Black Mesa: Half-Life's Amazing Source Remake

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It takes serious guts to try and remake Half-Life. Valve's 1998 first-person shooter didn't change FPS gaming, it redefined it. Before Half-Life, blockbusters like Quake and Quake II were lone gunman affairs with little to no interaction with non-hostile NPCs (Non-Player Character). Half-Life took that entire model, and blew it apart. The train ride into Black Mesa gave players a glimpse of a vibrant, functional world. Scientists and security guards roamed the halls, interacted with panels and equipment, joked with each other, and expressed nervousness about the upcoming experiment.

Inbound, To The Black Mesa Complex

Half-Life used scripted sequence to illustrate the desperation and humanity of innocent researchers trapped beneath the surface, the callousness of the military sent in to cleanse Black Mesa, and the fundamentally alien nature of the G-Man. In amidst all that positive, there's just one major modern flaw -- the game has aged like crap. Built on the original Quake engine, the game's visuals show poorly now. Valve did a half-baked port of the game to the Source engine years ago, but without updating any of the character models, sound effects, or other details.

Black Mesa is the result of years of effort from a team determined to bring Gordon Freeman's first adventure into the modern age without compromising Valve's original artistic vision. It's one of the finest examples of fan-built mods that we've ever seen. This is no high-resolution texture update or lighting effects package. This is Black Mesa  -- and it's going to remind you why you fell in love with Half-Life fourteen years ago. Take a look at the original entryway for Sector C. This is right at the beginning of the game; you've only just gained control of Gordon. By 1998 standards, this was good stuff.

Black Mesa Lobby, Then

Here's Black Mesa:

The New Black Mesa Entry Point Lobby

Closeups on Barney and an unnamed scientist from original HL on the left, the BMS versions on the right. Note that in the original game, all security guards looked like Barney -- in BMS, the first thing a guard tells you is that Barney called in sick.

Original Game Characters (left) - Black Mesa Environment and Characters (right)

And the suit that started it all...

Let's get to it...

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realneil 2 years ago

Already downloaded this but have not tried it yet.

der meister 2 years ago

I DL'd it yesterday I might give it a go today before work.

JOMA 2 years ago

Grabbed it when it was released but I have yet to try it out. I did watch a video on the comparison between the original and the new source version.

fat78 2 years ago

About to head home and download it

fat78 2 years ago

Woot, finished downloading the game. About to hit play.

sackyhack 2 years ago

I've gotten past the resonance cascade, and so far I like it. My only problem is the repeated animations. You can tell this was made by a lot of separate people, because many characters make the same finger-pointing-up gesture very frequently. They probably would've noticed if it was a more coherent team. I know it's a weird complaint, but it really stands out when you play.

Still, this is one hell of an accomplishment. It's not just a reskin, but basically a complete game from scratch. Kudos to the team.

Sarahmassi 2 years ago

i love it, it's a good remake ! Didn't remember the first Half life was that hard but it's great !

fat78 2 years ago

I wish I brought my laptop to school today. Could be playing half life before my next class.

Willrose 2 years ago

I know 14 years isn't enough for a book to be considered a classic. What I can say for HL is in the so far short comparative life(compared to say books) video games are still a very new platform of art, and that HL was very revolutionary, and it will be a classic for the future. It's also important for younger kids to realize how far gaming has come in the last years, and to know the classics, and this is great way to do it.

CDeeter 2 years ago

I'm liking this a lot, and I think Sarah is right, it's a bit harder this time around. That's not a bad thing though.

Did any one else like the new Wing Commander? It was great to break out the the old Wingman joystick and have at it.

Joel H 2 years ago

I loved the new Wing Commander -- and reviewed it.

CDeeter 2 years ago

I remember, and you did a nice job too!

And I think the time is right to remake/ update a lot of the older games. Just imagine what they could look and play like with today's game engines.

rrplay 2 years ago

what's sweet too ,,is to revisit some past played favorite games of yester-year   simply because of playing the game on some of the better and upgraded hardware.. sorta like a win win scenario .

hwreader8806 2 years ago

Nice article with a lot of interesting detail.

...however, all the members internet grammar police are cringing at the opening line! The phrase "serious guts to try and remake" should be "try TO remake." Sorry for the distraction. Blame my school teachers.

fat78 2 years ago

I love the .357 magnum, it is just such a fun gun to fire. Only thing is the iron sights made my accuracy worse.

I think they did an amazing job on the remake of this game, and I cant wait to see there remake of zen ( and maybe of the expansions).

(note: In chapter 13 when i got to the tactical map i experienced a lot of lag and the tactical map gave me some problems sending in coordinates , not sure if i am the only person who had problems with that part)

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