Half-Life: Blue Shift

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<Half-Life><Half-Life: Blue Shift> Half-Life: Blue Shift is the second official expansion produced for Half-Life. In Blue Shift, the player takes on the role of a Black Mesa security guard, Barney Calhoun. Blue Shift follows the same theme as Half-Life and Opposing Force, once again taking the lone player through the Black Mesa Facility.

The name blue shift refers to an astronomical phenomenon that occurs when an object is moving towards the observer and the resulting energy shifts towards the blue side of the electromagnetic spectrum. This therefore matches up with the similar scientific names used for the other Half-Life games.

History

Blue Shift was originally a game developed by Gearbox Software, exclusively for the Dreamcast version of Half-Life. It also included a high definition pack of higher detail models and improved sounds to accommodate for the general increase in hardware power since Half-Life's initial release. However, for one reason or another, the game was never released on Dreamcast. The left-over content was bundled with Opposing Force and migrated to the PC. As a result, Blue Shift is a shorter game than both Half-Life and Opposing Force.

Blue Shift was released in 2001. Blue Shift and the High Definition Pack were made available through Steam in August 2005. However, the Steam version has problems which have disappointed fans, such as the inability to add any customizations to the game, or other issues such as the lack of the original blue HUD color.

Content

Blue Shift draws most of its game content from the original Half-Life. Interestingly, very little of Opposing Force content appears in Blue Shift. Race-X does not turn up, nor do the Black Operations. However this is probably due to the fact that Blue Shift's story is over by the time Opposing Force starts, and these two groups only become fully involved late in Opposing Force.

Some Opposing Force content is used, most notably the return of the security guard model Otis. However, none of the new Opposing Force weapons appear, save from the Desert Eagle on the Otis model. There are no new weapons at all, however a pre-release trailer showed the existence of a wieldable flashlight weapon. The available armory is entirely from the original game, however not all of the weapons can be found in-game. The HECU soldiers return to their original Half-Life form and AI, there are no longer any visible engineers, medics or machine gunners. Blue Shift does still imply that these exist, mainly as soldiers can often be heard cutting through a door using the same sounds from Opposing Force.

As mentioned above, Gearbox included a High Definition Pack in Blue Shift. This upgrades many models and textures to a higher quality, notably with the security guards, scientists, HECU forces and a number of Xen creatures. Weapon models are also included, the MP5 submachine gun has been replaced with a M4/M203 assault rifle and the Glock with a Beretta 92. All weapon models have received more detailed meshes and textures, including new animations. New sounds were given to the shotgun and assault rifle.

Gearbox added a new twist to the Half-Life saga by making Blue Shift the first game to feature a main character in game other than the player and the G-Man. The main focus of the game is in assisting a Dr. Stanley Rosenberg and two other scientists named Walter and Simmons escape the facility. The G-Man himself does not appear to the extent seen in Half-Life and Opposing Force.

Blue Shift used the soundtrack that accompanied Opposing Force in game, but for unknown reasons the soundtrack is not included in the Steam version.

Chapters

  1. Living Quarters Outbound
  2. Insecurity
  3. Duty Calls
  4. Captive Freight
  5. Focal Point
  6. Power Struggle
  7. Leap of Faith

Mapping

Blue Shift uses a slightly modified version of the GoldSource engine, and as a result .bsp files compiled with the regular compile tools will not load. bspfix is a program that converts to and from Blue Shift .bsp files.

Tidbits

The Mesa Times

See also

Games and modifications produced by Gearbox Software v·d·e
2001 Blue Shift (HL1)Half-Life (PS2)
1999 Opposing Force (HL1)