I think Half-Life and Half-Life 2 are equals in terms of their gravitational effect on gaming archetypes. I have long been a Halo fanboy, and my group of friends in secondary school always berated me about my game's relative simplicity and false significance we console gamers bestow upon it when games like Half-Life exist on the PC.
Suffice to say, I never played the original Half-Life, and to this day, I still have yet to touch a copy, be it through a Playstation 2 controller, or the simple mouse/keyboard combination.
Halo 2 and Half-Life 2 were released in the same year -- 2004 -- and though they were on separate consoles, one of which I would not have the opportunity of enjoying (PC), my naivety drove me to champion Halo 2 as undisputed Game of the Year, and pushed me blindly into a semi-religious fervor for the Halo series, especially in opposition to Half-Life 2.
Regardless, two days ago, I bought The Orange Box for the Xbox 360. I am nearly finished with Half-Life 2, and I can say, wholeheartedly, with only having read the light synopsis of the first game on its wikipedia article, that Half-Life 2 is a monolith beneath which all action games should aspire. Between its near limitless creative mind and the incredibly interactive underbelly rests a game that pales even the most titanic of franchises released for current generation consoles. Even Halo 3 is inferior to Half-Life 2, and it has been a long time coming before I have had the opportunity to say that.
Happy gaming, friend.
This blog has made me reconsider Half Life 1. I've enjoyed the Orange Box immensely and now thing i may give the PS2 Half Life another try. I had purchased it before from gamestop, but found it too difficult and lacking at that time. I returned the game, but now with exposure to the Half Life universe i'm thinking i may give it another try.
Half Life 1 was years ahead of its time. No game during that time matched it in its graphics, story telling, or gameplay.
That said, I'm not really into the science fiction almost horror shooter genre, and I didn't really like it compared to HL2.
Half Life 2 was sometimes a dark and gritty game, such as Ravenholm, and those were the times when I despised it the most. But a good majority of the game was just lighthearted fun, like the parts with the boat or the rebellion in the streets.
Episode Two went even further from the sci-fi scary zombie theme and that's why I loved it the most. For me, Episode Two is the pinnacle of the series. It was fun, and it didn't try to make it scary.
I hate to admit it, but I do get scared easily. I was playing System Shock 2 (I blogged about it) and I can't help but feel that I would enjoy the game a lot more if it wasn't so scary. I just get that squeamish feeling, and it ruins the overall experience.
I'm not sure whether I'll like Left 4 Dead, because while the co-op aspect sounds really fun, its a horror shooter, and that has always turned me off.
My favorite games are realistic military action, games like Call of Duty 4 that are all shoot-em-up for fun, without anything to scare you or any aliens.