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Thread: Best Version of Half-Life

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) DisastrophE's Avatar
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    Default Best Version of Half-Life

    I am kinda embarassed to say that I have never played any of the Half-Life games. I picked up The Orange Box a long time ago but haven't actually played it yet. Though I probably wouldn't play Half-Life 2 til I finished the first one because I don't like to play things out of order.

    Anyway I was just wondering out of the Dreamcast and PS2 versions of Half-Life, which is better? Yes I realize that the PC version is the best however I am not a PC gamer and will only get it if the Dreamcast and PS2 ports are horrendous. So...thoughts? Thanks.
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    The DC one wasn't released officially, so you can just download it, but it has Blue Shift.

    The PS2 one has a bonus two player co-op mode.

    ... And the PC version has Blue Shift AND someone ported the two-player co-op mode as a mod.

    Just get the PC version... if you can run HL2, you can run HL1.
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    Great Puma (Level 12) Leo_A's Avatar
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    The PS2 port is better then the Dreamcast port. Superior controls due to twin analog sticks, faster frame rate, sharper and more detailed graphics, faster loading times, and more efficient saving. Also has the cooperative game of Decay, the only part of the Half-Life saga that PC owners never recieved (Although there's a homebrew remake of it available for PC). It isn't just a cooperative mode for Half-Life, it's a unique expansion pack with it's own storyline telling the story of two scientist, much like Blue Shift and Opposing Forces were.

    The only reason to burn Half-Life to cd-r to play on your Dreamcast is because it's free and neat to check it out. And it has the only console version of Blue Shift, a nice expansion pack that Half-Life recieved (Which was actually created first for the Dreamcast and only later ported to the PC).

    In all honestly though, if you want the superior experience and really want to play through the Half-Life saga, spend the $10 or so that Half-Life 1, Blue Shift, and Opposing Forces (Which isn't available on consoles) costs on Steam and play through it there. It's an amazing game and my favorite first person shooter, and both expansions are also excellent and worth playing through before moving on to Half-Life 2 and it's various episodes.

    And any PC that virtually anyone is using for day to day use in 2010 can pretty much easily run it maxed out. And if you're a Mac user, I hear the entire Half-Life series will be coming to Mac users pretty soon as well.
    Last edited by Leo_A; 05-04-2010 at 03:06 AM.

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    I'd go for Half-Life Source. It's Half-Life updated to use the Source engine, though without any enhancements to the actual game content. The original Quake-based engine is pretty rough on the eyes today, unless you're running it on an old 3dfx rig or something.

    I've never been able to get into Blue Shift, or Opposing Force for that matter. Even HL1 was a bit of a chore to play through. I did finish it before playing HL2, but you can skip over it if you want. The Half-Life story feels more like a prequel to HL2 than the first game in a series, at this point.

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    Great Puma (Level 12) Leo_A's Avatar
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    I think it's held up well graphically, especially the interior portions (The bulk of the game).

    The outside portions in the desert areas and on Xen (I think that's the name) weren't good looking even in 1998.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NayusDante View Post
    I'd go for Half-Life Source. It's Half-Life updated to use the Source engine, though without any enhancements to the actual game content. The original Quake-based engine is pretty rough on the eyes today, unless you're running it on an old 3dfx rig or something.

    I've never been able to get into Blue Shift, or Opposing Force for that matter. Even HL1 was a bit of a chore to play through. I did finish it before playing HL2, but you can skip over it if you want. The Half-Life story feels more like a prequel to HL2 than the first game in a series, at this point.
    Half-Life Source is glitchy. The Source engine doesn't handle physics in the same way as the original game did, so ragdolls and puzzles might not behave the same way.

    And it looks the same as Half-Life so there's no point in owning it.
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    But doesn't HL:Source allow you to use a DirectX 9 renderer? I personally don't get FPS sickness on the newer renderers, but Quake 1 and 2 stuff still make me sick.

