Spoiler Warning Half Life 2 Special EP8: Get in the Basement!

By Shamus Posted Friday Sep 9, 2011

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 135 comments

Link (YouTube)

I know I’ve told this story before, but I can’t remember where or when. Odds are, this will be new to some of you…

At the end of this episode, we get to a broken bridge where you have to jump over the gap while under fire from a gunship. My first time through the game, I misunderstood how the gravity gun worked. I was under the impression that if the gun claw didn’t open up (which it does when you point at an object that can be lifted) that the object you were looking at was static and non-movable. Therefore, I didn’t realize that you could “punt” cars out of your way. When I reached this point in the game, I saw the wall of wrecked cars and assumed this was a clear sign to the player that it was time to leave the buggy behind. So I did.

I walked the rest of the way on Highway 17, constantly annoyed by the long, boring stretches of walking and somehow never taking the hint that I was supposed to be driving this part.

I didn’t realize my mistake until the very end, when you reach the lighthouse. When I got there, one of the NPC’s got stuck in a loop, repeating over and over for me to park my car in the garage. At that point I facepalmed, and the previous two hours of hiking suddenly made sense. The NPC kept on screaming about parking the car, on through the ensuing fight. I don’t remember if he stood in the open, or if his disembodied voice followed me around the battlefield, but I do remember I didn’t escape him until I went through a loading screen.

Subsequent patches have fixed things for people afflicted by my particular brand of idiocy. If you leave the car behind, it will teleport to you at the next loading screen. If you arrive at the end with no car, the guy won’t harass you about it.


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135 thoughts on “Spoiler Warning Half Life 2 Special EP8: Get in the Basement!

  1. Pete says:

    Josh seems to project some sort of bug-field, causing bugs to appear in any videogame ever, no matter how buggy it actually is.

    On a related note, I want a planet-lifting magnet now.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      He even managed to buggify the buggy.

      1. Michael says:

        Was it a buggy buggy to begin with?

        (I’ve only ever played through once or twice, so I’m asking legitimately.)

        1. MrWhales says:

          Aside from collisions, not at all….

          1. Ateius says:

            I am consistently amazed by Josh’s ability to thoroughly break every game he plays.

          2. Paul Spooner says:

            One might even term it a “rugged buggy”.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              A rugged buggy buggy ran over a tubby chubby hubby.Say that three times fast.

  2. Ambitious Sloth says:

    I did the same exact thing in my first play through. Only I left it at the tunnel infested with zombies and spent the rest of the time walking and occasionally sprinting to the lighthouse.

    Stupidly though I did this knowing the cars were movable since I got through that first blockade by ramming the buggy into the cars repeatedly to push them out of the way. It wasn’t until a certain puzzle in episode 2 I realized I could push cars with the gravity gun. I don’t know why it just clicked naturally for me then but suddenly the empty highway 17 and all of the ant lion burrows in episode 1 made so much more sense to me.

    1. Bret says:

      The section towards the end?

      With the crane?

      I got over the wall there by stacking crates and barrels.

      Also, given how Josh does with the Combine on Easy, I’d love to see him try to deal with Minerva.

      I mean, it’s hard for people who don’t hit themselves with their own grenades.

      Also, act 4 would have someone scream like a little girl once, and that’s fun.

      (Probably Ruts.)

      1. Tizzy says:

        Act 4 of Minerva is *scary*, for realz!

        When I first played HL2, I was tempted to ditch the buggy many times, and the only thing that stopped me was the conviction that this was not what the game designers meant for me to do. But boy was it tempting!

  3. You should have made something up.

    “Yeah…about the car…it kinda got impounded by the Combine. Something about ‘wreckless endangerment’ and ‘wanton destruction of personal property with a vehicle’. I dunno, I wasn’t really listening. But hey, the important part is I’m here now and there’s no way the Combine would have followed me with an assload of stormtroopers to dropship on you right?”

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    This episode needs more antlions flying on doors.

    Its a shame you wont do more of these,but I am looking forward the asscreed.Hope you will finish this special in some pauses in the future.

    Its amazing how Josh managed to get out of any situation without going out the buggy and punting it.Some nice unstucking skills he has.

    Shamus,I think you mentioned that in the comments for this special when you guys started it.

    As for the gunships,I think they take 4 rockets on normal,and 5 on hard.Its also nice to see how these things are a machine-biological hybrids.It fits quite well with the grunts from the first game.

    1. guy says:

      Actually, with the possible exception of the hunter-choppers and APCs, all the combine “vehicles” are synths, like all Overwatch infantry except the Metrocops.

    2. Eärlindor says:

      As for the gunships,I think they take 4 rockets on normal,and 5 on hard.

      Are you sure? I, admittedly, have to double check but I’m pretty sure it’s 5 rockets on normal.

      1. tengokujin says:

        7 on hard!

        1. noahpocalypse says:

          Over 9000!!!

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Thats only on insane.

            Yeah,I forgot how many rockets it takes to take down those things.Mainly because Ive stopped counting while unloading a whole arsenal on the damn striders.

            1. Eärlindor says:

              Ugh. Striders are a pain, even on normal. 7 rockets.

