100 Half-Life 1 Mods: page 2
Mod installation instructions
After downloading any file it is recommended to verify if the download was successful:
- install the free HashCheck Shell Extension
- right click the file and select the Checksums tab
- compare the MD5 value from the program with the value posted on this site
You can install the mods by either extracting the archive (use free 7-Zip) in the Half-Life folder or run the installer. Default WON folder is located at C:\Sierra\Half-Life\, and the Steam version is located at C:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\Half-Life\. After installation you should make sure to restart Steam, and the mod will appear in the Uncategorized section.
When Half-Life 2 fans read the name Boreality, they will immediately get their hopes up, for it being a hidden reference to the Borealis research vessel that should be seen in a never-issued third episode. Unfortunately, it is probably just a coincidence, since the modification was published several years before the mention of Borealis in Episode 2. You play Gordon Freeman, who, after an unsuccessful evacuation with the helicopter, is forced to jump out with a parachute mid flight. He lands in an unfamiliar snowy place, which has a small cosy-looking cottage in the vicinity.
This game is pretty appealing architecturally. The upper living rooms pass well into the giant complex underground, there are several paths to the next level, which means that you will have great freedom in exploration. Many people will dislike this openness, so this is a double-edged sword. There is some walking around in the dark and swimming, but the amount is low enough to not make it frustrating. Puzzles are interesting, although they are not overly difficult. Levels include Xen monsters: Headcrabs, Alien Slaves, Bullsquids, which can result in several surprises. Unfortunately, they definitely exaggerated with the Headcrabs and as you near the end, you will probably get annoyed by them. Your arsenal includes a crowbar, a revolver, and shotgun, that is all. Ammunition is just right, and the same applies to medkits and batteries, but if you play wasteful, you could have problems.
With the exception of snow and ice, there are no visual surprises. Occasionally, the background music is turned on, and a there are some custom speech parts. You will need approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete the game on Medium. The Training room and the bonus level are the same, so I recommend that you do not start the first on it's own, because the HUD will be missing.
In Brave Brain you play Thomas Redgrave, a research assistant who works in Black Mesa laboratories. After you arrive at work a hour early, you decide to go to the Hazard Course to kill some time and refresh your skills. But something happens during training and the situation quickly turns into a disaster. Since the story takes place in parallel with events in the original, you will be able to meet the heroes from Half-Life and expansions. Sometimes NPCs explain the situation to you, but I would wish for the custom speech to be better.
The map design strongly relies on maps from the original and expansions, and some are even directly re-created. On the one hand, this makes the architecture very good and the maps visually convincing, but on the other hand, the levels lack originality. I didn't like some parts between the maps, because they were too simple, and on some of them lightning was completely off. I was also not keen about the simplistic Xen segment, but it was fortunately rather short. The levels are satisfactorily connected to each other, but I was bothered by too much crawling through ventilation shafts and pipes. Puzzles are not limited to pushing buttons, but also contain several jumping challenges (you also have a long jump module), and here and there you will have to escort and protect the NPCs. In some places parts of the level are also transformed via scripted events, which is very well done.
The set of opponents could be characterized as being classic, and includes all kinds of human and a limited range of Xenian opponents. The enemy placement was mostly unconvincing, as the emphasis was on their numbers, but fortunately, the scripted occurrences of opponents were much better. The latter provide quite a few dramatic moments, especially if you have low life points. A limited range of weapons from the original is joined by a movable machinegun in one of the levels, which I thought was a great idea, but it could have been more refined. Amounts of ammo, healing packages and batteries are just right to complete the game at Hard, and to do this you will need about 1 hour and a half of gameplay.
In Breakdown you play as Jonathan Wood, who works at Black Mesa. The game takes place in parallel with the original, and thus you encounter the incident that caused the invasion of the Xen creatures. There is no real story in the mod, as you just need to go from start to finish, and you will do this in largely linear fashion. The beginning is quite difficult, because you have to find the crowbar without H.E.V. suit, and this becomes your sole weapon against Headcrabs and Vortigaunts for quite a long time. Towards the end the Xen enemies are reinforced by Alien Grunts, but the varied rest is not really worth mentioning. A bigger threat will be the soldiers who are cleverly placed in container labyrinths, and in some cases, they must also be avoided by sneaking past them. The weapon set is fairly modest, but there are enough bullets and health to provide a enjoyable experience on Medium, despite considerable fluctuations in difficulty.
