“In a last-ditch attempt to escape Black Mesa with their lives, a militia of scientists, among them Gordon Freeman from Sector C, swarmed a small airstrip and hijacked the helicopters there, intending to fly them to the nearest major city and safety.
There were many casualties but the plan seemed to be successful – the survivors got the aircraft up and it did not appear that they were being pursued…things looked optimistic.”
But then…there was strange interference in the air. Radio signals were garbled. The instruments were measuring high levels of atomic activity. Suddenly, a giant warp rift opened around them and the whole fleet disappeared into it… Gordon Freeman came to drifting down on a parachute towards a dark field of snow. His suit was registering extreme cold but the shield was holding. He hit the ground awkwardly and threw the parachute off of himself.
There was a small cabin in front of him, buried under snow up to the second floor balcony. He crawled in through the balcony doors and… heard the unmistakable squeaking of headcrabs nearby. There’s snow everywhere, he thought. So this can’t be Black Mesa. So why are there monsters here? Where am I? …And how do I get back?
- Title: Boreality
- File Name: hl1-sp-boreality.7z
- Original File Name: boreality.zip
- Size : 5.52MB
- Author: Eric Hopkins AKA Gibmaker
- Date Released: 04 October 2002
- Copy the boreality folder into your Half-Life folder.
- Restart or start Steam.
- Boreality should now be listed in your Library tab.
Place the mell04.bsp in your Boreality/Maps folder and the mell04.nod and mell04.nrp in your Boreality/Maps/Graphs folder.
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WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.
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Rating: B (82%)
Play Time: 3 Hours 30 Minutes
This map pack (10) was finished more than 6 years ago (only got released at the end of 2002).What is strange is that the author is really self-critical about is work (strange considering it’s good). OK, It fell perhaps through a good storyline but it shows us a really good mix between set pieces, design and gameplay (especially because I have the feeling that Erik really prepared every section before attempting to put his idea into Worldcraft).
The action takes place in a forgotten town that was cut off the world by a huge snow storm (some new experiment of the G-man?) You are there to clean up the first house (which is a replica of Erik’s house) from the alien invasion. The snow area with its special ambience sometimes reminds me of the movie “The Thing” a little frightening. You will find the classic alien enemies of Half-Life with a predilection for headcrab and alien slaves. They are always well placed and due to the fact that ammunition and health are limited you will need a lot of care to progress.
According to the design, it is for me above average. You don’t encounter a lot of hallways that usually make you go from a section to another. There is always a good organisation of rooms with, here and there, some personal touch from the author that really fits the ambience.. Puzzles are not complicated but are there to remind us that half-life is really a great game thanks to them.
Is there anything that could turn this add-on down? Perhaps: some areas are really confusing. Especially all the “lost passages” in the sewer maze section. Also most of the indoor sections really need the flashlight There is also a lack of health and ammo , not a huge diversity in weapons
But all this together really helps give us a good time of playing and add an other way of thinking to Gordon’s progression (think and look around before you attempt to do anything).
Boreality part one is a good surprise and due to its good overall quality really needs to be played through. This pack’s gonna make you remember how Half-life is a great game. Hope part two will perhaps be digged out.
I Liked this. I thought what story there was would have been much better if the guy had ever stuck to his original plan. The radio message puts me in mind of George A, Romero’s ‘dead” trilogy, “Hello…Is there anybody there…’or even ‘damnation Alley” (you’ll have to IMDb that one). The maps and routing were what I liked lots of nooks and cranies to explore.
There does appear to be a draw issue in one corridor, the one with deep water, poisonous air and, a collapsing platform. On my PC it turned into “Incredible-Blur-O-Vision’. Other than that I really do wish he had finished it…
Not top-notch, but pretty damned close. The one dissapointing factor here was the complete lack of a satisfying ending. One thing to note about this game is that it is, above all else, a hall-crawler. Personally, I like hall-crawlers as opposed to wide-open combat, but they aren’t to everybody’s taste. The levels are dark and labrynthine, making them somewhat easy to get lost in (which I did, several times). Still, I never felt too frustrated, as the atmosphere of the maps kept me interested all the way through. You just can’t help but wonder: what is this place? Were it not for the lack of an ending, I would have given this the coveted “Play It Now!”
