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Far from being a rehash of Half-Life, Opposing Force takes you through an entirely different Black Mesa. This one is populated by a different race of aliens that are hostile to both humans and the aliens from the borderworld, Xen. After your unit is decimated, Corporal Shephard must fend for himself through hordes of monstrous aliens and mysterious commandos, all the while following in the footsteps of the infamous Gordon Freeman.
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Opposing Force features a wealth of new weapons as well as new locations and a whole new system of allies (fellow Marines) that Gordon Freeman did not have. The AI is more coordinated, with different types of Marines being able to provide different types of support. For instance, Engineers can cut through certain doors, Medics can heal you and certain Marines carry certain weapon loads (eg: shotgun, SMG, sniper rifle.)
Opposing Force also features a much more involved and lengthier training mission for the player. This takes Corporal Shephard through a day’s training at the base. You receive an armor tutorial, running, jumping, rope jumping (something you didn’t do much of in the original Half-Life), instruction in several weapons and group tactics.
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The graphics are built on the original Half-Life engine, and are not a significant improvement. However, there are new aliens and new locations, all of which are rendered just as well as the locales and aliens in the original. Corporal Shephard is never shown, but his arms, hands and weapons look every bit as striking as those on Gordon Freeman.
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Like the graphics, the sound design is very similar to Half-Life. There is the occasional ambient noise, periodic music and a wealth of sound effects to be had from the weapons and the results of using said weapons. The only real difference in sound comes from the new weapons and the new aliens. Their sound effects are, like the rest of the game, well done and finely polished.
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Opposing Force expands on the classic multiplayer functionality of the original Half-Life, allowing players greater flexibility in missions and in weapons used. The multiplayer modes garnered high praise at the game’s release, but have since been eclipsed by Half-Life 2 and its expansions.
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In line with critic’s praise, Half-Life: Opposing Force is an excellent companion to Half-Life. It expands the story of Black Mesa by providing an alternate viewpoint, and it expands the lore of the Black Mesa facility and the mysterious G-Man. It does so while showing you something new and giving you some new toys to blow things up with.
If you liked Half-Life, you will enjoy Half-Life: Opposing Force.
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Half-Life (the original game is needed to play this expansion)
500 MHz Processor
96 MB RAM
16 MB Video Card