Pretty much the standard mod premise: You are Gordon Freeman and you need to do what you do best: Keep moving forward, killing pretty much everything in your path.
The mod finishes when you read the text that says “The End”.
- Title: Back to Xen
- File Name: hl1-sp-back-to-xen.7z
- Original File Name: janbsp.zip
- Size : 2.05MB
- Author: Janez Brezovnik
- Date Released: 09 December 1999
Download directly into MapTap [2MB]
You MUST have MapTap installed before using this link.
You can still use it with MapTap once you have downloaded it.
- Copy all the JANx.bsp files into your Half-Life 1 Maps folder.
- Launch Half-Life 1
- Open the console and type map JAN1.
- Press enter/return or click the Submit button.
- Play and Enjoy.
If you require more help, please visit the Help page.
Click on the thumbnails below to open a 1024 pixel wide image.
WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.
Play It Later
Play It Now!
18 recommendations, average score: 3.83 (out of 5), standard deviation: 1.81 (what's that?)
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Manually: 2 Users
Average: 1 Hours
Shortest: 0 Hours, 30 Mins by m82sniper
Longest: 1 Hours, 30 Mins by PsyWarVeteran
Total Time Played: 2 Hours
Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 2 Users
Average: 1 Hours
Shortest: 0 Hours, 30 Mins by m82sniper
Longest: 1 Hours, 30 Mins by PsyWarVeteran
Total Time Played: 2 Hours
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One of those “put the bsp’s in the valve folder” packs. Nice clean straightforward shooter. Usual enemies. About 2 hours or less. Author recommends skill 3. Lots of power and health and ammo. Not much subtlety required but good fun for frustration release. No bugs. No vent shafts! Yay!
I can’t get the second map to work. Whenever it it loads between map 1 and 2 it brings me to somewhere…outside the map, like in a wall or something and I can see the back of the polygons and stuff. I can start right from the second map with the command, but then I have no suit and no weapons. The cheats won’t work either. Has anyone else had this problem? Or at least knows what to do?
Try using noclip if your stuck in a wall.I just played it with no problems except for getting stuck on elevators but thats a known problem in half life.
I tried using noclip, but no cheats work. Otherwise I would just start the map with the exc. or command and then do the give item_suit and then the same thing…ish with the weapons I already had. And yes I did turn the cheats on and stuff.
if your using the old half life type “sv_cheats 1” without quotes and return to game then save the game. Reload the save and cheats will work.
I know. The cheats just don’t work. This happened with me in Afraid of Monsters cause I got bored and couldn’t get a weapons cheat. Or any cheat for that matter. It works for other games and mods; I tried. This is so gay…
Maddeningly difficult, but very solid. The developer keeps the pressure on from beginning to end. No puzzles, just shooting. And shooting. And more shooting!
Just played this again. Great textures and environment design as well as a damn good shooters mod.
This turned out to be a nice little mod. It was difficult in some parts but that is what makes it fun. I found this one challenging.
Hello, could somebody please tell me what version of Half-Life you were using to play this. I tried 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206 and Steam, but this mod crashes upon entering the map 2. So it doesn’t load, just crashes to desktop.
Hey buddy u have to charge manually ALL the maps in order to complete them, I now is a pain in the but, but is kind of worthy there are some cool classic battles in this mod, well at least for me worked, I charged manually and then I have 2 put impulse 101 to have the weapons and HEV.
I’m running Steam, I think it’s 220.127.116.11, and loaded map jan2 without any problems. I don’t know what makes the difference for some systems.
The Steam version gets stuck at prechaching resources. If I load the map by “map jan2” it works (even in WON), but there are no weapons and no HEV suit (as said above). The thing I could try now is try to decompile the second map and fix it with Hammer editor, but I doubt this would work.
U have to open the console if u have WON: put this in the properties icon of HL1 WON in order to open with the cheats mode ALREDY ACTIVATED (if not, u have to put only in steam HL1 the sv_cheats1 command) put this: -dev -console -nojoy -noipx, u can also do that in HL1 STEAM, putting the same I mentioned, in the properties, set launch options part, then open the game charge the map u want and then in game, open the console again and type: impulse 101, (space after 101) and then u will have the HEV suit, and all the weapons with it’s minimum ammo on them, hope it works buddy try that.
