So Anyway, Black Mesa’s Out Now

By Nathan Grayson on September 14th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

We now bring you this transmission, directly from alternate universe evil (or are they the good ones?) Bizarro RPS:

John: Goodness, what a boring day it’s been. Probably the least exciting in recorded history.

Jim: Here’s an idle musing for you: joy is dead. And so is God.

Adam: Wouldn’t it be amazing if a spiritual successor to Total Annihilation just made $2 million, a thinly veiled follow-up to Planescape: Torment was just announced, and an agonizingly long-awaited Half-Life remake finally launched – all in the same day?

John: Well, I mean, Ubisoft just announced its new always online double-DRM. If you disconnect from the Internet, it kills you. That’s something, right? Something that kills you, I mean.

Alec: [Says nothing. Still on vacation. Evil vacation.]

Me, under the iron grip of the Neo-British Colonial Extermination Empire: Can I… ? Can I eat now? It’s been days.

All: No.

So, right then. Black Mesa’s out! For real. I’m downloading it right now, and John’s apparently playing it as we speak. What a strange, amazing day. As you can imagine, download servers are getting pulverized into post-crowbar headcrab goo, so you might need to do a bit of digging. Here, however, are some options:

There are direct downloads everywhere, and Black Mesa’s official site has done a nice job of gathering them in one place. Just in case the site goes down, though, here they all are: ModDBFileShackGameFront, Games.On.Net, and GamesConnect (down as of writing).

There are also torrents, which – due to overwhelming demand – aren’t faring so well. Happily, however, I imagine tons more will spring up in the coming hours. Until then, though, you’ve got the official option (down as of writing), one over here as well, a Dropbox link, and a download from Pirate Bay that’s allegedly not as loaded down right now.

You can also download the soundtrack, which – based on some brief snippets – seems pretty great! And, of course, all of this is completely free.

So, have at it. Now then, my download just broke halfway through, so I’m off to angrily hurl bricks at innocent bystanders and then try again.

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120 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Smashbox says:

    Everything’s coming up Smashbox today.

  2. BooleanBob says:

    You could almost say it was a… red letter day.

    • Porkolt says:

      Things certainly seem to be going… on a rail

      • Vorphalack says:

        For all their hard work, we should be grateful to….. our benefactors.

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          I suspect amidst all this good, there will be some…Unforeseen Consequences, though.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            SQUREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!
            (hilarious headcrab pun that only witty headcrabs get)

          • Premium User Badge

            Joshua says:

            Let’s just hope that this does not end up being globally offensive.

          • Totally heterosexual says:

            Dont want to leave great stuff like this for dead.

          • pocketlint60 says:

            I played through Black Mesa up to the point when it got to Xen, and then switched over to playing the original Half Life. It was AWFUL. It felt like getting a….. Root Kanal.

    • westyfield says:

      With this and the two Kickstarters mentioned above, it’s certainly Breen a good day for PC gamers.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Any adVANCE on these truly stupendous gags?

        • DarkFenix says:

          Oh you can always rELI on the RPS crowd to come up with something.

          • jalf says:

            With the combined wits of the RPS readership, you’d think someone would have managed a pun on resonance cascade by now.

            Ah well…

            It’s been 14 years, and people still can’t forget about Freeman?

    • Premium User Badge

      Earl-Grey says:

      What’s next in the parade of constant spectacular interruptions?

    • levi_barrocas says:

      I think its this time again mister freeman! The right game in the right pc can make all the difference!

  3. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Torrent is your best bet, as the more people try and download, the quicker it’ll get.
    just add any of the following trackers:

    udp://tracker.publicbt.com:80
    udp://tracker.openbittorrent.com:80
    udp://tracker.publicbt.com:80
    udp://tracker.istole.it:6969
    udp://tracker.ccc.de:80

    Currently getting 800 odd kb/s, about half an hour left. Given how long I’ve waited for this, 30 mins should be easy enough, right?

    PS, don’t forget you’ll need the Source SDK base 2007 (under ‘Tools’ in Steam), so get down loading that too!

    • qrter says:

      Yeah, I’d certainly go for a torrent with something like this.

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        I actually started torrenting it at work, but it wasn’t going to be done in time, but hey, 100kb/s upload from about a mile away from my house probably helped :)
        just installing now :D
        9 years wait, better be worth it.

