Half-Life: Anomalous Materials

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Arriving at the Anomalous Materials Laboratory, his usual place of work, Gordon dons his HEV Suit and checks his locker, as per routine. Beginning his journey to the test chamber, he goes past the cafeteria, where two more grumpy scientists are sitting. Noticing the microwave on the right, Gordon spots a chance for a practical joke.

Turning up the power, he steps away and waits. The casserole within explodes violently, and the scientist comes rushing over, disparaged at the state of his breakfast. Continuing down to the lab once more, Gordon finds himself face to face with the people conducting his test.

They inform him that they have a unique and large sample of anonymous origin, and that they will be deviating from normal procedure to accommodate for this. Carrying on through more doors and past more scientists, he enters the chamber, and the large metal door closes behind him.

Following the normal procedure, he goes up the ladder to the control panel and presses the button to start the rotors on the excessively huge Anti-Mass Spectrometer suspended from the ceiling. Going back down, he waits for the sample to arrive in its cart. Rising up from below, the sample arrives at last. “Standard procedure for a non-standard specimen,” they assure him from above. “Go ahead, Gordon.” Taking the cart in hand, he pushes it nonchalantly into the beam.

All that happens next became something of a blur. Screaming from the scientists, telling him to stop, but drowning that out, the deafening sound of explosions, and flashes of green light that leave fading marks on his retina. Then black. All that can be heard is the sound of his heavy breathing.

Another flash of green, and he’s on a strange alien world. Just within the pool of green light around him, odd-looking bipedal lifeforms stare at him, confused about why he’s there. More so, Gordon wonders where he could possibly be. Another flash of green and he’s back in the destroyed test chamber, feeling considerably worse for wear after his “other world experience” – but it’s certainly not over yet.

Trivia
  • At the beginning of the chapter, behind the desk where the security guard is sitting, there is a red and green switch. If used, it will momentarily set off an alarm.
  • In the same room the security guard is sitting, there is a small set of machinery in the lower left corner. There is a red and a green button on the front of it. Upon pressing the use key on either of them (they are part of the same model), a laptop folds out on top of the set of machinery. The owner of the laptop, a scientist, sees this and scolds the player, saying he’s “expecting a very important message” and closes the laptop and locks it preventing Gordon from using it.
  • Continually using the microwave oven located on the way to the locker room will cause it to explode. This “microwave casserole” incident is mentioned by Doctor Magnusson in Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
  • In Gordon Freeman’s locker can be found several easter eggs: a baby’s picture and the books The Orchid Eater and The 37th Mandela, written by the series’ writer Marc Laidlaw. Other lockers bear the names of Valve employees, such as Marc Laidlaw, Kelly Bailey, Ted Backman, Chuck Jones, John Guthrie (which is open in Unforeseen Consequences and contains an American flag and ammo for the pistol), Ken Birdwell, etc.
  • In the test chamber, if the sample is pulled from the Spectrometer, one of the Vortigaunts teleporting in there won’t teleport out; instead, he stands on the cart and attacks Gordon. He will be there after the map change, floating in the air.
  • If, by using the “impulse 101” cheat, you fire the Hivehand weapon into the pit of the Anti-Mass Spectrometer in the test chamber, it will cause the resonance cascade without having to activate the machine or push the specimen into place.
The Poll


Screenshots

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WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.

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Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
The Replay Experience Experiment

This post is part of the The Replay Experience Experiment 2012 event. This is a chance to replay all the Half-Life games and discuss them based on our experiences since we first played them.

Hat Tip

All text taken from the CombineOverWiki, a fan-supported, editable wiki covering the Half-Life series of games.

A Complete Half-Life Walkthrough
A Complete Half-Life Walkthrough

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21 Comments

  1. Everything else, the hazard course, the inbound tram ride have all been leading up to this. The “real” start of the game.

    The first thing that struck me was the doors and the complicated opening process. Well, that’s not exactly true because we had already seen something similar in the tram ride, but here you could get really close.

    I think ti was from this point forward I started making sketches of various door mechanisms. If I can find them I will post them on the TREE page.

