Not wanting to go back after all: Black Mesa Fallback

While an interesting concept, Black Mesa Fallback falls back on using dated models, textures and unoptomized mapping that clashes with the current-generation Half Life 2 engine.

You know, besides  a few LAN parties here and there or perhaps being lucky enough to use a friends Windows computer, I’ve never played the original Half Life. I know what happens there, seen playthroughs, witnessed boss fights, discovered Gordon Freeman’s secret Ponytail and giggled at the sometimes dated graphics. There have been numerous mods (Some of them more well-known than others.) that have tried to bring over Half Life into the Half Life 2 engine, Black Mesa Fallback is one of them.

Beyond the abysmally large files to download I was pretty excited. I knew that the Military was the bad guy in Half Life, trying to desperately silence Black Mesa and keep control over the aliens spilling over, so seeing a switch in roles sounded interesting and like a lot of fun, with the idea of re-made maps and keeping it as original content (Rather then it being a remake of Blue Shift or one of those now non-canon games.) was promising.
And.. I’m not impressed. I hate to say it, but despite the hype I am not happy with this mod.

The first thing you will notice is that the creator has shamelessly mixed original Half Life models, Textures and Sound Effects against the infinitely higher quality Half Life 2 models and sound effects. This mashup is horribly obvious, and the effect of fighting a current-gen model of a Headcrab Zombie against a background using 1998 graphics is glaring. Next to that, the level design feels awkward and flawed. Near the beginning after killing some enemies (Which I will go off into detail.) I had no idea where I was going until I wandered my way around to the back of a map and found a tank waiting for me. Assuming it was just a prop it opened up as I got near it and as I went inside it whisked me into another level. What. Things like that, openings that go nowhere and ques that serve no purpose felt confusing and hectic, and not in the good way.

A good instance of the clash between old and new models/textures

That, and this game is horribly, horribly compiled. This is the most I have EVER lagged in Half Life 2 , with framerates so terrible I was convinced I had something running in the background that was eating up my CPU. The enemies are horrendous, using scientist models armed with all sorts of heavy machinery, Half Life 2 Rebels (Same skin and all) and zombie mobs including Antlions, Zombine and.. Well, every enemy Mob in the Half Life 2 series coming at you at the same time.

The sad part is that I couldn’t even complete this game. Between the level design and objectives that like to flip-flop on any whim, there was literally a level where my entire squad died within a few seconds due to an increasing and increasing torrent of mobs including an Antlion Guard which was nearly unkillable. I’m sure there are many others who have played this game all of the way through, but Fallback to me was very disappointing, and needs a lot of work before it can call itself a polished final product.

 

Download the Mod here:

http://www.moddb.com/mods/mesa-fallback

 

Want to scream at me? Tell me how much you love me? Have a mod request for me to review and look at? Email me at [email protected]   !


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