PC/Mac/Linux
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System Requirements Windows 98/Me/2000/XP 1.2GHz (2.4GHz Recommended) 256MB RAM (512MB recommended) 4.5GB HDD DX7 level graphics (DX9 recommended) Internet connection required Half-Life 2:Episode 1 is the first in a trilogy of the aftermath of Half-Life 2. At the end of Half-Life 2, City 17 is quite unstable as the reactor is about to blow up. Your mission in this Episode is to evacuate City 17 as soon as possible. Of course there will be many enemies and obstacles to get in your way. You resume the role of Gordon Freeman and Alyx for the majority of the time will accompany you. Although she’s not invincible she will do most of the shooting if you let her. You will get to solve many obstacles on your own though. Many other characters from the previous game(s) will be there as well (Dog, Barney, Dr Breen, G-Man).

What’s included with Episode 1?

Half-Life 2: Episode 1 is a stand alone title; you don’t need Half-Life 2 to play it. So for $20 or less you get about seven hours of single player game time, Half-Life Deathmatch: Source and Half-Life 2 Deathmatch online game modes. When you beat Episode 1, you get to see a teaser trailer for Episode 2, which I must say looks great; I really look forward to getting that!

Any new weapons or enemies?

There really isn’t anything new when it comes to weapons or enemies in this game. You have the Combine shooting and sniping you as well as zombies, head crabs, Ant Lions, and some boss variants attacking you as well. You don’t get your trusty crow bar until halfway through the game, but you do start off with the gravity gun. You’ll collect guns, grenades, and rockets along the way as well.

Graphics

The graphics are still some of the best on the market. The character models look extremely life-like. The maps are gorgeous but a little bland given the devastation in the area; it’s not exactly a tropical paradise like Far-Cry. The enemy models are gory and scary looking. The object manipulation and gravity is very realistic, and the physics engine is superb. All in all the graphics will not disappoint if your system can handle it.

Sound

The voice acting is great in this game, and every character has a unique voice. Each weapon has it’s own sound effect. When manipulating objects the noises are very realistic. When entering certain areas techno music kicks in, often catching me off guard. It usually indicates something big is about to happen. I didn’t notice any light and fluffy background music.

Appropriateness

This game has lots of blood and gore though most of it is in self-defense. -4 for violence -2.5 for blood spray -2.5 for gruesome details There is language and blasphemy too. PG13 language –4 Using God’s name in vein –5 On a positive note there is no sexual content other than Dr. Breen broadcasting that people should procreate to save the human race. Nothing is seen or heard anywhere. Alyx is dressed modestly, which is good. I didn’t see any occult references just aliens and combines. There is no gross humor, just a bad joke from Alyx calling combines with head crabs on them Zombines.

Final Thoughts

This game is really fun if you don’t mind the violence and language. The boss battles are pretty challenging. The game play is pretty short but to compensate that the price is $20 or less and they throw in a couple of online game modes. It’s a pretty good deal if you want to get Half-Life 2 action at half the price.

Final Ratings

Game Play 17/20 Graphics 10/10 Sound 9/10 Controls 5/5 Stability 5/5 Appropriateness 32/50

Final Score 78%

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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