I agree with Arque–very interesting, fast paced game, but draw issues after about half an hour of play make it unplayable (for me) after that. Worth a shot if you don’t mind gamus interruptus.
Ohhh… I remember this map. Has a verygood intro, excellent mapping, and an insulting-encouraging readme (if you don’t find at least x number of shotguns, u *inaproppiate word*).
If you are searching for a different experience (but very good one) I recommend you to check it out.
if you want to be attacked by headcrabs in the dark. No weapons and no light at first, an old house and lots of snow. If you keep searching against all odds through ventilation-like tunnels with headcrabs you will find only a bit more light and -maybe- a crowbar. And so on…
Excellent litlte dreepy mod, been at it for three jours.
Its really hard with the scarcity of everything and I like.
Howerver I do have a hard time figuring out where to go :/
I enjoyed the beginning little intro but found the first few levels frustrating. Once I got into a more industrial setting I started to feel happier but still found the layout frustrating.
I wouldn’t be surprised if players top because they can’t find where they need to go.
In one of those levels I got serious Hall Of Mirrors effect and had to noclip (really, I couldn’t see more than one metre in front of me) to get to the next level.
There was a large fan area that could have been a a true WOW moment but it was pretty much wasted – just a few vortigaunts.
There was a great section with exploding containers that needed some planning, but that was pretty much the highlight.
There’s a bonus map if you choose to take it.
All in all, it was fun but too dark and maze-like.
It’s one of those mods I played long time ago on my old version of Half-Life. That version didn’t show cutscenes if the camera was not at the same place where the player was, so I had to edit the map in order to watch the intro. And it was worth it, because the intro is well-directed.
Cold, snowy environments and house are good, but they are too dark, so exploring them is not fun. Constantly spawning headcrabs are annoying. The puzzle with fans is nice.
The design is average. I didn’t have enough health for swimming under the ice, so I had to cheat. Later there weren’t enough health and ammo.
The idea of cold place with snow avalanche and ice is nice, but annoying darkness and headcrabs spoil it.
It also has a bonus map which is not possible to complete without cheats. Looks like it’s some recondite puzzle, like Glitcherground map for Mirror’s Edge.
I’m really not sure what to make of this mod, its a real mixed bag of good and bad!
The first part is a lot of exploring which seemed random with the impression that there where multiple routes. If you want weapons, ammo and health you really need to explore everywhere but don’t expect too many clues as where to go next in some parts of the game. As has happened a number of times in the 100 this could have been a good if not great game.
The look and feel for some of it was not too bad, but I nearly gave up at the hall of mirrors. I stopped at that level and wouldn’t have gone back to the game, until I read Phillips review, because I thought it was my set-up that was the problem. What action there was, was mainly headcrabs with some Vort’s and Bull squids but nothing really inspiring.
As the game stands I would have given it a PIL if the hall of mirrors effect hadn’t occurred but it did provide some fun.
There’s an office with a computer showing Half Life on the screen — press your ” use” key it should at least bring a smirk to your face.
Some good parts, but I also had the frustrating hall of mirrors thing happening where I couldn’t see anything. Also, I had a problem with a machine that you activate and it raises a lift out of the water and throws an item into an incinerator. The first item it lifts is a shotgun, so I grabbed it before it went into the fire. Unfortunately this would crash Half-Life every time so I could not get the shotgun here.
Well I played this quite ago and I think is just another mod where u wont die or anything if u don’t play it just play it later, overall this mod has very average combat or gameplay, I remember this mod for the huge fan pits with a cool puzzle to solve it there, so I think the only remarkable asset of this mod are those huge fan pits….
