Whether you're an old-school gamer or a recent fan of Valve's Steam games, don't miss the chance to play (or replay) the critically acclaimed classic first-person shooter Half-Life in its latest re-imagining for free with the total conversion mod Black Mesa (download, 4GB).
After eight years of development, the Black Mesa Modification Team has finally released a remake of the award-winning FPS Half-Life. Utilizing more than 40 developers and headed by project leader Carlos Montero, the team has reconstructed the fan favorite into a polished Source Engine version complete with new models, maps, textures, voice acting, and even an original soundtrack.
Born from the realization that Half-Life: Source was not all it could have been, Black Mesa lovingly and meticulously reconstructs the Half-Life universe utilizing the Source engine to its fullest potential. The project is less of a mod and more of a re-creation that gives new life to the beloved single-player game. Black Mesa reintroduces the player as Doctor Gordon Freeman, along with the original cast of memorable characters and familiar environments of the original game. Not satisfied with a simple reskinning, the Black Mesa Modification Team has made artistic revisions that add to the narrative of the story and create a deeper level of immersion while remaining faithful to the source. Some chapters were expanded to increase the sense of realism while others were shortened to reduce repetition. The best part of it all is that Barney finally looks like his Half-Life 2 counterpart.
To play Black Mesa, you need the free Black Mesa mod (4GB) file. You will also need Valve's Steam client with the Source SDK Base 2007. If you own any Source game purchased through the Steam Store, chances are you already have the Source SDK installed. If not, as of July 2011, Valve made the Source SDK free for anyone with a Steam account to download without having to purchase any game. After installing Steam, check the tools tab to download Source SDK Base 2007. (Unfortunately Valve has not made the Source SDK available on Mac, so this is a Windows-only title for now.)
If you have never played the original Half-Life, here is your chance to learn how Valve became one of the gaming industry's leaders. Half-Life had a huge influence on a generation of games -- Black Mesa lets us see how it holds up in the current era.