    Once through the double door system we enter the main area and the colours and style are a shock; but in a good way. The area seems active and I tried to notice everything.

    There is gentle but insistent pressure to move you on with the words coming from the characters.

    They seemed so alive and it was almost as if they actually had things to do.

    I noticed a few new things, or at least things that I don’t remember noticing the first time through:

    The computer in the corner and the alarm button. These are important, as the show the player the level of interactivity with the world around them: their actions have subtle consequences.

    The map on the wall was also interesting for me as it looks to be accurate. Here is the another example of Valve teasing you with what’s coming.

    Is this the first sighting of a vent cover? Little did we know how much time we would spend inside those!

    We get another view of the G-man. Actually, on page 67 of the Prima Official Half-Life Strategy Guide, he is referred to as the “dark-suited man”.

    The other areas all add to the illusion of a large and working research facility.

    Somebody *really* needs to make and market a mug like the one in image 22. Yes, I know they make one, but really look at the image. How much cooler would it be if it looked EXACTLY the same as that one. Yes, that’s right, way cooler.

    Once I had collected my HEV, I noticed the subtle music start. It’s the same music I use for the intro of my podcasts. I have to admit I normally play with the music a little lower than most.

    Next on my playthrough were the rotating posters around the first elevator. They also gave the player a hint of what’s to come.

    As you have probably seen, the poll for this chapter is the elevator and ladder question. I climbed down the ladder, what about you?

    There’s lots of cool effects from some of the machinery, especially in image 31, where those “things” become steamy and then clear.

    Image 30 shows a little graphical glitch, which I am surprised wasn’t corrected.

    At this point the shit really hits the fan as we enter the main lab and this of course was a revelation. WOW, I thought, this rocks!

    The effects were amazing and jumping around from Xen to the lab was pretty cool.

    And as I keep saying we see Xen and the vortigaunts as another teaser.

    So far we have had a fairly passive role in the game, but that’s about to change. Big time….

  2. This is where it all starts, this is where it all begins (after a tedious tram ride with the voice of a very annoying women), this is where we started to be engrossed into an alternative reality.

    The Replay Experience Experiment: Anomalous Materials
    You are welcomed by your colleagues as you make your way to getting your HEV Suit and then make your way to the “Test Chamber”. All of this is a genteel prelude to the greatest single player FPS made so far.

    At the ” Test Chamber” you are welcomed by two bickering white coated wazzock’s who eventually let you into the chamber and it’s too late to think of taking back your library book’s instead!

    Wow! This place is big!

    The amateur sounding voices over the PA reassure you with words like ” probably” and tell you what to do next.

    You climb the ladder start the rotors and go back down the ladder to await the sample, it arrives, you push it into the beam and all hell breaks loose. You see some of the creatures you will meet later, in what at the time could have been an hallucination.

    The whole chapter really sets the scene for what is to come! I’ve replayed Half Life many times over the years and will continue to do so, as even now it is way, way more playable and fun than most modern games.

    BUT!

    As I replay this there some thoughts and questions?

    I can understand the guards opening doors for me, as security is their job, but if I’m a highly trained professional why do I need scientists to open doors for me? What! don’t they trust me or something? OK fair enough getting into the ” Test Chamber” needs two people!

    Now! I’m in the “Test Chamber”, why is the only console to start the rotor’s up on some half arse’d platform I have to climb a ladder for? With all this technology, couldn’t they afford a lift? Why couldn’t it just have been at ground level anyway? Can you imagine the Large Hadron Collider at CERN being started in such a way?
    The Replay Experience Experiment: Anomalous Materials

    The sample arrives! What am I? I’m a highly trained professional not a bloody janitor!

    Better yet couldn’t this be done remotely from a nice, safe, comfy bunker at a safe distance? At least I’d be able to get cup of coffee!

    Playtime: 8 minutes

    1. Hec

      Now! I’m in the “Test Chamber”, why is the only console to start the rotor’s up on some half arse’d platform I have to climb a ladder for? With all this technology, couldn’t they afford a lift? Why couldn’t it just have been at ground level anyway? Can you imagine the Large Hadron Collider at CERN being started in such a way?