I forgive it for it’s technical problems. Especially for annoying Mirror effect in one map which is could be solved by switching graphics into software mode. (Expect interesting “acid” side effects though 🙂 )
For me this is pure survival horror map pack. It actually creeps me out which is rare occasion. I can’t tell you much because it will ruin all experience. I feel great potential for excellent non-canonic horror mod with some Penumbra feel in it (may be all that snow and darkness does the thing?). It’s a shame it will never expand into something like this.
Well all little details is in place. You start unarmed. You need to explore for ammo and health. You need to move and shoot with caution, because health and ammo are rare. You need to solve puzzles. By the way, I think maps was designed with care because there is a ton of small touches here and there especially in the house.
And this mod made me realize how truly creepy sounds all that Xenian aliens. They are!
Oh, and there is not a single zombie in a whole mod. Isn’t that great? 🙂
P.S. As for puzzles, fan section was ok. But my favorite is elevator “puzzle’. That was fun!
Yeah, I echo the comments that this was a real mixed bag. I liked the setting and the puzzles, but ultimately it’s unfinished and unpolished. It also features maze-like sections without much direction given, so it can be frustrating to play. Also if you’re looking for HL-type combat, this isn’t the pack for you.
It’s unfortunate that the other parts of Boreality weren’t completed by the author, since this is a decent (albeit slow) start to what would be a larger mod. You only get 3 weapons throughout this pack, and the toughest enemies you face besides large fans are alien slaves. However it might be appealing to you to play though this pack with a survival horror mindset, since you’re barely armed and the enemies are sparse but will surprise you (damn screaming headcrabs!). So your best bet is the crowbar, which lets those little buggers too close sometimes since you’ll often be in tight areas.
The layout and mapping are pretty good, and the outside snowbound setting is well done, but the sewers are boring boring boring. The puzzles are fairly well done as well, especially the 2-fan area (although I also liked the ice barrier).
The maps aren’t really detailed, and overall they’re terribly dark and you’ll likely be relying on your flashlight for much of the time. There are also places you can get stuck, and one spot where I could jump to a place that wasn’t intended (in the outside portion about 3/4 of the way through the map pack, you can jump to the roof and bypass the entire map instead of solving the elevator puzzle).
So, overall? Some good, some bad. The technical quality of the mapping is high but the game flow and experience is ultimately a bit of a letdown.
Unq has kindly provided a fix for the fourth map. The file is linked to in the main post, along with installation instructions.
This mod was a mixed experience for me. I found the atmosphere very engaging but the gameplay lacked quality, almost to the point of annoyance.
I thought that most of the environments were very nicely detailed, though some of the areas did look fairly generic. I really liked the way the buildings were snowed in and how the snow had fallen through the broken windows. The small details like that were what held my attention throughout the mod.
However, I found that the mod was generally too dark and I spent too much time waiting for the flash light to recharge. There was also the problem with the layout being too maze-like. I spent a lot of time wandering around lost not really knowing what I was meant to be doing. I also had the feeling that I may have passed a whole bunch of areas because of random path choices I made but the numerous diversions made it really hard to check everything out. Though, that’s probably more of a personal problem.
The combat was what disappointed me the most. I felt like it was tacked on as an after thought. Every corner felt like it had a headcrab around it and it just annoyed me by the end because it was so predictable and repetitive. Add to that the darkness, lack of ammo and health and it just became frustrating.
Overall, the visuals are nice, the puzzled were engaging but the combat was repetitive and annoying. If you don’t mind feeling lost or handling copious amounts of headcrab with the crowbar, then this mod has plenty of interesting things to see.
After BM, Gordon Freeman and his colleagues hi-jacked helicopters to escape as suddenly a warp opened, sucking in everything nearby.
From the readme:
“Gordon Freeman came to drifting down on a parachute towards a dark field of snow. His suit was registering extreme cold but the sheild was holding. He hit the ground awkwardly and threw the parachute off of himself.
