Half-Life: Power Up

The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up

Trying to reach the surface once more, Gordon’s progress is thwarted by a clash between a Gargantua and HECU soldiers in the Sector E Materials Transport.

He then learns from a dying security guard that if he restores the generator, he can ride the monorail to the surface. Freeman enters the Houndeye-infested subterranean areas and activates the generator, restoring power to the vicinity.

After activating more switches, he destroys the Gargantua patrolling the area by turning on the huge transformers supplying power to the tram line.
Hitching a ride, he smashes through a barricade of concrete blocks before continuing on his way.

Trivia
  • The old level name featured on Half-Life: Day One, given in the “titles.txt” file was: Footfall.
  • If the player attacks the dying security guard, he’ll say the lines that the others do when attacked, but stay lying down.
  • The entire level can be skipped by proceeding to the railway barricade, then using tripmines as steps to climb over the barricade.
The Poll


Challenges

The challenges below have been set by 2muchvideogames

  • Get an alien slave to kill itself.
  • Kill a grunt with a burst flame pipe.
  • Kill a headcrab using the generator.
  • Take out the two soldiers on the lift with their own tripmines.

Screenshots

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

The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up
The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up
The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up
The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up
The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life 1: Power Up
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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14 Comments

  1. Summary

    I felt this level was too similar to Blast Pit to have been directly after it. Obviously, not the layout or design but just the basic idea of an enemy that is almost indestructible (is it possible to kill the Gargantua without all the grenades and tripmines etc?) that requires a number of steps to find the solution.

    I would have preferred to be introduced to the Gargantua and had to run. I feel that we believe we are invincible in games and whilst I understand why that it, I think it’s good to be reminded why can’t control everything.

    Gameplay

    There’s a lot of backtracking in this section and the introduction of two new weapons: the tripmine and the secondary fire grenades. I have to admit I didn’t use any of the tripmines, which is pretty silly really as it was clear I would be coming back the way I came.

    Perhaps it’s just me, but I tend to keep the really powerful for emergencies, except those secondary grenades – I sue those like candy. I just throw them around willy-nilly.

    Points of Interest

    As always, lots of little details going on here. Pipes sticking up from the ground, cables and vents spewing stuff, ceiling rocks falling; it all adds the atmosphere of the building being destroyed.

    That central shaft with the fans either side, is so well lit. It’s got those red corridors and the blueish light in the middle, but it doesn’t feel colourful – at least not to me.

    Bugs or errors

    I didn’t encounter any strange effects or issues. Did you?

    Challenges

    I got a vortigaunt to kill itself but didn’t accomplish any of the others. I suck at these challenges!

    Five Words or Less Review

    Another indestructible enemy. Not again!

    Playtime

    21 minutes

    1. In case you didn’t know, there is a gman sighting at the beginning of the level, here are pics

      http://i49.tinypic.com/2qn49q9.jpg
      http://i50.tinypic.com/34xlvrk.jpg
      http://i45.tinypic.com/2n6s187.jpg
      http://i47.tinypic.com/286vig.jpg
      http://i49.tinypic.com/25unwd2.jpg
      http://i48.tinypic.com/iw6tg8.jpg
      http://i50.tinypic.com/2808viq.jpg
      http://i46.tinypic.com/2h4ge3k.jpg

      In case you wonder, all those pics have been taken legit using the save as my video. I used grenades to get up there and take the close-ups. Gman only dispears when the bridge (right before the door to that room) is broken, when you get near it. so if you get up by the window he stays there.
      You can tell I made a grenade jump by looking at my health.
      I noticed you used my screenshot for the we’ve got hostiles sighting, and I am happy that you did, so feel free to use one of those too if you don’t want to take one yourself, or want a legit close-up

  2. William


    Playtime: 22 minutes

  3. Our boss fight is on: the big Gargantua. Good thing that Valve give ability to kill him with grenades to those who won’t notice the opened power doors – that’s how I killed him for the first time.

    We go through some maintenance areas here. The design in general is not as stunning as it was in Blast Pit. But the gameplay is various: aliens, soldiers and stunning destruction made by the distant Garg. Explosives open the way for some pleasing kills.

    http://steamcommunity.com/id/emoleveldesigner/screenshot/594722251580499938

    Machine gun grenades are likely to be needed to survive near the generator elevator. It’s fun to watch a soldier’s dead body fly from a grenade hit, thanks again to Source ragdoll physics. And there’s nice desorienting moment with tripmines below.

    http://steamcommunity.com/id/emoleveldesigner/screenshot/594722251580421363

    The pump shows impressive brushwork and entitywork, and the nice vertical layout allows to fly in the upgoing air from the generator’s turbine.

    Eventually we turn on the power and get to the next chapter, On A Rail.

    http://steamcommunity.com/id/emoleveldesigner/screenshot/594722251580450333

    Playtime: 16 minutes

  4. Power Up is, once again, a level that can be entirely skipped. You can use tripmines, or grenades, or even high speed to get over the concrete wall, or you can also triggerdelay it all in half a second.

    As of blast pit, we knew that the marines were trying to kill survivors too. but we never saw a marine clearly fighting an alien. we only saw one dead, but there was no alien near by. It was pretty obvious he got killed by aliens that then teleported away, or he could have been killed by his comrades because he planned to talk or something (the turrets don’t shoot the grunts).

    Now when we get in, the first thing we see is 2 grunts shooting at a garg. The garg is gonna take some time killing them, so we get enough time to understand he’s either immune to bullets or had tons of health. we also see his way of attacking, with fire and punches. if we stay in the tunnel to watch, when he’s done he’s gonna use his other mean of attacking right away against us, the spinning fire thingy. we now know everything we need to know bout the garg. we are now certain that the grunts are NOT allied with the aliens.

    We get in the tunnel, we see the place is broken and we clearly hear the garg’s screams when stuff breaks, reminding us of the real enemy here, and showing us he’s really strong and can affect the whole place. we get in a control room, just to see a almost dead barney (but immortal o.O) and a lever. we can see the level spins the rail, but also that the rail power is off.

    We go downstairs, the ceiling almost collapses at every step. We see some slaves blowing themselves up, clearly to show that the aliens are NOT as intelligent as humans, but are closer to overpowered animals. then some more radioactive sludge, and we see a dead grunt getting dragged away in a wall, to show that the aliens need to feed themselves too (we already knew about the zombies, but not bullsquids).

    Then more soldiers, some radios, and a map of the sector (no exits -_-) We go down an elevator, then some stairs, then we repair a pump (there is a ninja zombie that can hurt you bad if you don’t notice it early). We them activate the power and go back up. more soldiers with no apparent way of entering (wtf).

    then we get back to the garg, but the train doesn’t work and the power is still off in the control room. we notice the fence that opened, and run there trying to escape the garg. when we get there, there is a big level that starts the electricity. now we see that the garg is not lightning proof, showing he’s not immortal, just immune to bullets. we get back to the train and start it up.

    now we use the rotating platform to get the train in place, destroy the concrete wall and go on our way 😀

    Challenges
    I did all the challenges at least once, but not during this video because it’s too time consuming.

    Five words or less review
    marines not fighting aliens enough

    Playtime: 3 minutes 1 second 585 milliseconds

  5. This chapter is a mixed bag. It’s one of the shorter chapters in HL1. This chapter has some great brush and entity work. Blowing up the Gargantua was one of the most visceral experiences I remember from Half-Life. This chapter had much more red lights on the Dreamcast version. I don’t have access to a camera right now so I couldn’t get any pictures. The chapter just feels like it’s going through the motions. Besides the Gargantua part, this chapter is pretty forgettable. The Tripmines aren’t very useful in single-player. I got the first and last challenges, but I couldn’t get the third one because there is no Headcrab there in the Dreamcast version.

    Playtime: 10 minutes

    5 words or less:
    Big is beautiful

  6. TWIN SUNS

    For some reason when I think about the HECU I think about this chapter, about the area with like 15 soldiers running around you at the top of the generator room. I’ll admit I died three times…

    But what other people will think about when they think about this chapter is the introduction to the Gargantua. One thing I don’t remember is the fact that throughout the chapter you can hear and feel the Garg, a looming presence as if reminding you it’s still there and you will have to face it properly eventually.

    It actually took me a while to remember that you had to lead the Garg to the electricity pylons. After repeated back-and-forths between the track control room and the power generator, I was wondering why the track power wasn’t on when the generator was.

    But soon the tracks were ” powered up” and it was off to everybody’s favourite chapter.

    Playtime: 35 minutes

  7. Ade

    Silly me forgot to take the mag from the end of the last chapter in one of the saves and as I was going through ammo crates I kept seeing ammo for my mag but no actual weapon and I could’ve swore I had it, argh! Cheats wouldn’t give it so I replayed a bit of the previous chapter to get it one more time. Then as I was back to those ammo crates, I noticed arrows for the xbow, too! Can anyone tell me if I missed it somewhere?
    Anyway, Garg is prolly my fav enemy/boss from HL1 as it takes like 15 explosives to kill it so you have to use 2 or 3 types of explosives to succeed. And because I always like to try different approaches for best ammo/health outcome, it’s always a pleasure to try and kill such an enormous creature that is somewhat omnipresent in this chapter. I think I also did 2 or 3 challenges since some are bound to happen anyway.

    Playtime: 25 minutes (not counting the backtracking to previous chapter)

    1. Unq

      You didn’t miss the crossbow, you don’t get it until later on. I also found it odd that you’d find ammo for it so early – I see it as a bit of a tease from Valve if nothing else.

  8. Vic

    We continue our journey through the deserted, dilapidated areas of the Black Mesa complex, as we encounter the track control end of the old decommissioned rail system. Unfortunately, we quickly notice that the rail line’s power is no longer active, and that a massive alien beast (known simply as the Gargantua) is blocking our way into the rail tunnels. We quickly take a detour into the maintenance areas of this old rail system to reactivate the track power, and continue our voyage to the Lambda Complex.

    The biggest problem with “Power Up” is the bland, mundane nature of the environment. Sure, it’s meant to be a 50s era military bunker sort of area, but it just looks so dull that it makes me never want to play this again. On top of that, the levels themselves are quite limiting, and more or less claustrophobic, which is amusing, considering the previous chapter, “Blast Pit”, featured some of HL1’s most impressive and imposing environments.

    Still, there’s a lot of interactivity in “Power Up”, and that is something that I really enjoy. A surprising amount of environmental elements can be destroyed, or at least damaged by Gordon’s firepower, and there’s also a lot of fine brushwork on display. Overall, “Power Up” may not be a looker, but it does deliver in all the other places you’d expect a game level to deliver.

    The other problem is the fact that this chapter is, quite frankly, nothing more than fairly forgettable filler. We pass through some corridors, press some buttons, and it’s over. The very premise of the chapter seems to have been directly ripped from “Blast Pit”, its direct predecessor: encounter invincible alien beast/mini-boss; activate environmental hazard; eliminate aforementioned monstrosity. And you know you’ve got a problem on your hands when Valve start ripping themselves off.

    Still, it’s fairly enjoyable. There’s some engaging sections where we go head-to-head against entire squads of government soldiers, and fighting those guys is always quite entertaining. Apart from that, no new Xen creatures (apart from the Gargantua, but I consider that more of a direct obstacle, rather than an actual game enemy) or weapons are introduced. Not much variety to be found in “Power Up”.

    The Gargantua itself is, perhaps, the most enigmatic alien monster we ever see in the entire Half-Life continuum. Many have speculated as to its true nature, but few have reached any meaningful or substantial conclusions. Most agree that it seems to have been cloned, or manufactured by the Nihilanth’s forces (much like the Alien Grunts), and it may even be a robotic entity of some sort. It has two different attacks at its disposal – by opening its pincers, it can emit powerful jets of heat that can subdue almost any opponent within moments.

