Welcome to Black Mesa...Again.
By - Jamie "Thrrrpptt!" Madigan
Spurred by this success, Valve has released a number of Half-Life products, such as multiple versions of the original game (think Game of the Year Edition, Platinum Edition, etc.), a retail version of Counter-Strike, the standalone game Gunman Chronicles, and Gearbox Software's Opposing Force expansion pack.
Valve had also planned on releasing a version of Half-Life for the Sega Dreamcast, including a bonus episode entitled Blue Shift that was developed by Gearbox. While the status of the Dreamcast port is in limbo (some say "cancelled"), the Blue Shift episode has found its way to the PC game section of your local retailer as a stand-alone expansion pack.
Blue Shift's "hook" is that it places you in the role of Barney Calhoun, a security guard at the Black Mesa Research Facility. In fact, astute fans of the original Half-Life will recognize Calhoun as the security guard that Gordon Freeman's tram rides past at the beginning of the game. Calhoun turns out to be the guard banging on the metal door of the security office so he can start his ill-fated shift. You also see Freeman several times later in the game, as well as Adrian Shepard's squad mates from Opposing Force.
Less of the Same
This is not to say, however, that Blue Shift is a typical expansion pack. There are certain things that gamers expect from an expansion for first-person shooters. Because I like bulleted lists, here's a quick rundown:
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