There was a small cabin in front of him, buried under snow up to the second floor balcony. He crawled in through the balcony doors and… heard the unmistakable squeaking of headcrabs nearby.
There’s snow everywhere, he thought. So this can’t be Black Mesa. So why are there monsters here? Where am I? … And how do I get back?”
What sounds interesting at first, is, at second sight . . . indeed interesting!
“Boreality” is no typical HL1 SP mod, it’s different. There’s no BM. There’s no gunfight with grunts.
But there is some tense atmosphere here.
In the mentioned cabin, the first goal is to turn on the lights as the flashlight is almost useless in such a pitch black place. After that, it’s about the explore the house and again find a way out.
That’s not as easy as it sounds, because there is snow everywhere!
Well, I won’t tell too much now. Just that it’s a great experience (for the first 15 mins).
What would you do in such situation? How would you act?
The mod contains quite many puzzles, but less combat compared to the majority of action mods.
So imo it’s only suitable for puzzle bobbles 😉
The combat is only against aliens such as headcrabs, alien slaves, houndeyes and bullsquids.
However, it was fun to discover a different world, besides of the usual BM theme.
It’s worth playing, but lacks of several things such as better design, gameplay and balancing.
-Unusal setting, in the meaning of leveldesign, atmosphere and gameplay
-Quite many great puzzles
-Nice, gloomy atmosphere at first
-Decent mapping with good layouts (not always unfortunately)
-Some nice scripts
-“Secret” spots with goodies
-Good playtime (~1-1,5 hours)
-Partly non-linear (mazes)
-Bonus map at the end (if you want to play it immediately start the “Hazard Course” instead of “New Game”)
-Cool intro cutscene
-Many dark places
-Can get confusing / frustrating because of mazes and less variety of textures
-Atmosphere vanishes when in the sewers
-Less variety of design, layouts – doesn’t help in such mazy areas
-Balancing – less combat, but much ammo (if you take the time to find it), many aliens can be avoided so that’s why I call it less combat
-Some design oddities
-No story embedded ingame
Conclusion: This could’ve been a very, very cool mod – less mazes, more combat, better continuation from a very nice beginning – what a pity!
Any dictionary will tell you that “boreal” basically refers to the Northern Hemisphere. Well that usually means ice-cold and snow, and in that respect, Boreality half-delivers. Yes, it has some freezing conditions, icy floors, and snow, but the level design is mostly indoors so you won’t see much to remind yourself that you’re supposed to be somewhere in the Arctic regions.
That said, level design is a decent effort that tends to underwhelm primarily due to lack of detail & complexity. Some nice ideas though, especially when it comes to the snow & ice – break a window and snow will pile in. Openings in the ceiling reveal “ceilings” of snow. Step on ice and it’ll break under Freeman’s weight. Generally the areas are mostly formulaic, typical office and bland nondescript architecture, but there’s a sewer network that’s convincingly done [but skimps on details]. There’s also a well-made “house” map (leftmost screenshot)—here’s what the author has to say about it: “everybody needs to produce a MYHOUSE map at some point, that’s just how it is.” Ok then.
The high point of level design, bar none, is the nonlinearity – there’s never been as much of it in HLSP history than in here. Great stuff, if you’re into that sort of thing, and it’s nicely pulled off. Exploration is rewarding since most of it leads you to weapons and ammo. Of course this is also a negative aspect because those who don’t explore will miss weapons and ammo – usually a bad thing, but the strongest enemy you’ll face is the alien slave, so it’s not too bad.
Boreality definitely has some things going for it, but below-average level design holds it back, but not by so much it’s distracting, just distinctly underwhelming. It does feature a few puzzles, a bonus map with an original & neat concept, and CD music. The download will be worthwhile for those starved for HLSP, but only a mild diversion for everyone else.
This review is republished here by permission and was originally published Tuesday, 10th December, 2002 by Calyst.
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.
Very interesting horror/puzzle episode, a maze in the map mell01 is just amazing!