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Barney returns tomorrow in Chapter 4 of Black Mesa's Blue Shift mod

A mod for the expansion to a remake of a classic

If I were a security guard at Black Mesa, my head would get crabbed within minutes of a resonance cascade. Not so for Barney Calhoun, who fought his way free of the facility back in Valve's 2001 Half-Life expansion, Blue Shift. Modding team HECU Collective have been forcing him to run that gauntlet again, so far releasing 3 chapters to their mod for Black Mesa - not the fictional company, but the very real (and good) fan remake of the original Half-Life.

Chapter 4: Captive Freight comes out tomorrow, so it's a fine time to jump in.

The mod aims to do for Blue Shift what Black Mesa did for Half-Life: not just faithfully recreating every moment with fancier graphics, but adding and changing bits too. It's got five stars so far on the Steam Workshop, so they must be doing something right.

As well as the new chapter, the update also improves previous chapters, adding "tons of new content along with bug fixes and additional features". I saw a lot of people complaining about invisible, progression-critical cables, so it's neat to see those fixed. The update notes also promise more helpful guidance throughout chapter 3, better lighting and models, animation improvements and more. You can interact with the telephones now, importantly.

You'll need Black Mesa to play it, which costs £15/$20/€20 on Steam. Graham's Black Mesa review claims it's "the best way to play Valve's original design if you haven't done so before" and "a brilliant way to retread those old ventilation shafts if you have".

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Matt Cox


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