Made by Gearbox Software and originally released in 2001 as an add-on to Half-Life, Blue Shift is a return to the Black Mesa Research Facility in which you play as Barney Calhoun, the security guard sidekick who helped Gordon out of so many sticky situations.
User reviews:
Very Positive (1,968 reviews) - 90% of the 1,968 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jun 1, 2001

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About This Game

Made by Gearbox Software and originally released in 2001 as an add-on to Half-Life, Blue Shift is a return to the Black Mesa Research Facility in which you play as Barney Calhoun, the security guard sidekick who helped Gordon out of so many sticky situations.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux

    Minimum: 500 mhz processor, 96mb ram, 16mb video card, Windows XP, Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection

    Recommended: 800 mhz processor, 128mb ram, 32mb+ video card, Windows XP, Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection

    Minimum: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.3, 1GB RAM, 4GB Hard Drive Space,NVIDIA GeForce 8 or higher, ATI X1600 or higher, or Intel HD 3000 or higher Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection
    Minimum: Linux Ubuntu 12.04, Dual-core from Intel or AMD at 2.8 GHz, 1GB Memory, nVidia GeForce 8600/9600GT, ATI/AMD Radeaon HD2600/3600 (Graphic Drivers: nVidia 310, AMD 12.11), OpenGL 2.1, 4GB Hard Drive Space, OpenAL Compatible Sound Card
Helpful customer reviews
30 of 34 people (88%) found this review helpful
48 people found this review funny
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 24, 2015
Half Dead Blu Shift (key) lets you play Barney Calzone, a security guard at Military Research Falcility called White Mesa. You go by your day to day life of killing military personnel with weapons that range from a Spaz 12 shotgun to a Bertette Pistol to a Crowbar, helping scientists escape when they really just want to walk a couple steps and give up because they don't like the sun, Go to a parralel dimension and see floating ♥♥♥♥ to activate a teleporter with no purpose, follow Gorgeous Freeman as he tries to escape White Mesa and shooting aliens with guns no security guard would have. It provides us with story leading up to Half Loaf 2, as Barney escapes with some nerds to a City of 17 or something. If I could say anything, it would be that Barney Calzone is a delicious security guard.
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30 of 45 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
7.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 21, 2015
This game is really good, much better than Opposing Force. Gone are the stupid weapons and enemies and back are the really good ones from the original. The first half of the game the quality of the mapping is about the same as Opposing Force’s, but in the second half it does get a lot better. There is also a considerably better flow and story compared to Opposing Force, here there actually is one compared to the no existent one in Opposing Force.

There are no reused sections, although some did seem to take a lot of inspiration from Half-Life’s. However there is a heavy use of sections where you need to go a long way around just to open a door, this is done multiple times. Also not all the weapons are used, this is a good thing is some ways since everything in this game was not out of place, but there are still some non-energy\Xen weapons that are not used.

The main problem with the game is that is it too short, it really does feel like they made half the game, then ran out of time. This would explain the lake of weapons and also the lack of difficulty increase, there is no end boss and the end point does feel like a mid-point.

But this game is really good, if you had to choose between this and Opposing Force, choose this. Opposing Force was not that great, this however is really good, in some ways better than Half-Life.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 10
The shortest and least substantial expansion pack to the original Half-Life, Blue Shift puts you in the role of Barney Calhoun, a security officer at Black Mesa on the day of the Black Mesa incident. As with Opposing Force and Decay, this game was developed by Gearbox using assets from the original Half-Life. Blue Shift is by far the shortest of the four campaigns, beatable between 2.5-5 hours depending on the difficulty and your experience with first-person shooters.

This game's initial presentation is very good, but its short traversal and occasionally awkward puzzles put a "damper" on things. There are lots of homages to things that happen in Half-Life, Decay, and Opposing Force. The first chapter is really immersive and is a pretty good setup for the rest of the campaign. Unfortunately, Calhoun is relegated to doing the most mundane stuff in the facility, and it really feels like his story is the least important of the four.


Because of the game's brevity, it has to compress things greatly, which sometimes works to the detriment of the game. The difficulty escalates much more quickly than in any of the other campaigns. The second chapter is probably the best, but figuring out what Gearbox was thinking with two of the puzzles (i.e., the weird machines you manipulate vertically and going down an obscured ladder to a completely different area) are hard for me to understand why they were chosen. The third chapter introduces marines and this is where things really get hairy. Unlike every other HL game in my experience, the marines in Blue Shift seem to spam the MP5's grenades the most. It feels artificially difficult because the grenades are very damaging and hard to see coming to dodge.

