“Three years ago, my newly founded work associates and I started work on a portal experiment that went horribly wrong, due to “unforeseen circumstances”. Between our world and Xen, a horrifically violent alien world, a large rift in the fabric of space and time was formed. This allowed all manner of violent species to come, uninterrupted, through the portal and vanquish the Earth. They caused the apocalypse as we now know it.”
“From this new, unstoppable threat, humans split and formed factions deep underground in military, storage and research bases. Competition was fierce and grudges easily made, we carried on fighting for two years, through the system of railways that linked the bases, while the aliens controlled the surface.”
“My group, once a large faction had been pushed back, subdued and generally battered by the likes of the military and other groups. Three months ago, we took control of a small storage facility base, containing useful supplies and a test centre for explosive material. It was a mighty victory, compared to our recent luck. However, we could not keep it protected enough to keep it secure, and today, we lost all contact after a frantic message describing aliens and military personnel taking control of the base. It is my mission to blow these bastards away…”
- Title: Optimum Fear
- File Name: hl1-sp-optimum-fear.7z
- Original File Name: optimum-fear.zip
- Size : 376.20kB
- Author: David Marsh
- Date Released: 05 March 1999
Download directly into MapTap [376kB]
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You can still use it with MapTap once you have downloaded it.
- Copy opfear1.bsp, opfear2.bsp, opfear3.bsp, opfear4.bsp into your Half-Life 1 Maps folder.
- Launch Half-Life 1
- Open the console and type map opfear1.
- Press enter/return or click the Submit button.
- Play and Enjoy.
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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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Yep – you’re not supposed to leave that room. Sad ending, really.
I also quite enjoy this one – even though it’s a bit cramped all throughout, there a few nice ideas thrown in.
I agree, it was a sad ending, in fact I think it would have been really good if there could have been some voice acting from the G-man as he looks in.
Something to add to the finality of the situation. An apology or similar.
Oh man. I played it back when it was first released. Back then it was considered one of the “better” releases but at that time there really weren’t that many releases. I can’t remember a single thing about it other than I know I played it. 🙂
Heh – that’s what happens after a year or two of playing custom maps. I would have lost the track already if I didn’t keep up a textfile of what’s been played.
Not bad. A bit cramped and short but I didn’t expect anything else and the scripted sequences were pretty nice. Just too bad you couldn’t destroy vent hatches with anything else than your crowbar.
disappointing ending – very unclear
action packed, good enemy placement I might add. no puzzles (sad), no mission, just to stay alive, which you will fail miserably. boxy mapping, sometimes you’re trapped or dead if you don’t move fast. but it’s from 99, so… Give it a go, for old time’s sake.
Considering when this was supposedly made and released, it’s pretty good. Fair warning though, you need to keep people alive otherwise you have to reload from previous saves. Not only that but in one case you need to do something quickly.
The levels are a little plain and there is nothing really to think you are in Black Mesa. It’s almost like a sewer section.
The action ranges from killing a few vortigaunts in a corridor to chasing a few of those sexy assassins.
The ending, as has been discussed in previous comments is a little depressing but that’s life sometimes.
A fun little mappack that tries to keep you interested but doesn’t really excite.
BTW, the part at the beginning where Barney “seems” to kill the scientist is a nice attempt at using the stock HL sound files in an interesting way to add to the atmosphere. Keep an eye on him, once you collect your HEV.
Now THIS is a mappack I can say that I enjoyed with no regrets. This one is another early release, but here things feel much more complete than they do in a lot of other maps from the same time period. The first good thing I noticed even before loading the first map via the console is that THIS LEVEL HAS A STORY! Okay, I’ll admit it’s only really in the readme, but the fact that you have a tangible reason for being there is cool.
The design is what I’d call claustrophobic throughout. That might sound like a bad thing, but first of all, you’re in an underground base according to the readme, so the level design makes sense, and second, you’re always given cover of some sort. The texturing kind’ve reminds me of On A Rail, helping give the setting a lot of credibility. Sure, it’s not particularly pretty, but what early, first-time map set in an underground base is?
