Spoiler Warning Half Life 2 Special EP13: Turrets Syndrome

  By Shamus   Dec 13, 2011   73 comments


Link (YouTube)

Allow me to apologize in advance for whatever I might say during the show this week. I was still a bit out of sorts from an illness and I remember experiencing several moments of befuddlement during our recording session.

As promised, here is the link for the Old Man Murray thing on stupid adventure games.

2020201373 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.


  1. KnightofNEE says:

    After waiting all this time for a new video! …it’s private

  2. noahpocalypse says:

    ^This deserves a lol.

    I read that article, and found it resonating with my opinion of adventure games. I mean, that’s the experience I’ve had with modern ones, which kind of sucks, because I’ve played Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time and Pokemon. It’s a shame, really.

  3. Dev Null says:

    I loved adventure games, and still do occasionally, when I dust off Zork for another run-through, or pick up one of the Syberias from GOG for $3. But I love that OMM article because it is so utterly utterly true. If adventure games _were_ murdered, it would have been justifiable homicide, acting in self-defense of sanity. There were some great moments, and even some great whole games, but many others were truly horrible.

  4. Gale says:

    Would love to know more about that mouse Josh uses. It sounds like it’d be expensive, but it’s exactly the kind of thing I’d love to have.

    • Sagretti says:

      My guess would be the Razer Naga. It has 17 buttons and is specifically designed for MMO gaming, with what is essentially an extended number pad stuck on the side of the thing. Supposedly the best of the best for the genre, but I don’t even want to think about the amount of time it’d take me to get used to the dang thing.

      • Wes1180 says:

        I have the razer naga and it only took me an hour or so to get used to it.

        But if you take longer it comes with stickers(they aren’t exactly stickers but more lumps that you stick to the buttons) that help you feel for the buttons easier, it is the best mouse I have tried and is not just good for mmo’s, basically any game that uses the number keys, I’ve been using it in skyrim for weapons/spells etc.

      • Dante says:

        I have the same mouse, its awesome to have for FPSs.

      • Kana says:

        Sadly, my mouse only has 5 buttons on it, but it becomes extremely convenient to use when you have to do something else with your fingers. So instead of playing finger-twister while trying to move, you can shift action control over to the hand using the mouse already. Soooo nice.

        Probably the worst thing about shifting is muscle memory, but that doesn’t take too long to deal with.

  5. Paul Spooner says:

    I have always been surprised as how much more dingy this already dingy section of the prison appears after it has been liberally splattered with gore. The fact that you know exactly where all that gore has come from doesn’t seem to make a difference.

  6. Big Steve says:

    Is it weird that, after playing Portal, the Combine turrets seem noticeably more sinister now? I’ve gotten used to the turret-activating rapid-beeping sound being accompanied by “THERE you are!” followed shortly by “Hey! Put me down!” and “I don’t hate you…”

    These turrets are silent except for the beeps and shooting, though. They don’t want to cheerfully kill me for science, they want to kill me because they resent me, they dislike me as a person, and when I knock them over and they continue to give me the silent treatment, it’s because they DO hate me and they don’t want to give me the satisfaction of hearing them admit failure.

    And that makes me fear them, just a little, in a way that I didn’t when I first played the game.

  7. Hitch says:

    It sounded like Rutskarn was making a point at the end of the episode and you cut him off.

    Good job.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    About that trip mine,well they know that gordon freeman is coming,and his duct powers are well known,so naturally they booby trapped the air vent exits.

    That suicidal zombie was awesome.”!tihs siht kcuF”,dead.

    • Hitch says:

      Obviously Gordon stumbled into the training room. “You need to work on your trip mine planting. Take one down to the room at the end of the corridor where no one goes and set one up. There’s a nice blank wall opposite the vent to point it at. Just remember to disarm it and bring it back when you’re done. We send trainees down there because they keep forgetting that last bit.”

  9. Hitch says:

    Okay, I’ve probably asked this before. (Most likely, the last time you linked to that OMM article.) Is there any internal logic in the game that makes that mustache thing work? I mean by playing the game up to that point, would it naturally occur to me, “I don’t look much like this guy, but if we both had mustaches it would fool people?”

    Also, does the sentence, “Finally, use the red hat on the mustache and then on the gold coat to complete your Mosely disguise.” make sense in the context of the game? Because outside of the game, using a red hat on a mustache and/or a gold coat doesn’t seem to have any logical meaning.