      • werix says:

        I downloaded a torrent downloader thing for the first time ever just for this. Yeah I’m the one straight on the internet under the age of 50 who never pirated anything so never messed with torrents.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      Thanks for that list! I have around ~2800 seeds after adding all the trackers. So yeah, torrenting’s definitely the way to go for this one.

      • Premium User Badge

        emotionengine says:

        You should have way more than that – I’m registering 16,000+ seeds right now.

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          Does geography affect it? I am in scotland and was only getting 200 odd seeds and an average of about 100KB/s. I added all those same trackers. I will admit to not knowing anything about torrents and having literally just installed uTorrent today, for this.

          At the mo I am downloading from a normal mirror as its a bit quicker than the torrent.

          • tenseiga says:

            Geography shouldn’t affect it. You are seeing 200 seeds because those are the seeds you are connected to. You cant connect to all ~3k seeds at the same time and you wouldn’t want to anyway.

    • mrmalodor says:

      Torrents are evil! You are a bad evil pirate if you have a torrent program installed! Torrent has no legitimate use, it’s just a tool for pirates!

    • Torgen says:

      Well, I”ve been a good dog and have been seeding all afternoon.

  4. atticus says:

    You Nathan write lots of things that I thoroughly enjoy. I’ve been meaning to tell you this these past months, but it never felt like the right time since most news regarding PC gaming bring me down.

    Today, however, feels exactly right. The gods of computer games from ye olde times smileth, and I am very happy!

    Thanks!

    • Bremze says:

      +1, Thank you Nathan! And everyone on RPS!

      I hope PC gaming keeps on being dead like it does, castle Rock Paper Shotgun might need even more smart, eloquent and devilishly handsome journalists to document all the deadness.

  5. Unaco says:

    Gah! I was out when it released, so couldn’t start a download til this evening. Can’t find one that will have it done before I go to bed. Will have to leave it to download overnight, and get to playing it tomorrow. I’m actually looking forward to a train/monorail ride.

  6. Premium User Badge

    AlwaysRight says:

    Where am I meant to find the time to play all these games????!!!!!!!!

  7. Moonracer says:

    Very excited! I’ve got about 5 minutes left to a 3 hour download. This should prove to be a very unproductive weekend for many :)

  8. scorcher24 says:

    Meh. Overrated, overhyped. Just play Half Life lol.

  9. Premium User Badge

    emotionengine says:

    The torrent is very good, took me less than half an hour to download, I’m seeding right now.

  10. Fierce says:

    Still smiling wistfully at the ever-resounding memory of my friends and various rabble saying PC gaming is dead.

    Alongside Quake/Unreal Tournament communities and the seeming immortality of the Deus Ex, VTMB and FreeSpace communities, we add once more a great example of how PC centric enthusiasts have more endurance and commitment than any shareholder beholden enterprise to The List.

    Truly an appreciated achievement. I can’t wait to enjoy it and will probably donate to the creators for their trouble. Great stuff.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    Oooh, I can torrent without feeling guilty.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Kittens were executed by unwilling sweat-shop workers, recently freed / traumatised from captivity on iPhone5 production, to bring you this torrent.

      Enjoy playing.

  12. eks says:

    A reminder that torrents only work if it actually has seeders, so please keep it running after you have snatched. At the very least until you have uploaded the same amount you have download (ratio of 1).

    It’s sort of crazy that in only a matter of hours I’ve managed to get this: http://i.imgur.com/He4QG.png

    • kyrieee says:

      Good for you. My upload however is 20 times slower than my download so I’d have to leave it on for a day while it completely chokes my internet. Not going to happen.

      • ScottTFrazer says:

        Hrm. Get a better torrent client, then? Transmission will let you set an upload cap. Set that at half your available upload bandwidth and it won’t kill your downstream streaming/browsing/porn usage.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          That’s only effective if your service provider isn’t throttling your upload speeds.

      • eks says:

        Then set it to a certain percentage of your max upload speed and yes, leave it running for days if you have to. The only reason you could download it in the first place is because someone else gave up their upload and bandwidth for you, that’s how the entire system works.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      I’ve left it uploading at work for the weekend, you’re welcome :)

    • Premium User Badge

      Vesuvius says:

      Yeah, I think it’s very crazy that in “a matter of hours” you’ve uploaded over 100gb. What kind of super connection are you using?

