Half-Life: Uplink

7th August 2012

The Replay Experience Experiment: Half-Life: Uplink

Uplink, released February 12, 1999, is one of two demos released by Valve for the original Half-Life video game. The first was Half-Life: Day One and contained the first fifth of the full game, and was only included with certain video cards of the time. Half-Life: Uplink, on the other hand, was a standalone demo set in the Half-Life universe, and contained levels and a storyline not found in the full title.

Ryan Finnie has created a wonderful website called HalfLifeUplink.Com, which contains everything you could ever want to know about the demo.

Not only that but he has created a “Mod” that installs under Steam and is run like any other mod. The site has an executable, which is very easy to us, but for those that don’t like downloading and installing executable files , I have created a standard compressed folder that you simply need to copy into your Steam/Half-Life folder. Start or restart Steam and it will now be listed in your Library. This is how I ran my to play and get the screenshots.

The demo has a little “story” with clear objectives and is very reminiscent of the actual game.

Download Options

Download the 7z version to your HDD [2.63MB]

Download the exe version to your HDD [4.20MB]


Uplink included several ideas that were removed from the finished game. The machine gun turrets were much more powerful, and could Gib people and were also a bit slower. It had executions and piles of burning Vortigaunts. It also had a scene where the player could hide in the shadows from a group of soldiers and remain hidden.
An extended remake of Uplink was released on October 21, 2006 called Half-Life: Uplink Extended.[6] This extended version of Uplink adds the fight with the Gargantua that ended the demo.

Other Uplinks

I used to have a number of “Uplink”s listed on the site. With the creation of this page, I have removed them. For information they were:

“Half-Life Uplink addon” v1.1 and v1.2 by Werner Spahl, which integrates the demo levels into the full version of the game.
“Half-Life Uplink lite” by Morpheus, which is just 3 levels stripped from the official Demo version
Sampo “Spooky” Sauri

A Complete Half-Life Walkthrough
A Complete Half-Life Walkthrough

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

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 directly through Steam and could be playing in within moments, depending on your internet connection.


  1. Summary

    This wasn’t a replay experience for me as it was the first time I have played it. It’s obviously the same quality as the original Half-LIfe game and if I had played this as aproper demo, then I would definitely have bought the game, no doubt. Which begs the question, why didn’t I? Was the distribution not very well handled? I don’t know.


    It’s EXACTLY like most of Half-Life and could easily have been part of the full game.

    G-man Sightings

    Yes, right at the end.

    Bugs or Errors

    You can look out of the map, see on of my screenshots but I didn’t find anything serious.

    The Poll

    Nope, not until yesterday


    – Gain access to the red security room.
    – Find two grenade crates.
    – Destroy the gargantua before the demo ends.

    5 Words or Less Review

    Pre Deja Vu?


    30 minutes



  2. This is a great addition to Half-Life. We will see excellent destruction and scripted events here.

    At the beginning we notice nice attention to detail and stunning destruction. The door to Lambda Complex will not open until the “all clear” signal is sent. There is radiation in the transmitter dome, so Freeman is the only one who can do the job. This information is presented to us in conversation between security guard and scientist.

    Lights glow above the elevator and doors open. At the top floor we get crowbar from maintenance room and pistol from security room.

    To add pleasing variety, barney and zombie appear from behind the crate and there’s an explosive barrel.

    The tripmines” explosion is stronger than expected, which is a flaw, because it’s not fun to suddenly lose almost all health. Speaking of flaws, lights magically hang in the air.


    Next room – storage with soldiers. Pleasing variety is supported by soldier who kicks the switch, which creates a small puzzle in front of us.

    Later – outdoor storage with red, yellow and blue containers. Some of them are destroyed with airstrike. A soldier is very heavily armed, but grenades will help. Now we’re heavily armed and we gib soldiers, which is fun.

    A wow moment – comm building dome is seen. Burning corpses, useable explosive, the scientist’s guidance through the radio and sudden ambush add pleasing variety.


    Escape through the canals. Pleasing variety is increased by barnacles who eat soldiers, zombies who carry bodies around.

    Finally, got a shotgun. Life is easier now. Even more easier because soldiers are distracted by alien slaves.


    Can get through the door now. Wow, a trap set by zombies! Door’s locked but there is a hole in the wall. Hear the Gargantua’s roar. Long corridor, batteries attract attention to way to progress. Garg destroys everything, but then G-Man extracts us.


