Have You Played… The Hidden?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

The Hidden is crying out for a standalone revival. Released just over ten years ago, it was an asymmetrical Half-Life 2 multiplayer mod that turned a squad of machinegun-wielding military grunts into fragile prey for one invisible player.

This player – the Hidden, obviously – could leap along walls and ceilings, kill human players in an instant, and gruesomely string up their bodies to be found by their friends. If you were one of the soldiers, the hidden was visible to you only as a faint shimmer. Shoot the hidden and they would die relatively quickly, but that mixture of near-invisibility and high-mobility made hitting them extremely difficult.

Lots of multiplayer games have tried to do something similar – for example, pitting military grunts against a single, capital-a Alien. I feel like The Hidden had the edge on them for including humour in the mix. As well as being able to string bodies up, the hidden could also jiggle and puppet them about, or fling them at the remaining soldiers. Aliens don’t do that just to, as Craig once put it, just to show off and shit up the other team.

18 Comments

  1. CaptainHairy says:

    Ah, now that’s some good mod. Probably second only to Dystopia for my favourite HL2 mods and one hell of a chuckle depending on the group you play with. Excellent times building a collection of spec ops soldiers pinned to the ceiling of a decrepit mansion’s kitchen like some kind of butcher’s freezer.

  2. thischarmingman says:

    Nope. Would there be a lot of hoops to jump to try this one with my mates?

    • HiroTheProtagonist says:

      Probably not, assuming you and your mates have Half Life 2/Counter Strike Source. Steam used to host popular Source mods, so I’m betting you could still find it in the database, then just install, boot it up, find a server and go wild.

      • Ging says:

        We never got hosted by Steam, but you can find active downloads of the client installer on moddb (or linked via the official site.)

        • oWn4g3 says:

          I have so many fond memories playing Hidden and remmeber checking the forums religiously hoping there would be a “big update” on a current Source engine version. Thanks for the good memories!

        • zappeo says:

          Hi Ging, is there any way to contact you privately? I tried to contact you a few months ago through the contacts on the website but had no luck.
          Thank you!

      • rapchee says:

        afaik valve gave access to the source sdk (that is required for mods) to anyone who own a source engine game, and later they made tf2 free, so now everyone can have it

  3. badcompany says:

    this was a blast, shame modern games killed the mod scene.

  4. Ansob says:

    It’s one of a small handful of mods where every few months, I go “I really wish _____ still had players.”

    This, and Frontline Force. :(

  5. AlexW says:

    Obligatory EVD video: link to youtu.be

    Good Hidden players are terrifying.

  6. JoeX111 says:

    This used to be one of my favorite multiplayer experiences. Sneaking around as the Hidden and causing chaos was such an awesome feeling, one I haven’t experienced since (outside of playing as the ghost in Nintendoland on Wii U). Unfortunately, some of the revisions in later updates turned me off. One that bugged me the most was the inclusion of gibs. In early versions, if the Hidden one-hit killed you, your body would rag doll across the room with incredible force. It was sudden, visceral, violent, and crunchy. An entire squad would instantly to ape shit. Later, they changed it, so the victim would just weightlessly explode into cartoon chunks. It was a little thing, but it ruined the atmosphere for me, making the game feel more Looney Tunes than Predator.

  7. dethtoll says:

    How is this only 10 years old when I remember playing this in like 2006?

  8. c-Row says:

    I fondly remember a similar multiplayer mode from the original Aliens vs. Predator in which a squad of marines was penned against a single predator. Best LAN session I ever attended.

    • Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

      I was going to say: that “Hidden” experiment moves almost exactly like Predalien from AvP 2 (except some mad scientist has put cloaking device on them just to make an already OP character pretty much impossible to hit)

      I wish Disney got off their lazy bottoms and re-released AvP 2 on Steam – they did a pretty good job with maintaining Tron 2.0

      P.S. thanks for writing about some good, obscure stuff – always nice to (re-)discover something good from the years past.
      Now let’s see if Wanted, Point of View or The Trap will get caught the spotlight!

  9. Carcer says:

    The Hidden was great fun, it used to be a staple at my circle’s LAN parties. One of my favourite gaming memories is dropping the lifeless body of a marine out of a vent onto the last surviving marine player and watching him flip the fuck out and empty a magazine into the dead body while screaming IRL.

    I always thought the pigsticker attack was a bit unfair though so I tried to avoid using it. Much more fun to whittle them down, plus it was easier to pin the bodies in hilarious positions if they still had their arms and legs.

  10. Nosebeggar says:

    Oh nice, I have a LAN party coming up this weekend, will definitely set this up today.