  13. ZIGS says:

    This game’s so good, it makes me weep

  14. dE says:

    Now here’s a thing I didn’t expect to see. Even when they announced their actual release date I was overly sceptical. I kept thinking “They’ve done this before, they’ll postpone again” and “what a load of vapor ware”. Now it’s actually out and that’s a pretty significant thing. I might not enjoy it, I might not even play it – but it still feels like an important event.

  15. pilouuuu says:

    Now we just need Half-Life 3 and I’ll be sure that WE are the alternative universe indeed.

  16. mackemforever says:

    For god sake, I get home from work and the only decent download is the torrent, which my ISP limits the speed of in the evening, and I’ve got to pack up my computer tomorrow morning when I head off to Uni, where unfortunately the need to be “sociable” will mean that I can’t shut myself away for a week to play this. :(

  17. asshibbitty says:

    Both this and Stranger’s Wrath update all in one day, somethings fishy here.

  18. Tiguh says:

    WHAT?! Oh my sh*t!

  19. GernauMorat says:

    1 hour to go!

  20. Rich says:

    Am… am I dead? This is heaven right?

    Wait. I can’t download Black Mesa and I don’t have time to play FTL. Oh no. This must be..!

  21. zeroskill says:

    I just watched TotalBiscuit ridiculing the mod in any way possible on his livestream in front of his fanboy army.

    Sigh…kinda sad to see somebody who calls himself a professional journalist bashing a free mod made by people in their free time, just for the sake of him no liking Half-life.

    Wow.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      somebody who calls himself a professional journalist

      Does he really? That’s hilarious.

      TotalBiscuit excels at riding a bandwagon. If lots of people like this, I’m sure he’ll start liking it too.

    • Premium User Badge

      tomeoftom says:

      He’s such a tasteless, annoying prat.

    • Lemming says:

      You’re kidding?! I expect better of him, really. I’ve just got to We’ve Got Hostiles and it’s fantastic so far!

    • Edawan says:

      He’s also providing his review for free…

      And if the mod is bad, then it should be said. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean we can’t critique the thing.

      • zubbuz says:

        The thing is though, as a huge fan of the original, from when it was release right up till now, I feel that the mod isn’t bad in the slightest – as far as I am through it so far, it has been done incredibly well….

        There is a difference between mindless bashing and helpful critique, but a lot of wannabe journos don’t understand that….

      • jalf says:

        So, if you release a game for free, all criticism is fair game.

        But if you do a free review of a game, then it is somehow wrong to criticise your review?

        Am I the only one who sees a tiny bit of sweet irony in this?

        I’m pretty sure that “I didn’t charge money for it” is not, and has never been a “get out of jail free” card. If People are still allowed to criticise your work, regardless of whether said work is a game, a review of a game, or a 800m tall statue made of solid gold built on top of Mt. Everest.

    • august says:

      I watched the same stream and you’re blowing his criticisms hysterically out of proportion.

    • Cim says:

      I watched the same Stream as well and got the opposite interpretation. He even said “it’s hard not to enjoy the game” towards the end of the stream.

      Most of the things he criticized were issues with Half-life’s design. As for the most itself, I think I heard him mention texture quality once and of course the performance issues a few times. That’s hardly “bashing” the mod though.

      • zeroskill says:

        Oh right. Other than:

        -”It took them 8 years and they can’t even fix simple bugs?”

        -”look at this stupid AI”

        -”look at this shit textures”

        -”pfffffffffffff” x100

        -”Half-life ladies and gentlemen, useless” and “Deus-ex is so much better”

        -”look at me i’m pissing off Half-life fanboys” Yeah he ACTUALLY said that.

        Gaming journalism gold. You can criticize Half-life as a game all you want, it has it’s fair share of flaws for a 14 year old game, and everybody that is not 13 years old or a complete idiot (which judging from the content of his youtube channel is pretty much his target audience) knows about Half-life’s shortcomings and that it hasn’t aged very well. We had 14 years to make all kinds of reviews of the game.

        But why do you have to bash and trash talk the work of a bunch of non-professional dudes investing their free time to create a remake on a newer engine for people who actually like the game. On the day of their release.

        Really classy.

        Oh and by the way, the mod is actually brilliant.

        • zeroskill says:

          riiiight……..

        • Grape says:

          I found myself agreeing 100% with all the things he said. And I played the mod BEFORE I watched the stream.

  22. Desmolas says:

    Im currently seeding the official torrent on my 5Mbps (640KBs) upload connection. I usually have it throttled down to 20KB up. Every little helps. Don’t say im not good to you internet…

  23. Paul says:

    Haters?
    Go eat CROW!