    I said words “pleasing variety” for a few times, and these words could be considered as a two-word review of this mappack. It is small, but a lot of different things happen, it’s so stunning! Also it’s an official mappack, so we can hear characters” dialogues recorded for it, which is also nice.

    I also remember that there’s an “Uplink Extended” mod which improves the design and adds more content. I remember playing it long time ago, but now I don’t remember anything from it. I’m going to replay that mod soon. If uplink is so great, improved version should be a lot more spectacular.

    Playtime: 19 minutes

  3. This was my very first Half-Life game I ever played
    on a Pentium 166 (!).I found this on a hungarian PC magazine
    CD, and I haven’t any idea what game it is.
    It was a standalone exe of 50 MB.
    Then I saw 48 hours after the “containment failure’, the
    explosion, the noises, the scientist, Barney, and it was
    very creepy for me.
    Great minigame! I felt in love with Half-Life.
    The first headcrab scared me like hell!

  4. Wesp5

    It should be mentioned that I created a mod at the time which seemlessly integrated the Uplink demo into the main HL game. It is called “Half-Life Uplink Addon 1.2”, is from 13.12.2001, and manages the feat by using the late teleporter section of the main game to send you to the Uplink area. Phillip, if you don’t already have this here somewhere, it may be worth an upload!

    1. I noted that in the main part of the post. See Other Uplinks.

      1. Wesp5

        So why have you removed my addon? To me Uplink is a missing part of the HL experience and playing it as a mod just isn’t the same. My version did not change, add or remove anything, except for teleporting in/out.

        1. I have just made it invisible. I wanted to keep things simple for readers and not be confused by multiple version.

          I” decide what to do with the others and yours soon.

          1. Wesp5

            Okay. Just to not be mistaken, I don’t need a seperate page for my addon. It would be fine on the main Uplink page here :)!

          2. Can I have a link? The only version I can find is a 404.

  5. ikar

    This was my first acquaintance with the universe HL (do not remember exactly when – probably? Spring 1999 ~ April)
    The demo was one of the gaming magazines, and consisted of the first few levels + these levels (the ones in the screenshots)
    I think it was an illegal fashion, which consisted of glued together the Uplink and Day One
    (Because I remember that there were several first levels HL (+ training course)
    main data file was a 200-500MB or I’m insanity and I’m confused?
    In this time I was under the impression from Duke Nukem 3D (and maps made by Magnar Jenssen 😉 I owe him beer.. hm, I mean a few railway trains of tanks with beer 🙂 ) and a few other games Warcraft | Starcraf | Diablo ..
    DN and the demo of HL was revolution in genre: the first time in 3D shooters appeared an interesting story, and most importantly – the environment
    before all of these shooters were held in the creepy dark catacombs
    with no natural light, sound environment, and those who had something like this (from the classic id Software) – had a terrible color scheme, and the environment (large spaces) was not part of the game, only few short scenes with a very poor scenes
    and another very important thing – AI: enemies will not stupid climbed player under fire, set up ambushes, raids, run, shooting, throwing grenades and hide, if the player was well armed, shouting along the way something like this: watch out, grenade ! To hide, he comes!, swearing, 🙂

    And of course, I played on my second computer, Pentium 166MMX 32Mb S3Trio64 1Mb (up to 2Mb) 1Gb Seagate HDD
    (The computer I then gift to friend as a typewriter, and video card is still lying in the boxroom – not sure if it works still)

  6. Ade

    An extra challenge would be to make the grunts blow themselves up with the rocket launcher, dunno how I managed that 😀
    I’m so proud I got the first challenge, but I gotta say [spoiler]a small texture that looked breakable behind the soda machine[/spoiler] was really helpful. 2nd challenge was easy, but for the third I wasted most of my nades on dem alien slaves and so no chance of finishing off the garg. I also got out of the map a bit and noticed the levitating light fixtures lol
    Everything felt so different to me, almost like a remake or another game, and somehow different from total conversions, I guess it was the way you could gib the soldiers with the machine gun, and their interaction with the alien enemies.. and other things I can’t put my finger on. Heavily scripted and detailed, I just loved the mod/demo but not the sudden cliff hanging ending. Oh well.
    I still feel very thankful I had the chance to come across and play this oldie but goldie. Not to mention this entire event is just marvelous to be a part of.

    Playtime: 28 minutes; I died once while crushed under some computers, the nerve of that zombie!

    PS: why is the screenie viewer sort of divided, PP?