Anyway, the gameplay. The cramped environments have another effect in that they end up making you feel rather vulnerable, increased by the fact that the author enjoys spawning in aliens from unpredicable angles. Not that there aren’t a fair sprinkling of marines too, you understand. Combat is quite challenging throughout, but never to the point of being unbalanced. You start off with low ammo near the beginning, but about halfway through there’s a cache of ammo and explosives that balances things out. The author also succeeds in one fight with using the assasins without making them annoying, plus there’s a nice battle between aliens and marines near the end.
Actually, I think that’s where this one succeeds where the others I’ve reviewed recently don’t: setpieces and scripted sequences. For something released so shortly after Half-Life, there’s a liberal dose of both throughout. Especially notable are a conversation between a scientist and a security guard (all I’ll say is that it doesn’t exactly work out in the scientist’s favour), a bank of security cameras inside a warehouse and an exploding elevator. As a tip, you need to keep your allies alive. There’s at least one part where a guard can die and you’ll be unable to progress, so watch out for that. Anyway, as I was saying, actually, you know, having things other than combat happening around you makes this so much better than a lot of early maps.
Unfortunately, the experience is marred slightly by it’s length. It’s but 4 maps long, none of them really large, so it’ll probably be over in about 15-20 minutes. In addition, the level has a slightly disappointing “ending”. Basically, everything after you have your weapons taken away is the ending sequence, so don’t bother reloading (that might give a little much away, but you’ll see). Still, this is definitely short but sweet. Give this one a go.
Sorry guys, but I went and tried this and couldn’t get pass second map. From what I saw (and from the screens above you can see as well) the maps are generally VERY cramped corridors and that can become a fountain of many problems for the player.
[spoiler]- There is no mention that certain people you are supposed to keep alive, and no force-endgame if they die. There was this scientist in the same area as THREE alien grunts that I had no idea I was supposed to keep alive. I was barely trying to keep myself alive at the time. Like, 2-3 hornets and he flops.
– The part where you are in a tiny enclosed room and a barney is supposed to help you by turning a wheel…
First of all, I CAN TURN the wheel myself. Seriously I can reach it from where I am. But if I turn it, NOT ONLY does it not work, but when barney turns it, it no longer works either. At that point I am stuck forever.
That zombie that kills the barney. I have no idea the glass is break able and, man is that some really strong glass. Gotta break it at the same time 3 headcrabs teleport in.
– Gotta thank barney for turning that wheel: a tiny 1-man lift came down from above and crushed me instantly. Even though I wasn’t directly under that lift. I acknowledge this as a half life engine brush glitch (like your typical elevators)
– So even when I did get up that lift, I jump out, barney runs forward, cockblocks me due to the super narrow corridors prevalent in this map, and activates a grated gate that, guess what, crushes me instantly. Ohohoh barney has some kind of either a crush fetish or some unspoken vendetta against me. I find it difficult to proceed to the rest of game.
– And of course, NO AUTOSAVES. That means, everytime I die or glitch out, I had to fight those three slaves, headcrab, 3 grunts, 3 more headcrabs all over again. And it is getting repetitive.
Thank you for your time. It was too buggy for my system.
That’s what quicksaves are for, my friend 😛
Holy shit, I remember this one. It was pretty short, and the ending was dark.
It wasn’t until I started playing this that I realised I’d played it before and if I remember correctly I enjoyed it, BUT time hasn’t been kind to it. It came out in the days some of us got our mods from magazine coverdiscs (if the release date is correct). At the time any Half life mod/map was good, but only a handful were something special, 1999 saw the first release of Neil Manke’s ” They Hunger” guess which one I remember most.
Maybe we have become too picky about what we expect from a (FREE, GRATIS, NO COST) mod, but this by many standards that have evolved over the years, is now quite bland. The action is predictable, the scenery is blockish but as I said, at the time it was released it was enjoyable. Until you compare it to other releases of the same time. To be fair the mod is in a way fun(ish) and the end! well I’ve seen worse.
