Half-Life: Black Mesa Inbound

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

8:47am is the start of Half-Life. We don’t know the year or month, but with “a topside temperature of 93 degrees” it’s likely to be summer.

The tram ride introudces the player to the extensive world they are about to explore. As the CombineOverwiki says the “intricate workings of the Black Mesa Research Facility revealing themselves as being fragile, and more often than not, broken.”, shows that even secret bases don’t always work as planned.

The voice and screen text add just enough information to ensure you know what’s going on but without distracting you from looking around.

The ride finally ends with the tram stopping and your being let out by a security guard…“Morning Doctor Freeman, looks like you are running late”.

Trivia
  • This chapter features the only confirmed sighting of Barney Calhoun in Half-Life, affirmed by the beginning sequence to Half-Life: Blue Shift.
  • When viewing the penultimate map of this chapter in an external map viewer it’s possible to see a different version of the Sector C Test Labs entrance behind the door. This is also achievable through the use of cheats.
The Poll


Screenshots

Click on the thumbnails below to open a 1024 pixel wide image.
WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.

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

On the left is a complete text walkthrough for Half-Life.

It has been written by Stanley E. Dunigan and updated with all the tricks and tips from PlanetPhillip.Com readers.

It is in PDF format, meaning you can open it directly in modern browsers or download it and print it.

(Left-click to open and right-click to save)

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50 Comments

  1. I’ve started Black Mesa Inbound a few times since I first played Half-Life, just to get some screenshots, but this is the first time I “played” it all the way through.

    My initial reaction was that it was faster than I remember, so fast in fact, I paused it and considered looking for a console command to slow it down. Since my PC is so slow I decoded the time I took to leave the game, search and come back just wasn’t worth it. If necessary, I’ll go through it twice.

    I do remember being absolutely amazed by the whole thing. It’s quite possible that this was my very first introduction to the game as I don’t remember if I played the Hazard Course first or not.

    The woman’s voice and the setting had me hocked even before the first level load. Before playing HL, the only other game I had completed was Unreal and the beginning of that was pretty good too.

    Like most, I ran around the tram trying to get the best view of everything. I’m pretty sure I was frustrated that I couldn’t stop and stare for a while, but that was the point. Valve wanted to tease the hell out of me and they did a great job.

    As the main description says, the facility is not in the best of condition and there are at least two times when people knock on doors. I almost was expecting a gameplay mechanic where the player could knock on a door to get somebody to open it.

    As I was listening to the announcement I wondered why nobody had made a mod called “Beyond Sector C”, which is redolent of things just beyond your grasp or one called “The Central Transit Hub”, which would be a great place to start a mod.

    I am sure the more observant amongst you will know, but do we ever get to visit any of the places we see when riding the tram?

    One cool aspect I forgot as how we went into a tunnel that seemed more like a mine area and just like the Hazard Course, the number of textures and lighting style was great than they may have first appeared.

    Lastly, is the stop. I was a little disappointed that the ground is just black and felt that this area should have been properly lit and visible. I can’t believe it would have caused too many issues to do it.

    I definitely jumped over the rails and even onto the two ledges either side of the main entrance. In fact, I even jumped on top of the tram!

    This was definitely a rush even after all this time, but remember, this is essentially the first time in over 10 years I went all the way through.

    Playtime: 6 Minutes

    1. Just so you know, we never get in those places during the normal half-life, but opposing force visits some of those places after the resonance cascade, so there are cave-ins everywhere and monsters. Also, you can visit those areas in some mods, as Half-Life induction, a peaceful mods which relates events prior to the invasion.

      This mods shows some of gordon’s experiment and goes all the way to when you enter the tram to start the original game. Also Azure Sheep shows pretty much all of those places as “just barney”, but mainly fighting soldiers, not enough monsters in my opinion. Azure sheep’s canon-ness is not perfect but the entire game made it pretty obvious it wasn’t sticking exactly to the original story, as you are the guy fighting the assassins and protecting Gordon right before he gets knocked out, and you lead Shephard in a area he’s never seen in Opposing Force.