      Well, good point, and makes me think: Maybe BM Source Mod developers should add an elevator in there, but I think also that would be very unfair to the concept, I mean BM source alredy improves some BM environments, like those Labs with crystal walls and those so “portalish” good looking spaces into BM, but I just think maybe to be a fair remake of HL1 in source they just will stick to the classic and sometimes crazy designs of the original valve guys.

  3. Anomalous Materials. The entrance has a great atmosphere, and straight out of the door we get another bad sign: the guard says about system crash and also some problems in the test chamber below. You can miss this sign, though. But if you carefully explore the whole room, you will be greatly rewarded: you can press a button to open a small computer, you can turn on the alarm. It was fun to discover these back in the day.

    And who could have thought that by playing with microwave oven you will make someone more angry than by putting the certain yellow crystal into the ray!

    The place just oozes great atmosphere, shows people at work, it’s so exciting and inspiring. People talk about something big that’s going to happen. It also has optional exploration, which is very enjoyable. No surprise that when I started developing my Half-Life mod Typical Disaster, I beginned it with something similar.

    It’s truly amazing how they managed to do such strong atmosphere using such simple (for today standarts) level design. Small scripted scenes like a scientist who tries to use a soda machine, a scientist who ties his shoelace are certainly very important, they make the place look alive. And ambient sounds are excellent, too. There’s a great variety of interesting environments. In Half-Life: Source pipes are more round than in the original HL, which is a nice touch.

    During this playthrough, for some reason I often saw two same scientists near each other. I even was lucky enough to see three Einsteins in one room! Usually there are different scientists at these places.
    The Replay Experience Experiment: Anomalous Materials

    Glitch: door goes through the peg:
    The Replay Experience Experiment: Anomalous Materials

    I checked, there’s the same glitch in original Half-Life.

    We see the mysterious man in blue suit negotiating with some scientist, in a room which has the only static mesh filing cabinet in the whole game. All other filling cabinets are made from brushes. Running a bit ahead, I say that I like breaking those, but only in original game it’s possible. Mod developers don’t bother making breakable filling cabinets. But I did, because it was fun to break them when playtesting Typical Disaster. The same is true for the bookcases.

    Nonlinearity when we can choose between elevator and ladder is a nice touch. As for the poll question, I started the elevator and then used the ladder, arriving below slightly faster than the elevator.

    Water ionization chambers room shows great brushwork. The scientists talking with you in the test chamber really makes you feel like a part of the team. The broken computer is an obvious bad sign which can’t be missed.

    And of course the test chamber is the most exciting place in the whole chapter. It just blows you away with this big circular room, giant machines which you get to start, a lot of special effects, and, which is the most interesting for me, a glimpse into another world. The scientists” dialogues hints that there might be something wrong with the system that they don’t want to admit, and then you put the crystal in, and then… What happens next is just too great for words. You have to see it.

    The breathing sound is so weird that for some time I didn’t understand that it was breathing.

    Playtime: about 19 minutes. Can’t be more precise this time because I forgot to turn the stopwatch on once and missed some seconds.

    The glitch on image 30 seem to be done by the lighting compiler. I fixed similar ones in Typical Disaster by using different version of it. If this suggestion is right, Valve probably couldn’t fix it because they didn’t have the different version at that time.

  4. TWIN SUNS

    Ah yes, the calm before the storm, no matter how many test simulations had been done and reassurances from the scientists, you knew the upcoming test was gonna go down the drain.

    There are plenty of great tidbits in this chapter, including the computer alarm, Gordon’s locker, Magnusson’s casserole, the scientists comments, everyone saying “Good Morning Gordon!” and of course G-Man’s appearance.

