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Research & Development is a Half-Life 2 game mod created in 2009 by Mod DB user mbortolino. This mod is unique as it focuses mainly on puzzle gameplay, limiting the player's offensive arsenal entirely to the Gravity Gun. The game takes place in a Rebel research facility that studies numerous things seen in the main game, which is currently under Combine assault. The player has to make use of the environment and the test subjects in order to successfully escape.


You can download Research & Development here.

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Bomb:
    • The Zombines in Acid Test serve as this, lighting their grenades as the player's cart passes by them.
    • The final encounter with the Hunter Chopper has it dropping highly unstable rollermines on the player.
  • Attack Animal: The first level revolves around using pheropods to direct the antlion "Brenda" around the environment, and of course to sic her on Combine soldiers.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: Acid Test is a three-dimensional version of this, due to the only solid land being a moving cart.
  • Badass Normal: Lacking weapons, weapon training, and even the HEV Suit, the player character still manages to escape the invasion.
  • Block Puzzle: The very first puzzle in the game is a variant of this, involving using the fireproof carcass of the antlion "Ginger" to put out a fire that blocks your path.
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  • Car Fu: Wrecked vehicles occasionally show up, which you can of course punt with the Gravity Gun. Mr. Whirly is also easily capable of killing things it collides with, helped especially by the rotor blade on its front.
  • Chased Off into the Sunset: The game ends with the player driving off into the Outlands in Mr. Whirly, pursued by Hunter Choppers, Combine APCs, that Strider you just defeated (which is still coming after you despite pouring smoke), and a zombie torso that is notably missing its headcrab.
  • The Determinator: Hunter Choppers will come after you in no less than three separate encounters.
  • Diegetic Interface: Averted Trope, as the player character lacks an HEV suit.
  • Dual Boss: A Hunter Chopper and a Combine Gunship take you on over the top of a radio tower in Aerial Bombardment.
  • Explosive Overclocking: Inverse example, as creating an explosion near a track power generator is what causes the overclock.
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  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: The final step in charging the Gravity Gun involves placing coloured blocks in a rainbow formation through a laser.
  • Final Boss: A Strider shows up to ruin your day just before your final escape.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The staff of N.E.R.D.S. named their antlions. There's Brenda and there's Ginger.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • The mod takes place at the rebel outpost N.E.R.D.S., which stands for "Necrotic and Extraterrestrial Research & Development Station.
    • Chapter 2 of the mod, Acid Test, takes place at the Waster Transfer Facility, or "WTF" for short.
    • Mr. Whirly's official designation: The EVacuation Improvised Self-Constructed Rotary-Action Tactical Offensive Razor, or EVISCRATOR.
  • Luckily, My Luxgard Will Protect Me: The player uses sheets of bulletproof glass as their only defence against Combine firearms.
  • Grenade Hot Potato: During Acid Test, when the Combine can't directly shoot at your cart, they'll just lob grenades over the barrier instead. Toss them back!
  • Grimy Water: The Waste Transfer Facility is flooded entirely with toxic waste.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Some obstacles will involve a live cable in contact with a conductive surface. The penalty for falling into the hazard? Being sent back to the start of the obstacle.
  • Immune to Bullets: Brenda the Antlion, thanks to her radiation-hardened carapace.
  • Minecart Madness: The second chapter, Acid Test.
  • Ramming Always Works: It works against a Strider, at least.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: One of the puzzles involves shoving a suspended catwalk onto a concrete block hanging from a rotating crane which will then knock down a domino chain of concrete dividers, crushing and exploding several barrels... yeah, you get the idea.
  • Precision F-Strike: The laptop displaying "SHIT" as the tower you and it are on collapse.
  • Steam Vent Obstacle: One of the main puzzle elements encountered in the game. Bypassing them involves disrupting the flow by breaking off weakened parts of the source pipe.
  • Stock Video Game Puzzle: Given the nature of the game, it's bound to use a few classics.
    • Counterweight puzzles appear many times in the first chapter.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Just like in Episode Two, the Hunter Chopper is dispatched by throwing its own mines back at it. Justified, considering that its other machine gun attack can't exactly pierce through bulletproof glass.
    • Becomes Tactical Assisted Suicide during the Dual Boss, as the Chopper's mines are used to defeat its companion Gunship.
  • That Poor Cat: A hapless feline stuck in the vents gets fried due to a misdirected laser in N.E.R.D.S.
  • Video Game Interface Elements: Notably absent in this mod; the most you're gonna get is the health meter on the left side of the crosshairs once you pick up the Gravity Gun.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Sure, let's stick the Zero Point Energy Cell into a microwave. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Weapon of Choice: Not like the player has a choice, but the Gravity Gun stays with them throughout the mod once they get it, and is their main method of doing pretty much everything.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: At the beginning of the game, a Rebel stationed at the top of a tower talks to you. Shortly later on, they're dispatched by a Hunter Chopper, though not without putting up a fight.
  • What a Piece of Junk: "Mr. Whirly," which is literally constructed out of parts lying around the garage. It's not to be underestimated, though; this thing is capable of butting heads with antlion guards.
  • Wreaking Havok: As a Source game, there is no shortage of physics objects. Combined with the Gravity Gun, they play a crucial part in the game's puzzles.


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