Opposing Force: Vicarious Reality

The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life: Opposing Force: Vicarious Reality

Adrian Shephard is travelling between various biosphere chambers and laboratories featuring massive terrariums used to house Xen fauna being studied by the scientists deep within the Sector E Biodome Complex.

Eventually he reaches an older industrial area, and picks up a radio transmission from a group of marines fighting some kind of massive creature.

Trivia
  • This chapter takes place at the same time as the Half-Life chapter Interloper.
The Poll


Challenges
  • Rescue a scientist.
  • Find the snark-infested vent.
  • Find the toolbox in this chapter.
Saves

HARD [24KB]

Screenshots

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

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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

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

Walkthrough
A Complete Half-Life: Opposing Force Walkthrough

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

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)

Do Not Own This Game?

You can purchase Half-Life: Opposing Force directly through Steam and could be playing in within moments, depending on your internet connection.

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11 Comments

  1. Summary

    I really enjoyed this level as the balance between exploring and fighting seemed about right. I also liked the large biodome areas and you gotta love collecting two new items. I wish somebody would make a really challenging area to use the barnacles with. Maybe when I replay/play all the OF maps/mods, I’ll find something.

    Gameplay

    Mostly action with some exploring included. Nothing too hard or challenging though.

    Points of Interest

    I noticed that there seems to be plenty of dead ends or multiple routes in this chapter. Sure, ultimately you can only end up in one place but a few times I saved and tried to go two ways. I’ll definitely have to replay this whole chapter and try to find where everything goes.

    I thought the floating silver balls were interesting. I wonder if they were added because the path was not clear enough. Does anybody know?

    G-man Sightings

    I didn’t see him but I know he is watching me.

    Bugs or Errors

    Almost every damn life loved me so much it wouldn’t let me go. I kept forgetting to jump, so it’s down to me too.

    The Poll

    Alien weapons all the way BABY!

    Challenges

    – Rescue a scientist.
    – Find the snark-infested vent.
    – Find the toolbox in this chapter.
    OMG, first time I did them all! To be honest, this is the first time I have remembered to read the challenges BEFORE I started to play the chapter, so that helped.

    5 Words or Less Review

    I love the alien weapons!

    PlayTime

    34 minutes

    Deaths

    6+
    I died a few times try to get off the ladder on the way up, a few times try to retrace my steps and a few times with the tentacles. All in all, not a great survival rate!

  2. 2muchvideogames

    Good job on those challenges Phillip!

    Well, this is a very nonlinear chapter, compared to everything else we’ve come up against so far. I suspect it’s the architecture of the biodome itself that is the reason. There’s 3 domes, I think, and each dome has it’s own observation area, lab, and elevator. Each area is interconnected so that you can go back and open up a previous area (and access the previous area’s healthkits and whatnot.)
    However, due to the rubble and debris, some areas have become dead ends.

    Since it is an alien study lab, there’s plenty of new alien weapons for Shephard, including a bowling-lane range for exclusive barnacle practice. The ‘tutorial” was done fairly well, as it showed the 3 useful properties of the barnacle in a very small area of the map. Unfortunately the barnacle’s a poor weapon for combat due to it’s slow damage, meaning that grappled enemies still can hit you.

    I died 2 or more times trying to use an alternate path, but I wasn’t sure if it was really a shortcut or a detour… flipping Gearbox clipping everything…

    Playtime – 11:25

  3. General

    Here a chapter for those who like actions. Many Race X aliens invested the Biodome Complex, which strangely look like their homeworld.
    This is a new proof that Black Mesa was aware of Xen many time before the accident. Biodome was clearly built to study the Xen creatures.
    Again a new gameplay element is introduced: Barnacle. Your old static enemies is now a useful tool that can get you in the air. It’s also a sadistic weapon very efficient on headcrabs. >)

    Poll

    Human weapons, I just use electric bug to open crates.

    Challenges

    Rescue a scientist. OK

    Find the snark-infested vent. OK, but I regret

    Find the toolbox in this chapter. OK

    Caught my eyes

    Wow! Xen zoo!

    Deaths

    3 times in the elevator shaft, this ladder is very dangerous.

    Playtime

    23 minutes

    French Let’s Play

  4. We go through flooded tunnel, then climb up using some broken device to Black Mesa biodome complex. The level design is pleasing, climbing adds good vertical aspect to the area. All paths except one are blocked, door with rock preventing it from closing is a nice touch.

    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=101291445

    It turns out that observation area observes a big enclosure with grass and rocks where the scientists held monsters. Thanks to creatures X, we enter that enclosure, which turns out to be a boss battle arena. The rocks provide plenty of cover, making the fight easy and enjoyable, and it’s cool to see how the monster eventually gibs.

    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=101292528

    Through the door hidden in the rock we enter the lab where the monsters were studied. Going through the beautifully designed place, I found a storage with “nuclear” ammo, so I used the displacement device and saw cool Xen location. There I found some ammo and battery.

    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=101293988

    The elevator shaft takes us to the second floor. The corridor looks differently and nicely detailed. Hum from lamps, cave-in and disconnected floor panel are nice touches. We enter the next corridor and become stunned by another enclosure, Xen environment this time. Further there is a work-in-progress enclosure. It looks like you can jump on the lights, but invisible wall prevents you from doing so.

