On The Gaming Ground you may have seen Robin talk about Brutal Doom as well as other Doom related mods. Well, I dabbled with the mod with my Ultimate Doom WAD file, and along with Zandronum. The game not only improved some parts (including mouse aim, which to me made Doom playable.), but changed it with new animations and gameplay mechanics. Of course, the mod has inspired other gory projects, which brings us to “Brutal Half-Life” created by Zoonyarts. The current available version is Beta 0.1, and while it does add some brutality to the game the mod is actually kind of hilarious.
The most notable change in the gameplay is how soon you can get into the action. Instead of going through the entire transit ride like in the vanilla game, you begin the game outside of the chamber observatory where the Green Apocalypse happened. And not only does the mod want you to begin playing as soon as possible, but BHL (“Brutal Half-Life”) also wants to give you the guns just as quickly with weapon and ammo location changes. For example, you can just grab the shotgun from the Office Complex with no hassle, since the weapon was moved outside the locked area. Here´s a free tip though, you can grab more shells if you save security guard. And I´ll have you know that It feels great to get jump into the game, but it feels a bit out-of-place to have an action initiative after knowing Half-Life’s pacing between puzzles and action.
The combat aspects of Half-Life has seen some changes as well. However, the A.i was supposed to have been slightly improved in BHL. Even so, the enemies seem to be more unaware of your presence. And that actually gives you the chance to get some good (free) shots from time to time. As for head shots in “Brutal Half-Life”, you can either cause them to be blown off or “knocked off,” with the head rolling around on the floor. Other limbs can be shot off like similar to Dead Space and the effects that go with it are gory, but if you want more someone made a Better Blood mod for it. And to make combat a bit easier the mod features a melee attack kicking, which can kill headcrabs in one hit and knock other enemies back. The kick can also mutilate dead bodies after they gave you a hard time three or five game loads before.
The weapons provide half of the entertainment, and I mean that in a sort of comedic way. Some of the weapons now have a kickback which pushes you back. Even so, the shotgun is worth it. As firing it point-blank range will send enemies flying to ridiculous lengths, which is great to push them into pits and for laughs. The mod also includes the M249 SAW from Opposing Force to mow enemies and limbs and the BFG 9000, which is modeled after the original from the original Doom games.
The graphics had a few changes to accommodate for the gory nature of the mod. The NPCs have new models and textures for brutal injuries and blood splatters. Blood from both human and alien characters can get on everything from the walls to your gun, and of course there’s an option for more blood with the Better Blood mod. Just seeing body parts everywhere and having bloodstains on your gun makes you feel like you did walk through a blood bath.
There are some brand-new effects added into the game so that the explosions look spectacular, as your target flies from the blast point while their limbs tumble to different areas. New animations have been added for deaths as well. Animations such as wounded, and the previously mentioned kick. However, I think the kick animation looks a bit discomforting considering that the leg seems to be higher than it should go. Half-Life´s music remains the same though (for the moment), as well as the voice acting (at least, for the most part). However, the weapon sound effects have been replaced with more thunderous shots.
Which adds to the feeling of how powerful these guns are. There are also a few new audio files for wounded NPCs in “Brutal Half-Life”, but while I have stated at the beginning of this review that this mod was hilarious. The sounds of a scientist being in agony because his arm has been blown off, can make things really dark in BHL. And seeing an injured scientist while he shouts, “Please, no!” is enough for me to consider to give him a mercy killing. The soldiers, on the other hand, spewing out “Is that all you got?” just makes me want to smash their bodies into giblets.
The controls are the exact same from the vanilla game with just a few exceptions. Nevertheless, the most noticeable change that you will notice when you boot the game, is the mouse sensitivity since its default setting for “Brutal Half-Life” is 7. So you may want to change that before playing. The other change is the Q key, which was swap to previous the weapon from the original Half-Life default, for it is now used for the kick command. And If you preferred having a quick swap key in finger’s reach, then you may want to change the binding to that too. However, I recommend keeping kick bind to a key since it’s very useful.
+ As the name of the mod suggests it does bring the Brutal theme to Half-Life.
+ It’s fun to go up close to some enemies with a shotgun and sent them flying.
+ New effects in both visuals and audio make the combat parts even more gratifying.
+ Like Brutal Doom in its early stages, there are things still yet to come for this mod.
– Despite the slight AI improvement the enemies lack of attention makes it less challenging.
– A few glitches here and here.
There are still some kinks to work out. Most of which are models clipping through the map but in some cases things can get interesting, such as during the Blast Pit chapter after killing the scientist hiding on top of the generator and stepping on any part of his corpse, you will suddenly explode (it’s actually hilarious if you try it yourself.). However, keep in mind that this is simply a Beta ( version 0.1 to be exact) with the next update showing some new mechanics. It may be just blood and gun for now, but this mod is just at the beginning of its gory glory.
Title: Brutal Half-Life
Format: Mod for Half-Life on PC
Release date: 2015-03-15
Spent time: 5+ hours
Mod DB Community Rating: 9.6/10
PEGI/ESRB age rating: PEGI 16/Mature
Price: Free (Mod)
Brutal Half-Life on Mod DB [Link]
The Gaming Ground
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