            2. Destrustor says:

              Anyway there’s always a crate of infinite rockets somewhere whenever you NEED to use the launcher. Its not like you’d ever run out in these situations.
              It just sucks for those who’d like to just grab an assload of rockets and blast combine infantry and/or antlions with them for the whole level.

              1. Vipermagi says:

                I think the fact you need an infinite ammo crate says enough here…

  5. Nyctef says:

    Wow, that gunship went down fast.

    Also, HL has some nice music but there’s like 10 minutes of it for the whole game! I want to have music all the time I’m playing, so HL’s gets turned off more often than not. This is something Halo 3 did really well – a lot of it is auto-generated and adapts to what’s happening. It’s understated when it needs to be and puts stings in all the right places, but the important stuff like big moments and/or cutscenes get proper music (which is great music even on its own)

    1. X2-Eliah says:

      Myeah, but not having music on ll the time allows you to have greater soundscape for the other sounds – ambient critter noise, perhaps, or gun shots, or creature sounds. If you have music going, you either need to balance to volumes or cut out frequency ranges.

      Plus, you know, the scarcity of HL2’s music – having it only applied at *just right* moments, makes it a lot more impactful. If the combat tune that played back near the beginning in the trainyard, droned in every single fight, it would simply get old and lose the effect.

      1. Zukhramm says:

        I do believe that there’s a middle ground between what Half-Life 2 does and having music on all the time. Portal 2 I think manages to hit, or maybe I just think that because it had more interesting music.

      2. Nyctef says:

        Yeah, ambient noise is great, but most of the time it’s just boring dead air. And it doesn’t have to be the same thing every fight.

        1. Jeff says:

          Dead air builds suspense, though.

          1. Nyctef says:

            Dead air builds suspense when it’s unusual

        2. krellen says:

          You have a very different definition of “boring” than I do.

      3. Reet says:

        Personally I think one of the things Halo as a series does really well is it’s music. The game and the music complement each other and it really improves the mood of the game. It has appropriate puases and can be very effective to covey feeling. I will say though that the way HL2 does it’s music is a lot more immersive, I mean it’s not like IRL music will occasionally well up an start playing from nowhere, but in HL2 the only music is ambient and there is only one time I can remember a full on song which was in ep2 when holding of the ant lions in a cave with turrets and mines (which by the way I really liked). So music is something that should change from game to game to suit them properly.

    2. ccesarano says:

      The two games have very different goals in mind, however. Remember, Half-Life tells a story through the world, and so the sound is designed to create an atmosphere. The emotions I felt when stopping by an abandoned home on the side of Highway 17, only to hear distant gun fire. Or how about the complete silence before a thirty second shoot-out, only to be followed by that same silence, only more eerie now that the shooting is done.

      Halo isn’t atmosphere music, it is mood music. It’s supposed to help provide the feeling the story wants you to have. The two sound similar, but one is about the experience while the other is about the story.

      Subtle differences, greater differences in execution.

  6. Meredith says:

    I haven’t watched the video yet, but I have to ask: Do you know about the car fixes because you tried walking the whole way on a later playthrough? That’s crazy if so.

    Edit (after watching): I totally react to NPCs by nodding etc. I also talk back to them. I honestly don’t know if I started doing it on my own or after I watched other people do it, though (the head shaking parts).

    1. Eärlindor says:

      I love to interact with NPCs as well, but I rarely “nod” or “shake” my head.

    2. Kavonde says:

      I nod and shake my head and talk to ’em, too. You are not alone.

      Granted, my “talking” usually consists of Spocking an eyebrow and saying the word “Riiiiight…” sarcastically.

      Or, alternatively: “Shit!”

  7. swenson says:

    I retract my statement on the previous video about the airboat being the best vehicle ever, only because I momentarily forgot about the crane. The crane is absolutely the best vehicle ever, even if the controls are difficult and it’s hard to actually do anything with it. It’s just such an awesome little sequence.

    I don’t knock the Combine off with shipping containers, though, I generally try to carefully line it up so I just drop it on their heads, instantly crushing them to death. It takes a lot longer to set up and I usually get quite shot up while I’m lining everything up, but it is just so satisfying.

    1. Eärlindor says:

      Love the crane.

      I was laughing so hard when Josh managed to pick up two giant containers and swing them around.

      1. Grag says:

        Achievement unlocked: OSHA Violation

        I busted a gut when I earned that one.

  8. guy says:

    Josh is displaying his usual lack of competence, but it’s infected the combine too, so it all cancels out.

    Seriously, I’ve almost never seen combine stand around in the open like that outside of the crane part itself. They’re either in cover or rushing you while firing wildly to convince you to stay behind cover until they throw a grenade and you obligingly sprint out to get shot in the face. Often they’ve got guys with AR2s doing the first thing while everyone else does the second thing.

    The gunship battles are tremendous fun. Apparently what happened to cause the shooting down rockets behavior is that they were scripted to target whatever object presented the greatest threat. I assume they lifted that part of the scripting from the same scripts that determine taking cover from hostiles and also rockets.

    That’s probably the best part of Valve playtests. When they get unexpected behavior that’s sufficiently entertaining they make it happen all the time. The epic battle with the Hunter-Chopper at the end of Route Kanal, for instance, initially did not have the massive mine spread but someone accidentally entered the wrong variable and they kept it. Also, there’s an instance in Episode 2 where there’s a fast zombie in a dumpster who rattles things. One playtester, seeing where this was going, tossed a grenade in the dumpster. The grenade flew back out. Once everyone stopped laughing, they altered the triggers so it happened every time.

