Without a doubt, the original Half-Life is one of the most modded video games. And since Valve’s first-person shooter is still remarkably popular, I decided to work on a list that compiles some of the best mods that you might have missed back in the day. A few notes before moving on to the actual list: all the mods are for the original Half-Life (I’ll probably work on a “Top 10: Essential Half Life 2 Mods” at some point) and these are what I personally consider some of the most influential mods that you need to play if you own Half-Life.
Note that there are literally hundreds of Half-Life mods, so if you’ve been playing the first-person shooter for years, you’re likely to disagree with some of the entries. Nevertheless, ModDB has a pretty extensive selection of Half-Life mods, so feel free to explore and choose some of the most interesting ones. As usual, share some of your favorites in the comments below.
10. Half-Life Invasion (single-player)
French mod Half-Life Invasion was conceived as a follow-up to the original Half-Life, so the game tells an alternative story that explains what happened after Gordon Freeman encounters the mysterious G-man at the end of the game. Secret laboratories, space probes and teleportation are some of the elements that you’ll be exposed to in this quasi-sequel.
9. Chemical Existence (single-player)
In this total conversion, you are placed in the shoes of Reece Max, one of those people who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The mod has a variety of environments, including ghettos, China Town, sewers, rivers and so on.
8. The Specialists (multiplayer)
The Specialists has often been described as Counter-Strike, but with action movie realism. Since the game resembles generic action movies (mostly The Matrix,) The Specialists has a very frenetic pace and is memorable for its use of stunts and Bullet Time. Pulling off combination of stunts gives you a score bonus and maintaining the string of combos can be eminently satisfying.
7. Natural Selection (multiplayer)
Natural Selection mixes elements from the first-person shooter and real-time strategy genres. This hybrid pits Marines against Aliens and most of the maps include spaceships and space stations. Although most of the game is played from a first-person perspective, the commander view is seen from a top-down perspective. A stand-alone sequel, appropriately named Natural Selection 2, was released in 2012.
6. They Hunger (single-player)
They Hunger is a single-player horror game. Divided into three chapters, the game is set in a small American town in the 50s where you assume the role of writer who has just moved to this town to get inspiration for a new book he’s working on. Soon enough, the zombie apocalypse unleashes and you need to do everything you can to survive. They Hunger: Lost Souls, a Source-engine mod of the original, was in development, but was eventually canceled.
5. Ricochet (multiplayer)
Ricochet is a deathmatch game inspired by arcade and platform games. In Ricochet, players jump over neon-colored platforms that are suspended above the abyss and shoot disks. The main objective is to push the enemy off platforms. The simplicity of the concept is remarkable and this is probably the reason why so many people still play it to this day.
4. SVEN-COOP (multiplayer)
This multiplayer mod is probably one of the few that’s still in active development. In this cooperative game, players work together to defeat AI-controlled opponents and solve puzzles. For example, one player crouches, so that the other one can jump into a vent. In addition, you can heal teammates and revive them when they have fallen in battle.
3. Day of Defeat (multiplayer)
Day of Defeat is a team-based first-person shooter. The game simulates World War II battles where the goal is to complete various objectives, such as capturing the flag or destroying key installations. Like Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat originally came out as a Half-Life mod, but eventually became a stand-alone game.
2. Team Fortress Classic (multiplayer)
Team Fortress was an extremely popular Quake mod that was eventually ported to Half-Life where it became even more popular. Team Fortress Classic is a class-based FPS where players can assume one of ten different classes. Once you’ve selected a class, you can compete in various modes, such as Capture the Flag, Control Point, Escort and so on. Like most titles on this list, Team Fortress became so popular that it became a stand-alone release.
1. Counter-Strike (multiplayer)
Although Counter-Strike eventually became a video game of its own, the first version was a modification for Half-Life. The premise of this fast-paced team-oriented FPS was simple, yet remarkably addictive: two teams (terrorists or counter terrorists,) fight to complete specific objectives. Secondary objectives encourage counter terrorists to defuse bomb or rescue hostages (objectives vary depending on the map you are playing,) but the ultimate objective is to eliminate the opposing force. Counter-Strike became so popular, that it spawned a long running series. Various spin-offs came out since the franchise was created, including Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Counter-Strike: Source and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Here are some games that didn’t make the cut: Earths Special Forces (a Dragon Ball Z-themed mod,) Cry of Fear, Gunman Chronicles, Sweet Half-Life, Scientist Slaughter House, Escape from Woomera, Frontline Force, Action Half-Life, Global Warfare, Gunman Chronicles, Metamod, Science and Industry, The Ship, USS Darkstar, Weapons Factory, Firearms, Heart of Evil, Point of View, Scientist Slaughterhouse, Azure Sheep and Action Half-Life.