Half-LIfe 2: The Orange Box Preview

[image1]You’ve shot your way into a box, my friend.

You have trouble making decisions.  You spend hours in the video store and then end up renting more movies than there are hours before they are due back.  You have more ex’s than an adult video store.  Your pet has six names and doesn’t respond to any of them.  How then can you settle for just one shooter?

The answer: EA’s The Orange Box.  A collection of Half-Life, its sequel, and the mods built from it, The Orange Box is four complete games in one.  Sure, you’ve seen Half-Life and Half-Life 2 before, but now they come with the multiplayer romp Team Fortress 2 and the brain-swimming extra-dimensional puzzler Portal.  That’s a lot of game.

And a lot of different games too.  Half-Life is still the rich adventure it always was, deep in graphics, atmosphere, and story.  Team Fortress 2 is an uncluttered yet thick fragging experience.  From what we’ve seen, it could be packaged on its own—the gameplay is quick and fierce, the weapons varied and strategic.

But then there’s Portal, which is less a shooter than a first-person platform puzzler with teleportation.  Using the portal gun, you can open up doorways in any part of the environment—it’s much easier to see than to explain.  It’s also much easier to understand than to do.  A few brain-twisting puzzles and you’ll want to go shoot somebody.

So you switch to one of the other games, blow some people up, and then return.  You may be fickle, but The Orange Box, unlike your ex-girlfriends, doesn’t mind.