    I’m impressed Josh never flipped the Buggy.

    IIRC, gunships take 3 rockets on easy, 5 on normal, and 7 on hard.

  9. The Defenestrator says:

    I can top that Shamus. I got to the end of Route Canal to where the Combine starts shelling the rebel camp, and since I was really scared of headcrab zombies at that point, I ran at top speed through the entire camp and completely missed the airboat at the end. I eventually encountered the canal full of radioactive sludge, and figured it was supposed to be a puzzle. So I got some boxes and played leapfrog with them over about half an hour and through a loading screen to get to the other side. Then I cleared out the barn and got as far as the physics puzzle with the blue barrels before I figured out something was wrong- because there was no way past the sludge on the other side.

  10. Cyranor says:

    So will mumbles be doing Assassin’s creed with you guys?

  11. Irridium says:

    I didn’t know you could punt cars on my first playthrough either. Didn’t learn until Episode 1 with the ant-lion burrows.

    So what I did is use the gravity gun to punt the buggy over/around the cars.

    I felt very silly when I learned you could move cars.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      How did you not miss at least once and move the cars?Thats amazing aiming,or you have extreme amounts of patience.

      1. Irridium says:

        I’m a very patient person :)

        1. Jarenth says:

          But how did you not pick up that you were able use the Gravity Gun to move cars while you were using the Gravity Gun to move a car?

  12. RPharazon says:

    I’ll one-up you, Shamus. I didn’t know you could punt things at all.
    I left the car behind when that silly lady tipped it over. I walked the rest of the way and somehow got all the way to the broken bridge with the gunship. There I discovered gravity gun glitch levitation, assumed it was a feature, and made it all the way to the train bridge, where I levitated onto the parked train on the left.
    I assumed that guy at New Little Odessa was making a joke (Drive safely! Asshole), levitated over that doorthing, and walked.
    I got all the way to the lighthouse before the guy who freaks out at you for not having a car, facepalmed and stopped playing HL2 for a month.
    That was fun.

    1. Zekiel says:

      I feel so sorry for you!

  13. swimon1 says:

    What games have you been playing? I’ve been wondering that every now and then through this series. It seems every other time you begin with “if this was another game” you reference some cliché I have never encountered or even heard about (not every time you say it, the comment about bad atmosphere and monster design was something I agree with completely for example).

    In this episode it was the comment about the soundtrack. I can’t remember any game that had a bad soundtrack. There are a lot of things I think the gaming industry does poorly but soundtracks is not one of them. I mean the worst I can say about any soundtrack is probably forgettable or generic (like the one in heroes of might and magic three) but never have I witnessed a game where the music is actually bad (and I can’t stand most music that gets played outside games). “Where they just take some pop or rock and shove it in there” is that a thing? Does that happen? Unless we’re talking like GTA or rock band I can’t remember that ever happening to me. Well actually that’s not entirely true it did happen in Doom and it kinda happened in half life 1 but not in the last 10 years.

    Don’t get me wrong here I’m not saying you’re lying or have hallucinated these experiences or anything else like that. No I’m genuinely curious about my opening question. What games have you been playing? I guess I try to stay away from most shooters unless special exceptions like: “it really is interested in telling a story that’s not just PR speak” or “it’s actually supposed to be an RPG and the fact that it plays like a shooter can somehow be attributed to a rogue cell”. So is it that? That the stupid clichés and bad sound track is specifically endemic to generic shooters? Or is it just that I’ve been lucky when it comes to games (that actually seems likely since most games I’ve played are very well made although very samey).

    Edit: Also put me down for “did not understand you could punt some thing that you couldn’t also grab”. I don’t think they teach you that very well.

    1. Zukhramm says:

      It might depend on what standard you judge by. You say they’re at worst generic and forgettable, while to me generic and forgettable is bad. Half-Life 2 unfortunately has some pretty forgettable music but at least it’s very well used within the game.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “I mean the worst I can say about any soundtrack is probably forgettable or generic (like the one in heroes of might and magic three)”

      Well theres your problem.You seem to think good music is bad,therefore you must think bad music is good(end joke)

    3. Irridium says:

      As Zukhramm said, most music isn’t really crappy, just boring and forgettable, which most would consider bad.

      Most game soundtracks tend to be “orchestral” and “epic”, which while they were epic the first time, everyone uses them now, which makes them boring, plain, and forgettable, and most understandably consider that bad.

      1. swimon1 says:

        Sure forgettable is bad but that’s also game’s music at its worst. I would argue that I know very little game music that even becomes forgettable. From Shamus’ and Rutskarn’s comment it seemed like they found most game soundtracks annoying and grating. That’s a lot worse than forgettable, forgettable music does little to enhance your experience grating music diminishes it.

        And again what are these soundtracks that are so overblown and superlatively epic that it becomes plain and forgettable? I mean I know of soundtracks that go for epic epic of epicness but if we’re going to argue that the soundtrack for the Zelda games, Bioshock and Okami is anything but some of the proudest moments of human achievement (some of the Bioshock and Zelda tunes are not up to par but in a general sense) then I want out of this discussion. I guess the little I’ve heard of it I find the music in Halo to be both epic and bland, is that what we’re talking about? That’s very far from what I’ve consider the standard in soundtracks.

