Somewhere far beneath the surface of one of the Earth’s Oceans lies a large complex known as The Challenger Deep.
In this complex, many scientific experiments take place on a daily basis. These experiments deal with intense anti-mass spectrometer radiation.
It is the hopes of the underwater scientific community that none of these experiments will fail; but, if they do, that none of the ill effects of the failed experiments will ever reach the surface. One man, a Gordon Freeman, has volunteered some of his time to assist in these underwater experiments.
Freeman has had some experience in the past with anti-mass spectrometer radiation, and his resume was well received by the Challenger Deep complex. Freeman was brought to the complex and led to the radiation test chambers.
Unfortunately, a resonance cascade scenario took place, unleashing alien beings into the Challenger Deep complex. Also, the outer hull of the Challenger Deep complex was breeched. The complex began to flood. It is now a life and death battle between alien creatures and a flooding complex. Thus, this is the story of THE CHALLENGER DEEP.
- Title: Challenger Deep
- File Name: hl1-sp-hallenger-deep.7z
- Original File Name: tcd.exe
- Size : 13.4MB
- Author: DocRock and the Grand Unification Boys
- Date Released: 19 November 2000
- Create a folder in your Half-Life folder called tcd.
- Copy tcd.exe to any location on your PC.
- Run the executable file and select the location of the tcd folder you created earlier.
- Restart or start Steam.
- The Challenger Deep should now be listed in your Library tab.
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.
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Average: 2 Hours, 42 Mins
Shortest: 2 Hours, 5 Mins by Hec
Longest: 3 Hours by 111WLVRN111
Total Time Played: 8 Hours, 5 Mins
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Many places on the net claim this is a classic. They’re wrong – it’s awful. Disjointed levels, poor maps and (worst of all) a complete lack of atmosphere, this is one to avoid.
I know you think Challenger Deep sucks but I’ve recently been playing it and would like to finish it just so I can move on and forget about it,unfortunately I’m stuck, I’m stuck in the monorail part, there are three metal boxes, a switch that does nothing, a door that’s locked, 2 machine-gun grenades hidden in a corner, the monorail track in the middle and a large door at each end sealing off the rest of the monorail system, where do I go from here? I can’t backtrack as the entry door is now closed, I’ve searched in vain for a walkthrough, please help, I hate half life mods beating me. I agree it lacks atmosphere but I think the puzzles have been quite good upto yet.
If anyones interested in Challenger Deep, I unstuck my self last night, ooh er! erm yeh….anyway I should have left the security guard to survive rather than let the zombies kill him, as he is required to enter the code into the control pad to open the door for the next area, I must try to keep those on my side alive….Sorry Phil for using your comments pages as a guide for challenger deep, I’ll try harder to avoid getting stuck in future, I’m going thru all the mods for half-life 1 systematically, I’ve done 7 so far, I think. I digress, thanks for your prompt reply, cheers, Nick
The more I play this game the more I like it, the designers have some original ideas, and offer some clever challenges, it’s nice to play a game thats genuinely difficult for a change. I am now stuck again, so, now I know no-one is going to offer any help, I’ll persevere in my dogged, emotional determination!
I just replayed this about a month ago, having originally played it not long after its release. It didn’t age well, that’s for sure. I liked the whole oceanfloor base idea, which is probably why its so memorable. Having said that, I encountered a number of bugs and frustrating moments which may or may not be due to the fact that several HL updates have been released since this mod was.
I’d recommend playing it, only if you’re tolerant of bugs and amateurish level design in most areas. Overall I enjoyed the experience and am glad I played it.
I loved the Challenger Deep. It has an atmosphere that few other mods can match: I’ll never forget the bit where the ????? ????? ?????? ?????. It was brillianty done.
I bet nobody ever beat the final room without noclipping around to find the ???, though. I still loved it, though.
PLANETPHILLIP: I’ve edited this comment to remove the spoilers.
This mod was the most buggiest mod I ever played :O
i just started challenger deep and am stuck. does anyone know of a walk through?
I am in a hallway with a hole in the floor, when I go down I go to a big room with a airtank and get to the bathroom, I go near a out light and the game loads. then the hole in the ceiling is taller. their seems to be no way out. no other doors open and none of the boxes break. any help will be most helpfull thanks.
i am stuck, I a am in a room with a hole in the floor, I go down and find a air tank, I go through a door and find the bathroom. when I get near a light the game loads. then the hole in the celing gets taller. I cant find out how to get out. no boxes break and no other doors open. any help. thanks
Come on PP readers, hasn’t anybody got some time to help John? And before you ask why I don’t help him, I haven’t played it.
i figured out the problem, it is a glitchie mod but a great one to play, havent finished but am close. if anyone needs help I will be most willing to help them expecially if they are deep in and challanged. hehe.
Okay. I’ve enjoyed this mod so far as it has been challenging regardless of some bugs. I am stuck though. The rocket has launched, I’m on the suicidal mission to reach the last escape pod and have made it there. My question is, how do I activate the darn thing? Any help would be most appreciated.
glad to hear you made it, I hope you can escape. hehe. are you shure your at the last escape pod? their is a room where their are some but they dont work. in the last part just go and push all buttons or anything that looks like it will work, then go to the pod area and hit E. I hope this is helpfull, if not post a new post and I will load and see what I can do for you. good luck,
please help! Stuck after the experiment explosion, swam to the corridor with window to the ocean and two doors, one closed, the other opens the semi-flooded room without any keys, weapons,exits etc. Can you help?
yes, it stuck me to. the game as you will find out is a little glitchy. sometimes you have to move to a certian place to trigger what happens next. the way out is……
please tell me what map your on. when you save the game it will say.
Just in the beginning
serge, I hope you have enjoyed the view of the undersea window. but if you want out I suggest you go to the door where one of your fallen comrads lies drowned and, shall we say work off some flustration via the duct work. hint hint.
let me know if I can be of any more help.
yeah, the view is quite enjoyable indeed. Well, the way out is not. The room with my (our?) fallen comrade is still a “no way out” riddle. Maybe I’m too dumb but I cannot figure out what I can do there – no any gadget, crowbar or any button or hole whatsoever. The ventilation hole is with grill and I cannot jump there in any case.
John please don’t tease me again with hints – can you give a direct reply – what should be exactly done to flee from this doomed space?
John wasn’t trying to tease you, just giving you a chance to work it out for yourself. There is alos the point of other people not wanting to read spoilers.
serge, when your in the room go to the duct work , stand in the water next to the wall, broken ducts will be infront of you and to the right. bash the side in of the duct work not broke. it will open and you can jump in, its hard but doable. try a long jump if sacebar wont let ya in. you should have the crowbar by map 4. good luck escapeing that doomed place. meny more await.
email if ya need more help. I will gladly guide ya, just no spoilers. good luck, you have a long way to go to escape..
Thank you john – I’ll do it all in future – pity I have to start game again – I have no crowbar, maybe missed it before, so if I’m dumb well in other sence 🙂
and philip thank you for your comments (I was trying not to be very serious actually but sometimes dumb people sound vice versa :-)) and for the site – beautiful opportunity for romantic people preferring to beat all these monsters in games instead of barking their angers in real life 🙂
Thank you john – I’ve already sent you reply (and to philip also) but it somehow didn’t appear here now (maybe it was deleted by philip for some off-topik bla-bla?) 🙂
Anyway – I’ll have to start the game again cause I have no crowbar yet (dumb again :-))and no ducts are broken – if it is the same room – half-flooded sofa, table, two metal file cases and drowned scientist – that’s all.
good luck serge, post a note if you get stuck. I can pull any map up and give any hints ya need, just no spoilers.
p.s. bash a few monsters for me.
This mod has an innovative premise… but it could have been done much, much better. As has been noted above, there are a number of bugs. There’s also the fact that the facility itself is very sparse… it feels like a large warehouse or industrial building as opposed to a high-tech, state of the art research facility. Many of the cutscenes could also have been done much better… the initial scene where the antimass spectrometer explodes, for example, fell far short of being as spectacular as the same scene in the original Half-Life. The same can be said of all of the scenes where a wall breached and water came flooding into the complex. I could just feel that these were supposed to be very intense moments, and very cinematic… but again, they fell far short of that mark. A final gripe is that the mod doesn’t use voice acting. It instead displays dialogue on the screen while you look at the character who is supposedly speaking. It’s not even direct dialogue… it’s things like, “The scientist says…” This felt awfully cheesy to me. Overall, I would say you should avoid this mod, but there are definitely worse out there… not to mention that this one scores a few points for being unique. So consider it.
