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:
Recent:
Very Positive (56 reviews) - 89% of the 56 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (2,194 reviews) - 90% of the 2,194 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

Windows
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
Customer reviews
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Recent:
Very Positive (56 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (2,194 reviews)
Recently Posted
Erin
5.1 hrs
Posted: August 23
Half-Life is a series that has become massively well known amongst gamers, and it is no wonder why when the games are just so damn fun, Blue Shift is no exception to this.

Pros
Blue Shift allows you to take the role of a security guard at the Black Mesa facility (Barney Calhoun)
Blue Shift has several easter eggs based on the other two expansions Opposing Force and Decay (Although Decay wasn't released at this point it shows one of the main characters named Gina Cross)
In true Half-Life fashion enemies are placed in such a way as to catch you off guard if you run in guns blazing through every door.
Probably some more but I can't think properly right now, far to hot where I am.

Cons
The game is very short with someone as rubbish at first person shooters as me managing to beat it in about 3 hours (I left the game running when I went for lunch resulting in it displaying more hours than I actually played), and someone who is experienced probably managing in much less time, you can't really complain though as it is very cheap.
Some aspects of the game are very vent heavy, or in Xens case, small tunnel heavy.
It feels like they were far to heavy handed with Headcrabs in the vents with one vent sticking out to me as every corner seemed to have a headcrab.

Conclusion
Honestly, though this game has its flaws, it is extremely fun to play and definitely worth checking out if you haven't already, just don't expect this to have the same play time as Half-Life 1, it is just an expansion after all.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
booker t
3.3 hrs
Posted: August 21
I don't give a ♥♥♥♥ what anyone says, this game IS canon to half-life 1.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ishvii
1.1 hrs
Posted: August 21
If you can cope with the low-res graphics and basic gamplay, this is an 'ok' addition to the original Half Life series with no new elements where you play as a security guard. Better played 10 years ago though.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
MEMESTARALERTMINECRAFTLETSPLAYER
0.6 hrs
Posted: August 20
about that beer i owed ya
A E S T H E T I C
Helpful? Yes No Funny
The Postal Dude
21.1 hrs
Posted: August 20
its tough. it was released in 2001 but didn't really make as much of a game as Opposing Force did in my opinion. its cool cause you play as Barney Calhoun and you get to see more stuffs that you didn't in the original, but its still the same except you get Helmets and Kevlar instead of Batterys or Chargers, but the same weapons are used again. and in Teaser, you even got a handheld Flashlight. but that was cut. and it seems the vortigaunts have a differant design in the screenshots, but the same stuff was carried over. no Opposing Force stuff was recycled, except Otis Laury appears 3 times, but you cant have him with you. thats the thing though. you are completely alone. and the guards are all dead when you meet them. find them i mean. if Gearbox really put some effort into this, it would have made a game as good as Opposing Force. overall, a 5.3/10. room for improvement. but i still recomend it as another item to collect in the Half-Life series. hope i helped.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
b0177
1.9 hrs
Posted: August 19
The most shortest Half-life expansion pack i've ever played but its pretty good, it tells the story of Barney Calhoun (One of the main character in Half-life 2) escaping Black Mesa research facility.
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HGrunt
5.5 hrs
Posted: August 18
Just more of the same. No new enemies or weapons. Just a shorter and more watered down HL1
Helpful? Yes No Funny
smoll baby
0.8 hrs
Posted: August 18
The game is shorter than the rest of the Half Life series but it is still a great game that lives up to the original Half Life.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
ReallyMadHobo
11.1 hrs
Posted: August 17
Little bit better then the main game

5/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
DSE
6.5 hrs
Posted: August 16
Although the game is short, but it is fun!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
14 of 14 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
11.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 27
Half-Life: Blue Shift was released in 2001 as the second Gearbox Half-Life expansion. In this game, you play as Barney Calhoun, a Black Mesa security guard during the time of the original Half-Life's Resonance Cascade, and the subsequent invasion of Black Mesa by the US military in attempt to cover the event up.

The game is similar to Opposing Force in that it illustrates a part of the world of Half-Life during the time of the Resonance Cascade, though from the eyes of someone other than Gordon Freeman. In Blue Shift's case, you start in a similar environment to Gordon within the depths of the Black Mesa Research Facility as an employee there, and after a casual introduction into basic mechanics and the neat environment Barney works in, you're thrown into combat quickly after the Cascade hits within 15 minutes into the game.

Most of the basic weaponry Gordon has in Half-Life can be used by Barney, from the Shotgun to the Revolver to the Crowbar, and the plot surrounds Barney's attempt to escape Black Mesa and resist against US marines who are pouring in to the facility to cover the whole Cascade up, along the way, you'll solve puzzles, fight baddies, and help scientists to find the way for yourself and others to escape the doomed facility before the impending nuclear destruction of the facility kills your chances.