        What I would consider the standard is the Mass Effect or Oblivion (depending on whether the game is set in the future or medieval times, the two settings of video games) soundtrack some nice rather low key catchy electronica/ren faire music that gets a little too excited when combat starts and occasionally blows up when the game is doing a “big” moment usually while forgetting that games =! movies.

        See what I want to know is what games we’re talking about? What is the perceived standard against which Half Life 2 seems like such a breath of fresh air? To me half life 2 always seemed rather mediocre and I want to love it like everyone else does. I want to understand what makes this game special and whenever I hear people talk about it and how different it is from everything else I can’t see the everything else in front of me. Sure half life 2’s story is not bad and it’s not a corridor shooter but is that really it? HL2 is supposed to be a breath of fresh air but most of what’s tired and annoying about games can still be found in it. All meaningful conflict is solved through combat, the protagonist has no real impact on the story except that the antagonists dies in his vicinity, there is no real subtext, you’re always lead by the nose, a lot of the problems in your path gets solved in overly convenient ways, the game is always clearly divided between plot and gameplay never really using one to express the other and they very rarely happen at the same time also the protagonist lacks any sort of weakness appearing always as a metaphorical robot (it is cool how your hearing gets impaired by explosions tho, I know everyone copied that but it’s still a really cool idea that lends some humanity to the protagonist).

        Well there I went and made myself bitter, I’ll have to cheer myself up by playing something quirky like Psychonauts or Octodad or something.

        1. Zukhramm says:

          Halo is actually one of the examples of good music in my Opinion. Or at least not forgettable. Mass Effect 2 I can remember one track from, same with Oblivion, so that’s pretty forgettable. World of Warcraft has a couple of nice pieces but is over all pretty boring, it’s improved a little over the expansions though.

          Trying to point out the bland and forgettable is pretty hard because of the fact that they’re bland and forgettable. And sure, that’s not as bad as actively terrible but the same thing can be said for any other aspect of a game, a bland art style and forgettable gameplay might not really be bad but there’s so much that’s better that I still see it as bad.

        2. Irridium says:

          It was a breath of fresh air. In 2004. The people heaping praise on it played it when it was new and amazing.

          And the games with Orchestral soundtracks you mentioned? When I refer to those, I mean ones that are preformed by, well, an orchestra. Complete with trumpets, horns, big drums and all that. As for games with those, well…

          Crysis series
          Battlefield: Bad Company series
          Halo series
          God of War series
          Call of Duty series
          Dragon Age series
          Mass Effect series(2 is more guilty of this)
          Every Star Wars game
          Medal of Honor(both the new one and the older ones)
          Resistance series
          Rainbow Six Vegas series
          Fable series
          Killzone series
          Uncharted series
          Shadow of the Colossus

          Those are the ones off the top of my head, and that I’ve played. Some of those games I love to death, and even like their orchestral soundtracks(I will be the first to admit my love for Halo’s soundtrack), but with so many damn games having orchestral soundtracks, it’s really getting old. And they play all the time in the games at obvious and repeating points. Like battle music, exploration music, chase-scene music… it just becomes routine and boring. And yes, while the worst game soundtracks are usually just boring, that doesn’t change the fact that they are still the worst game soundtracks.

          Half Life 2’s plays at set moments, and never outstays its welcome. It stays just enough to set the tone, then leaves when it’s done. It doesn’t linger or repeat, it just does what it’s there to do, then stops. That’s why I like it, and probably why many like it.

          As for your general HL2 questions…why they feel Half Life 2 is so great, even today and whatnot. When they say that I think they’re comparing it to current AAA games. The reason they, and many others, believe that Half Life 2 is so much better is because of all the things it doesn’t do. It doesn’t force you along, it doesn’t have annoying-ass companions that bitch at you to hurry up, it doesn’t treat you like a complete moron, it doesn’t keep you in one place for too long(with the exception of Highway 17), and it doesn’t blast it’s soundtrack all the damn time

          Take the opening, for example. You’re allowed to explore the space, take in the sights, can piece together where you are and what is happening, get a feel for the Combine, get a feel for the citizens. All without the game actually telling you anything. This is where the game really shines, it tells most of the story through the environment. It doesn’t open with a flashy cut-scene, or an explosive attack, or anything like that. Because it doesn’t need to.

          No other high-profile game that I’ve played starts like that. Lets you explore your surroundings when you start, getting a feeling for the world or its people. That lets you piece things together yourself. Hell, even Deus Ex Human Revolution starts on rails, and that game’s supposed to be open-ended!

          Almost all of them start with a cutscene, which is more-often-than-not an action cutscene(or a set-up for an action moment), and then just throws you in and tells you to go places and kill things. Very few take the time to let you get a real feel for the world, the characters, or much of anything really. Just a cutscene, then tutorial, then you just doing what your told. Usually by a bunch of off-screen NPC’s. Chances are you might encounter a “variety” of allies and/or enemies like the hardened commander who really cares, the geek guy with glasses, the sexy-but-tough woman with a high percentage of having an outfit with a midriff, the redshirt(rookie), the old mentor who will die or turn evil at some point, a person who you must escort and will be constantly nagging you, and the bad guy who’s bad but not that interesting.

