Black Mesa

As Half-Life turns 20, Black Mesa unveils a reimagined Xen

On this day, 20 years ago, Half-Life was released. Makes you feel old, doesn't it? It's because you are old, you wrinkler. November 19th, 1998 - what were you doing then?

Anyway forget that, there's a new Half-Life game in development. No not Half-Life 3, although if Half-Life were 30 years old I could have written "Half-Life 30 today", which for a moment reads as "Half-Life 3", which is really exciting, isn't it?

The new game - or part of a game, really - is Xen, the final piece and pièce de résistance of Half-Life remake Black Mesa. But Black Mesa's Xen is much more than a simple remake of Half-Life's Xen.

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VideoVideo: Playing Black Mesa, the Half-Life for today

The community remake that became a Valve-sanctioned full release.

Hands up if you haven't played Half-Life before. Embarrassingly, that's me. One of the all time greats and I missed it. It's been available to play on Steam for ages, but I find it hard to muster the enthusiasm to play a game from 1998 when I'm already behind with games from 2015. This week, though, I'm thrown a bone by Black Mesa, a total remake of Half-Life 1.

In her infinite wisdom, Cher once sang, "If I could turn back time, if I could find a way." Really makes you think. Mind you, the cruel and inexorable march of time is good for some things, like bringing us this bunch of video game remakes that, in one way or another, managed to surpass their progenitors. Who would have guessed back in 1998 that the one thing missing from Half Life was Paul and Barry Chuckle? Technically that's two things, but you get my meaning.

FeatureRevisiting Black Mesa

Is the long-awaited Half-Life mod a remasterpiece?

It's Black Mesa, but not quite as you knew it. A tight edit of the familiar, the sublime and those ridiculous scientist ties, this free re-imagining of Half-Life is packed with new dialogue, subtly altered levels and all the fiery and physical powers that the Source engine can imbue.