Named Game of the Year by over 50 publications, Valve's debut title blends action and adventure with award-winning technology to create a frighteningly realistic world where players must think to survive. Also includes an exciting multiplayer mode that allows you to play against friends and enemies around the world.
User reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive (7,577 reviews)
Release Date: Nov 8, 1998

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Buy Half-Life 1

Packages that include this game

Buy Half-Life 1 Anthology

Includes 4 items: Half-Life, Half-Life: Blue Shift, Half-Life: Opposing Force, Team Fortress Classic

Buy Half-Life Complete

Includes 10 items: Half-Life, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, Half-Life: Blue Shift, Half-Life: Opposing Force, Half-Life: Source, Team Fortress Classic

Buy Valve Complete Pack

Includes 24 items: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Portal 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Left 4 Dead, Portal, Team Fortress 2, Team Fortress Classic, Counter-Strike: Source, Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Day of Defeat, Day of Defeat: Source, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Half-Life, Half-Life: Blue Shift, Half-Life: Opposing Force, Half-Life Deathmatch: Source, Half-Life: Source, Ricochet, Deathmatch Classic

Downloadable Content For This Game

 

Recommended By Curators

"Experience the game that started it all. Become Gordon Freeman as he tries to escape the aftermath of an experiment gone horribly wrong."

About This Game

Named Game of the Year by over 50 publications, Valve's debut title blends action and adventure with award-winning technology to create a frighteningly realistic world where players must think to survive. Also includes an exciting multiplayer mode that allows you to play against friends and enemies around the world.

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
Helpful customer reviews
540 of 598 people (90%) found this review helpful
17 people found this review funny
17.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 17, 2014
It's from 1998 and it's still better than Call of Duty.

PS: I HAVE played Call of Duty.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
153 of 165 people (93%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
14.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 14
TL:DR? See Conclusion

NOTE 1: Related Content
Also see my:
Half-Life Review
Half-Life: Opposing Force Review
Half-Life: Blue Shift Review
Black Mesa Review

NOTE 2: (MUST READ)
I review games to help fellow gamers decide whether they should purchase a game or not. With that said, although I consider Half-Life as a classical MASTERPIECE and possibly one of the greatest games of all time, I will still list down game mechanics from the past that some people may not enjoy today.

Think of it like this: everyone enjoys flying modern-day commercial jets like the 747, but it doesn't mean however that everyone would like to fly in a DC-3 built in the 1940s despite it being labeled as the 'most significant transport aircraft' in history.

INTRODUCTION:
Half-Life is a narrative-driven linear first-person shooter (FPS) action game and is the debut (and signature) title of Valve. Hailed as one of the greatest games of all time winning dozens of awards on release, Half-Life revolutionized the FPS genre in a way that no other title has done since Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake. This game has since been the industry standard on how to make a perfect FPS game which combines realistic gameplay, fun puzzles mechanics, a narrative-driven single-player experience with fast-paced multiplayer action.

The game follows the story of Gordon Freeman, a theoretical physicist working for the Black Mesa Research Facility that is involved in Weapons Development, Research on Teleportation Technology and occasional cloning of a Security Guard named Barney Calhoun. When an experiment with an unknown alien crystal results in a catastrophic accident that opened a portal to an alien dimension named 'Xen', Gordon Freeman, wearing the H.E.V. Suit, must now travel across the entire Black Mesa facility to reach the Lambda Complex where he must enter a portal to Xen and kill the creature that is keeping the portal open for the alien invaders. Fight against Invading alien monsters and, at the same time, US Military operatives who are attempting to stop the invasion but is also trying to silence any surviving 'witnesses' of the Black Mesa incident.