    1. Sorry Ade, I don’t know what you mean by “screenie viewer sort of divided”. Can you explain?

      1. Ade

        If you click on screenshot #20, it shows as being the last one when in fact there’s more.

          1. Ade

            glad to oblige a fellow scientist


    I’ve known about Uplink but I’ve never actually played it. What I didn’t realise was that it is thought to be part of the original Half Life, even perhaps a cut portion that has been beefed up. But is interesting none the less. It was also interesting to see a kind of strafe lean that must have been taken out of the final Half Life.

    Playtime: 19 minutes

  8. Unq

    Uplink caused a bit of a clamor when it came out, because for those of us who already had the game, we didn’t want to download a HUGE 50 MB file just for a couple new maps! Argh! Thankfully a few months later, someone packaged it as Uplink Lite and we could download an acceptable 5 MB file, and run it through the new “Custom Game” feature.

    It’s as high quality as Half-Life itself, and it’s hard to conceive of a short map pack that conveys the feel and experience of the full game better than Uplink. It really has a bit of everything: nice intro, a clear mission given to you, some moderately tough combat, a variety of indoor and outdoor locations, and a teasing finale. Not to mention that Uplink is chock full of interesting sequences that not only bring the world to life but add some humor (Barney’s line “What about this guy?” always brings a smile to my face after the scientist mentions that nobody but a fool would go). There are scientists getting shot, grunts swallowed by barnacles, and of course the great garg sequence (one could see where some of the inspiration for Rumble comes from).

    Add in some great music from Half-Life and you have a brilliant showpiece to entice possible players, and also satisfy those of us who already owned the game. If we could just get past that killer 50 MB file size.

    Playtime: 20 minutes

  9. Duke

    Oh yeah, I still have this on an old PC Gamer CD somwhere…I say somewhere because it’s a huge pile…I remember being impressed at the time, but was initially confused because I thought it was part of the full game and wondered what had happened to it when I played HL the first time.

  10. Ten Four Reviews
    Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

    Much as I wish it were the case, the filesize above isn’t a misprint. If you’re a modem user, like poor old me, then you’re looking at a good few hours staring at a progress bar here. What is kind of inaccurate is the map count; seeing as this is a stand-alone demo [rather than a regular add-on], it includes the training sections which accounts for seven of the maps. If you’re reading this review, it’s pretty certain you have Half-Life anyway, making the huge download seem even worse when you’re only getting three new maps out of it.

    I don’t really feel like I need to go into detail about the levels themselves. These maps are as good as those in the first two-thirds of the full game; there are no particularly dramatic areas but Valve have included a couple of neat set-pieces. The mission is neatly structured and the trio of levels will last longer than their size and number might suggest.

    To be honest, it’s hard to recommend this unit, though; not because of any problems – it’s design may be fairly pedestrian but it is pretty much flawless. It’s the gameplay-per-megabyte ratio that’s the issue. If you have a very fast connection – or nothing better to do with your time – then it’s good fun for 15 minutes or so. Otherwise, the overhead of downloading the engine, the models, the graphics and the sound is just not worth it. If only Valve had released an add-on version of this as well for those of us who’ve already invested in the full game.

    This review is republished here by permission and was originally published Tuesday, 16th February, 1999 by Morgan.

    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.

  11. “…nobody but a fool would go in there! – What about this guy?” (scientist and Barney)

    Uplink is so damn cool! It’s a pity Valve didn’t manage to include these supreme maps into the original game, but whatever!
    In chronological order I played “Half-Life: Day One”, “Half-Life” (US version) and only after that “Uplink” before getting the ridiculous German version of HL (which contains robots as human grunts! Other versions were or are still banned / on the Index over here!).
    The reason is that I first thought the demo “Uplink” only contains levels taken from the full game which I already played a lot before. But I was wrong! It’s completly different but still a nice piece of work Valve did here. It indeed felt and feels like Black Mesa and is a superior set of maps with quite much content including very pretty design and layouts, in -and outdoor areas, jumping scenes, lot of scripted events and magic moments. Also some music and ambient tracks can be listened.

    To shorten it, it’s just my type of game! Because I love outdoor areas at night, fighting grunts with the bad guys called grunts with the shotgun and the areas are very varied and simply my taste:
    a few corridors, the dome, a storage section, the outdoor part and so on. Excellent mapping!
    That also counts for the lighting by the way…

    It’s only a bit silly to backtrack all the way after adjusting the radar in the dome. But that’s okay as it’s part of the story and things have changed, in the meaning of it’s not just running back through already cleared areas! There’s like no time to rest, which is pretty nice and challenging.
    So I suggest to play at least on medium difficulty.