    “They’re waiting for you Gordon… in the Test Chamber”

    Playtime: 11 minutes

  5. Kaito Kid

    I will talk about my first time ever more than this replay, there is not much to say about this replay except that im proud of the speed. please note that I started on easy, and will play on easy from now on, to prevent you from seeing too much deaths on screen 😛

    Yeah, I always liked this level for the main reason that it’s safe. I like to turn on Half-Life and type in “map c1a0” in console, and run around the level for hours randomly bumping into scientists, sometimes cheating to shoot them. The first time ever that I played it, I admit I must have got lost a few times, showing how great valve can be at making levels. The fact that there ARE places we you don’t need to go, but still you realize you’re in the right direction really quickly, that’s what makes the level design so perfect. I am proud that I exploded the lunch by myself the first time, disovering an important easter egg. After playing episode 2, I was happy to see that my act of rebellion didn’t go unnoticed, but I had played hl1 once at this point, and since MOST of the scientists have random models (they change from one playthrough to another) and I had seen a black scientist shout at me, I was confused. I just assumed valve didn’t plan to use that scientist later on, so they gave him eli’s face. When I got more into half-life (becoming the geek I am) I saw on most forums that Magnusson was one of the scientist just before the test chamber. That makes sense since there is one of them that has similar voice and personality to magnusson, but if it is the case, HOW THE F**K DID HE KNOW ABOUT THAT INCIDENT? it could still lead to a huge theory, but that’s not the point here.
    Also, on my first playthrough I thought I had made a mistake with the sample. I thought I wasn’t supposed to put it in the laser and therefore, not supposed to start the invasion. I was a lot younger at that point 😛 Throughout the rest of the game, I always felt responsible for everything, and when a barney said “if I ever get my hands on the guy responsible for THIS mess” I was like “oh shit” and I told him to stay there and fled. I was afraid he could find out and kill me. THe point is, the game was so well done that I over-estimated valve, I thought they had made an entire plot for the case where people would not do exactly what they were supposed to, so I thought the game was way less linear than it is in fact. when there were multiple paths later on, when I chose the right one first, I would go on thinking the other one would make a whole different story from now on. So valve completely got me into thinking they had a non-linear game, since they are so good at making linear games with tons of paths.

    Playtime: 5 Minutes 30 seconds 583 milliseconds

  6. William

    Playtime: 22 Minutes 21 seconds

  7. Ade

    Can’t believe I missed G-Man’s 2nd appearance, I’m always bad at this.. arghh! I too found the 2nd Trivia item, but only today! Most of the rest of the easter-eggs I did stumble upon on my hours and HOURS of first playthroughs. Well, except for the dev names, cus I had no idea who they were then, of course. I remember getting lost a lot here, prolly should’ve listened to Barney more careful.
    “Have a very safe day!” is the end of the suit monologue which I’m sure we all love and some of you know it by heart even. I ended an email to Phillip with that phrase once and he didn’t recognize it. Haha now I know why, he never replayed the series! Well I guess that’s solved this summer 🙂
    I also found a bug, some overlapping textures at the Test Lab door.
    I admit the “small discrepancy” phrase still had an impact, but knowing what will happen next mostly made me smile with anticipation.
    Can’t believe it was so short this time, shortest playthrough of this section so far, probably (forgot to note the start, but could’ve been 8 to 9 minutes total). And again, I wanted to play the next section also, as I was checking for PP’s next post more than once a day. So yea, it’s good. I’d give it a “Play It Now!” if I could.

  8. Vic

    The Anomalous Materials lab represents the moment Half-Life really gets going. We are introduced with the game’s limited cast: the science team, and the security force. We get our first look at Half-Life’s detailed and realistic level design, although it’s indubitably aged a great deal since 1998. And, of course, we find out just how interactive the game can be.

    We first slap on the HEV suit. We destroy a harmless microwave casserole – the consequences of this act lasting for almost two decades. We meet with Eli Vance, and we encounter the prototypical ancestors of Kleiner and Magnusson. We find out more about how Black Mesa works, and we get first contact with the alien species that has colonized Xen, through an encounter with its slave caste: the Vortigaunts.

    This moment is important for both the player/Gordon Freeman, AND the Vortigaunts themselves, for Gordon will become their liberator later in the game by freeing them from their servitude to their more advanced “cousin”, the eldritch inter-dimensional lord: the Nihilanth.

