Let’s Play Half-Life – Part 20: Be Vewy Vewy Quiet…

Thoughts on the game thus far: So apparently its not only aliens and soldiers that are trying to kill me, the Black Mesa architects are too. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need to have interesting and varied level design that requires thought and skill on the part of the player to survive and navigate…but this is ridiculous. Deadly elevator shafts I can accept–those were set up by the falling elevators in the beginning on the game. Turrets, okay. Traps/defenses set by the soldiers. Radioactive goo with pipes and boxes to jump on, I can buy that too. (Who knows what they were working on with those teleporters–it probably DID need or produce radioactive sludge, which probably WAS carried in pipes and probably DID spill when all hell broke loose.) I honestly will even buy the giant flamingo-tentacles growing out of a rocket engine shaft.

But THIS?? This is just pure passive-aggressiveness on the part of the Black Mesa architects. A giant spinning fan? Well okay. Maybe it provides power, or cools the coolant, or pumps fuel, whatever. I can see the need for a giant fan. But why, why in the name of all that is HOLY would you put the controls on such a dangerous piece of equipment UNDER THE FAN?? That STARTS when you push the button?? That then requires you to climb up a regular, completely unprotected ladder mere INCHES from the whirling blades of death?? I mean, you’d think the poor bastard that has to turn the thing off at night, and on in the morning, would have complained at some point.

This, my friends, does not make sense. And we haven’t even begun to question why a secret government facility with billions upon BILLIONS of dollars to conduct their research, has patched a hole in the roof of a super-advanced-giant-fan shaft with a couple of 2x4s. Yes yes I know its because I have to get up there somehow and break through the boards and probably throw something onto the fan, but its still laughable. I mean, boarding up an old, no longer used mine shaft with 2x4s, okay. (Although cement or whatever would be much safer, and prevent people from trying to sneak into your SUPER SECRET ALIEN RESEARCH FACILITY.) But a currently used, obviously important piece of equipment? Wtf?

I suppose maybe those 2x4s just fell ACROSS the shaft in all of the destruction–that’s actually kind of plausible–but they look exactly like the other pieces of wood that were nailed up that you have to crowbar away. I’m assuming that’s what they are and that, my friends, is just WEIRD.

Also: just for kicks I watched Jurassic Park again the other night. Those tentacle creatures, while they look a lot like the Brontosaurs scene (where the kids and Grant pet the dinosaur from the tree), they act a lot like the T-Rex (with the obvious exception that they react to sound rather than movement.) Its not so similar that I’d come even close to calling a rip-off, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the HL creators were inspired by the sequences a bit.

That’s the great thing about Valve, honestly. They know exactly what parts of other mediums to rip off to create great sequences, but then change it up enough to make the game, story and all its set pieces entirely their own. They’re like the Shakespeare of video game design. I love these guys.

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