Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: William Edwards

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Valve, Sierra
Price Range: $30
Learning curve time: 20 min.
Age level: 15+
ESRB Rating: Mature
Patches / Upgrades: at Web site
System Requirements: Pentium 133 24 Megs of RAM (3D Card recommended)

Genre: Action/Adventure
Christian Rating: 3 of 5
   (some objectionable elements)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
Violence: 2 of 5
Adult Content: 3 of 5

Screen Capture from 'Half-Life'. Illustration copyrighted.

"Half-Life" was released in 1998 to national acclaim. It won “Game of the Year” awards from numerous gaming magazines for its blend of puzzle-solving, intense combat, and interesting storyline. While some people might object to the game's realistic combat scenes, most should find that the gorgeous graphics and engaging plot make up for its short comings.

In "Half-Life", you take on the role of Gordon Freeman, a researcher at the Black Mesa Research Facility. When some scientists accidently open a wormhole that leads to an alien-inhabited planet, it's up to Freeman to get out of Black Mesa and return with help for his fellow scientists. To make matters more complicated, the Army has sent in members of its elite Black Ops task force to cover up the breech of human/alien contact. “Half-Life” is split nearly 50/50 between combat action and puzzle-solving. One minute you may have to find a way to turn on the electricity to a particular passage, the next you might be engaging in a shoot out with Black Ops troops.

This is where some Christians might find fault with this game. While the fighting does take place in a combat (i.e. war) like setting, you are still taking human life. The deaths of the soldiers isn't particularly gruesome, but if you use certain weapons, such as a rocket launcher, soldiers will explode, leaving a pile of muck on the floor which eventually fades away. Keep in mind that you also fight aliens in this game as well and their deaths aren't nearly as violent. The game can be commended for its combining of a great story and puzzles which really require players to plan their actions carefully.

In all, “Half-Life” does deserve the many awards it has received, though some may not like the combat action within the game.

Year of Release—1998

I own Half Life and can say clearly that this game deserves all the praise it gets. Although yes, taking lives and the mess on the floor can be found to be disturbing, there was no mention of the violence lock out that is available on almost every single FPS (First Person Shooter) out there. If the violence does disturb you, disable it and continue on with a very sanitized version of the game. Do not deny yourself the pleasure of this impressive game. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Chris, age 22

This is without a doubt the best FPS of all time, and perhaps the most revolutionary computer game to ever hit the market. The immersive graphics and storyline make you feel like you are in an action movie. It is also a great value. Buy Half-life, and you can download many mods and user-created levels for free. For those of those worried about the violence, there IS a parental lock on the game that removes the blood and violent death scenes, bringing the game down to what would be a PG-13 rating for a movie. This game is a must-have for action gaming fans. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Nicholas Marchand, age 19

Half-Life is the game of the year and rightfully so. I have played this game non-stop since the day I bought it (1998). With it's various user created modifications and dazzling gameplay and graphics, you simply cannot NOT play this game! The plot is brilliant and amazing. You are a scientist on a regular day at work when everything goes haywire. Now it's up to you to fix it. On a christian standpoint, the gore level is medium. This isn't a game for 12 year olds and younger, but 13+ is fine. There are absolutely NO satanic influences except for the violence (which is to be expected in a game like this). This is an excellent game and if you don't have it on your shelf at home, the only question is, why not? My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Richard J. Gauldin, age 20

"…The fantasy world makes you so powerful, it is more fun than the real world. A problem with this type of brutal and self-serving world is it's hard to withdraw yourself from it. Half-life gets a score of 55% (F+) due to the excessive blood and violence."
   —John Gocke, Al Menconi Ministries

Comments from Young People…

…Though I'm not a real fan of the genre, Half-Life breathed new life into it… life that had left after Doom2 and Goldeneye lost their sparkle for me… I think that the game's puzzles are all FAR too similar. Its either "crawl through the vents to avoid some horrible accident that happened just before you arrived," or "turn on the electricity to open a door." Ammo packs are few and far between, which makes fighting require a lot more thinking than in most FPS (read Doom) where you just have a BFG power pack floating in the air every few feet for no real reason at all. The plot was so-so. It was another game where the plot was GREAT in the beginning (as far as FPSes HAVE plots, that is) but dies out towards the end. In the end, they went with the OVER OVER OVER used "Kill the big bad guy, because he's big… and we think he looks cool" approach. You've been duped into waging someone else's war on an entire alien civilization, you think taking out this big baby shaped thing is REALLY going to scare them off? The game was violent, however it had NO sex related influences in it at all (the only exception being the female assassin… quite UNLIKE Duke Nukem… My Ratings: [4/4]
   —Simon, age 16

I think this game is amazing. It's not just one of those “shoot'em up” games where most of the game is about killing people. This game requires a lot of think and you also have to keep an eye on your ammo, since it is very limited. This is also a very tense game, since you never know when an alien will bust through a wall right by you or which tiny creatures you will meet up with in the air ducts. This is a very good game and when you play it, time will fly by very fast. Many people will find this game gory since you can make people explode with rocket launchers or hack them open with crowbars. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Kevin, age 15

This is a really good game. It is extremely graphic when it comes to violence, but the plot makes up for it. The plot also, if followed, really makes you hate those marines. They are bloodthirsty, evil, and just go around shooting unarmed scientists. It really sucks you in, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective. There is no sex or blasphemy, just lots of blood. And thinking too, which is good. However most of the time, you are hitting small crab-like creatures with crowbars, which is certainly no sin. It's just a variation on what we do at Red Lobster. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Adam, age 13

I thought this game was the best game I have ever played in my life. The single player game of it is incredibly fun which I have beaten 4 times and still loving it and the multiplayer is INCREDIBLY fun with all of the various modifications out there that keep the game fresh and new. I have been playing this game for over 2 years now and I'm still playing it more than any of these new games that are coming out… My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Daniel Jenkins, age 13

This particular game has been spending the majority of it's existance in my computer, not its case. Enough has been said of how good it is. I won't say anymore to make you salivate over this engaging game. To quell the first fears you might have on the violence issue, there is a “content control” option in the game. This eliminates blood and gore when a character is killed. There is also some mild profanity, but it is VERY scarce. The content control doesn't take the profanity out, but a password can be used by the parent so kids can't switch the content back on. Again, a very visual pleasing, mind stimulating title. Go get it. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Chris Browns, age 16

I thought that this was the best computer game that I ever played. It was fun, the graphics were great and the interaction with the game was incredible. However my parents thought differently… They made me throw it out two days after getting it. Warning to all adolescent boys: you will love this… My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Stephen Armstrong, age 14

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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