LEGACY OF HALF-LIFE (PROS):
+ First FPS game to fully incorporate a Narrative-Driven story (as opposed to the industry standard of maze gallery shooters which was the Wolfenstein 3D / Doom mechanic)
+ Excellent level designs
+ Realistic combat mechanics (may be not as realistic now in 2015, but 17 years ago it was)
+ Fun puzzles
+ Great sound effects
+ First FPS game to incorporate scripted sequences for its level transitions rather than cut-scenes
+ Relatively advanced AI (back in 1998), with enemies actively dodging, tactically retreating and often times baiting you into an ambush.
+ Fun fast-paced multiplayer action that set the foundations for Counter-Strike which started as a mere mod of Half-Life
+ Mods; although Half-Life is not the first video game to be modded, it is the first to have several such mods become their own full games that still retain their Half-Life heritage
+ Challenging difficulty modes (but this is a given since most old-school shooters were challenging)

OLD GAME MECHANICS THAT NEW GENERATION OF GAMERS MAY NOT LIKE (CONS):
- Perpetual sprint with optional walking by pressing “Shift” (as opposed to today's standard which is the reverse)
- No objective tracker (players may forget what they were doing especially if they haven't played in a while)
- Melee weapon needs to be equipped rather than bound to a hotkey (though CS:GO players won't have a problem with this)

CONCLUSION:
MASTERPIECE is the only word that best describes Half-Life in my opinion. Although some of its mechanics may not necessarily be applicable in today's (2015) standard, the same can still be considered as part of its charm, much like how most of us still enjoy watching old-school movies and TV shows.

The advent of Half-Life was a turning point in gaming history, most notably, the First-person shooter genre. Before this game, the only FPS standard to be followed was Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake, with the first two being plotless maze shooters and Quake being the first to implement a backstory but still retained the maze-like levels. With Half-Life, developers saw a potential for FPS games to combine intense action and gunplay with effective narrative story-telling through leniar levels (which is heavily abused by some FPS games today) and realistic game mechanics (a title, which most people agree, was held by the Metal Gear Solid franchise, a third-person action game)

Let’s put this in an analogy: Wolfenstein 3D is the Wheel (basically invented the mainstream FPS genre), Doom is the Horse-Drawn Carriage (Doom made FPS games extremely popular, accessible and widespread), Quake is the Steam Engine (Quake bridge the gap between plotless maze shooters and plot driven FPS games Credit: Steam User RGX12 for pointing this out) and Half-Life is the Ford Model T Car (Half-Life set the standard for modern day FPS games who's basic and essential features still survives today.)

TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY?
MUST BUY AND MUST HAVE. I, however, do recommend you purchase the Half-Life Anthology if you already have Half-Life 2 but if you don't have it, get Half-Life Complete.

---------------------------------------------------------
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Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
84 of 93 people (90%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
1,334.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 5
The best FPS ever developed. Pure Pwnage.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
56 of 61 people (92%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
30.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 15
You play as a mute theoretical physicist with a crowbar fetish.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
50 of 56 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 13
You play the role of Gordon Freeman and arrive late for work at the Black Mesa research facility. As you are walking through the steel corridors to get down to the test chamber all the other scientists keep saying: "They are waiting for you Gordon in the test chamber". After 4 loading screens and alot of waiting on scientists to mock you for being late before letting you progress to the test chamber you at last arrive there to do some testing with crystals from the alien world Xen.

However the test goes wrong the very second you push the Xen crystal mounted on a Lawn mower into a beam for testing. This creates the resonance cascade which creates a rift between earth and Xen, allowing Vortigaunts and other alien species to enter earth at will. The Black Mesa security cannot stop the aliens and the army is called in. The army is however not there to help the Black Mesa personnel. They are there to kill everybody invovled with the project.

Gordon Freeman must now fight the aliens, fight the soldiers, try to save the scientists that mocked him for being late and with the help of the scientists reach Xen to stop Nihilanth(The Alien mastermind).


Overall Half-Life is probably one of those games ive spent the most time playing. Outside of steam that is. Bought it back in 1999 and when steam came along my key was already taken steam said(To verify my key I had to take a photo of my product and its key and send it to valve and back in 2004 that was not an easy thing to do). So I had to play it outside of steam until it ended up on one of those sales. If you have steam and don't have Half-Life then I recomend you buying it as quickly as possible.

Half-Life is also being remade by a team of dudes. The mod is called Black Mesa. Its avalible for download but it lacks the last levels that were sceduled to be released 2 years ago.

I give Half-Life 10/10 for being a great game and having great replay value.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
33 of 38 people (87%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
18.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 24, 2014
What a privilege it is for you if you have finished this game. Half-Life sits in a chair in a vast and golden hall along with only the highlords of the first-person-shooting genre. There we can find the likes of DooM, Wolfenstein, Quake, Unreal, BioShock, GoldenEye, Battlefield 2... Yes, Half-Life is that noble.

