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Half-Life 2 Episode One
Well, surprise, surprise! After about a month or so lull and my New-Year-Ender Special of Thara Jordana, I decided to resume my series of Half-Life 2. Albeit, the First Episode.
This is a different story, this. And it's also got quite a lot of teamwork with a so-called, Alyx Vance. And when I say "quite a lot of teamwork", I mean a lot of teamwork. So much teamwork, that from start to finish it's just you and Alyx versus the Zombies, the Combine and the Zombines with the occasional Gunship and Hunter-Chopper. Oh, and yes, I nearly forgot to mention the supremely powerful Strider (I will tell you up front that these three-legged monstrous behemoths are extremely rare but equally extremely difficult to defeat). And this teamwork isn't to be taken lightly. Alyx does get killed if you aren't careful or aren't helping her kill your foes. If you are careless or unwilling to help, you might as well exit the game as it will load you automatically to your last saved location. And, God forbid, you save at a location so infinitesimally far from where you had Alyx killed, you'll have to do everything all over again.
Now, I mentioned Zombines. These are Combine soldiers who were jumped by a Headcrab, had their brains eaten and genetically altered and voila! A Zombine has been born! (A more thorough research speech is given by Dr. Kleiner in Half-Life: Opposing Force when you encounter scientists jumped by the Headcrab). Your first encounter with a Zombine is after you escape one of the underground tunnels the Resistance uses to fight the Combine where an abandoned Combine Troop Train is ironically your only way out and you, the player, awaken the creature and, inevitably being as dumb as church mice, blows itself up with a grenade it started.
I must say that at about this time, your flashlight accessory has a lifespan approximately three to four times what the original Half-Life 2 game had. And the benefits of that are pretty clear. You spend about half the game in dark areas, namely the Citadel and the Low Life chapter and mind you, Low Life is really dark. Even if you bring the brightness up to maximum, it's still noticeably dark. And I thank the programmers at Valve for being keen and adept to changing and upgrading the flashlight. It also serves another nice little ding dong too. Your run or sprint capabilities are tripled. Fantastic to say the least! Now you can run about with GT car handling and stunning performance.
The best part of the game, for me, is you've got a lovely young companion of breeding age and emphasized in Episode Two by her own father. "Now that the Suppression Field's down, we all have to do our part!" was the quote. But mind you, she's beauty, brains and also brawn. Armed with a machine pistol that seems to resemble a KRISS KARD but shows similarities to the Colt M1911A1 (pistol grip), USP .45 and the PM-63 and uses MP-7 ammunition (4.6x30mm). And to add to that, the weapon seems to have limitless ammunition; she can quickly take down Civil Protection and Metro Police but has some degree of difficulty when dealing with the Overwatch Elite.
Eventually, however, once you enter a hospital, the pistol, which I refer to as the girl gun is replaced by a SPAS-12 shotgun. She'll need it because, surprisingly, the hospital is infested with zombies and zombines. When I played the game some years ago when I saw her pick it up, I thought to myself, "Let the carnage and bloodshed begin" and when the enemies started coming out, "So it begins". And my goodness me, what a delightful situation! However, I would like to emphasize that there isn't as much bloodshed as there was carnage. Still, I was vitally impressed with the damage we caused and rightfully so. I love violent computer games. I'm willing to bet that if I lived in a virtual world, I'd be unstoppable.
Half-Life 2 Episode One Longplay by World of Longplays
Since you spend most of your time under the ground, I should take the time to tell you that, until you reach the surface, virtually all your opponents are zombies, zombines and antlions. And headcrabs. The only thing missing are the Antlion Guardian and Antlion Guard.
Now, the Antlion Guard is what you see and fight in Half-Life 2's Sandtraps chapter. It has 500 health so even 3 bazooka missiles will only weaken it but won't kill it. If you do use all the 3 bazooka missiles in your inventory, augment the problem by using the "Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator" and use the exploding fuel barrels. That'll knock it out. Oh, and the Antlion Guardian? That'll be discussed in Episode 2.
Now, I shall review about Gordon's signature weapon, the Crowbar. It's the first weapon you receive in all the Half-Life series except Opposing Force, where you get a pipe wrench instead. True, this weapon is extremely useful, especially if you're on hard mode and run out of ammo quickly. But be ye warned. On hard mode, your weapons are ineffective and the enemy can deplete your health in a matter of moments. Use the crowbar with extreme caution. Trust me, I gave up on Half-Life 2 Hard mode after exiting Route Kanal. It's just unbelievably sadistic. You'd have to be a masochistic lunatic to enjoy hard mode.
Another in-game menu screen shot.
By the way, if you're a noob or a greenhorn to the game and have no idea what happened to the so called Combine, in Half-Life 2, the Combine are all-dominant. They control everything, even reproduction, which explains why there aren't any children in the game. It assumes that, after the Resonance Cascade in the original Half-Life, it had been 20 years since and the children are now grown up and the old are gone.
In Episode One, the Combine are completely surrounded and isolated; fighting for their survival. When Alyx and Gordon destroyed the Citadel's Dark Fusion Reactor at the very top of the monstrous 2.5 kilometer structure, that pretty much spelled the end of the Combine's rule. In a nutshell, the Combine were on their knees, begging for mercy.
And in Episode 2........ Well, they're nothing more than a turkey shoot. They have already been defeated and are now just small pockets of resistance. It's funny and ironic how the Resistance of Earth are now fighting the Combine resistance.
Anyhow, when you reach the trainstation that Barney told you about and helping other refugees escape, the player must defeat a lone Strider and navigate your way around the trainstation. Bear in mind that this Strider has fairly accurate fire and large quantities of health and armor are taken. Also, remember that no matter the difficulty, be it Easy, Normal or Hard, it takes a total of 7 bazooka missiles to take down. That if you can hit the thing when either or both of you are moving. Once you do, however, you escape and see the Citadel explode in a bright, blinding flash of white light. The fate of Alyx and Gordon are shown in Episode Two. Which I shall review as soon as I can. So, now, stand by and feast your eyes on Episode One as I prepare the way for the coming of Episode Two.