          The characters in Half Life 2 are pretty well-defined without needing cut-scenes, or huge amounts of dialog. You can get a good sense of who they are from how they talk, what they wear, how they react to things, and the environment that they’re currently in. This goes for the combine as well, especially in the beginning.

          Another thing, in most AAA games, you’re just some bothersome thing who must be shuffled from gun-fight to gun-fight, who must be constantly let and told what’s happening. Most AAA games assume you’re a complete idiot who can’t think for him/herself. Half Life 2 never really forces you. Yes it’s on rails, but YOU set the pace. YOU choose when to move on. Half Life 2 trusts you to be smart, trusts you to figure things out for yourself, and never assumes that you’re a complete moron who needs constant direction.

          That’s why I, and I assume Shamus/Ruts/Josh all love it.

          1. swimon1 says:

            OK I get where you’re coming from on the music, I disagree because I don’t see all that much in common between and of the ones I’ve played from that list (which is admittedly below 50%) most usually have rather subdued music that I think is really well done and well placed but I think I get it.

            I also played HL2 in 2004… or rather 2005 I think, but I didn’t get what was all that special about it then either.

            As for the more general ones: yes HL2 does have annoying escort characters I don’t think they ever tell you to hurry up (I could be wrong tho) but every character you have to escort that isn’t Alyx Vance is annoying and nagging, they try to be helpful and they’re better than some others but the next one who tells me to reload my gun gets shot in the head OK? The opening is another one of the comments the spoiler warning crew made that I just don’t get, a low action intro where you just walk around and absorb the environment is a really good thing but it is nothing special. A lot of games have those like:
            mass effect (not the sequel which is another reason for why it blew)
            fallout 3
            the myst games
            plane scape: torment
            a big chunk of the Zelda titles (I can’t think of one where it isn’t true but there are so many of them)
            Jade empire (after a short sparring tutorial so I don’t know if you think that that counts)
            And that’s without counting games like minecraft or alpha centauri where story telling is done in a different manner. Now I guess pretty much all of those technically start with a cut-scene (except jade empire if I remember correctly) but technically so does HL2.

            And in what way do I set the pace in HL2? I’m always being chased by something, and sure when I’m not I could decide to stop and stare at the wall but I can’t think of many games where that isn’t true (except for shmups and other arcade style games). True no one tells Gordon Freeman to hurry up but again there is nothing special about that. In fact I’m pretty sure that games that actually do pester you about hurrying up is in the vast minority.

            I get why people think half life 2 is good, it’s not for me really but I get that. What I don’t get is why it always get mentioned as one of the best games ever made or as something all that special. It’s a competently made shooter sure, but it’s nothing more than competent.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              I dont get your comment about that beginning being nothing special,then listing a number of awesome games* as a proof of that.If it wasnt special you could list games like great qin warriors,kane and lynch,or mindjack there as well.By the way,myst shouldnt count since its a non-combat puzzler,and planescape:torment shouldnt count because its an rpg,and it has a fight almost at the very beginning.The point was not that half life,and only half life does it right,the point is that so few games do.

              Furthermore,you arent always chased by something.In fact,that is true only while you are being assaulted by the copper.The rest of the encounters you can set your own pace for,and not all of them are combat encounters:Kleiner,black mesa east,all those little breaks when you get the vehicle,…those are non-combat encounters.Compare that to say,moder warfare,where the mission starts,you maybe get a short run towards a checkpoint,and then its guns blazing until the mission ends and you can start the next one with,maybe,another short run.

              And if you think modern warfare is an aberration,just check the new releases and see how many clones it has.I would gladly list them,but I made a conscious decision to stay far,far away from them.

              *Except for fallout 3,but that one too did have a few quite awesome things in the beginning,like you exiting the vault for the first time.

              1. swimon1 says:

                Crap you’re right about planescape I remembered that one wrong. But my point is kinda this: HL2 is only special when you compare it with substandard mindless shooters. A slow opening is not unusual even among mediocre games I just don’t remember mediocre games as much… The ball! There we go a completely forgettable game that also opens slowly, and there are legions of them. Sure HL2 better than mindjack or kane and lynch (I haven’t played either but I’m kinda assuming here) and as I said I get why it’s good I just don’t see what makes it great. Being better than terrible doesn’t make you a classic.

                And you are running away from things for a big part of the game it’s the metrocops in the beginning the chopper later then the infinitely spawning ant lions more choppers (or is that in the episodes I forget) more ant lions and… Well I actually don’t remember much outside that and ravenholm so maybe that’s all? That still seems like a lot of places where you don’t set the pace. While there are places where you’re allowed to stand around as much as you like or get off the beaten track that still doesn’t seem like an impressive degree of freedom. When we talk about “setting your own pace” wouldn’t the game have to do something like beyond good and evil where you’re free to explore in a non-linear fashion or go off and do side thingies if you wanted too. Clearly that is setting your own pace but “there are some houses along the path that you don’t have to go into if you don’t want too” doesn’t seem like all that much. And I’m not arguing that half life 2 is bad because it wont let you do that, I know a lot of games which has a very controlled pace that I really like (portal for example) I just don’t see what connection the freedom of pacing has with half life 2.