Thanks for the tips, I will certainly give this another try soon.
So, this is the first of the 100 Summer Days of Nostalgia! I decided to start with what I think is a great mod, partly because some of the follwing ones will be terrible and partly because I really enjoyed this mod. I suppose technically, it’s just a mappack because it only includes maps, but there you go.
Anyway, as has been said, it’s easy to install and I only found two minor bugs and they were getting stuck in a crate in a level change (image 53) and a walkway that collapsed too late and left a Bullsquid on top of me (image 44).
One thing to remember is that this was originally released in December 1999, so about one year after the game. To me that’s pretty cool, considering it was the author’s first released work. I know that at the time, some players didn’t like it and some even recommended avoiding it! But I feel that it is an excellent piece of work. In some places the attention to detail is admirable. For example, the work on the lights, seen in images 6 and 51, unless they are part of the standard Hl1 assets, in which case I am sorry for my memory.
The combat was tough enough for me to die a few times, but never bad enough to consider cheating. We moved through a variety of locations and not having vent shafts and difficult jumps is a big plus.
Yes, there’s no story and some of the areas are a little bland, but I feel the overall effect is one of a well built mod, with great action and intersting locations.
I used the current Steam version of Half-Life to play this mod.
The first thing that caught my eye are flat cliffs, which are a big no-no, because that’s very unrealistic. But I guess the author simply didn’t have the tutorials or terrain generation software, because the rest architecture of first maps is quite good and distinctive. I liked girders on the ceiling like in shot 5.
In the storages, the battles are very fun. From the start you have the crossbow, so you can just run and get rid of enemies left and right. Then there are many foes around, but there’s also enough firepower. This is rare and cool situation.
The labs seemed bland to me, but there’s a nice night location high in the mountains.
A pretty damn decent mappack. I was surprised at the quality of this, considering it was a first release and considering it was released way back in 1999, when there are a lot of… dubious mods from that early period, to say the least.
The level’s architecture was quite basic, which was to be expected, really. Still, I thought the texturing of the level was relatively bland, being mostly greyish. More attempts to liven up the colour scheme would’ve been appreciated. Another thing to note is that some of the areas felt way too cramped, making combat in said spaces quite trivial. I would’ve liked it if some of those rooms had been widened, giving the enemies more room to breathe.
As for the gameplay, the main focus was obviously on combat, there not really being any attempts at puzzles or the sort. The mappack felt rather strange in this regard, actually. The first half or so, dedicated to killing grunts with a few aliens thrown in, was challenging, to say the least. Yes, you get the crossbow within a few minutes of starting, but ammo for it is scarce, plus the grunts are everywhere, making progression difficult. I’m not whining, since I enjoy a challenge, but I can imagine the difficulty being frustrating to some. There was just enough health and ammo to balance things out, though. The second half, however, is much more focused on aliens, with a handful of grunts thrown in in one of the maps. This seemed a lot easier than the first half, mainly due to the author focusing on the weaker aliens, such as headcrabs, bullsquids, etc, while still giving the player the same amount of ammo as before. Having the second part of the episode be so much easier than the first was jarring, to say the least. The enemy placement could also be nonsensical at times, the prime example of which is probably a box blasting apart for no apparant reason to reveal a turret.
I think the main problem with the mod, though, is the fact it doesn’t really attempt a story at all. The objective is simply to get to the end, or “back to Xen”. This is probably more due to how early on this level was released, but still, even a couple of lines explaining why you’re bothering to go back to Xen at all would’ve helped a lot. As it is, this level seems to lack a POINT. The level also lacks any big scripted sequences or memorable setpieces, again probably due to how old this level is, but even the use of some music would’ve increased the level’s quality.
Still, I’ve probably been too harsh. There’s 7 maps here, all quite large, and I’d estimate the playtime at about an hour. Taken as what it is, i.e, running around shooting at things, it’s fun enough to warrant a play as a dumb yet still entertaining timewaster.
Classic HL1 full of action, great stuff, if you like your exploits with danger and ambush at every turn and twist then Back to Xen won’t disappoint, except for level changes that would not load automatically.