      There is also a peak in Visitors, where you enter the door that a scientist was knocking on (from the other side) and you see the railway and the 2 huge electric machines. Most people don’t notice this peak because the area is filled with controllers and the player needs to run quickly to a teleport orb so they dont look around.

      I hope this helped you and gave you motivation to play (or replay) those mods (yes, I am a Half-Life geek :P)

  2. This map is all about portents and expectation settings.

    It demonstrates everything that Valve do differently from other games designers and it immediately sets Half Life above other FPS, even modern ones.

    So as a valve designer, you’re about to lead the player down the rabbit hole into hell but you can’t do that unless you first establish how the normal world operates before it gets messed up. I say “normal” here, of course its not normal at all, the player is working at a top secret facility built into the side of a mountain but Valve have this one section to introduce that world. Thats’s 8 minutes according to Phillip’s playthrough. No time at all.

    Valve use well known sci-fi idioms in the world of Black Mesa so that we’re a little more familiar with the world. A good example of this is the calm female voice which seems to be the vocal signature of any good utopian future. She rattles on about typical corporate message board stuff and then veers off into some rather unsettling messages about radiation poisoning and urine testing. I’m instantly seeing the birth of GlaDos here and can imagine her heading off to some very disturbing places.

    Half Life isn’t just a game, it’s a movie you take part in.

    This could not be shown more clearly than in this chapter. We see several elements here that are going to be key to the story later on, the rocket, the gunship etc…

    Like that shot of the cook in The Hunt For Red October or the pointless story elements about the power plant in Batman Returns, you ask yourself “Why was that in there? Think it will come back later?” and inside you do a little wee hoping that it will.

    Valve are also demonstrating many of the new technologies they were bringing to PC gaming at the time. Water effects, electrical effects, advanced model animations, beam lighting, all of it is thrown in there as an obvious show-reel for what they had been working on.

    This chapter was my introduction to PC gaming. I had only just bought a PC and Half Life was my first game I ever owned for PC. I didn’t play the Hazard Course.

    In the space of 8 minutes I fell in love.

    1. ToTac

      Amen πŸ™‚

  3. It began like a usual weekday. Freeman boarded the train and went to Anomalous Materials.

    Inbound chapter. Here you just look around, and there is a great variety of interesting places. In the first map, to the left I noticed the rooms without a wall and at a great height! The scientists who work there are certainly very brave. They probably using some mechanic bridge to get in and out. The Brave Brain mod which shown that place simply added glass windows and doors to these rooms.

    First time I played this, it was Russian version of Half-Life. The female announcer was replaced with some robotic voice, and back in the day it was so interesting to learn things about Black Mesa from the train voice. But Russian speech was longer than English, so the map change cut the voice. After some time I learned that you can listen the speech fully if you pause the game. Half-Life: Source is where I heard English voices for the first time. And they are a lot better. A lot more things started to make sense, because Russian dialogues often were random and out of place. The synthetic announcer was cut from the game altogether. Thankfully, the voice folders have the same names in Half-Life: Source and original Half-Life, so I could install the English voices into my Half-Life by simply copying the folder, which I gladly did.

    Let’s get back to the inbound chapter. These caves, rooms, open area with a helicopter pad, doors and so on are very exciting. So cool to watch how a door opens and rails extend for your train.

    Here we familiarise ourselves with our character through writings on the screen. Writings that will make sense in the very end of the game: it will turn out that they are not just messages from the story writers, but a part of the story.

    Also in this chapter, we meet the mysterious man in the blue suit for the first time. The radiation spilling from the tank is a bad sign. First of many. At this point we don’t even notice it and don’t get suspicious.

    When I played Half-Life for the first time, I started playing it right after the training course, so there was a machine gun crosshair on the screen. When the voice said “before leaving the train, check the area for personal belongings”, I actually searched the train for the forgotten machine gun πŸ™‚ Because the crosshair is there, but where’s the gun itself? πŸ˜€

    I am sure the more observant amongst you will know, but do we ever get to visit any of the places we see when riding the tram?

