Starting in what seems to be a warehouse, you must go deeper before you can rise.
Every turn there are obstacles, both living and dead.
Navigate carefully, for who knows what lies ahead?
This was December 2020’s Classic of the Month mod.
This was July’s Critical Jim mod.
- Title: Year Long Alarm
- File Name: hl2-ep2-sp-year-long-alarm.7z
- Size : 32.20MB
- Author: Chuck Wilson
- Date Released: 27 April 2012
There are no manual install options for this release. It must be installed via the INSTALL button on the Steam page.
The playthrough below is part of the Classic of the Month Event, run by Don AKA Unq.
The playthrough/walkthrough below is provided as part of the Critical Jim event.
The playthrough/walkthrough below is provided by PlanetPhillip (me!).
See more of his playthroughs on this site: VP: PlanetPhillip
The playthrough below is provided by Custom Gamer.
See more of his playthroughs on this site: VP: Custom Gamer
Click on the tabs below to select the size of screenshot you would like.
All sizes are the same screenshots, just in different resolutions.
WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.
33Last 7 days
94Last 30 days
Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 39 Users
Average: 0 Hours, 52 Mins
Shortest: 0 Hours, 20 Mins by CK_The_Boss
Longest: 2 Hours, 20 Mins by antgib
Total Time Played: 38 Hours, 51 Mins
If you believe this release is missing important tags, please suggest them in a comment?
This is definitely a mod of two halves. The first, is underground, but with constant views of above, whilst the second is outside and clearly about making your final escape.
The first second is a Personal Favourite for me. Yes, it has its issues but overall I think the author did a great job, of leading me around but making me feel I could also explore.
The second part was less interesting, as a modder messaged me said “I am just walking around looking for stuff to shoot “. And that’s true. It’s less intense.
The final battle was a little clichéd but when working with a game so old (yes, it’s hard to think that EP2 is over 6 years old) it’s hard not to have clichés.
All in all a great mod though and I suspect you will love it too.
1 Hour, 1 Minute
How can you give The Citizen Returns a PF and this a PIN?
This isn’t even in the same league…
You’re right. I changed it.
You are wise beyond your year’s…
Thanks for the kind review Phillip!
You are most welcome.
I am so sorry for not getting back to this sooner. I forgot to check back on the post. Thanks for the kind words Phillip.
I am in the middle of bringing Year Long Alarm to steam as a stand alone download and almost have the work on there finished. I haven’t added any additional content, since I wanted to keep it the same as the original, but I did end up doing a bug fixing pass and tried to hit the pain points mentioned throughout the comments section here.
I also added credits thanking you, Jim, and RTSL 🙂
This map was really fun to play and visually interesting at the same time, which is always good for every mod to accomplish, and i think you had a very good balance in the mod as well.
What I liked:
I think that playing the sound effect when you successfully completed a puzzle was helpful in letting you know you are going in the correct direction, and the visuals throughout the map also help to support the idea of where exactly you are supposed to go while playing the map and at the same time are very nice to look at, especially the mines in the first part of the map were very well done. I also think the elements of destruction in the map were also built very well.
What I didn’t like:
One problem I did have with the last grenade puzzle, was that it cause a huge lag spike on my computer during the explosion, and if you go up to the window, you can see that the room was full of explosive barrels and other props. I also have to agree that the second map could have been slightly better with less linearity (or at least enemies trying to flank you).
I don’t give personal favorite ratings…ever…
This is insanely good and probably the best mod on this site since Research and Development. This guy gets it right and understands what true level design is all about.
Have a feeling I’ll be reviewing this shortly on Youtube.
Can’t wait to replay it.
One other thing I loved was the fire fight in the gully…
THE COMBINE ARE ACTUALLY USING RALLY POINTS!!!!
They move between cover and never run directly up to you blasting you in the face. They stay back!!!
I had to really fight hard to clear them all… just fantastic…
wow .. for jim to give a PF it must be good …. why havent we seen more mods/maps from chuck ?
I have no idea if you will ever see this since it’s been years since you commented, but you didn’t see any more Half-Life 2 mods from me because I moved out to California to work on Titanfall and Titanfall 2. I didn’t really have the time to dedicate to make more Half-Life 2 experiences even though I would love to.
Congratulations of getting a job in the gaming industry.
The map had one thing that I loved, creativity. It contained fun puzzles to get caches and routes that were not obvious until you looked around.
the first map did make me feel like this was going to turn into a “fix the lift” map, making it not different from chamber puzzles like in Portal. However it did a good job of giving me long sections between them, and each time it felt like you had to use your knowledge of how the last lift worked to solve it. the map had its own little puzzles as well to solve it, and some fun ways to kill zombies. I would like to point out that the encounter with the CP was easy, as the shotgun burns though them like butter. Also I felt like the final lift was going to have a fight-until-it-comes cliché but it didn’t, which left the ending of that part of the map a little dull.
I think I enjoyed the second part too. It had some good scripting like the second map, and managed to keep the whole segment in one area. The last battle was a let down, and some sort of spicing would of been nice (how about the fight being on a moving train?).
Some small problems I found:
.you can skip the second lift area by stacking barrels and climbing back up into the vent.
.a CP dies randomly waist climbing up a flight of stairs.
The lift in the second part was buggy.
All in all, the mapper should get a slap on the back for making this amazing map.
Really good, solid design the puzzles were introduced well and incremented in difficulty well. Visual language was clear, environments were fun to explore with enough with just enough freedom to enable player agency, plenty to do and great pacing.