However, this is not one for the puzzle lovers, the explorers or the story tellers, its unpolluted shoot every thing in sight as quick as possible. From this prospective it certainly achieves high ranking for combat. Most encounters are well staged often requiring repeat play through; you may also won’t to replay a few sequences just for the fun of it.
Apart from the action the design was adequate level throughout without being outstanding or unique in any way, nevertheless, other then too many crates, design and detail match and enhanced the action.
I could not stop myself from thinking of a certain person no longer with us that would have loved this encounter on the way to Xen.
First played this almost 11 years ago according to my review at ten four. Just played it again, and it didn’t age well either. It’s a fun enough basic set of maps, but without a story, coherent setting, sequences, or ambience, about the only thing I came away with was some relatively easy combat and maddening smashing of crates, most of which have no business being where they were. You’re given the crossbow early on and tons of grenades. Combine that with tight spaces and most of the encounters are a breeze. You do get to Xen near the abrupt end, but it’s a faint imitation of the Xen we know and love (or hate).
If you’re a fairly picky Half-Life player (as I am), don’t spend your time on this one. It’s an amateurish pack from an inexperienced mapper.
I can’t do a review of this map because of the broken level transition from JAN1 aka first map to JAN2 aka second map and the console will not spawn me a HEV suit no matter how many times I used “give item suit” or “give item_suit”.
I’d have to say from the small bit I saw:
No puzzle and just straight action will not suit some people. Also the level design is boring and simple. The combat is good but the few areas I fought in were way to small.
Me too. By the way are all the mods going to be from existing posts, or will there be new posts?
All from old ones – at least for the 100 Summer Days of Nostalgia event. I still have a few new HL1 maps to post and will post those when I have time.
Ok, though I know there are so many mods still not on PP but if you still have some new ones it’s gonna be cool
Like others I cant comment on the complete map as it hangs at the transition from JAN 1 to JAN 2. Hopefully some bright spark will come up with a fix so I and others can complete Back to Zen and post a proper review, but from what I’ve played so far it would probably be a Play It Later.
So good mappack, altough the stuck maps in the transitions part, I experienced, but I charged manually, and I have some great battles on it really some good old classic battles I used to loved in HL1, the end is kind of boring and predictible, u don’t fight in xen at all, but I really loved to fight against those old grunts again!
This brings back some bad memories.
Same here…stupid maps won’t change properly and I got fed up with loading them manually….when I did, I lost all the stuff I had before (HEV suit, weapons etc) so I just abandoned it, somewhere around map 4…but it could have been anywhere, hard to tell really..
I’m having the same problem “Bolx” is having. I’m getting stuck transitioning from JAN1 to JAN2. If you try to go to JAN2 by just doing Map JAN2 directly, you loose all you weapons and hev suit. I’d have to get everything back by using cheat command. Anyone know how to fix this. Really nice throw back map. I would like to finish it.
Duh! I should have read the posts more carefully, the answer to getting past the transition problem is in Hec’s post above Phillip’s 1st of June 2011 post.
Although up until today I’ve never got cheats to work on HL1, Hec’s instructions worked a treat (Thanks Hec) and I was able to complete Back to Xen. However I only used Impulse 101 so it was as near to playing without cheats as I could get, it also cleared the map change problem.
This was by far the best release (at the time of writing) so far and I was surprised that I considered (once I finished it) a play it now but because of map transition problem I have to downgrade to a play it later.
As for layout and game-play it had me wanting to play it right through with out a break, however as the Trooping the Colour Flypast goes right over my house, I stopped to go out and film it. To me the layout was just what I expect from a mod, in that its good enough not to detract from enjoying playing. For me the major drawback was having to cheat to play Back to Zen as Impulse 101 gave me weapons that where not intended to be in the game and those that were, before I was meant to get them.
This map pack was a great way to start the ‘summer” Nostalgia.
The map pack wasn’t the best that I’ve seen but on the whole I enjoyed it, which is really what matters. It reminded me of the typical mods/maps I used to play back in the day as well as reminding me about some of the things that I found annoying too.