    If I remember correctly, we visit the place where Freeman first time saw the G-Man somewhere in Opposing Force. The radiation leak is contained by that time.

    Playtime: 6 minutes, 9.63 seconds.

    (I played and reviewed at the same time, using alt-tab, so I used a stopwatch to measure the time, which I stopped during reviewing and made it continue when got back to play. That’s why it’s so precise.)

  4. Inbound is an Intro/Opening Credits, which after going through it once becomes steadily more irritating as you start to replay the game. When you experience it for the first time it starts of OK, but soon gets really annoying, as you start thinking when does the game start?

    Maybe I’m not being really fair, but I’ve never liked the opening credits in movie’s either.

    What it does do best however is to give some kind of feel for some of the environments you will encounter later, although some are only seen again in mods. I could really have done without annoying female voice, her tone sounds really patronizing to my ears, if I were on a real train/tram she would drive me up the wall.

    I don’t know if I’m the only one to think this, but even on my first play of Half Life I imagined the guard yelling “WILMAAAAA!”, it was later I found out his name was Barney not Fred!
    The Replay Experience Experiment: Black Mesa Inbound

    As you’ve probably guessed ” Inbound” annoyed me, but that said it was the only part of the entire game that did so.

    it’s difficult to define playtime, as all you can do is walk about.

    Playtime: 7 minutes (approximately)

  5. TWIN SUNS

    In video games today, something like Black Mesa Inbound is generally unheard of; players need to be watching cinematic cutscenes and delving straight into fast-paced action, not riding on a slow tram that gives you an atmospheric introductory glimpse into the game’s setting, Black Mesa. Although if I were Gordon I wouldn’t like to make this trip twice every single day. πŸ˜€

    I believe this chapter was extended upon on the Dreamcast(?) version of the game including Gordon getting on the tram at the station.

    I’ll admit I’ve only played through Half Life once, but this chapter I still remember very well.

    Playtime: 6 minutes

  6. Vic

    Black Mesa Inbound is, without a doubt, the most memorable chapter of the entire Half-Life series. It’s also one of the greatest video game intros of all time. After all, did it not start off the trend of “tram ride” game openings, which has not ceased, even to this day? Inbound’s legacy is tremendous, not just for the larger Half-Life continuum, but also for the video game industry as a whole.

    What more is there to say about this sequence that hasn’t been said already? It sets the scene for the secretive, government-sponsored, high-tech Black Mesa research centers, while also portraying them as just another workplace, on just another workday (which, certain Half-Life trailers indicate, was a Monday) sometime in May-June of 200X.

    And of course, they also wanted to demonstrate Half-Life’s revolutionary new technology, while also subtly conveying its new gameplay paradigms (unlike its contemporaries, which began with the player holding a gun in the middle of a warzone; Half-Life 1 started you off unarmed, on Gordon Freeman’s commute).

    The problem is that the tram ride can be… a bit too long. Especially within subsequent playthroughs, when it becomes an almost tedious routine. Perhaps that is, in itself, representative of the nature of work at Black Mesa, but I still think it was a bit too lengthy. Furthermore, the indoor spaces don’t offer much in the way of scenery or vistas. Some more impressive perspectives on Black Mesa’s outdoor facilities would have definitely added variety and improved the tram ride as a whole.

    On a different note: just like they did away with the Hazard Course, Valve have since abandoned the concept of an in-depth introductory tram ride. While they experimented with the idea of a Combine train ride through the Outland (or Wasteland, as they called it back then) for Half-Life 2, it was ultimately turned into a 20-second footnote in the final product. It’s a shame, because I think such a train ride would have been far more impressive and enjoyable than HL1’s tram ride, especially within replays of the game.

    Ironically, however, Half-Life 2’s ending appears to place us in stasis… in the same cross-dimensional Black Mesa tram (even though it is now concealed by total darkness), where the G-Man first hired us, at the conclusion of HL1. Episode One similarly ends on a City 17 train, and Episode Two begins on that same train, having been utterly wrecked following the Citadel’s destructive meltdown. As for how Half-Life 3 might start… well, wasn’t there a train line leading through the White Forest base, from the snowy peaks of the north?