The game itself is pretty great; because it was built around the same engine and built around Half-Life as an independent game, it resists many problems itself; most being attributable to those that Half-Life had itself (the flashlight that could stick to surfaces across the room). That being said, the game has a few glitches (saves breaking, certain elevator scenes near the beginning leading to game-overs, Gordon getting stuck on the tram tracks, etc) but none that were utterly game-breaking or capable of ruining the player's experience.

That being said, this game's main problem is its length and the amount of content it introduces. While Opposing Force, the previous Gearbox Half-Life expansion, had within it a fairly long plot, introduced many new weapons, aliens, and even had a boss battle, Blue Shift is fairly short and doesn't really introduce new weapons, (that being said, most of them to my knoweldge use different skins) and in my opinion, serves more as a compliment to the original game by allowing fans of Half-Life to see more of Black Mesa behind the scenes.

To summarize: In my opinion the game is great and is my personal favorite of the Half-Life expansions and vies with Half-Life 1 for the best original Half-Life title; I've always enjoyed the character of Barney Calhoun, and I find it enjoyable that there's an entire expansion detailing his own escape from the Black Mesa complex. However, I do recognize the flaws that this game has: This game doesn't introduce as much content as Opposing Force did to be considered a different title from Half-Life, and isn't as long as either Opposing Force or Half-Life to have as much of an impact on the average player post-completion. That all being said, I enjoyed what it was, the narrative and story was solid, and I enjoyed the chance to see the Resonance Cascade and the subsequent invasion of Black Mesa from the eyes of Barney. The game has a certain narrative to it that creates an interesting environment that compliments the plot, and because of its length, you spend more time with other characters and as such are able to more greatly build an understanding of their character because you spend more time together. While it's short and doesn't add much to the Half-Life universe, I myself liked it and found it enjoyable, even if it's only around 2-3 hours long in comparison to the original Half-Life being around 10-12 hours in length.

In the end, the game's narrative and plot outshine its gameplay for me; it's interesting to see the quest of a security guard escaping Black Mesa while it's under seize by Xen creatures and the military, and the ending is a complete contrast of the ending of Half-Life, and I can't help but feeling like it hit all its narrative marks in those regards.

I myself recommend it, but whether you want to pay 5 bucks for something like this is your opinion in the end. That being said, I myself got it as a part of the Half Life Complete Steam Bundle, which goes on sale during every major seasonal Steam sale. If you were thinking of getting this title or any of the other games in the Half-Life franchise, I'd suggest you turn to that bundle during a sale, as you get discounts for all the games if you buy it, so it's cheaper than buying each game individually.
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9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
111.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 26
None of your friends have played this game recently. Tell them why they should.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 10
you play as a security guard at cern
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 29
Having recently completed Half-Life Opposing Force, I cannot recommend Blue Shift. I only feel compelled to write this review because Blue Shift was so underwhelming compared to the original and the expansion. It has half as many weapons as either previous game but none of the new, charming weapons found in OF. Though it includes a few decent Half-Life style physics puzzles, boring and frustrating filler sections bury the good parts.

To start with, there is just too much exposition comprised of unnecessary Easter eggs winking at the original or the expansion. For a 2.5 hour long game, the 20-30 minute exposition adds nothing by retracing the steps of the original. The expansion further wastes time with long NPC dialogue sections that consist mostly of pointless techno-babble which does nothing to flesh out or expand the Half-Life universe. The game also contains a needlessly long NPC escort portion chock full of pathing bugs. At the end of the game, the same NPC leads the player through another pointlessly long Simon-says segment with nothing to do but press a button every minute or so.

When the action actually happens, the game frustrates by leading the player down long, maze-like corridors with headcrabs behind every box, rock, and corner. Fights with soldier-type enemies similarly become frustrating because the game throws so many at the player at once. Combined with their high ridiculously high health pool (a problem shared with the original), the player spends long stretches shooting at enemies who won't seem to die and who won't stop coming. By contrast, fights with alien enemies simply pit the player against easily dispatched pairs or triples of Vortigaunts or Houndeyes. The most difficult enemies are a few grunts. None of the new, difficult enemies introduced in OF appear.

