Half-Rats: Parasomnia

for Half-Life

5th November 2017

July, 1883. Half-Rats is, as he usually seems to be; down on his luck and fretting for the future. One fateful night, he carelessly decides to drown his sorrows with strong libations – and he runs up a tab at a pub he knows he can’t pay…

Remarkably; Instead of a reproachful speech and coarse removal, he is instead told a tale he can hardly believe. A tale involving great riches, but even greater peril. If he was not so desperate, he wouldn’t conceive of embarking on what could be a wild goose chase to locate a forgotten and virtually unknown town. Half-Rats’ doubts were abated somewhat when the publican shews his utmost sincerity – albeit in a strange and effusive manner – and draws him a rude map.

“Thank the lord, for he smote that place from the Earth in ’81. We lived, but most met their destruction the night that liberating conflagration visited freedom upon us. We’re the last of ’em…There was a vault in the bank, large sums of money would have been stole away there, safe. We vowed never to go back, to keep that place a dread secret until tonight.”

The seemingly mythical town in question is referred to as “Eminence”. With no other hope to speak of, and fearing that this may be treachery after all; Half-Rats is still compelled to begin this peregrination to his “El Dorado” with weapons at the ready. But he’ll find much more than gold and banknotes before his journey is through. All is not what it seems, and he’ll find a living, livid hell to contend with…And the close of a dilemma he’d all but forgotten.

Features
  • 24 brand new maps. Featuring several environments.
  • Inventory items you can carry with you and use. Each with its own effects. you can carry up to 9 of each item on the planet.
  • Lantern that requires oil to function.
  • Monetary system. You can pick up cash and valuable objects in order to purchase items at stores.
  • Brand-new enemies to contend with – Many with their own abilities and fighting styles.
  • Mixed enemies that each utilize their abilities in a squad setting to take you down.
  • 6 new period weapons.
  • “Kicking” enemies and “Blocking” attacks during melee combat.
  • “Half-Cat Cheroots” combat companion.
  • Over 600 brand-new textures from scratch.
  • New sounds!
  • New music provided by the author’s solo act, Ague.
Character Background

Half-Rats – A somewhat educated gentleman who fell from grace long ago, but still retains a singular social fluidity and still holds fast to the moral compass of his upbringing, and has been known to rub shoulders with bad company, while also fraternizing with the upper class when he can – where some regard his kinship as a novelty at times. Likes his whiskey.

He has a certain amount of mettle, and tends to show levity as a means of dealing with dire situations. He had heard the rumors of Eminence back in Detroit, and decided to embark on an adventure!

Weapons
  • M1860 Cavalry Saber
  • .45 Colt SAA
  • Double-Barreled 12GA Coach Gun
  • Henry Repeater
  • Dynamite
  • Gatling Gun
Items
  • Meat Pie (Health)
  • Dried Meat (Health, Armor, Damage Boost)
  • Whiskey (Armor)
  • Cocaine Lozenge (Temporary Invulnerability)
  • Whale Oil (Lantern)
  • Enemy Types
    • Undead
    • Demonic
    • Toy
    • Beasts of Decay
    • Boss (Four (4) Freakin’ Bosses, man!)
    Heath Games
  • Half-Rats – Project Lead, 2D Art, 3D Art, Concept Art, Level Design, Writer, SFX and Music
  • OsirisGodoftheDead – Coding, Design Help
  • Shepard – Coding Lead, Conversion, Cleanup
  • CliffyV – Animator
  • ThanosHLD – Mapping, Writing Help, Level Design
  • Devan Miller – Resident VA
  • Netoxy – Modeling/Animation
  • Basic Details
    • Title: Half-Rats: Parasomnia
    • File Name: Non applicable
    • Size : 419MB (Estimated)
    • Author: Heath Games
    • Date Released: 31st October 2017

    Download Options

    View the Steam page

    Manual Installation Instructions

    There are no manual install options for this release. It must be installed via the INSTALL button on the Steam page.

    Videos

    None available at this time

    Panoramic Views

    None available at this time

    Screenshots

    WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.

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

    2 recommendations, average score: 4.5 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.25 (what's that?)
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    Meta Review Data
    Statistics based on 2 comment(s) with meta review data.