    Amazing game as far as first 30 minutes indicate. Infuckingcredible effort.

  24. Lagwolf says:

    At last observation the download is saying it will take 4 days… reminds me of the days of dial-up… but not in a good way.

  25. mrmalodor says:

    TOO MANY GAMES. SYSTEM OVERLOAD. DANGER.

  26. hello_mr.Trout says:

    so, for anyone who has played this, what kind of updating/reinterpretation-ing did they do? i assume it wasn’t anything drastic like regenerating health for example, but are there any noticible differences? or is it just incredibly shiny & graphical now?

    • stele says:

      In a word: stunning

      It’s Half Life like you’ve never seen it before. Every environment has been painstakingly remade in a more “realistic” fashion. TONs more props, more people, more little details.

      The beginning tram ride had me grinning all over again.

    • caddyB says:

      It’s better, in my opinion. Some very smart things, they did.

      • The Smilingknight says:

        Huzzah me mateys!
        You speak sweet music to my ears! But i cannot join everyone until tomorrow.

        How is the A.I?

        Is it “Agh!! Fucking marines!!!” – again?
        Big F`iNG Congratulations to everyone at Black Mesa!!

        BIG – F`ING – CONGRATS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Moonracer says:

      lots of subtle but noticeable changes to gameplay to bring it up with the present, but it still feels and plays like I remember the original. An example of change is that when you strafe to the left or right you lean into the motion, making it feel more natural. An example of things staying the same is you will have to crouch jump (a lot) to get places.

      • Amstrad says:

        The view roll when strafing was actually present in the original CD release of HL but Valve removed it from the Steam versions.

        • Moonracer says:

          Good to know, it has been a LONG time since I played the CD version! I thought that was new.

    • Lemming says:

      It’s mainly the first game as you know with a few rejigged puzzles to take advantage of the source physics and more fun character stuff with the NPCs (so far).

    • kyrieee says:

      The biggest difference for me is that the weapon progression has been tinkered with quite a bit. Also, your HEV suit doesn’t give a speech when you first put it on.

      • Lemming says:

        The lack of HEV speech does seem like an oversight given the amount of extra speech they’ve added elsewhere. Also, when you take cold damage it says ‘blood toxin detected’, but I can’t honestly remember if it did that originally or not.

        • kyrieee says:

          I wonder if those sounds are taken from HL2. Those and a few others sound awfully familiar.

        • YourMessageHere says:

          I thought the ‘blood toxin detected’ thing was due to the enormous numbers of oddly cold-immune headcrabs you don’t have time to kill which leap incessantly at your face in the frozen area.

  27. whydidyoumakemeregister says:

    Grab the torrent, add openbittorrent trackers and remove the crappy default tracker… it seriously has thousands upon thousands of seeds.

  28. TychoCelchuuu says:

    This is pretty stupendous. I’ve only played up to Office Complex so far but it’s everything I could’ve hoped a remake would be, basically.

  29. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    Black Mesa finally released?

    Smells like bullsquid.

  30. SkittleDiddler says:

    Downloading this will be a good way for me to test my new 21Mbs connection. Woot!!!!

    RESULT: 2 hours, 23 minutes. Me likey.

  31. Premium User Badge

    Clavus says:

    I’ve had uTorrent running all evening to supply people with this game. Currently at a 5.5 ratio and still uploading.

    As for the game, I’ve just gone past the Blast Pit part, and it’s exactly what I expected from this mod: it’s a modern, re-imagined version of Half-Life. A mix of old and new mechanics. More polish, more content, art style could be a bit better, but amazing work for a mod.

  32. Premium User Badge

    tomeoftom says:

    After playing it for at least a couple of hours and getting up to the first controllable train: it’s fucking brilliant and I am so happy.

  33. popej says:

    Took me 6 minutes to download on my 80mb connection! BT have actually proven useful for a change! I got it from the German official link, Chips.de or whatever it’s called.

  34. vandinz says:

    It’s fuckin’ brilliant! It’s true to the original with minor tweaks. Love it.

  35. Premium User Badge

    Xantonze says:

    I played 20mn of the original at the time… then stopped for whatever reason. So happy to be able to experience this game for the first time! I really hope it’s worth the hype (I mean, the original game, not the mod. I’m VERY grateful for the remake!)

  36. Moonracer says:

    Three hours in and the game is great. Any critiques I can think of are petty compared to the amount of praise I have for the team putting this together.