After the resonance cascade experiment goes wrong near the start of this mod, there is a map change. Then the game goes into ‘multiple image echoes” mode, from which there is no escape. I cant see how others have progressed. Must be my installation.
make shure you are in open gl mode. the mod is great and worth playing just a few minor glitches. after the resonate cascade and the room floods. you will be able to go to a door, you might have to swim about a bit to trip it.
good luck. I can be of any help you need.
A lot of people didn’t really like this one…
Even if it contains some custom textures and skybox the gameplay was perhaps a little to repetitive and the general layout to boxy I had a mixed feeling with this one anfd would say…
Oh my god I can’t believe this is here.
My brother (known as Assfarmer back then) worked on this one, and ya, even he admits it’s crap. Somehow it got onto a magazine CD though, PCGamer I think?
Blast from the past…
does anyone know how to get the istaller to take. I direct it for none sierra and it wont do it. thanks.
I played this some years ago having got it on disc from PC Zone, I honestly can’t remember any of the above problems with it, except to say that the level loads were a bit iffy.
Enjoyed the game being a bit different from the norn both envirnmental and gameplay wise, there is loads to work-out and the game keeps it interest throughout.
its probably so old john thats its a sierra only install. it is worth playing if you can make it do it.
its great do I need to download half life with WON or will it work with steam?
I don’t know, why don’t you just try it with Steam and see what happens.
[I have removed your recommendation image becasue they can only be used after commenters have played a mod and if you are asking whether it will work with Steam then I can only assume you haven’t played it. – Phillip]
I can’t get too excited about this release because there were so many little things that annoyed me: doors that only opened once, having to get scientists or guards to follow you everywhere, level changes that jumped you from a lift to a room, 3 gargs in one room…the list could go on.
I find the whole thing too frustrating and F6 became my best friend, which is not how it should be.
The idea was great and the on screen text was quite interesting but there were too many holes in the mod.
It’s clear the author’s worked very hard but I think they were too ambitious and when the time came to cut or change things they just didn’t make the decisions that needed to be made.
All in all an unenjoyable experience that needs to be forgotten quickly.
Yeah, the same game, which i’m going to evaluate to do in a Video review! But he is in Russian, so it’s unlikely you’ll understand. But evaluation of this thing, I’ll give in advance.
I remember this one. Another good example of an overlong dull pack that is not only lacking polish, detail, and atmosphere, but has a bevy of game-breaking problems that Steam may or may not have exacerbated.
I go into more detail in my old review at Ten Four, but this pack totals out at 51 maps, which is at least 5 times the number of maps it should be. And I’m not even talking about cutting things out; I’m talking about what’s in the pack. The map changes are so frequent that you will literally spend less than 10 seconds in some maps before the next loading screen comes up. The author warns you not to be in a rush, because sometimes the level change will expect you in a certain place and if you’re not there you can end up in the void when the level changes.
That is what I call game-breaking. Furthermore, in a couple (short) maps you’re required to escort a scientist for him to use some retinal scanners so you can progress mercifully toward the end of Challenger Deep. However, he consistently refused to come with me at one point, and was stuck just activating the scanner over and over again. Also, the level change from cd_39 to cd_40 never activated for me, even though I’m certain I did things right. Add in some irritating, underwater level changes where you’re suffocating and waiting for the damn elevator door to close before you die, and you have an annoying and frustrating pack of maps.
These aren’t the only problems with the mod, but they’re the killer ones. The mapping is basic and blocky, and never really sells the idea that you’re in an underwater research facility. But for a couple of scattered windows and two cutscenes you could very well be in Black Mesa.
Just say no. This mod was frustrating and irritating when it was released, and now the nonfunctional scripts have broken it completely. This is an unpolished, tedious map pack that should not have been released as it is.
This mod looks promising at first. Freeman went to The Challenger Deep complex, which is located beneath the Ocean surface. New skies are excellent.