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    I wouldn't know. Half-Life 2 and the episodes make me feel ill after a while.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NayusDante View Post
    Even HL1 was a bit of a chore to play through. I did finish it before playing HL2, but you can skip over it if you want. The Half-Life story feels more like a prequel to HL2 than the first game in a series, at this point.
    Crazy talk! Don't skip Half Life 1...it's superior to many of todays FPS's - aside from its graphics. If you can take the time to play just about anything else, you owe it to yourself to play the original Half Life.

    Regarding the original question - definitely go for PS2 over Dreamcast. The load times just kill the Dreamcast port. I hear they were the last thing left to optimize in that version of the game, but as-is they are very frequent and annoyingly long. Also, I hear that the PS2 version can utilize a USB keyboard and mouse, which is one of the main reasons people keep pointing to the PC version. I haven't tried that myself, but I should one of these days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cityside75 View Post
    Crazy talk! Don't skip Half Life 1...it's superior to many of todays FPS's - aside from its graphics...
    ... and the garbage AI, and the really long sections of essentially nothing happening of simply going from point A to B.

    Half-Life was alright 10 years ago but now it's true age is showing. Personally, I find the game extremely monotonous and flat out boring. When there is action there's a bit but there seems to be too many lulls that it really doesn't deliver in this day and age, at least for me anyway. I was glad to have finished it and never go back again.

    Having gotten that out of the way, just stick to the PC version. Least hassle and easiest to obtain. I don't know anything about PS2, but for Dreamcast be prepared for lots of loading if that's the route you choose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cityside75 View Post
    Regarding the original question - definitely go for PS2 over Dreamcast. The load times just kill the Dreamcast port. I hear they were the last thing left to optimize in that version of the game, but as-is they are very frequent and annoyingly long. Also, I hear that the PS2 version can utilize a USB keyboard and mouse, which is one of the main reasons people keep pointing to the PC version. I haven't tried that myself, but I should one of these days.
    I have the Dreamcast and PS2 versions, and I honestly don't think the load times are that much worse on the Dreamcast. Also, you can use the keyboard and mouse on the Dreamcast version as well. Since I have a Dreamcast keyboard and mouse, that's the version I play.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SPAZ-12 View Post
    I have the Dreamcast and PS2 versions, and I honestly don't think the load times are that much worse on the Dreamcast. Also, you can use the keyboard and mouse on the Dreamcast version as well. Since I have a Dreamcast keyboard and mouse, that's the version I play.
    100% correct.

    The PS2 load times are maybe a few seconds faster, not enough to make me think that it's the superior port.

    The DC version is the best in my eyes because

    A. It's free
    B. It had an exclusive expansion
    c. Keyboard and mouse configuration
    D. It's the frigging Dreamcast. It's thinking.

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    Sorry, but there's a massive improvement in load times for Half-Life on the PS2 release compared to the Dreamcast build, both in terms of length of save time and how numerous the saves are. The saving also isn't screwed up like on the Dreamcast when sometimes the VMU won't even be large enough for a save. The saving is much more efficient space wise with the PS2 release and was never refined on the Dreamcast build everyone has.

    The PS2 version also supports any USB mouse and keyboard and not just Dreamcast accessories. The dual analog stick is far better for the game then the single analog stick of the DC controller. The textures have also been refined further and the character models have a higher polygon count over the Dreamcast version. And the frame rate is smoother and more consistent on the PS2 release. The Dreamcast build going around was supposedly never optimized, which leads to a fairly low fps and more inconsistency due to not being the final build. And Decay is actually an exclusive, unlike Blue Shift that has been ported elsewhere (PC).

    Still, it's worth the download and cd-r.
    Last edited by Leo_A; 04-24-2010 at 02:03 AM.

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    If you go PC don't bother with source. Source = no mods. mods = best part of original HL. Get a regular copy of PC HL, then install Science & Industry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Ames View Post
    The PS2 port is the way to go. Superior controls due to twin analog sticks,
    Better than a good mouse and keyboard? No way. Half-Life is all about twitch pointing. It's not crippled by analog sticks, but it's not designed for them, either. Even if somebody wants to play an FPS the wrong way, there's no reason to abandon the PC, here, because joypad support is integrated into Half-Life on Steam. Plug in your Xbox 360 USB controller and go.

    faster frame rate,
    On any modern PC, your hardware can render far more frames than your display can show, and at any resolution you like. Your PS2 won't be outputting 1600x1200, which isn't critical for the main game but very helpful in preventing eyestrain, and used by some custom maps and the like.