As a whole, the expansion plays more like a fan made bonus level relying exclusively on existing game assets. It lacks the polish and clever moments of the original and the sci-fi schlock charm of the OF expansion. The player learns nothing new about the Half-Life universe that the original had not already covered. As a whole, Blue Shift adds nothing to the Half-Life experience except for a few new short, frustrating levels. It might as well be skipped even if you picked it up as part of the anthology.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
21.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 20
its tough. it was released in 2001 but didn't really make as much of a game as Opposing Force did in my opinion. its cool cause you play as Barney Calhoun and you get to see more stuffs that you didn't in the original, but its still the same except you get Helmets and Kevlar instead of Batterys or Chargers, but the same weapons are used again. and in Teaser, you even got a handheld Flashlight. but that was cut. and it seems the vortigaunts have a differant design in the screenshots, but the same stuff was carried over. no Opposing Force stuff was recycled, except Otis Laury appears 3 times, but you cant have him with you. thats the thing though. you are completely alone. and the guards are all dead when you meet them. find them i mean. if Gearbox really put some effort into this, it would have made a game as good as Opposing Force. overall, a 5.3/10. room for improvement. but i still recomend it as another item to collect in the Half-Life series. hope i helped.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 10
security guard with pistol has to defeat aliens and soldiers.

blue/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 4
Well... I did enjoy it... a lot, actually. Blue Shift is an expansion taking place from the beginning of HL1 to the chapter Apprehension, where Gordon is captured by HECU forces. But wait, that was still somewhat early in the game, right? ...Yeah. We'll get to that.

First, I just want to address the things it really got right. Blue Shift feels like it should-- a complete expansion to the original. As a security guard, you start off the game first locked out of the office as Gordon slides by looking at you slightly amused, then stopping at the firing range, and watching the Anomalous Materials experiment get prepared on CCTV's. There's an extreme attention to detail spanning most of the game, and it feels like Gearbox always kept in mind what was happening on Gordon's side.

It also does an excellent job of tying together storylines. While interactions are rare between the stories of Gordon (HL1), Barney (BS), and Adrian (OF), there are constant references and signs where someone who played the other games will recognize key events. It's definitely interesting to see HL1's plot rewritten from a simple linear story to a whole universal event, now being explored by three radically different roles.

On the side, the actual game is... solid. The levels are decent, the story is good, and overall it feels like more HL1 minus the benefits of the HEV suit, instead opting for standard body armor. There just isn't that much different from HL1 once you get past the blue HUD and story. Thankfully, the levels are a completely new deal and while you'll cross paths with key events, the game still stands on its own without constantly relying on you to connect it to the base game. It's not the kind of game where not knowing the original storyline leaves you completely clueless-- Barney discovers the HECU's mission on his own, he goes through his own escape and survival, and he meets with other scientists in his escape.

Still, the biggest flaw I can point out is its time. Three hours, total. I'd like to say I got lost or stuck twice. This is by no means a long game. Yet, by the end it does start to feel like it overstays its welcome anyway. It even follows up a teleporter and alien encounter with a fetch quest for more batteries. FETCHING! While the pacing in the beginning is exactly as it should be, I feel like the last stage of the game simply dragged on for far longer than it should have. Still, while not difficult in any sense of the word, the finale is definitely alright for a small expansion-- rather than a boss battle, you more or less follow your fetch quest with an interactive cutscene, which even foreshadows the "Red Letter Day" in HL2 to an extent.

Perhaps the biggest thing I can say against Blue Shift, though, is that it has no multiplayer. This was criminal. Absolutely unacceptable. For shame!

So yes, I will recommend it, but rather half-heartedly. You'll have fun with it, but HL1 and Opposing Force have much more to offer. They're both more interesting and better executed than Gearbox's second expansion ended up being. Not to mention, it offers much less in content than HL1, which went on for around 9-15 hours plus multiplayer deathmatch, and Opposing Force, which while also somewhat short featured an overhauled multiplayer with CTF and more weapons. Play those first, and when you see a good sale or don't have other games you can get for this price, go for it.

==UPDATE==
As commanderox pointed out, you may experience a gamebreaking bug in the opening chapter that prevents you from equipping your body armor and helmet (which triggers an event). I didn't run into this personally, so don't touch the settings and you should be fine.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 15
I'm Rick Harrison, and this is my pawn shop. I work here with my old man and my son, Big Hoss. Everything in here has a story and a price. One thing I've learned after 21 years - you never know what is gonna come through that door.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
257 of 264 people (97%) found this review helpful
156 people found this review funny
Recommended
6.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 9, 2014
The cupcake version of Half-Life.
Play as Barney Calhoun and show United States Marines, Black Ops Ninjas, and inter-dimensional mutants that real badasses wear ties and make $26,000 a year.
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121 of 128 people (95%) found this review helpful
70 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 24, 2014
You get to play as a mute security guard who wrecks havoc upon firearms specialists and aliens from an alternative dimension with a crowbar, and owes a mute theoretical physicist a pint.
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