a little easier to kill than their HL counterparts.

Anyway, just finished Surface Tension and am about to start the lift that lowers me into the Lambda complex (the one with the lorry on it). I believe I've seen the last of the HECU now (the Abrams and squad in the vehicle maintenance bays). I have to say, I loved the desperate air battle in the skies between the Harriers and Mantas. Nearly got me killed, though.

I also retract my previous complaints about their being too hard. I think I've gotten used to them now, and they're a fun enemy to fight. The bit in Surface Tension with the TOW missile was especially excellent, if bloody intense.
 306 CPF Mfan, Fri, 21st Sep '12 3:26:29 PM from A Whale's Vagina
I am serious. This is my serious face.
I'm stuck on that part with the tactical map and the Gargantua. How do I tell the military to bomb the Gargantua? There doesn't appear to be a button, just a target designator. And how do I survive the bombing if the Gargantua is right below me?

The HECU is substantially easier when you have a crossbow, or when you're outside and can just snipe them with your pistol. God, I've always loved the Half Life pistol.
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 307 pagad, Fri, 21st Sep '12 3:29:38 PM from perfidious Albion Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sneering Imperialist
Took me a while to figure it out, too. You click where you want the airstrike to land, then you click the Fire button on the display itself (a spacebar shaped button that unhelpfully blends into the background, with "Fire" written on it).

Don't click directly on the tower that you're standing on. Click slightly next to the Garg, then blow that fucker to pieces. The strike takes a few seconds to come in.
Sad.... :(
Finished the game.

  • Vehicle machine-guns could have a little less accuracy - they will pretty much always hit you when they have a line-of-fire, making vehicle fights needlessly annoying.
  • The second black-ops fight was almost hilariously easy once you remembered you had mines. Just run around the warehouse and place them behind, and all those scary ladies will die in explosions as they are run around. I think I managed to complete it without losing any health.
  • Alien Grunts are the most annoying enemies in the game to fight. Their projectiles are homing, so you either kill them before they begin firing or you will lose health. Fortunately areas where you fight mainly them are few and far between, but when they happen, it sucks.
  • Over-all, the new alien attacks are almost impossible to dodge, forcing you to tank them, which together with the inability to tank them thanks to the hard difficulty created several surprising difficulty spikes in last few levels. I had actually more difficulties to deal with some alien battles than I had against anything marines would throw at me.
  • The last battle (before you jump into Xen) is scripted pretty stupidly and is a horrible way to end such awesome mod. A pity.

Over-all the mod is still very much the original half-life and as such is full of archaic designs and mechanics. But instead of being annoyed by them, it made me realize just how much I enjoyed them, and how much I miss them in modern FPS games. I like non-regenerating health and scouring for resources and hidden areas that come hand-in-hand with it. I love level designs where it often not clear how to proceed further, forcing you to think and pay attention to your surrounding. I even tolerate the jumping sequences and would probably enjoy them if the jumping mechanics wouldn't be so horri-bad.
Has a compulsive editing and re-editing disorder.
 309 pagad, Sat, 22nd Sep '12 9:59:25 AM from perfidious Albion Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sneering Imperialist
Anyone who finds BM's HECU to be too silly-sounding: someone's put together a pack that reinstates the old HECU sounds from HL. I haven't installed it yet, though.
 310 pagad, Sun, 23rd Sep '12 2:18:17 PM from perfidious Albion Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sneering Imperialist
Just finished it. I found that last fight to be hair-tearingly hard until I realised that by sprinting everywhere you can avoid the majority of the damage fired by the Controllers.
I beat the final battle on my second try. One of the easiest parts of the game, really.
 
 312 pagad, Sun, 23rd Sep '12 11:51:52 PM from perfidious Albion Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sneering Imperialist
I only found it hard because I was Doing It Wrong in such a way that I was constantly taking unnecessary damage.
 313 The Freeman, Tue, 25th Sep '12 6:52:52 PM from Hialeah,FL.
So now I'm near the end of "Surface Tension" I think, got the Hivehand.

...that's just not right. Crikey.
That's my dream. It's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor and surviving.

 314 CPF Mfan, Wed, 26th Sep '12 9:17:20 PM from A Whale's Vagina
I am serious. This is my serious face.
Finished it. Those Alien Grunts are a complete pain in the dick. The final battle was incredibly merciful after all of them.