    The one caveat is that the widescreen support for the GoldSrc (classic Half-life) engine is Vert-, meaning you get the same field of view in widescreen as in normal 4:3, but with some of the top and bottom cut off. However, the extra clarity (i.e. sharpness) conferred by high resolution graphics more than makes up for it. Letterboxed 1600x1200 graphics on a 26" widescreen > the hell out of a grainy television image through s-video.
    sharper and more detailed graphics,
    One command everybody should add to autoexec.cfg:

    gl_texturemode "GL_LINEAR_MIPMAP_LINEAR"
    Trilinear filtering.

    I don't know what you mean by sharper, but Gearbox (if I'm correct in remembering it was them) sure did pump up the polygon counts on monsters and the like, even over Blue Shift's "High Definition" pack if I recall.

    The High Definition pack has a lot of good stuff in it, but using the classic models and stuff doesn't bother me at all.

    faster loading times, and more efficient saving.
    Not at all faster than a PC, and saving is as easy as F6 + F7.

    Also has the cooperative game of Decay, the only part of the Half-Life saga that PC owners never recieved (Although there's a homebrew remake of it available for PC).
    I'm not 100% sure but the "remake" of Decay seems to be straight ports of the maps, as opposed to being reinvented. It's not the most amazing-looking mod I've ever seen but there are some good moments in there. Works fine on a PC, and the porting crew added some bonuses like some kind of online tracking.

    It isn't just a cooperative mode for Half-Life, it's a unique expansion pack with it's own storyline telling the story of two scientist much like Blue Shift and Opposing Forces were.
    Speaking of which, the main reason (in my view) to own Half-Life is for the hours and hours of gaming goodness in the expansions, from some iffy "classics" like the various iterations of the Halloween Mod, to classics like Poke646 and Poke646: Vendetta, Afraid of Monsters, the amazing Neil Manke / Black Widow Games mods like the They Hunger trilogy ("you are what I eat"), and so many more. If you really want to get the most of FPSing you ought to look up at least a couple of the classic HL mods.
    Last edited by Ed Oscuro; 04-24-2010 at 03:31 AM.

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    My last post was clearly just comparing the two console ports. Rereading it just now, I can't believe that wasn't clear. Mentioned both consoles multiple times by name and never said anything about the PC version.

    I already said in an earlier post that the PC version was the way to go.
    Last edited by Leo_A; 04-24-2010 at 05:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Ames View Post
    My last post was clearly just comparing the two console ports.
    Can't you see what I'm quoting? I'm not talking about your last post; I'm talking about the one before that - the one people reading this topic from the start are going to see first - where you mention the PC straight off but only as being inferior for lacking a bullet point (Decay) in comparison to the PS2 port.
    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Ames View Post
    The PS2 port is the way to go.
    Yes, it's totally clear that you think the Steam version is the best! The topic title asks for the best version, and I really do think that missing out on the mods makes the other versions not worth considering if they have to be the only version played - especially since with a TV tuner and a joystick one can play it on a television anyway.

    In any case, it's good of you to mention Steam as the best version; you should have put it first. I also put up a number of other useful bits of information so I don't see where you come off with your panties in a bunch.

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    I think this is getting out of hand. From OPs post:

    Quote Originally Posted by DisastrophE View Post
    Yes I realize that the PC version is the best however I am not a PC gamer and will only get it if the Dreamcast and PS2 ports are horrendous. So...thoughts? Thanks.
    So:
    Dreamcast = horrendous
    PS2 = fine
    PC = best (+mods)

    As far as I can tell, OP just wants to have some background before starting with HL2. I don't think that he cares about the mods so that point would be moot.

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    The DC version's save bug is incredibly irritating. I don't know if it happens to everyone, but I've definitely heard other people talking about it. Basically, the further you get into a chapter, the larger save files get - it makes it very difficult to share VMUs with other games because it can get very massive. Sometimes it gets too large to even fit on a VMU all by itself. I think it resets in size at the beginning of a chapter, but it's still not worth dealing with.

