Ninety percent of Black Mesa Source yours to play from September 14th

I will not let this stop me cracking terrible jokes about the mod's development time. "More like half a Half-Life, amirite?!"

No this is not a stupidly early April Fools joke or delirious wishful thinking brought on by too many cans of Monster Energy. Soon we will all be able to actually play Black Mesa Source, the very, very, very, very, very, very very long-awaited Source “re-envisioning” of the original Half Life. As soon as I heard the news I rushed immediately to the nearest window and stared intently at the sky to watch for any unfolding signs of Armageddon. Half an hour later I sat back at my desk, having seen nary a glimpse of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse streaking across the firmament like baleful comets.

Don’t expect to be pumping rockets into Nihilanth‘s exposed brain before Christmas though. According to a post on the Black Mesa Source forums by project lead Carlos Montero the version available from September 14th only lets you go as far as Lambda Core, which should take you about 8-10 hours to get through at a steady pace. For those whose memories have been ravaged by time’s inexorable cruelties, Lambda Core is the bit right before Gordon Freeman teleports to the alien dimension Xen and Half-Life turns into an annoying first-person platformer for a while. In a way the team are doing us a favour since as beautiful as Xen was to look at it was a fucking slog and a half to get through, only compounded by the crappy long jump upgrade that failed to work 70% of the time.

Anyone crying foul at the Black Mesa team for “only delivering part of the game” needs to remember 90% of the original game was done by the end of Lamba Core, and the team claims it amounts to about 8-10 hours of gameplay. When you boil it down to basic mathematics which is better, 90% of something or 100% of nothing? And if I may be pedantic for a moment the name of the mod is technically Black Mesa Source, not “Black Mesa and annoying alien dimension of floating platforms miles apart Source”. We’ll soon have all the Black Mesa research facility to romp through again and I don’t mind waiting a little longer for a new, improved, more tolerable rendition of Xen.

Whether Black Mesa Source will have been worth the wait is another matter entirely. I for one hope it is.

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Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.