Just slightly off topic, Phillip can you please standardise the time of the release’s of your Nostalgia 100 as my F5 key is trying to sue me for RSI injuries.
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Having played Optimum Fear again I consider my comment posted 1st April 2008 to be more then a bit unfair, I must have been in a bad mood. Whilst the maps are dated and basic in design, they are nevertheless worthy of playing, the cramped and boxy layout do lower ones rating but it does lead to close encounters and in our face action.
Overall I enjoyed this second play through, which left me wondering why I had been so negative 3 years ago, no explanation, except to repeat that the maps are basic and lacking any balance in story telling, situation solving or change in surroundings. Taking the set of maps for what they are, that is short but action packed they are worth a PLAY IT LATER.
This is one of the reasons I started the event – to encourage players to replay some older maps and maybe, just maybe have a change of heart. Although not necessarily always for the better.
It is interesting how we change our mind about stuff and what affects us when reviewing. Will be interesting to see how you feel about other map and mods, later on in the event.
In general there was a decent effort put into this set of maps. But the overall result is still lacking. The levels are very cramped and while there is some decent combat, mostly the architecture hinders the enemies resulting in pretty easy progression for the player. For example, the female assassins really benefit from a large area with a lot of cover; this mapper puts them in a cramped warehouse-style room laced with explosive boxes. Maybe the intent was to make the encounter easy, but in my opinion it’s a misuse of a fantastic opportunity to fight one of the most challenging enemies in Half-Life.
The sequences show a reasonable understanding of scripting in HL, but they’re really rough around the edges and need polishing. One example is the area where you have to break a window to defend Barney while he sends the elevator. Why can’t that glass be broken by a crowbar? Why can’t it be broken before Barney enters the room? That type of thing plus the fact that you can get stuck and many things just crush you to death make for a very amateur map pack.
I can’t recommend this one but it’s not altogether awful. I did like the ending, though.
I can’t believe you gave this a Think Twice and Back to Xen and Avoid It! But it’s lots of reviews that help us understand whhat each other likes. I am guessing that because of the scripting attempt and it’s possibilities more than the actual result. Will be fun to see if we ever agree on a map!
I just have pretty high standards. I appreciate all the work that goes into these maps and mods, but all we get to judge is the end result.
This mod tells sad apocalyptic story. The Earth is invaded by monsters, people hide underground. Part of the story is open to player’s imagination (who is G-man?)
The style is original – rooms and corridors are very narrow. We venture through some small arch-shaped tunnels. There are very challenging battles and scripted scenes. Part of these scenes consists only of a sequence of sounds, though. But that’s better than nothing.
This mod wasn’t properly thought out and thoroughly tested:
On the first map there’s no loadsaved in case the scientist dies.
On the second map there is a bug – the elevator works only if the valve is rotated by the guard. Add a high probability to accidentally die and very hard battles to this and the conclusion is that these maps must have autosaves. But they don’t! They should be there because it’s possible to quicksave at the point where you can’t progress. I had to replay the first map because of this.
And the ending is not realised properly – such things should be made with cutscenes. It made me think that I missed something and I started to search the level with noclip.
Some work was put into it, but because of its flaws I can’t give it more than 3 out of 5.
I normally do a Pros and Cons thing but I can’t for this map.
I liked it all. It had great set pieces(assassin room, and Alien Grunts vs Marine room), interesting fights do to the narrow corridor style(Marines in the Assassin room and Vorts in the spawn area), and a good opening and ending.
The only thing I say that would need improvement are Auto-saves.
