Publisher: (would have been)Sierra
Developer: Gearbox/Captivation Digital Laboratories
Size: (would have been)1 GD-Rom
VMU: 6 Blocks(config), Varies on actual game saves
No. of players: 1
Got it for: Free. This is a leaked beta of the game, a buddy of mine found and burned it for me.

You assume the role of Gordon Freeman, a scientist in the Anomalous Materials dept. of the government run Black Mesa complex. During an experiment with new teleportation technology, a dimensional rift is opened and alien invaders begin to attack. After this threat has been unleashed, the government sends in marines to not only deal with the alien threat, but anyone associated with it as well(that includes you). Other than Freeman, in the Half-Life side story "Blue Shift", you also get to play as Barney Calhoun, a Black Mesa security guard. You'll get to see the disaster through his eyes as he works with various scientists to try to make it out of the complex.

What's it all about?
It's a slow paced FPS, focused more on mission driven objectives rather than straight out shooting. Relying heavily on the game's main storyline, you'll encounter NPC's(Non-Player Characters) that will assist you on your way and give you information and clues to pass obstacles and such. Like DC Soldier of Fortune, Half-Life "features" in-game loading...that is, it'll load *while* you're playing the game(not just between levels and such). This, in itself, isn't such a bad thing...but DC H-L does it SO much, and SO frequently. Loads vary in length...but expect a five to seven second load anytime the game has to perform one. For a quick example, just to get to your HEV suit(once you finally make it into the actual complex), the game loads around three or four, imagine going through an entire section....

Graphics - Excellent. If nothing else, DC Half-Life looks fucking amazing. The development team(Gearbox and Captivation) used new, and enhanced character models and textures especially for the Dreamcast version(after the game was cancelled, these same models and textures were used for the newfound PC version of Blue Shift). Now, past that, it has a *lot* of framerate issues. Moving into larger areas or areas with lots of enemies or special effects(transparencies, fire, etc) bog the engine down, and badly. For the most part, it seems to run at around 20 to 30fps, but can be dragged down to an unbelievable 7 to 10fps at times.
Sound - The sound effects and music were ripped straight from the PC version, and sound great. You have the option of adjusting various sounds separately(sound effects, HEV Suit and music), which is pretty nice. The only disappointing thing about it all is the real lack of only plays in a very select few places throughout the game(think Tomb Raider), and not for very long at all. This really can't be blamed on the developers as this is the way it was on the PC...but still, it *really* makes you aware how loud the DC's fan can be...
Control - Not bad at all. For the controller, you can choose from three presets or completely customize *any* action to any button. Past that you can also adjust X/Y axis sensitivity and turn auto-aim and the crosshair on or off. A lot of secondary actions, such as manually reloading a weapon, alternate weapon fire, weapon select, etc., are all performed by holding down what you specify as the "Shift" key and hitting another button. Works very nicely. Now, mouse and keyboard support are in the game...but, again as it's a beta, things never really got ironed out for them. The mouse is overly sensitive, and there's no way to tone it down in the's virtually un-useable as it is now. Using the keyboard, for some reason, seems to make your character move much faster than usual and the game seems to lag as it tries to keep up. All of the sudden you'll see extremely jerky framerates and split second loads as you turn corners, or even just turn around. All in all, it was very disappointing...but again, it's a you really can't complain.
AI - Hard. The enemies themselves do show some decent intelligence at times, but this is overlooked by how overly hard certain groups of enemies can be, and the cheap hits they'll catch you with more times than not. Also, this game is full of *one* hit kills and the cheap-ass, almost mandatory hits will really get to you after a while.
Replay value - Low. If you're a hardcore fan of Half-Life, or just a complete nut(like me) you'll go through it once, just to say you've done it...but that'll be'll never want to come back to those loads times ever, *ever* again.
Tips for better gaming experiences:
Save and save often! Trust me....having to endure the loads times again just because you forgot to save is a real killer. A good time to save your game is after one or two loads, or so. Also, using the below codes can really help you out in serious times of need(like, say, when you save your game when you've only got about 13 on health and a seriously hard section is coming up). Putting in a code, though it'll start you at the beginning of that section rather than at the point you last saved, will start you with 100% health and 100% power in your HEV...on top of that, you get *every* weapon that could be acquired up until that point and a generous amount of ammo for each.
Level Codes: Please note that I *have* gone through both Half-Life and Blue Shift and finished them both to acquire these codes. Also, finishing the game on Hard or Easy, does not yield new codes.