The introduction is not as fun as it should be. The design is rectangular and boring, and there are not enough interesting events. There are some nice puzzling places where the way to progress is not obvious.
Just like in Black Mesa, the experiment goes wrong. Then the base starts to fill with water. Good, original idea.
We’ll see some destruction, and we will have to escape from water which fills the base, but it all is just not as spectacular as it should be.
Some doors are annoying: they opened some time after I pressed the button, so I thought that it didn’t do anything, went away and eventually saw the door closing in front of me and had to press the button again and wait a while.
All these rectangular maps, text messages instead of new dialogue make me feel that I’m playing a work-in-progress version, which has the potential to become a great mod, but requires much more work for this. It feels like a sketch of a future unique masterpiece. Too bad that the authors didn’t work on it properly and released it in this state.
This mod is a prime example of why nostalgia should some times be left alone. I remember playing this one such a long time ago and I thought it was pretty good. But now when I look back I find that it isn’t really as good as I though it was. I don’t know if that’s because I have a better understanding now or if my standard of expectation has risen over the years. All I know is that this one should have been left in nostalgic memory.
The level design was very basic throughout this mod. Plenty of empty, wide-open, boxy rooms and corridors. There were a couple of sections where I thought it might improve but it didn’t. I also felt disappointed that I didn’t really feel like I was deep underwater like the mod said I was. It might be just me being pedantic but I thought being that far down should be really dark.
From the combat side, I would say that it was pretty sparse, overall. There were a couple of intense moments where I was surrounded by enemies but I was pretty loaded so I fended off the attacks pretty easily.
In fact, I would probably say that this was more puzzle oriented, though the puzzle seemed pretty simple. They tended to involving things like finding and pushing obscure buttons and escorting scientist.
What disappointed me the most was the way it was bug ridden or just poorly designed. Things like having to wait 10-20 second for lifts to move or levels to begin changing were just annoying. I know the readme said that I needed to be patient but patience doesn’t help when I’m drowning. There were also many times where I walking into a lift, saw that there wasn’t a button inside, walked out of the lift to press a button to make it go and the lift would go without me before I realise I needed to wait.
There were other problems like doors only opening once into dead-end areas and needing to push NPCs around to get them to activate keypad and scanners. By the end, I was so frustrated and annoyed that anything good that I saw was completely negated.
I thought the premise for the mod was pretty good (i.e. escaping a flooding complex) and some of the story involved was nice but the poorly designed levels and obscure puzzles just killed it for me. I would suggest to steer clear of this one and leave the nostalgic memories intact.
The worst HL mod I have ever played.
I seriously can’t say anything positive about this mod, it was boring and bug filled. The maps cd_31 and cd_32 caused me to ctrl+alt+delete a few times for some unknown reason and it summed up the mod really. The scientists and Barneys kept getting stuck which made matters worse. The gameplay was also boring and constantly easy. Another annoying thing was the lack of direction in some parts and late messages in the middle of the screen, such as the part with the rocket and the part with the fire. I also missed the crowbar and so had to cheat to get one. It was just bug after bug after bug and was unplayable. Like Unq said, it should never have been released.
One thing that surprised me was that it was made by DocRock who is my favourite mapper for HL and op4. He is well known for his maps being really well done and fun, yet the maps on this mod were dull and boring. I had to actually Google this to make sure it was the same person and it was. Since it was made in 2000 I guess he was still new to mapping so that would explain why this is nowhere near the quality standards of k9, cracker_killbox and hardcore. The mapping was actually one of the better areas of this mod however.
Just “Avoid It” and save yourself some hassle.
Well while waiting for offering 068 I thought I’d give this another go at finishing it and wish I hadn’t!
Looking at the other reviews, they’ve said pretty much all that can be said and it’s a pity the author/s didn’t have this feed back a decade ago so they could improve what could have been a good if overlong mod. What this could do with at the present time is someone sitting down and editing it into a smaller more playable game as there were some nice touches. Not long after it started I began getting bored and only carried on because it was part of the 100.
Ok , yes it’s bad but it’s not THAT bad.
First note: I gave up in map 36 of 43.