    I remember it was creepy the first time I played “Uplink” because of the airstrikes and it seemed impossible to pass the rocket launcher turret, also because of many grunts and headcrabs later on.
    And then, there were even alien slaves, oh my god! Now I wonder how often I died during the first play hehe

    In conclusion I did remember all sudden scripts and things that happen when reaching a new area or going back to the start, but “Uplink” is always worth (re)playing.
    Shame on you Phillip, that you haven’t played these nifty maps before! 😉

    “Uplink Extended” is a very nice mod I suggest to anyone who also like original “Uplink” as you can kill the Garg with a powerful new weapon then and it continues were the demo ends!

    To all others who haven’t played “Uplink” yet – GO, PLAY IT NOW!

    Poll: I voted yes, guess why hehe. Of course I did play “Uplink” before, quite many times already, the last before replaying for the TREE event it was back in 2011. The first time I played it was back in 1999 some months after it’s release I guess.

    Deaths: Three, including blowing myself up once O:)

    Gman sightings: Yup, he’s seen at the very end of the demo, in the room with the Garg.


    -Gain access to the red security room. – Yes of course! I need my shotgun! 🙂
    -Find two grenade crates. – Done
    -Destroy the gargantua before the demo ends. – I tried, but failed to kill it with all the grenades.

    5 words or less review: Fire in the hole!

    Playtime: 19 minutes

  12. aaah so much fun replaying this.

  13. There was some confusion on my part when it came to Uplink.

    I somehow managed to acquire the scientist and barney sound files at some point, in my standard half-life folders. I wouldn’t actually play the maps for another few years, after downloading it and confusing it for another third party mod. Shame on me. I eventually found out that it was a demo created by Valve and then it all made sense to me.

    This map set contains some very nice examples of scripting and destruction and was an absolute blast to play through. Hell, it still is.

    Personally, I would recommend the mod Uplink:Extended instead, simply because it adds a level of polish and attention to detail that is now achievable thanks to the use of updated tools and online resources. If you want to stick to the official version however, you certainly won’t be disappointed.

  14. This is what started my Half-Life addiction – LOL. After playing this I just had to buy HL. Then I just had to buy OF, BS, and any other related game that Valve ever released. Not to mention playing mods!

  15. Zuul

    is it only William that will do a video….beacause he awesome….kaitokid too…..start the oppsingforce already

    1. .start the oppsingforce already

      We have. Pay attention!

      1. Ade

        I think he meant those 2 😛
        William is on his honeymoon and KaitoKid will upload his vids soon enough.

    2. Sorry for making you wait, but I always love good feedback like that. As I said, I am having big trouble with youtube and wasn’t able to upload my vids for a pretty long time. However, I found a way to upload them yesterday and finally after trying many different methods, I found one that works. I just uploaded interloper and uplink, and will upload the first op4 chapter today.

      Thx for watching 😀

  16. General feeling

    Well to my mind Uplink is a nice way to prolongate HL1, or discover it, depending on your experience. Personally I can’t remember when I play it, before or after main game ?
    Obviously Uplink look like a technical demo showing what you can do with the game. For that, the levels are fulfilled with scripted scenes, content not seen in HL1 like containers textures, ammo crates or blood pouch.
    Of course gameplay consist in classic Black-Mesa like. Get across labs, storage area and tunnels. Fight against aliens and marines and, accessory, save your bacon.

    To resume a demo and a mod example at the same time.
    Could Uplink be considering like the first mod for HL ?

    Playtime: 22 minutes

    Deaths: A stupid one


    – Get red security room: OK
    – Find to grenades crate: OK
    – Destroy Gargantua: not tried

    Had caught my eyes: Hazardous soda machine!

    Let’s play for French people:

  17. I just finished and it is a lot of fun. Can’t figure out how to uninstall it but, that’s ok. thanks for a great mod / map

  18. ok the file is steamlink. I went and downloaded it again to see what the file name was. Steam link had me worried as it might have been some sort of steam linking program. Me big dummy.

  19. At last, sorry for the wait, I managed to upload this vid. I didn’t write my review in advance for this one because at that time I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to upload again during the project.

