Gut Reaction

  • Review Date: 2000-02
  • Author: Tim Johnston
  • Genre: Half-Life
  • Rating: 87


Yet another Half-Life release, they sure are popping up suddenly. But as good as the previous two releases (The Long Night and Deliverence) were, this one takes the prize. This pack of ten levels is truly amazing, and blows the Valve maps away.

It has been with design that most maps, including Valve's, seem to fall short compared to Unreal and Quake/Q2. These levels are what Half-Life should have looked like. Great architecture on the outside, great details on the inside, but the thing which stood out most was the colouring. Textures have been used brilliantly together, and along with some very nice coloured lighting it looks beautiful. This is also something most levels so far haven't explored much. Most of this level set is based around waste levels, with vents and tubes going everywhere, and yes you get to crawl around inside them. But deep inside is a small Xen section (don't worry those who don't like Xen levels, this was short and good!).

The layout of each level was very good, where a number of times you have multiple paths. There is one level where you have two paths to enter the next level, both just as hard as each other (yes I went back and did both). Level transitions are done great, and at times you get to backtrack or make your way back to an earlier section to take the other path. Although there were a few times where I wasn't totally sure that I'd gone everywhere, it was otherwise very well done.

Gameplay, however, wasn't quite as successful as the design. There weren't a heck of a lot enemies, but enough to keep you entertained and challenged. The bad part was that there was no big end battle! But they seem to be lacking in most Half-Life levels anyway.

Overall, this was a mighty set of levels that is not to be missed. It is one of the best releases for HL to date, and I can't believe it is a debut! It is quite obvious as to why it took nine months to complete Gut Reaction.