So why is this review different? Well I'm one of the three people in the world that hasn't played the OEM, been to a gaming show, or gotten an exclusive.
So, I'm at the mall, and my sister decided to go into one of those cloth/makeup/"only girls want to go into" type of stores so I start cruising around and I see an Electronics Boutique. I go in, see blood2, sin, heretic2, and then BEHOLD.... the Half-life...strategy guide, so I look a little lower and there's half-life. So I pick it up go to the register, get cut off by a few people in line b/c them trading in their Nintendo games is much more important than my time, but that didn't matter, I had the highest rated game ever in my hands. By now people were looking for me, I was taking so long. So I bought it with the spare change I had been collecting for a while, and of course the ride home was really long but no matter. Now does it live up to the hype?
I start it up, trying to get my stupid CD-ROM to recognize the CD, and after a while it did. It installed, started to run, and I found out I needed to be in 16-bit mode. So I'm stuck with that mode for a while now. I'll live though, then the CD check thing asks for the CD, even though it's in there. I pop it in and out a few times, no luck, then try the CD-RW but that doesn't work with audio tracks, so I try the original CD-ROM and it finally works. I set up all the variables and customizations. For some reason when I clicked on OpenGL it minimized and went to a web page, but only that time. Then the game finally starts. I went to the hazard course first, just to check that out.
I walk up to the hologram, and it starts talking. I do what it says, go through the whole training process, and find it pretty amusing and life-like. Then I go to the full game. Never doubting my skills for a moment, I click easy mode. The intro sequence is very cool. I've yet to noclip out and explore, but all in due time. I suggest exploring a lot before doing what you're supposed to, since time doesn't really matter, and it's easier than starting the whole game over again. Anyway, you do what they say, it messes up, you know the plot and I don't want to ruin it for anyone who doesn't have the game.
Graphics: Take the Quake2 architecture, use realistic non-palette specific, textures, add a combination of Heretic2 and Unreal's effects, and that's how it looks. It's not like "Wow!" every time you turn a corner, but it works and that's all that counts.
Gameplay: Better than the rest. The new keys aren't difficult to control.