    Play time: 7 minutes

  7. William


    Play time: 12 minutes

  8. Unq

    In 1998 we had seen nothing like Black Mesa Inbound before. Yes, there were cinematics in games, and even in-engine cutscenes. But nothing played out like Half-Life where you still had control and could move around and look where you wanted.

    While a calming automated voice reminds you of tonight’s Black Mesa Hazard Course Decathlon, and as you pass all sorts of interesting things going on like the rocket/missile, robotic loaders, and the helicopter pad, it’s easy to overlook one of the key aspects of the tram ride (and ultimately Half-Life as a game): the music. Kelly Bailey’s Vague Voices is nothing short of an atmospheric masterpiece in my book and the opening seconds always take me right back to the Black Mesa Transit System. I highly encourage you to listen to it properly by itself:

    Black Mesa Inbound is the parallel of an establishing shot in a movie, although it conveys much more than location. Even if you’ve played the Hazard Course, this is the first sense you’ll get of the size and grandness of Black Mesa. It sets the scene perfectly, and more to the point it establishes a mysterious atmosphere. You get the sense that something isn’t right. People are banging on doors and is that a huge radioactive leak we just passed? Why is my administrative sponsor listed as “classified?” Why is there an immediate opening in materials handling? Also there is some minor foreshadowing: “more lives than your own may depend on your fitness.”

    Mapper’s Corner: While there is a lot going on in terms of timing and scripting during the tram ride, I’m going to focus on a couple of common tricks used by Valve. First are the shafts of light that shine under the doors in the first robotic loader area:

    The Replay Experience Experiment: Black Mesa Inbound

    The Half-Life engine doesn’t have volumetric light, so Valve faked it. The shafts of light are actually solid entities; in this case, they’re func_doors so that they move up and down with the door to make it look like the area is flooding with light as the doors open.

    Second, one of Half-Life’s limitations was that entities couldn’t really be tied to each other; for example, you couldn’t have a moving tram with an opening door. So notice there is a level change right at the end of the tram ride. In the first screenshot, you’re still on the moving tram (func_tracktrain) and it comes to a stop. There’s a level change, and now the tram is simply mode of solids (brushes), while the door that opens is a func_train – it moves out and then to the right once Barney enters the code. This level change trick is used a number of times in the game, often in elevators. If you flip between the screenshots, you’ll also see subtle differences in the lighting between the maps.

    The Replay Experience Experiment: Black Mesa InboundThe Replay Experience Experiment: Black Mesa Inbound

    Playtime: 6 minutes

    1. I agree. The music for “Inbound” is very good, being more cinematic in quality rather than pop. I have always played HL with the music very low or off, so I missed this masterpiece. Thanks for the heads up.

      1. Unq

        You’re missing out! Much of the music in HL is perfect for the atmosphere. I don’t particularly like the military-themed tracks, but there are definitely other gems throughout the game you can’t miss.

  9. Ade

    Wow, I don’t remember seeing GMan in this ride..
    And yea, at that time it seemed sooo long to me, too, and I kept jumping and running around like a caged monkey. But because I actually got to ride a train to work for 45 minutes x 2 every day (thank God it was for some training and lasted only a couple of weeks), this time BM Inbound felt really short! and wanted more. Also wanted to play Anomalous Materials but will patiently wait for the next post πŸ˜€
    I love how trains are featured in every hl game, like previous commenters mentioned. And how Valve sneakily takes control away from the player to tell a story, by using this ride here in HL1 and by using monitors to describe events and animate dialogues in HL2, while keeping the cutscenes to a minimum, and “getting away” with it, too. It’s something that a lot of modders fail at, sadly.

  10. Barnz

    No mention of this dude?
    The Replay Experience Experiment: Black Mesa Inbound

    1. Can you even see his face from the tram?

      Is he seen elsewhere in the game?

