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Half-Life: Blue Shift is an expansion pack for Valve Software's science fiction first-person shooter video game Half-Life. The game was developed by Gearbox Software with Valve Corporation and published by Sierra On-Line on June 12, 2001. Blue Shift is the second expansion for Half-Life, originally intended as part of a Dreamcast version of the original game. Although the Dreamcast port was later cancelled, the PC version continued development and was released as a standalone product. The game was released on Steam on August 24, 2005.
As with Gearbox's previous expansion pack Opposing Force, Blue Shift returns to the setting and events of the original game, but portrays the story through the eyes of another person. The protagonist in Blue Shift is a security guard, Barney Calhoun, employed by the Black Mesa Research Facility. After a scientific mishap causes Black Mesa to be invaded by aliens, Calhoun must fight his way to safety. The game received mostly positive reception. Many reviewers were critical of the short length of the game and the lack of new content, although the inclusion of a High Definition pack that upgraded the models and textures in both Blue Shift and the preceding Half-Life games was praised.
As an expansion pack for Half-Life, Blue Shift is a first-person shooter. The overall gameplay of Blue Shift does not significantly differ from that of Half-Life: players are required to navigate through the game's levels, fight hostile non-player characters and solve a variety of puzzles to advance. The game continues Half-Life's methods of an unbroken narrative. The player sees everything through the first person perspective of the protagonist and remains in control of the player character for almost all of the game. Story events are conveyed through the use of scripted sequences rather than cut scenes. Progress through the game's world is continuous; although the game is divided up into chapters, the only significant pauses are when the game needs to load the next part of an environment.
The player battles through the game alone, but is occasionally assisted by friendly non-player characters. Security guards and scientists will occasionally help the player in reaching new areas and convey relevant plot information. Blue Shift also includes a substantial section dedicated to keeping a major character in the story safe from enemy characters, and escorting him to a specific location. A selection of enemies from Half-Life populate the game, including alien creatures such as headcrabs and Vortigaunts. The player also encounters human opponents in the form of a detachment of US Marines who have been sent to eliminate the alien threat and silence any witnesses. Blue Shift does not elaborate on the storyline in Opposing Force, the preceding expansion pack, and no enemy characters or weapons introduced in it appear in the game. The player is instead given access to a limited selection of Half-Life's original weaponry.
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Half-Life: Blue Shift System Requirements
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP
- Processor: 800 MHz
- RAM: 128 MB
- Video Card: 32 MB
- Hard disk space: 200 MB