Experimental Problems

for Half-Life

1st January 1998

Basic Details
  • Title: Experimental Problems
  • File Name: hl1-sp-experimental-problems.7z
  • Original File Name: expermnt.zip
  • Size : 684Kb
  • Author: Peter Lok
  • Date Released: 27 November 1999
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Click on the thumbnails below to open a 1024 pixel wide image.
WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.

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Reader Recommendations
Avoid It!
Think Twice
Play It Later
Play It Now!

10 recommendations, average score: 3.6 (out of 5), standard deviation: 1.04 (what's that?)
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Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 5 comment(s) with meta review data.

Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 5 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 0 Hours, 28 Mins
Shortest: 0 Hours, 25 Mins by AnRet
Longest: 0 Hours, 34 Mins by monster_urby
Total Time Played: 2 Hours, 19 Mins
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Maybe?Play It LaterPlay It LaterThink TwiceMaybe?Play It Now!Play It LaterPlay It LaterThink TwicePlay It Now!


  1. Maybe?

    Single large map. Good texturing and environment design. Kill enemies, explore the well designed map, find the buttons to open doors. Not bad, until you end up where you started. ??

  2. I’ve added 6 screenshots, kindly supplied by piledriver.

  3. Ade

    Wasn’t this called “Experimental issues”?

  4. erc

    Nope, “Experimental Problems” is the right name.

  5. Ade
    Play It Later

    Where do I start? First off, that’s a really huge map!
    After I pushed that button in the beginning and all hell broke loose, I could easily reach the power button to turn it off which I did and I thought the game was over.
    In fact, it was. But there were still huge parts of the map to check, which I did, to finally end up to that same power button.. Weird.
    It was all so very confusing, especially the catwalk that goes both ways, it’s symmetrical but the sides look exactly the same and even when you’re up there, it’s hard to tell you can go down another way. There are some visible parts that make you look for ways to get in there. But some are inaccessible until a FIX point in time, it was like time traveling on those catwalks. I killed the grunts, went through one door, did my thing, came back to the catwalks and other grunts were there, out of nowhere. This happened about 4 times.
    And there were so many times when I didn’t know what to do, because of the size of the map, what door should I check next, maybe in time something opened so I ran around in circles. Finally I noclipped to notice something that simply made me curse the author. A door wouldn’t open because the button that opens it was to it’s left, behind the wall. Now why would I press “Use” on a wall?!
    I simply don’t know if I liked it, or hated it. I feel like it was messing with my mind, temper and time. But the ideas are great, especially the main one, that you have to travel so much to reach something that’s standing right in front of you, couple of feet away. Too bad that catwalk had a baluster or handrail or whatever they call it and I could make that jump so soon.
    It’s hard to express yourself and put your ideas into practice and this author almost succeeded in doing this. You should “Play this later”.

  6. Play It Later

    I actually found this map because of one big mapping error so I expected it to be poor, but it was actually pretty fun.

    I managed to find three areas in this map where it is possible to bypass huge sections of it, and judging by the way it was made I am sure that there are a lot more, but excluding these it is enjoyable. The first part had a great Black Mesa look, but the rest of it didn’t which was a shame, I feel the author could have done better because many areas tried to look like BM but failed. The gameplay was the best part of the map, which was mainly combat but with the odd puzzle here and there. The combat was pretty tough too (although I didn’t realise I ventured through the map the wrong way) with many enemies in big open spaces which is tough when your main weapon is the shotgun. I thought the puzzles were well done myself, although simple.

    It’s a fun mod as long as you don’t bother hitting the power switch at the beginning.

  7. Unq
    Think Twice

    I played this one way back when it was released. It’s memorable, but not really in a positive way (although the name did escape me in one of the 100 Days of Summer podcasts where I talked about it). It is possible to end this map almost immediately after it starts, simply by making an unexpected jump.

    Assuming you actually play through the map and don’t end it before it really starts, it’s not too bad. The mapping is Black Mesa style and a little blocky, but the layout of the map is pretty interesting. There is quite a bit to explore and you can take quite a few different paths through the map. Unlike WYW mentioned above, I found the shotgun ammo to be pretty scarce in my play-through so my main weapons were the 9mm and the machine gun which are better at a distance. It can still be pretty challenging depending on your path, though – and it is possible to bypass entire sections.

