Platform: PC (Cd & Download)
Releases: 1999, 2001, 2005
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: Sierra Studios
So I'm the bad guy of black mesa now? Awesome
Very Minor Spoilers, nothing to worry about
Ahh, Half Life. Is there anyone here who hasn't heard of it? A series spawning so many sequels and spin-offs, that it's astonishing. Let me take you back to 1998 for a second. Gaming is at it's turning point. Graphics are getting better, games are getting more and more advanced then a game is released for computer with this high-tech art, and a plot that will blow your mind. Not to say that similar plots haven't been done before but all the high tech mumbo-jumbo going on was like music to the peoples ears. Many people were blown away by Half-Life, and what reason did they have not to feel this way? Jump to 1999, a highly demanded sequel is finally made to settle all the commotion. Half Life 2... I mean Half Life: Opposing force is released as not a sequel, but from the alternate perspective of the bad guy. Is he really the bad guy though?
I'm not going to lie here, I just played this game now in 2011. God knows I've wanted to play the freaking thing for a decade though! Ever since I played Half-Life in 2001, I was hooked. I wanted more, I bought Half-Life itself on several platforms being the only one I could actually get on consoles. I even went as far to get the unreleased Half-Life Gold downloaded for Dreamcast which finally let me play Blue shift (the other game in the series). That is a story for another day however. I have been fascinated with the series as a whole, but there has always been that one game calling out to me. The one that I still hadn't played. I have exhausted the original Half-life to the point that I could recall events moment by moment throughout the game, and do it near perfectly. There was one thing though. There was that one game where you got to play as a soldier in the whole Black Mesa ordeal. I wanted to play it for so long. Now I finally have, and it was freaking awesome!
You play the role of Corporal Adrian Shephard, a US marine sent to Black Mesa research facility on an unknown mission. Your squad was never briefed on the situation, so I find it funny watching this whole intro play out while your in a helicopter in the beginning. All your fellow troops are talking and discussing this 'Unknown mission' calling it a drill and all sorts of talk you'd expect. Troops aren't used to this. However it's funny how in the meantime alien ships are flying in the background and you can see them! Irony much?
The story progresses with your chopper being taken down before you were ever briefed, and your shown a bunch of random fade in/fade out scenes full of you're fellow troops fighting aliens... Aliens? If I were Corporal Shephard, I'd be freaked out! Now, one of he most painful experiences of playing the original Half-Life was fighting all the bloody marines. It was something that was fun, but was a huge pain at the same time. Naturally I thought; Hey, I don't have to fight marines anymore, right? Turns out I was right but you have to face something much worse. You have to face Wannabe ninjas on several occasions! Wannabe ninjas with guns that is. No, they're really called the 'Black Operations', and they are highly trained soldiers sent to wipe out not only the Black Mesa employees, but the marines the government initially sent in. So us regular marines aren't good enough for you government? Well screw you too!
While the Black operation soldiers were insanely difficult to handle, (especially when you had to fight 10 at once) they were also pretty stupid I think. I only say this because there was one instance in the game where the entire area is flooded with explosives. What did the black operation troops do when you hid for a brief moment? They threw grenades at you. This was one part that frustrated me immensely, and if you never heard me swear much (I don't swear much), then you should have heard me here! That's not to say it wasn't fun fighting the black operation troops, it's just I think that one part could have used more thought is all.
Some differences from Half-Life itself, you ask? Ahh, well sit down and have a listen, children. Let me start by saying that Opposing Force was developed by Gearbox this time using the same engine and quite a few of the same workers of course. Seems fair enough. Gearbox promised to keep it similar to the original with game play, and thankfully, their promise was kept and the game still came with all it's puzzle solving, action-fighting predicaments, and the general Half-Life feel of needing to escape a mysterious alien crisis. Sure you get your marine comrades to help you out sometimes, but only about as much as you would find a security guard in the original Half Life. Heres the thing with that as well. You can still get Specific Security guards and scientists on your side even though you are a soldier. It's all relative to the plot and you'd have to play it to really know.
Some cool things I found that differed from Half-Life itself? Well, I found it interesting how in this version you actually got head-crab humans in the forms of dead security guards and dead marines as well, where as in Half-Life itself, you only got scientist versions of these creatures. (The head crabs will take over a dead humans body and morph it into this messed up half-human, half-alien thing. The creatures themselves are quite recognized in the series). One extra thing to add to this and one funny line is in the beginning, a scientist mentions that he wonders what the next stage of this evolution with the head crabs are. Gee, I wonder that too mister scientist... Did I really want to know? Truth is you see the final evolution of these things and it isn't good, they are now fast alien-like ninjas. These things scared the hell out of me jumping out of nowhere and being as dangerous as they were. I didn't actually notice that these things were initially head crabs until I examined the fifth one I killed or something. Don't under-estimate those head crabs! On top of the head crabs they also have a wide array of new aliens that I don't remember seeing again. Finally, they had a bunch of new guns and different weapons as well that were really useful like the electro-alien gun.
The game play overall is very, very enjoyable I must admit. It's the same general Half-Life as I said before but there were some really epic moments. Instead of getting a flashlight, you got night vision. Makes sense, right? Remember that area I mentioned with all the black operation retards and the explosives? They lock you in a freaking pitch balck, underground maze, trap with a bunch of these really hard to kill aliens. These aliens were huge and took a lot of bullets. With them you got some other aliens too but the part I found so interesting about this was all the alien growth in these tunnels. It was amazing, they were morphing the tunnel to be their own pretty much. This is the defining moment of the game for me, I didn't get a bigger rush in opposing force than I did here. They even had music going, it was awesome and it lasted a while too. Only a video can describe this well enough:
The sound is very appropriate given the type of game this is. The sound is always just you're gun, chatter between the troops and aliens... god so many aliens in this game. That's about it. You get the music at certain moments like the ones described above, but it happens rather rarely. It makes you appreciate the moments you do get music however and they definitely choose the right moments to throw in the music.
To summarize my thoughts on this game is a hard thing to ask I have too much to say about this game but not all of it is necessary. I think it's a very solid game with a lot to offer. It's just as long as the original Half-Life if not longer and it has a lot to offer. I always found it cool how they made these 3 games with the 3 different perspectives. I like the way they did that, it was so appropriate and all 3 games in the original trilogy were great given their persona I think. It should also be noted that you pass by a few familiar locations while playing opposing force that you saw in Half-Life itself. I always found that interesting. I'll have to get to the other games in separate reviews, but trust me on this one. Opposing force itself is such a good game, it is most definitely my favourite of the series now, and it was worth the wait to play it. One problem I do have is that it is an expansion pack technically. You can buy it on steam now stand-alone but back then they made the mistake of making it an expansion pack. The perk is that it can be an expansion pack for either Blue Shift or the original Half-Life which is better but still, it should have been it's own game, because it really is it's own game.
For Reading. I certainly hope you enjoyed this review, even though it's rather long. Please, please feel free to comment. I appreciate it!