    • Hal says:

      In the interfaces those games used, everything was done by having your mouse cursor do different things (an eye cursor meant you would look at something you clicked on, a mouth cursor meant you tried to talk to what you clicked on). Selecting something from your inventory meant you were trying to use that item on whatever. Thus, if you wanted to combine two things together, you basically “used” one item on the other and they would turn into a package deal.

      So, it’s basically a UI quirk; but knowing that you were supposed to combine the three items into a singular disguise might still have slipped by even the most ardent player who’d gotten to that point.

    • swenson says:

      The “use” command is interesting, because in point-and-click adventure games, it’s the standard “do something to this thing with that other thing somehow” command. But I’ve played a lot more text adventure games than point-and-click ones, and “use” is a huge no-no in text adventures–you have to actually know what specific thing you want to do! (which can lead to annoying guess-the-verb puzzles if the programmer didn’t implement enough possible verbs or made it difficult to figure out the correct word to use)

      So it’s very strange to me in general, the idea of a generic “use” command. But that’s where it comes from, it just means “do a thing to this thing with this other thing”

  10. GM says:

    I love the King quest´s games, played all but two of them and only remember winning at one of them(Kq6).

    Soo many ways too die :)

    • John says:

      I liked many of the Kings Quest games, despite the demented logic. However, they had one feature that drove me nuts: You could make a game-limiting mistake that wouldn’t become apparent for another few hours. It must have been KQ 3 or 4 (IIRC, one of the point-and-click titles). You needed to enter this tomb, grab two separate things and then get out before the door sealed itself (you had about 5-10 seconds). You can only enter the tomb once. If you missed one of the items, you could play for another few hours and then get to a dead end. You could not return to the tomb, nor continue with the plot.

      One of my earliest rage-quit memories.

      • krellen says:

        That would have been KQ5; 3 and 4 were both still text-driven.

      • ehlijen says:

        That and something about throwing a shoe at a cat to save a rat that will later in turn save you, but unless you do it right the first time, you’ll never learn that’s what you needed to do. Can’t remember the game, but I think it was a kings quest game too.

        What would possess a game designer to make such a design choice? To give the player the ability to keep going for hours before telling them that they’ve failed back at a point they can’t get back to anymore? Were they just really that sadistic?

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Apparently,yes.For example,phantasmagoria 2 has one point where you need to right-click a place in order for it to work,something that you dont have to do anywhere else.It seems like a bug,but there are indications that this was done intentionally,because the designers thought it was a good idea.

        • Atarlost says:

          I managed to make myself play as far as the boot puzzle.

          By that point it was obvious what to do: Throw the stick at the cat. I gave up in disgust not long after and only years later learned that the stick was needed elsewhere (because there’s only one stick in the woods) or that there was a boot somewhere.

    • Jabrwock says:

      I loved the Monkey Island series for not screwing you over if you missed something. If you needed it, it was still accessible.

      As for dying, Monkey Island 1 had a good moment. You walk up to a cliff edge, and fall off. It then presents you with an ending screen mocking Sierra style games.

      No matter what you click though, you bounce back up onto the cliff, grin at the camera, and say “rubber tree”.

      Classic.

  11. Dave B says:

    At 12:30, I don’t think I remember solving the puzzle that way, ever. I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to walk and jump across pipes or something. I may be thinking of a different puzzle though.

    EDIT: I looked up some walkthroughs, and they all show the same solution to this puzzle. (jumping on the barrels) I’m pretty sure now that I had this room confused with a similar one, but now I wonder how I could have played this game 3 times, and still have no memory of this particular puzzle…

    • Skyy_High says:

      I don’t remember doing it this way either, if that helps. I think I used the pallets, like klasbo below me.

    • swenson says:

      There’s a somewhat similar puzzle in… Episode One, I think. You may be thinking of that one. You’re in that one building with Alyx and the floor crashes and you land down in the flooded area, and then you have to turn off the electricity so you don’t get fried?

      • Dave B says:

        Yeah, that’s probably it. I remember having to turn off the electricity, then push a plastic barrel under a broken walkway so it won’t sink when you step on it, then turn the electricity back on to open the exit door. As for this room, I probably walked across crates or pallets instead of barrels, so I wouldn’t remember anything unusual about the puzzle’s solution. (just my guess)

  12. klasbo says:

    For the electrified water puzzle, I used the 4 barrels and the two pallets seen at 11:44 and 12:07. I always thought the barrels on their own wouldn’t work…

    And I only died twice from the turret fight. Am I doing it right?

