LP: HL episodes 21-24

Time to catch up on more Half-Life!

Thoughts on the game so far: Once again, Gordon Freeman puts his massive cojones on display. Whether he’s balancing on a thin pipe over vats of toxic waste hundreds of feet below, or coming to the shocking(ly correct) conclusion that jumping into an industrial fan is a good idea, and will allow him to progress through the facility.

I say that jokingly of course, but it does highlight one of the rather amusing challenges that game developers face: trying to get the player to do things they would never think to do in real life. Now, I don’t mean doing things like fighting aliens, shooting guns, or blowing up buildings with hand grenades; we all understand those concepts and how to execute them within a game. What I’m talking about is a situation like this industrial fan puzzle where my real-world logic prevented me from understanding what the creators wanted me to use their game-world physics to execute. Although really, it wasn’t even real world logic that stopped me from thinking that jumping into the fan was a good idea; that’s as much game logic as anything else. Long falls + blades = death. Especially considering how many falls have killed me in this game, and that the fan itself killed me just moments before, its not difficult to see why I didn’t put two and two together–and I’m sure I can’t be the only one who stumbled on the solution completely by accident.

Its really not a bad puzzle though; in retrospect there are enough clues that you’d probably figure it out eventually, or at least accidentally fall in while trying to decide what to do. And the moment of realization is well worth the momentary frustration. Would that all puzzle designers were this good, and had this good a sense of humor.

Thoughts on the game so far: Ahhhh…more deathtraps courtesy of horrible and ridiculous Black Mesa facility design. I wasn’t really a fan of this puzzle, for whatever reason. It was ok as something to do, and it made sense from a story perspective (power = generator), but…eh. Also, I REALLY didn’t like being stabbed in the back by the generator prongs. Its one of the few dick moves this game has pulled so far. A truly unexpected death like that, when its deliberately set up, is not nice. It wasn’t bad in my case because I happen to be a compulsive saver, but if I hadn’t…ugh.

Thoughts on the game so far: There’s uh…not a lot to say about this episode, I’m afraid. Mostly its just me making an idiot out of myself. In my defense on that jump, the ledge you’re supposed to jump to IS really small, and doesn’t look like anything that would actually hold you. Still, for what its worth, I did make this video the next day, by way of apology. I thought it was pretty funny.

Also, what a weird glitch that invisible barnacle was. I’ve never seen anything like that before.

Thoughts on the game this far: I really did feel bad about killing this creature. In fact, I haven’t felt this guilty after a boss fight since Shadow of the Colossus. Between how cool they are, their fascinating mannerisms and the pathetic cries of pain as they died…boy did I feel bad.

I love the fact that you get to crawl down their burrow after the battle, and see where they came from…and all the pieces and stalks of them lying about. Not only is that great attention to detail, its great storytelling. Wordless storytelling in fact; you can surmise most of the creature’s story based on what you see it do, and what you find after the fact. The whole “fight” is just brilliant, and has been the highlight of the game for me so far.

Well, that catches us up for now. I have a new episode uploading right now, so expect some commentary on that in the next couple days!


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