That said there were 3 issues I came across. First one is that this mod uses the Multiplayer options menu, not the single player menu (at least that’s what I got) so I have no idea what difficulty I was playing at. Second (and more to do with the maps) with the final cables puzzle the combine managed to grenade the cables and I then had to spend the next 5 minutes running around the arena with Grav gun secondary fire held down. Perhaps motion should have been disabled on that after it dropped because it’s not very visible.
Also I second Dino Yoshi on the final grenade puzzle, it almost crashed my game. I didn’t actually see how many barrels were in there I just saw an open window so naturally I chucked a grenade at it… I’m not popular with neighbors.
Ran into a glitch, when the second map loaded I lost all my weapons and the magnum that I picked up was invisible, when I tried to spawn the gravity gun my game crashed
It also crashed for me when the klaxon went off and I picked up the rpg, I assume that all i’m missing out on is a gunship battle so i’m not going to bother playing all the way through again.
So apart from my weapons disappearing and crashing multiple times, it was a fun and good looking mod.
The lack of plot doesn’t matter to any veteran of the HL2 series, as one can instinctually find the path through the facility. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t challenging; the map is well-populated with the usual suspects, and the alternations between open areas and narrow tunnels was tastefully done. The puzzles were simple yet sufficiently challenging, and the hints/tips were on par with Valve’s own style. It’s one of those maps where you wonder whether Valve was involved or not.
Additionally, the environment felt real, or as real as that universe gets, with varied environment, boxes and such littered around, and enemies in tactical positions. The finale, while not unique, was still tastefully done and enjoyable.
This was a very nice looking and polished mod with some really fun parts. I liked the beams hanging from the chain that you could use as a weapon, and the exploding barrels located right next to the Combine logging trucks. When will the Combine ever learn to keep those explosive barrels locked up somewhere safe?
On the downside, I thought the path was too obvious when I played this mod. There was no real challenge in figuring out where to go next, and the puzzles were much too easy for my liking. As a result, I naturally rushed through this great looking mod instead of taking the time to appreciate it.
Very nice overall, but making the player do a bit more exploring and puzzle solving to find his way would be recommended.
I LOVE THIS MOD
This must be the best mod I’ve seen for a while (with The Citizen Returns). It was interesting, the textures were great, the puzzles were really smart, (even though I lagged a lot in the last grenade puzzle) and the enemies had variety. The only thing I didn’t like was that the end was very sudden, but only that.
PLAY THIS MOD RIGHT NOW
Ok, so I had a blast with this map.
It smells a lot like Half Life 2 and I think Chuck did a great job from a technical stand point.
I do have some comments regarding my experience with the map, however before I get to the pros and cons I want to state that the observations bellow are simply a series of one man point of view issues and in no way represent the general state of the map. It’s just my feedback in reference this map.
– Excellent visuals – followed the valve visuals to the bone
– I liked the segment where you paired the crawling gameplay with the half zombie
– Grenades through vents where an awesome idea
– The rooms seem to be well connected however there were a couple of illegal spaces found within the level (places too narrow to go through, fake stairs, etc.)
– I found that the pacing was generally good however I did have the impression during the first few encounters that the enemies (zombies, head crabs) where generally waiting for me to come around the corner.
– At the beginning of the map after going up the stairs to activate the lift, there were some rebels seen through the window, however continuing on there was no sign of them anywhere. Some corpses could be seen but I could correlate them to the initial encounter. Also you can hear gun fights outside several times but you don’t get to see the actual combine fighting what I thought would be the resistance.
– I found the introduction of crowbar and pistol a bit rushed since I picked one up and a moment later I also picked the pistol up and just when I was getting ready to enjoy the gun the elevator went down and the combines started coming in. I was a bit confused that I missed the fight.
– At some point I found a stairway that falls to the ground and forms a gap that the user has to jump over. Although there was a audio feedback sign I couldn’t figure out what it was and, since it was in the shadow and obscured by the warning sign, I didn’t see it and got myself killed the first time.
– There is a section in the first half when you have to find an alternate route to reach a switch and you do that by crawling through some holes. After pressing the button I was a bit confused to what I was supposed to do (I couldn’t see the elevator doors opening from the where the button was) and the two ways back made me question if they were really necessary.
– After the zombies start attacking you in larger number I figured I could take them down easy with the barrels in the level and that seemed a bit overpowered since there were a lot of them all over the place.
– When reaching the surface for the first time I had the tendency to go to the left and then straight missing the entrance on the right side of the road. It was a bit out of my field of view and I spent about 20-30 seconds trying to figure out where I was supposed to go. Perhaps this is as desired however I didn’t find it to be too intuitive at this point.
– When the armored combines start popping up I felt I was a bit overwhelmed since the shotgun/smg took quite a long time to kill them. Actually after killing the first group of armored combines I was expecting one of them to drop an AR gun but it didn’t happen
– The saw blade came in a bit weird since when you kill combines with it they don’t get cut in half. Also it didn’t really work as a long range weapon either.
– There was a moment in the game when I had the impression I was entering in a stealth section since the enemy there was standing with the back towards me however it soon degenerated in a gun fight. Missed opportunity but then again there is only so much you can do with HL2 AI.
– The section where you have to dislodge the power cables from the ceiling seemed a bit unintuitive but the puzzle was great.
– It’s too short! By the time I was starting to really dig it, it was over.
Besides that all the stuff in this map is great.
I totally suggest you try it out since it’s got great production values and Chuck obviously put a lot of effort into it in order to make it work.
I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
If you haven’t played this mod yet you definitely should. It is one of the best mods released in a long time. Last one I can remember that was as good as this is mission improbable.
I’ll start with what I disliked, as it is much less than what I liked.
First of all, it’s a bit too easy. I played it on hard and didn’t die once, nor did I came close to. Mostly this comes down to a lot of little pick ups that really aren’t necessary. I look to my left and I see a crate. A few moments later there is one to my right. Exploration is very well done, but it overpowers the player in a very big way. Another reason for it being too easy are the enemies. For the most part they are in low number and very much not threatening. All zombies are regular ones, except for a zombine which is really easy to avoid.
The lack of a reasoning for all you are doing is also not something I’m into. You are literally moving from one random area to another. I don’t even know where I was supposed to be. I’ve come to expect very little mods to actually have a story, but I don’t even know if I’m playing as Gordon or some random rebel. The lack of a plot also means that the end sneaks up on you like it’s nothing. I didn’t escape nor did anything meaningful. The mod just ended, and that was pretty disappointing.
That said, it’s time to move onto the good things.
It looks great. It looks amazing. Every single area of the mod looks beautiful, and I don’t think I’ve seen a better HL2 screenshot than the 42nd SS. (although there was definitely a much better angle Phillip could have used for that one). The way the mod looks definitely rivals Valve’s own work.
The design is also spectacular. While the same type of puzzles were repeated multiple times, especially the “throw a grenade here”, they were well executed, performed great, and were presented in a very good manner.
The combat was achieved quite well, with multiple ways to engage each particular fight. Zombies ? Here is a shotgun, or if you don’t want to use ammo there are some barrels around the place. Oh, that’s too repetitive for you ? Here, use this hanging stack of metal to dispatch them in way that you haven’t before. The combine moved great, they took cover and played like they actually thought about the situation they are in. I especially liked being able to kill them by setting loose the tree logs they are over. The combine gunship fight was also very well executed. Pretty good arena, and it seemed like it could move all over the place without any problems.
All in all, a very, very good release that is well worth your time. The reason I don’t give it a PF is because of the lack of any sort of basic guidance (I’m talking about a “story” here) and some bugs I found, namely being able to escape the map in a way I didn’t even realize I was breaking out of it. (Near where there are soldiers standing atop the trains with tree logs, there is a slanted wall you can surf on to get behind a fence).
Allright, let’s see if this is worthy of comparison against R&D.
– sub title of the chapter reads “Developer commentary”?
– aww someone messed with the binds, the menu is all disordered as well
– interesting visual effect, the light cast through the window is moving as if passing through some trees
– omg, hurting the player without giving him a chance to avoid it
– looks magnificant, I must say, tho I can’t put my finger on what exactly makes it so
– I think there’s a slight shadow issue all throughout the mod, as light seems to come from a direction through the walls and later on a shadow of a moving zombie is cast through a metal wall as well, it really breaks immersion which was never quite there to begin with
– it simply manages to make things look slightly different, by really using same textures in different combinations and under diff lighting, idk
– it presents your common enemies in slightly different ways and the puzzles fit the environment, are engaging and entertaining, tho not sure I agree with the sound played after completing them, like a pat on the back for doing this super hard mind boggling puzzle, NOT
– the first combine I encounter seem to be idle mostly, and the fighting in general felt dull, a bit too easy at times, though I did go under 50hp because I could not switch to my weps fast enough several times due to the fudged up menu slots
– the zombies always felt like they were there to be a nuissance to the player, to just pass the time and most can be avoided, they present no real danger and I never felt rushed, nor driven by engaging music, to do anything, it was all at my own pace and I could take my time to look around but also this felt a bit boring
– heh the elevator has a light bulb that I’m guessing goes into the ground once I get the elevator down
– damn, I’m stuck in the floor of that elevator at level change (“Interpenetrating entities! (player and func_tracktrain)”)
– attention to detail is high, the chargers are actually connected to a power source
– managed to get outside the map a bit by jumping on a train
– hello there, floating tire hehe
– I noticed it’s got interesting ways to build a path for you, it shows you an area but then says no, you can’t go forward or the obvious way, you need to traverse all the way around to get there
– wow, I thought game was gonna crash at the explosion in the little room
– the gunship fight was rather easy, it offered plenty of cover
– but the ending was a dull fade to black with a title that I didn’t understand.
Overall, the mapping stands out from a visual point of view and has interesting layout all throughout, but also suffers from that light bug breaking immersion at every step, the 2nd map is not properly enclosed and there’s that fps issue, I actually never had it so bad since I got this new PC last spring. Gameplay was not top notch as I expected from the recommendation images (barely skimmed through the reviews), despite having the player something to do here and there, like even make him crouch under a broken fence to be able to move forward. It has them little things, here and there but when actually played, it felt it lacked substance in combat and no real story or objective except find a way to get to the next area and execute upon that finding. Not looking at the average playtime, I kept wondering when it was going to end, and that says a lot.
Play it later, maybe?
Just played through and I really liked it. It’s a pretty mod, and manages to squeeze a lot of time out of 2 large, good looking maps with some clever tricks and some good fights. The only problem, really, the only one, is that it rebinds the weapon hotkeys and you can’t access the gravity gun with G. I noticed this rather quickly, and as much as I liked the mod, it was really brought down when it took a few seconds of fumbling to get the gravity gun, crowbar or different gun almost every fight. It’s superb content-wise, but that problem needs to be fixed.
A great map, should be a standard for Half Life 2 maps.
The environment was well sold, with good attention to lighting and surface detail. Scripted sequences were well used in the first half of the map especially to give a sense of being chased through the area.