    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=101294845

    In the beautifully designed and atmospheric control room we can’t control anything, but we can use a chair to climb into blocked ventilation shaft and get some snarks from there. No other way forward but to the Xen enclosure. From the height it is easy to kill all monsters with the pistol. Another hidden door takes us to the lab where the monsters were studied, similar to previous one. Here we find a monster who can be used as a weapon.

    Eventually we find a barnacle. It is presented to us as a holographic message from the scientist. The next areas are designed for training, so we can try barnacle against various monsters and see what happens; also eventually discover that we can attach it to growth on the walls, picking up ammo in the process. It’s cool to make it eat headcrabs.

    Our way leads through the unfinished enclosure. We can notice hole in the wall with vent if we take optional exploration to another control room. When we enter the enclosure, “stars” fly to that hole to direct us. It’s a nice designers” trick to make sure that the player won’t get stuck.

    Then we get through some generic ventilation areas and the last one is slippery and leads down to the pit worm’s nest chapter.

    Overall, it’s a cool chapter with great level design, wow-moments, introducing and training new things.

    Playtime: about 25 minutes

  5. This is by far my favorite section of Opposing Force, and possibly all the other games in the series. I just love the design, with the mix of Xen and human architecture, and of course the introduction of some new alien weapons.

  6. TWIN SUNS

    In this chapter you get to see just how acquainted the Black Mesa scientists were with Xen, in the form of these large Xen habitat biospheres. This gives you the impression that the scientists have been studying Xen for much longer than the start of Half Life.

    This chapter also re-introduces the Tentacle which is a good.

    Playtime: 21 Minutes

  7. Unq

    The best chapter so far in Opposing Force. As Phillip mentioned it’s a good balance between combat and exploration, with some minor puzzles added (mostly barnacle use). I really like how it deepens the intrigue into how much Black Mesa really knew about Xen and other aliens before the resonance cascade. There are entire biodomes here and of course weapons laboratories.

    I thought what shines here the most is the connected design of everything. You often get a peek at what’s coming up, either from windows or from a good height, and the maps connect nicely which also encourages exploration.

    You get a handful of alien weapons here (spore launcher, barnacle, snarks). The barnacle is fine, it’s more of a movement tool – as a weapon it’s a gimmick but fun for snatching headcrabs. In my opinion the most overpowered weapon in Op4 is the spore launcher. It’s like contact grenades but you can carry around 25 of them, fire them accurately and quickly, and find infinite supplies of ammo wherever there’s a spore. I think the spore misbalances the combat quite a bit for the rest of the game.

    The combat felt about right. A couple of ambushes with a shock trooper and a couple of pit drones kept things pretty tough and kept me moderately low on health. I thought the voltigore battle was a little too easy, because there is just so much cover in the biodome and he doesn’t seem to charge you to try and flush you out. I think improved AI or a better arena could have really highlighted this as a bit of a boss encounter.

    I feel the moving white sprite is totally out of place. I can only guess it’s there because some play testers found the path forward to be unclear but ultimately there’s nowhere else for you to go. I found it annoying and completely out of character for the Half-Life series. To be honest I’m surprised Valve allowed that to remain but perhaps they didn’t go through Op4 in detail before release.

    Playtime: 31 minutes

  8. I loved the architecture and design of this chapter. Lots of interlinking rooms and huge areas to explore. The chapter develops a lot of backstory as well which is nice. Most importantly we get the new alien weapons which are pretty cool, although they don’t really serve any unique purpose apart from using the barnacle as a grappling hook. I know other people have been saying that this is the best chapter, but I didn’t enjoy that much, perhaps because of the shortage of ammo for the more conventional weapons.

  9. Ade

    Gah the last challenge confused me and made me waste time! I’m at the toolbox and then what.. I kept gettin killed by THE CLAW while pressing USE all over that place instead of focusing where to go next >_< I also got stuck in the room with lots of boxes, behind the metal cabinets (btw how do you get to that vent!) and right in the vent at the chapter transition to Pit Worm's Nest..

    Got only the last 2 challenges, didn't find an opportunity to save any scientist, cus if I did, you know I would do my best..

    Playtime: 44 minutes *sigh*

  10. SORRY FOR BEING THAT LATE. I did not leave the project, I am still running, and am very thankful for the huge pause before blue shift.

    Vicarious reality is, in my opinion, the most interesting Opposing Force Chapter.
    We get to see more of what the xen labs looked like before the resonance cascade, and fight in them a lot. The thing that bothers me is how easily you can get lost in those labs. Good thing I rewatched the Opposing force speedrun in 19:24 recently, or I would have wandered for a pretty long time.
    When you know how to go past the area with tentacles, it becomes surprisingly easy. First time I reached that place I got killed so many times forgetting about my “special weapon”

    Challenges:
    – Rescue a scientist.
    I truly have no idea where is that scientist
    – Find the snark infested vent.
    Huge loss of time, I didn’t go in it. You need a chair if I remember right.
    – Find the toolbox in this chapter.
    What the hell. First chapter where I couldn’t have completed TWO challenges even if I tried.

    5 Words or less review:
    Dunno, exploring and stuff

    Deaths:
    0. I’m hoping to get perfect opposing force 😀

    Playtime:
    4 minutes 24 seconds exactly. Could have done under 4 minutes with a second try.

    1. mmhhh phillip did you edit out my link? I seriously doubt that I could forget it since it’s the first thing I copy paste when posting.

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