Box of Fun: Tearing into The Orange Box (Half Life 2) | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!
Pin It

Box of Fun: Tearing into The Orange Box (Half Life 2) 

Forget everything you ever thought about guys in dorky glasses.The Orange box is a collection of five fantastic first-person shooter games and is priced around 60 bucks for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Valve, the games' publisher, blends the older "Half Life 2" with some new content and delivers a great collection of games. Even though the PS3 edition is quite good, it runs noticeably slower than its Xbox 360 counterpart and the PC version runs best on a higher-end PC system.

It starts with "Half Life 2," which despite its age looks stunning and showcases magnificent environments like rippling water, has a ton of action and gives some of the newer games a run for their money on the physics side. As the protagonist, Gordon Freeman, you don't just play to find out what happens, you also experiment. There are chain reactions with exploding barrels, splintering wood and zombie slaughter all unfolding while you're skimming across the water on a hovercraft. If you've played this game before, then there's nothing new here. The uninitiated, however, will find a treasure chest while exploring this game on the newer game consoles.

"Half Life 2's" follow up, "Episode One" continues where "HL2" left off - again you step into Freeman's hazard suit and battle against the alien nemesis, the Combine. This is a short adventure with about 10 hours of game play, but you won't mind the abrupt conclusion due to its transition directly into "Episode Two." In this chapter, you face countless aliens across a dangerous forest and fight enemies in the bowels of an alien mine. The familiar weapons like a shotgun, pistol, and gravity are at your disposal. The end of "Episode Two" leaves things open for ... you guessed it-"Episode 3," which is about a year away from release. Like "Episode One," this is a short trip with about 15 hours of game play.

Next in the Orange Box lineup is "Portal," an impressive puzzle game that's both amazing and frustrating. In this game, you play as a test subject prompted by a god-like voice instructing you to create portals that allow you to pass through walls and fall through floors.

Finally, we come to "Team Fortress 2," a cool multiplayer-only shooter that is both simplistic and almost impossible to put down. When compared to other games like "Resistance: Fall of Man," "TF 2" comes up short in terms of options. Capture the flag and control point offer little in the way of variety, and the six maps seem laughable, but the game is fun nonetheless.

As mentioned before, the frame rate issue on the Playstation 3 is hard to look past, especially compared to the Xbox 360 version. At times, the game slows to a crawl, even at top speed. And it takes longer to turn or move than in the 360 game. What's puzzling is that the PS3 version took at least two months more to complete. And the processing speed of the PS3 is much higher than the 360, so that's a mystery.

The Orange Box (Half Life 2) - 4 Stars

Rated M for Mature; Publisher: Valve, Retail: $59.99; Platform: Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.The Orange Box (Half Life 2)


The Shelf Life of Half Life

After "Doom," the first-person shooter became the standard for game publishers. Most games released after "Doom" were just pale shadows of the trailblazing game. But there were a few stood outs. Some games like "Descent" gave a new dimension to the premise by adding a mind-twisting flying element to it. "Duke Nukem" added humor and attitude. The breakthrough came from game publishers Valve and Sierra with "Half Life" which added a story to the action. While still in the mold of a first-person shooter, this game brought a new life to the genre by giving details, character and a story. By eliminating repetitive actions, it went beyond just running around shooting and blowing things up. Because of this, "Half Life" became one of the best games of 1998 and spawned a number of sequels itself. In addition, "Half Life" helped set a new standard for the genre that allowed today's gamers to expect more complex games. - Shawn Wallbaum

Pin It

Speaking of Game On


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
19th Annual BendFilm Festival

19th Annual BendFilm Festival - Bend

Thu., Oct. 6, 12 p.m.
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Now Playing

By Film...

By Theater...

Get Social

Latest in Film Events

More by Shawn Wallbaum

  • Raiding the Tomb Again!: Tomb Raider Underworld

    Adolescent boys rejoice, Laura has returned. Tomb Raider helped define the original Playstation. The game sold millions of copies spinning many sequels and a brassiere-busting silver screen turn from a pre-tabloid Angelina Jolie. Now Laura Croft returns for another adventure with Underworld. Making her way through the wilderness of the Mediterranean, the deep jungles of Mexico and other exotic locations around the world that would give Indiana Jones a run for his money. On Laura's plate this time is the quest for the legendary Hammer of Thor. As with most of the Tomb Raider games you have to make your way through mind-numbing puzzles and just about every trap you could think of. Most Tomb Raider games follow a basic outline, and this one is no different. The layout of the game is gorgeous, and the lush landscapes team with life. A lot of time was put into the environments and animals to make them more realistic than the original Tomb Raider game. Crystal Dynamics was able to blend Tomb Raiders' old-school puzzle solving, shooting, and climbing so they overlap each other. The result is smoother and more realistic. A neat change also new to this edition is the melee combat system that makes Laura fight and keep her distance from her attackers at the same time.
    • Feb 11, 2009
  • Better Late Than Never: The top games of 2008

    Yes it's (almost) February, but every other website or magazine started, or ended the year, with a "Top 10" or "Best Of" list, so it must be a good idea, right? Either way, we're not sure if 2008 stacked up to 2007's monster gaming year, but there were certainly a few bright spots worth revisiting. 10. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of Patriots. The original MGS was what hooked me on the first Sony game machine and this title was well worth the wait. Could this be the end of Solid Snake? Don't bet on it! 9. Mario Kart Wii. Even though the Mario Kart franchise is 16-plus years old it still kicks ass. With on-line multi-player for the next generation and addictive game play, MK Wii never gets old.
    • Jan 28, 2009
  • Purple Dragons, Oh My!: Spyro Dawn of the Dragon

    Puff on this dragon.Ever since Mario took the game scene by storm there have been many attempts to steal the limelight from the-little-plumber-that-could, with little success. One exception is Spyro the Dragon. The first Spyro game was released in 1998 on the original Playstation. The game was a straightforward platform game with Spyro freeing fellow dragons from their crystal prisons. The game won praise from gamers and spawned several sequels. Now comes the latest Spyro adventure, which is really more of a remake. The game uses an all-star cast of actors playing the main characters, including Spyro and sidekick Cynder. The game concludes much like the original game wherein Spyro must defeat his archenemy Malefor, the Dark Master.
    • Jan 14, 2009
  • More »

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2022 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation