Black Mesa (formerly known as Black Mesa Source) is a mod for the Source engine. It's a remake of the original Half-Life. And, well, at this point we really should refer to it as a game instead of a mod, since it uses all-new textures and models developed solely by the mod team. As I understand it, there is close to nothing in terms of art remaining from Half-Life 2. The project was started in 2004, and I've been waiting since 2004 for it to be released.
Just today (I know this because I check it everyday), the website for this mod has undergone a huge overhaul (which is really just a new home page design). It's sexier now. Not much in the name of new content, and it still hasn't been released, but the website is definitely giving yours truly a mountain in his pants.
Now, the devs have promised that this brilliant mod will be unveiled to the public at some date in 2009. This is better than the original proclamation that it would be released "when it's done" or "when Hell freezes over." So now we find ourselves dealing with the tragedy of only having awesome wallpaper photos to keep us busy. But there's a mere two months left in the year, so expect for an update as soon as I get my hands on it. Oh, and this thing's gonna be free. Did I mention that it's gonna be free? It will be. Free.
Natural Selection was one of those cult games that never really got the publicity it deserved. Probably because it's merely a glorified free mod for the popular PC game, Half-Life. Since the Dtoid team doesn't give this series much notice, I thought I would do it for them. Albeit, I will give credit where credit is due.
Pitting Marines vs Aliens (or Frontiersmen vs Kharra), NS was able to successfully combine elements of a first person shooter (FPS) and a real time strategy game (RTS). So imagine playing a futuristic Age of Empires where you directly control just one of the ground units and take vague directions from your commander (if you're a Frontiersmen) or run around aimlessly on the walls and ceiling as a Skulk until you find a juicy marine to eat. Or, you always have the ability to evolve into a bigger alien entity. Perhaps the unstoppable Onos, by chance?
Being a Half-Life mod, NS naturally drew in a select group of PC gamers, and to be honest, playing online nowadays is a fairly difficult task for newcomers. "What's an Armory look look? Oh, you want me to BUILD that? What button do I press? OMFG THE SKULKS THEY CAME AND WE DIED!" But generally, people are understanding and will show you the ropes. We were all n00bs once, and most players remember how daunting it can be entering a server for the first time and having less than nothing of an idea of what's going on.
While there are still plenty of thriving servers, most of us NS players are patiently awaiting the release of Unknown World's newest project, Natural Selection 2. The sequel has been crafted from the ground up, with it's own custom engine, real time lighting, and dynamic infestation technologies. You can pre-order this beast for a mere $19.95, or show your appreciation and get the Special Edition for $39.95. Oh, and don't forget to watch the trailer I've posted below.
So if you're like me, you haven't heard anything about Dreamkiller or Machinarium. Well, they're both video games, and they're both on Steam. I'll tackle them one at a time.
Dreamkiller, developed by Mindware Studios, revolves around a young lady by the name of Alice Drake, who has the supernatural ability to inhabit your unconscious mind and kill off the demons that haunt your dreams. Points for originality, awarded. The trailer reminds me of Bioshock, with the player shown using both firearms and psychic powers to thwart their foes. The full game will be released on October 12th, and if you pre-order you can save three bucks off of the original price of $29.99.
Machinarium looks promising. It's a simple game designed in Flash, involving cute little robots and what-not. From what I played in the demo, I liked it. The game has you focus on getting to the next screen by solving the puzzle in the current one. Rinse, wash and repeat. Quite a break from all the first person shooters I've played of late. Rest assured, if you enjoy adventure games, you'll like Machinarium. You can pick up this little gem for $14.99 (that's 25% off) if you pre-order it.
What do you think? Can these lesser-known games stand up against the onslaught of console prizes coming out this holiday season and next Spring? Or are they doomed to flop?
Fans of the Total War series, I believe this deserves your attention. From now until October 12th, Empire Total War is 50% off on Steam in celebration of the new DLC, Warpath Campaign. That brings the price to $24.99 (a bargain indeed). Unfortunately, the deal does not extend to any of the add-ons, this new one included. There is a demo available as well, in case you're wanting to wet your lips before dropping the cash.
It seems that the Pokémon craze will never cease. Those of you up on your Poké-news will already know that Shaymin has been available to North American, European, and Australian Platinum owners since September 28th. You'll need to have unlocked your game's Mystery Gift feature and have access to wireless internet in order to obtain the Oak's Letter item, which you can then use to begin the series of in-game events that will lead you to Shaymin.
This event runs until November 8th, so hurry up and nab that little green bastard if you haven't already.
You might think that you've seen this before, and if that's the case then you probably did. Last night my blog got bonked by some unfortunate glitch in the system and this story got lost in the chaos.
The point of this story was to have you know that Borderlands and Left4Dead 2 are both having a 10% promotion right now if you pre-order them from Steam. That means you can grab these beauties for $44.99 a pop. Not bad, right?
Also, AudioSurf is 50% off this weekend on Steam, effecting that it's now $4.99.
I also wanted to point out that if you were considering purchasing Left4Dead 2 and currently have a meager collection of Valve titles, you might consider holding out until the game is released, when you'll be able to pick it up in the Valve Complete Pack, which L4D 2 will surely be added to.