      1. You can see him from the side if your quick enough, and he is seen 2 other times during that exact tram ride πŸ˜€
        actually one more time in the same machine (but considering the amount of barneys and scientist with the same face, it’s probably a different guy) when you go past a missile (wtf is a missile doing there anyway). The face is also the same as the face of the janitors, a mostly unused model. You can see a janitor ONCE during the tram ride, attempting to get rid of a rat. This janitor isn’t even present in some versions of the game, neither is the rat. The janitor is often used in mods, mostly as different dead bodies. it’s dead model contains a bug, making him stand up IN the ground (so we see him from the waist up) and looking alive, but he isn’t solid. Also some mods like Point Of View use the janitor as an alive character and make him fight. Point of view even made many janitors with different weapons, from a knife to a broom.

        1. Aazell

          It’s the missile you fire later on when you lauch the sattellite….

          1. Kaito Kid

            WRONG HAHAHAHAHAHA (here comes the half-life geek)

            This missile is actually a lot smaller than the one you launch during On A Rail.
            I actually think it’s a nuclear missile, since it is exactly like what’s hung to the ceiling at the tripmine room in Surface Tension. Since there are 2 of those missiles at that spot and only one at beginning, it is unlikely that it is the same one, so that means black mesa actually owns MANY nuclear missiles O.O
            Also you see one like this one during opposing force (chapter: Friendly Fire) near some black ops that plan to blow up everything, so it means either the black ops decided to USE black mesa’s missiles to blow it up, or that they ARE the one that brought those in in the first place, but this theory would imply that the resonance cacade was planned by gman (or equivalent, but episode 2 seems to prove that it was gman) and that he had TOLD the black ops about it. This would explain the unknown origin of the black ops (gman’s employees?) and why they are shooting the soldiers, which should be on their team. That would also explain why the black ops didn’t seem to be in any urge to leave the place after setting the bomb off, if they had another mean of leaving (teleportation?). This would also reinforce the theory that gman is part of the combine, since he retrieved the xen crystal KNOWING what were it’s powers. Let’s stop my theory here, since it could go on for pages anyway, but since we’re likely to not see another hl opus until we’re dead, I like to believe that’s the truth πŸ˜€

            Screenshots:

            Black Mesa Inbound Missile:

            http://i47.tinypic.com/t62fwo.jpg
            http://i50.tinypic.com/inu241.jpg

            Surface Tension Missiles:

            http://i48.tinypic.com/r1bq0x.jpg
            http://i45.tinypic.com/a2f6e8.jpg
            http://i46.tinypic.com/29fsggg.jpg

            Opposing Force Missile:

            http://i49.tinypic.com/o7vi4g.jpg
            http://i46.tinypic.com/244ocbm.jpg

            On A Rail Missile:

            http://i50.tinypic.com/34ovnrs.jpg
            http://i46.tinypic.com/14axy7p.jpg
            http://i49.tinypic.com/6f2wlj.jpg
            http://i47.tinypic.com/2ywd84o.jpg

            Yes, I used cheats to get the view angles (and weapons)

            1. Aazell

              Ha! I love this response! You are a master of geekness sir!
              Congrats!

            2. CoRuJa

              Do you guys really believe in this theory that was the G-Man who triggered the Resonance Cascade (There are many things in the franchise, specially in HL2, that I don’t believe regardless if it’s canon or not)

              This only serves to “antagonize” him for no obvious reason. I wonder what has gotten in Marc Laidlaw’s head to state this fact and I don’t think he would ever do this and I don’t recall any part in EP2 which proof that was GMan who triggered this event and he has nothing to do with the Combine.

