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Ajora

Crowbar Collective releases preview of Xen (Black Mesa)

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Summer 2017 is when Crowbar Collective hopes to launch the Xen portion of its Black Mesa Half-Life remake?an area which won't feature in the original mod variation. In October, the developer said this decision was made due to its desire to "to do Xen the justice it deserves, and have it be the definitive climax to the Half-Life 1 story." Crowbar has now teased a Xen-flavoured image alongside a new update post.

"The team remains, as always, hard at work on Xen! Currently our specific focus is on gameplay: crafting a fun and cohesive experience from start to finish," reads the post. "We want our version of Xen to feel like it really belongs with the rest of the game in terms of mechanics, cohesion and progression. But we also want to push the boundaries and explore this unique and varied setting; to build an experience that feels both fresh and familiar to players from all walks of Half-Life veterancy."

The post continues: "While our Xen is certainly going to be gorgeous, we are first and foremost really committed to making sure that the gameplay works on every level. To give a bit of an exciting tease into what we?re doing at the moment, and as our own little holiday gift to you lot, please enjoy our first ever publicly released screenshot of Xen."

Crowbar goes on to say more Xen-related media will be teased in the "coming months", as well as detailed progress updates ahead of summertime next year.




http://www.pcgamer.com/black-mesa-team-teases-first-screenshot-of-reimagined-xen/

The entire world eagerly awaits the conclusion to Black Mesa. We may not ever get Half-Life 3, but at least we'll get the final chapter to Black Mesa next year. This is going to be amazing.

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I played Black Mesa when it first came out 5(?) years ago. What's the status of the game now? Did they fix the ludicrous perfect aim on the marines?

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rileymartin said:

I played Black Mesa when it first came out 5(?) years ago. What's the status of the game now? Did they fix the ludicrous perfect aim on the marines?


They made adjustments to the difficulty in the retail version. Not sure if they did it in the free version, I don't think so. But now you can actually kill the marines before they drain half of your health or more. Still more accurate and deadly than in the original, but it was toned down.

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Doominator2 said:

too bad the XEN levels pretty much sucked

Xen's levels were honestly the best part of Half-Life for me because I heavily enjoy abstract alien landscapes, for me Xen is a beautiful border world and it looks the best in Opposing Force (due to the odd yet intriguing giant blue bacteria that made the sky).

I also enjoyed the emphasis on verticality mixed with combat (also quite alien in concept at the time).

But to each their own, I can see why many don't like the alien design and gameplay.

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I also enjoyed the Xen maps. The fact that you were on weird alien islands floating through space was really cool at the time and the jumping puzzles weren't nearly as bad as some people make them out to be. I remember being disappointed when Valve announced Half-Life 2 wouldn't have any Xen trips.

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Last time I played Black Mesa I was not all that impressed. But, I'm willing to give it another shot once the release Xen. But, if the game still has a stupidly low jump height, I'll pass.

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rileymartin said:

I also enjoyed the Xen maps. The fact that you were on weird alien islands floating through space was really cool at the time and the jumping puzzles weren't nearly as bad as some people make them out to be. I remember being disappointed when Valve announced Half-Life 2 wouldn't have any Xen trips.


Xen had plenty of problems and I welcome the redesign, but its awfulness is still pretty overblown. If you want to talk about legitimately bad finales, play BOTM in System Shock 2 and see if you come out of that thinking about how bad Xen is.

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Xen for me was OK, not the best part of the game not worst either.
The Best for me: Surface Tension
The Worst for me: Apprehension

Black Mesa was a good mod when it was free and now it's barely Ok for the price they are asking.

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I don't like Black Mesa. They took too many liberties with the content. Needless new characters, bad voice acting, etc. The gameplay feels really off, too. Honestly, I'd prefer a straight HD remake, not this excessive redesign.

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Stapler said:

Xen had plenty of problems and I welcome the redesign, but its awfulness is still pretty overblown. If you want to talk about legitimately bad finales, play BOTM in System Shock 2 and see if you come out of that thinking about how bad Xen is.


I liked The Body of the Many, though not as much as most of the game's other areas. It was a bit cramped in certain spots, and having to swim through all those tunnels of poisonous water kinda sucked.

The actual finale of System Shock 2 was awesome, even though I wish it had been a little longer. The ending however can go fuck itself.