    And, of course, we are responsible for the Resonance Cascade – a cataclysm that devastates the edges of our dimesion, producing a rift between it and a “borderworld” known only as Xen. Wallace Breen will later describe the nature of a borderworld: “worlds stretched thinly across the membranes where the dimensions intersect“.

    This rift will endure for almost two decades, although it remains unknown if it remained open even after the Resistance’s Xenium resonator rocket was launched in Episode Two. Perhaps an answer to this question will be found in Half-Life 3. After all, with the rift open, Earth will always be vulnerable to intrusion – be it from Xen, or from elsewhere. Maybe closing this rift will represent one of Half-Life’s conclusions.

    A great number of mod releases have chosen to take us back to the Anomalous Materials facilities. Half-Life: Invasion ends with Gordon’s demise after a voyage back to the now-destroyed AM laboratory. Black Mesa: Source, will, of course, reimagine the AM labs in 2012 glory. Robert Yang’s uber-experimental Level With Me concludes with “the test chamber that started it all”.

    Even Half-Life 2 itself revisits the C-33/a test chamber, within the introductory G-Man encounter right at the start of the game.

    Due to this chapter’s legacy and heritage, for many fans, using the impulse 101 cheat to shoot up the AM labs has become a tradition in itself – perhaps even a pilgrimage of sorts. Just look at all the videos of it on YouTube! Consider trying it out yourself some time.

    There’s not much else to say about Anomalous Materials. Half-Life 2’s Point Insertion would later inherit its paradigm of expository exploration gameplay – but it would pull it off in a far more interesting, multi-faceted, and detailed manner. But of course, Anomalous Materials will always carry that air of pure magic – this is where it all came together; this is where it all started.

    Playtime: 17 minutes

  9. Anon_442347

    Actually the HiveHand DOESN’t trigger the resonance cascade. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work.

  10. jetpig

    I’m really struck by the music all the way up to this point. It really sets the mood. The sense of everything not quite going right also sets this edge to the whole thing. From you running just a little late, yet still passing the G-Man on the ride in, to the systems going down and the mention of a problem in the test chamber. I never knew about the laptop in the corner of the lobby until I read this, but that only serves to add to the anxiousness and apprehensive atmosphere… Also, the dialogue between the scientists before you enter the chamber strikes me as something that could have been heard at NASA before either of the shuttle disasters, “We’ve assured the administrator that nothing will go wrong.” This really conveys a pressure to make sure this experiment happens, whatever the risks. *shift-tabs back into HL* Time to go push a sample into the testing device. *braces for impact*

  11. Unq

    Following right on the atmosphere of Black Mesa Inbound, this chapter expands on what we saw on the tram ride. In 1998 we really hadn’t seen anything like Anomalous Materials, where there was a living, breathing world that seemed to exist fine without us. People were going about their normal business and would chat directly with us but it wasn’t just all pre-scripted stuff. I wasn’t the all-powerful hero; I was just one of many scientists in a larger lab.

    This chapter is great at the art of teasing (if I may borrow a phrase). You get a peek at the huge test chamber before going into it. You get to watch our mysterious antagonist behind closed doors. Ultimately all of Anomalous Materials can be considered a tease, since in the next chapter you’ll be retracing your steps in a different manner.

    You’re also trained. You’re implicitly taught that you can’t normally use retinal scanners – twice. It’s a nice way of showing rather than explicitly saying.

    I’ll also mention the nifty music. Klaxon Beat is a contrast to the atmospheric tram ride music and it really makes you feel rockin in your HEV suit.

    Mapper’s Corner: I won’t focus on any specific section of this chapter this thime, but if you map you should play Anomalous Materials while keeping an eye on the entities necessary to flesh out the lab. The map with the test chamber contains nearly 500 entities by itself (and was put together in just a weekend by Kelly Bailey and John Guthrie!). The Half-Life SDK also includes the map sources (rmfs) for c1a0 and c1a0d which are the first 2 maps of Anomalous Materials. I highly recommend taking a look if you’re a mapper.

