Gearbox, along with working on the Blue Shift and Opposing Forces expansions for the original Half-Life, was responsible for the PS2 and Dreamcast ports of the game. As history tells, the latter title was completed, but never released. It still won’t see the light of day on Sega’s defunct console but, thanks to the work of a small team of modders, you can now enjoy the experience on PC.
The mod, called “Half-Life: Dreamcast”, requires Steam and a copy of the first Half-Life to play, which are fairly easy requirements to meet given how often the game’s been discounted on Valve’s digital distribution service.
If you do check it out, don’t expect the second coming. The mod’s definitely a labour of love, to give players a chance to play the Dreamcast version of the game, warts and all. They’ve even gone to the trouble of visually replicating the password save system; the save passwords appear on-screen, but you can’t actually use them for anything.
True, the graphics are noticeably better (especially the character models), but they won’t exactly wow your pants off. Here’s a full list of features, taken from the mod’s Mod DB page:
- Different Maps – The map alterations range from minor geometry fixes and lighting adjustments to entirely revamped areas. Several locations have been redesigned with performance and gameplay in mind while entirely new rooms have been added in some places to introduce another obstacle or puzzle to overcome. One entire level was even cut! Can you determine the missing map?
- Different Models – The Dreamcast version is host to a number of exclusive models not seen in any other version of Half-Life, including the High Definition pack and the PlayStation 2 port. Can you find the hidden VMU and Half-Life Dreamcast disc?
- Revamped Menu – Included is a new splash screen, menu background, menu color scheme, and menu sounds to closely emulate the Dreamcast’s fancy interface.
- High quality soundtrack – Emulates the CD quality music used in the console version, overriding the default 48kbps mp3s on Steam.
- Tweaked Difficulty – To accommodate the difficulty of playing with a controller, Gearbox suitably rebalanced the monster spawns as well as enemy health and damage values.
- Password Notifications – Although the password system itself cannot be ported, all password messages that appear in normal gameplay have been brought over.
- The Little Differences – Too small to be noted in a bullet point, but true Half-life fans should be able to spot these in a heartbeat when they see (or hear!) them.
A couple more comparison shots can be found below.
Half-Life: Dreamcast mod [Mod DB]