The puzzles with the grenades were all very clever and the concept properly presented. Being confused for a couple of minutes at a puzzle only to have a sudden moment of clarity when you spy the grenade box is a rare and special occasion, and the mark of a good puzzle.
The girders on the rope were also fantastic, especially since it realistically snapped backwards on the path under it’s own momentum at the end of the track (just like it would in real life). Zombies work exceptionally well as trap fodder in the hl2 games.
Gunplay was decent, with combine using proper AI and Rally points rather than rushing the player. However, even on normal, the standard encounters were extremely easy (particularly with the infinite grenade boxes), but it was still good fun.
I would have liked more enemies ambushing the player from obscure angles though, as most enemies (e.g. the Gully fight under the bridge) were straight ahead of the player, sitting ducks for the .357 ammo I had reserved all game.
Exploration for supplies was very well done. A few of the times I only found a supply box when backtracking a little to avoid fire whilst reloading.
The end fight however was massively lackluster. Cover was extremely limited but wholly effective, reducing the gunship fight to nothing but staying under the boxcars and popping out to shoot the gunship. Perhaps a little more running around, a more open area, more enemies etc. to distract from the final boss might have been good.
As it was, it was merely legwork.
Still, fun map. Shows the old Episode 2 engine still has a great deal of kick when it comes to both gameplay encounters and graphics.
what can i say thats not allready been said …. everyday i visit “planetphillip” to check for any new mods or maps and this has to be one of the best this year ( and ive probally said that also ) …
ive also commented on how hard it is to create a good story … you can learn how to use the hammer editor but if you cant create a storyline then your stumped before you start but chuck seems to have the magic formula …a great mod with a decent storyline
the puzzles are good and your not bombarded by masses of soldiers … and allthough there are zombies there are not too many
its really good that guys like chuck are still producing hl2 mods especially considering how long the game has been around ( and with more editors around theres a massive choice )
overall “year long alarm” is worthy of a personal favourite and i look forward to more mods ( and maps ) from chuck … well done mate !
1 Hour, 15 Minutes
I’m sorry, what was the story you found in this mod? And how was it presented, have I missed some easter eggs, some hidden newspapers or something?
“What the Hell? What’s going on with my weapon selection!?”
One quick key change later and I couldn’t say another bad word about this map pack.
There is not a single inch of these two maps that has not been painstakingly detailed and tied into gameplay. It just oozes “Half-Life.” The environments are many and varied, all within two maps in some really tight spaces but at the same time everything fits neatly together with no sudden, jarring changes in tone or atmosphere.
Short bursts of combat with the odd puzzle to wind down. And these puzzles make sense! It’s a rare thing in a custom map pack to have logical puzzles that equate to more than “Find Key, Open Door.” I should know because I’m guilty of this myself…
Not only that, but it is ALWAYS clear what you need to do, thanks to some incredible methods used to grab the players attention. A creak in a vent causes you to look up, just in time to see a vent cover fall away, closely followed by a headcrab. Within seconds, you notice a second opening and you suddenly know EXACTLY what you need to do. I won’t spoil too much here but when you see it you will know. 😛
The enemy placement is perfectly in sync with the weapons you collect along the way. Zombies and headcrabs make you seek out environmental hazards to tip the odds of a fight in your favour. Hand grenades aren’t just weapons, they’re tools. Every single combat situation has a huge variety of ways you could defeat your opponent and the final boss area is undeniably clever, not to mention tense and entertaining.
Of course, none of this does it any justice. You just need to download and play this immediately!
What exactly does one quick key change imply? I tried reverting to defaults, which USUALLY fixes custom cfgs forgotten in the mod, but the slots were still in a different order, like with an offset, crowbar being on 5?… If this is a bug, I’ve never seen it before. If intentional, it’s pure evil.
The only solution would be to manually bind each weapon on its own key, a rare thing among sp player, and that’s not quick, even for me having those for hl2dm, would’ve meant navigating to my hl2dm cfg folder, selecting only the weapon binds, navigating to my ep2 cfg fodler, pasting the binds and executing the cfg or restarting the game. That’s not quick at all, for a lil over half an hour map.
The weapon slots are definitely jumbled compared to normal. What I mean is I just went in and changed the keys around as follows:
Keybind : (Default in Mod) : My Settings
Weapon Slot 1 : (Pistols) : 2
Weapon Slot 2 : (Shotgun/SMG) : 3
Weapon Slot 3 : (Melee/Gravity Gun) : 1
Weapon Slot 4 : (Explosives) : 5
Weapon Slot 5 : (Unused – would be AR2/XBow) : 4
Note: This only really works if you don’t use the mousewheel to change, because the order is totally screwed.
One of teh best mods. Lighting is so good, nice design, gmeplayu has got two parts: quiet study of levels and exticing shootout with combines. Very good mod, nice piece of work :).
This is amazing indeed. It was no question throughout what my rating would be. Issues? Already mentioned, the barrel explosion mainly and wondering if my video would ‘unstick itself’ (it did after 5 seconds) or freeze. Not in any way a deal breaker, this mod captures everything so well I no longer care about such things! 🙂
If more mods like this come along, I’m going to have to re-evaluate how easy I have been rating! Whoohoo, RavenholmVille and now this, in a fairly short period.
What a great Mod. its refreshing to play something new. I hope he writes more.
In the present lack of Hl2 EP2 releases, I am pleased to see such a good level emerge from nowhere.
It gives some classic Half Life 2 gameplay wich I like alot. Provides a perfect mix between combat, puzzles and exploration without feeling repetetive or boring. Each new encounter feels different.
