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Barney Calhoun is the main character in Half-Life: Blue Shift, an expansion pack to the critically acclaimed Half-Life. The game focuses on Barney's escape from Black Mesa Research Facility. Barney wanders alien infested hallways and later

Half-Life left, Blue Shift right.
Half-Life left, Blue Shift right.

rescues scientists and helps them escape from Black Mesa through a teleporter. Developed by Gearbox Software and released in 2001, Blue Shift was originally intended to be a Dreamcast exclusive expansion.

Unlike Opposing Force, which introduced new weapons and enemies, Blue Shift did not introduce anything new to the series, except for the new locations Calhoun encounters that Freeman obviously did not go through. Additionally, the campaign of Blue Shift is extremely short; it is not even half as long as the story of Half-Life.

One of the main features of the expansion pack was the improved textures and characters models compared to the orginal Half-Life.


Barney is a low ranking security guard at Black Mesa during the time of the resonance cascade. The game starts off with Barney riding a tram very similar to the one that Gordon rides in Half-Life. Barney collects his uniform and firearm from the sector 3 security room and goes to work. Throughout the first part of the game the player sees how Black Mesa has been falling apart. Barney is asked to go fix a mechanical problem when he finds himself stuck on an elevator during the beginning of the resonance cascade. Barney fights his way through Black Mesa with his only goal being to find a way out. Barney saves some scientists (among them is Dr. Rosenberg from Half-Life: Decay, and Issac Kleiner) from a group of Marines and they come up with a plan to escape Black Mesa.

The plan is to find an old prototype teleporter and use it to teleport outside of Black Mesa. Barney is briefly sent to Xen to turn on a triangulation device that will allow their teleporter to work. Calhoun defends the scientists from the Marines and aliens as they make their escape. Barney then teleports to the awaiting scientists to escape, but not without a little malfunction that takes him all over Black Mesa.

Character sightings

A Marine guarding the Train Station in Blue Shift.
A Marine guarding the Train Station in Blue Shift.

Throughout Blue Shift, Barney is able to see Gordon Freeman and a few other Half-Life characters.

  • Gordon Freeman is sighted just after getting off the tram at the beginning of the game.
  • Gordon is later seen through a security camera walking down a hallway. (optional)
  • Gina Cross of Half-Life: Decay is seen through a security camera pushing the Xen crystal down a hallway (optional).
  • Gordon is seen at the end of the game being carried unconscious by soldiers.
  • G-Man is seen a few times during the game.

System Requirements

Minimum: 500 mhz processor, 96mb ram, 16mb video card, Windows 2000/XP, Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection

Recommended: 800 mhz processor, 128mb ram, 32mb video card, Windows 2000/XP, Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection

Critical Reception

Game Informer gave the review scores of 6.75 and 7.0. Andy McNamara, who gave the higher score, wrote, "Half-Life is a great series, and Blue Shift doesn't do anything to move it forward or hurt it. It just is. Fans will enjoy it, but be prepared for images dancing in your head of Sierra milking this cash cow for all it's worth".

Kristian wrote, "Unfortunately, the environments have become stagnant and repetitive...Blue Shift's plot in two words? Shoot things. There really isn't much more to it than that. Hopefully there will be at some point, because if ever a series deserved a plot equal to the controls, this is it".


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