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We live in complex times. When I was a youngster, it was perfectly reasonable to buy a game simply because it had more monsters than the other games. Playing through shooters, RPGs and platformers alike, I’d be tempted to give up when I reached the point where no new enemy types were appearing. The very idea of a game with only one type of enemy, no matter how intelligent and believable, was poison. Give me all of your mutants, demons and aliens>, I cried, give them to me now>.
Here are a few of my favourites, ranging from the first-person shooters of my teenage years to the surreal horrors of my childhood.
Here’s a bit of nostalgia for you: Sven Co-op [official site] is now on Steam. The seventeen-year-old Half-Life mod is available as a free standalone game, and thanks to a fair bit of generosity on Valve’s part includes all of the Half-Life campaign maps. For free.
That means you can head to Steam, download the game, and start playing co-op Half-Life right now. Again, for free. No need for you or anyone you’re playing with to own Half-Life proper.
Sven Co-op is, as the title suggests (the Co-op part, not the Sven part) a cooperative multiplayer game based on Valve's mega-hit FPS Half-Life. It actually began development as a Half-Life mod more than 15 years ago, but in the summer of 2013 Valve gave the team permission to release it as a standalone game on Steam. And today, it's finally happening
To celebrate the release, the developers are holding a release party on the Gamesurge IRC server—another testament to its aged roots. A guide detailing the capabilities of the new Angelscript plugins is also now available.
Sven Co-op was originally based on Half-Life and retains similar weapons, monsters, and characters, but the difficultly has been ramped up to support cooperative play. Sven Co-op's levels are set as missions and are generally separate from each other. Many missions span several maps and some are collected together in a series," the game description states. "The aim of most levels is to reach the end or to achieve an objective—obtaining a high score is not essential to beat a level, it's just part of the fun.
And it looks like a ton of fun. Sven Co-op is available now—for free, by the way—on Steam.
Push Half-Life 3 to the back of your mind, where it surely spends most of its time these days. How about some new Half-Life 2? Indie dev Richard Seabrook has spent the past two years working on a continuation of Gearbox's Half-Life 1: Opposing Force story, and the result, Prospekt, is said to match Half-Life 2: Episode One in length. February 11 is the big day.
At one point in Prospekt's development, Seabrook loaded it onto memory sticks, packed them in a briefcase adorned with the lambda logo and dispatched it to Gaben. He did not hear back. After passing through Greenlight, however, Prospekt gained Valve's nod of approval for the licence and assets.
As Gordon Freeman is cornered in Nova Prospekt, the Vortigaunts teleport US Marine Adrian Shepherd into the fray to give him a fighting chance. That's you. In total, Prospekt has 13 levels (including a return to Half-Life 1's Xen, which the long-running Black Mesa project is still working on) and upgrades the visuals of the original setting.
Prospekt will cost 7.50/$10. You don't need to own Half-Life 2 to play, but I'm saying that you should own Half-Life 2, you strange maverick.
After 18 years at Valve, working on everything from Half-Life to Dota 2, writer Marc Laidlaw has confirmed that he’s retired from the company. That’s an eternity for the games industry! He wrote novels before getting into video games, and it sounds like he’s getting back to writing for himself.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
Okay, now we’re nearly 300 deep into these recommendations we’re clearly getting a little obscure, a little desperate, but it’s still possible that a few people will have played this oddity. Half-Life 2 came out in 2004, but as there’s been no Half-Life 3 in the eleven years since one can only assume it didn’t sell well.