Black Mesa

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.

Revisiting 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.