Action Half-Life 2: The Sauce Of Death

Update! Now with non-hideous video!

Sometimes, you just don’t need to think up a funny headline. In this cause, the subtitle does its own job. The sauce… OF DEATH!

If you don’t know the John Woo-inspired mod Action Half-Life, you should immediately go and read this. Once you done that and then finished lamenting that there aren’t more mods with the same kind of fun!fun!fun! ethos, you can then go and nose trepidatiously at the just-released sequel, which relocates the kung-fu, Max Payne leaps and strangely gentlemanly brutality in the Source engine.

It’s early days, with obvious compromises, very few official maps and some key features missing, but the rudiments of AHL’s delectable blend of stupidity and balance are there. I’m worried it’s not yet doing enough to warrant its own existence (i.e. that there should be this as well as AHL1), but hopefully the community will gradually build it into something special, rather than the crude, if entertaining, skeleton it currently is. Happily, however, it has these things:

– An introductory movie that made me funk-shuffle around my bedroom whilst air-punching and yelling “FUCK YES”.
– G-Man with a porn tash.

Oh, just go and play it, would you?

Can’t find much in the way of videos yet, bar this one, which I believe stems from some beta tester rather than the creators. The unnecessary ow-ow-ow soundtrack and hyper-editing doesn’t sell it very well, alas. Honestly, you probably shouldn’t even watch it. I’ll stick a better one in once I find one.

Horror-video removed, and replaced with a proper trailer. Don’t panic about the first 10 seconds – this isn’t a real Rick-Roll. We wouldn’t do that to you.

(Thanks to the various folks who tipped us off to this, including floppy-haired friend-of-RPS Jonty Hicks).


  1. Thirith says:

    What a ghastly video. Exactly the kind of video after which I forget that I’ve ever heard about the mod.

  2. Nick says:

    Terrible video (awful mix and makes the mod look pretty bad).. but I have fond memories of Action Quake 2 so I might give it a try.

  3. Jaffo says:

    Yep, shocking vid (with the exception of the Gman dive across the screen, ending up next to exploding barrel bit in the middle!). Never played AHL but did play a lot of AQ2 on Wireplay back in the day.

  4. derFeef says:

    I think the creator has not evolved a bit since back then. Horrible… horrible. But I must admit it has some retro feel.

  5. The Fanciest of Pants says:

    I also am an old AQ2 stalwart, so giving this a go. Judging from the vid the weapon models/animations are pretty meh. Maybe I’ll redo some of em.

  6. Reverend Speed says:



  7. Die Happy says:

    love that this game is back , it is prety much the same as in HL1 just much less polished but still great fun

    the guy in the video is really pro he can kill people with the HC

  8. Ging says:

    It’s not going to happen Reverend – not unless some other team does it!

  9. Zero says:

    I wish two things upon seeing this video:

    1) The creator would stop spamming the damn sawed-off shotgun so I could see how the other weapons behave.

    2) That game modelers in general stop using these weak-ass punch animations. Those jabs toward the end of the video look like they’d almost hurt — almost.

  10. cyrenic says:

    Take that video down! My poor eyes and ears.

  11. c-Row says:

    That music! That horrible horrible music! Aaaaaaaaah!

    *runs away and pinches eardrums*

  12. Empyreal says:

    Yeah, most people are going to completely ignore the game once they’ve seen that video. You should probably take it down.

  13. kobzenbluten says:


    Party like it’s 1996!

    [hoov] [hoov] [hoov]

  14. teo says:

    I really don’t like the source engine

  15. Paul Moloney says:

    I’m giggling at how bad that was.


  16. BigJonno says:

    Yay! I may start playing online shooters again!

  17. Lord_Mordja says:

    Well they do have a trailer you know…

    link to

  18. zombiehunter says:

    ohooo my gawd! that music makes we wanna kill…. the guy who made that vid ^^

    i’ll wait with my judgement till theres a better vid up, i think you should seriously consider removing that one :D

  19. KindredPhantom says:

    Ooh mod coverage..more please.

    Also try out modular combat, i played that yesterday it is pretty fun.

  20. RogB says:

    AQ2 was legendary in our offices. Utterly amazing fun flying kicking people through plate glass windows.
    Oddly, I didnt think much of the other versions. AHL was funny for a bit with its insane woo-jumping, but didnt quite have the same feel. In AQ2, Hitting someone up close (crouched) with the Handcannon so hard that they hit the top corner of the skybox, then fell to their death was mucho amusing.
    It also had the best sound for a headshot evar.