I don’t know what more to say. Nothing really stood out but its a solid, classic HL2 map wich becomes more rare every day.
This was a magnificent mod!
I can say that there was only one thing I didn’t care for and that was the excessive amounts of darkness, and I had to use the flashlight almost continually through the whole thing.
But holy cow, everything else!?
The maps were just spot on amazing. Very well crafted, and though I often felt like I was confused about where I was, all of a sudden there’s that window you couldn’t get through, there’s that door you saw earlier.
Loved the grenade puzzles, and also more than that, loved how the use of the sound cue helped to figure it out.
Lots and lots of breakable boxes meant that I threw a lot more of them around. I played this mod almost entirely with the gravity gun when I could, I hardly used up any ammo. I liked the pacing and the fights, they were on the easy side but I don’t necessarily play to be table-flipping hard.
<3 for the Gman, that's always a bonus.
Pretty much the whole time I was playing this, I was thinking how far and away better this is than Citizen Returns, which I downloaded at the same time and have yet to get anywhere with because it's… just awful. This one though, is an absolute hit.
Great to see an excellent HL2 mod again, rocking horses come to mind. I personally love mods that open from the claustrophobic into an expanse and gives plenty to explore. Lost my direction a bit at retrieving the power cable but the screenshots gave me the answer. Final battle a bit predictable bit great fun, will definitely play again.
2 Hours, 20 Minutes
It felt kind of like Valve made it…this is a really good mod here. Puzzles not too many, and not too hard…but just fun. Lot’s of enemies, good routing, a few secrets (really look hard). Ambience is tops here. I also noticed the author lets you go anywhere you can physically get to…in other words, no invisible walls. However, this often leads to areas where you can fall off the map. So if you like to explore fine, but finding route exploits isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
Only gripes? Just a little mazey and closed in at first, and maybe some other enemies could of been used besides always Combine and Zombies (turrets, antlions, and fast head crabs are not here). But there are creative ways to dispatch enemies, and it keeps things interesting.
For the most part this game shines. PIN!
You know, sometimes play mods seems like choose a restaurant to have a good dinner. I mean, you commonly go to the one that is full of people enjoying their meals because that could be a good indicator about that place quality and good taste. And in this case, many positive reviews-recommendations can’t be wrong, and now that I’ve played this jewel I release with my own eyes that they are not wrong at all!
So I have no doubts to recommend this mod as a PF because of the quality details the whole mod possess. Really you can see in the visual aspect that you’re in a pure 100% HL2 Universe location, the whole mine complex and also the outside areas are just stunning by their visual aspect, and I am sure this mod is almost Valve’s quality, which is a thing kind of hard to get in mods these days.
The combat is pretty Classic, in a HL2 style but to me very fun and entertaining, even offering some opportunities to plan strategically your battles against CMB’s and zombies, environmental traps play just a brilliant role in the whole mod, those grenade puzzles are absolutely fancy and cool, and also the last combat section right in the train tracks in the sawmill plant is a stunning scenario to end this mod.
The only things I would change in this mod, are very little, maybe add some hunters in the outdoor combat scenarios at the end. Also I loved that CMB ambush at the river cannon, that’s a perfect place to combat hunters, I even thought I surely will face them, but sadly they didn’t appear at all, although that combat part made me feel like I was Ché Guevara or some guerrilla fighter like that so that was cool too.
Also I only have to report one bug, the only one insignificant bug I had was right at the elevator that conduce to the surface after the mine part. In there I was stranded inside the elevator, a thing I thought it was a strange bug, because that’s even a common bug in HL1 mods, nevertheless I solve it applying noclip cheat in order to get out of my stuck situation.
In conclusion this is a beautiful mod to play, feels realistic into the HL2 world and just oozes quality in all the maps it offers, so play it now and enjoy it!
I agree with most of the other comments here that this is a very good mod. The layout of both the maps is very clever, including a lot of loop-backs and giving an effective feeling of progression by letting you see areas that you’ll reach later. The first map takes place around an open, below-ground vista that the route returns through several times. I liked the new puzzles although there was perhaps one too many variations of the grenade one.
All the combat was fun, especially the battle underneath the train bridge in the second map, which felt tactical. Overall it might have been just a little too easy though. Visually the maps are outstanding; I think it’s due to a combination of lighting, the right level of detail and good use of effects like fog and light-rays.
I would have liked to have had a better sense of purpose to the mod however, particularly towards the end I didn’t really know what I was trying to achieve. This led to the ending being especially disappointing, I would have liked to feel that I escaped rather than the mod just stopping arbitrarily. There was also one point at which I managed to get myself stuck by jumping onto one of the trains and going down the tunnel. These small points are the only thing that stopped me giving a Personal Favourite, so Year Long Alarm is still a must play.
This is an amazing piece. Words fail me to describe it but nobody should miss it.
Superb mapping make this a real treat, visually and physically. The puzzles are nice and fit into the game logically as you travel down to travel up again! Lot’s to explore and ample opportunity to get hurt or shot in nicely detailed surroundings!
Grenade puzzles are interesting, but the second one, on my second playthrough took four grenades before one settled on the catwalk!
The nicely planted exterior with its water feature was a nice fighting area, running and jumping using the shotgun was fun.
I got the 5 second game lag as I threw grenades from the courtyard by the house. I forgot the way was open again!
It’s such a good piece of modding work that the ending comes as a major disappointment!
Loved the melee weapons on the roof tracks and the opportunity to kill combine with boulders, very satisfying.