Gordon Freeman is a physicist gone survivor/gunslinger in chaotic circumstances surrounding the accidental opening of a dimensional portal that brought about alien hostile presence into the Black Mesa Research Facility. The tension can be felt through every sensorial fibre of the narrative, from the stable low-pitch melodies of the soundtrack to the sudden appearances of creatures throughout the many corridors and laboratories found in the maps. The level design is extraordinary, and intelligent in progressively revealing the labyrinthine network of tunnels and ducts that hide vital items for the adequate fast-paced action of a quintessential shooter. However, such a network also provides the player with the strategic edge to approach danger and conflict, something innovative in itself for a genre that is - usually - sadly stigmatised by the shortcomings of linearity.

Its daring features are a testament to the prime product of an age that it was. Half-Life subtly overcomes limitations of its time: it pioneered non-cutscene dynamic action and continuous immersive narrative, allowing the player to actually be part of everything s/he watches from behind the screen. Gordon may never be seen or heard in the de facto game, but the initial display of routine in Black Mesa (the famous tram sequence) drowns the player in unsullied immersion, not presenting any perspective bias or character automation. Gordon Freeman is as "free" a protagonist as it gets in a game of this kind.

Be it for the strategic patience necessary to solve its puzzles, or for its compelling themes of cosmic conflict and the possible rough edges of scientific discovery, one shall find satisfaction in Half-Life. The dozens of Vortigaunts, Headcrabs, and Alien Grunts are there to remind the player that different kinds of shooting and approaching are necessary in order to survive both Black Mesa and Xen. How far into the dimensions of suspense and cunning one can get - is up to the player's willingness to brave this gaming gemstone from the late 1990s.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
47 of 62 people (76%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
13.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 27, 2014
Half-Life is love, Half-life is life
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
24 of 25 people (96%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
12.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 18
One of the best games ever made. The graphics might look dated over 10 years, but eye candy does not make a game great. +++11/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
22 of 25 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
11.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 22
Even after 17 years the game came out, its still worth every minute you spend in the game.
don't be afraid of outdated graphics/physics, this game is a badass.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
24 of 29 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 19
nuuu, buy it to play the mods from www.moddb.com :P
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
23 of 29 people (79%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 12
Classic game!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
13 of 13 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 8
20 minutes into the game, got killed by a bookcase. 10/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 31, 2014
I bought a crowbar after playing this and was dissapointed to find the physics of it weren't as good with it as they are in Half-Life.

10/10 would get sad about the reality of crowbars again
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
18 of 25 people (72%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
28.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 15, 2014
get as many half lifes as you want, but you aint getting just 3
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
13 of 16 people (81%) found this review helpful
31.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 27, 2014
Words cannot describe how amazing this game was for its time.

After playing this title for once again I remembered why half life became so famous. Such an incredible length, puzzling difficulty and amazing level design. Fun wepons and above all, a mind blowing story to be told.

And that's how a new cult started. With a giant leap ahead in the gaming history by valve in 1998 setting the flag for a series of success and amazing game releases.

If you are hard cored enough to search into old games while a half life fan then you got to test yourself by playing and finishing this game!
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
19.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 9
If you've never played a Half-Life game and aren't relatively familiar with the story and franchise, then this review might be for you. If you're just looking for a fresh perspective on one of your favorite classics then this review might also be for you. This was the first time I have ever played a Half-Life game. I'm afraid I missed it when it was released, however, I did play similar shooters from that era. I didn't think a review from me would be necessary for such a popular title like Half-Life but seeing that all of the top reviews for it are those ridiculous one or two sentence jokes, I thought that maybe my take on it would be welcome.

In Half-Life, you fill the shoes of Gordon Freeman, a theoretical physicist who's getting ready for an ordinary day at the office. Gordon Freeman apparently, dons his fancy HEV suit every morning after punching in on the time clock, and then runs around in a room that is not safe anyone not wearing said suit.