  21. Tom says:

    The amount of hours i lost to Action Quake 2 doesn’t bare thinking about.
    It was My Game… if you know what I mean.

  22. abhishek says:

    That video is designed to kill any sort of passing interest one might have in the mod, right? Right?!

  23. Malagate says:

    I like the intro…but that’s as far as I get. Then I get a lovely little Engine Error: module failed to initialise.
    Then a memory read error.

    Suffice to say, I am not a happy bunny >.>

  24. ChampionHyena says:

    Has anyone here actually played the mod? ‘Cause I have.

    First try: inexplicable crash whose error message I sadly failed to record. Oh well.

    Second try: couldn’t retrieve the server list from the master server. Shut off my firewall, tried again. Nothing. Restarted the game. Nothing.

    Third try: tried creating my own server just to dick around in… and hey, didn’t I see bots in the screenshots? Startup took an atrociously long time… then I got the error message that “connection failed after 4 retries.” To myself.

    I checked the server list. The server I’d just created was sitting in my History list.

    I couldn’t connect to myself.



    This game can fuck off.

  25. marvelza says:


  26. Heliocentric says:

    Opera was a better mod with better maps and better kung fu.

    Stupid name though, made it hard to find.

  27. Eveningfall says:

    I’m a big fan of the Action mods (AQ2, AHL, AUT2k4). I played this on a server last night and had a ball.

  28. Walsh says:

    Source engine can do hand to hand fairly well as shown by the elephant punching game, Zeno Clash.

    The ridiculous run speed makes this game look all spazzy and unelegant. I remember AQ2 being a bit slower for some reason, but I could be remembering wrong.

    It looks extremely retro and not in a good way.

  29. JonFitt says:

    Played quite a bit of AH1 back in the day, it was awesome fun. I’ll be watching this with interest. Along with the new Natural Selection it seems like we’re in for the revenge of the all time great mods.

  30. TwistyMcNoggins says:

    Hmmm, could be a good game, but the maps I played were poop. Lots of wide open spaces, meaning most of the weapons were useless and in close quarters, a throwing knife owned everything.

    It also reminded me that no matter how good I am at Sniping in TF2, I’m terrible in every other game.

  31. Therlun says:

    Don’t play this.

    I love AHL but currently AHL2 is a waste of time (and from my impression of the creator’s vision that won’t change).

  32. Kieron Gillen says:

    It’s worth stressing the video isn’t the work of the developer of the game, but a fan.


  33. Ging says:

    It’s nothing overly impressive yet – I got into one online game where the server promptly crashed. My run around in the singular map on my own server (I didn’t have any issues getting the game to load, or to start my own server) showed some not overly amazing level design and an irritatingly short jump.

    Without more play time, I can’t really say much more – but initial thoughts for an early release are to check back in 6 months.

  34. Wisq says:

    AHL was great, but it’s the sort of thing that just doesn’t age very well. The semi-realistic approach to bullet physics and damage (including surface penetration), the use of real sniper rifles rather than glowing chargy dot things like TFC, the inclusion of combat knives (both slashing and throwing), and the special items and associated tradeoffs — these were all things that were hard to find individually back then (as I recall), far less all in the same package.

    These days, it’s common to see several of these in any given game, even if AHL still has that unique combination and frenetic pace going for it. More importantly, even free mod efforts have gotten a lot more polished these days than AHL ever was.

    Judging from the screenshots, this just looks like AHL on the Source engine, rather than a real sequel with new and exciting features. It’ll probably excite long-time AHL players who have been stalwartly refusing to play anything more modern, but I really don’t see myself even downloading it in its current state.

    … Granted, stealth slippers + kicking people off ledges = pretty darn fun. So maybe I will download it after all, at least during the post-release excitement while there’s plenty of people to play with.

  35. Nick says:

    Oh I totally forgot you could jump kick people in AQ2.. that was brilliant. The sort of spin off mod Dirty (I believe Grim or someone similiarly named got permission to use the AQ2 resources and tweak things to his own mod) was superb too, some nice little coding touches like looking bodies and it keeping track of how many bullets were left in magazines of dropped guns and stuff. At the time that was fairly unheard of even in commercial games.

  36. FiX says:

    Matrix Quake 2 also had a lot of stuff borrowed from AQ2. Christ, to think of the hours spent playing those two, on a 56k line nonetheless. Great times.