It seemed that the main focus of the map pack was on the action and there was plenty of it. So much so that I started to give my quick-save button a workout, which it hasn’t had in a while. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any story so I felt a bit lost at the beginning but the linear path was easy to follow without getting lost.
I also enjoyed the pacing of the environments. I felt I was never in one type of environment for too long before it shift to the next with relative plausibility. The environments themselves were generally well crafted and reminiscent of the various Half-life levels. Though, the dimensioning of some of the doorways and corridors felt very tight and claustrophobic, which I thought didn’t quite fit with the theme the areas were meant to portray.
Another thing that annoyed me were the breaking floors with large falls. I believe they were meant to be scripted to break before I stepped on them but I seemed to be caught in all of them, causing a few unnecessary reloads. At least they weren’t death pits that punish player exploration.
Good fun overall with a few imperfections. I wouldn’t say drop drop your current mod/game to play this one but it’s worth a look.
For the tl;dr summery:
No story but plenty of action with interesting and varied environments. Good for a reasonable hit of nostalgia.
First of all, I would like to state that this was the first Half-Life map pack I’ve ever played. I’ve played many HL mods but have always been put off from the single player maps for some reason, but this map pack has completely changed my view on that.
It is a basic action map and while it doesn’t have a story, it is very entertaining. It’s just endless action blasting away and aliens and grunts, and is good fun if you like that kind of stuff. It is, however, very easy and the closest I ever came to dying was when I had 3HP during an outside ambush with a bunch of grunts and a random bullsquid.
One area that did annoy me were the glitches. The main one (which has been stated many times before) was that the map transition from JAN1 to JAN2 crashes your game and so I had to use cheats to get my weapons, ammo and hev back the way they should of been.
In a nutshell it was really fun, and I would definitely recommend it to others.
Sometimes brushwork is good, sometimes it’s nasty (mainly doors and rocks). Lighting is not good too, in the places where light entity should be primary light source and self-illuminating textures should be decorative (like health charger in one of industrial gruntfight areas), author uses selfillum textures as primary sources. Railings are fullbright and made off glass.
1. Run, shoot, run, shoot, run, shoot. Boring.
2. Uneven and declining difficulty. The first map took me ~40 quickloads. Beginning of second and third maps took me 2-3 quickloads, while endings of them took ~20 quickloads. Levels 4 to 6 were too easy, I completed them almost without dying. In good games (mods are games too) difficulty increments and is even.
3. No melee weapon. No ammo = you’re dead. Crossbow with only 10 arrows throughout entire game is useless. Maybe author put crossbow by mistake because it’s right before crowbar in entities list?
4. No ammo boxes. Three gruntfights don’t give much ammo, and in Xen I was almost out of ammo. I’ve counted all ammo I found lying on shelves throughout the game and the result is 34 9mm rounds, 12 buckshot rounds and 5 arrows. Not much.
5. Surprises. Surprises like turrets are too strong. If you have few ammo or health, you cannot complete the mod.
Other and special cases.
1. Out-of-date node graphs. Looks like author did not playtest the mod.
2. It’s easy to stuck in the mod in places like elevators and blockage in the place where the player needs to use the blue console to open the door.
3. Track Control switch. One of position is “no”, while it should be “on”. Author definitely doesn’t know what “world” and “face” flags in Hammer are intended for.
4. Rooftop with a sentry gun. Sky is unrealistically low, and the ladder leads into the skybox so the world disappears for a moment.
5. Xen outdoors. Rendering distance is too short so you can see end of the world.
6. Ending doesn’t kick to the main menu. That’s possible to kick to the main menu using a single entity “trigger_endsection”.
I would rate this mod “Avoid it”, but because some effort can be seen, I rated it “Think twice”.
lol Dr. Amazing, it’s indeed a Gruntfest, but that’s exactly what I like O:)
First, I have to say I’ve played part 2 (search for “Xen” in the empty keyword menu above) before this one, don’t judge me (you’ve no chance anyway lol), and as I just played this…OMG! I love it! This was even more fun than part 2, hooray! 🙂
I can’t understand SiPlus’s opinion about less ammo or too strong turrets.
And there’s a crowbar at the start, next to the crossbow…
There’s even more ammo for the crossbow than I was expect, just search more carefully? Also it’s not that hard in total, it’s not uneven in my opinion.
