They're waiting for you Gordon, in the test chamber...

 

I'm sure the title of this article brings back many fond memories, but despite what you're thinking this article is not about a game named Half-Life in any way (Well, almost). It's actually about a mod called Black Mesa...

Some of you may already know about it but for those of you who don't here's the low down. Black Mesa is a remake of the Half-Life 1 story line using the Source SDK. It promises great graphics in a familiar setting. This mod that has been in development since 2004 (seriously) and was released last month on the 14th. The original release date was set for 2009 but the devs thought that it wasn't good enough then. I'm so glad they waited...

 

Me, shortly before 50 headcrabs.

I downloaded the game almost immediately after I found out about its release. After a bit of a struggle I eventually managed to get the game running and clicked on new game in the menu. It had been years since I'd played HL1 and I wasn't sure if this 8 year development game would live up to the expectations but boy did it look good...

So good

The game has totally blown my mind by the amount of work put in by people who didn't even expect to make money out of the project (8 years DAYYUM) . The attention to detail is spectacular (you can still press the alarm button and get the guard into trouble), the voice acting is great (and often hilarious).  The game feels exactly like you're playing HL1 again but improved in so many ways.

This reminds of another scientist I know...

The current release only includes up to the end of Lamba Core (which was still roughly 10 hours for me) and the Xen levels are only due to be released next year. This is for a good reason however, as they are revamping Xen and extending it into a whole chapter (HL1 Xen was a bit short in everyones opinion). There is also a planned later release of Black Mesa : Deathmatch although the release date is unknown as of yet which will make for an amazing lan game I'm sure.

All in all, Black Mesa was an incredible experience for someone who really enjoyed Half-Life 1 that has been brought up to speed in gaming graphics and playablility. I am anxiously awaiting the next release.

Metalslug

 

http://release.blackmesasource.com/

Above is the link to their webpage where you can download the game (~3Gb) as well as the soundtrack. The game requires Steam. If you are having trouble with the packaged installer follow these steps:

  1. Create a new folder for Black Mesa in your sourcemods Steamapps folder e.g. C:\Program Files(x86)\Steam\Steamapps\sourcemods\Black Mesa
  2. Extract all the files in the .7z archive into this new folder.
  3. Install the Source SDK 2007 tool in Steam (google if you can't manage)
  4. You're now ready to play. Black Mesa should be detected as a game in Steam