Also in the third chapter, there is a bit of an escort mission, which is exceedingly annoying because the guy decides to stop following you because he says he's tired. Sometimes this happens after he says he'll follow you and not take a single step. Other times he'll just rush ahead of you, which is also annoying when he gets in harm's way. One of the funniest experiences I think most people have had with him is him saying he won't go another step when he's right in front of the security door that he's been ♥♥♥♥♥ing about getting to.

Anyway, after that chapter, you get sent to the alien homeworld and there's a mess of convoluted mazes. This was also the chapter that I discovered Gearbox's proclivity for constantly placing headcrabs right around 90-degree corners in order for them to almost always get a hit on you just because you couldn't see it coming. I thought this was also pretty cheap. There might be multiple ways to get to the destination but I can foresee people getting confused and frustrated with the random organization of everything. Do you take the left path or the right path? It's a lot of trial and error, I think, and I guess I just got lucky. There's also a really annoying platforming section where you have to basically save on every platform. But once you get past that, there's a kind of extended waterfall section that actually feels like it could belong in the original Half-Life. It's certainly better than the factory in Interloper. This is also where you'll encounter almost all of the enemies that Gordon dealt with on Xen, except far, far fewer. After aligning the machinery on Xen, there's again a bit of a head-scratching moment to figure out where to go. You just jump on some crumbled rocks to reach an upper area, d!ck around for a bit (which feels unnecessary), and then find an arbitrary portal back home.

The fifth chapter is the longest and in my opinion the most annoying. You have to find a power cell (battery) in a lower section of Black Mesa. Unfortunately things aren't as intuitive as they should be. For instance, you have to use a barrel as a conduit for a broken wire connected to some dynamite and an explosive lever. You also have to lower the coolant levels just to move some barrels, then raise the coolant levels to jump on the barrels to cross to the other side. But the worst offense (and this is the worst part of the entire game) is figuring out the one extremely random hidden button that raises a bridge to cross to a section you probably didn't even see. This is where the game's lack of explanation drove me batsh!t insane. Anyway, once you figure that all out, you charge the battery and send it back.

The last chapter is pretty easy, you just have to open the damping fields to let the scientists through, then open them for yourself and go through. This is supposed to be tough because of the military guys, but if you know where they're coming from, you can plant a mine and take them out easily.

This game isn't really all that long but it's decent for what it is. There are definitely some moments that are good but probably an equal number of moments that hit with a considerable clunk. It definitely doesn't have the gravitas of the other HL games and some of its puzzles are more annoying than anything. By far the aliens and military spawn point placement in Blue Shift feels the most d!ckish of all the games. But if you can handle those minor annoyances, it's fun to play. But if you're debating between this and Half-Life or Opposing Force, this should be the lowest on your list because it has the least content and feels less substantial (although Calhoun gets the best ending, in my opinion).

P.S. I know it says I have only six minutes in the game. I beat it having "changed game" after having started Opposing Force.
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
23.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 17, 2015
*Sighs* Blue Shift is the Debby Downer of the HL1 franchise. I still love it, but I am disappointed by it at the same time. Its lazily short gameplay could've been so much more! But despite that, we still got to play as the man who promised Gordon Freeman that beer seventeen years ago. Barney Calhoun.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
7.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 22
One words review: Amazing!
Half-Life: Blue Shift is an awesome Add-on to the original Half-Life franchise! developed by Gearbox Software and published by Valve on Jun, 2001.
In this expansion you play as "Barney Calhoun"; a mid-level security officer at the Black Mesa Research Facility who will became an actual standalone character with a great impact in the later Half-Life games, it's the day of the Black Mesa incident and your mission is to escape the alien invasion with the help of "Dr. Rosenberg" using some kind of old technology portal while fighting both aliens and army.
The story is really good and enjoyable with an awesome ending ( it's still cool even despite the fact that there is no final boss fight ), but sadly .. it's the shortest of the 4 expansions! the good thing is that it presents some new levels and areas of Black Mesa, yet no new weapons or enemies at all
i don't need to talk about the graphics & voice acting, the expansion was released 15 years ago and yet they still good for nowadays and they don't have any bad impact on the game-play.
Tbh, it was really nice to play as "Calhoun"and i loved how the story was mixed-in with the original story .. you can clearly see how many connections between them exists here.
Overall, if you loved the original half-life you should definitely try this one too! it's a great addition to the HL series and i recommend it to everyone, it doesn't matter if you are a huge fan or a newbie! just buy it now! Final Score: 9/10
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