    It has been a while since I last played the original Half-Life and I think I will have a jolly time replaying it after this in order to get an accurate comparison.

  37. SuperNashwanPower says:

    WARNING: Minor Spoilers from opening act of game:

    I Actually got tingles when I met Kleiner. Up to that point it was like “Hmm yeah ok the graphics look better (APART FROM 1994 TIMEHOLE TO GORDONS CUPBOARD)”, but once I saw Kleiner’s face, and the stellar voice work, it was totally “I’M BACK!”.

    The added realism also lends more of an emotional punch and sense of fear to certain scenes. The dying security guard, the screams of the burning. The lift falling scene actually made me feel disturbed. Awesome, but definitely darker than the original felt. Quite brilliant, and I don’t even have my first gun yet.

    • Premium User Badge

      Deepo says:

      And then you met Eli, and wooosh, back to reality!

      (I agree with you, it is REALLY well done)

  38. Lemming says:

    Serious balls on these modders to keep me without a weapon for so long. I was fucking terrified!

  39. flang says:

    You forgot the launch of FTL as well, so yeah, PC gamers really broke one off today.

    Now factor in the coming of Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 next week, and the new Grimrock editor, and we’re really starting to do some damage.

  40. Urthman says:

    directly from alternate universe evil (or are they the good ones?)

    I’d have to see their beards to be sure.

  41. mashakos says:

    have to ask: where the hell is the crowbar??

    • Lemming says:

      It comes, you can’t miss it. You’ll get it after you split up from the security guard follower. They’ve changed how the weapons get to you. You get the magnum earlier than the shotgun, for instance AFAIK.

    • Al__S says:

      you can’t miss it. It is being use to bar your way. But until then, you need to use the security guard, and you can use flares (the little orange things scattered liberally around) to torch things.

  42. allancepellet says:

    This is really an interesting topic, Tks.
    pellet machine

    • Caiman says:

      You, however, are a really boring person. I mean, who would spend their days actually being a spammer, posting inane comments in a feeble attempt to disguise their true motives, something that any idiot can see through. It must suck to realise that the only people interested in what you say are, in fact, idiots, and that you serve only idiots. Not very fulfilling is it? How do you feel now? Probably nothing. You’re very likely dead inside. Well, I’ll let you get back to your boring life as this has undoubtedly been far too interesting for you.

  43. thaumoradiance says:

    I suppose it’s time to put on my Hype & Euphoria Virtualia suit and get it on.

  44. SuperNashwanPower says:

    I have got a small army of barneys following me and shooting stuff, plus a female scientist who just told me she isnt smug, just better than me :)

    This game is awesome. Gameplay feels slick and satisfying, very similar to the original, and even though I have played HL1 hundreds of times, the experience feels new.

    8 (?) years of waiting suddenly seems very short!

  45. Iskariot says:

    I actually would have paid Valve full price if they had done such a remake with their latest technology.
    -
    I did watch some comparison vids.
    The Black Mesa team did an awesome, breathtaking job.
    Replaying this will be so much fun.

  46. Torgen says:

    Started this today, and have to say that I dislike extremely their painting Gordon Freeman like he’s a slacker clerk at a 7/11 instead of a genius PhD.

    “Oh, look who decided to finally show up for work this week” etc etc, like he just doesn’t bother coming in to work some days. It’s so out of place I almost just shut it down.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Yeah poor Gordon was just a lackey before his exploits in Black Mesa saw him rise to the heights of HL2 and The Episodes. All the dialogue you hear was in the original version of Half Life 1, including the stuff about being late and being generally spoken down to. No one thought much of Gordon pre-resonance cascade – except Barney the security guard :)

    • HKZ says:

      That’s exactly how he was talked to in the original, don’t see why it’s that big a deal.

  47. YourMessageHere says:

    Love this mod. So good.

    Does Nathan actually understand torrents? Like, does he get that the more people are downloading, the faster they go? Because it doesn’t seem like he does.

  48. paddymaxson says:

    So….I’ve started it, I loved the fact they fleshed out the world a little bit, I also loved the fact the voice acting for Eli Vance and Isaac Kleiner was pretty goddamn close to what it should be and it feels a bit like a real world, and the face textures are lovely….But what the shit is all this ridiculous throwing emergency flares at enemies bullshit? It really hurts the pacing of the action, I got raped by the first houndeye in the game because I’ve yet to get the pistol and I’m playing on hard.