A fantastic mod that’s well worth playing! 🙂
You can already tell from the screenshots that this mod looks stellar. It’s a great blend of Episode 2 mines and forest with the interesting twist of using a pre-explosion Citadel lighting and skies. Fantastic attention to detail is seen all over the place. It has a solid mix of combat and light puzzle solving. Combat is overall on the easy side, but interesting enemy combinations keep things consistently engaging. As for the puzzles, they revolve around a couple intuitive gimmicks that are made a bit more complicated with each new instance and complement the overall gameplay nicely.
For me though, there were two things that kept this from getting a Personal Favorite. The first was the lack of a story. As the modder had said to Phillip, you just go from one area to the next, clearing it out, with no greater sense of purpose. There’s a lot of fun to be had, but I feel a PF needs that extra level of polish.
The second was the remarkably anticlimactic final battle and abrupt ending. I didn’t even get the satisfaction of seeing the final boss explode before we had faded to black!
Other minor issues? The menus were weird – for some reason I had no difficulty select, the chapter was called “Developer Commentary” and there was a “Multiplayer” tab. And, as a matter of personal preference, I thought there was a bit too much music.
Still, it’s definitely one of the best mods released all year and you owe it to yourself to play it.
P.S. That stutter when the barrels explode is likely the result of Steampipe’s autosave glitch. It’s possible the author triggered two back-to-back autosaves by accident, which causes a significant halt. I gather from Chuck’s portfolio and Phillip’s release date that this level pre-dates Steampipe, so this isn’t the author’s fault (and neither might the menu issues I saw). Incidentally, Chuck was responsible for a number of levels in the recent multiplayer hit, Titanfall, and previously worked on Doom 4 and Borderlands.
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A really nice mod with dense atmosphere and stunning surroundings. The level design is smart, compact, and well implemented, allowing for smooth gameplay. The enemies are well-balanced and appear at the right time, yet overall the mod is too easy…
Even though it is a solid contribution, I felt something was missing. There is no sense of purpose, no story, and no feeling of progress. This is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the mod is quite short, which makes it worth playing after all! With a bit of story it could be much better though…
Very solid mod. The starting underground part is great fun with the grenade puzzles and lifts. The second part is also very good, ending with a gunship battle. The level design was pretty good. There’s also a bit near the end where there are some logs that fall on a couple combine soldiers, which was fun. Coming in at a length of around 25-30 minutes, this one is well worth a play.
Well, a great mod, except for the bit where I needed to do a hairpin jump from a rail onto a hanging vent opening which I circumvented by using noclip. Why do modders think this is fun? Or did I miss something there?
I don’t remember any difficult jumps. I’m terrible at jumping, so usually, if I can get past a jumping puzzle, anybody can. Oh well.
It runs under Linux without any problems.
This is literally one of the best mods out there.
I don’t think there’s more to be said that hasn’t been written above already. But this is, from start to end and beautiful download. It’s not got any annoying (stupid!) puzzles or daft gameplay ideas that are OTT.. it’s just done right. Everything. In fact, I was gutted when it all ended. I wanted MORE.
this stays on my HDD.
One of the BEST there is. Easy.
Wow, to simply put it.
I really liked this mod: the atmosphere, the lighting, the environment, e.t.c…
Good enemy balancing, good sound placement, and a simple boss battle.
The only thing that I didn’t like was when you finally got outside and were supposed to go through a tunnel that led to a house, I didn’t see the tunnel at all for a while. But that’s just my own bad observational perception.
1 Hour, 20 Minutes
A cool mod with nice vertical map’s, however it was too “classic” IMHO to really be a PF, the last battle against a gunship was cool but from A to Z it was too vanilla, not so much new mechanics, a good “how to map well, demonstration” but that’s it.
Holy crap this was good!
It felt like Valve made it! The level design and visuals we’re to good to handle!
It lacked story though. You only knew that you we’re going underground and that there we’re combines to come.
Even something written on a paper or a whiteboard could’ve added some story. Maybe some graffiti telling you something?
Anyway great mod!
Fun fact: I only used the gravity gun untill the end where you we’re outside by the bridge.
This was one of the first mods I ever played on this site, and it got me hooked on Half-Life modding, because Year Long Alarm is one of the most elegantly designed mods I have ever played.
From a purely visual standpoint, this mod is superb. From the vistas to the cramped corridors, there is an amazing attention to detail. Little pieces of environmental storytelling, likes paint cans next to swatches of paint on the wall, or combine soldiers burning citizens in a pit in the sewers, all of it really helps to transform a game environment into a real place. Not only that, but the visuals often support the gameplay.
In terms of level design, Year Long Alarm has a lot to learn from. The vistas not only look good, but help for you to create a mental map about the environment you are about to navigate through. Puzzle mechanics are layered on bit by bit, becoming more complex as the mod goes on, and feature subtle environmental clues so you don’t get too confused. Combat scenarios are well thought out, although maybe a bit easy. Everything feels very much like Half-Life 2, in terms of using the environment to proceed or get the upper hand in a battle.
A criticism often leveled at this mod is that the final fight is cliche, which it certainly is. But for me, this did not take away from the experience, because the fight is well put together, and foreshadowed often throughout the mod.
Overall, Year Long Alarm is one of my favorite mods for Half-Life 2, and is a great portfolio piece for Chuck Wilson.
A short and average map, you have to kill some zombies then some combines, push a button, that’s it.
Avoid it, there’s so much better stuff out there, from research and development to Miigga’s maps.