    Installed:
    Using Gauge: Users
    Manually: 2 Users

    Time Taken:
    Average: 4 Hours, 53 Mins
    Shortest: 4 Hours, 45 Mins by Anhiro
    Longest: 5 Hours by Klems
    Total Time Played: 9 Hours, 45 Mins
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    Play It Now!Play It Later

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    8 Comments

    1. Play It Now!

      This is a pretty cool mod. Yet it can be extremely frustrating at times. It reminded me of G-String in many ways. You can clearly see lots of work and passion went into it. The setting and story is intricate and oozing with atmosphere. Yet the player pathing and gameplay is absolutely terrible.

      The writing is stellar and is completed by excellent voice acting. The playable character will comment on events a lot, which add lots of personality to the mod. The atmosphere and mood was great. It was sometimes scary, sometimes funny, sometimes straight up weird, yet it never seemed out of tone. I’m not really a circus freaks kind of guy, I’m more into Lovecraft, but it was done well enough. You will visit lots of cool looking places (a church, a hotel, a sanitarium, a manor, a circus) which all fits the period and ambience impeccably.

      It has lots of very cool ideas. This is probably the first game I played with a pet cat. And not any cat either, this one is a beast and will make short work of enemies. it sounds kind of silly but it was actually refreshing and fun.
      The inventory system was interesting and fairly balanced, it rewarded exploration and made the game feels more like a survival horror than a singleplayer FPS, which was good. It can be jarring at the beginning (especially the lantern oil thingy), but it becomes a lot better once you adapt and understand that the gameplay is different.
      Inventory systems usually have their own problems though. Even with the limits on items and money, I still felt like I often had way too many supplies. It was very hard at the beginning simply because you didn’t had as much weapons and healing items. Then it became a lot easier.
      I guess this is unavoidable since these problems happens in literally every game with an inventory system ever. I’m not sure how this would be fixed, maybe a dynamic resupply system?

      Now unto the bad parts.

      The levels features lots of backtrack. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but in most cases it wasn’t very clear at all. You can pick up keys, and the game sometimes expect you to backtrack 1 or 2 levels to open a previously seen door. Once you pick up a key or complete an area, the character and/or written messages will sometimes hint to which door or area to go next, but it’s not consistent and can easily be missed completely. Sometimes it doesn’t tell you anything at all.
      Some puzzles are not very obvious. The first puzzle with the water pump/crate, I think I was stuck here for at least 15 minutes until I realized I had to lit the fire to activate the engine. Some puzzles can only be completed when you use the one weird looking thingy which looks like any other brushes. One of the puzzle has to be completed while someone is shooting at you with a mounted gun. He’s invincible, has friends with him, and the gun deals insane damage. Then, on top of all the extensive backtracking and obscure pathing, you add the whole lantern oil mechanic, which makes the whole thing absolutely infuriating. More than once I had to load a previous save simply because I spent so much time looking around for something, wasting all my oil.

      It’s not clear which doors can be opened and which doors cannot, which make things even more confusing. Some doors are never opened. Some doors are opened with keys. Some doors are opened after you go back to an area. They all make the same sound and all look the same. It’s a mess. I know this is a gamey thing but guys, we figured out keys a long time ago. Red key open red door. Blue key open blue door. Show the keys on the HUD. Remove the keys when needed. How hard can it be?

      There are many optional areas. That’s a good thing. But when a weapon is obtained in an optional area that’s a bad thing. I completely missed the Henry Rifle. I think I might’ve missed the dynamite as well since I only got them at the end of the game (it would’ve been great to be able to purchase it). I could’ve completely missed the double barrel as well. And it’s not like you can pick it up from enemies or a later level or something, there are literally 1 double barrel and 1 rifle in the entire mod and you can miss both of them. Just to put some perspective, there are 3 weapons in the game (not counting the saber, dynamite and gatling gun).

