Half-Life 2 Preview

John "Jhoh" Cable & Josh "Jsoh" Cable 05/07/2003  

I recently went to Seattle to visit Valve. Suddenly the internet exploded with the news that Half-Life 2 would be released in September! I decided to check it out from the people themselves. When I got there, I bought Gabe (Gabe something, I think his last name is Valve) some coffee from the Starbucks downstairs, even though he's a millionare. After he accepted the gift, he just let me have Half-Life 2 (burned on an old CD-RW with "TF2 Source Code" scratched out) and permitted me to ask everyone about it (everyone being him). My brother and I ended up with tons of information about the upcoming, eagerly awaited sequel to Half-Life. Here's the stuff we learned.


Intro -- In the beginning, it's basically like the intro to the original Half-Life, except with better effects. You're conducting an experiment, it goes wrong and you have to escape from a giant facility. I asked Gabe why it wasn't a continuation of the first game's ending. All I could tell from what he said was that apparently everyone at Valve sort of forgot what happened at the end of the first game.

Middle -- In a creative switch around, you kill all the helpless scientists you can, aided by soldiers. Gabe was excited about the story opportunity in this situation, because players would finally have the chance to play as the Half-Life grunts! He says that maybe in Half-Life 3, they'll take it even further and let you play as a Barney.

End -- In the end, you kill a final boss and win. Then the credits roll, you push "esc" and hit the "quit" button. Then you go back to Windows, wait for the game to fully unload, and then check something out in your personal folder or go on the web or check your mail.

NPCs (as in friendlies):

Scientists -- They're all evil, so go ahead and feel no guilt for killing them. At least, that's how it is at first. Like Deus Ex, you realize that all the people you've been killing mercilessly, shooting in the head, and dragging them off to play with their internal organs, have actually been the good guys, and the G-Man you've sided up with is the bad guy trying to ruin the world by invading alien planets. No way!!!!!!!! That completely unexpected plot twist blew my mind, and I'm being serious and completely not sarcastic about this! By the way, that last part was a spoiler, so don't read it.

Grunts -- These are the guys you sided up with. Again, just like Deus Ex, you get to know their names, hang around with them, joke and be pals. Then later, when everything changes, you take these people, with names and families, and you shoot them right in their motherfucking FACE.

Headcrabs -- There are friendly headcrabs in the game, but they still attack you and do more damage than the enemy headcrabs. The difference is that if you kill them, it kicks you out of the game and deletes your save. Gabe said this isn't a bug.


Bullqueer -- The new "leet" version of the bullsquid. It will be almost the same except it fires seeking acid spit gobs, and you can't kill it with normal bullets. You can only kill it with the AWP.

Headcrabs -- Headcrabs will be the same except cuter and since you will have the Mauser rifle from Day of Defeat they will be more fun to shoot, as part of the new and highly advanced valve headcrab shooting code.

Grunts -- They're decked out with all sorts of new radio messages, such as "BULLSHIT" and "GET YOUR AIMBOT OUT OF HERE, OR I'LL BAN YOU." A few others involving "Your mom wants to make a phone call, get off AOL!" and such. And they all have contact grenades and don't use anything else. They remind me of Counter-Strike players, except these grunts are more threatening.

Even though you're playing as the grunts, you're still fighting them. I'm not sure why.

Black ops -- They fly around the room firing at you, and are completely invisible at all times. They don't fire with tracers either, so you can't see their bullets. In fact, when you're shot by them, your blood becomes invisible, and your HUD doesn't detect it. The bullets that the black ops are using also have some complicated new technology used by them (in the game story at least) that keep your HUD from detecting you've been shot, so your health and armor don't even change when you take damage from them. Their bullets will kill you in about ten shots, so you better keep on your toes!

They are invisible because they position themselves in front of the pupil in your eye which you can't see out of. This combined with light bending technology encased in their giant bouncing chests (yea, nice one valve). Of course now the black ops chicks are like anime characters, with even bigger night vision goggles and big flabby titties.

Final boss -- I won't tell you who the final boss is, but it's pretty much another giant space baby with stitches and three arms. Except it has tiny feet, I think. After you kill it, the G-man shows up and offers you the exact same job he offered in the original Half-Life.

Either that, or the final boss is the G-man, depending on which ending you pick.


AWP -- The most powerful gun in the game. It looks and seems like the normal CS version, except when you fire it just automatically gibs everything in the room. The drawback is that you never get bullets for it, just the gun. You have to use cheats to get the ammo. Gabe told me that this won't change for the game. He wants Half-Life 2 to be more friendly to players of everyone's favorite mod, Counter-Strike (holding at 2 billion servers, full of players who either don't play well at all, or play a little too well). Cheating will be a big part of Half-Life 2! Gabe also mentioned that he's doing this to make it up to all the Counter-Strike players he alienated when Valve ruined the mod forever by putting in new models and getting rid of the overdone flinch animations that everyone apparently loved so much.

MP5 -- Again, it's the "SD" version, which means it's supposed to be silenced but is still loud and doesn't keep attention away. This time, though, it does almost no damage and has unlimited ammo.

Glock -- Completely worthless.

Gabe told me that those are the only weapons you get in the game, but he will add about 50 secret weapons that you can only get by replaying levels and beating them under specified time limits. Sounds cool! If you beat all the levels under one minute, you can play as an alien!

New features:

Modifications -- This new Half-Life game automatically comes with a feature to instantly ruin any new version of Action Half-Life released for it. Every other mod works fine with it, except AHL due to Valve's specific intervention. Special, ingenious features have been coded in to make any patch of AHL suddenly buggy and poorly coded. I don't know how they've managed to do this, but it's amazing how much these guys know about programming. I didn't even think this was possible! How silly of me to doubt Valve's power. After all, they're like ALL millionaires or something. Gabe told me that they've been doing this for a long time now, because even though they've given HL a ton of mod support, they don't want anyone actually playing mods, especially AHL. That's the reason why Valve ruined Counter-Strike by making the AWP weak in CS 1.1.


Gabe told me not to tell ANYONE about this, not even my own brother, who was sitting next to me the entire time anyway. He said if I did, he'd cancel the entire game and never release it, and deny any knowledge of the game, or the interview taking place. So I didn't tell anyone.

John "Jhoh" Cable & Josh "Jsoh" Cable