Dude, your “reviews” are simply ridiculous. Please learn to live with the fact that not every mod is like “Minerva Metastasis” or “Research And Development”. You’re totally spoiled and I bet you’ve never played a mod that actually deserves an “Avoid It!” rating.
Did you even play this mod? This review is ridicolous. You can’t just a play a mod and think “I’m about to play a masterpiece that is flawlessly perfect, has not a single mistake, and I will enjoy every single second of it.” If you do that you are spoiled and shouldn’t write any reviews.
I don’t know why I never heard something about this mod. I didn’t knew until a few months ago. I downloaded it but didn’t actually play for a few months, because I didn’t really had any urge to. Today I played through it, I was bored, so I though I’ll just play this random HL2 mod that I still have installed.
My jaw dropped by the minute. I’m not sure if I would ever reach a level where I could create something like this. It’s so beautiful, consistently beautiful. It guides the player extremely well and takes him to a variety of locations that don’t feel artificially linked togeether, but like a real place with its own logic.
Combat was extremely well done too. Every enemy seems to be very carefully placed, tweaked and scripted to force the player to make decisions in combat and use the space and tools given to him.
I think there were a few too many simple zombie encounters at the beginning of the mod. These aren’t challenging, they aren’t anything. You just pick up te next item with the grav gun and throw it at the zombie. That’s fine and there are some mini games here and there, but I kept questioning if they really have a purpose or just stretch the play time.
There was only a single zombine if I remember correctly. I don’t understand why the author didn’t use a few more fast zombies and zombine here and there. I mean, I love the subtletly of this mod, nothing feels “too much” or “redundant”, but in some places faster zombie types could shake things up a little.
Maybe it’s just me, but it felt like the combine had much higher accuracy than normal, since they did so much damage to me. I didn’t die a single time, but often dropped from very high health to very low in a short time.
I guess the only thing I would criticize the mod for is that it’s not really spectacular, not much is happening. It’s “just” extremely well crafted levels and encounters. but there is no real story, no big revelation, no twist, not even any real surprises. Also the finale was extremely disappointing. A single gunship fight with the most unfitting music. In every other part of the mod the author hold back a lot, was subtle etc., but in the final fight he uses “Vortal Combat” which just doesn’t fit a single gunship. Valve often didn’t even have ANY music for some gunship fights.
Lnt me begin by saying that while playing this mod, I noticed a single thing that I planned to complain about, and I forgot what it was when I was done, so it probably wasn’t important.
There is few things not to love about this masterpiece. Beautifully crafted environments, well-balanced combat, the usual palette of Half-Life-typical puzzles.
I’d like to point out how impressively effective the design is – the author squeezed far more gameplay into just two maps than I thought possible. This certainly feels like it’s half a game’s worth of time spent playing, but due to the very well planned layout, it fits into a rather small space. More often than not, I had a “wait I’m back HERE” moment when I ended up on the other side of a fence or locked door.
The first map has a very distinct Episode 2 feel to it and occasionally feels like what the mining parts of ep2 could have been. The combat is pretty nonexistent in this one (zombies don’t count) but the puzzles are rather nice – there’s always something to catch the player’s eye and guide their view to where they’re supposed to look. After a while, gravity-gunning zombies and headcrabs into slimy pieces becomes a bit repetitive, though.
The second map started with a strong “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” vibe, successfully foreshadowing the ensuing combat. Again, everything felt very Half-Life-ish, with some sewer/underground parts reminding me of Route Canal. Only the ending was a tad disappointing – three well-placed shots without taking much damage and the gunship is done for. I’d have preferred a slightly more “epic” finale, as this one doesn’t really do the mod justice.
I think it’s pretty cool what a fascinating experience the author has crafted using very few enemies and weapons. Unlike with some other mods and maps, the player doesn’t get the whole Half-Life arsenal thrown at them – I pretty much played through everything without using the pistol or smg, relying on Gravity Gun, shotgun and the ever-present crowbar alone. Likewise, only half of HL2’s palette of enemies are utilised, but in a very effective way. Props to you, mister.
This is the one to get a friend to play if you want to get them hooked on mods.
I have replayed it many times. All on easy. I plan to play on medium next time.
The dev must have put a lot of thought and effect into this one and it shows. Lots of nice puzzles, but none that should stop you too long or make you want to cheat. Well maybe that elevator power cable one. LOL. After I figured it out, I felt great!
This is one of the ones that pulls you in. You want to look around. If you hate headcrabs, stay away! Although, if you are smart you can kill them without them killing you.
If you like looking, exploring, puzzles, killing bad guys and minor (easy) platforming, then just play it.
Yet another highly regarded mod that I just got around to playing. And it’s just as good as the reviews indicate. Year Long Alarm is a small pack at 2 maps and roughly half an hour of game time, but it’s one of those perfect examples of short and sweet.
The locations are incredibly well-crafted and I loved how the first map really centered around the open pit. You can only access one of the sections at a time, but how everything is kind of laid out there at the start is perfect, akin to Freeman Pontifex’s opening. The combat is pretty easy, since your early enemies are only headcrabs & zombies. It does ramp up a slight bit toward the end but I still think you should probably crank up the difficulty one notch from your usual for this mod.
The lack of a real story other than ‘find your way out’ and the anticlimactic ending were the only weak points. This is a great, polished experience and shouldn’t be missed.
It’s good to see you catching up on the good mods.
Wow! There is a reason this mod is on Steam. It’s very, very good! The level design, the combat, the atmosphere, the environment, everything is Valve-quality or very close to it. I mostly go more into depth while writing a review of a mod, but I just can’t because there are so many things that are good about this mod, that if I would go more into depth it would just be me saying everything is amazing.