                Actually lets go back to beyond good and evil, maybe I can make my point a little more clear that way. See I had a similar reaction to that game. A lot of people thought it was this amazing jewel of a game and I found it to be good but not really anything more than that (the title and the ending is probably the worst parts of that game which is unfortunate because those are easy to remember). The difference between that and half life 2 tho is that I get why so many people loved that game. It was different, quirky and had a really interesting sort of latin culture to a lot of it. With half life 2 I just don’t see what’s so special about it. It’s a pretty standard shooter, sure it’s better made than a lot of it’s rivals but there’s nothing really all that special or interesting about it. Although both do strike a blow for ethnic visibility which is very needed in games, so there’s that.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  You arent running from antlions,you are going through their territory.

                  Half life isnt an open game where you get to walk around in the overworld before you can go on a mission like beyond good and evil,half life has very rigid rails.But the thing is,you wont notice these rails on your first go(assuming you dont die a bunch of times in one place or the other),which is what makes it special:The illusion of it being much more loose than it really is.That is very,very hard to achieve.You may think that there are plenty of games that are doing this,but there are not.There are very,very few.

      2. Rosseloh says:

        I’d like to point out that, in my mind, “orchestral and epic” isn’t a bad thing. What most game composers seem to miss, though, is something to make it interesting. Lots of games I’ve played have an “epic” soundtrack that hits the right emotional notes but gets boring after a while because it’s the same “explore->combat->winddown” bits and never anything different (this is Oblivion’s problem; the pieces are great, the first 5 times. Now I just put custom music in the folders).

        My favorite thing that I don’t see very often at all, is the leitmotif. A great example was The Witcher. The soundtrack in that game did get a bit old if you spent a long time in a particular chapter, but every so often during a poignant bit of the plot, you’d hear the base “Witcher” theme that you heard at the beginning of the game. That kept building up until the end, when (if I recall correctly), that theme played a large part of the final boss battle’s music.

        Of course, this is my opinion. I have rather an odd feel for music — I seem to be more emotionally affected by pieces than other people, even when it’s just music and not, say, a soundtrack, or opera (with a character I’m supposed to empathize with). Sadly most games don’t do for me what I’d like.

        1. Simon Buchan says:

          My Baulder’s Gate II days have burned the first 3 notes of it’s theme into my head, immediately followed by the click on “Load Game” :)

    4. GiantRaven says:

      I love the game to bits, but Alpha Protocol has a godawful soundtrack.

      1. swimon1 says:

        I liked it, it felt fitting… But I see where you’re coming from. It’s not hard to hate.

      2. littlefinger says:

        Well, there’s that song…

        1. GiantRaven says:

          Well, ok, THAT song was awesome but I meant the actual tracks composed for the game.

    5. Gravebound says:

      Marvel vs. Capcom 2 has a terrible soundtrack.

      At the very least, it is ill-fit for a fighting game. (In case anybody liked that horrible noise…)

      1. Irridium says:

        I wanna take you for a ride!

    6. decius says:

      Final Fantasy 5. Solid music all the way through, and the best bits are rare and appropriate.

      Why hasn’t Valve hired the person who programmed the TIE Fighter music?

  14. tengokujin says:

    I actually did walk the entire Highway 17 sequence. I had to noclip the bridge jumping, but I never had the buggy from beginning to end. Admittedly, I knew what I was getting into, but I was determined to prove to myself that I could, in fact, walk the entirety. (Also, I finished the game before achievements came out, so I really should go back and finish it again :p)

  15. Zukhramm says:

    I just love the design of the gunships, the organic style combined with the odd placement of the rotor and the way it moves. It and the antlion guard are probably my favorite parts of Half-Life 2 visually.

    I’m not sure I agree with Rutskarn’s comment about the cars from last episode, I definitely prefer this one to the one in Episode 2. It might be the area design or the car itself but I never felt like I got to use it in a fun way in Episode 2.

    1. ProudCynic says:

      I absolutely love the gunship’s design too. I always like to look at their crashed remains whenever I can–the compound eyes you can see on them are just so tantalizing. What did you used to be, I wonder?

      I even made a version of them in Spore, way back when. It came out alright, if I do say so myself.

  16. JPH says:

    The asscreed is my favorite creed.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Oh yes,the nods and shakes,I like using those.Its a fun way to “interact” with npcs.I did them ever since Ive played half life 1.

    1. Same here. Just one of these days I want an NPC to go “Wait, so you CAN understand me Gordon?” in response. Hell, that’s my proposed solution to Gordon not having a voice – let him nod yes or shake his head for no whenever an NPC asks him something.

  18. cyber_andyy says:

    The AR2 is actually a really good weapon….

    1. SolkaTruesilver says:

      I don’t understand why people are dissing it so much too. Beside the ammo sparity.

      1. uberfail says:

        Sparity? There’s plenty of combine to drop ammo for you, which is one reason i use it quite a bit.

        1. guy says:

          The ammo capacity is relatively low compared to rate of fire, and careless overuse of it can deplete it faster than you can reload because only ~1/4th of standard overwatch carry it. I generally use it pretty frequently myself.