Okay, here are my comments: The beginning and the ending were bad. The game starts with a cutscene showing you wearing the hazmat suit which you only get afterwards. Bad! The ending should have used a Gman sound file like “So we won’t be working together.” and then faded out while he walks away. Like it is right now, very bad! The middle was okay with some nice scripting, but for me the script with the guard lowering the elevator always went wrong because he was killed by the zombie. I had to noclip through the wall to help him out. Also in the same room you can’t shoot through the windows but you can turn the valve through the glass. Of course without it triggering the elevator. Bad and very bad again. P.S.: I read above that the glass in the elevator room can be broken. Well it couldn’t be shot through when I tried it and I’m quite certain that Barney was already in the room. Very bad level design!
Cool mappack, some good dynamic battles, but as many said, a depressing ending, well I guess this is more like a dark map, in Star Wars ep3 style, the bad guys wins, which is kind of cool in HL mods because only few times in human storys bad guys wins, like in sprucecape mappack, the end is similar to this here u die u not reach happines as almost all the time hollywood tries to state on their movies, so was cool I liked thiis mappack, also set into HL world I think, in all of those BM incident aftermath.
I think the ending isn’t only bad because it’s negative, it’s bad because you can’t fight for yourself. It’s like in the latest CoD games, you fight the whole time only to be killed in a cutscene that you can’t influence…
A short and sweet mod. Not bad for a first release given it’s release date.
What made this mod stand out for me were the scripted events. I thought it was quite clever to hear the Half-life dialogue sounds used in a different context. The downside was that the critical characters used to open doors were able to be killed, leaving me stranded and forcing me to reload to a previous save. A pointer that certain characters needed to be kept alive would have been nice.
[spoiler]For example; I killed the first Barney because I thought he was going to shoot me after I entered the room after he killed the scientist, which denied my access to the HEV suit.[/spoiler]
The scripted ending was unexpected, which I enjoyed, but it left me confused as to whether I was supposed to act or just stand and watch. Some way to clarify the end would have been good.
This mod had plenty of enemies to fight, with a wide variety of enemy types. However, most of the large battles had Xen aliens in the same room as humans so most of the enemies killed each other before I got to them, making the map far too easy.
I thought the setting of the underground bunker was nicely detailed but, again, there seems to be an affinity for beginner mappers to make indoor maps feel very claustrophobic with very tight corridors and small rooms. If the areas were spaced out more I think they would have felt more natural and in keeping with the Black Mesa feel. It would have also helped the combat as well because there was not really enough room to move about to avoid getting shot at.
Overall, I enjoyed this mod, mainly because of the scripted events but the action was nicely paced too.
A tiny minimod of 4 maps about the well-known story. You’re lost down in an underground base needing to conquer your way back from the advancing soldiers and aliens.
-Solid action, good balancing
-Quite much weapons and ammo, health
-Nice, sometimes surprising (spawns), sometimes funny (dialogues) scripts
-Security cameras can be used
-Often tight, basic level design – sometimes with details, sometimes poor
-No HEV at start (but can be found quickly)
-Flaws like getting stuck or squisched by elevator, dead end if scientist dies
This is a promising level that just wasn’t implemented right.
First of all, the author himself says he was hard-pressed to beat Optimum Fear in the medium difficulty level and he couldn’t beat it in hard. Despite his intentions, making levels for the easy skill setting is not right, it really eats away at that sense of dignity for the good and proud players 🙂 Not saying I am one, although I was able to beat this map just barely in hard after test-running it a few times in median.
Actually, beating this would not a correct word to use, I did have to cheat once. But it was “noclip” and the fault was not on my part. One of the more major o the many nitpicks I had about this level was one area that involved an elevator I could not get out of because there’s no space to squeeze through… and the room explodes after a short while if you stay in there. I don’t like giving things away, but I just had to warn you about this as it really had me ticked for a while.
Another fault of Optimum Fear is how small the level was. Not in the length of the maps, but the actual space you are given. The background story says you are in a underground complex after the Xenoids have taken over the surface. The areas you have to fight through are frustratingly small and the fights are oft unfair. Headcrabs and alien slaves often pop up behind you out of nowhere and they will get at least one shot off at you unless you were expecting their appearance, which is something that can’t be asked from first-time players. And I doubt someone, except for poor reviewers like me :), would want to try this more than once.