    Besides the “bug” I already discussed to end the map early, there were a couple others that should have been fixed. For example, if you ride the crate delivery system to its end you’ll get permanently trapped with no way to proceed.

    Overall this one was memorable but not really for its quality. That said, it’s not a bad time – although this author went on to make much better stuff for Opposing Force.

  8. Maybe?

    Pretty neat single, old map. Being Dr. Freeman, responsible for initiating the alien capture program at the Bioweapons Research Facility inside of the BM complex. And also responsible for shutting it down in case of an emergency…
    That said, it’s quite obvious what will happen 😉
    It’s a good mix of combat and puzzles. You always know what to do, but how to accomplish your mission can be a little harder than you might first thought. Doors are locked, you have no weapons for defense so you have to be fast to avoid the enemies, until you can finally “feed” them.

    There are some cool ideas in the meaning of nice layouts and puzzles. After finally finding some useful weapons you start to decrease the number of any danger you will encounter, such as turrets, human grunts and aliens, did I mention a Garg and assassins yet? Good luck!
    Some scripted sequences will also make it a little tougher.

    An odd thing is that some scripts can fail to run properly. Sometimes a Garg doesn’t die as it’s supposed to do. And yet another badly designed “problem” (or an advantage?) is that you can finish the game within seconds when you…
    [spoiler] just do a timed jump over to the power switch in the experiment room.[/spoiler]
    But then you will miss about 95% of the map, as it’s your primary objective to shut down the power there.
    There are even more design oddities like some strange and just non-logical areas, for example a little maze. The cool thing about it is, that it’s ceiling is made of glass, and you can simply walk over the maze when being in that room above the maze, checking out what’s below.

    All in all, it was fun to play because I liked the puzzles, tough combats and rewards in form of weapons when you are curious enough to find them.
    Balancing is very good in my eyes due to the mentioned combat and quite less healing possibilities.
    The map indeed feels like a BM style facility at first, except for some strange, small areas. (Why is there a maze? etc.)

    -Decent mapping, with some cool ideas (layouts, puzzles), good lighting
    -Nice mix of action and puzzles
    -Great balancing, it’s not too easy to survive and solve some puzzles, also limited ammo
    -Some nice scripts
    -Sometimes a bit non-linear
    -Story is okay, but nothing unusual as there’s just one primary goal

    -Short playtime (~10-20 mins, can be way shorter if you read the spoiler text above)
    -Map design oddities (maze, tripmine room, enemy and turret placements, etc.)
    -Can be a little bit too tough (combat, beginning, puzzles)
    -Minor bugs (elevator, scripts)
    -Minor design flaws like undetailed areas, content of spoiler above
    -Weird atmosphere

  9. Ten Four Reviews

    Experimental Problems begins much like the original Half-Life story: you are Gordon Freeman, and an experiment has gone terribly awry, opening a rift through which aliens are entering the Black Mesa Bioweapons Research Laboratory. To complete the mission, you must reach a switch and shut down all power to the test chamber.

    After initiating the failed experiment, you witness a well-scripted sequence in which a pair of Gargs teleport into the chamber, crash out through a sealed door, and release several Alien Grunts that have been captured and are being held in the Laboratory. The gameplay and environments that follow will be familiar to anyone who has played Half-Life: a Head Crab-infested office complex, a warehouse filled with Assassins, and Grunts rapelling from above. If you are looking for something “different” you won’t find it here.

    The level has been well designed such that the player can often look into or across to areas which will only later be accessible. Most of the environment feels natural, though one room with a glass floor, ceiling-mounted turrets, and a solitary table seems illogical. Also, a huge, ramp-filled room looks interesting but appears an unlikely, inefficient design for a laboratory. Texture selection and usage is unoriginal, though it works well to position the map within the Black Mesa facility. One disappointment is a lack of interactivity with the environment. Of dozens upon dozens of crates, I count only three that can be destroyed, and all three contain goodies. There is nothing else that is destructible, nor any weapons, etc. that are even remotely hidden. There are no instances in which anything must be pushed, pulled, or otherwise manipulated. Puzzles are rudimentary, consisting simply of pressing buttons to activate nearby doors.