              1. Kaito Kid

                Well, it has never been explicitely said, but Eli DID say “I should have known it, when he brought in that sample… I should have aborted that damn test!” and he also mentions gman told him “preparer for unforseen consequences” just before the resonance cascade, and the scientist who is likely to be eli in hl1 (near broken computer) also says “we tried to warn them” meaning he had got the information on what was going to happen before it happened, but after gordon passed him (or he would have told gordon) so it’s likely that gman’s intervention happened during the time we wwere going to the test chamber or while the rotors were heating off or something. Nobody EVER said that gman is part of the combine, but it is a popular theory, since he mentioned that XEN was in “their” control now (hl1 ending) and we know in hl2 that xen has been taken over by the combine shortly after the nihilanth’s death.

  11. What to say? It’s the best intro for a FPS ever!
    Being able to move around, looking in every direction while the tram rides automatically was such a great intense experience when playing the very first times!
    My English wasn’t that good back in the days but I did understand most of what the announcer said, now I understand every last bit πŸ™‚
    There are plenty of things to see such as people walking around doing their jobs, such as driving a forklifter etc.
    Even nowadays I like the mapping very much, it’s highly detailed and very varied due to the tram rides takes quite long time and goes through several areas. Many textures are being used here.
    The lighting is another masterpiece, it just look awesome and realistic!

    My favorite place is the Apache down in the valley, as I first thought:
    “Whoa! Cool! A helicopter!” I never could imagine to fight some of these monsters late in the game! GREAT!

    Another trivia fact for the Apache section in the intro:
    If you take a closer look at the layout you’ll see it’s almost the same used in the Deathmatch map “Bounce” in HL!

    Here are some screenshots for comparison:
    “Inbound” chapter                            Deathmatch map “Bounce”
    The Replay Experience Experiment: Black Mesa Inbound The Replay Experience Experiment: Black Mesa Inbound

    Besides it was fun to watch at the first times of start playing HL it now got boring somehow, so if you start a new game you can make a coffee in that time or just skip it via a console command πŸ˜‰

    To be honest I didn’t realised the Gman at the first play, later I thought:
    “Okay, a guy in a blue suit.”
    It took some time to realise that he appears again and again in later chapters, and then it took some more time to realise he’s quite important to the story.
    Now it’s all clear of course πŸ˜›

    Playtime: as long as it takes

    1. Ade

      I see what you did there.. I love the map “bounce’! Only play it in hl2dm, but still :>

      1. Haha yes!!
        I also loved to play only that DM map in LAN games with friends, it’s just great for using the rocket launcher hehe πŸ˜›

  12. 2muchvideogames

    Replay 2: BM Inbound Challenges:

    – Glitch yourself out of the tram without using cheats.

    A very good way to immerse the new player into the game. The player is introduced to the BMRF via the sights and the speaker in the tram. This chapter is quite the candidate for mod crossovers. Many various mods have done so, including Opposing Force, Azure Sheep, and Timeline 3.

  13. YouKnow

    It’s a great opening sequence, although I love Half-Life 2’s Point Insertion much better. I’m not sure if that’s just because I played Point Insertion first though. I first played Half-Life 1 after playing through Half-Life 2 and the two episodes so my first play-though was like a history lesson of sorts.

    Almost every time I play this chapter I try to jump on one of the benches and duck to pretend I’m sitting on them. That can be a bit difficult though, because the engine doesn’t keep track of your momentum accurately, so when you jump you move towards the back of the tram.

    More recently I always look at the mouth of the security guard that lets you out of the tram as he inputs a code into the console. If you can get at the right viewing angle you can see he opens his mouth as the console beeps. I think I first heard of that from some interview with some of the Black Mesa mod developers. It can be a bit hard to notice this though, since the guard hunches over and looks the other way as he inputs his code.

    One more thing to mention is this is the G-man’s first appearance in Half-Life 1. It happens when Freeman’s tram and the tram carrying the G-man as well as another (perhaps oblivious) scientist rendezvous along their tracks. At first the player may think he’s just any old employee or government representative. It’s only until the second play-through that this scene holds meaning to the player or, as it was for me, on the first play-through if the player has already played another Half-Life game.

    1. Almost every time I play this chapter I try to jump on one of the benches and duck to pretend I’m sitting on them.

      Oh, I remember doing that long time ago. I did that only one time or few times and then stopped, if I remember correctly.

