The Half-Life community has been unusually animated lately, with the briefly engaging mission pack Blue Shift passing us by and the Beta release of the high profile fast action modification The Opera. The former you can read about in our in-depth review from the middle of last month, but the chances are that the latter will be new to you. In short, "The Opera" is every action movie scene you've ever witnessed. The emphasis is not on sheer numbers of kills, but the way in which you pull them off. Leap heroically over a banister into the jaws of death with all pistols blazing and you'll accrue a lot more credibility than simply chucking a grenade into a rat hole. The idea is to make money, rather than score frags, and style is far more important to the whole equation than regularity. Perhaps taking a step back from Counter-Strike, one shot kills are something of a rarity, and there are over 20 weapons to choose from. Most of the pistols in your environment can be used akimbo, and according to authors Redeemed Assassins, a lot of work has gone into the act of balancing them with the rest of your arsenal. Complementing this finely tuned arsenal are "Disciplines", of which each character may pick one. Disciplines affect each situation differently. The discipline of precision, for example, improves your accuracy from long distance and things like that. Also, elements of the HUD are discipline specific, so things like the ammo gauge are concealed unless you've chosen the discipline of perception. This flies in the face of virtually every other FPS game and mod I've ever encountered, which is quite something. The Opera is currently in Beta and well worth playing, so if you fancy a break from Counter-Strike, you might like to give it a try. The Opera weighs in at 87Mb and can be downloaded from FilePlanet. Joining The Opera on FilePlanet is the latest cut of the Half-Life jib. Valve have finally released version 1.1.0.7 of Half-Life, and version 1.0.0.2 of Counter-Strike. Before you CS fans jump up and down and get yourselves messy though, the version 1.0.0.2 update applies to the retail boxed CS edition only, and changes (as far as your humble correspondent has been able to ascertain) diddly-squat. Version 1.1.0.7 of Half-Life on the other end, fixes a mountain of bugs and doses around with various bits and pieces that make up Team Fortress Classic and such. Model drawing has apparently been optimized, and an important GL binding bug has been suppressed. Other changes include the official addition of the Deathmatch Classic modification (which really helps pep up the burden of your 15Mb download, given you probably leeched the 7Mb patch for DMC several weeks ago separately), and allegedly a number of other fixes. It bears noting that this release does not mark the inclusion of the much anticipated voice comms system. People eager to communicate with their buddies will at least for the moment be forced to rely on Roger Wilco and Battle Communicator. Ho-hum. If you're currently running version 1.1.0.6 of Half-Life, which is the most likely situation, you can download its specific update (15Mb) from here, or if you're unfortunate enough to require the full whammy, you can avail yourself of that here. Finally, if you're an owner of the boxed Counter-Strike game, you can get the 1.0.0.1 > 1.0.0.2 update here and the full patch here. Related Feature - Half-Life: Blue Shift Review

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Tom Bramwell

Tom Bramwell

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Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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