    Uplink is supposed to be the demo of Half-Life. I personally think they should have included it in the game, as most demos are. Unlike Lost Coast, I really think it would have got his place in the game.
    It shouldn’t have been the chapter chosen to be a demo, because personally if I played it BEFORE the original game I don’t think the original would have interested me. What I mean by that is that they tried to push the limited engine past his limits, and the results are bad. A good example is the pit with burning alien slaves. The fire is ugly, and the bodies seem to be floating in some surface without a model. they didn’t make this mistake in the game, and it is awesome when it sticks to it’s engine limits. That location was a fail and was ugly in my opinion.

    As for the rest, it’s a pretty good intro to what the game will be like, but also a big spoiler about the soldiers.

    since I played it pretty long ago (my vid is done since the day this thread was created), I don’t have anything else to say, so here comes the stats.

    6 minutes 20 seconds 375 milliseconds

    None 😀 after all it’s just an easy demo xD

    – Gain access to the red security room.
    Nope, never even tried
    – Find two grenade crates.
    I’m not sure if the two broken crates on top of the big black mesa boxes are the ones you ae talking about sicne they are very easy to find, but if they are, then I found them
    – Destroy the gargantua before the demo ends.
    Nope, but if I had taken more HEV power before, I would have been able to go meet gman. I could upload a video of that if someone is interested.

    5 Words or Less Review:
    pushing engine and spoiling game

  20. UPLINK

    There’s so much to talk about with Uplink. It’s jam packed full of stuff.


    – I like how in the beginning, the place is being bombarded and falling apart
    – I personally don’t think the grunts were introduced very well
    – The grunt kicking the button to close the fence was pretty cool
    – The part where you use the mounted gun to kill the soldiers was really tense
    – The burning slaves really show how ruthless and systematic the HECU are
    – The tunnels were genuinely pretty creepy
    – Seeing the Garg through the crack was really ominous


    – Floating lights are everywhere
    – The Mounted RPG still follows and shoots at you even after you kill the grunt
    – Odd how the vent doesn’t electrify you even though it has a current going through it


    Yes. I’ve played pretty much all of Valves HL1 stuff, even Day One.


    – Gain access to the red security room.
    Something’s about this soda machine…
    – Find two grenade crates.
    The jump to the second one is actually pretty hard.
    – Destroy the gargantua before the demo ends.
    If you do this, the demo doesn’t end and you have to exit yourself.

    Playtime: 26 minutes

    5 words or less: What about this guy?

    My images for this chapter: http://imgur.com/a/kNfbv

  21. Old Liquid

    Played past in 2010 original exe version, and shocked, how brutal HL universe can be – merciless soldiers, burning piles of corpses, fast and deadly gameplay. Really another side of Half-Life with almost no comparison to original – they’re too different.

    When I don’t find any mentioned secrets, I found another funny thing. When you first go out from warehouse, you have to jump across some containers, avoiding machinegun and rocket launcher. And here you can jump at very thin side wall of the half-destroyed container, and then jump at container on the another side of passage between containers aaaand…. here is invisible WATER!! =))) Yes, ten meters above ground…

  22. Ten Four Reviews

    I feel a second opinion on Half-Life: Uplink (aka the Half-Life demo) is in order because much of Morgan’s criticism above deals with the massive download size. However, shortly after the release of Uplink, an unofficial “lite” version was put together and released. If you look at the download list for this episode, you’ll see that the Local copy is the lite version, designed to work with the “Custom Game” option in Half-Life. It weighs in at a mere 5 MB. Note that the Hazard Course maps are not included in the download – Uplink Lite only contains the 3 maps that compose the actual new material.

    Having just replayed Uplink before writing this update, I feel that it still holds its own against the best of the short HL packs, even 2 years after its release (if such a comparison may be fairly made). The levels are well-designed and visually attractive, and you get quite a bit more play out of them than you’d expect from just 3 maps. There is a good amount of combat in Uplink, mostly against the easy-to-moderate enemies. I played on the difficult setting and found it to be rather challenging in spots (and I never noticed how quick the vortigaunts are to ‘draw’ on the difficult setting!). This episode really does mesh well with the Half-Life experience, and with the exception of the finale, could’ve been neatly inserted into the game itself – it’s a mini-mission that has you charging through the resistance to align a satellite dish manually.

    If the original file size intimidated you into avoiding this one, get the lite version. It’s worth it. Uplink is relatively short, but it’s professionally done, with some good sequences (the opening, the finale, and the infamous grunts-cutting-through-the-door sequence are memorable), solid combat, and even some CD music for a nice atmospheric touch.

    This second opinion is republished here by permission and was originally published Thursday, 15th February, 2001 by Unquenque.

    This second opinion 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.

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