Yes, I know, it’s not everyone’s taste if there are no real hard puzzles, or if the mod is too easy etc. etc. bla bla but this style is exactly what I like to play!
And here’s why:
-Excellent action, lot of combat
-For the age of the mod very very good level design (okay, lightning sucks sometimes)
-Lot of weapons + ammo + health- (and HEV stations)
-Surprises around almost every corner (in form of enemies lol)
-Some nice lil scripts
-No real story, no (semi-)hard puzzles
-Very linear, just along the only way out in the tight level tubes…
-Therefore some boring-looking architecture, but not always!
-Mean-placed enemies hehe
-Couldn’t find the Magnum (must be in a metal box I didn’t break, damn) xD
-Minor graphic, elevator bugs
In conclusion I only can say this is a mod for action-lovers like me. Play it now!
I happened to stumble across Back to Xen a couple of weeks ago, even though it was released in December 1999. I thought, “You never know, I may just find a gem of a Half-Life level hidden somewhere.” No such luck, I’m afraid.
Back to Xen is by Slovenian author Janez Brezovnik. This is his first Half-Life map, and from all indications this is his first released map for any game. It shows. Back to Xen is packed with a good amount of combat, but that is really the only positive thing about this episode. Although this is a decent- sized level, spread over 7 maps, there is no story or objective described other than the supplied: “To get to the end of it (back to Xen that is).” Why you’d want to go back to Xen is left to the imagination.
Right to the point. The architecture is very boxy and bland, and the texturing is rather dull. Lighting was also uninteresting and rarely used to achieve any sort of attractive effect. Even the outside Xen areas don’t resemble the Xen we know and love. OK, the Xen we know, at least.
Although there is a decent number of various enemies along the way, you never really find yourself in a challenging situation. Back to Xen has an overabundance of health to mend you after nearly every encounter, major or minor. Furthermore, the weapons you are given tip the balance well into your favor; you get the crossbow very early, and you will likely find yourself maxed out on contact grenades several times throughout the episode. So even the combat is pretty mediocre.
Keep in mind that Back to Xen is the author’s first attempt, but it is actually a coherent and error-free episode. However, it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, and my advice is to skip it. Hopefully we will see more, improved maps from this author in the future.
This review is republished here by permission and was originally published Friday, 11th August, 2000 by Unquenque.
This review was originally posted on the Ten Four Website, which is now offline. Permission has been granted to republish the full review and more details can be found on the About page.
Good mod, worth to play before Back to Xen 2, which is significantly better.
were is the download for this, why can I not find the download?
It’s under the “Download Servers” section.
Even though I really liked this mod, I couldn’t get past the first map due to glitchy transitions. It’s sad because it started off so well :'(
There’s an easy fix for the glitchy map transitions: Just rename the maps, using lower case letters only. So “JAN1.bsp” becomes “jan1.bsp”, … “JAN7.bsp” becomes “jan7.bsp”.
Fun little mappack. Even though the architecture was amateurish at times, I really enjoyed the feel of it. The levels, especially early on, really evoked a classic Half-Life feeling.
Gameplay was fun, a lot of the grunt encounters took place in areas which encouraged high mobility, which I appreciated.
Exploration-wise, there wasn’t too much, though the author rewarded what little exploration there was with some crossbow ammo. I couldn’t find the 357, even though I got ammo for it at one point, so I assume it’s hidden somewhere.
All in all, if you have some time and just feel like playing some classic Half-Life, give this a go.
I enjoyed the original Back to Xen but LOVED this one. Janez Brezovnik really improved his mapping, not since from the first mod but even in the following maps of this sequel. The maps get better and better towards the end.
Solid old school mapping and secret areas blend together nicely. You fight mostly grunts, so much so that you can classify this mod a gruntfest. There are simple button puzzles and mild platforming.
It’s a long mod too.
Overall I really enjoyed Back to Xen 2, it end on a semi-cliffhanger and wants me wanting more. Solid mod.
1 Hour, 30 Minutes
This was very bad, mostly narrow maps with headcrabs at each corridor.
I played some time ago and didn’t like it at all.