      2. Entropy says:

        Yeah, once I have the AR2, I’d much rather ditch the SMG.

    2. JPH says:

      It was probably my favorite weapon in the game, with the exception of the magnum. (I friggen love revolvers.) It was fast, it was powerful, it had a wonderfully fast reload, and it was just viscerally fun.

      The AR-2 was the last weapon I’d expect people to criticize in this game. The pistol and SMG I could see, since they don’t feel very inspired. But the AR-2? I loved that gun.

      1. krellen says:

        The AR-2 has the best weapon noises in any game. I love that “dun-dunt-duh” reloading sound.

      2. yeah, I’d happily drop the pistol for more AR2 ammo, or more SMG grenades

    3. Jonathan says:

      I agree. The SMG is disgustingly inaccurate. I’d much rather have 3 more magazines of Overwatch Pulse Rifle (why do you people call it AR-2?) ammo than the 6 magazines of “spray and pray” pistol caliber SMG ammo.

      1. Michael says:

        Because the game internally calls it the AR2.

        Specifically it’s referred to as “weapon_ar2”

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Ar2?Pffft!We in the city have been using ar3 for years!

  19. Vect says:

    For Assassin’s Creed II…


    Will you actually avoid hugging Leonardo da Vinci? I mean, Ezio Cuftbert da Vegas wouldn’t be that cruel, would he?

    Or would he try to break all history by trying to kill Leonardo?

    Also, will we see complaints about Nolan North? It seems obligated to comment on him since aside from Steve Blum he’s pretty much “The Guy in Every Game”.

    1. Friend of Dragons says:

      How many times do you think Cuftbert is going to desync for ‘accidentally’ murdering the wrong person? I’m thinking at least once per episode.

      Also: It’ll be good to have them play through it, as I got most of the way through it, had the DRM give me a little trouble, and vowed never to play it again in a fit of righteous fury.

    2. Matthias says:

      Ooohhh, that [censored] hugging quick time event. I had put away my controller and was drinking something when it came up, so I couldn’t react in time and, as a consequence, looked like a total dick.
      I haven’t forgiven the game designers for that yet.

      1. Thomas says:

        I know more people who missed it than hit it. Frickin’ unexpected quicktime events

  20. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Oh, by the way, Spoiler Warning team:

    Keep up the good work. This Let’s Play has been extremely enjoyable, you have a very healthy mix of positive comment, nitpicking and just plain jokes drawn from the player’s antic.

    Really enjoying myself here.

  21. RTBones says:

    Only one question: Ruts, were you even alive when Power Of Love came out? :)

    1. Shamus says:

      No way. That was 1985, if I remember, and the ‘Skarn wasn’t born until… later.

      1. Rutskarn says:

        Six years later, to be exact.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          And yet you still manage to be perpetually twelve.

          1. Holy hell, he’s the same age as me. All those age jokes including the ones I made apply equally in my direction. Curses!

            1. JPH says:

              I’m actually slightly younger than him, as it turns out. Does that mean I’m still in the womb?

              1. Shamus says:

                Entire comment thread is babies!

                1. Destrustor says:


        2. krellen says:

          It’s so crazy that kids born in the 90s will soon be able to drink.

          1. Mediocre Man says:

            We already do… >.> <..> <.<

            1. JPH says:

              Yeah, we do… Just don’t tell the cops though, alright, oldbies?

          2. Entropy says:

            Drinking Age is 18 here, so uh.

        3. Simon Buchan says:

          I cannot actually hold the concept of you being 5 years younger than me in my head. It just doesn’t work! AGES DON’T WORK THAT WAY!

        4. Irridium says:

          We’re the same age!

          Not sure if I should be happy, or sad about that…

        5. Decius says:

          I am far too young to feel as old as you make me feel.

      2. Sumanai says:

        So I’m as old as the Power of Love. I guess, to balance out, hate had to go somewhere.

  22. Grag says:

    Facepalm moments for me in HL2

    1) realizing way too late that the gravity gun could resolve the landmine problems. My solution was to aggro one and jump out of its blast radius.

    I could survive this. My NPC followers just stood there and got blowed up.

    2) watching this video I learned you can control the [email protected]#$ing rockets. Seriously I am still stuck at the end of ep1 after ragequitting months ago on the strider battle. Spent an hour and a half to 2 hours on that between the two times I’ve tried beating him.

    1. guy says:

      How on earth did you beat the original without figuring that second one out? I’m pretty sure it’s not even physically possible to beat Nova Prospekt without doing that.

      1. Grag says:

        Rockets. lots and lots of fricking rockets.

        Totally thought it was normal to have to go back for reloads a few times to take down the gunships.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Sure you can,just wait for the gunship to get directly above you,then shoot it straight in the tail rotor.

        1. Grag says:

          I think it was a matter of having the target painted and not understanding what I was doing.

          Like that strider battle. I kept hiding behind a wall after firing off a rocket. Which meant I was painting a target two inches from my face. This is part of why I ended up rage-quitting, I kept murdering myself on accident.

          And now armed with this knowledge, in about 15 minutes i beat that strider battle. Yay me for being slightly less suck at half-life.