If you will play this level more than once, it will probably for the scripted events and two solid fights near the end. The dialogue and scripted events were surprisingly complex and frequently had me at least bemused if not amused.
Although the design of Optimum Fear was incredibly cramped and relatively poor, where things did open up, the fighting became quite awesome. I know two of the most memorable fights came near the end. One with assassins, and the other is a three-way battle with alien and human grunts. Both had my adrenaline rushing quite high and made this bad map, all of a sudden, a mediocre one.
The story to Optimum Fear is fairly complete and interesting and if you have the patience and tolerance to follow it all the way to the end you’ll be greeted with a very anti-climatic ending. You might like this level, it’s not horrible, but then again, I wouldn’t bet on it.
This review is republished here by permission and was originally published Saturday, 26th June, 1999 by Jiang.
This review was originally posted on the Ten Four website, which is now offline. The full review is republished here by permission and more details can be found on the About page.
Good episode, except the “ambushing” ending.
Finally, after all those gruntfests, there was one different mappack!
The combat was pretty decent, I must say. I can’t say a lot about the environment, since this mod was made back in 1999. Back then it must have been amazing, but it hasn’t aged that well.
Looks like everyone here is talking about the ending. Again, back then, having a bad ending was something rarely seen. It’s kinda like Star Wars Episode 3 like Hec said (I thought the same exact thing!!!) And of course, it’s really short. You’ll beat it in 15-20 mins.
Overall, this is a mappack you should really try.
I’m looking over the comments here and wondering whether this mod is heavily broken as well from my excursions around Gman-based mods.
** all the images are broken in the page, Phillip, so I can’t tell whether I’ve played the full thing or not. Seems like since the average time was 20 minutes, it doesn’t seem like there was much more to this one.
I…. thought the scripted events were good, though like others, I also shot the first barney to death before he could beep me into the HEV suit, and he shot at me several times too so that doesn’t seem like it was ever a very solid piece of scripting. Given that he’d just murdered a scientist I wasn’t about to trust him the first time around. I just thought you were supposed to keep going without it, honestly.
Went back and got the suit after being more patient. Got through the rest largely without incident – I didn’t die under the ‘barney likes to crush you’ areas that others complained about, though I think that was because I was running around scared the map was going to flood or something and I was looking for a way out.
Though I’d say that including SOME of these environments in another larger mod might have made them more tolerable, they were all very cramped and unrealistically filled with crap. The ‘forced way forward’ method of destroying every single thing behind you so you can’t re-enter an area got a bit … repetitive.
It showed potential, given how old it is and how soon after the original product it was made. So, not a terrible map, but… really not gonna bother replaying this even though it’s got screenshot-worthy cutscenes with gordon and gman together.
I like this mod, it has a lot of creative ideas, scripted sequences and set pieces for a short mod from 1999! The only problem is that most of them aren’t “fool-proof”, for example, to obtain the HEV suit, you have to listen to a short dialogue between a scientist and a Barney, the problem is that once the door opens, the first thing you want to do is to shoot Barney, as you can’t really trust him now, but in doing so, you’ll lose access to the HEV suit, another part was in the “elevator room”, you have to save another Barney so he can activate the elevator for you, the problem is that the glass window seems indestructible, it has so much health that I thought it wasn’t going to break, and even after solving this “puzzle” and riding the elevator, you can get stuck and die thanks to the cramped map
This is one of those mods that you have to play with a little bit of patience, and understand that a few scripted sequences won’t work exactly as intended, but you still have to appreciate the work put in them for a mod this old, the cramped corridors and unclear “bad” ending can take away a few points too, but the fight with the assassins and the last one with Aliens vs Grunts add a little nice touch, and while it is pretty a short mod, I think this time it works on its favor
Overall, give it a try, is a little wonky around the edges but is still a pretty nice experience