Half-Life (stylized as H?LF-LIFE) is a science fiction first-person shooter video game developed by Valve and published by Sierra Studios for Microsoft Windows in 1998. It was Valve's debut product and the first in the Half-Life series. Players assume the role of Dr. Gordon Freeman, who must fight his way out of the Black Mesa research facility after an experiment goes wrong, fighting enemies and solving puzzles.
Unlike many other games at the time, the player has almost complete uninterrupted control of Freeman, and the story is told mostly through scripted sequences seen through his eyes. Valve co-founder Gabe Newell said the team aimed to create an immersive world rather than a "shooting gallery". The game's engine, GoldSrc, is a heavily modified version of the Quake engine licensed from id Software.
Half-Life received acclaim for its graphics, realistic gameplay, and seamless narrative. It won over fifty PC "Game of the Year" awards and is considered one of the greatest video games of all time. It influenced first-person shooters for years after its release.
Half-Life had sold eight million copies by November 16, 2004, and 9.3 million copies by December 2008. It was ported to the PlayStation 2 in 2001, and OS X and Linux in 2013. It was followed in 2004 by Half-Life 2.
Half-Life is a first-person shooter that requires the player to perform combat tasks and puzzle solving to advance through the game. Unlike most of its peers at the time, Half-Life used scripted sequences, such as a Vortigaunt ramming down a door, to advance major plot points. Compared to most first-person shooters of the time, which relied on cut-scene intermissions to detail their plotlines, Half-Life's story is told mostly by means of scripted sequences (bar one short cutscene), keeping the player in control of the first-person viewpoint. In line with this the player rarely loses the ability to control Gordon, who never speaks and is never actually seen in the game; the player sees "through his eyes" for the entire length of the game. Half-Life has no "levels"; it instead divides the game into chapters, whose titles flash on the screen as the player moves through the game. Progress through the world is continuous, except for short pauses for loading.
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