Levels consist of a mixture of interconnected external and internal maps. Architecture is quite rough at the beginning, but it has to be said that this is contrasted by quite some details, and also, that the situation improves with the progress towards the end. The course of the game, with the exception of a large number of hallways, is quite diverse, as you traverse through offices, laboratories, sewers, sandy and rocky deserts, and there is also plently of climbing and jumping challenges. Puzzles consist not only of pressing buttons, but you also need to find keys, hidden passages, guide NPCs to open the doors, etc. Playing is also enriched by scripting surprises and occasional music. I needed around 45 minutes to reach the end, which was just an invitation to play the second part of the mod.
Breakdown 2: Afterwards is a direct continuation of the events in the first part. In it, the soldiers managed to capture you (Dr. Jonathan Wood) and lock you into an improvised prison cell, which was poorly chosen. When you woke up, you managed to escape, but the path to your rescue will not be easy. You are in a completely unknown part of Black Mesa, and thus have limited access clearance, additionally, you have no idea where to go. Unlike the predecessor, the second part has a story, which has some flaws, but regardless of them, I liked it quite a bit. You uncover it with the help of video sequences, monologues and through reading the notes that lie around. Custom speech also provides some information, but I wished it would be recorded in better quality.
The predecessor did not really impress me with the mapping quality, but the second part improved in practically all areas. The maps are more complex, they contain more detail and new textures, they have an excellent layout of elements and lighting, and everything is nicely rounded up by the good connection of parts. The levels contain quite a few alternative routes to your target, there is some backtracking, and there are also tasks that can be done in any order. All this greatly increases the feeling of non-linearity. Playing is very diverse, because the set of puzzles is quite varied and it includes everything from pressing buttons, searching for access cards, guiding NPCs and also jumping challenges. I didn't like that some puzzles were made too obvious, and I also didn't like the innovative, but otherwise boring, car ride.
The set of opponents is quite diverse and contains a vast array of creatures from Xen, among which you will find some reskinned or otherwise modified enemies. The more resilient and dangerous Houndeyes impressed me the most, as they were no longer cannon fodder, but a serious adversary. Later in the game, soldiers with machine guns join the list, and at the very end you will also encounter very dangerous soldiers with shotguns. The difficulty curve is much more flat than in the predecessor, despite numerous scripted surprises and excellent ambushes. The weapon set is very limited and it is gradually unlocked. Unlike in the predecessor, you can pick up the pistol very early. The absence of a shotgun to the very last part is noticeable, and it forces the player to play more tactically. The amount of bullets and healing packages will allow good players to enjoy the mod on Hard difficulty, but to everyone else I recommend playing on Medium. I needed about 1 hour and a half to complete the game.
In Case Closed, you play a janitor named Bob Dewey, who works at the Black Mesa facility. What seems like a normal working day quickly turns into a nightmare when Black Mesa is flooded by aliens from Xen. When you finally wake up after the elevator crash, your survival instinct is activated. You want to get to the surface as soon as possible, but the task will not be easy.
The maps are architecturally satisfactory, but they could contain more details here and there. The most problematic areas are certainly boring corridors with concrete texture. The mod contains both internal and external maps, amongst which I really liked the levels with a hybrid of Xen and laboratories. With the exception of events tied to switches, there seem to be no puzzles in the game, which is unfortunate. Some events that are triggered with switches are rather logical, others seem to be pretty random. Several times you need to destroy parts of the levels to progress, which is pretty well done. I also liked the many scripted events. The course of the game is almost completely linear, except for some side paths which contain goodies.
The opponents mostly consist from all kinds of military forces, but there are also a lot of different Xen monsters. Excellent placement of enemies and various sneaky surprises will give you a lot to do during your advancement, so there are barely any opportunities to catch breath. Opponents almost always appear in pairs, so you will have to use a tactical approach, especially if traps are around. In some places, you will also encounter fights between different factions that you can take advantage of. The weapon selection is standard, but it contains only human weapons. Ammunition and medkits are abundant enough for Medium difficulty, but on Hard you will need some skills to get through.
It's only a pity that the game is so short. To get to the ending (which made a strong impression on me), I only needed 1 hour of play time.
