Anthony's Film Review
Half-Life: Opposing Force
(Video Game, 1999)
The excitement of Half-Life from a different perspective, with plenty of new thrills...
The 1998 first-person shooter game Half-Life was such a grand success that Valve, the company behind the game, could not help but release a follow-up game. I'm not surprised by the move at all. The fans want more of the same. The company want more money from the game. It makes perfect sense to make another Half-Life game. Of course, a sequel would take time to make, so an expansion game that builds on the already released game is more practical.
Half-Life: Opposing Force brings the player back to the top-secret Black Mesa research facility where, in the first Half-Life game, an experiment goes terribly wrong, resulting in creatures from another dimension invading the place. However, the protagonist is not the scientist Gordon Freeman, but rather Adrian Shephard, one of the U.S. soldiers sent to silence the facility and every living thing in it. In a way, you're one of the enemies of the first game.
There's one problem, though. You, as Adrian, are trying to survive. That's essentially your objective, not the elimination of everyone and everything at Black Mesa. Apparently, the whole place has many weird things running amok, including creatures that are not seen in the first game and are a hell of a lot scarier. The one part of the game I remember so well involves being in a dark place where giant multi-legged creatures can devour you instantly if you're not quick enough. They make the familiar enemies from the first HL game, including crablike thingies, barnacle beings hanging from ceilings with long tentacles, and even members of the Black Ops, less scary in comparison.
The strengths of the gameplay here are the same ones that made the first game so great: advanced enemy artificial intelligence, smooth and realistic graphics, situations that require thought, and a moderate difficulty level. At the same time, this game has a couple of new things to keep the HL world fresh. For instance, there are a few new weapons, including my favorite: an organic gun shooting balls of electricity. It requires pauses the recharge, but there is no ammunition to refill. Plus, it's pretty powerful, even against those frighteningly huge creatures I mentioned above.
As for the story, it's all right. It doesn't really have the intrigue that the original HL has. It's mostly a journey of survival, where all you can do is to keep moving forward. If there's any real problem with the plot, it's that it ends unexpectedly. Basically, the climax before the ending didn't feel too much like a climax, such that I really thought the game would continue with the next level. With that in mind, take note that there are fewer levels in this game than the original HL.
Regardless, Half-Life: Opposing Force is still fun with an acceptable balance of familiar and new game features. Any gamer needing a Half-Life fix can certainly get it with this game.
For more information about Half-Life: Opposing Force, visit the Internet Movie Database and Moby Games.