Since we have a thread for chapters we like, I figured I’d be the other side of the coin and rant about stuff that pisses me off about the game.
This is probably where you expect me to talk about Xen being a complete mess. It is, but the game goes downhill earlier than that. I think the decay starts with Lambda Core.
My reasoning for this conclusion is as follows:
The beginning of Lambda Core has you coming in from a rather large fight against Xen Agrunts and HECU soldiers. I walked onto the Lambda Core elevator with around 39 health on Hard difficulty, and there is little to sustain the player at first- the closest heal is the scientist who drew the short straw to open the door for you. What’s between you and him? Black Ops Assassin units and the odd Xen alien. The former are pitted against the player inside an area stacked to claustrophobic effect with crates. Getting to the second floor means the player must break some boxes to clear a path to a stairway up. While the player is doing this, the assassins will run about harassing the player as they try to get their bearings. The Assassins in HL also don’t have the red eye-glow effect like the Black Ops in Black Mesa do, so they’re that much harder to track down and kill. I tend to burn through a lot of grenades and shotgun shells in this area.
The Lambda Core level flow plays out a lot like Blast Pit. To enable the teleporter to Xen, the player must reactivate the pump controls and flood the core manually. This boils down to two large level “bounces,” both of which are positively riddled with Agrunts and Vorts. The verticality of the structure is frequently used against the player in some areas, where the grunts will open fire on the player from above. But their tactics aren’t the problem so much as the sheer amount of these foes. And they all seem to respawn as well!
The flooding of the core sequence and the entire access to the next map make no logical sense. The flow controls for the water once both pumps are on are in the core itself, controlled by valves. Wouldn’t they have some kind of control room where the functions of the core and the regulators for the water amount could be controlled? It makes no sense to put flow controls inside the core proper, because no one would rationally assign personnel to work controls underwater.
THE FUCKING PORTAL AREA. There is one area inside Lambda Core that never fails to piss me off, and that’s the giant circular tower with the Xen portals everywhere. Players have no indication as to where any portal will lead, and a few of them are purpose built deathtraps, seemingly constructed specifically to encourage the player to save scum the fuck out of this poorly constructed pile of shit to get on with the game.
- The “defend the scientist” sequence while the teleporter warms up is ridiculous. Controllers repeatedly spawn into the map and shoot at both the player and the scientist working the portal controls. The player is given a ludicrous amount of ammunition for this sequence, but there is very little in the way of cover from the repeated onslaught of orange cancer. There’s the four portal arms, and that’s about it in terms of cover. Hopefully this is fixed in BM.