    If you have to get a console version PS2 would be the pick, but like everyone else is saying the PC version will play the best even on a very modestly-equipped PC.

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    I am surprised no one has mentioned Black Mesa, which is probably going to provide the definitive HL1 experience - provided you have faith that it is actually going to be released Real Soon Now.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_M...8video_game%29
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    Mods non-withstanding, best version is Half-Life Source for PC with "High Definition Source" HD Texture Pack. It's really quite nice and crisp.

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    Go with the PC, load times on DC are horrendous, haven't tried the PS2 version.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    I am surprised no one has mentioned Black Mesa, which is probably going to provide the definitive HL1 experience - provided you have faith that it is actually going to be released Real Soon Now.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_M...8video_game%29
    Yeah um, no. :\

    I really doubt that game will ever come out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Oscuro View Post
    Can't you see what I'm quoting? I'm not talking about your last post; I'm talking about the one before that - the one people reading this topic from the start are going to see first - where you mention the PC straight off but only as being inferior for lacking a bullet point (Decay) in comparison to the PS2 port.

    Yes, it's totally clear that you think the Steam version is the best! The topic title asks for the best version, and I really do think that missing out on the mods makes the other versions not worth considering if they have to be the only version played - especially since with a TV tuner and a joystick one can play it on a television anyway.

    In any case, it's good of you to mention Steam as the best version; you should have put it first. I also put up a number of other useful bits of information so I don't see where you come off with your panties in a bunch.
    He specifically says in his initial post that he is already aware that the PC version is superior and asks "I was just wondering out of the Dreamcast and PS2 versions of Half-Life, which is better?" So my post was in response to that question and I was just comparing and contrasting the two console ports of this game.

    And then at the end of my very first post, I stated the following:

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Ames
    In all honestly though, if you want the superior experience and really want to play through the Half-Life saga, spend the $10 or so that Half-Life 1, Blue Shift, and Opposing Forces (Which isn't available on consoles) costs on Steam and play through it there. It's an amazing game and my favorite first person shooter, and both expansions are also excellent and worth playing through before moving on to Half-Life 2 and it's various episodes.

    And any PC that virtually anyone is using for day to day use in 2010 can pretty much easily run it maxed out. And if you're a Mac user, I hear the entire Half-Life series will be coming to Mac users pretty soon as well.
    Sorry for any confusion that may have happened, I just really felt like I had been pretty clear about my points. And I'm sorry if I seemed a little cranky, I was just surprised it came up was all. I'm actually in full agreement with every point you made about the PC version and any annoyance that may of came out of my post was just due to a poor choice of words for the second sentence of that reply I made to you and wasn't an accurate reflection of how I felt about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Oscuro View Post
    I'm not 100% sure but the "remake" of Decay seems to be straight ports of the maps, as opposed to being reinvented. It's not the most amazing-looking mod I've ever seen but there are some good moments in there. Works fine on a PC, and the porting crew added some bonuses like some kind of online tracking.
    I'm not sure if there are any original areas either, only played through it once a few years ago and I'm not a huge expert in the series (having only played each thing through a couple of times over the years). So I don't know every area by heart and wouldn't be able to give a definitive answer on it. But Decay is definitely weaker then the other Half-Life 1 expansions for the storyline aspect and action. But even in Blue Shift and Opposing Forces, much of the game as you already know is a remake taking place in the same areas of the initial game but from the viewpoint of a different character during the events that occurred. It's worth playing through after experiencing everything else (Plus the Half-Life Uplink demo is also worth a download for the unique areas and story in it).

    If nothing else, the OP should spend the handful of dollars on Steam for Half-Life 1. I suspect he'll be addicted and get the expansions then, and if he's anything like I am, seek out the console ports later for excuses to play through the games again and for curiosities sake to see how well a great game transferred to consoles.
    Last edited by Leo_A; 04-24-2010 at 01:50 PM.

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    Half Life on PS2 has an option for keyboard/mouse control.

    That automatically puts it in the top 10 PC-to-console ports.

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