Home Reviews Half-Life Mods [HL1] Invasion
[HL1] Invasion PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doc_Brown   
Tuesday, 30 May 2006 18:00
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Number of Maps: 44
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Mon Dieu!
Developed over a period of two and a half years by a four-man French team, Invasion encompasses 44 maps, 12 new weapons, four new enemies, a drivable tank, bullets that can pass through walls, a body part-specific damage and healing system, the ability to carry health and battery packs for later use, enemies that can be blown through the air, catch fire, and have their appendages shot off, interactive keypads, new music, spoken dialogue that can be subtitled in four different languages, and more… and does it all well.

The story continues the Half-Life saga by tweaking the original ending ever so slightly: saved from the G-Man's cruel intentions by some fellow scientists, you've been taken to the only Black Mesa facility not discovered by the military. This doesn't last long, however, as the cleaners storm the place and you're left scrambling for your life once more. It will eventually be revealed that the portal to Xen is still open due to a second sample, the destruction of which is the focus of the game's conclusion.

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The Last Great Half-Life Mod
In addition to having a well-told story and a plethora of new content, Invasion is innovative, challenging, and a whole lot of fun to play. It’s a hard game to be certain, and dangerously treads the line of frustration, but a great deal of the enjoyment stems from overcoming the formidable adversaries. There is a palpable sense of accomplishment with each little victory. Think of the opening battle in Deliverance and you’ll have a fair idea of what you’re up against.

Where Invasion tragically falters, however, are in those few instances where the tightrope act fails and it stumbles into needless frustration. Two situations in particular—a brutally unforgiving freefall through Xen and a forced stealth segment that doesn’t really explain the rules—will undoubtedly drive many players away, at least for a little while. It is to the game’s credit that it manages to draw you back, time and again, until you finally make it through these unfortunate gameplay bottlenecks.

It’s a good thing the rest of the game is such a breath of fresh air. Gameplay is diverse from start to finish, there are a few surprisingly cerebral puzzles to work out along the way, and the developers have even thrown in a few innovative touches, such as replacing the standard flashlight with a realistically realized Bic lighter. While something like that isn’t exactly groundbreaking, it’s one of those little details that turn an already great production into an outstanding one.

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Conclusion
There are very few mods that aspire to such heights, and fewer still that succeed on so many levels. Had Invasion not lost its footing in a few crucial instances, I wouldn’t have had a moment’s hesitation in calling it the best single player Half-Life mod ever made. Invasion is a flawed gem but a gem nonetheless, a priceless part of anyone’s collection.  There are few mods out there as ambitious and successful as this one.

(I've written up a walkthrough for Invasion to help you ride out the rough spots. Don't say I never did nothing for ya.)

Note: Originally posted at Hangar16.com on 9/5/03

 

Game Rated 10/10
 

 

 

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