    Its second attack is a sort of shockwave that it emits simply by bashing the ground – a powerful red energy emission will then speed across the ground in the direction the Gargantua bashed in. Upon hitting Gordon, the HEV suit notifies the player that “internal bleeding” has been detected. In any case, we can all agree that it is a very powerful, and dangerous creature. It nearly brings down half of the maintenance complex in its attempts to track Gordon.

    I always thought it was quite silly how we have to activate three separate systems before we can be on our way: the primary power generator; the track power generator itself; and the track controls themselves, which rearrange the rail so that Gordon can pass through. It always seemed to me that Valve were simply trying to artificially make the chapter longer, or perhaps more challenging, simply by adding superfluous mechanics. It can be tedious, but I suppose it gets the job done in the end.

    I think that “Power Up”, in itself, is not a bad experience, but when viewed as a mere component of an integral, monolithic Half-Life release, it ends up being not as enjoyable, not as interesting, and not as fun as the rest of Half-Life 1.

    Eventually, we eliminate the Gargantua (it’s a rather lackluster death animation), and we hop on the cargo tram, towards the unknown. And towards overly convoluted tram driving sequences. But more on that in Phillip’s next post!

    Five Words Or Less: Too much filler is baaaad.

    Play time 19 minutes

    1. I have to agree with most of the comments here: this has always felt like it didn’t belong, that it was stuck in to transition from one major chapter (Blast Pit) to the next (On a Rail). Maybe someone at Valve thought something else needed to be in there, so they put it all together in a hurry, and what came out was a level that has always felt hurried and blocky; I don’t think it looks as good either.

      The Gargantua itself is, perhaps, the most enigmatic alien monster we ever see in the entire Half-Life continuum. Many have speculated as to its true nature, but few have reached any meaningful or substantial conclusions. Most agree that it seems to have been cloned, or manufactured by the Nihilanth’s forces (much like the Alien Grunts), and it may even be a robotic entity of some sort. It has two different attacks at its disposal — by opening its pincers, it can emit powerful jets of heat that can subdue almost any opponent within moments.

      Maybe they felt they needed to introduce the Gargantua at this point because when the testers encounter it later, they got buttkicked too much because they had no idea what they were up against. Either way, it was a tough opponent, and it has ALWAYS reminded me of this: http://oi49.tinypic.com/1jqp9u.jpg

      Heck, even the Vortigaunts brought Robotech to mind: http://oi45.tinypic.com/qmz6ep.jpg

      Maybe some of the Valve designers saw the series in their youth, and it helped influence them.

      And I agree with the ending: that was some seriously lame death-seizure animation. They could’ve done a far better job with it: made the critter writhe and scream and try to push or pull out and try to shoot at us, stomp its foot-weapon, fall to its knees, before it’s armor splits, the power cells explode, and the pilot leaks out of the cracks as a puddle of goo. And maybe some flames too. That would be far more epic.

      My first times thru, I kept killing the beastie with grenades and gunfire. I never figured out that I had to lure it into the tunnel and down to be electrocuted, until I stumbled on a walkthru that detailed how to do that. Kinda dumb, but oh well.

      I also forgot for a bit that I needed to walk thru the water to bust the crates to get the pump going: HL2 has me trained that, when you encounter hagfish, you STAY OUT OF THE WATER!!! >_<

      So I agree: pretty forgettable. And not really necessary.

  9. Unq

    I have some mixed feelings about Power Up. I love Gargantuas and I think the opening to this chapter was a perfect introduction (again, you get to observe him in a relatively safe way at least for a few moments), but overall this was a multimap puzzle very similar to Blast Pit which it of course immediately follows. Spacing the two similar chapters out a bit might have worked better, although it does lead nicely into On A Rail.

    That said, Power Up does nicely meld together We’ve Got Hostiles and Blast Pit by mixing up the challenging combat with the soldiers with an overall puzzle element. Also similar to the last two chapters, your main obstacles (Garg, fence, concrete barrier) are shown to you right away as you start the chapter. While it’s not immediately clear what to do, you get a timely hint from Barney who sits helplessly in the room overlooking the opening arena, and you’re constantly reminded of the Gargantua even in the other maps of this chapter when you hear his footsteps and see crumbling debris. It works but it’s not the strongest chapter by a long shot.