    Lighting is effective and realistic, though there is never any use for the flashlight. Monsters are well positioned and an adequate challenge. The placement of one Assassin particularly stands out, expertly concealed as she is on a shadowy ledge above a doorway in the warehouse area. The Grunts appear to have some trouble navigating the maze of ramps on which they are positioned, occasionally standing still as the player picks them off. Weapons, ammunition, and health are perhaps a little too plentiful: I consistently completed the map at full health and with a large arsenal at hand. If you are an experienced Half-Life player you should have little trouble taking care of business in 15-30 minutes.

    Unfortunately, a major bug threatens the viability of the map: if you have even passable jumping skills, it is possible to reach the power switch, your goal, without ever leaving the test chamber, triggering the “mission complete” sequence less than thirty seconds into the game. It’s difficult to understand how this was overlooked during playtesting, and to enjoy the map you must look past this method of winning. There are also a number of minor bugs that, while they don’t seriously impact gameplay, highlight a lack of polish: door brushes open flush with doorways, causing textures to flash; an elevator is missing a set of tracks; when pressed, one of the elevator buttons disappears into the wall; a light texture is not properly aligned with its fixture. There are also ways in which the player can become permanently stuck, one by riding the crate railway to its conclusion, and another by not pressing the button that opens the door to the railway switch, and then dropping down into the area below the crate railway.

    Overall, despite some bugs and a lack of originality, Experimental Problems offers anyone who enjoyed the original Half-Life experience a fun if short-lived return to Black Mesa.

    This review is republished here by permission and was originally published Sunday, 2nd January, 2000 by Nels.

    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.

  10. Play It Now!

    Very good map with non-linear combat. Long enough playing time because of a good plenty of monsters and puzzle design. Not very detailed, but it’s an OK for me.

  11. Play It Later

    Experiment is quite a nice little map. In terms of the overall quality and the way it looks, there isn’t much to write home about. The gameplay however is really impressive, despite a few balancing issues towards the end.

    The map starts out with an experiment in a large test chamber, not entirely unlike the Anomalous Materials Test Chamber seen in Half-Life. With the push of a button, aliens spawn in and things kick off as you would expect. It is then on you to reach the other side of the text chamber and shut off the power to close the portal. (Technically you can easily jump the gap and end the map within a single minute, though that’s not the intended path)

    You need to travel through the facility, picking up weapons as you go in order to push through the Xen forces and shut down the portal. The map is large and your path through it is twisted and intertwined. Also, most weapons and ammo need to be acquired via exploration. Very few pickups are simply lying around in the open.

    That said, playing on hard difficulty I found that the sparse amount of health throughout the map becomes a real problem towards the end. I wound up slowly peeking around corners and glock sniping alien grunts so as not to lose my last remaining hitpoint. This isn’t a terribly engaging way to play and I suspect the map is balanced for Easy mode, Medium at a push.

  12. Play It Later

    I love exploring Black Mesa labs so this map is a treat. Performing the “experiment” on the agrunt was tasty. The hamster maze was an interesting set piece. Ending needs balancing though, not enough ammo and health unless I missed something major.

  13. A big single map, with the “lap” idea if I could say so, mapping itself pretty decent. But throughout the whole time of walkthrough that I’m doing something wrong, I’ve somehow opened doors through the walls and that was the only way I found. The map has some balance problems, like numbers of enemies and lack of ammo and healing

  14. Think Twice

    A big single map, with the “lap” idea if I could say so, mapping itself pretty decent. But throughout the whole time of walkthrough that I’m doing something wrong, I’ve somehow opened doors through the walls and that was the only way I found. The map has some balance problems, like numbers of enemies and lack of ammo and healing

  15. Play It Now!
    This Mode is Cute

    Well Balanced Mod, any difficulty suits. Still recommended Medium
    The game force you dodge the turrets in the beginning, even to pick up a secret gun located in the center of the glass floor room you need to dodge turrets. It’s quite hard if you start to miss your dodges. Gargantua in the middle of the room acts like a shield against those soldiers on the ramps. Take this in mind. Beside of a gluon gun 1 rocket maybe would be needed to finish him. This will gain access to more ammo. In the assassin area eliminate 1st above you then 3 more along the path. Hearing steps is important since it’s not always possible to catch them unprevented. They can even escape your grenades, what a lightning! If you can get here on Hard with good health, the rest should be not a big problem.

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