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Codename Gordon - Half Life 2 Platform Scroller

by: Christian Cawley ; edited by: Simon Hill ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Available via the Steam service, Codename Gordon can still be acquired for free as long as you've purchased the original Half Life 2 game. A left-right platform scroller, it's lots of fun and more than a little addictive.

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    Requirements and Installation

    Codename Gordon is a 2D game based on the original version of Half Life 2 (the incarnation that was hacked and distributed online before completion in 2003) that was released as a teaser/promo for the eventual release of the main game in 2004.

    Available for free via Steam ever since, it's a little trickier to get hold of these days due to the bankruptcy of the developers. However although not listed on Steam it can still be acquired by typing steam://install/92 into your browser. This will then force Steam to download and install the game.

    A Flash-based game, Codename Gordon will run on a Windows PC or laptop with a 1.6 Ghz processor.

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    Codename Gordon Screenshots

    Main menu screenGordon vs zombieGordon meets Barney
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    Gameplay

    Interestingly despite being a platform shooter, Codename Gordon uses the same mouse+keyboard control mechanism as Half Life 2. This can cause some confusion when reaching the end of a particular screen when Gordon inexplicably starts facing the other way - this is due to the mouse pointer on screen that acts as a crosshair.

    Other than this oddity Codename Gordon is a straightforward and fun platform game that is quick and easy to get into, although sadly there is no save function. Like a platform game you're limited to 5 lives to begin with, but the HEV suit power and health are still there, as are a good selection of the weapons.

    Many characters from the main game also exist in Codename Gordon, including the supporting characters of Barney, Alex Vance and Ely Vance.

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    Sound and Graphics

    It's a platform game so the graphics aren't likely to be anything special, but they are faithful to the original characters. Animation is average and owes a lot to the Flash platform, while the landscape and backgrounds do the job and are well-designed.

    Soundbites from Half Life 2 and Half Life are employed, including seagulls and birds, sea, the sound of headcrabs and other monsters. There's no in-game music, just the collection of samples that enhance the atmosphere.

    To replace the clever cutscenes of the original, info-dump moments are used in which Gordon is confronted by characters from the game speaking in a low drone which is then summarised via on screen captions. The drone (a sort of "bluhbluhbluh") is quite amusing at first although it gets a little tedious, fast.

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    More Codename Gordon Screenshots

    Gordon Freeman approaches A health unitGordon vs Civil ProtectionGordon Freeman finds his crowbar
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    A New Angle

    What Codename Gordon brings to the world of Half Life 2 is a sense of humour that although present in the original game is largely characterized as a human reaction to the suffering portrayed within City 17 and the outlying settlements.

    Codename Gordon employs a cartoony design style and traditional platform elements to turn the world of the Combine into a black comedy of zombie movie proportions. While not entirely faithful to the original game, it nevertheless brings a new angle to the events in the game, representing them in a more digestible and disposable form - the lack of a save function underlines this isn't a game to replace Half Life 2 but to compliment it, to offer respite to the player who perhaps isn't in the mood for a long walk through Ravenholm.

    It is superb stuff that all Half Life 2 fans should enjoy.

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