Office Complex - Files and Fear
Unforeseen Consequences - Gordon teaches Physics
Anomalous Materials - Gordon goes to work
We've got Hostiles - Soldiers visit Black Mesa
Blast Pit - Safe and Sound
Power Up - Big is beautiful
On a Rail - Trains and Rockets
Apprehension - Fear Finds Gordon
Residue Processing - Recycle or Die
Questionable Ethics - Regression Brings Progress
Surface Tension - Combat and Death
Forget about Freeman - Soldier eat Tacos
Lambda Core - Scientists at Work
Xen - Fear and Gravity
Gonarch's Lair - Xenophobia and Firepower
Interloper - Panic in Xen
Nihilanth - Panic and Die

Half-Life: Blue Shift:
Insecurity - Barney Goes to Work
Duty Calls - Red is Scary
Captive Freight - Combat and Trains
Focal Point - Barney Visits Xen
Power Struggle - Power is Progress
A Leap of Faith - Physics is Beautiful

Special Codes:
Infinite Ammo - Dreamcast gives Firepower(received after beating Blue Shift on Normal difficulty)
Invulnerability - Otis love Dreamcast(received after beating Half-Life on Normal difficulty)
Slow Motion - Actions ignore Silence(warning, this code sucks ass. It slows the game down to about a tenth of its original speed. I have *no* idea why they thought this would be a nice treat for those who finish the Training Course)
If this is your first time through Half-Life, you may need a little help. I recommend you try one of the Half-Life FAQs over at GameFAQs. I, personally, used the FAQ by "black hole sun" to get through the PC version. It should work nicely for the DC version as well.
Cool stuff on the disc:
Nothing really, but it's interesting the way they built it. Looking through the disc you'll find .pak files as well as an actual .exe(Windows will tell you it's valid, but for a machine other than yours).

Cool Stuff on the VMU:
Just the little Half-Life "A" symbol.

My rating: I can't really give this a rating as it is a beta. Now, I will say that this *definitely* IS a beta though, and I would argue with anyone who tries to tell you that this was the finished product. Another three to six months of work would have been needed to clean up the framerate, and especially, loading issues. All in all, it's not that it's's just that it's not finished...

Cat's review:
Fuck this, just drop the $5 to $10 most places want for a new or used copy of the game for the PC. This thing is more aggravating than fun. Reow!
This review was completed before I acquired a video capture card. With that said, I have borrowed pics from various sources. As far as I can tell, these are authentic screenshots of the actual Dreamcast version(not PC shots used in their place, as many sites liked to use).

Back, you savages!
One of the various NPC's that will help you out.
Yay, yet *another* thing that can kill you in one hit...
The ever-bothersome ogre alien.
Barney runs into a former scientist...
You get to explore a lot more of the Black Mesa complex in Blue Shift.

Beta Building Blocks:
After one of the various crashes, I was able to determine the actual version of the game that was leaked:
DC Release Build 1672
Date: May 23, 2001

VMU usage in this game is....odd, at best. Though in various interviews it was stated that the VMU would support two saved games at definitely didn't in this beta. Depending on where you save in a level, your VMU block usage goes up and down, and drastically. The closer you get to the "end" of a level, where a new section starts(and you receive a password) the more blocks the game needs to use to save. This, at times, can become very annoying as you'll have to start deleting your old saved game before you can save again. The only static number that the game uses on the VMU is for the game's config file(your controller settings, advanced options, sound, etc), it takes six blocks.

In Half-Life, after breaking a crate you'll sometimes get to see the Dreamcast Half-Life disc art as it will actually be one of the contents that fall out. In Blue Shift, VMU's will often times be in the crates you break.

For a beta, this has been extremely well done...or just really well tested. Out of my entire time with the game, completing the Training Course then going on to beat both Half-Life and Blue Shift I only encountered three real bugs:

1. "Load from last Saved Game" option only works if you have saved a game during the play session. That is, you can't start a game from a saved game, die then use that option, it won't consider the saved game you started off with as your last saved game. What it will do is start you *completely* over at the train. No big deal, you then just have to quit the game and reload your last save.

2. Saving at certain points in the game(usually right before the next actual section, where you receive a password) will result in an abnormally high amount of blocks to save, thus making you delete your last game then save a completely new one.

3. Random crashes. I had the game crash on me about five times. Three of those were in the exact same spot(in Blue Shift). The cool thing about it is that it actually gives you some info on the crash and such. My personal favorite crash message was something along the lines of the code being "Absurd".

There should be a password for the section between Interloper and Nihilanth, but even though you can save your game there, there is no password given to start there.

I found this little graphic that compares a marine across the three versions. I have no idea if it's anything official, or even where it originally came from, but it's kinda cool to see. Finally, for more info, interviews and news on DC Half-Life, click here.