    Mapper’s Corner: We’ll look at the central puzzle in this chapter, and what happens when you finally reach the basement maintenance area.

    – Once you break the crate (func_breakable) blocking the generator, it starts a sound, and sets a number of things in motion nearby (func_trains and func_rotatings) to indicate it’s now running. It also pumps the water out of the basement by triggering a func_water to move downward to simulate draining. This is illustrated here:

    http://imgur.com/lZlpf

    – It allows the previously locked power switch upstairs (a func_button) to now be pressed. The breakable crate targets a multisource which is the master of the func_button – once the multisource is activated, the func_button unlocks and can successfully be pressed.

    – In turn, the power switch starts a sound, changes the indicator to “on’, starts the fan on that side, and other miscellaneous effects (electric beam, indicator needle). But most importantly, it targets a global variable (env_global), which can be accessed by different maps. This is how activating something in one map (power button) affects something in another map (allows you to turn on the track power and kill the garg).

    Playtime: 15 minutes

  10. Funny thing; when I replayed this a month or two ago it was very quick and so easy, just a whole heap of gunplay and I killed the Gargantua by accident! I went in the power room to start the train and it followed me after I had powered up!
    Whereas the original play, after my long gap, was an epic ammo-sapping battle and I am almost sure I killed the beast with my weapons! I did not know about the power room trap.
    I used my trip mines to kill the soldiers and myself!
    All this to turn on a rain trolley and break a wall!

    Five Words or Less Review: Dying a lot here, aaaaarrrrrgggggh!

    Gargantua roaring at the back of your neck as the world shakes is still very scary indeed!

    Playing original Half Life after playing the G-String mod is the weirdest experience…..

  11. “..and there, that thing’s in the way!”

    A very nice chapter, in the meaning of the excellent presentation of the Garg monster and it’s abilities and also the design of the map(s).
    If I remember it right, at the first time playing HL I wasted all ammo on it, thinking it should die somehow this way… but it didn’t!
    Now it’s all clear and the Garg is still one of the main vicious enemies in HL, so it’s size and look truly means great power… especially, when being close.

    Replaying “Power Up” was a good feeling, lot of memories, not only because of the introduction of the Garg.
    Mostly, it’s the section where the human grunts “build up a lil base”, I do remember I died there often during the first plays back in the late 90’s.
    Today, it’s nothing difficult, obviously.
    Due to the quantity of firearms and ammunition it should be no problem at all, the Magnum does a very good job here. Also the shotgun <3 for close ranges.

    This time I first went up to where the Gman is spotted again, to meet Barney and listen to what he says, so then it's pretty clear what to do: power up!
    Easier said that done, as expected.
    So I went through army "base" and turned on power, backtracking and finally powering up the pylons too, killing the Garg.
    (It was always obvious to me how that it's meant to kill it this way at last, after wasting ammo on it 😉 )

    Fortunately, I could manage to accomplish two of the four challenges.
    To be honest, I just didn't tried to complete the other two because I don't like luring enemies to somewhere just for completing a challenge, please bear with me 😉

    Riding a tram trough BM was and is a pretty cool idea of Valve as it can be much fun and it can be used for tactics because it can be operated with several forwards speeds and even a "reverse gear" 🙂

    Design and layouts is nice but not superior, some scripts are pretty cool.
    But somehow there can be also quite many bugs.
    One of them is a graphic bug I just experienced the first time when replaying the chapter for the TREE event.
    At one point the ceiling is crashing down, blocking a little staircase, but it just wasn't visible afterwards, there was an invisible wall. Tried to get through it from both sides but it was impossible.

    What else is cool is the atmosphere supported by the music and just the pure presence of the Garg can be creepy, fortunately it hasn't much space to move here..

    Challenges:
    1. Get an alien slave to kill itself. – Done
    2. Kill a grunt with a burst flame pipe. – Skipped
    3. Kill a headcrab using the generator. – Skipped
    4. Take out the two soldiers on the lift with their own tripmines. – Done

    5 words or less review: Watch out for surprises here.

    Playtime: 10 minutes

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