  37. Christian says:

    Apart from the horrible, horrible video (and it rather looks (and sounds!) as if it was made by someone really hating the game or at least every other person around, and not by a fan):

    I just downloaded it and wanted to give it a try. Couldn’t join any game, it just let me sit in Spectator-mode all the time. But from what I’ve seen spectating, this is nothing more than Counterstrike in fast with a few “trick-jumps” even sounds like CS. So rather boring and pointless.

    Maybe I’ll let it rest a while and check back in a few weeks. May have potential..but there are far more enjoyable things to play..

  38. Wisq says:


    That post made me realise the best way to sum this all up: “AHL was way better than CS … back when CS was new.”

  39. Nostaljah says:

    Does it retain the over-the-top movie feel? That was something I always felt missing with the future Action derivatives. The loud melon-chop sound and long blood stream from headshots, jumping into (jumpkicking)/point blank hand cannon-ing someone and seeing them fly halfway across the map. Getting kills rewarded for causing them to fall to their death, etc. The ridiculous damage numbers you can see you caused if you opened the console.

    Hell, even the inaccurate M4 model that Goose ported to CS.

    None of this realism nonsense.

  40. Tworak says:

    I played the shiiiiiit (3+ years total probably) out of AQ2. Best game and mod and and everything EVER. FACT!

    Will try this, I suppose.

  41. Jacques says:

    What, you guys don’t like shit euro gabber?

  42. Baltech says:

    hell yeah, still every bit as fun as it was back when

  43. Redford says:

    Oh wow, a skill video which consists of nothing but someone walking up behind someone without using stunts and blowing them away with the sawed off?

    Reminds me of The Specialists, for sure. Too bad that is one game which will never get a Source version.

    And yes, AHL was a pretty awesome game. If this is even an Nth of what AHL was minus the sniper railguns this is going to be great.

  44. Ergates says:

    Does this explain why my steam friends list is suddenly full of people playing AHL2

  45. pepper says:

    I miss The Specialists, man what was that mod good. Hardly ever seen such gameplay in other games. Nothing could beat a good Team deathmatch game. How i long for a jump into the lobby, activating bullet time, and putting the enemy’s below me down with my dual golden colts, crashing down into the floor and jump kicking that snipers weapon away…

  46. RogB says:

    >>The loud melon-chop sound and long blood stream from headshots

    yess, thats the one! sounds horrific! (and always had you hammering at the bandage key in an instant). and I’d forgotten the awesome blood sprays. you could see what direction soemone got shot from by the huge 10 foot jet of arterial spray.

  47. Dr Gonzo says:

    Where is The Opera for source? Anyone remember that?

  48. Nox says:

    I’ll keep this brief: AHL is the best mod I’ve ever played (and with my game library and tendency to try out everything, even if it looks awful, that’s saying something).

    That said, I had no idea this was in development, nor can I comment on the quality (yet). But my initial reaction to the news was akin to the announcement of System Shock 3 or a new Planescape game (with Chris Avellone onboard, natch).

    Bullet penetration, bandaging, headshots that actually made you yelp, destructible environments, dives, rolls, throwing knives, guns akimbo, revenge grenades (those who’ve played will know what I mean)–AHL took everything that was great about AQ2 and improved upon it.

    If AHL2 is a disappointment, it’ll most likely be due to the greatness that was AHL. Kinda like every Star Wars movie after Empire.

  49. Okami says:

    I downloaded and installed the mod. Installed, like in: I double clicked an .exe file and it automatically installed in my Steam folder. I like mods that come with an installer that knows where I installed the game. It’s a nice touch.

    I really liked the intro and title screen, they have a certain style. Makes you think of trashy 70s action flicks, which I suppose, is the point.

    My first attempt to join a game landed me in an empty map, which was ok with me, because I wanted to try the mod out for a bit before getting owned by people half my age anyway. Though I guess that most gamers my age are better at FPSs than me as well.

    Anyway I didn’t stay alone on the server for long and was joined by a gentleman who asked me how to spawn. When I failed to reply immediately, he called me a Faggot and insisted that I tell him how to spawn. It was nice to see that gaming on the internet is basically the same it was ten years ago.

    I left that fine gentleman and joined another server instead, wher around twelve people were preoccupied with killing each other. I set all my equipment to random and proceeded to get killed twenty times in a row in the space of ten minutes. It was fast and wild and loud and people were flying through the air and I killed quite a few enemies but most of the time I was killed immediately after spawning and though it was fun for a while I have to fact the fact that I just suck at FPSs.

    I guess it’s a really fun game if you’ve got the reflexes of a fourteen year old amphetamine addict, but it’s sadly no game for me.

  50. Alec Meer says:

    Much, much better video up now, folks.