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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Video Game Connoissieur:

The Video Game Connoissieur:

Half-Life 2Publisher: VALVESystem: PC $49.99ESRB: M (Mature)

The crowbar is the finest and most versatile melee weapon man has ever had. Not only is it extremely deadly in the hands of an expert or amateur, it also serves as a tool for removing barricades and opening various containers.

In Half-Life 2 the crowbar returns as the hand-to-hand weapon of choice; you will learn to love and cherish the crowbar like a spouse. Half-Life 2 is the greatest video game ever. Period. In what other game can you use a wheelbarrow as a bullet-proof shield or hurl a toilet at your opponent? Half-Life 2 is the first game to use a completely realistic physics engine.

Objects in the game behave according to the laws of physics and show properties such as density and friction. It is also the most graphically beautiful game ever. The game is so realistic in fact that I occasionally found myself trying to see what was behind me by looking over my shoulder.

You can also interact with everything in the game. If it isn’t literally bolted to the floor you can pick it up. I spent the first half hour I played the game throwing empty beer bottles and cartons of Chinese food at people. Later in the game I received the “Gravity Gun,” originally designed as a way to test in-game physics and later added as a weapon, allows you to pick up any object that’s not nailed down and fling it at high speeds ahead of you.

This is a great way to conserve ammunition as I found myself pulling circular saw blades out of walls and throwing them at zombies. I should probably stop ramblingly now and tell you the game’s plot. The story takes place in an unspecified amount of time after the first game in which you stopped aliens who were invading Earth through a portal in a secret research lab. You play as Dr. Gordon Freeman, a scientist with a Ph.D. from MIT who stopped aliens and the millitary from taking over his lab and killing everyone. In the sequel, you return as Gordon Freeman who has been working for the mysterious “G-Man” for an unknown amount of time.

Apparently, another group of aliens has invaded the planet. The administrator of the lab in the first game had him self-elected head of the planet and then sold out to the aliens. The game starts with Gordon’s arrival in City 17, a European city that is one of the few enclaves of humanity left on the planet (a bit like a detention camp, always being watched and monitored, and no real freedom). You have been sent there to aid the resistance (a group who is resisting the alien overlords). One of the most interesting facets of the game is the fact that you only know what Gordon knows. In other words you never talk and there are no cut scenes.

People talking to you, events in the game, everything happens in real time. When something happens you just can’t sit back and watch a movie. When the enemy breaks into the base your in there is no FMV to watch, you can either shoot or get the hell out of there. Through the game you are treated as a messiah figure.

The resistance believes that now that you’ve arrived they can win. People refer to you reverently, all but asking for your autograph. They even refer to you as the only “free man” (a pun on you name Gordon Freeman). This left me wondering what the hell I did was so wonderful (hey, in the first game I did what anyone in my situation would have done; grabbed a gun and killed everyone and everything trying to kill me).

Other than the feeling that I’m missing some vital piece of information Half-Life 2 is the greatest game I have ever played and probably will ever play, until they perfect virtual reality suits, and even then I will reserve judgment. My verdict: Nerdgasm.

John Kane III is the Photography Editor of The Mass Media, All opinions expressed in this column are solely his own. If you think he spends to much time playing games and needs a social life feel free to take him out on a date: contact him at [email protected]. Ladies only please.