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Half-Life (computer game)

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Half-Life is a first-person shooter computer game developed by Valve Software and published by Sierra On-Line in 1998, based on a heavily-modified core Quake I game engine. It was first published for PCs running Microsoft Windows, and was later ported to Sony's Playstation 2 games console. Half-Life was heralded by computer game critics for its gripping storyline, which would influence the development of other first-person shooters in the years to come.

In the game, you play a scientist named Gordon Freeman who is a survivor of an experiment gone horribly wrong, allowing aliens from another planet to invade Earth. As you try to escape the destroyed facility you soon discover that you are caught between two sides: the aliens, and the forces of the United States military which has been dispatched to cover up the experiment -- including you.

There have been two 'expansions' to the original game, Opposing Force and Blue Shift. In 1999's Opposing Force, you play through the world of the original storyline once again, but this time as one of the military officers sent to cover up the experiment. Blue Shift (2001) returns the player to the original storyworld yet again, this time as one of the facility's guards.

Half-Life has also been used as a base for many add-ons (or mods) such as the immensely popular and free multiplayer mod, Counter-Strike. Other popular mods include Team Fortress Classic, Action Half-Life (http://ahl.action-web.net/) and Natural Selection (http://www.natural-selection.org/).

The sequel, Half-Life 2, is slated to come out in September of 2003. It uses a new engine entitled 'Source', featuring some of the most advanced graphics to date. Half-Life 2 was merely a rumor until a strong impression at E3 in May 2003 launched it into levels of hype only equalled by Doom III[?]. The story is takes place after the Black Mesa incident in a futuristic Eastern European 'City 17'. It again pits Gordon Freeman against an alien invasion.

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