      Combats are legit bad. Not hard, just bad. Most enemies are bullet sponges and doesn’t have interesting patterns. The standard guard takes something like 3 headshots with a revolver to kill. That would be fine if they didn’t run around the map like crazy. They run, shoot at you, run away, rotate toward you, run away, shoot, run, what the hell are they on crack? The NPC pathing of HL1 is partly to blame here, but the weapons makes things even worse. In HL1 you had automatic weapons and explosives, here it’s all accurate semi-automatic weapons with low ammo capacity. You have to aim very precisely on enemies glitching around and that is simply isn’t fun at all. I had a lot more fun in the area with the gatling gun, simply because the gun was automatic and had lots of damage.
      Bossfights aren’t much fun either. The giant chicken for instance, all I had to do was run in circle and shoot at him with my revolver. It took a really long time. I don’t think I felt threatened at any point during the fight. I just shot at a giant chicken for what felt like 10 minutes.
      The final boss is a mess. I’m pretty good at air-strafing and movements in general, yet I still had lots of issues with him and had to restart a lot and resort to savescumming. Some bossfights in Half-Quake were easier. The solution to the boss doesn’t make sense either. You break 3 flesh thingies and use a lever, the end. I mean I knew what I had to do because it was a bossfight and expected something like that. But none of it made any sense.
      At some point (the manor I believe) you have to deal with waves of respawning enemies. 4 types of enemies spawn in, when you kill one, another of its type spawn in, until you deplete all the waves. I prioritized the most damaging enemies, so they were dealt with quickly. What’s left is waves of nonthreatening bullet sponge enemies spawning constantly. Not fun.

      Summary

      In the end I had a pretty good time. The mod might have some serious issues, but I still had lots of fun playing it. I never resorted to walkthrough or cheats. Even though the gameplay is frustrating, I’ve learned to be very patient while playing mods, especially TCs such as this one. I don’t play mods to play well balanced experiences (otherwise I’d just play AAA games), I play mods to see new ideas, experience new things. And that mod delivered, I certainly never played anything quite like it.

    2. fasteddie

      I can’t open the first gate in Eminence in the first part. I’ve found the shotgun and I think I’ve been in all the rooms possible. What am I missing? Watched the walkthrough a few times still not getting it. Help Please.

    3. Qwertyus

      fasteddie, find phonograph and use it.

    4. fasteddie

      Hey Qwertyus, thanks for the help. I must be thick or something. I found the vend o’ matic and ate and drank all I had. I’m assuming that’s the phonograph you mentioned. Still stuck, so I have no idea what I have to do. Please help a simple man out. Thanks

      1. Qwertyus

        Not vend’o’matic. The phonograph, grammophone-ilke thingy, which is on the second floor of police station.

      2. In the Police Station, there’s a phonograph in the same room as the Eminence Constabulary note (sitting in the middle of a table, green cylinder on the center of the thing) that says “Sheriff, in dire circumstances… etc… etc…”.

        When you say you found the shotgun, do you mean a double barreled shotgun, or do you mean the Henry rifle at the top of a tower (the design often mistaken for the 1887, which is an actual shotgun)?
        Because if you’re somehow still stuck in the first area (and haven’t yet encountered the cops/armorman), try touching Eminence’s exit doors (where you originally came from), that might be the cause of your confusion.

    5. fasteddie

      Thanks for your help. I have opened the gate finally. I’m still not quite sure how as I still have not found the phonograph but did go to the entrance of Eminense and then to the sherriffs constabulary read the note and tried the gate again and it opened. I’ll settle for thant. Thanks again

    6. Play It Later

      Half-Rats is a full-fledged campaign mod that has a lot of care put into it, but it suffers from several gameplay issues that can make it less palatable for some players. Level-design inconveniences and combat seem to be the main culprits with this one, which I’ll explain:

      The first problem is the level layout. While I have to commend the devs for keeping “Point-A-to-Point-B” linear level design behind, and instead opting for large maps with many alternative routes for the player to choose from, it unfortunately suffers from clearly defined goals or objectives, which can ultimately waste the player’s time. This means that the player is usually left meandering around the map to find a certain key or mechanism that they may or may not realize where it needs to go. This was a problem that was addressed in another mod with similar gameplay, “Heart of Evil”, where key items emitted a slight sparkle to attract the player’s attention, for example. This little convenience was unfortunately not provided to the player here. Personally, I was left to wander around a large map for nearly 10 minutes trying to find a key for a lock and after having cleared the rooms at every extremities of the map, only to realize that it was hung on a cork billboard at the beginning of the map. Meanwhile, while you’re going back and forth, your lamp (which is your flashlight) can run out of fuel, and pretty fast at that too. This makes exploration even more of a chore, and is not personally something I enjoyed with this mod. Some people even reported missing out on important weapons such as the rifle or shotgun, but thankfully I did not on my own playthrough… It pays to nudge every door you come across.