Overall, probably the best 'mod' I have ever played. I won't waste time retreading what other people have said, but it basically blows any actual Half-Life game out of the water due to several features that just aren't in any other Half-Life game, among other things.
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And now I've finished it. I'd been holding off on getting Half Life, even though I've played 2, because it's a dated game, and now I'm glad I did. This game definitely show Half Life would must have felt like when it first came out, because it is spectacular.

In almost supreme irony, Zero Punctuation reviewed the original a month before BM was released, and a lot of his criticisms and praises are still true. I'd like to see his reaction to BM.

The game isn't completely perfect, such as the crouch jumping mechanic and horrendously overcompensated Marine AI, but the community has actually provided scripts and tweaks for both of those that mitigate the problems and help the game flow better.

Looking back at some videos of the original, it's absolutely amazing what the BM has done to recreate and revamp the old environments. The changes to On a Rail are fine, even if it is smaller and has less aliens, since it holds up well enough on its own. Though I wish they had kept an area where lots of containers are moving on a rail above you (no gameplay reason, just because that would look really cool).

Everyone's already mentioned the changes to Surface Tension, and I agree, but the only real problem is that content between the vent shoot-out and Gargantua. The team didn't intended to cut it, and hopefully they'll go back and add a couple of those areas in. Seeing Marines getting tossed through concrete walls would give a much better sense of why they are bailing out.

Still amazing, I'll probably be replaying a few times because it's so good, and looking forward to Xen.

 316 Talby, Thu, 27th Sep '12 6:14:03 PM from Melbourne, Australia Relationship Status: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISA
Crestfallen Fangirl
The crouch jumping has been made worse by the remake. It was never that annoying in the original. Don't know how they managed that, but there you go.
Then, suddenly, they were horses. All of them. The End.
HORSEPOCALYPSE!
 317 Rocket Dude, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 7:11:52 PM from AZ, United States
This hat doesn't fit!
Finally got around to playing this. Left off on the Blast Pit chapter.

I realized something about the Bullsquid attack: it's the same attack used by the Antlion Worker in Episode 2, but it's also how the Bullsquid attacks in the Obsidian Conflict mod, leading me to wonder if the BM team took inspiration from that.
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 318 pagad, Wed, 9th Jan '13 7:30:55 AM from perfidious Albion Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sneering Imperialist
Just a heads-up to let those who were dissatisfied with the brevity of "Surface Tension" know that this apparently exists.
 319 CPF Mfan, Wed, 20th Nov '13 6:47:49 PM from A Whale's Vagina
I am serious. This is my serious face.
Black Mesa now costs money. Well, the new version at least. There's still a free version... not getting their plan here.

[up] I actually played that. I didn't like it because it was SO unbalanced in places, like when they poured a dozen Alien Grunts through a door and only gave you a TOW to fight them off, or when there were a bunch of Alien Grunts in that bombed out complex that could all gang up and out-sponge you. I did like a few things here though, like restoration of the scripted sequence of a soldier being punched through a wall, and the Manta Ray destroying a tank. It also severely lagged my computer, which is weird because there weren't THAT many enemies. I guess the engine just sucks at handling decently sized NPC battles.

edited 21st Nov '13 11:37:31 AM by CPFMfan

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 320 Mukora, Wed, 20th Nov '13 7:44:24 PM from a place Relationship Status: Love is an open door
Uniocular
I assume the new version actually has Xen?
I realized my signature's been empty for a while. I should fix that.
 321 optimusjamie, Thu, 21st Nov '13 10:48:28 AM from Mega-City One Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
[up]No, it doesn't. They're porting it to a new engine, and development on Xen has taken a backseat.
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 322 CPF Mfan, Thu, 21st Nov '13 11:43:35 AM from A Whale's Vagina
I am serious. This is my serious face.
The new version will probably have Deathmatch though, given that the lead dev said that the new version of Black Mesa had "many interesting additions planned". I wonder what that could mean?

Apparently buying it is more about supporting the deva than anything, there will still be an updated free version.

A shame we won't see Xen any time soon. Those are some of my favorite levels in any video game ever, and I really am looking forward to Black Mesa's take on the Nihilanth (gameplay and appearance wise) and that alien grunt factory.
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