Half-Life‘s always had horror in its veins. From body-horror aliens lurching down steel corridors to Ravenholme’s infested nest of parasites, sawblades and the living dead, the series has been pushing spooking with its shooting since day one. Sporting more intimate, high-fidelity spooks, Half-Life: Alyx is no exception – and with a modding kit out in the open, it was only a matter of time ’til someone recreated Kojima Productions’ elusive PT in Valve’s new toolbox.
That person, as it happens, was modder AmbientDruth, whos recreation of PT was given airtime by YouTuber William McMahon (cheers, PC Gamer).
PT, in case you’re new here, was a notorious “Playable Teaser” from Konami and Hideo Kojima meant to build up a Silent Hill revival that never came. You (or, ideally, some poor fool you got to play it for you) would loop around the same corridor over and over, solving vague puzzles by looking at objects or listening for audio cues while occasionally having the soul scared outta you.
AmbientDruth’s mod, available to download here, does the natural next step of putting all that in VR, making it objectively 100 times more intimidating. Something Alyx put into sharp focus was how many of the series’ staples (dark rooms, flickering lights, crabs that jump at your face) become scarier with a telly strapped to your head. That holds particularly true for games that were already trying to scare you.
Granted, the video does bring out some of the mod’s limitations. I don’t mind PT ever having a health counter, for one. Plus, despite being a few years newer, Alyx’ corridors don’t look nearly as sharp. That’s understandable, really. PT had one corridor, which meant it could make that one corridor look really, gut-wrenchingly good.
It’d be a shame not to call out Half-Life’s illustrious history in horror mods, mind. With the main games gently nudging towards the scary side, modders went full-force into frights – whether that’s the first game’s three-part Romero-esque zombie epic They Hunger, or darkly strange survival horror Korsakovia, a now hard-to-find experiment from a pre-Dear Esther The Chinese Room. Recreating PT might just be that, a recreation. But it works as a nice proof-of-concept for fan-created scares to come.