In Castle Creep, you play a secret agent named Gordon Freeman, who is tasked with eliminating a wealthy businessman named Edward Marsden. The latter bought the Von Creep castle a year ago and turned it into a private fort, from where he controls illegal operations. It is also rumored that they are conducting genetic experiments in the castle in which humans and animals are forcibly mutated into monsters. The story sounds pretty interesting, and you can read more about it in the archive file Mission.txt.
The venues consist of castle architecture, which quite roughly transitions into more modern laboratories. The size of all things stands out a lot, as it looks like a giant lives in the castle. Most of the castle venues are made very simple without any details. The corridors and the rooms are mostly empty, but if there is anything in them, it's usually a small number of objects. On the other hand, the laboratories are the complete opposite, and nicely combine good layout of the elements with variable wall textures. The levels are fairly non-linear, as you can often choose your path to the destination, and sometimes you have to back track. The puzzles are pretty nice and not limited to only pushing buttons, sometimes you also have to overcome some obstacles by jumping or intensively using your brain. You can also get stuck in a few places, so save regularly. In map 4 it's advisable not to move too far from the bomb, as the transition might not be triggered correctly.
As you wander through the castle, you will be attacked by both soldiers and mutated monsters, which are actually creatures from Xen. The fights can be pretty hard due to the lack of medkits and batteries, but with smart approach you should not have problems with Medium difficulty. In few situations, you can sneak around the enemies to have a better attacking position, and people that like to explore can find some powerful secret weapons. I had mixed feelings about the appearance of the game, due to fluctuations in the build quality, but the impression was slightly corrected by video sequences and scripted events. I finished the mod in about 1 hour of play time.
Chaos Theory takes place in a secret state laboratory about three weeks before the Black Mesa incident. You play as Gordon Freeman, who is researching the chaos theory together with a team of fellow scientists. Unfortunately, in one of the experiments something goes wrong and you get teleported to a location, unknown to you. When you reach a specific goal in this area, you get teleported to the next map with an unrelated theme, and so on. This concept is used by quite a few modifications in this mod list, but none of them explains it in such a sophisticated way.
The modification consists of six very diverse maps that have a rather unfortunately chosen order, making the fluctuations in difficulty pretty significant. The introductory fun battle against Gargantua is followed by a walk through flooded corridors with plenty of Vortigaunts, but then suddenly you will be teleported to the (too)easy stage on Xen. After that you will have fight yourself through a massive corridor maze, which contains plenty of well-placed soldiers and machine guns, making it certainly the hardest part of the game. This is again followed by a very easy level with zombies and Headcrabs. The end is devoted to the elimination of a helicopter, which is otherwise demanding, but is made easier by a big supply of goodies. The game provides you with massive amounts of ammo, and there's also an abundance of medkits and batteries, so I recommend playing on Hard difficulty.
The architecture of the maps is mostly fairly simple and full of flat surfaces. The boring labyrinth of corridors in the offices and the not impressive Xen stand out the most in this regard. On the other hand, for example, the introductory map is very nicely made, as it is filled with details. In addition to fighting against opponents, the game mostly contains fairly standard puzzles, but among them you will find some very innovative ones. I really liked the map with a helicopter in which containers are unlocked gradually and slowly lead you to a rocket launcher, which can be used to destroy this dangerous opponent. To complete the mod, I spent about 45 minutes playing it.
Chemical Existence is a modification originally created for Quake 2, but during development the authors shifted to a more modern and powerful GoldSrc engine used in Half-Life. You play Reece Max, who decides to visit his sister living in Motashe city. On arrival, he notices that the city is unusually empty, the only people on the streets are junkies. During the ride, he is ambushed and manages to escape, but the danger is not over yet. The story sounds interesting, but it was really confusing to me.
Modification is certainly a significant shock to someone who is used to the classic Half-Life map packs. The design of the levels is architecturally quite simple, occasionally dark, at times resembling Unreal and Unreal Tournament. Paths forward can be well hidden, so you will have to look through every inch of the darker levels. This can be problematic, since you have no flashlight at the beginning - it's attached to the machine gun (right click), which you get later in the game. There are a lot of scripted events, maybe even too many, because sometimes it seems they were added, just because they could do it, and not because it would contribute to the story. There are also some jumping challenges in which you must pay attention to the stamina bar located at the bottom of the screen.