      Second, another inconvenience that compounds the previous one is that most of the important clues and storytelling will be done by letters/notes you come across. These scenes are unskippable, but not only that, the screen will switch back to your character before you’re done reading and understanding them. Even worse, the character will start to comment on what you just read at the last half part. If you have poor concentration like me, you will have to stop reading and catch all of what your character says before shifting back and forth over the letter on the floor (there’s a cooldown period before you can read it again) to get back to your reading. Pretty annoying, and it’s hard to figure out the objectives when you have to listen and read to two things simultaneously. Maybe next time have the contents of the letter copied into a log, and then have the character do his monologue *after* the control is given back to the player?

      The third issue, and probably the most important to me, is the weapons/items and their impact on the gameplay. I’ll name some of my most disliked ones:

      CAVALRY SABER: Your crowbar for the game. The mod advertises itself as having a blocking system in this game, but it’s entirely useless IMO. Blocking slows you down to a crawl and is a toggle function that requires a short period of time in-between switching functions . What this means – in a mod where enemies with lightning-fast melee attacks are made to swarm you – is that by the time your character switches back to the normal stance from a blocking one so that you can start hitting them back, you will already be in the middle of the enemy’s follow-up attack. So what’s the point of blocking in this case? Just use your mobility to avoid those zombies instead! Granted, you could block the enemy’s attack, quickly switch to your shotgun and blast the enemy, but you can do it just as fine by simply backing away rather than risk getting surrounded as you use the blocking feature, which almost grinds your character to a halt. They should’ve just changed the block for a parry feature, instead.

      REVOLVER: The majority of the game will have you use hitscan weapons. The Revolver is certainly one of the least fun weapons in this category to use… It shoots slowly between each shot, and the secondary function mimics the original Glock’s, which is shoot faster at the cost of accuracy. But this time, it will also rock your camera to the side and seems to have even worse accuracy than the Glock’s. So definitely never use the secondary function, unless it’s for fun. Reloading is not made by bullet, but by the magazine, and it’s a long reload too. Awful weapon design… Use the rifle instead.

      COCAINE LOZENGES: Grants you God Mode for a short period of time. Some parts in this mod will throw waves of enemies upon you as you try to operate a lever for a gate to open under a time limit, and these are essential unless you’re the masochistic type. They cost 500$ (your wallet can carry a max of 999$), so if you think you’re overflowing with money, think again… You’ll need these, because some of those headaches (such as the final boss fight for example) can be practically skipped using one of these. But it begs the question… is it fun gameplay if the authors of the mod decided you could breeze through some of the most intense parts of their game with these kinds of items?

      Fourth and final issue: the combat. As mentioned, the gunplay in this game relies much on the the rifle and the shotgun, with some occasional saber to handle the giant shotgunners. Enemies generally involve the zombie reskin and various quadrupeds who rush to attack you in melee, but the deadliest of all have to be the undead Barneys and the giant shotgunners with their tower shields. Wielding hit-scan weapons, it’s nearly impossible to dodge their attacks. Barneys will have to be methodically brought down using headshots from your rifle or rushed with your shotgun, eating bullets in the process. The giant shotgunners require you to stand far away so that their shotgun’s effectiveness is reduced. After having emptying their weapon on you, you’ll then have to rush them with your saber so as to stun-lock them while they’re in their reloading animation. Or you could just spend lots of bullets time sniping them from afar. In any case, there are no elegant methods of handling those enemies as they’re pretty much guaranteed to damage you no matter what you do, and I think it’s one of the weakest points of this mod. The best enemies in the game have to be the ninjas that attack you with a sword and throwing daggers, but they only appear once or twice in the game as boss fights, which is rather disappointing because I liked their concept.

      Some NPC’s will join you temporarily at some parts and are invulnerable, which allow you to sit back and slowly bring the enemies down with your crappy Revolver as they tank inordinate amounts of punishment. So, no worries about escort missions if that’s not your thing.

      In conclusion, the mod is still enjoyable enough without those issues above and you should give it a try if you have nothing else to do. The writing doesn’t take itself seriously, but it doesn’t fail to entertain with its old American dialect and its silly voice-acting. The atmosphere itself is pretty unsettling too, perhaps with some overuse of the same paintings over and over again, but it fits the theme pretty well. If you liked the “They Hunger” series, this mod should be right up your alley. There are no cheap jump scares in this game to speak of (other than the one with the cat in the trailer video), so those with a weak heart should have no worries.

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