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Due November for PlayStation 2.

fullsize08-01.jpg (5755 bytes)Finally, Sierra and Gearbox are giving console owners the chance to play the FPS masterpiece that PC gamers have been bragging about for years. Hey, any game that can claim 50 "Game of the Year" awards has my interest peaked.

fullsize02-01.jpg (6280 bytes)The story places you in the role of Gordon Freeman, research scientist and participant in a top-secret project that has gone horribly wrong. The very fabric of space and time has been torn. Monsters are everywhere and madness rules. It is up to you to save the world as we know it. But this isn’t your average alien target gallery. Expect plenty of plot twists and puzzle solving in this story driven FPS.

fullsize04-01.jpg (6328 bytes)Half-life has been praised for having glorious level design that is as practical as it is pretty. It is also one of the few FPS games to make good use of non-player characters and tools, such as the all-important crowbar. The PS2 version of the game will have new levels and improved graphics that include a new skeletal animation system that gives the characters and monsters more fluid and intricate movement. It also boasts intelligent enemy AI that can "assess threats, run in packs, and shows a distaste for suicide runs." There are two forms of multiplayer action: a two-payer deathmatch and the brand new cooperative game, Decay.

fullsize06-01.jpg (6420 bytes)The default control scheme resembles those of Red Faction and Timesplitters, and optimizes the strong points of the Dual Shock controller. Characters move around using the left joystick and look around using the right. The right shoulder buttons are used to fire weapons, the left to jump and duck. The triangle button uses the flashlight, the circle targets, the X uses items, and the square reloads. D-pad up and down cycle through the inventory items, right and left cycle through weapons. Half-Life will also support a USB keyboard and mouse.

fullsize01-01.jpg (7533 bytes)I have been waiting to see this title on a console for a long time, and now that it is almost here on the PS2, I am more excited than ever. Admittedly, I am disappointed at the lack of four-player support. However, I am really looking forward to the cooperative missions in Decay. This is definitely looking like a must-have title. Whenever someone complimented Red Faction, they called it the "Half-Life of console games." Now Half-Life will have the opportunity to be the Half-Life of console games.

Jeremy Kauffman