    The Replay Experience Experiment: Anomalous Materials

    Playtime: 11 minutes

  12. I remember this level as the last part of the introduction story, which blew me away the first time I played it. This is the magic we did not get with Half Life 2 as it just jumped straight into wondrous peril and the story built up slowly.
    I remember it took me so long to find my way to the HEV suit room it seems embarrassing now! My last replay was rather rapid.
    I spent so much time sight seeing and trying to open and operate everything I saw, as well as talking to every person I met, that it was an age before I was in the test chamber. It still resonates an ominous sense of doom as it becomes active with a good sound build up and some great effects even by today’s standards. Back when it was new, those things were a revelation!
    When the resonance cascade failure initiated the first time I naturally thought my PC had froze on the black screen, but luckily the flashes of aliens and monsters was shown instead. A constant threat with high-end graphic settings! Ha, ha….

    And, why take a ladder when the lift works!

    1. Kaito Kid

      lift’s slow
      ladder is medium
      Jumping straight down is fast.

  13. 2muchvideogames

    Replay 3: Anomalous Materials Challenges:

    – Get to the next room before the 3 scientists in the control room finish talking to you.
    – Find a way to keep the test chamber vault door open after you enter it.

    This chapter is a great way to get you acquainted with your fellow coworkers, providing an up-close of the work done in your sector in the Black Mesa. Gordon is quite the troublemaker isn’t he?

  14. Hec

    This was the very beggining of everything, just some minutes of calm, and then the whole mess and post-apocalyptic world we know beggins in there!!

    I just want to contrast this HL beggining with the HL2 beggining, pretty similar but kind of different is the paradox in there, I mean here in BM as Phillip said, everything looks like a really busy work environment, even ur fellow partner scientists that are “friendly” most of the time (excepting Magnusson, I guess), are just stresed the jheck out!!!, one thing that recall my atention in my very 1st gameplay back in 2003 or 04, was the rude sentence of: EXCUSE ME GORDON BUT!! I’m RATHER BUSY NOW!!!!!!, very nice rather than rude, but u can see that if they keep politeness away, they would say, GET THE F***K OFF!!!!, wow, every dialogue in there, every especial detail, was so inmersive, I mean THIS IS HL!!, from that point on, every map will gets you deeper AND DEEPER as you go on, untill you reach the last map and scene in HLEP2 so far, is filled with that lovely but charming and addictive touch everywhere u go!!

    OH and in HL2 beggining once u get to the train station is that same strange calm, but in this time the repressive feeling is what it counts, in HL1 once u get to BM, the constant feeling is of intrigue, then all the things start a big big fire!!

    Oh by the way, I’m REALLY EAGER TO SEE HOW THE MOD, BLACKMESA SOURCE WILL REACH THAT GREATNESS OF THE ORIGINAL, they may reach it, I cross fingers they will, but as I say, i’m just eager to see those mod maps and play them!!

  15. This is the place that I think should have been the real intro to the game. You can wander around and interact with the environment to some degree.

    It also gives a nice exploding start to the series.

    I also think I found a bug, not sure if intended. If you move the anomaly-device back right after the explosion starts happening. One vortigaunt drops on top of it and won’t teleport away. It starts to attack player after the event has finished.

    Playtime:
    12min

  16. This is the first time we are able to interact with many things.
    We first see reception area which already looks great with nice blue-textured walls and some high tech like lots of computer screens on the wall, a map on the other opposite side and a very cool desk for the receptionist.

    Trivia #1: Use the “little” computer system in of the the corners to open the computer display, and one of the scientists will run to it, closing it again, saying: “I’m expecting an important message!”

    Trivia #2: Behind the receptionist desk use the button near it to sound the alarm and you’ll hear:
    “My god, what are you doing?” (scientist) and “C’mon Gordon, are you trying to get me into trouble?” (Barney, the guard)

    It feels very real and alive due to humans are interactive the first time in a FPS game.
    Now we can walk around and explore some other areas, watching the Gman talking with another scientist, but you can’t understand it as it’s behind thick window glass.
    You’ll only hear mumble mumble…

    On the opposite side of the “Gman room” you can find another room with three scientists.