    • MichaelG says:

      I never thought to fight the first turret battle upstairs. I put the turrets down near the field barrier on the bottom floor, and stood in the center, guarding them.

      Then when the fight ends, you have to go back upstairs to trigger Alix. Otherwise, she never drops down, and you have no idea what to do next.

      • ehlijen says:

        What I did was put both turrets near the centre console and just hid behind one of the ones on the side. I figured not splitting the turret’s firepower would be the best way to use them, but I didn’t know they’d keep going again after being knocked over if you put them back up…

    • The Hokey Pokey says:

      I never used the barrels at all, just the pallets. You don’t need much elevation to make it up the ledge.

    • tomvw says:

      There’s two wooden crates somewhere in this room, somewhat hidden next to the staircase that leads into the electrified water. That’s how I remember solving that puzzle without having to mess with the barrels.

    • Steven says:

      I used the pallets as well. Seemed like an obvious solution to me. Wasn’t there training for it a few levels before?

  13. karln says:

    Huh. I always stacked a wooden pallet on top of the barrels. I assumed that I would slip and fall off the barrels otherwise.

  14. guy says:

    To be fair to Alyx, she did give you a pair of turrets in lieu of showing up with her pistol. I’d say that was probably more useful, really.

    HL2 has the best shotgun. It is so awesome.

    Personally, my experience with the turret fights involved about a dozen more combine grenades sailing through the door.

    • Klay F. says:

      I also love the Half-Life shotgun because its the only shotgun in any game I’ve ever played that actually has a realistic spread: meaning that it doesn’t become instantly useless if you are more than ten feet from your target. Even modern games like all three Modern Warfares have this infuriating feature on their shotguns. It pisses me off the no end.

  15. Peter H. Coffin says:

    The descriptions of the cleverness and competence of the Combine remind me a lot of the Packleds from ST:TNG….

  16. Stupidguy12 says:

    I originally carried a turret through most of Nova Prospekt, but it was a hostile one that I used on headcrabs and then gave a time-out to in the corner while I explored/shot combine. Good plan, but killed me several times.

  17. The second Turret fight I just ignored the turrets and camped one of their cages with the shotgun, emerging only for ammo and health. Never failed me, and seeing the huge pile of bodies in one spot is fairly satisfying.

  18. David F says:

    I don’t think I used the turrets for either of those battles. In fact, I’m not sure if I even knew about them until now.

  19. Eddie says:

    I’m not actually sure I died my first run through it, as honestly I enjoy that little section. I got a real kick out of getting a well-run system going, protecting the turrets with physics objects placed to obstruct the AI pathing and as a result didn’t really have to tend to mine very often. I pretty much just camped the one entrance not covered and would take out the occasional guy who would charge through, which was pretty intense when I didn’t know how long the sequence was going to last or what was going to happen.

  20. qwksndmonster says:

    At 10:04 Rutskarn makes a swear! I’m e-mailing his mother about this.

  21. CalDazar says:

    I hid in the same place as Shamus, the first time, the second time and the 10th time, after that I ran about fixing the turrets I had spaced all about. For some reason the combine were very grenade happy if I placed two in the same spot. Of course I held one of the turrets in front of me the entire time to be safe.

    I don’t think it should have worked but it did.

  22. Packie says:

    I’ll echo Shamus’ words when it comes to Nova Prospekt’s atmosphere. I love the lightning, the ambiance, the design. It actually reminds of the rotating prison level in Silent Hill 4: The room minus the creepy twin headed over sized demon babies.

    Also, are you guys going to do the HL2 episodes? I’m loving the HL2 spoiler warning.

  23. Tuck says:

    When I played the second turret fight I pulled out the crossbow and nailed combine to all the walls. Crouch and shoot up through their head, then fire more bolts at angles through their dangling limbs to nail those, etc… It was gruesome, but oh so fun.

    (I was bored of the gameplay by that point, so I turned god mode on)

  24. RTBones says:

    Safe to say – some of the Combine, yeah, they died from Turrets Syndrome….

  25. tzeneth says:

    A weird thought went through my head as I was driving home from a final. If Shamus shames us (with his good writing skills), Mumbles mumbles (something about not being in the half life 2 episodes), and Rutskarn is in a rut (with all these very similar puns), what is Josh?

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