      More recently I always look at the mouth of the security guard that lets you out of the tram as he inputs a code into the console. If you can get at the right viewing angle you can see he opens his mouth as the console beeps.

      I noticed this glitch long time ago. It was fixed in Half-Life: Source. Looks like the developers added characters” ability to open mouth synced to sound after this sequence was completed, and they didn’t plan to include such ability when they were making this sequence, otherwise they would use ambient_generic to play a sound, not the guard himself.

  14. I know I should be doing speedruns, but I really couldn’t find a way to be faster than 7min legit in this level, the level transitions are placed in such a way that even glitching out and running on the rail can’t help.
    I decided since this is not an entertaining chapter (to me) I’d just make fun of it. I showed exactly what I would want to do in real life.
    There is still a little bunnyhop and goin into places im not supposed to at the end.

    Playtime: 1 minutes 38 seconds 427 milliseconds

  15. 23-down

    Ah inbound Black Mesa. That Intro actually convinced me to buy Half-Life. I heard first about Hl1 back in 1997 when a german pc magazin “Gamestar” showed parts of the Intro and the early game minutes with nice commentary about the game itself and one year later I owned it myself.

    When I played it the first time I felt right comfortable starting by minute one. It must have been the first shooter were you weren’t just a Rambo by yourself instead you also had your colleges which you had to protect or which protected you and that was really epic. The entire world felt alive and the great announcer inside the train gave you the feeling that you’re really taking part in that world – working in a secret facility.

    Even after 14 years hl1 has lost nothing of it’s charm and it’s still a favorite game to lots of people the fact that their are still so many active modding projects up and running proofs that and then of course we also have a lot of mp mods.

    But back to the train ride “cause that’s what this is about. In my opinion probably one of the best parts of the game same counts for Blue Shift.

    No surprise to see that many mods introduced their own tram rides or even let you the player walk in the original areas you saw during the train ride.

    We should start listing the mods which features train rides. πŸ˜€

    Opposing Force has trains
    Blue shift has trains
    Visitors has trains
    Decay has limited train rides
    Redisual Life has trains

    what else?

    1. Visitors has a small crossover that most people don’t notice. Remember the room where there is a scientist knocking on a door and 2 big electric machines by his sides? well, in Visitors you actually get to this room from the other side of the door, but the electric machines are broken and there are tons of controllers shooting fireballs at you, so you must run really quickly to the portal in front of you, most people didn’t notice this was a place they’ve already seen.

  16. “Black Mesa Inbound” was an amazing introduction to the beginning of Gordon Freeman’s story and had me enthralled the first time I played it. As Phillip has noted, it seems faster on the replay, but maybe it’s a perception thing. I know the first time this level seemed very long to me, but was worth it for the impressive preview of the complex and some exterior areas. The 3D loading robot was amazing to see animated in an actual game, in real time! Now it was more “Oh hum, that’s nice”, whereas at the time my PC was groaning under the stress of rendering such sharp graphics and high quality sound!

    A long intro like this whets ones appetite for the adventure in a story-orientated fashion, whereas the “Hazard Course” seemed like Gordo’s H.E.V. training course and part of his background.

    I moved all over the train the first time looking at everything and marvelled at the new generation of control. I could freely move around as the train moved and even jump without falling through the train, as had happened on some of my early 3D game experiences! There was so many little scenes to spot on the way, little animations of some kind of background story happening, helicopters, soldiers and some odd bloke in another carriage with a briefcase. The replay was a nostalgic ride, although I have added many new sections to that level in my memory over the years, so it was confusing too!

    The security guard coming over at the end was a very clear memory and his voice triggered more recollection of the next few maps; no doubt helped by playing “Black Mesa Fallback” HL2 mod a couple of months back!

    I did not jump over the rails after the monorail ride due to being so immersed in the story…….