          1. Zekiel says:

            If it’s any consolation, even knowing how the rocket launcher works I kept killing myself at the end of Episode 1. I’d pop up, fire a rocket at the strider, then duck down behind cover so the laser sight was pointed at the cover 2 inches in front of my face. Then I’d remember I did that last time. Then I’d die.

        2. guy says:

          I seem to recall that Nova Prospekt has two gunships at once, rendering that ineffective because they provide point defense for each other.

  23. Robyrt says:

    The gunships are another great example of how HL2 needs better editing. The first time you realize you have to dodge gun turrets with your guided rockets, it is awesome, and you feel a great sense of accomplishment when taking down that gunship. You also have infinite rockets, so you don’t have to retry all the time.

    By the twentieth rocket you fire at a gunship using the exact same pattern, it gets stale. Whenever I see an infinite rocket container, I cringe like it’s a turret hacking section in Bioshock.

  24. Adam P says:

    I’m surprised how little bunny-hopping Josh did in these episodes, especially since this is a game where bunny-hopping actually has a tangible benefit.

    1. Phoenix says:

      Which means, following the true “Way of Josh aka Trolling”, he will not use it at all :)

  25. rrgg says:

    Now, I haven’t actually played Assassin’s Creed, so I spent all last week watching Geop’s Let’s Plays just so that I’d be ready for this. . . er. . . hmmm

    wait. . .

  26. Jonathan says:

    Nice job on shooting the second chopper down next to you.

    I did not know about the thumper near the crane… I’ve always parked closer to the ramp and then had to work really hard to swing the magnet out far enough to pick up the buggy.

    1. Reet says:

      Yeah I ALWAYS do that and then when I get in the crane I realise it’s too far out to reach so I go and move the buggy in range and try again. No matter how many times I play that game I always do that!

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I dont remember if it was like that before,but I think that gunship is supposed to fall there now,because thats exactly where it fell when I shot it down recently.

      1. Unhidden says:

        I usualy get it while it’s over the ocean. And for me it never fell on the road.

        1. Destrustor says:

          I’m wondering if it would be lethal to have that thing fall on you?

      2. Decius says:

        I just did it, and the gunship blew up into small pieces. That is now consistent across all the gunships from there to the end.

  27. Rockbird says:

    Argh! I could hardly focus on the rest of the episode after Josh was cut off on the beach talking about some reveal that had to do with the water. You gotta finish this stuff man! It’s like an unclosed paranthesis!

    1. guy says:

      Well, I don’t think there’s exactly a “reveal”, but fan theory, supported by some cut level plans, was that the water levels had dropped because the combine were portaling earth’s oceans to their homeworld.

      1. silver Harloe says:

        I hope that wasn’t supposed to be why the combine invaded – because water is too plentiful in the universe to hold a war over.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Not quite.Hydrogen is plentiful,water not so much.Plus,we dont know if combine have interstellar travel.If they rely only on teleportation,finding water might prove quite a difficult task.

        2. guy says:

          The general idea was that the combine invaded to loot everything on Earth, use any particularly interesting species as the basis for new synths, and generally systematically strip the planet of everything of value. So they did invade for the water, but also for the lifeforms, metals, and suchlike.

  28. ccesarano says:

    Going through the comments there’s what, a total of three or four folks that didn’t know you could tip/shove/jolt cars in here? Maybe they patched it for the original Xbox port, but I find great comedy in being a console gamer and never having that problem.

    Then again, I’m used to flipping the Warthog.

    (I’d also like to note that I hated the buggy in Half-Life 2 because it controlled like shit. Good ol’ warthog).

    1. Thomas says:

      Wait wait wait, am I meant to respond to that? The warthog? Control?

    2. Entropy says:

      They patched people not realising you could do something?

  29. Friend of Dragons says:

    Sidenote: I really think the Tau cannon here really seems lacking because of the sound it makes. The ktish-kish-kish is pretty underwhelming. I’d say if they gave it a sound with maybe just a little more bass or a little bit louder (the secondary fire is an improvement. I’d like to see how that would sound on full-auto), it would’ve felt a lot better.

    1. Zekiel says:

      I agree. I tended to find that I ran over or drove past antlions before they died from being shot with it anyway so I just stopped using it after a while.

    2. Jonathan says:

      Also, it seems fairly inaccurate.

  30. Zekiel says:

    Just wanted to say I’ve really enjoyed this HL2 mini-series and really hope you finish the game someday (and maybe even the Episodes!). It’s great to hear your thoughts about Valve does right (and occasionally wrong).

    Also really looking forward to the AC2 Spoiler Warning – very convenient for me since I just finished playing the game a couple of weeks ago!

  31. some random dood says:

    Been interesting watching you all playing that game. I’d also like to add my vote to eventually see the whole thing, including all the episodes. Really looking forward to seeing you play Episode 3. [Ducks. Runs for cover.]

    1. Zekiel says:

      Valve: Please finish Episode 3 so the guys can Spoiler Warning it. You know it makes sense.

  32. Blastinburn says:

    I also almost made the mistake of abandoning the buggy when I got to the cars. I assumed at first it was a sign that I had to leave it behind just like you, but after walking to the 2nd van I realized that the game was too well designed for the large amounts of empty space I was walking through and I must be doing something wrong. so I went back and figured out that you could move the cars.

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