This is ridiculous, it’s not even worth to describe, just see the con’s…
-Bugs (scripts, doors, AI)
-No real story
-Poor, basic and boxy mapping – also undetailed and large empty rooms, boring
-Balancing – it’s sooooo easy, too much ammo and health / HEV chargers
-Many locked doors
Conclusion: Total waste of time. HANDS OFF!
Just a short note to let you all know that Challenger Deep 2 is in production at this time. It will be for Half-Life 1. New textures, new sounds, entirely rebuilt complex with secrets, monsters, soldiers, floods and much more. I’ve been working on this mod off and on for about 9 years and hope to have it available by Christmas of this year 2012 if all goes well. Thanks for all the feedback on cd1 I appreciate it.
Yeah, it can be only better than part one, sorry!
So I hope you’ll fix the many flaws and make it some better experience, fingers crossed!
The Challenger Deep is the latest Half-Life episode from Ron Smith (aka DocRock) and his support team, the Grand Unification Boys. Although this map is a vast improvement over Ron’s previous release Conundrum, it still has some significant shortcomings that keep it from being a superb episode.
You reprise your role as Gordon Freeman. Current assignment: assist in the underwater experiments being conducted at The Challenger Deep. You can see it coming, right? Yes, of course something goes wrong. So you must escape the complex, which happens to be submerged at 30,000 feet under the ocean surface (accessed by the world’s longest elevator ride).
Like Conundrum, this map is more puzzle-oriented than your average shoot-em-up. The good news is that the random non-intuitive puzzles that populated Ron’s first level are not present here. Throughout The Challenger Deep, the puzzles are well-designed and fit well into your progression through the levels. Some are tougher than others, but for the most part they are much more straightforward than the ones in Conundrum. However, there were a couple of annoying tricks thrown in, such as hidden buttons that really made no sense, and a lethal explosion without any warning. One of the puzzles required a lot of trial and error to get the timing just right, and many of the solutions depend on other characters (scientists or Barney), which can be really frustrating at times.
The architecture and design are also strong points, and there are some nifty new textures and sky boxes that visually enhance this level. The areas are a bit uneven though; some places are well-detailed while others seem bare. But for the most part the levels are solid and fit together well. Playability is also solid – the r_speeds stayed low throughout The Challenger Deep. The underwater base theme is present in a number of areas – I just wish there were more of these types of areas to really convey the feel of such a base, to really make you feel trapped under almost 6 miles of water.
The sequences also stand out in The Challenger Deep. There are a few clever (and humorous) sequences with the characters you’ll meet along the way. In addition, the disaster sequences after the inevitable resonance cascade are well-designed and can take you by surprise as the base explodes and floods. I also liked the use of the Half-Life music here; I definitely recommend you play with the CD in, because the atmosphere is truly enhanced with Ron’s use of music.
However, overall I found The Challenger Deep to be a rather tedious episode. Clever puzzles are always welcome, but ideally they are mixed in with some good firefights. Combat for the most part seems like an afterthought here – there are only a handful of battles, and none of them are particularly challenging (even the one in the third screenshot!). This may indeed appeal to some gamers, but I for one prefer more battles, and more challenges. The pacing seemed to be off as well – there were long periods with little or no action at all (especially the beginning).
The other main problem I had with this episode deals with the level changes. First of all, there are just way too many levels in this pack. At over 50 levels, I believe this stands first in the Half-Life list in terms of number of maps. You’ll soon see why – there are level changes everywhere – and a few levels consist of only one room. This episode could have been neatly and easily consolidated into about 12-15 levels and, with careful attention, r_speeds would not have suffered at all. The longer load times of larger levels are much more desirable than the huge amount of times the loading text pops up in the current layout.
Not only do the level changes slow the game down, I found them problematic for other reasons as well. There were a number of level changes that the player can unintentionally screw up, leaving him or her trapped in the ‘void’ with no option but to cheat or reload a saved game. In all fairness, Ron advises in the readme file, “Don’t be in a big hurry” and to “wait for doors to close behind you.” But level changes should be idiot-proof, without any chance of the player being able to screw them up. Also, the vast majority of level changes are one-way, which really hurts when the layout is very linear to begin with. Missed an area that you wanted to check out? Too bad, that innocent-looking door was one-way only. One-way level changes are fine when they make sense, but when they are not obvious and nonsensical they really detract from the enjoyment of the episode.
