Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
Ask any person about their favourite FPS and they'll probably say Halo. Slap them across the back of the head and then they'll ask why you slapped them. About 5-10 minutes later they'll either of said Halflife, Halflife 2 or run out of the room crying with a sore head.
Halflife is the king of the FPS genre, much like Metal Gear Solid is the king of Third Person Sneakers (Note: This is not referring to your hand-me-down shoes) and how Star Wars: KotOR is the king of the Star Wars RPG, mainly as it's the only one.
Halflife, or otherwise known as H-lamda-lflife (Note: It would be more feasable if the lamda replaced the H, not the A.) was a benchmark of the, then unknown company Valve. And, by golly it gave them a rather large reputation. Many people prefer the original Halflife over the latest one, Halflife 2, mainly as they have slow connections and Steam would kill them.
Halflife kicks off where, well, it starts. (Don't you just love that about non-sequels?) Gordon Freeman (If I need to explain who he is, you're a moron. He is who you play as.) has just arrived in the Black Mesa complex and is now on a tram bound for his destiny!!! OK, I lie. I just can't remember how to spell the actual name. There, he gets into his H.E.V. suit, another icon of the series. Then he takes part in an experiment which causes a resonance cascade scenario. Basically, the poop hits the fan. All sorts of strange and curiously deadly creatures start appearing all over and it's Gordon's job to kill, kill, kill. Standard FPS stuff.
What isn't standard is how the world is set out. Everything is placed logically. Ammo is only found in ammo stores, such as in crates (Blasted crates, they get everywhere), on dead soldiers and in gun racks. Health packs are found in similar logical places. Every so often, you'll find a dead security guard who has just so happened to have dropped their weapon, but the weapon is one you would expect to be on a lowly guard. The bigger stuff can be found on more important people, like soldiers or weapons testers. This is a science facility, of course.
Which'll be instantly recognisable. While the graphics were great for their time, the outdoors areas seem to be of a lower quality to the rest. Weapons are detailed accurately, but you'll need the high definition patch in order to make them look any decent. Fortunately, that is packaged with the Blue Shift expansion pack.
Now I get to the expansion packs. If you've been following my reviews, you would recall how in my Aliens Vs Predator 2 review, I mentioned the fact that two of the expansion packs have their own storylines; Opposing Force and Blue Shift. Well, they do. These intertwine with the main storyline at times. For instance, in Opposing Force, you watch as Gordon Freeman jumps into the portal near the end of Halflife. This is not much more than a novelty though.
I know I've barely scratched the surface of this great game, but I have had enough explaining it's greatness. Besides, it's not all that great. The graphics are kind of out dated and there is no vehicle action or dual wielding options. This may be the king, but it's getting on in years, but if Halo is the only alternative, I'll be happy with this relic.