During gameplay, you will encounter different factions (monsters, soldiers and punks) that are hostile to each other, therefore you will sometimes be able to use their fights to avoid confrontation. AI has serious problems with proper activation, so NPCs will often be inactive and just wait for their heads to be shot off. Active AI is, on the other hand, a very dangerous opponent, especially due to the almost supernatural accuracy and lethality of the weapons used. The arsenal is extremely varied, but because the ammunition is so plentiful and the headshots are so devastating, I mostly used only the machine gun and grenades. Healing is done through chemical cocktails, which can also be collected in the form of injections and stored for later use.
The visuals deserves praise for all the adjustments, but the stages didn't impress me. Excellent custom speech is also present, and sometimes background music plays. Some people will love the complete package, but I simply could not get used to the confusing story and changed mechanics. To complete the game, I spent 2 hours and a half on the Medium difficulty.
In Cleaners Adventures, you play a janitor named Bryan Anderson, who works in Black Mesa laboratories. While driving to his work, his tram breaks down and our hero faints. After awakening, Bryan discovers that Black Mesa has been flooded with extraterrestrial monsters, and the clock is already counting down minutes until the cleanup soldier squad arrives.
The maps in the mod are fairly diverse and are well integrated into the original story, mostly because of the similar visual style. Alternative paths give a sense of non-linearity, which is just virtual, as there is only one way through the game. Here and there you will find side paths which will reward you with bonuses, but this it's not a game a explorer would like, because there are simply too many empty boxes. You will spend a lot of time inside ventilation systems and pipes, maybe too much. There are no traps too, so keep saving often. A big fail is the NPC with the shotgun, which is incapable of surviving a lift ride due to GoldSrc engine bugs. Consequently, you will not be able to play the last third of the game (Xen) without using cheats.
The enemies are not plentiful, so they won't be a grave danger, but they will often teleport behind your back and surprise you. Most of them are already known from the original game and expansions, but they have some adjustments that make them more dangerous. The weapon set is standard, and it's gradually unlocked during gameplay. Ammunition is plentiful, the same applies to healing packages. There are no batteries or charging stations, so you will need to pick up equipment worn by security guards for protection.
The visuals are definitely the main selling point of the game, not only because of the beautiful NPC and weapon models, but because of the visually stunning level design. Scripted events and background music also contribute to a good impression. The modification also includes speech in Russian, fortunately, the inscriptions and text in the game are English. I spend about 2 hours to finish the playable part of the game on medium, and if you manage to save the NPC with the shotgun, then you can stretch the gameplay time for another hour.
Conundrum takes place after the final fight in the original in which Gordon Freeman defeated Nihilanth. Stranded in Xen he decided to enter a random teleporter, which has taken him back to Black Mesa. Here he found scientists who wanted to escape from the complex but did not dare, because the facility was flooded with soldiers. Gordon decides to help them, and in the process, discovers a mysterious room which teleports him into the land of the Egyptians, full of monsters from Xen and soldiers. Even though the story sounds very promising, you will soon find out that it does not make sense, and that you cannot call some place Egyptian just because it has sand and pyramids ...
The architecture of the maps is extremely basic and simplified: there are plenty of flat surfaces, empty corridors and rooms that are just cuboid spaces. External maps are not much better, and the same holds for caves. In each of the levels you will have to solve a puzzle, fight a battle, or do a combination of the two, then move to the next level. The puzzles are quite diverse and include swimming, jumping challenges, button pushing, orientation, searching for hidden paths, traps, ladder climbing, etc., but also have a huge number of flaws. Let me list a few examples: to open a door, you must go to a specific corner of the room, which in no way indicates that it contains a trigger; some teleporters lead to certain death, which can't be avoided without trying; a jump into the water is sometimes softened, sometimes it kills you; some jumping challenges force you to take damage, etc. With such many inequities, fun quickly disappears.
On the way to the finish line you will be obstructed by practically all opponents from the original, which includes both soldiers and creatures from Xen. Due to the abundance of ammunition and medical packages, I recommend playing the game on Hard difficulty. That way fights will be much more interesting, but beware of the final boss at this difficulty. The appearance of the game does not excite, because the textures are too monotonous, and the impression is not improved by the buggy video sequences. Here and there the background music pops in. To complete the mod and the Hazard Course introduction, I spent about 2 hours playing it, and in the process I had to use the official game walktrough several times.