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19 years later, Half-Life is uncensored in Germany

That’s a long time to wait to find out what really happens when you shoot a Barnacle creature. Germany has long been notorious for the strict limitations it placed on videogame content, and the noble Half-Life was a particularly infamous victim of the censor’s stamp. Until now. That means no more robots instead of soldiers, no more barnacles spewing nuts and bolts instead of blood and gore, and no more sad looks from invulnerable scientists if you shoot at them.

Sudden realisation: censored versions of HL are going to become collector’s items now, aren’t they?
Of course, it won’t exactly have been difficult for an enterprising German game-liker to lay hands upon the full-fat version of Valve’s iconic shooter, with all its blocky gore present and correct, but it’s good to see videogame justice served at last.

Half-Life’s entry in the German index of censored games has been “prematurely” removed, reports Schnittberichte, meaning that “it is now possible for the publisher to release the uncensored versions again in Germany officially.” Whether Valve ultimately choose to do so remains to be seen, although I suspect there’s a reasonable chunk of free money in it for them if they do.

The changes to the German version of Half-Life are near-legendary. Most notable is the replacement of human enemies with robot soldiers who look like the Decepticon Shockwave signed up for Dad’s Army (as seen above) but there’s also a slew of bloodless deaths for aliens who simply evaporate moments later, while Barnacles particularly release a shower of screws rather than gore when killed. Friendly NPCs such as scientists and security guards aren’t visibly harmed killed if you shoot them but instead take a seat and the floor and give you a disappointed look.

Basically, it’s videogames’ “flip you, melonfarmer.”

And here’s a videografik look at the cut version (apologies for some of the terminology used in this):

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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