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Wild Dog said:

The Best for me: Surface Tension


Yeah, Surface Tension is one of the best FPS maps of all time. Outdoor, massive and with so much variety. One of the most disappointing parts of Black Mesa for me was the massive cuts to that level.

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Ajora said:

The actual finale of System Shock 2 was awesome, even though I wish it had been a little longer. The ending however can go fuck itself.

Ya, the ending was nothing like the game was building it up to be.

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rileymartin said:

Yeah, Surface Tension is one of the best FPS maps of all time. Outdoor, massive and with so much variety. One of the most disappointing parts of Black Mesa for me was the massive cuts to that level.

Did you guys know that Dario Casali (of Plutonia fame) designed the Surface Tension map? And the next 3.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casali_brothers

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What a coincidence. I've just bought Black Mesa from holiday sale. I hope they design those Xen levels much better, and longer than the original.

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antares031 said:

What a coincidence. I've just bought Black Mesa from holiday sale. I hope they design those Xen levels much better, and longer than the original.


That's exactly what they're doing.

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I don't feel like quoting everyone:

  • Xen felt unique the first time. I hope they do a nice job.
  • Surface Tension was indeed awesome. It feels limited now. I can't remember whether I liked the Black Mesa version.
  • I loved Apprehension. That might make me weird. I love rusty industrial maps.
My biggest problem with Black Mesa was it showed signs of being designed by artists who don't pay attention to the real world. The tape drives had counter-rotating reels!

What's the difference with the retail version?

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Some people complaining that this level doesn't look like an alien world, But they have to understand the storyline of the game first, Black Mesa sent few scientists to Xen already, and those Human made technologies and stuff seen in the level are basically what remained after their "disappearance, death ... etc".

Scientists left some excavation tools, vehicles ... etc behind on the Xen Dimension, That wasn't obvious enough in the original Half-Life but I hope the new Xen does well with it, Yes there were other scientists who went to Xen before gordon.

It's like the controversy of the level changes all showed up because people are utterly clueless of Half-Life.

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rileymartin said:

Yeah, Surface Tension is one of the best FPS maps of all time. Outdoor, massive and with so much variety. One of the most disappointing parts of Black Mesa for me was the massive cuts to that level.


Maybe you already saw, but they released a "Surface Tension: Uncut" update this year that apparently restores the missing content.

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dethtoll said:

Body of the Many was really, really bad. I'm also not a fan of Thief 1 or 2's finales.

Agreed, heh. I think BotM had tons of potential as an idea, but they just made a bunch of fleshy corridors instead of something truly horror-inspiring. I'm not a big fan of the Trickster minions in T1, so the final mission just rubbed me the wrong way. And T2 finale is just a giant fuck you to the players that takes away everything they've learned and liked about the game mechanics.

As for Half-Life, I like Xen itself and its wacky ideas. On the other hand Interloper was dull and ugly and dragged on for too long. The Nihilanth is as stupid as our beloved IoS.

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I don't remember having to push 1 button and then shooting his head, you had to destroy 3 crystals and try not to get teleported to a pit with alien controllers rain, Was easy to beat it though so I hope the boss works better on BMS if they ever introduce new gimmicks to it.

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dew said:

The Nihilanth is as stupid as our beloved IoS.


No, he is a much better Boss, the first time you face him, you have to think how to beat him. Then avoid being teleported or being hit with the energy balls.
Also he was much harder on early versions of WON HL, when you actually had to jump above him and hit the crystal in his head, instead of just shooting his head.

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Wild Dog said:

No, he is a much better Boss, the first time you face him, you have to think how to beat him. Then avoid being teleported or being hit with the energy balls.
Also he was much harder on early versions of WON HL, when you actually had to jump above him and hit the crystal in his head, instead of just shooting his head.

Uh-huh. And I bet you idclip to the Romero head.

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dew said:

Agreed, heh. I think BotM had tons of potential as an idea, but they just made a bunch of fleshy corridors instead of something truly horror-inspiring.

Worst part was platforming on the giant teeth. It's just so, so stupid...

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dethtoll said:

I'm also not a fan of Thief 1 or 2's finales.

Which one would you say is the better of the two? Personally, I think T1's is better, because it's pretty straightforward and you don't have to run a bunch of errands like in T2's.

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I hated the Xen portions because vertical platforming is irritating. Climbing the Argent Tower in DOOM 2016 was annoying enough.

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