    Trivia #3: Turn off the light via the switch and one of the scientists will also say “My god, what are you doing?” again just before he’s going to turn on the lights again!

    Trivia #4: Next stop is the cafeteria if you want. There you can overheat the microwave until the food explodes inside it. Obligatory “My god, what are you doing?” will be hearable yet again.

    One of the intense is grabbing the HEV suit in the locker / toilet area.
    It’s not that atmospheric as it’s in HL2, but still great feeling as suddenly music starts playing pushing the atmosphere to an even higher level.
    I always love to hear the female HEV voice annoucing the status and properties of the suit.
    (“Major fracture detected!”) Very well done Valve!

    Don’t miss the HEV battery in Freeman’s locker!

    Trivia #4: Inside our locker are books of author Marc Laidlaw, who’s actually one of the creators of HL. There’s also a locker marked as “Laidlaw”.

    Trivia #5: All locker names are actually names of the HL team, except Freeman of course.

    After equipping the HEV suit you can head to the test chamber, on the way to it there are even more scripted events such as greeting scientists etc.

    “Anomalous Materials” (AM) is filled with scientists, scripts and chitchat which makes it just feel real. Most excellent!

    The best moment of this chapter is by far the experience inside the test chamber, after things go wrong. You lose consciousness (what a sick word 😛 ), the screen fades to black and you only can hear yourself breathing slowly, and after you recovered a bit you are seeing visions of unknown places, creatures. What the hell is that? What’s wrong?? What happened??

    Very, very intense and just staged perfectly! I can hear Hollywood calling 😉

    In conlclusion “AM” is very well done and interesting, the layouts are pretty cool and lot of textures were used. Lighting is neat too, especially in the test chamber.
    It was great to replay this yet again because it’s an essential chapter.

    Playtime: 9 minutes (checked out every corner again)

  17. AlterIWnet

    This hl1 map is all about corridors. I got a little lost first time I went through it. Framerate is always really good on this sectin of the maps especially on the vents hehe…I was just using an amd 400 mhz, 128 memory so I played hl1 on software mode at lowest settings poor me…hahaha!!!! Had lots of bad surface errors, had to install 3-4 hl1 on different directories just to get that pesky error avoided. Once I got a more powerful rig 2 years later replayed hl1 and all it’s mods like crazy. Reading all the post here makes me wanna play hl1 again for the 38 time.

  18. Hec

    If you move the anomaly-device back right after the explosion starts happening. One vortigaunt drops on top of it and won’t teleport away. It starts to attack player after the event has finished.

    That’s not a bug, if u keep the sample away the vorti will stay there and starts attacking the player, that’s part of what the Trivia
    says.

  19. I’ve had yet another play through, this time in the non-Source version, and rather than try to get through it at top speed, I’ve taken my time and listened to the random announcements over the PA, the chat between scientists, and security guards, and felt there might have been some hints to the real back story in and amongst.

    The scientists are all aware that it’s a critical test, that things are being pushed beyond the acceptable limits, and so on, and even question where the sample originated from..(“They went to some lengths to get it…”)… (“What the…is going wrong with the equipment?” “It wasn’t meant to do this in the first place…..”) I missed most of this all those years ago on my first attempts to get through Black Mesa, but have thoroughly enjoyed them this time.

    One event that happened that might or might not have been a glitch, was I managed to push one of the last two scientists, by the door into the test chamber inside the chamber itself….as soon as the doors slid shut he simply vanished, (It works for either scientist)though his voice was still heard over the intercom….Then as I listened to the scientists chatting, I swear that there was a third voice, which could only have been Gordon Freeman himself…..

    “Look to the delivery system for your specimen…”
    “Standard insertion for a non-standard specimen…”

    “What is he doing in there…?” (This has to be Gordon..)

    “Nothing you need to worry about Gordon”

    “Oh dear”…

    “…shutting down, attempting shutting down…”

    “No!” (As does this)

    Am I wrong??

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