Long story short, something bad happens while on the job, and aliens decide to invade Gordon's workplace, Black Mesa labs. You then spend the rest of the game trying to get out of the now compromised Black Mesa facility. The structure is surprisingly large for a research lab and you'll spend quite some time traversing it's different levels, from labyrinthine industrial machinery to the sterile, clean laboratories where Freeman's colleagues go-a-sciencing. Without spoiling too much, the army becomes involved and for some unexplained reason, presumably a cover-up, considers you to be just as dangerous as the invading aliens.

That pretty much covers it, as far as an overall picture is concerned. You won't start with much, as far as weapons are concerned, however you'll slowly build up your collection as you romp through Black Mesa. The gameplay is smooth and uncluttered with too many bells and whistles. You run, shoot, and jump your way to the surface of the facility. Sometimes, you'll even push and pull some things to solve some very mild puzzles. The game can be quite challenging if you up the difficulty enough. And ammo is at a premium. You really have to think about what weapons you're using against which enemies and what is the most efficient way to kill them. Some weapons are better for killing different targets, which is a nice thing that makes this game more than just a mindless shooter.

There is little dialogue throughout this game. In fact, there are even a couple of levels where you won't encounter too terribly many enemies, however those are mostly reserved for the more industrial areas of Black Mesa.

The game is definitely dated, as it runs on the old 1998 GldSrc engine. If you're itching to get your nostalgia on, this can be a good thing, though. It reminded me a lot of Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force from the early 2000's (unsurprisingly, as Raven Software admitted Half-Life was their inspiration for Elite Force). It can also be considered reminiscent of Doom, in it's tone, especially in the later levels I think. If you really just aren't in the mood of '98 graphics, thought, you could always get the Source version of the game, which isn't terribly different, but does give it that extra little oomph you may be looking for.

All in all, there weren't many cons in this game for me, except for it's lack of exposition. I think that may be more of a sign of it's age, however. Like I said, there isn't much dialogue and if you're looking for a lot of story, you won't really find it in this game. However, I've been told that HL2 has more of that sort of thing. I also mentioned above that ammo can be hard to find and many might consider that to be another negative trait. That's just something that will come down to personal preference, though. At least I never found myself bored while playing. The end boss was pretty unforgiving, though. The technical difficulty of defeating the final boss was fairly frustrating and they didn't exactly make the mechanics of doing it very smooth. This also seems to be a relic from gaming's past, though.

All things considered, I really enjoyed this game. I came it with mostly a fresh perspective, as I knew little about the tone of Half-Life and I knew little of the story. Even though I never played this as a kid, the nostalgia from shooters of it's era was enough to make me smile from time to time. If you played Quake III or games like it, you might also notice some of the minor similarities. When you consider that this was Valve's debut product, it makes it all seem that much more impressive.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
54.4 hrs on record
Posted: April 30
Probably recognized by some as the single best FPS shooter of all time. At my view point I cannot really argue. Fantastic Amosphere, Unforgettable weapons and of course the G-Man. Its never been more enjoyable to prounce around an a hazard suit and Quantum Destabilizer in tow...

Final Score: 95/100
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
5.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 13, 2014
One of the kind!
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
12.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 18, 2014
Fun and very challenging game. Has its quirks but is charming all the same. With unique storytelling and an immersive world, it is certainly a must-play.

But it is certainly a late 90s game and must be treated accordingly. The later chapters can be rage-inducing, and the difficulty scaling seems exponential at times. Not impossible, but very difficult as you fight deeper and deeper into the compound. I've just survived critical points with 3% health more often than not after dying numerous times.

PLAY THIS GAME ON WINDOWS XP! (Full backcompatability with operating systems usually isn't a thing) This game deserves to be fully supported by the platform it's on, and not messing with backcompatability makes the experience that much smoother.
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 3
The first game in the Half Life Series is great, even though it is kind of old and you maybe have played through the second game in the series. You are not playing this game for the story, but for the exploration and adventure in an older game and story; and that is why the graphics and lack of enemy-differentiation does not ruin the experience. The game tries to shake the story up by using different maps, playstyles and boss-like creatures, but a great game still evolves around the enemies and the guns, and that is why it can get boring and pretty repetitive in 4-6 hours.

All in all, if you are interested in the Half Life Series and you are looking for a retro-styled game, this is for you. Do not buy this game if the money is tight, save up and buy something featured in the Steam Store.
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