  17. AlterIWnet

    Those BMI maps just made me feel like I’m in gaming heaven. The perfect game I’ve been looking for. The slow ride was a prelude on all the exciting action that will happen later in the game as we all experienced. HL2 ride sequence on the Citadel was so perfect as well. I’d say Valve are genious when it comes to applying rides in the right time of the game.

    After learning mapping somehow visiting BMI again I found some few misalign textures haha
    no big deal…the mappers on those maps made them look good and complicated enough.

  18. Hec

    Just like snap note, that tram ride was enough to give HL games its own sign and soul style!!

    It was the begining of everything you on a train in HL1 and you start again in a train in HL2 who knows how much years later… ironic destiny??

    1. Master74

      Yup, the only HL games in which you don’t start off on train are OP4 and HL2Ep1.
      In Ep2 you start on something that used to be a train…. lol

      I love the HL series!

      1. Hec

        Yeah, and I still wonder if in the 3rd part of HL we will be on a train again, tough i’d love to start in that amazing MI-8 Helicopter!!!

  19. Alex

    Really love this Replay Experience Project Phillip! This is proper nostalgia, I just love going back to GoldSource and its environment style/feeling. It brings back my memories of when I played this as a toddler and when combined with Kelly Baileys ‘vague Voices” track, can occasionally bring a tear to my eye, anyone else ? πŸ˜›

    Great stuff, I will be tuning in on this a lot but it is a shame I have final exams as I cant get involved a bit more.

    1. Well, once those exams are over you could always play “catch up”.

  20. Ade

    ahahah Here’s another view of Black Mesa Inbound which I’m sure you will enjoy

    1. Thumbs up! Nice find.

      1. Hec

        Wow I loved it even the microwabe incident detail, so cool!

    2. WICKED!!!

      Awesome flickette…. I swear, Gordon looks alot like my dad, I guess I’m gonna have to dig up a photograph or two and post them. <__>

    3. Error 404 Not Found

      One of my favourites πŸ™‚
      Anyone notice the “C Johnson” visitor sticker on the bar?
      I know it’s not 100% Half-Life cannonical but it’s cool they threw that in there.

  21. Noface/GeorgeC

    Black Mesa inbound shows you the size of the facility. And since it is only a portion of the entire facility, it leaves it to the imagination on the true size. Black Mesa Inbound also shows that things are not going quite right, with scientists knocking on doors because they have stopped working (do not open) etc. The various things to look at, text on the screen (PhD… ) and the tram voice all set the scene for a scientific disaster, it is the brewing storm.

    1. Ade

      looks legit πŸ˜€

      1. Tudor Ionel

        It’s from the game manual of the PS2 version. Gina and Collete in this game both get letters regarding the hazard course training. Barney Calhoun also has a letter with his salary increase. PC version has separate pages.

        1. Vic

          That was just the employment. Gordon had evidently been at Black Mesa for well over several weeks – he’s befriended Barney Calhoun and Eli; and all of the scientists seem to be able to recognize him.

          But he was still relatively low-level, and it does seem as though Black Mesa is dealing with summer temperatures; so I’m assuming Half-Life takes place some time around June.

  22. CoRuJa

    8:47am is the start of Half-Life. We don’t know the year or month, but with “a topside temperature of 93 degrees” it’s likely to be summer.

    While I believe the events of the first HL occurs in a summer (this can be proven by checking the timeline of the franchise in the site), I really doubt it’s topside temperature could be 93°C, unless it’s in fahrenheit grade rather than celsius grade and it was still morning before the Resonance Cascade was triggered.

  23. I did play hl2 + ep1 + ep2 before half-life. (Orange box…) So this intro wasn’t so awesome for me. Now it feels just like a engine techdemo…

    During the intro I mainly just tried to jump out from the train…

    Playtime: 7 min

  24. There seem to be no major differences of the Dreamcast version of BMI.
    TWIN SUNS is probably thinking of the beginning of Blue Shift where you see Gordon get no the tram.
    This part seemed very boring to me (ADHD FTW). I understand what it was doing for the time but it just isn’t that fun. Whenever I replay HL1 I usually start at C1A0.

    Playtime: 7:48

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