Conclusion, play this mod. Just do. You will not be disappointed.
Overall, I found it to move well through the story with plenty of action along the way. The clues were good but still made me have to stop and think my way through each area.
I’ll come back and play it again after forgetting what I did to get through the puzzles.
Just got done playing it again. If you haven’t yet, set aside about 30 minutes for a good story, graphics, and action.
Not much to say. A staple of HL2 mods.
Very beautiful and atmospheric level, must play!
Year Long Alarm is standard Half-Life 2. Nothing more, nothing less.
Everything in YLA is done very well. Combat is escalated smoothly, with nice encounters that give a good amount of challenge. The visual component of YLA is especially amazing; it takes all the best looking parts of the Half-Life series and does them even better in many cases. The mod is also very good at building and maintaining atmosphere. To keep things short, I agree with all the positives mentioned in the other reviews for this mod. As many people have said, Year Long Alarm is “Valve-quality.”
However, while YLA certainly has the quality of Valve, I do not think it has the memorability of a Valve game, or even of other mods I’ve played. Many of the mods I have played will have a moment or two that stick with me for months after I’ve finished them, even ones with a short length like this one. However, YLA has none of that. I cannot remember a specific moment in YLA that made me laugh, gasp, or bring any memorable response like other mods. YLA doesn’t do anything to set itself apart from typical Half-Life 2 gameplay or carve its own identity. It feels like someone’s first Half-Life 2 map, just with very high quality technical aspects.
For as much as I criticized Coastline to Atmosphere and Timeline III, they were still very interesting and memorable to play. I feel like they have something that’s missing from Year Long Alarm, even if YLA is definitely a more well-made mod. YLA’s short length certainly doesn’t help in this department, too. It’s far too short to make any kind of impression with the kind of experience it offers.
Yes, Year Long Alarm is very well made. But is it actually worth playing? In my opinion, not really. There’s nothing special about it aside from raw technical skill.
Year Long Alarm (YLA) is a very interesting map. It’s times like this where I wish we used a letter grade system to differentiate A- mods and A+ mods and differentiate THOSE from S-tier mods.
YLA is top notch, Valve-quality level design that feels like a genuine section of Half-Life 2 or one of its episodes… but it’s mostly just really well done ‘mundane’ sections. For the most part, it’s just stuff we’ve seen before done really well. It’s the equivalent of an extra couple of coastal highway sections or another few streets during the Uprising chapters… it just doesn’t exactly have any “in your face” wow moments — MINERVA for instance is Valve-quality but also features a setting wildly unique, essentially a HL2 rendition of Halo’s Silent Cartographer with a circular beach island that descends to the depths via a large central chasm and the visuals don’t stop up top either; Transmissions: Element 120 has fairly ‘mundane’ if really detailed sewers but also shoves in a plethora of new ideas like dark-blind zombies, glow in the dark paint, QR code scanning, and the new take on the gravity gun.
YLA doesn’t really have any of that because that’s not what it set out to do. It set out to make a short, sweet HL2-style map that essentially blends into Valve’s actual HL2 offerings seamlessly. And it absolutely does. There are plenty of stretches of HL2 where nothing flashy or “WOW” worthy REALLY occurs. Likewise, there are several Jason Gimba mods that are essentially just you in City 17 during the Uprising, doing Episode 1 things, just in a slightly new setting that feels like you could have passed through it in one of the real games without anything to truly set it apart in the grand scheme of things. Yet you still remember and love the official levels or Gimba’s offerings because they’re just part of an innately interesting and compelling world/game when done well.
And YLA does things exceptionally well. In fact, it’s done SO well that I wish I could easily slot it into my personal headcanon playthrough of HL2+Episodes but that becomes tricky since it’s ostensibly set during Ep 1 as evidenced by the Citadel… yet squeezing this in between sections of Ep 1 is difficult as I can’t really think of any spot where that really works. Squeezing Lost Coast into the coastal area of HL2 is comparatively way easier even if IT’S not perfect either, because you at least have some sort of frame of reference for where it fits. But YLA? I don’t know… that gets trickier. Maybe it’s before and then he gets teleported back to the Citadel? But that also is weird because we see at the end of HL2/start of Ep 1 that G-Man seems more than content with putting him back on ice for future use and is only stopped by the Vortigaunts so why would G-Man port him to more rebels in need then?
But that wasn’t the mod creator’s intent so I can’t really fault that. They were trying to blend it with what Valve offers in the actual HL2 in terms of level design, aesthetics, etc. Not necessarily with the story itself — another commonality between YLA and Jason Gimba maps like Sebastien or Avenue Odessa which FEEL like HL2 but don’t seamlessly fit into actual continuity.
All in all, YLA is A+-tier. What it lacks in any sort of overt wow factor, it more than makes up for with game design that feels ripped straight out of the official games. It’s very hard to top that.
P.S. I had a genuine jump surprise moment that I don’t think was even intended to be a jumpscare, I had just happened to turn around before noticing something, did a double take to make sure I had more ammo and bam! It’s through a window and fairly early on; it may have happened to you unless you happened to notice the start of the walk outside.
1 Hour, 30 Minutes
Year Long Alarm
Another short yet solid mod, I think its quality comes from areas that aren’t exactly visible; like how it matches the atmosphere of the series, and how the areas the player goes through are well designed.
10/10 would beat the gunship level with 11 hp again
I really enjoyed this mod. Well designed, great atmosphere and fun to play. Recommend it heavily.
1 Hour, 30 Minutes
Very Good experience