Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Boreality for Half-Life

***this review was previously available at Alejandro Mapping Center***

Level name: Boreality: Part one

Author: Erik 'Gibmaker' Hopkins

Date of release: 4 october2002

Size: 7 809 Ko

Number of maps: 10

website: here (dead)

download: at planetphillip


In a last-ditch attempt to escape Black Mesa with their lives, a militia of scientists, among them Gordon Freeman from Sector C, swarmed a small airstrip and hijacked the helicopters there, intending to fly them to the nearest major city and safety.
There were many casualties but the plan seemed to be successful - the survivors got the aircraft up and it did not appear that they were being pursued...things looked optimistic.
But then...there was strange interference in the air. Radio signals were garbled. The instruments were measuring high levels of atomic activity. Suddenly, a giant warp rift opened around them and the whole fleet disappeared into it...
Gordon Freeman came to drifting down on a parachute towards a dark field of snow. His suit was registering extreme cold but the shield was holding. He hit the ground awkwardly and threw the parachute off of himself.
There was a small cabin in front of him, buried under snow up to the second floor balcony. He crawled in through the balcony doors and... heard the unmistakable squeaking of headcrabs nearby.
There's snow everywhere, he thought. So this can't be Black Mesa. So why are there monsters here? Where am I? ...And how do I get back?


This map pack (10) was finished more than 6 years ago (only got released at the end of 2002).What is strange is that the author is really self-critical about is work (strange considering it’s good).
OK, It fell perhaps through a good storyline but it shows us a really good mix between set pieces, design and gameplay (especially because I have the feeling that Erik really prepared every section before attempting to put his idea into Worldcraft).

The action takes place in a forgotten town that was cut off the world by a huge snow storm (some new experiment of the G-man?) You are there to clean up the first house (which is a replica of Erik’s house) from the alien invasion. The snow area with its special ambience sometimes reminds me of the movie The Thing…a little frightening. You will find the classic alien enemies of Half-Life with a predilection for headcrab and alien slaves. They are always well placed and due to the fact that ammunition and health are limited you will need a lot of care to progress. According to the design, it is for me above average. You don’t encounter a lot of hallways that usually make you go from a section to another. There is always a good organisation of rooms with, here and there, some personal touch from the author that really fits the ambience.. Puzzles are not complicated but are there to remind us that half-life is really a great game thanks to them.
Is there anything that could turn this add-on down??… Perhaps: some areas are really confusing. Especially all the ‘lost passages’ in the sewer maze section. Also most of the indoor sections really need the flashlight There is also a lack of health and ammo , not a huge diversity in weapons…
But all this together really helps give us a good time of playing and add an other way of thinking to Gordon’s progression (think and look around before you attempt to do anything).

In conclusion, Boreality part one is a good surprise and due to its good overall quality really needs to be played through. This pack’s gonna make you remember how Half-life is a great game…
Hope part two will perhaps be digged out.

Playtime: 3 hours 30
Rating: A B C D E (82 %)

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