There were several other drawbacks that put a damper on my enjoyment of The Challenger Deep. In a couple of instances, there were invisible walls blocking progress until a certain event occurred. This method of controlling the player really interrupts immersion into the episode and in my opinion should never be used; there are suitable alternatives available to map designers to limit what the player can do and when he/she can do it. As mentioned above, some puzzles require help from other characters in the game. In one spot a scientist got stuck in an infinite loop of operating a retinal scanner, taking a couple steps to follow me, then walking right back to the scanner, etc. This happened every time I went to this area. Talk about frustration. I finally managed to steer him into the next hallway, where I quickly saved my game. There are some instances in this episode in which the player can become trapped if a character gets killed, but there are absolutely no notices that you have failed – that is left for you to discover when you cannot open a certain door by yourself. Careful and thorough design would have solved these problems, and it’s hard to believe none of the beta testers commented on these before release.
In the interim between Conundrum and The Challenger Deep, the author has significantly improved his skills from a design and gameplay perspective, but I feel he still has a lot of room to grow. Overall, this episode just wasn’t to my taste – with more combat, more attention to detail, more careful design (read: consolidation of levels), and thorough playtesting, The Challenger Deep could have been a great episode. Its clever puzzles and sequences and interesting setting are the high points, but they are overwhelmed by the drawbacks. But I am looking forward to whatever Ron decides to design in the future.
This review is republished here by permission and was originally published Monday, 20th November, 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.
after playing “Red Star” the other day &, contrary to its many poor reviews, thoroughly enjoying it, I HAD to try “Challenger Deep” just because some had compared “Red Star” to it (in the unfavorable reviews), I just finished it, but I thought it was an average mod, nice ideas, average action, WAAAAY too much health & ammo & wall rechargers for suit, in fact combat throughout was an absolute letdown, just much too easy by a long shot (& that was on “difficult” setting 😛 ), still, over all a nice “tower climb” escape run mod, with some nice new touches to the underwater swims, i’m going to try the remake asap, hopefully it’s just a “tidied up” version, as the main annoyances, as mentioned in most of the reviews on this page, are just the usual glitches, eg, scientists & barneys failing to follow, or sometimes they exploded whilst riding elevators, but jumping off the elevator before it stops seems to prevent it, maps can load without transition (eg, when the 2 scientists warn about venturing down to where they just escaped from, moving towards the lift loaded the next area without my entering the elevator, ie, no ride, just next area), on the REAL “bonus” side, I finally got to slaughter the g-man, a welcome “treat” 🙂
Well, I have to say I replayed this original work from Rock Dock, after I played TCHD2 or as I like to call it, the director’s cut, version. That last version is millions times better than this one that’s a fact.
But compare the 2 projects just like that would be very unfair, considering this first version is from 2000!! And is cool it was an ambitious project that very few modders had taken, I mean, to develop a whole mod just in the water concept of HL1 is indeed a worthy challenge to take over.
So I can say this version is not the best, and obviously you can feel it from the moment you are in the maps designed in the original graphic engine for the HL1 retail version, not steam, and is not Gold SRC.
Now, in gameplay terms this mod is ok at the first 4 or 5 maps but then at the end the triggers are just a mess and you almost forcedly will need to use some noclip in order to finish the mod.
For me the mod begins to get really annoying in that crazy part where you have to face 2 or 3 Gargantuas in a single flooded room!!! that’s just impossible to beat with the classic weapons you currently have in the game so far, so again if you are a reasonable player you will make use of the impulse 101 cheat.
Overall this version is good in order to take the whole challenger deep project in context, and I recommend to play the second version after you have tried this one in order to realize how this project got enhanced a million times.
Also is worthy that developers hadn’t just quitted the project until they have a second version, that’s a thing we only can call love for HL1 modding projects.
Finally, this is a perfect Play it Latter if you want to know how the old and original TCHD once was.
2 Hours, 5 Minutes
Thanks for sharing i love it very much keep it up nice work.
It’s classic half life, the environment is pretty good, but it’s pretty buggy, at least I think the level design is better than the sequel.